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Friday, July 15, 2016

"Bernie Has a Plan"?

"Bernie Has a Plan"?
Maybe, but He's Not Our Messiah,
by Giovanna, la Succuba Suprema

I keep seeing other Berners insisting, even after Bernie has endorsed Hillary, that "Bernie has a plan."  I've seen excuses made for his endorsement, but no citations for those excuses.  They range from "he had to in order to stay in the convention" to "he had to in order to stay relevant in the Senate" to "he hasn't suspended his campaign and there's still a chance he'll get the nomination."  Any or all of these could be true;  I grant that.  I sincerely hope that he does wind up with the nomination.  If the Democratic National Committee were rational, I wouldn't even be writing this.  He would have won, hands down, had they not hamstrung his campaign and stolen the election by voter suppression and election fraud, had they faced the reality that he is the best candidate they have and that he has a much better chance of defeating Trump in the general election than the widely distrusted and disliked Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But can we attribute rationality to the DNC?  Can we attribute rationality to their superdelegates?  Recent history, over the past 20+ years, has painted a very different picture from rationality, and I suspect that the neoliberal perspective is now so entrenched in the party machine that it cannot be rooted out.  Progressive candidates, leftist candidates, candidates in favor of civil libertarian ideals, have not fared well in the primaries.  Michael Dukakis was likely the last of the progressive leftists to win a Democratic primary, and even he was more of an authoritarian than I would have preferred.  Dennis Kucinich hardly got any press at all, outside the debates, and was mostly overlooked by the media even in their reporting on the debates.  John Wolfe, Jr. was almost completely ignored by the media.  I recall only a single mention of him on CBS News, and nothing from any other news source.

The DNC is not rational;  they've been out of touch with reality for over two decades, and only lucked into a win and a reelection because of Obama's charisma.

Well, Hillary has no charisma.  She's more reminiscent of Joni Ernst with her wicked gloating laugh when she won her Senate seat in 2014.  *shivers*  Wicked stepmother vibes all over the place.

"Bernie has a plan," though, I keep seeing.  It's possible.  I grant that it's possible that he still has something up his sleeve;  I cannot imagine him endorsing Hillary honestly unless he received some sort of threat (which is also not something I would put past the Democratic Party machine).  "Bernie has a plan."  It's possible.  But will it succeed?  Rabbie Burns wrote "The best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglee."  Will the Democratic National Convention deliver the nomination to Bernie?  Possible.  Improbable, but possible.

"Bernie has a plan."  It sounds almost religious.  "God has a plan."  I've heard that before.  "Don't despair;  God has a plan."  A vestige of hyper-Calvinism's doctrine of "the Sovereignty of God."  But they are telling me that "Bernie has a plan."  This attempt at consolation and reassurance is too much like that vestigial hyper-Calvinism in certain quasi-Calvinistic sects of Christianity for my tastes.

"Bernie has a plan."  /  "God has a plan."

Bernie himself told us in no uncertain terms "No!  No, no! ... The truth is you, not me. If there is any person here, any person here that thinks I’m coming to you as some kind of savior, that I’m going to do it all — all myself, you’re wrong. No president, not Bernie Sanders or anybody else, can do it alone. We don’t need a savior. We need a political movement."  He also said "Not me;  us."  The movement was never about Bernie, and he made that clear himself.

The Green Party has had a history of Progressive Left-libertarian views, much like what Bernie campaigned on.  Jill Stein goes even further than Bernie in some particulars, like full erasure of all student loan debt, rather than simply easing the interest.  You can see her plan at her campaign website.  Is it any wonder than those of us who were "StillSanders" and "NeverHillary" would now be supporting Jill?  Did the Democratic National Committee think we were bluffing and would fall in line with the party?  Most of us weren't Democrats to begin with!  Why would we go for the vapid "Blue no matter who" schtick, especially when the "who" is someone most of us revile?

"Bernie has a plan."  Maybe so.  But he's not our messiah;  we have to save ourselves.  It's in our hands.

Go Green in Two-Thousand-Sixteen.  Jill Stein for President.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Sense of Perspective on Liberty? Part 6, or, Okay, Let Me Tell You AGAIN Why I Support Senator Sanders for President

A Sense of Perspective on Liberty?
Part 6,
Or, "Okay, Let Me Tell You Again
Why I Support Senator Sanders for President,"
by Giovanna, la Succuba Suprema

Yet again, I am asked why I am supporting Bernie Sanders instead of someone else.  Well, gee, Wally, maybe because I believe in the things he believes in, things which some other candidates either oppose vehemently or merely give lip-service to?  Here, then, read and learn why I am supporting Bernie Sanders (I've liberally sprinkled the text with links to back up what I'm saying, and put in a few pictures because I wanted to):

Senator Bernie Sanders is not Republican Lite like Secretary Hillary Clinton, and he's not polarizing like Secretary Clinton.

Senator Sanders is an actual Leftist (this is NOT a bad word!), not a "less-far-to-the-Right-than-the-Republicans-ist" (Hell, at this point, even Mussolini is almost less to the Right than some Republicans [and I don't believe I need to justify this assertion in any way, thanks to Herr Trump, whom even some public figures in his own party are calling out for his views], so being "less Right Wing than the Republicans" is not exactly sufficient for my vote).  Senator Sanders believes in Progressive values and will not cave at the first sign of resistance like a "Nu Democrat" will.  He will give us change for the better, and not the mediocrity of business as usual, nor a descent into the maelstrom of madness.

