Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Well Done, Tom Petty!

Sue Michele Bachmann for damages or change the title to Un-American girl.
Good for you, Tom!

Rewarding Hard Work, The Republican Way

Here's another great idea from starlet crackpot presidential candidate Michele Bachmann: Let's do away with the federally-mandated minimum wage. And why not? Anyone should be able to "live" on $2 a day, as they do in much of the world anyway.

What is wrong with a country in which a large number of people promote/are swayed by this kind of supposedly pro-employment drivel? What is wrong with a country where we cannot agree that dignity and work should go hand-in-hand, and where the minimum wage is less than half of what is needed just to make ends meet (i.e. to live with dignity, not in the lap of luxury)?

When a presidential candidate's solution for the dire straits in which the middle-class navigates life in the USA these days is to remove even the paltry protection from complete exploitation that the minimum wage offers, instead of rising against corporations that pay no U.S. taxes in spite of reaping epochal profits; when you live in a country where a presidential candidate can answer, without a shade of shame, "that's uniquely American" to a woman who had just told him that she had to pick up three jobs just to make ends meet, and people re-elect him for another four years of making fools of us all; when Republican leaders hold the middle-class hostage and the ransom is extended tax cuts for corporation and Uncle Scrooges and cuts for social programs: that is the sign you live in a country that has fucked-up priorities. In that, at least, we still seem to be number one.

Monday, June 27, 2011

America's Last Stand

"No, we will not balance the budget on the backs of working families, the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor, who have already sacrificed enough in terms of lost jobs, lost wages, lost homes, and lost pensions. Yes, we will demand that millionaires and billionaires and the largest corporations in America contribute to deficit reduction as a matter of shared sacrifice. Yes, we will reduce unnecessary and wasteful spending at the Pentagon. And, no we will not be blackmailed once again by the Republican leadership in Washington..."

So begin Sen. Bernie Sanders's remarks, given today on the floor of the Senate. Please read Sen. Sanders's entire floor speech, particularly if you are inclined to support the Republicans' view of budgetary issues. Perhaps you will be touched by the senator's words, perhaps you won't. If that's the case you are an ideologue and nothing will move you. I just hope that you will never find yourself in the situations that Sen. Sanders's correspondents described to him.

But if you do not emphatize with Sen. Sanders's plea and with the cry for help of those who sent their prayers to him, if you don't realize that these are not people who are looking for handouts but regular folks, who are tired of being financially raped by those who rule unopposed (not the politicians, but those that buy their services) while they themselves struggle to keep a roof on their heads, food on their table, life-saving medication in their pill-box, and gas in their tank in spite of doing everything they were told and taught to do, then maybe I should wish the same dire predicaments on you as well, for that might be the only way you can regain the humanity you lost somewhere along your ephemeral trek on this planet. No one is born without a shred of humanity.

We are, save rare exceptions, all born with the ability to feel our kin's suffering, to feel empathy for one another, to be compassionate. We are taughtby the masters of the ideology of selfishness, the children of Ayn Rand and of American biblical fundamentalism's incestuous relationship with corporate power, to look at others as if they were so different from ourselves, to think that if they need help it's because they have failed, because they made the wrong choices, because they are lazy, and because they expect the tyrannical state to help them instead of an imaginary god, be it the Christian god, or Mammon or who knows what other irrational distortion of reality.

If you are so lost in your own selfish idolatry that you fail to be moved by Sen. Sanders's words, I pity you because you are a failure to the god you worship, whatever it is, and a miserable fellow traveler in this life.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Michele Bachmann's Derangement Is A Threat To This Nation's Future

You MUST read Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone scathing and frightening article about rising Republican star Michele Bachmann. Death Star is probably more appropriate*, since everything she stands for (hypocrisy, theocracy, indoctrination) is antithetical to the well-being of the United States.

Bachmann, who likes to rail against the evil of socialism (which in her complete ignorance, or deviousness, she equates with communism) and the infiltration of the U.S. government by socialist elements, works feverishly to bring about a much more dangerous form of government than the European style socialism that she inveighs against: A Christian fundamentalist theocracy that is posed to plunge the nation into a new intellectual dark age.

It is therefore no surprise that she is earning the endorsement of Christian fundamentalists all over the place. Christian fundamentalists are the ones who do not understand (or choose to not understand) the humongous gulf that separates socialism from communism, progressive taxation from confiscation of wealth, or big government from a form of government that seeks (or should seek, in principle) to eradicate discrimination, to lessen the societal blight of hereditary privilege, to protect the right of all citizens to believe (or not to believe) without institutionalizing favoritism for one creed over another, to promote access to education, healthcare, and good nutrition, for all children regardless of the societal standing of their parents, and so forth.

I do know to consider Bachmann a serious candidate for the President's Office in 2012 seems ludicrous, but we live in a nation that has begun a long time ago to make politics tragicomical matter, instead of the serious business that successful countries are supposed to value. Like Taibbi says in his article, there are millions of Americans who are determined to make laughter at Bachmann's expense the fuel to rocket her into the White House. Even if it will make America the laughingstock it would deserve to be should that happen.

*Just so you know, I used the term death star before I got the end of Taibbi's article only to find he had used the same term at the end of his article, although in a slight different manner.

Friday, June 03, 2011

A Pioneer Dies, R.I.P.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian died today at age 83. No introduction should be needed. This is a man who will hopefully be remembered as the man who charted a new path for human dignity.

There are millions of fundamentalist Christians out there who will no doubt not grieve his death, many will even rejoice (luckily not all believers will do so). Dr. Kevorkian was reviled by many because his convictions were viewed in stark contrast with the concept of the sanctity of life. That is quite ironic, since only a person who had high regard for human life and human dignity would concede that a human being should not have to endure prolonged and needless suffering for the sake of not offending a supposedly benevolent life-giver and creator and the feelings of the adherents to his religion, regardless of whether the terminally ill, suffering poor sonofabitch who seeks to end his torture is a believer himself or not. (This, by the way, is why people like me don't believe those fundamentalist Christians who maintain that their goal is not to establish a theocracy: it is, don't be fooled, and in many ways they have succeeded in furthering their goal.) Only a person who is serious about the value of the life, all life--not only his own but that of others as well, would choose to sacrifice a large chunk of his own by going to prison for upholding his convictions. So today all people with a good heart and sound rational powers, in the United States and around the world, should mourn the loss of Dr. Kevorkian, whether they agreed with everything he stood for or not.

What is particularly ironic is that religious advocates of the sanctity of human life are often on the same side of the ideological divide with those who show absolutely no regard for the life of anything which is not a zygote or a foetus or, at the other extreme, a corporation. Anything in between is fair game for predators, political, ideological, and financial.

As Jon Stewart deftly showed on last night's Daily Show, those who are adamant that they would not raise taxes on the wealthiest among us are also quite adamant that people affected by the recent swarm of deadly tornadoes should sweat for every penny of aid they seek from the government (it's their money, too, by the way).

Long live the memory and the legacy of Dr. Kevorkian, a true pioneer, a man who has done more to advance the cause of human dignity than the vast majority of those who reviled his convictions as murderous.
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