Category Archives: Political

The personal IS political

Persecution: a chilling reminder of the Holocaust

Persecution: noun. Hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race, political or religious beliefs

Today I hiked up to Portland’s amazing Japanese Garden. Close by is the small but extremely poignant memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

Almost 25 million civilians perished in Europe in World War II, almost 6 million Jews and millions of others [homosexuals, liberals and intellectuals, gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, labor leaders, etc.] fell victim to racial hatred and premeditated murder carried out by Nazi Germany and its collaborators…  Hitler blamed these people for the country’s post- WWI woes and promised stability.

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At the memorial are bronze castings of the things that the men, women and children had to leave behind as they fled for their lives (only to die of starvation or gassing soon after). A doll, a broken violin, a book, a boot and some spectacles, a teddy bear.

These were people who lived and loved, worked and played, just like you and me. Am I being melodramatic? Maybe. But enough hate has been unleashed since the election of DT that we see America’s underbelly. The man himself is a narcissist and sociopath with zero compassion for others. Nor do the people he wants to appoint instill any faith in me.

Someone named Elliott Lustzig wrote about Hannah Arendt’s book on the rise of totalitarianism what  a couple of days ago:

Decent liberals in of 1930s Germany would “fact-check” the Nazis’ bizarre claims about Jews, as if they were meant to be factual. What they failed to understand, she suggests, is that the Nazi’s Jew-hating statements were not statements of fact, but declarations of intent. So when someone would blame the Jews for Germany’s defeat in WWI, naive people would counter by saying there’s no evidence of that.

What the Nazis were doing was not describing what was *true*, but what would *have to be true* to justify what they planned to do next. 

Did 3 million “illegals” cast votes in this election? Clearly not. But fact-checking is just a way of playing along with their game. So… Trump may be saying that 3 million illegals voted, but what he means is: I’m going to steal the voting rights of millions of Americans.

This has already happened in several GOP-led states where they’ve used voter ID laws, restricted voting sites and restricted voting hours, to make it very difficult for minorities, immigrants, students and the poor to vote.

Fact-checkers are exhausted trying to keep up with the blizzard of lies coming from Trump and his representatives. And they don’t give a fuck.

Yeah. I’m upset.

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Parallel Planets: right wing’s grip on reality

[A repost from 2009. The GOP is still out there in lala land.]

Parallel: adj. extending in the same direction, everywhere equidistant, and not meeting

Planet: n. one of the large bodies that revolve around the sun in the solar system

This was quite a week in la-la land, where hate crimes are a reflection of one’s faith, a decrease in one’s taxes is a cause for a taxpayer revolt, and patriotic disgust at the duly elected Obama administration is sufficient reason for Texas to secede.

The unhappy rightmost fringe of the GOP exists not only on a different planet from everyone else on earth, they also run arguments that directly contradict other of their pet arguments.

We’ll take Tony Perkins first (of the Christian group – Family Research Council). He has created a website “fighthatecrimes.org” to OPPOSE a bill currently in Congress that says people who harm other people because they’re different (gay) will be prosecuted.  Isn’t the first rule of Christianity, “Love Your Neighbor as yourself?”

Then we have the TeaBaggers, who are protesting Anything and Everything Obama – currently “taxation without representation” – even though American voters went resoundingly for Obama last November and 69% support him today. And even though almost all of the protesters’ taxes will be lower, thanks to his tax cuts.

Gail Collins at the NY Times notes:

Have you ever noticed that the states where anti-tax sentiment is strongest are frequently the same states that get way more back from the federal government than they send in? Alaska gets $1.84 for every tax dollar it sends to Washington, which is a rate of return even Bernard Madoff never pretended to achieve. Yet there they were in Ketchikan waving “Taxed Enough Already!” signs and demanding an end to federal spending.

Then we go to Texas, where Governor Rick Perry (whose hair is almost as perfect as Senator John Boehner’s or Ex-Gov Blagojevich) thinks Texas should secede from the United States.  (And wasn’t Todd Palin into that as well, up in Alaska??)