Bernie Sanders is pissed off about most if not all of the same things I'm pissed off about, and he supports most if not all of the ideals I hold dear.

No, Hillary.  Some of us know you're just a Right Winger in "Liberal" clothing.

Senator Sanders has a long -- and consistent --history of fighting for liberty, justice, and equality for all.  He was active in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and supported LGBTI rights as early as the 1970s, and is the only 2016 Presidential candidate who voted against DOMA.  He also stands firmly for Women's Reproductive Rights.

He is not in the pocket of the banks and corporations (nor for-profit prison corporations) and Wall Street like some other candidates, but will actually stand up for the middle class and the poor against those leeches.

Not being the beneficiary of dark money contributions, Bernie Sanders has no vested interest in wearing kid gloves when dealing with campaign finance reform.  Of what other candidate can this be said?  Not a one.

While some are busy trying to pit the Middle Class and the Less Fortunate against one another, Bernie is willing to go after the 1% who are not paying their fair share.  That current situation means that the burden of taxation falls on the Middle Class and the Less Fortunate are resented for even the subsistence level benefits they receive.

Bernie Sanders believes in social and economic justice, in uniting us against our common foe, instead of trying to divide us so that the foe can continue to live a life of luxury.  He will work for making education available to all, and not merely the "fortunate son."  He will endeavor to patch the safety net, and his plan is sound.  And, contrary to the fear-mongering, his plan will NOT bankrupt the nation by these efforts.

Senator Sanders is an advocate of a living wage, recognizing that, no matter what job someone does, if they put in 40 hours a week for wages, they deserve better than they're currently getting.  And no, this isn't going to hurt the Middle Class like business publications claim.  It's going to decrease some of the massive profits that the huge corporations get, though, which, you know, is probably why those business publications are spewing bile about it.

Unlike the candidates from the other party, Senator Sanders will not send young people overseas to die in imperialistic and economic wars, only to pat them on the back and send them on their way if they manage to make it home alive.

And, as noted above, Bernie is not polarizing the way Hillary is;  if the Republicans hate anyone more than they hate President Obama, it's Hillary Rodham Clinton, so their ilk will turn out in droves to vote against her, while Bernie has a real chance to win.  She's not even, as some would assume, the candidate of the Progressive American Woman.  Guess who is.  Go on, guess.

He's not gung-ho for "gun control," the perennial cause célèbre of the Democratic Party, which effort blatantly ignores "shall not be infringed," and which will never resonate with voters in the heartland nor any rural area.  He did not attempt to exploit recent tragedies to push the same ridiculous un-constitutional proposals that so many "Democrats" started trying to push.  We are all of us "innocent until proven guilty" in this nation.  Being merely suspected of something is no justification for denying us our Constitutional Rights -- and, lest we all forget, that "no-fly list" bullshit is a product of another Republican régime, one which gave us the attempted dismantling of the Bill of Rights which goes by the euphemistic acronym "USA PATRIOT Act" (and let me point out that Senator Sanders voted against that bit of fascism, for all the right reasons;  Ms Clinton, on the other hand, who was also a Senator at the time, voted for it)  I'm afraid my confidence is lacking in the Dubya régime's ability to not place political opponents on such a list (especially since many of us saw the same news articles which strongly suggested that that very thing did in fact happen), and some current candidates would like to continue warrantless surveillance and other government spying on our own citizens.  To my international friends who may be appalled to read of my support for the Law of the Land in the USA (our Constitution), which includes the 2nd Amendment recognition of the right of the people to keep and bear arms:  you're never going to convince this Texas Girl to support "gun control."  Prohibition has never worked in any form, and this particular variation on Prohibition cannot be done legally without an Amendment to the Constitution of the USA (and I, for one, do not believe the Constitution should ever be amended except to expand the list of rights recognized by the government and improve our political system itself, but never to deny rights).

So, you want to know, again, why I'm supporting Senator Bernie Sanders for President?  These are a few of my reasons.  I can go on, if you wish, but I think I've made my point.  Let me ask you, then:  "Why wouldn't I support Bernie Sanders?  Why wouldn't any rational person support him?"

Power to the people!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Phobia vs. -phobia; Homophobia, Transphobia, Denial, Repression, and Uncertainty

Phobia vs. -phobia;
Homophobia, Transphobia,
Denial, Repression, and Uncertainty,
by Giovanna, la Succuba Suprema

Lately, the author has noticed a reply to charges of homophobia (and/or transphobia) having seemingly become popular among those who are, in fact, homophobic (and/or transphobic) to a greater or lesser degree, and the reply in question is an attempt to attack the very designation "homophobia" (or "transphobia") on the grounds that a phobia is a fear and they are not afraid of Gay people (or Trans people) so they can't be homophobic (or transphobic).  The author is inclined to suspect that this rhetoric is derived from a common source, as she has noticed it more and more, and only of late.  The source, however, is irrelevant for the purposes of the present discussion, which will focus on the actual semantics of the terminology, rather than its source, and will go on to provide references defining and explaining homophobia and transphobia, as well as references which suggest another sort of explanation (not of meanings, but of causes).

The rhetoric in question ignores both common usage found in descriptive vocabularies as well as technical usage found in psychological, psychiatric, and sociological sources (and even sources concerned with more "physical" medicine), in which the suffix "-phobia" is not restricted to a meaning of "fear" only, much less only "irrational fear."

