YOU THINK WE'D LET THANKSGIVING OFF THE HOOK?
So Thanksgiving as we celebrate it is as much divorced from its early colonial origins as Christmas is from anything remotely approaching its religious origins.
But so what. Fact is, we had one nice meal with the heathen. Apparently we momentarily forgot our early credo--skin anything that moves.
Herewith a few contemporary comments on this turkey of a holiday.
"I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in
my neighbourhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed
them and took their land."
-- Jon Stewart, on The Jon Stewart Show
From a letter to the editor, Boston Globe, November 27th, 2003:
"SEVERAL YEARS ago, on Thanksgiving Day, I sat in my living room watching a football game. During halftime, one of the announcers went into the stands asking fans, "What does Thanksgiving mean to you?"
All of those interviewed gave predictable answers -- turkey dinner, gathering with family, giving thanks, etc. Eventually the announcer came upon a young boy about 5 years old, sitting with his parents. The boy was sucking on a lollipop, his baseball cap was askew, and he seemed very excited about the commotion caused by the approaching TV camera.
The announcer sat down beside the boy and asked him simply,what is Thanksgiving?
The boy straightened his cap, removed the lollipop from his mouth and replied excitedly, Thanksgiving is when the Pilgrims came to the Indians' neighborhood and said, "I like your house -- move!"
Thursday, November 27, 2003
YOU THINK WE'D LET THANKSGIVING OFF THE HOOK?
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
MEDICARE'S GOING TO NEED A MEDIVAC
All that's necessary for evil to triumph over good is one good PR campaign.
So the AARP supports this abomination of a bill, and screws its constituency, because over the recent years the organization's main focus has become insurance. Yep, it's one of the biggest. And the insurance industry is one of the biggest winners in this supersized ham sandwich.
With a rightwing ideologue as CEO, and it's raison d'etre now to support it's insurance business, it should have been no surprise that it would go for this bill. But it was. Most of us weren't paying attention. We thought that the major change at AARP was in the name of their magazine, from "Modern Maturity" (which was shattering our illusion that we were all Peter Pan) to "AARP The Magazine." But in reality they were being taken over by the pod people--the same ones who took over the government.
Check under your beds before you go to sleep.
QUOTES AND COMMENTS REGARDING SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
"Marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. Today's decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court violates this important principle. I will work with Congressional leaders and others to do what is legally necessary to defend the sanctity of marriage." --George W. Bush.
(Yeh, but who's going to defend the sanctity of the presidency?)
"Don't believe the propaganda that says marriage has always been a static, solid pillar of society. Marriage has always been a social battleground, hotly contested, its rules shifting for each era and economy, each culture and class. The only thing that's remained static about marriage is its name - and the kind of vitriol it inspires whenever there's a change to its rules."
--E. J. Graff-"See Change"-American Prospect, November 20
(It's almost laughable to hear the rightwingers talk about "the traditional definition of marriage" or the "sanctity of marriage." What a bunch of ignorant poltroons. Ronald "Iran-Contra who?" Reagan spent much time trying to convince us that the real America was depicted on "Leave It To Beaver" or a Norman Rockwell painting, and we'd be so much better off if we could just return to those thrilling days of yesteryear. "Traditional marriage"--it's the Donna Reed version. In both cases, it's a land that never was. How much misery the sacred institution caused young women--often even pre-adolescent--who were forced to marry for the parent's or family's economic or political advantage is unquantified, but this was the norm even in the west until fairly recently. So much for romance, let alone procreation.
Just once you'd wish these numbnuts would use real history rather than the rose-colored perspective they've managed to get writ into our history books. Did you know that Davy Crockett hid under a bed in fear during the siege of the Alamo? Take that, you Texas swine.)
"Thousands of formerly ardent Christians filed for divorce this morning, as others raped their children and household pets, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gay people are citizens tooÂ "My marriage is over," spoke one upset Christian as he dry-humped the fender of a parked car. "My marriage isn't worth anything," he insisted. "I feel no connection to my wife and children and I just want to do whatever I please, when it pleases me to do it." With that he turned to a passing elderly woman and shouted for her to reveal her 'tits.' "
--WorldNutDaily.com --"Traditional marriage in America comes to an end"-November 20
(i've already noticed the same effect. Why, the divorce rate just jumped to, what, 50%?)
"For better or worse, the nuclear culture war over gay marriage is here. We have a clear choice: We can wince or we can win.
The first thing we must do is stop dreading this war. We have had a long grace period where our movement has made great cultural strides with limited struggle. But did we really think episodes of Will and Grace and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy alone were going to carry us to the Promised Land?
Instead of dread, we should see this struggle as an unprecedented opportunity to educate America about our lives. For centuries our families have had to remain deeply closeted, sometimes masquerading as sisters, brothers, roommates or friends. We finally have our big chance to stand tall and show the world our beautiful, healthy, strong and stable families.
Let us parade couples in the media that have been together for 40 years. Let us hear the testimonies from adult children raised by gay families with the strong message: "Stop attacking our families." We need to show the American people the horror of long-term couples denied hospital visitation rights.
There is a real fear of a backlash among the GLBT people I have spoken to. But it is important to remember that there are two kinds of backlash. The first represents a genuine setback where Americans violently reject your message. The second is a phantom backlash, where the right wing goes ballistic, yet the majority of Americans remain unmoved by their diatribes.
If we are afraid of our shadow and tepidly defend our right to marry, a harmful backlash may become a self-fulfilling prophecy - because we will have failed to educate the people. But if we wake up and realize that we are in a historic moment and can guide our destiny, we will win this fight."
(OK, Wayne, but it's "same-sex marriage," not "gay marriage." Get it, um, straight.)
Monday, November 24, 2003
THE CHURCH (sigh) AGAIN
Living in Boston, one gets used to the influence of the Catholic Church in social and political affairs outside of its purview. I hadn't realized why it's so much in our consciousness until I read this letter-to-the-editor from a friend. It seems that if the a church farts, it gets reported in the Boston Globe. Of course, the stories of the inbred pedophilia are newsworthy, but their reactionary and cruel advocacy on hotbutton issues are not. Yet:
For two days in a row, the Globe has run a story -- front page and top of the fold -- with the opinions and attitudes of the Catholic Church about homosexuality, gay marriage, the Episcopal Church's decision to ordain an openly Gay bishop, and contraception ("Bishops condemn same-sex unions" 11/13/2003, and "O'Malley details gay-marriage stance" 11/12/2003).
It is bad enough that the Catholic Church has carte blanche to lobby our legislators in any and every way they see fit, including threatening excommunication of Catholic legislators and issuing letters to be read "to the faithful" in tax-exempt church buildings, all while not paying a cent in taxes to the Commonwealth. It is bad enough that they want everyone -- not only Catholics -- to be bound by their superstitions, their Canon, and their dogma. But for the Globe to give them top of the fold, front page coverage, day after day, from which to espouse their bigotry and hypocrisy is just too much.
Are you a public newspaper, or an organ of the Church? Make up your mind.
It appears they already have, Mary-Ann.
Saturday, November 22, 2003
IT WAS FORTY YEARS AGO TODAY
What is it about JFK that enobles him so in our memory? It certainly wasn't many of his policies or actions--Vietnam, Bay of Pigs, Judith Exner. Was it the Cuban Missile Crisis, where indeed he seems to have saved the day, if not the planet? Was it his initial timidity and wavering but finally fortitude in the civil rights battles?
For me, it's simple. He spoke eloquently and consistently of a vision filled with hope. He used his youth, looks and charm to cajole and persuade us to live lives of meaning, to be at our best, and to see a future that we could control (in a time when things seemed frighteningly out of our control).
Oh, he spoke so well. If the substance didn't always live up to the eloquence, no matter. We were empty slates back then. He filled them with grandeur, and made us feel like we were the best and the brightest.
Listening to JFK could make your heart soar.
Listenting to Bush speak is like fingernails on the blackboard. My heart sinks when he opens his mouth.
Maybe it's just the warm glow of nostalgia. I'll take it.
WHO DA LIBERAL?
In an interview around midnight last Monday on his campaign plane with a small group of reporters, Howard Dean listed likely targets for what he dubbed as his "reregulation" campaign: utilities, large media companies and any business that offers stock options. Dean did not rule out "reregulating" the telecommunications industry, too.
During a chat about the Democratic candidates a few days ago, we were discussing the new conventional wisdom among those left of center that Dean was hardly a liberal. A friend pointed out that Dean's interest in reregulation was as liberal as you can get.
While being wary of opportunism, we ought to allow people the opportunity to grow and change. As Dean seems to be moderating a number of his positions that heretofore were seen as conservative, can we trust him?
Who knows? Can we trust any of them?
Instead of condemning change by relegating all of it to "waffling" or "flipflopping," maybe we should give some of them the benefit of the doubt.
For a while, anyway.
MIND AND BODY or INDUSTRY
A thought hit me during those cozy moments of awakening on a Saturday morning with no pressure to get up, luxuriating in the beams of sunlight coming through the blinds.
And that was: Isn't it interesting that so many conservatives seem to want to control our bodies and our minds, but not our industries and businesses. Which sector needs control more? Which one, uncontrolled, does more damage to the human spirit and human dignity (let alone human health and wealth)?
Is that what the culture war is really about--not what vision of morality and commonweal will prevail, but what we as a society will control?