Collins continues:

Have you noticed how places that pride themselves on being superpatriotic seem to have the most people who want to abandon the country entirely and set up shop on their own?

“What a great crowd,” Perry twittered, referring to the protesters he addressed in Austin, some of whom were waving American flags and yelling “Secede!”

Back when we protested the Iraq war, we were called unpatriotic and much worse; we were called traitors. “You’re either with us or you’re with the enemy…”

What makes this tax season so different from a couple hundred tax seasons that preceded it?  Last week’s protests were almost exclusively populated by white folks… Could it have anything to do with racism??

Need I mention that Obama is black?

Angry people need scapegoats – it’s the Mexicans taking our jobs and raking in welfare; it’s the black guys taking over the government.  But no one wants to admit being racist so instead they protest taxes, regulations, religious “persecution”.

Palin’s Party now…

Palin: n. Alaska’s almost former governor, who giddily and incoherently quit her job last week. (“No more politics as usual!”)

Party: n. that would be the Republican party, the party of the hypocritical Christian right

I hoped never again to have to use the P word that ends -alin. But here we are, confronting that woman from Wasilla.  Frank Rich at the NY Times says:

In the aftermath of her decision to drop out and cash in, Palin’s standing in the G.O.P. actually rose in the USA Today/Gallup poll. No less than 71 percent of Republicans said they would vote for her for president. That overwhelming majority isn’t just the “base” of the Republican Party that liberals and conservatives alike tend to ghettoize as a rump backwater minority. It is the party, or what remains of it in the Barack Obama era.

71% of Republicans would trust this woman to be the CEO of this country???? To keep the economy on an even keel? to negotiate with Iran or North Korea? to resolve the health care crisis? even to bake cupcakes for Piper’s birthday?

That’s why Palin won’t go gently into the good night, much as some Republicans in Washington might wish. She is not just the party’s biggest star and most charismatic television performer; she is its only star and charismatic performer. Most important, she stands for a genuine movement: a dwindling white nonurban America that is aflame with grievances and awash in self-pity as the country hurtles into the 21st century and leaves it behind. Palin gives this movement a major party brand and political plausibility that its open-throated media auxiliary, exemplified by Glenn Beck, cannot. She loves the spotlight, can raise millions of dollars and has no discernible reason to go fishing now except for self-promotional photo ops.

The essence of Palinism is emotional, not ideological. Yes, she is of the religious right, even if she winks literally and figuratively at her own daughter’s flagrant disregard of abstinence and marriage. But family-values politics, now more devalued than the dollar by the philandering of ostentatiously Christian Republican politicians, can only take her so far. The real wave she’s riding is a loud, resonant surge of resentment and victimization that’s larger than issues like abortion and gay civil rights.

And the scary thing is that to the 71% of Republicans who would vote for her, being an uneducated gun-totin’ religious fanatic is a PLUS! Don’t give me facts, give me red meat.   Don’t give me a hand up, give me a pitchfork.

Resentment is toxic, and that’s what Palinistas feed on. I only hope the remaining 29% of relatively sane Republicans can bring a sufficient number of their party buddies around or the GOP is doomed.

Or America is.

Pew on pew-sitters’ support of torture

Pew: n. Pew Research Center, a non-partisan center that looks at American values, religion, and the public life.

Pew-sitter: n. a person who goes to church regularly (the bench is called a pew).

Churchgoers more likely to back torture, survey finds

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new analysis.

More than half of people who attend services at least once a week — 54 percent — said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified. Only 42 percent of people who “seldom or never” go to services agreed, according the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified — more than 6 in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only 4 in 10 of them did.

Honestly this doesn’t surprise me one whit. Jack Cafferty at CNN asked viewers for comments and here are some choice ones:

–Pastors need to address the paradox and say, “You can’t be pro-life and at the same time be pro-death penalty, pro-guns, and pro-torture.”

–I’m not sure that the ‘faithful’ finding torture acceptable should surprise us. Isn’t that what Islamic fundamentalists do? All radicalized forms of thinking lack innate tolerance — that’s what radicalism does, whether it’s based on religion, politics, culture, money or anything else.