Witness common usage of the word defined:

and medical usage of both the word and the suffix defined:

The reader will note that, even in the first link, which describes common usage, the definition plainly states:
an extremely strong dislike or fear of someone or something
(Emphasis added.)

In the second link, the medical definition of the suffix is given as:
noun combining form  -pho·bia  \ˈfō-bē-ə\
Medical Definition of -phobia
:  abnormal fear of <acrophobia>
:  intolerance or aversion for <photophobia>

For those who are unaware, photophobia is a medical (physical) condition (or symptom of some other [physical] condition):
Photophobia is eye discomfort in bright light.
--  Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia | U.S. National Library of Medicine | National Institutes of Health

Gay Pride Flag

More specifically, here are definitions and explanations of "homophobia" and "transphobia":

Definition of homophobia
:  irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals
--  Merriam-Webster

Lesbian Pride Flag

Definition of homophobia in English:
Dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people.
--  Oxford Dictionaries

Bisexual Moon Symbol

The Oxford Online Dictionaries also give:
Definition of transphobia in English:
Intense dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people:
'more than 120 complaints concerning transphobia in the media were made'
--  Oxford Dictionaries

Transgender Pride Flag by Jennifer Pellinen

What is Homophobia

Understanding Homophobia/Heterosexism

Transphobia - RationalWiki

Transphobia has been defined by the Crown Prosecution Service as “the fear of or a dislike directed towards trans people, or a fear of or dislike directed towards their perceived lifestyle, culture or characteristics, whether or not any specific trans person has that lifestyle or characteristic. The dislike does not have to be so severe as hatred. It is enough that people do something or abstain from doing something because they do not like trans people.
--  Tackling transphobia | CUSU LGBT+

To use an analogy, instead of everyone being evenly distributed in a sea, they are randomly swept up onto two separate islands, and there’s no swimming allowed in between! Each island has its own rules, or gender stereotypes, which set out how men or women should look, act or behave. The idea that boys should like blue and enjoy aggressive, competitive activities, whilst girls should be passive and nurturing, are two examples of gender stereotypes. There is strong pressure to conform to these gender rules. Society often penalises anyone who breaks the rules and the penalty is even worse particularly for those who try to leave the island which they found themselves on at birth – this is called transphobia and transphobia is the sharp end of sexism.
So, transphobia is intolerance of gender diversity. It is based around the idea that there are only two sexes – male or female, which you stay in from birth. And furthermore, that people who fit gender stereotypes (by sounding, looking or behaving like men and women are ‘supposed to’) are somehow better than those who don’t.
Trans people, gender queer people and people with a transsexual history can also experience homophobia, because the abuser often neither knows nor cares how a person identifies, just that they are different in some way.
--  What Is Transphobia? | Galop

Jennifer Pellinen's Transgender Pride Flag

Tran[s]phobia is an irrational fear of, and/or hostility towards, people who are transgender or who otherwise transgress traditional gender norms.
-- Transphobia - Definition and Examples

Interestingly, a number of studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between homophobia and repressed Homosexuality, which is to say, many homophobes are themselves Homosexuals in denial.  A brief sample of the literature follows, with quotes from some of the examples.

Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal? | National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

Parental autonomy support and discrepancies between implicit and explicit sexual identities: Dynamics of self-acceptance and defense. | American Psychological Association

Is Homophobia Associated with an Implicit Same-Sex Attraction? (Cara C. MacInnis & Gordon Hodson) - The Journal of Sex Research - 18 Sep 2012

Is Homophobia Associated With Homosexual Arousal? (Henry E. Adams, Lester W. Wright, Jr., and Bethany A. Lohr;  University of Georgia) - Journal of Abnormal Psychology - 1996, Vol. 105, No. 3 (.pdf file)

Homophobes Likely To Be Closet Gays, Study Finds | International Business Times

Is some homophobia self-phobia? -- ScienceDaily

Are Homophobes Really Gay? | Psychology Today

Study: Homophobes May Be Hidden Homosexuals | Homophobia & Anti-Gay Sentiment | LiveScience

The Roots Of Homophobia - Putting Freud To The Test | Assault On Gay America | FRONTLINE | PBS

Homophobic?  Maybe You're Gay - The New York Times

Homophobes Might Be Hidden Homosexuals - Scientific American

Homophobic Attitudes Likely To Be Stronger Among Those Who Have Repressed Same-Sex Attraction: Report

Are Homophobes Secretly Attracted to Gay People? | Psychology Today

Are Homophobic People Really Gay and Not Accepting It? | Psychology Today

Homophobia linked to lack of awareness of one's sexual orientation and authoritarian parenting, study shows

Homophobes Are Gay - Study (The Young Turks) (video)

Transgender Pride Flag by Monica Helms

More recently (since "transphobia" is itself a more recent term than "homophobia" -- as noted in the Oxford Dictionaries, "homophobia" dates from the 1960s, while "transphobia" dates from the 1990s), some thinkers have begun to suggest that transphobia may also have a positive correlation with a fragile gender identity, that transphobes may themselves be still "struggling with their own gender identity."  A couple of such discussions are linked below, with some quotations.