Mass governor Ovenmitt "The Idiot" Romney, Attorney General Tom "The Putz" Reilly and others are claiming the court decision provides "wiggle room" to enact civil unions in lieu of marriage. They claim the decision is unclear, or ambiguous, and that the reason for the stay of 180 days is to afford them the opportunity to find alternatives to actual marriage.
Outside legal specialists, including Laurence H. Tribe, professor of
constitutional law at Harvard Law School, sharply dismissed any notion that
the court was leaving Romney or the Legislature any option other than to
accept same-sex marriage and implement its ruling.
"He must have read a different opinion and not the court's decision
which I read very carefully yesterday," Tribe said, when told of Romney's
interpretation of the justices' 4-to-3 decision.
"I think that the court could hardly have been clearer about the
proposition that the basic definition of marriage has to be broadened for it to meet the requirements of the state constitution," Tribe said. "Certainly just listing benefits won't fit the court's theme."
"The Legislature is encouraged to look through the hundred different
provisions of state law in which marriage enters the picture, and make sure
the references to his and hers and other terms written with the assumption
that marriage is between a man and a woman are made consistent with the
court's own opinion," Tribe said.
Of course, that won't stop the opponents from trying their best to circumvent, block, twist, or challenge the decision, and that's really no surprise. One irony is that as long as they fight the decision and keep the debate inflamed, the more people will be talking about it, and the more likely other state challenges will appear. Based on the Massachusetts decision, some speculate other sympathetic state courts will also rule in favor of same-sex marriage. But this decision was based on the Massachusetts constitution exclusively, and no other factors--though the judges made a point of acknowledging that there is no reason in general why same-sex marriage should be prohibited.
Other state constitutions may not of course have such language that can be interpreted the way our's was.
Perhaps more importantly, some have speculated that it would be a mistake for the Rebublicans to use this as a wedge issue in the election, since it will backfire on them (see below SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, CULTURE WARS AND THE ELECTION). It seems hardly likely that they will heed these warnings (hooray), and the internal wranglings in Massachusetts will inflame them even more.
As so many have noted, the next six months are going to be lively. The culture wars go nuclear.
A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO DEFEND BIBLICAL MARRIAGE
(Written by a friend, submitted as a letter to the editor to the Boston Globe)
As Governor Romney and Attorney General Reilly work diligently to prevent marriage between two people of the same sex, others of us have been busy drafting a Constitutional Amendment codifying all marriages entirely on biblical principles. After all, G-d wouldn't want us to pick and choose which of the Scriptures we elevate to civil law and which we choose to ignore:
Draft of a Constitutional Amendment to Defend Biblical Marriage:
* Marriage in Massachusetts shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5.)
* Marriage shall not impede a man's right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)
* A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21) (This is where Governor Romney's resurrection of the Death Penalty will come in handy.)
* Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)
* Since marriage is for life, neither the Constitution nor any state law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9-12)
* If a married man dies without children, his brother must marry the widow. If the brother refuses to marry the widow, or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen. 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)
* In lieu of marriage (if there are no acceptable men to be found), a woman shall get her father drunk and have sex with him. (Gen 19:31-36)
I hope this helps to clarify the finer details of the Government's righteous struggle against the infidels and heathens among us.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
"A GREAT WOUND TO HUMAN DIGNITY"
A top Catholic theologian on Wednesday criticized the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, saying it sanctioned a "moral disorder against God's creative plan."
Gino Concetti, a theologian who writes for the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romanoi called Tuesday's ruling, which declared Massachusetts' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, "grave and presumptuous" and told Reuters, "This is a great wound to human dignity that can never be justified." The Catholic theologian went on to attack homosexuality itself saying, "It contradicts the natural order, which established a union founded on heterosexual relations."
Again no surprise, but this putz wouldn't know the natural order or God's creative plan if they crawled up his fundament and shouted glory.
But nevermind, the Vatican has discovered its own wag-the-dog ploy. Sam Sinnett, president of Dignity USA, believes the bishops were increasing their rhetoric against the GLBT community to distract parishioners from new reports on the sex abuse crisis that are expected at the beginning of the next year. Stay tuned.
Francis DeBernardo, the executive director of New Ways Ministry, a Catholic group serving the GLBT community, noted Concetti's remarks were "without basis." "They choose not to approve same-sex marriage; I don't see why they have to do that in the secular world. We don't see Vatican leaders opposing laws about divorce when the church is opposed to divorce," DeBernardo asserted.
Let's note that this is the same institution that recently allowed a senior spokesman, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, to tell a BBC Radio audience in October that condoms are useless in preventing the spread of HIV (because the virus seeps through the porous latex) and therefore should not be used. Jesus Christ!
What's clearly the real wound to human dignity that can NEVER be justified is the hateful, ignorant and hypocritical nonsense being vomited forth from an institution that by itself is one of the most prolific causes of suffering in recorded history.
"They act as if they still believe the sun revolves around the Earth, and the Earth around the Vatican," said Sam Sinnet.
If the Islamic terrorists are so convinced that the West is embarking on a new crusade, then why the hell aren't they going after the prime movers? I for one would have little sympathy if the Vatican were vaporized. (Sorry, Michaelangelo.) In fact, that's the best way I can think of to begin to restore human dignity to the millions of LGBT folks these primitives have grievously wounded, and soothe the souls of the those killed and maimed over the centuries by them and their followers.
At long last, sirs, have you no sense of decency? Have you no shame?
At long last, sir, have you no sense of decency? Have you no shame?
One of my favorite lines of all time, and you can apply it to so many people today, isn't that fun?
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, CULTURE WARS AND THE ELECTION
The usual suspects in the GOP and the religious right are gearing up to make this decision and its ramifications a major issue in the election.
Some on the left are expressing some fear that this will help propel Bush to his first election victory. One friend who worked so hard over the last two years fighting the proposed Mass constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, and for this decision, said she would give it all up for now if otherwise it meant Bush would win. The delicious joy we are feeling after the decision is, in some progressive circles, being muted or contrasted with fear of what this will mean in 2004.
The disappointing but not surprising noncommittal response of most of the Democratic frontrunner candidates on the issue--all oppose "gay marriage" but support civil unions--is seen as a strategic move, and justified by some pundits because of fear that simple approval and support of the court decision would doom their campaigns.
But that's the absolutely wrongheaded approach. These candidates should be running with and in support of this issue as fast as their quivering limbs will carry them.
"The radical right is demanding a cultural war and calling for a civil war within the Republican Party at a level not seen since the 1992 Houston convention," observes Patrick Guerriero, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans. "The last time I checked, that led to the defeat of the first President Bush." He further said, "The closer the Republican Party gets to fueling this cultural war and having a national debate about basic civil rights, the closer they get to a very dangerous path. There is a real split in the White House about which path to take. Some see this as a great wedge issue against certain Democratic candidates. Others fear that a cultural war could supersede tax policy and other issues Republicans can win on."
Joan Venocchi, one of our favorite Boston Globe columnists, wrote today:
"In 1992, the GOP's right wing took over the convention and podium in Houston to declare a mean and supposedly holy war against Americans whose beliefs are different from its own. In a speech to delegates, Patrick J. Buchanan stated it as plainly as can be: "There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself." Buchanan's theme was reinforced by other conservative political and religious leaders who scared the country on prime-time television.
That November Bill Clinton won the White House. Bush's defeat was due partly to his failure to address the nation's stagnant economy. But the ousting of an incumbent was also the country's reaction to the ugly, narrow intolerance displayed in Houston, not by Bush personally but by others in his party.
Is it better for Bush if the election turns on the sanctity of traditional marriage or the long-range merits of "Iraqification?" Republicans should be careful what they wish for."
If it's smarter for the rightwinger blatherers to not make same-sex marriage the defining issue in the election, then we needn't worry, for they surely will.
And some of us are looking forward to this. The morally reprehensible and indefensible positions that those on the other side of culture wars will continue to prattle on about, will not stand. They will surely try to argue that this court decision will bring about the end of civilization as we know it. The emptiness of that pitch will become apparent after 180 days.
So I say to George W. Bush and his minions, "Bring it on!"
NOBODY DOES IT BETTER: MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT JUSTICE JOHN M. GREANY'S CONCURRING OPINION IN THE LANDMARK DECISION.
Justice Greaney, in an opinion concurring with the majority, took the
unusual step of describing how he hoped citizens would respond to the
court's decision. Even opponents of same-sex marriage, he said, should do
more than offer "grudging acknowledgment of the court's authority."
Same-sex couples, he wrote, are "our neighbors, our coworkers, our friends"
who volunteer in schools and "worship beside us in our religious houses."
"We share a common humanity and participate together in the social
contract that is the foundation of our Commonwealth," Greaney wrote.
"Simple principles of decency dictate that we extend to the plaintiffs, and
to their new status, full acceptance, tolerance, and respect. We should do
so because it is the right thing to do."
Tradition and religious belief should command respect, Greaney
also wrote, "but as a matter of constitutional law, neither the mantra of
tradition, nor individual conviction, can justify the perpetuation of a
hierarchy in which couples of the same sex and their families are
deemed less worthy of social and legal recognition than couples of
the opposite sex and their families."
As the culture war heats up, and we hear more of the shrill, coldhearted
and hateful diatribes of the morally bereft who like the Taliban and other
Islamic fundamentalists, hide behind religion to shroud their unrelenting
need to control the social agenda such that it protects their hegemony
and fear-based ignorance, we should take heart in Justice Greany's remarks.