–Why? Why?! Really? Jack, c’mon… Can you say, “Crusades?” Can you say, “Holy War?” Can you say, “Jihad?” Nobody loves man’s inhumanity to man more than those who have God on their side.

–Having been tortured sitting through all of those sermons, I think it’s no wonder churchgoers want to share the misery.

Premier of President Obama’s primo first 100 days

Premiere: n. First in occurrence; first showing; highest importance

Primo: adj. of exceptional quality, first class, kickass

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Al Rodgers has assembled a fantastic collection of photographs and accomplishments from President Obama’s first 100 days in office.  It’s not to miss.  Some of the pictures move me to tears.

And what his administration has accomplished so far is mind-boggling, given the radioactive garbage dump Bush and Cheney left us with.

YES WE CAN!

Party-pooping patriots: the Texas GOP

Party-pooper: n. A person who ruins a party by either stopping the fun or not participating in a certain activity

Patriot: n. One who loves, supports, and defends one’s country

The Texas Republican party is such a joke. Half of them love America so much that now the Democrats are in charge they want to take their marbles and go home.  Markos’ post was so priceless today that I give you the whole thing:

We now know that half of Texas’ Republicans want to secede from the United States.  So I have some questions for that crowd:

  • Are you flying an American flag? Because you don’t get to do that when you cry and take your ball home.
  • Do you have a bumper sticker that says, “These colors don’t run”? Because it sure looks like you’re running.
  • Do you still pretend that your party is the “Party of Lincoln”? If so, what part of Lincoln exactly, would that be?
  • Since you’ve spent the last eight years saying “America, love it or leave it”, is that an admission that you don’t love America? Because we liberals loved it and stayed, even when your idiot of a president was trashing the place.
  • Was your patriotism (My country, right or wrong) so skin-deep, that it depended 100 percent on the guy in the White House?
  • That $200 billion Texas got in defense contracts between 2000 and 2007? No more of that. No more Ft. Hood. No more NASA. No more federal largesse. You okay with that?
  • You do realize that the Cowboys will no longer be “America’s Team”, right? Though they’d dominate the two-team Texas Football League (TFL).
  • Population boom: teen and unmarried mothers

    Population: n. : the whole number of people or inhabitants in a country or region

    More babies were born (4.3 million) in the US in 2007 than any other year in our history. Two particular statistics fly in the face of rhetoric from the religious right:

    1. The teen birth rate is up again, for a second year in a row. So much for “abstinence only”.

    Even at the low point in 2005, the United States had the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion of any industrialized country. Because teenage births carry higher risks of medical problems and poverty for mother and child, state health agencies, schools and private groups have mounted educational campaigns to deter teenage pregnancy.

    2. Forty percent (40%!) of last year’s births – to mothers of all ages – were to single women.  Which leads me to believe that heterosexuals don’t much care about the institution of marriage …  and it has nothing to do with gays marrying (or not).

    Along with the boom in birth (less contraceptive use?), we’re seeing a decrease in abortions.

    What I want to know is how many of these new babies were really wanted by their mothers? And if many were not wanted, what problems with troubled children are we going to see in a few years?

    Another worrisome trend is the continuing increase in C-section use:

    In yet another record high, the share of deliveries by Caesarean section reached 32 percent in 2007, up 2 percent from 2006. Experts have repeatedly said some C-sections are not medically necessary and impose excess costs, but the rate has steadily climbed, from 21 percent in 1996.

    Not only are C-sections expensive and invasive, but the baby’s long-term health may be jeopardized:

    Swiss researchers are reporting in the journal Thorax this month that a Caesarean delivery is linked to a much higher risk for asthma compared with babies born vaginally.

    In a study of nearly 3,000 children, the researchers found that 12 percent had been given a diagnosis of asthma by age 8. In that group, those born by C-section were nearly 80 percent more likely than the others to develop asthma. The explanation may be that a vaginal birth “primes” a baby’s immune system by exposing it to various bacteria as it moves through the birth canal.