The cause of transphobia is still a subject of research and debate, but it likely reflects the fragile nature of gender identity. Men's and women's lives, genes, and bodies are not terribly different; the fact that someone can convincingly identify as a member of the opposite sex calls the very concept of gender into question. People who are quietly struggling with their own gender identity, and people for whom gender identity is especially important, might be frightened--even angry--when confronted with the fragility of gender.
-- Transphobia - Definition and Examples

Are our own gender identities so fragile that we must stigmatise a first-grader for using the girls' room?
Discrimination against transgender people is real, pervasive and often legal. And it often builds from ignorance and bias – things that start young.
While transgender people do face widespread mistreatment, the discrimination doesn't make much sense. Who, exactly, gets hurt if folks match their physical appearance to their gender identity? Why is it such a problem for a six-year-old girl to use the girls' bathroom?
Everyone has a gender identity. You do, and so do I. Just as the gay rights movement has made us collectively realize that we all have a sexual orientation – whether it be straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or something else – advocates for transgender rights try to impart the lesson that each person has an internal sense of being male or female (or, for some folks, neither, or something in between). As Silverman says:
"We all have a gender identity. We just never have to think about if it we're not transgender because no one questions it."
-- From school to society, the intolerance transgender people face | The Guardian

In closing, the author will, again, quote a man whom she has quoted before in this blog -- a flawed man, yes, but a visionary man nevertheless (for each person, in spite of her or his best efforts, is imperfect, yet he or she can still do good despite her or his imperfections):

If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life's exciting variety, not something to fear.
-- Gene Roddenberry

Not something to fear, and, the author would add, not something to hate.

Va'Vuhnaya s'Va'Terishlar (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations)

Peace and long life.
Live long and prosper.


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Monday, December 7, 2015

Ethics, Morals, Scruples, and Folkways

Ethics, Morals, Scruples, and Folkways,
by Giovanna, la Succuba Suprema

Ethics, Morals, Scruples, and Folkways all concern behavior/conduct, and overlap to some extent, but they are not synonyms (I realize that common usage treats the terms "ethics" and "morals" as more or less synonymous, but I contend that they should not be seen as identical in meaning).  Adding to the complication involved in distinguishing between these words is the fact that the discipline of Philosophy uses the term "Ethics" to refer to that branch of the tree of Philosophy which deals with the science of conduct, under which header all four of these terms should be placed.  I believe this can be resolved by bearing in mind that the use in Philosophy to refer to "the science of conduct" is an example of technical jargon and should be considered an umbrella.  So, how do I distinguish these terms, apart from (or rather, under the umbrella of) the technical jargon?

An ethic, or an ethical system, is part of a worldview (be it cultural, philosophical, or religious) and essentially static (although subject to interpretation), thus basically unchanging apart from exegesis and application.  Regarding an ethic as more or less objective would not be wrong, although it would be, perhaps, imprecise.  To elaborate on this latter notion, I should say that the underlying concepts of an ethic do not themselves change, but the interpretation, and thus, the application, of an ethic may vary over time or due to sectarian differences of perspective;  in order to hold this understanding, I must disregard hyper-literalistic legalism, which, I would insist, is an aberration of ethical thought due to the innate irrationality of such a perspective which invariably leads to self-referential incoherence, doublethink, and cognitive dissonance.

A morality is societal, and malleable with respect to time and place, thus relative.  Morals change as the society ebbs and flows in its education, experience, technological changes, exposure to other societies, migration, environmental factors, and so on.  What is regarded as moral by a given society will change over time, and this change is more than mere reinterpretation and application;  the underlying concepts themselves change.  If a social group emigrates to another geographic location, the physical environment of their new home, as well as their new neighbors, may affect their morality over time.  With technological advances, new challenges arise and new understandings are born, which may alter the underlying moral concepts of the social group.  Again, the quality of education in a society fluctuates over time, and this too can change basic concepts of a society.

Scruples are individual viewpoints on conduct and behavior, which are usually influenced to a greater or lesser extent by the morals of the society in which the individual lives, and potentially also by the ethics of the various worldviews with which the individual may have come in contact.  Scruples will, for most individuals, change over time due to various influences and experiences, as well as continuing education.

Folkways are either cultural or societal, or both, and tend to be rather conservative, although reasons which were their source may be forgotten or lost over time;  while some folkways have an origin in an ethic or a morality, if the original ethical or moral basis be lost or forgotten, they become mere traditional custom and thus are worthy of the name "folkway" for those who (semi-consciously) practice them without understanding of the reason(s) for their existence.  An example of this is the practice of walking on one side or the other of a sidewalk/pavement or hallway.  Originally, chariot drivers would veer left when meeting, so that the right sides of the chariot boards were turned toward one another as they passed, and the same conduct was in play when mounted riders or people on foot met.  Many concepts are behind these applications (among which was the fact that most persons are right-handed and thus would want their dominant arm turned toward a potential challenger;  consequently, turning the left side toward someone became regarded as an intentional affront or attempt to provoke), but the basic underlying reason was the belief that moving counterclockwise (or tuathal/widdershins) was harmful.  When the American colonies rebelled against British rule, a number of customs and the like were intentionally changed (although by this time, the original bases of many of these customs was long forgotten by most), and one of those was the custom of driving on the left side of a road.  Americans intentionally began driving on the right side of the road in order to distinguish themselves from the British.  As a result of this change in driving wagons, carriages, carts, and so on, an American folkway is to walk on the right side of the sidewalk or hallway, whereas in Britain, the folkway continues to be walking on the left side of the pavement or hallway.  Originally based on a variety of related religious and ethical concepts which were part of a worldview, these practices have now become, for most, semi-conscious traditional custom.  When a member of one of these societies visits the other society and walks down the "wrong" side of the hallway or pavement/sidewalk, natives will feel uncomfortable, will regard the foreigner with some aversion, but some will not be entirely sure why they have these feelings, and even those who get the realization that the foreigner is walking on "the 'wrong' side," will still be extremely unlikely to question why that is "the 'wrong' side" or (in the case of Americans) how it came to be regarded as such (indeed, most will be unaware that it even became viewed as such, while instead subconsciously assuming that it has always been "the 'wrong' side").