Read it again:
"Simple principles of decency dictate that we extend to the plaintiffs, and
to their new status, full acceptance, tolerance, and respect. We should do
so because it is the right thing to do."
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
OUR OWN DAMN APATHY
Henry Miller once said you can get something from any book, even a bad one.
Is this corollary true--'you can get something from any person, even a bad one'?
Sorry, instead of "bad" I meant to say "maybe the most vile person on the planet after Ann Coulter, Slobodan Milosevitch and the guy who played Anakin Skywalker in 'Attack Of The Clones.'" See, it's Bill O'Reilly.
He said recently "...the country's not interested in an independent candidacy. Maybe in 10 years they will be,but right now, you have 50 percent of Americans who don't know anything - they're totally disengaged from the process, the 'Mall People.' They don't know anything, don't watch the news or listen to radio or read the newspapers."
That's the 50% who don't vote. Some even brag about it.
"It is not terrorism that is holding us hostage, but our own damn apathy when it comes to participating in our own democracy," says Mary MacElveen, contributing writer and researcher to liberalpatriot.org
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL, PART 19
Troubled media mogul Conrad Black's father's dying words to his son were "Life is hell, most people are bastards and everything is bullshit."
On the other hand, Jean Kerr said, "The average, healthy, well-adjusted adult gets up at seven-thirty in the morning feeling just plain terrible."
THE SECOND SHOT HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD: THE MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT DECISION
As I write this, the day after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial CourT rules that prohibiting same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and gives the state 180 days to come with a structure to implement the decision, the backlash is in full swing. Mass governor Ovenmitt Romney already promises a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. That's not all that comes between a man and a woman. Me, for instance, but that's another story.
The backlash is no surprise to anyone. The jerks, creeps and nimrods are already foaming at the mouth, calling it the end of western civilization. We are reminded of what Ghandi said when he was asked what he thought of Western civilization: "I think it would be a very good idea."
I can't wait to read what those charming Nigerian Anglican Bishops have to say. They already declared that the confirmation of Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire would bring about the end of Western---oh you know. They took their flock of 17 million and split from the other Anglicans. So far, nobody's noticed.
What's left for them to say about this event? "OK, western civ is gone, but this is even worse than when the Jews killed Christ. I don't care what the Pope said about that, screw the Pope. No wait, let those jew homos screw the pope, that son of a bitch. We're Anglicans, goddammit. And didn't you see Mel Gibson's movie?"
Before too long, someone's going to have to answer The Question: How does same-sex marriage harm heterosexual marriage? You notice that so far all the nimrods do when asked that question is repeat the conclusion. Or they whine about how allowing same-sex marriage redefines marriage. And?
I'll tell ya, next time I see them at the I93 rest stop, I'm going to give them a piece of my mind. Or something.
As this culture war heats up, and it sure will--there's an election, after all--they're going to have to be a lot more articulate than that. That's asking a lot of people who think promoting abstinence is the best way to prevent the spread of STD's, but we, never daunted, charge at the windmill.
Meanwhile, we look forward to lots of really colorful June weddings with nary a set of matching bridesmaid's gowns in sight. For that, at least, the entire country should be on their knees in gratitude. Or something.
MICHAEL JACKSON SHOCKER
I'm shocked, shocked that the noseless wonder would be arrested and accused of molesting children. Who could have imagined such a thing?
Apparently one of his attorneys is Johhny Cochran, so of course Jackson will not get convicted, because "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit."
Monday, November 17, 2003
MOLLY IVINS LATEST COLUMN
Call Me a Bush-Hater
By Molly Ivins, The Progressive
November 14, 2003
Among the more amusing cluckings from the right lately is their appalled discovery that quite a few Americans actually think George W. Bush is a terrible president.
Robert Novak is quoted as saying in all his 44 years of covering politics, he has never seen anything like the detestation of Bush. Charles Krauthammer managed to write an entire essay on the topic of "Bush-haters" in Time magazine as though he had never before come across a similar phenomenon.
Oh, I stretch memory way back, so far back, all the way back to – our last president. Almost lost in the mists of time though it is, I not only remember eight years of relentless attacks from Clinton-haters, I also notice they haven't let up yet. Clinton-haters accused the man of murder, rape, drug running, sexual harassment, financial chicanery, and official misconduct. And they accuse his wife of even worse.
For eight long years, this country was a zoo of Clinton-haters. Any idiot with a big mouth and a conspiracy theory could get a hearing on radio talk shows and "Christian" broadcasts and nutty Internet sites. People with transparent motives, people paid by tabloid magazines, people with known mental problems, ancient Clinton enemies with notoriously racist pasts – all were given hearings, credence, and air time. Sliming Clinton was a sure road to fame and fortune on the right, and many an ambitious young rightwing hit man like David Brock, who has since made full confession, took that golden opportunity.
And these folks didn't stop with verbal and printed attacks. From the day Clinton was elected to office, he was the subject of the politics of personal destruction. They went after him with a multimillion-dollar smear campaign funded by Richard Mellon Scaife, the rightwing billionaire. They went after him with lawsuits funded by rightwing legal foundations (Paula Jones), they got special counsels appointed to investigate every nitpicking nothing that ever happened (Filegate, Travelgate), and they never let go of that hardy perennial Whitewater.
After all this time and all those millions of dollars wasted, no one has ever proved that the Clintons did a single thing wrong. Bill Clinton lied about a pathetic, squalid affair that was none of anyone else's business anyway, and for that they impeached the man and dragged this country through more than a year of the most tawdry, ridiculous, unnecessary pain. The day President Clinton tried to take out Osama bin Laden with a missile strike, every right-winger in America said it was a case of "wag the dog." He was supposedly trying to divert our attention from the much more breathtakingly important and serious matter of Monica Lewinsky. And who did he think he was to make us focus on some piffle like bin Laden?
"The puzzle is where this depth of feeling comes from," mused the ineffable Mr. Krauthammer. Gosh, what a puzzle that is. How could anyone not be just crazy about George W. Bush? "Whence the anger?" asks Krauthammer. "It begins of course with the 'stolen' election of 2000 and the perception of Bush's illegitimacy."
I'd say so myself, yes, I would. I was in Florida during that chilling post-election fight, and am fully persuaded to this good day that Al Gore actually won Florida, not to mention getting 550,000 more votes than Bush overall. But I also remember thinking, as the scene became eerier and eerier, "Jeez, maybe we should just let them have this one, because Republican wing-nuts are so crazy, their bitterness would poison Gore's whole presidency." The night Gore conceded the race in one of the most graceful and honorable speeches I have ever heard, I was in a ballroom full of Republican Party flacks who booed and jeered through every word of it.
One thing I acknowledge about the right is that they're much better haters than liberals are. Your basic liberal – milk of human kindness flowing through every vein, and heart bleeding over everyone from the milk-shy Hottentot to the glandular obese – is pretty much a strikeout on the hatred front. Maybe further out on the left you can hit some good righteous anger, but liberals, and I am one, are generally real wusses. Guys like Rush Limbaugh figured that out a long time ago – attack a liberal and the first thing he says is, "You may have a point there."
To tell the truth, I'm kind of proud of us for holding the grudge this long. Normally, we'd remind ourselves that we have to be good sports, it's for the good of the country, we must unite behind the only president we've got, as Lyndon used to remind us. If there are still some of us out here sulking, "Yeah, but they stole that election," well, good. I don't think we should forget that.
But, onward. So George Dubya becomes president, having run as a "compassionate conservative," and what do we get? Hell's own conservative and dick for compassion.
His entire first eight months was tax cuts for the rich, tax cuts for the rich, tax cuts for the rich, and he lied and said the tax cuts would help average Americans. Again and again, the "average" tax cut would be $1,000. That means you get $100, and the millionaire gets $92,000, and that's how they "averaged" it out. Then came 9/11, and we all rallied. Ready to give blood, get out of our cars and ride bicycles, whatever. Shop, said the President. And more tax cuts for the rich.
By now, we're starting to notice Bush's bait-and-switch. Make a deal with Ted Kennedy to improve education and then fail to put money into it. Promise $15 billion in new money to combat AIDS in Africa (wow!) but it turns out to be a cheap con, almost no new money. Bush comes to praise a job training effort, and then cuts the money. Bush says AmeriCorps is great, then cuts the money. Gee, what could we possibly have against this guy? We go along with the war in Afghanistan, and we still don't have bin Laden.
Then suddenly, in the greatest bait-and-switch of all time, Osama bin doesn't matter at all, and we have to go after Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with 9/11. But he does have horrible weapons of mass destruction, and our president "without doubt," without question, knows all about them, even unto the amounts – tons of sarin, pounds of anthrax. So we take out Saddam Hussein, and there are no weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore, the Iraqis are not overjoyed to see us.
By now, quite a few people who aren't even liberal are starting to say, "Wha the hey?" We got no Osama, we got no Saddam, we got no weapons of mass destruction, the road map to peace in the Middle East is blown to hell, we're stuck in this country for $87 billion just for one year and no one knows how long we'll be there. And still poor Mr. Krauthammer is hard-put to conceive how anyone could conclude that George W. Bush is a poor excuse for a President.