In summary, then, an ethic is a static and more or less objective aspect of a worldview (cultural, philosophical, or religious), a morality is a relative aspect of a given society, scruples are individual and generally variable, and folkways are socio-cultural and relative but usually change only very slowly within a given society and/or culture.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Giving Tuesday

Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015

Today is "Giving Tuesday," a global day dedicated to giving back.  For those who can and would like to give to a charity on this Giving Tuesday, many worthy causes exist.  I would like to recommend the following:

The COPD Foundation
in memory of Leonard Nimoy

Donations to any of the charities above are tax-deductible, to the extent permitted by law.

If you are able and willing to make a donation which is not  tax-deductible, but nevertheless for a good cause, please consider giving to NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Thanks for giving, you who are willing and able to do so.

If you are not able to give, that's alright, too.  I've been there myself, and I understand.

A Sense of Perspective on Liberty? Part 5

A Sense of Perspective on Liberty?
Part 5,

Or, "Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism
and Republican Fascism,"
by Giovanna, la Succuba Suprema

"A police officer who was a pastor at his local church. An Iraq war veteran. A mother of two, accompanying a friend. Those were the three fatalities in Friday's shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"It's the sixth attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic since July, when anti-abortion extremists who've been linked to clinic bombings began releasing deceptively edited videos. Those extremists have fueled outright hate for the organization among right-wing radio hosts, anti-choice state legislators, and Republicans in the U.S. Congress and on the presidential trail—and that culture of hate seems to have fueled this tragedy."

Terrorism is exactly what the anti-choice crimes are, bigotry fanned into violent hatred by the unscrupulous and the ambitious -- an appeal to the basest sentiments, fear, ignorance, intolerance, irrationality, even superstition, all in a bid to gain power.  None dare call it "fascism"?  I saw this coming already during Reagan's second term as President, thanks to a year of university Logic and a university senior-level history course concerned with the 20th century in Europe, and it so scared me that I, raised by Conservative Republican parents who were very active in politics, abandoned the Republican Party and have only made the mistake of looking back once.

It absolutely IS fascism, and it's been a growing malignancy within the Republican Party since racist Dixiecrats left the Democratic Party in droves and entered the Republican Party (after LBJ approved the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and again approved another Civil Rights Act in 1968), and it got another push when Protestant Fundamentalists abandoned the Democratic Party in late 1976 and still more in 1977 (following publication of an interview of then-candidate-for-President Jimmy Carter by Playboy magazine in November of 1976), and then, throughout the late 1970s and on to the present, the rhetoric of the Republican Party changed, becoming more and more emotively charged.  By 1988, it was bad enough that George Bush the Elder could dismiss something said by Michael Dukakis in a debate by simply uttering the retort "That's just liberal," without anyone challenging the elder Bush on the ad Hominem which his comment was.  Political discourse degenerated further into rhetoric and further away from Logic, helped along by loudmouthed know-nothing assholes like Rush Limbaugh.

The situation has now devolved to the point that the Republican Party currently sounds alarmingly like the John Birch Society, which was once, as noted by Claire Conner, "drummed out of the GOP and exiled to the lunatic fringe," in those years when the Republican Party still had some grasp of Logic, still believed in Liberty and Justice for All (President Eisenhower, some will remember, even federalized the National Guard in Arkansas to enforce desegregation of education), and even (*gasp*) supported environmental conservation.

The salient characteristics of Fascism are well-documented in many historical references.  A thinking person -- an honest  person -- has but to examine those features and compare them with the rhetoric of the Republican Party today to see a clear and present danger to the citizens of the United States and to the Federal Democratic Republic which the Founding Fathers established.

An American soldier takes an oath "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."  It's time for those soldiers and former soldiers to vote based on that oath.

Wake up, America.  Before it's too late.

The 14 Points of Fascism - The Daily Kos

fascism | politics |

Kasich's new Trump ad goes full on Godwin and it's a doozy

Homegrown Extremists Tied to Deadlier Toll Than Jihadists in U.S. Since 9/11 - The New York Times

The Causes of Fundamentalism, Intolerance and Extremism in World Religions, and Some Solutions

Time to Start Screaming » Claire Conner

A History of the Dixiecrats

Democrats Vs. Dixiecrats

How Dixiecrats Became Republicans

Jimmy Carter's Controversial Playboy Interview

Planned Parenthood Shooter Said 'No More Baby Parts' After Arrest

Vile Fox News Audience Reacts To Shooting At Colorado Planned Parenthood

Dear Republicans Words Do Effing Matter. I Do Blame You.

When was the last time you heard Hillary or Bernie incite murders of conservatives?

Tell the Department of Justice: Investigate Clinic Violence as Domestic Terrorism

Updated in the early afternoon and again in the late afternoon of the same date:

Predictably, anti-choice voices are insisting that the shooting at the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs was about something else entirely, and had nothing to do with their "cause," since, unfortunately, denialism is also a feature of fascism and neo-fascism:
Abortion Opponents Insist The Planned Parenthood Shooting Was Actually A Bank Robbery
Have they no shame at all?

However, the assertion of the anti-choice crowd in this matter is obviously false, since, as already reported in one of the articles linked earlier in this post, the terrorist himself made a very clear comment about his motives when arrested:
The Political Motivations Of The Planned Parenthood Shooting Suspect, Revealed

In related news, someone might want to consider whether the judgment of the Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969) be applicable to this (as well as rhetoric used by Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, and others running for the Republican nomination for President):
Before Shooting, Cruz Touted Endorsement From Activist Who Called For Execution Of Abortion Doctors

GOP Presidential Candidates Sharing Stage With Pastor Who Hailed Murder Of Abortion Provider

The Undeniable Link Between Anti-Abortion Rhetoric and the Planned Parenthood Attack

If The Anti-Abortion Movement Doesn't Condone Violence, How Do Republicans Explain These Remarks?

After the terrorist attack, we are already aware that both Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz attempted to shift attention and blame onto "the Left," as reported here:
Carly Fiorina Calls Planned Parenthood Shooter a 'Protester,' Decries 'Left-Wing Tactics'

Carly Fiorina, you Go**amned Lying Sack of Sh*t

Not to be outdone by Carly, Ted the Tool took it into the realm of delusion and attempted to add demonization of Trans persons to the mix, never mind the facts that Trans persons are already marginalized, disenfranchised, dehumanized, and subject to violence, and that mere days before this nasty rhetoric was TDoR 2015, the memorial date for remembering all those who have died in the previous year as a result of transphobia:
Ted Cruz Describes Alleged Planned Parenthood Shooter As ‘Transgendered Leftist Activist’

Ted Cruz is a professional liar: The Planned Parenthood shooting was the work of a “transgendered leftist activist”

Ted Cruz, you Go**amned Lying Sack of Sh*t

Now, to be fair to Ted the Tool (a courtesy I suspect he would not offer to those who disagree with him) -- but also to demonstrate his toolness, as noted already in the story from Salon above, his claim seems to have originated from a post by Republican blogger Jim Hoft:
COURT RECORDS: Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter NOT Republican, Identifies as Woman
(Note that, at the time of this update to my post, there has been no update by Hoft to correct the false claims in the post in question, now three days old.)
And, as you might expect, this false claim has spread like wildfire across the internet on Right Wing, Republican, Reactionary, and Theocratic sites, Twitter accounts, etc, as reported here:
Right-wingers claim Colorado shooter Robert Lewis Dear is a trans woman

But, as it turns out (and as most sane people already kinda knew):
Surprise! The Planned Parenthood Shooter Is Not Transgender

And the only evidence available of any sort of political activism in the past on the part of the terrorist is a testimony from neighbors that he gave anti-Obama pamphlets to them, which, I'm sure, is not exactly something that what the Right Wing in the USA regards as a "Leftist" would be likely to do:
Here’s What We Know About The Suspect In The Planned Parenthood Shooting

And Bill O'Reilly has prostituted his last shred of decency away in the wake of this terrorist act:
Bill O’Reilly Slams Planned Parenthood After Colorado Shooting

Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Rights office issued the following statement:
Women have the right to make their own decisions about their lives and their bodies

In other, also related, news, Christian Fundamentalists continue to demonstrate that all their pretensions of being victimized and just wanting freedom to practice their religion are so much smoke and mirrors designed to facilitate victimizing others and forcing others to genuflect to their sacred cow patties.
School Cancels Reading of Jazz Jennings' Book After Conservative Group Threatens to Sue

#DomesticTerrorism   #Racism  #BigotryDisguisedAsReligion   #Fundamentalism  #Ignorance   #Prejudice   #Intolerance   #Superstition  #Fascism   #RepublicanParty   #History  #BodySovereignty   #Theocracy  #SocialReactionaries   #RightWingExtremists  #Liberty   #Justice   #Equality  #IStandWithPlannedParenthood  #ProsecuteDomesticTerroristsAsTerrorists  #Discrimination   #HateCrime  #FirstAmendmentNonEstablishmentClause  

Friday, November 20, 2015

TDoR 2015

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), which occurs annually on November 20, is a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.
(from Wikipedia)

Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.

(from International Transgender Day of Remembrance)

TDoR 2015 -- The List of Those to be Remembered

Poignant two-part episode of All in the Family :

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sandwich Experiment

The results from my latest sandwich experiment are in!

The Raw Data:

Sandwich Type:  Panini

The THRONE:   One slice, medium-sliced white Italian bread (Pepperidge Farm), buttered (Hiland salted butter) on the bottom
The MEATS:  6 slices, Hickory-Smoked Turkey Breast (Oscar Meyer) + 2 slices, Cherrywood-Smoked Ham (Hormel Natural Choice) + 1 pinch, crumbled Hickory-Smoked Bacon (Oscar Meyer)
The CHEESES:  Swiss, shredded + Mozzarella, shredded + Sharp Cheddar, shredded (all Sargento)
The VEGGIE:  Dill Pickle Relish (Heinz!)
The CONDIMENTS:  Pizza Sauce! (my basic homemade using San Marzano tomatoes with basil, sea salt, black pepper, and onion powder) + Yellow Mustard (Heinz!)
The CROWN:  One slice, medium-sliced white Italian bread (Pepperidge Farm), buttered (Hiland salted butter) on the top
The HEAT:  George Foreman Lean, Mean, Fat-Reducing, Grilling Machine

The VERDICT:  Too much for one meal, but cut in half, this yields:
Two Foodgasms.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A Sense of Perspective on Liberty? Part 4, or Republican Hypocrisy in the News

A Sense of Perspective on Liberty?
Part 4,

Or, "Republican Hypocrisy in the News,"
by Giovanna, la Succuba Suprema

(Disclaimer:  The following is not my general style of composition, but I'm currently too sleep-deprived and far too annoyed by all of this shit to be polite about it.)