Chuck, honey, it ain't just the 2.6 million jobs we've lost: People are losing their pensions, their health insurance, the cost of health insurance is doubling, tripling in price, the Administration wants to cut off their overtime, and Bush was so too little, too late with extending unemployment compensation that one million Americans were left high and dry. And you wonder why we think he's a lousy president?
Sure, all that is just what's happening in people's lives, but what we need is the Big Picture. Well, the Big Picture is that after September 11, we had the sympathy of every nation on Earth. They all signed up, all our old allies volunteered, everybody was with us, and Bush just booted all of that away. Sneering, jeering, bad manners, hideous diplomacy, threats, demands, arrogance, bluster.
"In Afghanistan, Bush rode a popular tide; Iraq, however, was a singular act of presidential will," says Krauthammer.
You bet your ass it was. We attacked a country that had done nothing to us, had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, and turns out not to have weapons of mass destruction.
It is not necessary to hate George W. Bush to think he's a bad president. Grownups can do that, you know. You can decide someone's policies are a miserable failure without lying awake at night consumed with hatred.
Poor Bush is in way over his head, and the country is in bad shape because of his stupid economic policies.
If that makes me a Bush-hater, then sign me up.
Molly Ivins, a syndicated columnist out of Austin, Texas, is the co-author of "Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush's America."
Sunday, November 16, 2003
THE MASTER OF DOUBLESPEAK: What Bush says vs. What he does
I found this post on the Yahoo group, Citizens for Legitimate Government. It's a chronology of Bush saying one thing and doing another.
The group address is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CitizensForLegitimateGovernment and the website is: http://www.legitgov.org
"This is a hospital, but it's also - it's a place full of love. And I was most touched by meeting the parents and the kids and the nurses and the docs, all of whom are working hard to save lives. I want to thank the moms who are here. Thank you very much for you hospitality.There's a lot of talk about budgets right now, and I'm here to talk about the budget. My job as the President is to submit a budget to the Congress and to set priorities, and one of the priorities that we've talked about is making sure the health care systems are funded." - Egleston Children's Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia 3/1/01
Bush's first budget proposed cutting grants to children's hospitals like the one he visited by 15% ($34 million). His 2004 budget additionally proposes to cut 30% ($86 million) out of grants to children's hospitals.
"We're dealing with first-time responders to make sure they've got what's needed to be able to respond. " - Bush, 3/27/2002
Bush had been saying that he was proposing $3.5 billion in "new" money for first responders. However, his budget tried to cut more than $1 billion out of existing grants to local police/fire departments to fund this. Then, in August of 2002, Bush rejected $150 million for grants to state and local first responders. Bush's decision prompted the President of the Firefighters Union to say, "President Bush, don't lionize our fallen brothers in one breath, and then stab us in the back by eliminating funding for our members to fight terrorism and stay safe." The President of the Virginia firefighters association said, "The president has merely been using firefighters and their families for one big photo opportunity."
"I said when I was running for President, I supported ethanol, and I meant it. (Applause.) I support it now, because not only do I know it's important for the ag sector of our economy, it's an important part of making sure we become less reliant on foreign sources of energy." - Bush at South Dakota Ethanol Plant 4/24/02
According to the AP, Bush's 2004 budget proposes to eliminate funding for the bioenergy program that funds the Dakota Ethanol Plant he visited. [4/22/02]
Under the headline "Bush lauds Albuquerque woman for volunteerism" the AP reported on Bush's visit to New Mexico to tout Lucy Salazar, a volunteer with the Even Start literacy program. "One of the things I try to do when I go into communities is herald soldiers in the armies of compassion, those souls who have heard the call to love a neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself, and have followed through on that call; Lucy Salazar is a retired federal government worker. She teaches reading skills to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children -- incredibly important.And oftentimes, citizens such as her never get the praise they deserve. Lucy, thank you for coming and representing thousands of people like you." - Bush, 4/29/02
According to the Associated Press, Bush proposed "to slash funding 20 percent for the Even Start program, which offers tutoring to preschoolers and literacy and job training for their parents" - the very program he was touting in New Mexico [2/4/02].
"Part of being a secure America is to encourage homeownership." He also went on to talk about his experience meeting the residents saying, "You know, today I went to the -- to some of the home -- met some of the homeowners in this newly built homes and all you've got to do is shake their hand and listen to their stories and watch the pride that they exhibit when they show you the kitchen and the stairs...They showed me their home. They didn't show me somebody else's home, they showed me their home. And they are so proud to own their home and I want to thank them for their hospitality, because it helps the American people really understand what it means." - Bush, 6/17/02
According to AP, "President Bush's proposed 2004 budget for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced Monday, phases out HOPE VI" the program Bush visited and touted in Atlanta. "Renee Glover, executive director of the Atlanta Housing Authority said. 'We didn't anticipate that HOPE VI would be eliminated.'" [AP, 2/5/2003]
"We're working hard to make sure your job is easier, that the port is safer. The Customs Service is working with overseas ports and shippers to improve its knowledge of container shipments, assessing risk so that we have a better feel of who we ought to look at, what we ought to worry about." - Bush, 6/24/02]
The President's 2003 and 2004 budget provides zero for port security grants. The GOP Congress has provided only $250 million for port security grants (35% less than authorized). Additionally, in August, the President vetoed all $39 million for the Container Security Initiative which he specifically touted.
Bush in Madison "calls for worker pension protection
"We've got to do more to protect worker pensions." - Bush, 8/7/02
Just four months after touting pension security, Bush's Treasury Department announced plans to propose new rules that "would allow employers to resume converting traditional pension plans to new 'cash balance' plans that can lower benefits to long-serving workers. Such conversions are highly controversial. Critics contend that they discriminate against older workers in violation of federal law" [Washington Post, 12/10/02]
"Our workers are the most productive, the hardest working, the best craftsmen in the world. And I'm here to thank all those who work hard to make a living here in America." - Bush, 9/2/02
Bush's 2003 Budget proposed a 9% ($476 million) cut to job training programs and a 2% ($8 million) cut to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Similarly, his 2004 budget proposes a $60 million cut to adult job training programs and a total elimination of the Youth Opportunities Grants, which provide job training to younger workers.
Bush touts border security with Canadian Prime Minister Chretien in Detroit
"A secure and efficient border is key to our economic security." - Bush, 9/9/02
While Bush did hold a photo-op to sign legislation promising more INS/Border Patrol staff and facilities, his budget provided no additional money for this. Additionally, in August, Bush vetoed $6.25M for promised pay upgrades for Border Patrol agents. Additionally, he vetoed all $39 million for the Container Security Initiative. His 2004 Budget slashes total total "Border and Transportation Security" by $284 million.
"One of the ways we've got to make sure that we keep our economy strong is to be wise about how we spend our money. If you overspend, it creates a fundamental weakness in the foundation of economic growth. And so I'm working with Congress to make sure they hear the message -- the message of fiscal responsibility." Bush, 9/16/02
Less than 6 months after this pronouncement, Bush proposed a budget that would put the government more than $300 billion into deficit. As National Journal noted on 2/12/02, Bush's own 2004 budget tables show that without Bush's tax and budgetary proposals, the deficit deficit would decline after 2006, but with Bush's proposals the deficit would grow indefinitely.
"I want to thank the good folks here at Rochester Community and Technical College for your hospitality.The most important issue -- the most important issue for any governor in any state is to make sure every single child in your state receives a quality education." - Bush, [10/18/02]
Bush's 2004 budget proposes to cut vocational and technical education grants by 24% ($307 million). His budget also proposes to freeze funding for pell grants for low income students.
"These men and women are still the best of America. They are prepared for every mission we give them, and they are worthy of the standards set for them by America's veterans. Our veterans from every era are the finest of citizens. We owe them the life we know today. They command the respect of the American people, and they have our everlasting gratitude." - Bush, 11/11/02
According to a letter sent to the President by the major veterans groups, Bush's 2003 budget "falls $1.5 billion short" of adequately funding veterans care. [Independent Budget, 1/7/02].
Bush talks about the importance of funding foodbanks at a DC Food Bank
"I hope people around this country realize that agencies such as this food bank need money. They need our contributions. Contributions are down. They shouldn't be down in a time of need. We shouldn't let the enemy affect us to the point where we become less generous. Our spirit should never be diminished by what happened on September the 11th, 2001. Quite the contrary. We must stand squarely in the face of evil by doing some good." - Bush, 12/19/02
The 2003 and 2004 Bush budgets proposes to freeze the Congregate Nutrition Program, which assists local soup kitchens and meals on wheels programs. With inflation, this proposal would mean at least 36,000 seniors would be cut from meals on wheels and congregate meals programs. Currently, 139,000 seniors are already on waiting lists for home-meal programs. His 2004 budget continues the freeze.
No Child Left Behind
Bush talks up the need for education funding at the one-year anniversary of the No Child Left Behnid Act [1/8/03]
"This administration is committed to your effort. And with the support of Congress, we will continue to work to provide the resources school need to fund the era of reform." - Bush, 1/8/03
The President's 2003 budget - the first education budget after he signed and touted the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) - proposed to cut NCLB programs by $90 million overall, leaving these programs more than $7 billion short of what was authorized under the bill. Bush's 2004 budget for NCLB is just 1.9% above what he proposed in 2003 - $619 less than needed to offset inflation.