Because, yes, blame the woman instead of admitting your own responsibility.  Doesn't James I:14 say "each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire"?
His.  Own.  Desire.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of men trying to control what women wear, let's start early and enforce a ridiculous dress code in high school, because girls shouldn't wear clothes that reveal their collarbones (!!!), lest the boys engage in sexual harassment ...
I cannot make this shit up.

Why not just go all the way and institute Christian Sharia Law so we'll have to wear burqas, lest we somehow manage to entice males, who are apparently pathetically weak when it comes to ethics and self-control?  Because it's our fault, right?  We females?  Well, not according to James, but hey! that's not a very convenient passage for those who want a scapegoat so they don't have to admit that they are responsible for their own wrongdoing.

After all, women shouldn't (couldn't possibly) be equal to men, should (could) we?  At least that's what some people believe:

On the other hand, there are women like this, who embrace the Right Wing's nonsensical economic theories and have a past as "successful" CEOs ...
or, you know, maybe not so successful after all.

Speaking of the military, ...
Remember this one.  It's important when considering all the Republican (and especially Neocon and Theocratic) opposition to spending money on anything but the military.

Oh, by the way, since we were talking about education, did you know that Moses was one of the Founding Fathers of the USA?
Texas public schools are leading the way in presenting that bit of "education," and there are plenty of other examples of Republican ideas of how to rename indoctrination as "education":

Oh, and let's discourage people who might be good teachers from even trying to become teachers by making their working conditions even shittier:

Let's talk more about education, shall we?  Specifically, sex education:
Because, you know, it's perfectly acceptable to invent "facts" and spew religious views in a public school under the guise of "education."
And of course, you can't ask fair questions that might include answers which suggest the possibility of having positive feelings after having sex.  Because ... sex is bad?  Really?  Never gonna convince this Succuba of that, ya pompous and pseudo-pious jackasses, especially in light of the dossiers this Succuba has on your own interesting sexual escapades -- but we'll come back to that anon (but without the anonymity many of you hoped for).

Hey, I know!  Let's review the record on education of some of the glorious candidates for the Republican nomination for the office of President of the United States of America.  That will surely shut this "virago" Giovanna up.

John Kasich:
First budget as Governor of Ohio cut $250 million from Ohio colleges and universities.
Cut half a billion dollars from Ohio public schools.
Tried to strip teachers of collective bargaining rights.

Scott Walker:
Made massive funding cuts to the University of Wisconsin system.
Decreased per-pupil spending at one of the highest rates in the nation.
Actually stripped teachers of collective bargaining rights.

Jeb Bush:
Oversaw a nearly 60% tuition increase while cutting public university funding.
Left Florida's graduation rate dead last after two terms as Governor.
Had his prized education reforms suspended by the Florida legislature.

And the clear winner in Republican hatred of education?
Ted Cruz:
Promised to abolish the Federal Department of Education.

Hmm, that's only the tip of the iceberg, and I'm not encouraged to shut up by this, boys.
No, I think I'll just shake my little tush on the catwalk instead,
and continue with this dizzying array of writings on the wall, so that you can read clearly:
"M'nei m'nei t'qeil u-pharsin."

Speaking of Christian Sharia Law, ...
Because people who don't attend prayer services or church don't deserve jobs, right?

And of course, some who do attend prayer services and church don't either, if they aren't attending the "right" sort of church and came from elsewhere in search of a better life where drug cartels don't murder people constantly, but should instead be made into slaves:
Because, you know, Republicans are all about Murka fer Murkans!  And brown people should be slaves in the Republican utopia, regardless of what the Constitution says.  But don't the Republicans talk a lot about how they love the Constitution and want to "restore" it and such things?

Well, as it turns out, the 13th Amendment is not the only bit of the Constitution of which Republicans do not seem to be very fond ...
The Daily Kos (from which most of these stories come) has a reputation for being a "liberal" news source, but Forbes magazine is a bastion of the Right Wing, and guess what they revealed?
Go on, guess.
No?  Alright, I'll tell ya.  Donald Trump believes that the 14th Amendment is unconstitutional and doesn't agree that a new amendment would be necessary to overturn it, because, of course, in his pea-sized brain, the Supreme Court can just declare the Constitution unconstitutional (to which I reply:  "... wat?"):

Oh, and it gets "better" (worse) ...
Didn't you know?  People who support Trump are so passionate about Murka that hate crimes are excusable:
and racist slogans are acceptable:
and if you think that was just one guy, think again:

I mean, damn.  This guy is one of the three FRONT RUNNERS in the current campaign for the Republican nomination for President of the United States of America.

Maybe the Republicans realize how little support they actually have, though, and that's why they keep trying to redraw the voting regions ...