Bush touts the importance of veterans medical care at Walter Reed Army Hospital [1/17/03]
"Having been here and seeing the care that these troops get is comforting for me and Laura. We are -- should and must provide the best care for anybody who is willing to put their life in harm's way." - Bush, 1/17/03
Bush's visit came on the same day that the Administration announced it is immediately cutting off access to its health care system approximately 164,000 veterans [W. Post, 1/17/03].
Bush touts the need to adequately fund Medicare in Michigan [1/29/03]
"Within that budget I proposed last night is a substantial increase in Medicare funding of $400 billion on top of what we already spend, over the next 10 years. This is a commitment that America must make to our seniors. A reformed and strengthened Medicare system, plus a healthy dosage of Medicare spending in the budget, will make us say firmly, we fulfilled our promise to the seniors of America." - Bush, 1/29/03
Under Bush's proposal, there should be a roughly $40 billion increase in Medicare each year for a decade. However, Bush's 2004 budget proposes just $6 billion - 85% less than what would be needed to meet his goal. Additionally, his budget would leave 67% of the total $400 billion pledge to be spent after 2008. [Bush Budget, pg. 318]
Boys & Girls Clubs
Bush about the importance of the Boys and Girls Club of America [1/30/03]
"I want to thank the Boys & Girls Clubs across the country.The Boys & Girls Club have got a grand history of helping children understand the future is bright for them, as well as any other child in America. Boys & Girls Clubs have been safe havens. They're little beacons of light for children who might not see light. And I want to thank them for their service to the country. Part of the vision for America is that we have a mosaic of all kinds of people providing love and comfort for people who need help." - Bush, 1/30/03
In his 2002 budget, Bush proposed eliminating all federal funding for the Boys and Girls Club of America. IN his 2003 budget, he proposed cutting the program by 15% (from $70 million down to $60 million).
Friday, November 14, 2003
THERE THEY GO AGAIN
"Where do you begin" is becoming a daily mantra.
Not content to bluster hatefully, ignorantly and hypocritically about same-sex marriage, today it's the news that the Catholic Church is renewing its campaign against contraception.
The Catholic bishops of the United States voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to oppose any form of public approval for homosexual activity and criticized the decision by the Episcopal Church USA to ordain an openly gay bishop. No surprise, given their recent rants. But they also decided to launch a public campaign to convince Catholics of the wrongfulness of contraception.
The bishops acknowledged that only 4 percent of Catholics of childbearing age use natural family planning, a church-endorsed method of achieving or avoiding pregnancy by timing sexual activity according to a woman's menstrual cycle.
So instead of waking up and smelling the coffee, they're going after that 96%. Jesus Christ, these guys have no clue.
At a news conference yesterday, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver said that the advent of contraception has led to a raft of social problems, such as same-sex relationships, divorce, and abortion, because it has separated sex from procreation.
'This contraceptive mentality which has been rampant in the last 40 to 50 years is certainly a silent killer,'' said Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton, Pa.
The other day senior Vatican spokesman, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo's said that condoms are useless in preventing the spread of HIV (because the virus seeps through the porous latex) and therefore should not be used, even in AIDS-wracked Africa, where as much as 20 percent of the population is reportedly infected.
So I get two conclusions from all this:
A. If one wants to be a good Catholic in the 21st century, you can't use birth control, and you can't have an abortion. You're rewards for being holy are 1) you get to have sex for a few days every month, or 2) you get to have tons of kids. This would be of particular interest to Catholics in Africa and Latin America, where the numbers of the faithful are much higher than in America, and where of course having lots more kids is the way to raise the living standard.
B. These latest screeds seems calculated to insure that this Church can cause as much death and misery as any other form of medieval religious oppression. They won't be one-upped!
I'm trying hard to see how this rejection of common sense and attempt to reverse hard-fought gains in freedom, consciousness and the right of women to control their lives and future is any different from the life under the Taliban.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
No,this isn't a movie review of Kill Bill.
By now Gore's Nov. 9 speech, co-sponsored by MoveOn.org and the American Constitution Society, is buzzed all over the net.
MoveOn's description of the speech is understatement: "Mr. Gore described the Administration's assault on our civil liberties as un-American and will charge that the Bush/Ashcroft attack on the Constitution is actually a smokescreen that obscures the Administrationâ€™s fundamental failure to meaningfully protect our national security, and that their efforts have weakened rather than strengthened America." An excerpt follows below.
You can read (or hear) the speech here: http://www.moveon.org/gore/speech2.html
Two thoughts come to mind.
First, reading this terrific and hopeful speech makes me even more disgruntled at Gore's dismal campaigning back during the coup d'etat of 2000, and Nader's vengeful attacks on the Democrats. Why couldn't Gore have spoken this clearly and eloquently back then?
And second, why can't any of the Democratic candidates talk this way?
Politics and elections as usual disappeared three years ago. So a Draft Gore movement is not as absurd as it would have sounded a few years back, or as portrayed by opposing vested interests. Pundits have claimed it would open old wounds, yada yada. Oh, let's do!
But the Gore we hear from today is way up the evolutionary scale from the one we heard and saw three years ago, while his simian adversary has continued to devolve.
It still may be quixotic, but there are many websites devoted to a draft. A Google search for
"draft Gore" finds dozens. http://www.electgore04.com says "Gone is the stiff, formal Senator/Vice President, Al Gore clearly loved being with the people and the people loved being with him. There is a genuine connection between the man and his message and the people.There is ample evidence that a presidential draft of Al Gore is do-able – the election of Theodore Roosevelt, the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the Barry Goldwater draft movement are proof that it can be, and has been, done in modern times."
Some close friends have latched onto another latecomer, General Clark, who for all that tardiness, is making reasonable advances.
Gore, in this and prior speeches (linked at the MoveOn site) has shown that he had the potential to be the best Democratic president since FDR. His views are clearly more progressive than those of Clinton, who, like Jimmy Carter, should be saying these things loudly and consistently.
So far Gore has resisted any calls to run. Maybe he needs more prodding.
"I want to challenge the Bush Administration's implicit assumption that we have to give up many of our traditional freedoms in order to be safe from terrorists.
Because it is simply not true.
In fact, in my opinion, it makes no more sense to launch an assault on our civil liberties as the best way to get at terrorists than it did to launch an invasion of Iraq as the best way to get at Osama Bin Laden.
In both cases, the Administration has attacked the wrong target.
In both cases they have recklessly put our country in grave and unnecessary danger, while avoiding and neglecting obvious and much more important challenges that would actually help to protect the country.
In both cases, the administration has fostered false impressions and misled the nation with superficial, emotional and manipulative presentations that are not worthy of American Democracy.
In both cases they have exploited public fears for partisan political gain and postured themselves as bold defenders of our country while actually weakening not strengthening America.
In both cases, they have used unprecedented secrecy and deception in order to avoid accountability to the Congress, the Courts, the press and the people.
Indeed, this Administration has turned the fundamental presumption of our democracy on its head. A government of and for the people is supposed to be generally open to public scrutiny by the people while the private information of the people themselves should be routinely protected from government intrusion.
But instead, this Administration is seeking to conduct its work in secret even as it demands broad unfettered access to personal information about American citizens. Under the rubric of protecting national security, they have obtained new powers to gather information from citizens and to keep it secret. Yet at the same time they themselves refuse to disclose information that is highly relevant to the war against terrorism.
They are even arrogantly refusing to provide information about 9/11 that is in their possession to the 9/11 Commission, the lawful investigative body charged with examining not only the performance of the Bush Administration, but also the actions of the prior Administration in which I served. The whole point is to learn all we can about preventing future terrorist attacks,
Two days ago, the Commission was forced to issue a subpoena to the Pentagon, which has disgracefully put Secretary Rumsfeld's desire to avoid embarrassment ahead of the nation's need to learn how we can best avoid future terrorist attacks. The Commission also served notice that it will issue a subpoena to the White House if the President continues to withhold information essential to the investigation.
And the White House is also refusing to respond to repeated bipartisan Congressional requests for information about 9/11, even though the Congress is simply exercising its Constitutional oversight authority. In the words of Senator Main, 'Excessive administration secrecy on issues related to the September 11 attacks feeds conspiracy theories and reduces the public's confidence in government.'
In a revealing move, just three days ago, the White House asked the Republican leadership of the Senate to shut down the Intelligence Committee's investigation of 9/11 based on a trivial political dispute. Apparently the President is anxious to keep the Congress from seeing what are said to have been clear, strong and explicit warnings directly to him a few weeks before 9/11 that terrorists were planning to hijack commercial airliners and use them to attack us.
Astonishingly, the Republican Senate leadership quickly complied with the President's request. Such obedience and complicity in what looks like a cover-up from the majority party in a separate and supposedly co-equal branch of government makes it seem like a very long time ago when a Republican Attorney General and his deputy resigned rather than comply with an order to fire the special prosecutor investigating Richard Nixon.
In an even more brazen move, more than two years after they rounded up over 1,200 individuals of Arab descent, they still refuse to release the names of the individuals they detained, even though virtually every one of those arrested has been "cleared" by the FBI of any connection to terrorism and there is absolutely no national security justification for keeping the names secret. Yet at the same time, White House officials themselves leaked the name of a CIA operative serving the country, in clear violation of the law, in an effort to get at her husband, who had angered them by disclosing that the President had relied on forged evidence in his state of the union address as part of his effort to convince the country that Saddam Hussein was on the verge of building nuclear weapons."
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
QUOTES OF NOTE TODAY
Paul Krugman, being interviewed Terrence McNally KPFK 90.7fm, Los Angeles:
McNally: What I haven't heard quite yet is the point which you make very strongly in the book, that the purpose behind the tax cuts is to bankrupt the government, to undermine social programs, so that no one who comes into office after them will have an easy time restoring them.
Krugman: I'm not making that up. That's exactly what the lobbyists and the others behind these people say. The program that the Administration is following looks as if it was designed to implement their ideas. I think it is.
"It takes stunning arrogance for a president to invade an oil-rich, politically strategic country on the basis of demonstrable lies, put his favorite companies in control of its economic future, create a puppet regime to do his bidding and then claim, as George Bush did last week in a speech, that this is all a bold exercise in spreading democracy."
"Bush is not really interested in meaningful democracy in Iraq – just as the U.S. wasn't in Afghanistan or earlier in Iran. In Iraq, the U.S. will not tolerate any opposition to the U.S. occupation. But that excludes democracy, which will not cater to the whims of U.S. foreign policy."
From The Onion, on the anti-abortion campaign:
The Onion asked: "Bush's signing of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act was a political triumph for the movement to curtail abortions in the U.S. What do you think?"
And the answers:
"They've got God on their side. All we've got is science and reason."
"Before I make a decision on abortion, I'll have to review the made-for-TV movies on the topic."
"Is it just me, or have national politics been sorta veering to the right a little since Bush was elected?"
"As an investor in back-alley real estate and wire-hanger futures, I say, 'Whoo-hoo!'"
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
WE'RE RIGHT, THEY'RE WRONG
That's the title of James Carville's recent book.
I read somewhere yesterday a letter to the editor chastising the editorial policy of that publication--whatever it was. I have donated some Vietnam War memory cells to the Bush administration, since they seem somewhat challenged in this area. Must have included some short term memory cells as well. I wish I could find the letter to reprint here, but it's as gone as, um, yesterday's paper.
Anyway, the writer was upset that a piece appeared in the paper that used the term "anti-choice." He explained that this loaded term was used to frame the issue in such a way as to demean and defame those opposed to abortion, and that the editors should not allow this in the interests of balanced reporting and fairness. He took umbrage, you could say.
Where do you begin?
My first reaction was if I changed the phrase "anti-choice" to "pro-life" and left the rest of the letter intact, well, I could have written it!
This is too surreal.
But it's all too real. The disconnect in that letter between reality and perception was palpable. I have no doubt that the writer believed every word he wrote, and was truly offended.
What's most bothersome about that attitude wasn't that he didn't get the irony of his screed--why should he, after all? He's convinced he's right.
But he isn't; that's what's most bothersome.
Partly because of the stagnation surrounding the so-called debates over abortion, civil unions, same-sex marriage, and other hot-button issues, well-intentioned moderates or pretenders to that designation are urging us all to walk a mile in the other's shoes, to try to understand their point of view.
This, for two reasons: to return civility and intelligence to the discourse, and to be more effective, persuasive. Understanding the other side, acknowledging that your opponents believe they are just as right as you, perhaps even empathizing with some of their issues--that's the way to achieve resolution and harmony.
We pro-choice people should dialogue with the anti-choice people, befriend them, and find common ground.
I'm all for civility in discourse, goddammit. But no fucking way I'm going to give an inch to these ignorant hateful hypocritical pigs. Forget all that goody two shoes crap. Why?
Because we're right, and they're wrong.
There are absolutes. There are truths. Some things are, as the right sees everything, simply black-and-white.
Outlawing or hindering safe abortion is wrong.
Outlawing or condemning non-heterosexual behavior, unions or marriage is wrong.
Laws that restrict consensual sexual activity are wrong.
Executive orders that deny funding to any health-related agency that even acknowledges that abortion exists are wrong
Those who say condoms don't work and lead to promiscuity are wrong.
Those who, instead, promote abstinence exclusively as a preventive measure agains teen pregnancy and STD's are wrong
Those who think there should be few if any restrictions on gun ownership and usage are wrong. Dead wrong.
Those who think liberals, progressives, and anyone to the left of Attila are the cause of all that's wrong with this world are themselves wrong, and are often the cause of all that's wrong. (Though they may be right about Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller.)
Those who think they have God on their side are damned wrong.
Those who censor information that threatens their hegemony and positions are so powerfully wrong.
Those we think we need to destroy a village or country to save it are wrong.
Those who resort to violence and war before it's the last resort and lie about it are lying liars--and wrong.
Those who think government is the source of all evil are wrong. (But not all wrong)
Those who--well, you know.
And to those who advocate that we engage in constructive dialogue with the anti-choice fascists, please go away.
Because we're right, and you're wrong.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS TO PUNISH PRO-CHOICE CATHOLIC POLITICIANS; "MORAL TEACHINGS" IGNORED SAYS BISHOPS
The bishops are debating whether or not to punish, and if so, how. Options are denying honorary degrees, refusing to allow them to speak at Catholic institutions, and excommunication.
Further, the bishops recently published a guide for Catholic voters urging them to consider Catholic moral teachings when deciding how to vote.
That being the case, then all Catholics should lobby for kneepads for altar boys.
Moral teachings? As if the despicable history of excusing and covering up pedophilia for decades (if not centuries) wasn't bad enough, consider this:
"Some Catholic politicians defy Church teaching in their policy advocacy and legislative votes, first and foremost fundamentally on the defense of unborn life..." says Bishop John ricard of Tallahassee.
Meanwhile, A senior Vatican spokesman, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, told a BBC Radio audience in October that condoms are useless in preventing the spread of HIV (because the virus seeps through the porous latex) and therefore should not be used, even in AIDS-wracked Africa, where as much as 20 percent of the population is reportedly infected. The World Health Organization denounced Trujillo's claim but said it had heard similar Catholic Church messages in Asia and Latin America."
Of that 20%, a large share are pregnant women, or women of childbearing age.
So you can see how Church moral teachings protect unborn life.
Here's what one Catholic says about all this: No elected official should be "limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual or obligation." --JFK.
Maybe Catholics who have a better idea should break off and form a new sect, one that practices unconditional tolerance and love, welcomes diverse opinions and lifestyles, and basically behaves something like we expect from followers of Christ. You know, like the Anglicans.
THE PRESIDENT IS DEPRESSED
A lobbyist, on his way home from work in Washington, D.C., came to a dead halt in traffic and thought to himself, "Wow, this seems worse than usual."
He noticed a police officer walking between the lines of stopped cars, so he rolled down his window and asked, "Officer, what's the hold-up?"
The officer replied, "The President is depressed, so he stopped his motorcade and is threatening to douse himself in gasoline and set himself on fire. He says no one believes his stories about why we went to war in Iraq, or the connection between Saddam and al-Qa'ida, or that his tax cuts will help anyone except his wealthy friends; the press called him on the lie about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger, and now Campbell Brown is threatening to sue him for a sexual innuendo he made at a recent press conference. So we're taking up a collection for him."
The lobbyist asks, "How much have you got so far?"
The officer replies, "About 14 gallons, but a lot of folks are still siphoning
Friday, November 07, 2003
SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION
Cases of spontaneous human combustion have skyrocketed, say the International Commission on Unexplained Human Death. Since 2001, there have been 1,051 cases of people bursting into flames for no apparent reason. "Nothing explains the increase,"says a spokesman for the group. "We've considered factors like global warming."
Thursday, November 06, 2003
GROWTH AND CHANGE
Candidates and pundits are fond of criticizing a candidate for changing positions, especially on hot-button issues. That's understandable. We and they have good reason to suspect opportunism.
We seem even harder on someone whose positions move to the left. During an election, that's equally understandable. We've been burned before.
But the blanket assumption that all change of political or social views is opportunistic is counterproductive at best.
If one was a segregationist in younger years, cannot one see the evil in that as one matures? If one was anti-choice, can one never be pro-choice? Do we have to lock people in the closets of their past?
What if it's real growth? Is it wise to delegitimize any public figure or politician who exhibits personal growth? We need those people!
We'd be better off if we learn to distinguish the poseurs from the evolved.
Clark seems to be the one this time around getting heat for changing his mind--moving left--and Dean's coming in second. Which are they?
As cynical as I am about our electoral process, I want to give them both the benefit of the doubt. Anyone who moves left in this cultural climate deserves that.
"THERE'S NOTHING PARTIAL ABOUT THEIR EFFORT TO UNDO ROE V. WADE"
That was said by John Kerry shortly after Bush signed that egregious law banning so-called "partial-birth abortion."
It's incumbent upon us to fight the language manipulation and framing that I and many others have recently written about, in the context of this bill, so I will never again use that phrase. To repeat, there is no birth involved, nowhere near birth. Every sentient being knows this.
Apparently everyone except our president and his followers. They really do give sentient beings a bad name.
He said yesterday during the bill-signing circus that "For years, a terrible form of violence has been directed against children who are inches away from birth, while the law looked away." And later he said "The best case against (it) is a simple description of what happens and to whom it happens. It involves the delivery of a live boy or girl, and a sudden, violent end to that life."
In Bush's State of the Union address this year, he said the bill would "protect infants at the very hour of their birth." At least he's consistent.