After all, with nonsense like this, they can't really hope to retain power much longer ...
Because, you know, killing people who are different from you is such a moral act ...
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident, nor even the most outrageous or most blatant ...
But who exactly is this lawyer?
Apparently, information about him is somewhat scarce.

But perhaps instead of looking at those whom some would consider a lunatic "fringe" in the Religious Right, we should look at how some of the other, more "mainstream" and "sane," Republicans who are "guardians of morality and decency" are so adept at practicing what they preach ...
Remember my earlier reference to dossiers?  Well, it's that time.
That story right there is the most amazing one of the lot.
This guy, a Tea Party Republican and Michigan State Representative, who is married, who advocates for "family values," has an extramarital affair with another Tea Party Republican who is also an advocate of "family values."
So when he finds out that the story is about to break, what does this "brilliant" man do?
He arranges for someone to accuse him of having hired a male prostitute, because ...
Yeah, I got nothin'.  What the hell was that supposed to accomplish?

Oh, hey, look at this fine example of practicing what one preaches:
And there's more!

"Guardians of morality and decency" are often like this, though, so I'm not sure why anyone is surprised.  More relevantly, I'm not sure why anyone allowed themselves to be deceived by the rhetoric.

After all, there's quite a history of this sort of thing ...

Notice the mention of Dennis Hastert in that last story?  Well, guess what? ...

But we're not done yet.

Oh, no, we're far from done.

Bernie has a few words for these fakes:

See, there are Republican politicians from the past that I think did some good and were decent people, and at least generally devoid of hypocrisy.  But blessed Diana of the Ephesians! the Republican politicians these days seem to be drawn from the local asylums, or are so clueless, corrupt, and/or hypocritical they shouldn't be trusted with any sort of authority.  Mind you, I'm not condemning them for their sexual escapades.  I'm condemning them for their efforts to legislate their morality while not even living by what they're trying to impose on the rest of us.

I mean, seriously, you have Mike Huckabee, who seemed to have a conscience back when he was a pastor in Pine Bluff and even challenged the judgmentalism of the then-still-growing and not-yet-dominant Fundamentalist wing of the Southern Baptist Convention by preaching a sermon based on the XIVth chapter of Romans to a group of (mostly ministerial) students in Berry Chapel on the campus of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia in the Spring of 1985, but after attaining some fame, he was seen jamming on his Fox television show with Ted Nugent (who has songs about rape and sexual predation and sex with underage girls), and now regularly engages in fear- and hate-mongering, catering to the ignorance and prejudices of those from whom he seeks support in his bid for the Republican nomination for President by spewing the same sort of judgmental nonsense he himself condemned in that very sermon.
What?  You didn't think anyone knew about that, Mike?  How you handed the Fundamentalists their own asses for being such asses toward those with whom they disagreed?  Surely you remember the sermon?  Others certainly do.  You were right then;  the sermon was exactly what those students needed to hear, whether it sank in for all of them or not (it unfortunately did not, but anyway, at least you said what you should have said).  You're wrong now.  You may have been a good preacher, but you have made a lousy politician.  Maybe you should be still and listen for a while, to find if you have a vocation or not, and to what.

You have Ted Cruz, who is quite possibly the stupidest fucking person to ever draw breath and who frequently affects a pitiful facial expression in order to seem ... what?  Pious?  Worthy of sympathy?  I'm not entirely sure what he's trying to do with those eyebrows in that position, but it's definitely an affectation.  He's not intelligent enough to have read and understood Machiavelli, but yeah, he's up to something with that facial expression.

You have Scott Walker, whose "brilliant" economic theories as governor have fucked his state.

You have Donald Trump, who made the compassionate (not!) expression "You're fired!" into a television show, who expresses sexist and racist views, and who may be even more of a verbally obnoxious douchebag than Chris (Republican Governor of New Jersey and Presidential wannabe) Christie.

You have Ben Carson, who pisses and moans about use of fetal tissue in medical research, yet who did the very thing he's now condemning and even published an academic paper about it:

You have Rand Paul, whose first name was given in honor of Ayn Rand, the "philosopher" who was so weighted down by emotional baggage over her family being persecuted in the USSR that she couldn't come up with a rational philosophy or take an honest look at the fact that the USSR was never remotely Communist, and so instead came up with the nonsensical, illogical, and, frankly, anti-Christian "Objectivism," which declares greed a virtue.

And yet, all these "Christians" (perhaps more accurately, pseudo-Christians) of the Protestant Fundamentalist variety are running around sucking up her idiocy because although of course they insist that the bible is the "inerrant word of God," they're nevertheless willing to completely fucking ignore three chapters out of Matthew (V-VII) because those chapters are where the biggest chunk of Jesus' ethical teaching is found, and that chunk of teaching is almost pure socialism by today's economic standards, and that good Mormon crybaby Glenn Beck told them that the social gospel is something invented by modern Leftists.  You know, the Mormon?  Most Protestant Fundamentalists view Mormonism as a cult, or at least they did until a few Mormons decided to become well-known Republicans and/or "Objectivists."
Oh, and that's the same chunk of Matthew where Jesus said that praying in public was a bad idea, too, but these same jackholes want to make laws to require public-led public prayer in public schools.  And of course, those aren't the only "inconvenient" passages in their "sacred" book that they ignore, but let's save that for another discussion.

I am totally at a loss as to how these people can in any seriousness consider themselves American OR Christian.