The signing of this bill will give religious conservatives the Big O, for sure. "Bush...will see his stock among them rise even higher for succeeding where other other Republicans failed, though officials in his reelection campaign were quick to insist that the president did not sign the (bill) for political reasons," says the Boston Globe.
I have no doubt Bush believes abortion is wrong.
But it's simply not possible that Bush doesn't know the facts about this procedure. None of what he said is true. None of it.
Just like it's not possible that he doesn't know the facts about global warming, or the critical role of condoms in preventing deaths from AIDS. Yet he denies global warming is a problem, and censors his own government's reports that it is; he has any mention of condoms removed from the CDC website, because they don't protect and lead to promiscuity, he says.
So why did he say those things about this procedure? Why does the leader of the free world continue to twist and distort and, yes, lie, about such profound concerns if not to pander to the radical right constituency he desperately needs for reelection?
That's not "political reasons?"
I watched the Rock the Vote debate the other night. You could tell it was a rockfest because of the videos. Outkast and Ludacris betta watch out.
So, who had more bling?
Shoo-ee, don't I wish Kucinich or Mosley-Brown had a real chance. One year to d-day, and I'm sticking with Kucinich for now.
I even liked Sharpton better than most of the others. Actually, for all the condemnation of Al-Tawana he's elicited the most supportive smiles from me than any of the others. Some have dismissed him as mere entertainment, but if so it's ready for prime time.
Of the ones who do seem to have a chance at beating Bush, Kerry's always been most consistently liberal--although his vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution was troubling. But the guy is personality-challenged. You can't get warm and fuzzy around him. When he tries for levity or steps down from his loft, it just seems so, well, Gore-like. (That's the Gore of the campaign, not the Gore of SNL.) Don't you want to gutpunch him? Can I vote for a man who looks like the corner of a building?
Liberman? Oh please. Policies aside, can I vote for a man who looks like a frog? If I kiss him, will he turn into a nice piece fish?
Edwards needs to smile less. There's a rumor that he grew up among poor white Southerners. Wonder what he has to say about that.
Clark should have smoked pot. Last week. I wouldn't ask, wouldn't tell.
So, Dean. Why is it I get the feeling he's going to start yelling at me any second? "You clean up your room, young country, or you'll get no allowance for a year." Phew, he's testy. Kerry may have the warmth of an Amchitka fossil, but Dean is gonna gutpunch me if I step out of line.
That leaves Gephardt. Well, he wasn't there, was he? Was he? I didn't really notice.
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
How Evolved is George W. Bush?
"The amazing thing about talking to people who haven't had access to a lot of the revealing details on the Internet is that they tend to already know, intuitively, what you're saying. Most people know the media polls have been lying all along; Bush is ridiculous. If his level of evolution were the level of American culture, we wouldn't even have invented the car yet."
--John Kaminski-"The Shadow of her Smile"-America's Autopsy Report: The Internet Essays of John Kaminski, Dandelion Books, 2003 www.dandelionbooks.net
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
SIC TRANSIT GLORIA MUNDI
The saddest thing for me about the ascendancy of the radical right in the past two decades and the neocons in the last few years is the popping of another bubble--the dream of at least one nation on our small planet living up to its own credos and the expectations of its citizenry created by those credos.
For all its many transgressions and flaws, America had the most potential to live up to those expectations. We are incredibly lucky that our founders were able to codify the collective wisdom of a group of unusually enlightened people. It wasn't a gimme. The Bill of Rights was, as I noted below, only passed because of horseflies. It could have gone the other way.
With those first 10 amendments as a basis, grudgingly and painfully this nation expanded upon them to create the Constitution as we know it now, with subsequent amendments codifying further rights and freedoms won over much bloodshed and misery. The post-industrial revolution demands for women's and workers' rights and safety, the expansiveness of the New Deal, and the civil rights era Supreme Court decisions have helped to create a body of law that is nothing short of a miracle in a world that has rarely valued the wisdom it contains.
And it was not yet finished. Even in the height of the Reagan 80's, I had hopes that the slow but steady progression towards further institutional wisdom would prevail. The gradual shift of the country rightward year after year, while certainly cause for concern and much wringing of hands, didn't really diminish those hopes.
Now, Bush has.
It feels like the damage he and his cabal have done to our body politic cannot be turned around in my lifetime, and maybe not at all. America as the Country of Great Potential, the one most likely to pass the litmus tests of furthering the cause of human dignity and protecting us from our own worst instincts, is gone.
Billions of words have been written even now about how and why the theft of the dream has come about and who else was complicit in the crime, and I have contributed a few thousand myself. I am sure I will continue to add to that eulogy.
Maybe we'll be lucky again, and kick that cabal out of office. But the empowerment of the forces of contraction and reaction has become entrenched.
Sic transit gloria America--thus passes the glory of America.
Monday, November 03, 2003
WHO FRAMES, MAIMS: partial-birth abortion and the manipulation of language.
Those who win policy debates are often the ones who use language to frame them in ways that connect them to their side on very polarized emotional issues.
There's a terrific must-read article on the larger subject of language manipulation in the September 2003 issue of The American Prospect, entitled "How Republicans Hijack Language" by Deborah Tannen (yes, she of 'You Just Don't Understand' fame).
Ms. Tannen begins by talking about the estate tax. The brilliant Republican strategists managed to change the language and thus frame the debate around the "death tax." She points out that only the largest 2% of estates were subject to this tax, but "change the name to 'death tax' and many more Americans become sympathetic to repeal," she says. "After all, everyone dies. Death is bad enough without being taxed."
The next example Tannen uses addresses 14 or so procedures that these word wizards have clumped together under the term "partial-birth-abortion." "How many would get all worked up about an exceedingly rare abortion procedure...that represents less than one-fifth of one percent of all abortions performed in the United States in 2000? But attach the name "partial-birth abortion" and a second-trimester fetus becomes a half-born baby."
But have we not had enough of the manipulation of language, let alone data, by the opponents of sane medical and reproductive policy?
The most obvious rightwing example of language manipulation that even our best progressive journalists fail to consistently expose is "pro-life." Many of us will not use this term, since it of course implies that if one does not agree with the position of the users of this term, then by default one is "anti-life." Tannen asks, "Who among us wants to call ourselves anti-life?"
"Win the name game and you're more than halfway toward winning the battle. Win enough naming battles and you're on your way to winning the war," Tannen notes.
We want to use a much more accurate term, "anti-choice." Many of us do. But we haven't won the battle.
The cynical nature of these ploys becomes more evident when one recalls how few of these demagogues march, protest against, or even mention capital punishment, or war, or the World Bank, or the IMF, or Republican and neocon environmental policies, or 45 million uninsured Americans, or the out-of-reach cost of AIDS anti-virals controlled by Big Pharma in developing countries. What's the ratio of the number of deaths caused by these policies and institutions to the number of pregnancy terminations?
No, the only way they want to demonstrate their "pro-life" bonafides is regarding abortion. At last, have they no shame?
Apparently not, since, as Tannen seems to predict when she wrote that piece last summer, it appears (pending a Planned Parenthood legal challenge) that the language-manipulators have won again, this time those procedures collectively called "partial-birth abortion."
The medical community and many laypeople know that there is no such thing as partial-birth abortion. As William Saletan said in a recent article titled, "The "Partial-Birth" Myth --No, it's not a birth,"...(the procedures) can be particularly disturbing when they're done by extracting the fetus intact, in a manner that looks like birth. But they aren't births.
It's easy for journalists who have covered the abortion debate (and in my case, written a book about it) to gloss over this fact when we talk about the ban the Senate just passed. We know the procedure in question is an abortion that sort of looks like a birth, not a birth interrupted by an abortion. But it's far from clear that we've adequately conveyed this distinction to the public.
I watched the whole Senate debate yesterday. I lost count of how many times pro-life senators used language implying that the procedure they were banning was a birth interrupted by an abortion. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Rick Santorum, opened the debate by saying, "The term 'partial birth' comes from the fact that the baby is partially born, is in the process of being delivered. Â Here is this child who is literally inches away from being born, who would otherwise be born alive." Majority Leader Bill Frist, the Senate's only doctor, concluded the debate by describing the procedure as "destroying the body of a mature unborn child."
President Bush exploits the same illusion. In his State of the Union address this year, he said the bill would "protect infants at the very hour of their birth."
That's just false. This procedure doesn't take place anywhere near the appointed hour of birth. If you paid close attention to the Senate debate, you might have noticed the part where Santorum said the procedure was performed "at least 20 weeks, and in many cases, 21, 22, 23, 24 weeks [into pregnancy], and in rarer cases, beyond that." He didn't clarify how many of these abortions took place past the 20th week. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. In 1992, the Supreme Court mentioned that viability could "sometimes" occur at 23 or 24 weeks. Santorum described a 1-pound fetus as "a fully formed baby," noting that while it was only at 20 weeks gestation, it had a complete set of features and extremities. But according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the survival rate for babies born weighing 500 grams or lessÂthat's 1 pound, 1 ounce or lessÂis 14 percent.
Initial reports on the bill passed yesterday don't convey these distinctions. The New York Times says, "The bill defines the procedure as one in which the person performing the abortion 'deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus ...[ellipses mine] for the purpose of performing an overt act that the person knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus.' " The Washington Post says, "As described in the bill, the procedure, generally performed during a pregnancy's second or third trimester, involves a physician puncturing the skull of a fetus and removing its brain after it is partially delivered."
If you haven't been following the debate closely, it's easy to walk away with the impression that the "delivery" is a nearly full-term birth, as the bill's name implies. It's easy to say yes when a pollster asks you whether you favor a "law to make it illegal to perform a specific abortion procedure conducted in the last six months of pregnancy known as 'partial-birth abortion,' except in cases necessary to save the life of the mother." That's the question the Gallup organization asked in January. Based on responses to that question, USA Today reports this morning that the poll "showed that 70% of Americans back the ban."
I'd like to know how many of the people who answered that question understood exactly what they were being asked about."
And that's the point. The opponents chose a term, as ignorant and wrong as it is, that can't help but cause one to cringe--unless one knows the truth. And framing the debate in such a way is intended to obscure that truth.
As to the procedures itself, language aside, there are other angles.
Here's a letter my daughter wrote to the Boston Globe, which was printed in a slightly edited form last week:
"On Tuesday, a ban on "partial-birth" abortion was passed in the Senate. The bill is significantly flawed in that it only allows the procedure to preserve the life (not the health) of the mother, because sponsors of the bill decided that it was never needed to protect the health of the mother. Never? Many Americans would probably consider being forced to carry a stillborn infant to term as jeopardizing the health of the mother. As Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, said "This is indeed a historic day, because for the first time in history Congress is banning a medical procedure that is considered medically necessary by physicians." The passage of this bill makes me wonder what country I woke up in this morning. For all their rhetoric about shrinking government, Senate republicans (and a surprising number of Dems. too) sure are eager to use government to forcefully micromanage the personal lives of U.S. citizens. I thought we were busy risking Americana lives and spending billions of dollars fighting against that kind of thing?"
If this ban on medically necessary procedures stands up against the legal challenges, how many women will be maimed by the frame?
Saturday, November 01, 2003
ARE YOU AN AMERICAN?
Interesting bit. I read this on a bicycling forum site--they had a "jokes" section.
From the language and references, this is of British origin, and written before 9/11
Whether it's funny or not (and parts are) is less important than that this apparently reflects how at least some Brits thought about Americans a few years ago.
I wonder what this would be like if written after 9/11?
Are you an American?
Don't get upset, but I think this is funny. Apologies if you have already seen this.
Subject: ARE YOU AN AMERICAN?
1. You decide that the relationship with your partner is over. How do you break the news you are leaving?
(a) Leave a tearful note on the table and slip quietly away
(b) Calmly discuss the reasons with your partner for your decision
(©) Attack them with a chair in front of a rabble of cheering pumped-up inbreds on national television.
2. You and your mates decide to have a game of football in the park. What do you need to take?
(a) A ball
(b) A ball and 2 coats
(©) A ball 50 crash helmets, 4 tons of body armour, 20 cheerleaders, a marching sousaphone band with a grand piano on a trolley, and a team of orthopaedic surgeons specialising in spinal injuries.
3. You are driving along a country road when you accidentally run over a rabbit. What do you do?
(a) Stop and see how badly injured it is, taking it to a vet if it is still alive
(b) Carry on driving, but hope it is still alive, or if not, that it died quickly
(©) Strap it across the bonnet of your car and drive home hollering, whooping and throwing empty Budweiser cans out of the window.
4. You wake up in the morning with a stiff neck after sleeping in an awkward position. What do you do?
(a) Ignore it. It will probably loosen up as the day progresses
(b) Take a couple of aspirins and get on with things.
(©) Take yourself to a prostitute-addicted TV evangelist faith healer in an ill-fitting wig, who will lay his hands on your head, whilst screaming about the devil in front of an audience of gibbering inbreds.
5. What do you have for breakfast?
(a) A bowl of Cornflakes, slice of toast and a mug of tea
(b) Glass of orange juice, croissant and a cup of coffee
(©) A bag of donuts with ice cream, a 32 ounce steak with six eggs sunny side-up, fifteen pancakes with maple syrup, ten waffles, five corn dogs and a diet root beer.
6. You and your partner decide to take the plunge and get married. What sort of ceremony do you have?
(a) A quiet party with a few friends in a registry office
(b) A church service followed by a traditional reception at a hotel
(©) A minute long mockery at a 24 hour drive-through chapel in Las Vegas, presided over by a transvestite vicar dressed as Elvis.
7. Your 14-year-old son is going through a difficult phase, becoming disruptive at school and reclusive at home. What do you do?
(a) Don't worry. Its just a phase and will pass.
(b) Encourage him to get out more, get involved in team sports or join a youth club.
(©) Take him to an armoury and buy him an arsenal of semi-automatic weapons and enough ammunition to slaughter a small town.
8. You fancy a night in watching something funny on TV. What kind of comedy do you choose?
(a) A sitcom like Fawlty Towers or Father Ted
(b) A sketch show like the Two Ronnies or the Fast Show
(©) A thinly disguised morality play set in a massive lounge where the audience whoop for ten minutes every time an overpaid actor with a superglued grin on his face makes an entrance to deliver a lightweight wisecrack.
9. Whilst getting ready for bed, you stub your toe on your wife's dressing table. What do you do?
(a) Shout and swear a bit, after all, it did hurt
(b) Make a mental note to move the table so it doesn't happen again
(©) Immediately call a hotshot lawyer with an uptown reputation, and sue your wife's ***.
10. You are responsible for the USA's presidential electoral process. Do you:
(a) Count all votes and declare a winner
(b) Count all votes and declare a winner
(©) Let the press declare who's won before the votes are counted; then count only the votes which have been handed in by a deadline whilst not checking if Bud, the hillbilly sheriff of nowheres-ville, has left several thousand votes in the trunk of his Chevy 'by mistake', then force a recount of only some of the votes within just one state and allow only 12 seconds for the recount to take place; then be amazed that the recount hasn't finished by the deadline and increase the deadline by another 3.2 seconds; then ignore all votes and let 4 judges decide the result, making sure the judges all support the same candidate; then ponce around the world telling other countries how to run their own elections.
If you answered:
mostly (a)'s & (b)'s then you are a normal well-balanced individual.
mostly (©)'s then do the world a favour and shoot yourself with the anti-tank weapon you carry in the glove-box of your pick-up truck.
WHAT DO MEDICAL MARIJUANA AND SAME-SEX MARRIAGE HAVE IN COMMON?
Have you ever heard any opponent of either one explain how they could cause harm?
The anti-marriage crowd has never--NEVER--stated how same-sex marriage will negatively impact society or the institution of marriage. All they ever do, even when repeatedly asked in plain language even their bent cortexes can understand, is repeat the conclusion. I have heard and read enough of their rants to make me puke, and I have never seen or heard that question answered. Why? Duh!
We can give really sick or terminally ill patients the most powerful drugs on the planet, many of which are derived from Afghani poppies, like morphine, and no one tries to state that this will lead to addiction, or harm the patient, or by extension harm society. In fact, no one blinks at this.
But try to give them a cheap, relatively benign drug with proven efficacy for the problem indicated, and, well, you might as well be trying to restrict marriage to same-sex only.
We'll help doctors who prescribe morphine to the terminally ill get rich, but we'll help friends who provide medical marijuana to them get busted.
Why? What vested interests are being threatened in each case?
Well, in the latter, it's easy: Big Pharma. Like solar energy, medical marijuana is cheap, easy to get, and hard to control or restrict like most prescription drugs. Pharma came up with Marinol, a synthetic derived from the psychoactive ingredient in pot, THC. But it's weak--generally regarded as far less effective than a plain old joint--and costs more. But Pharma makes it, controls it and profits from it. They know it's unlikely that could ever happen with real weed.
And since Pharma controls federal drug policy, we aren't likely to see a change in the near future on the federal level, even though a few states have seen the insanity and evil of the federal approach and have legalized medical usage. The feds, in their infinite wisdom, have busted those who are complying with state law. Conservatives who favor states rights over federal hegemony, where are you now, you lousy hypocrites?
And about that harm to or addiction by the patient--we are talking terminally ill here. After they tell me how same-sex marriage will destroy heterosexual marriage, will they please tell me why a joint will be dangerous to these poor folks, and why morphine won't be. I am not holding my breath.
As for the vested interests in preventing same-sex marriage, it's not as clear.
Organized religious institutions that have made a living off condemning homosexuality of course do not want to see their fragile straw foundations shaken, since that would diminish their power and their hold on the sheep that follow them.
I think there is no vested interest per se in the world of those secular groups and individuals that condemn same sex marriage. Then the thing reverts back to the same old demons progressive humanity has fought against forever: ignorance, bigotry, hatred, fear, and the willingness of those who possess or are predisposed to possessing those characteristics to follow demagogues who espouse them.
There's no end to the calumny of those demagogues in the top levels of the political and religious hierarchies, especially now that they have become empowered by and given a platform by a government stolen by their leadership.
And there clearly is no end to the callousness of their followers.
That the political and religious institutions that oppose these measures even refer to compassion as part of their policies is enough to condemn them to the 7th level of Hell. Would that it could be soon. The suffering they needlessly cause is intolerable, unconscionable, and for their victims often unbearable.
So what to do?
Think Canada. I will start counting how many of my posts end up with a serious consideration of moving to Canada, where in the near future for the whole country if not for most of it now these two issues will be generally non-issues.
Let them have America. They've grifted most of it already. Let's all move to Canada and start over.
They have good beer there, too.