Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anger - A Rant

Dear Republicans,

Fuck you. No, I'm not joking. I'm sick of this bullshit.

I'm sick of the way you've corrupted the public discourse. The way you've made it acceptable to hurl any insult you like at public officials. The way you blame us for the current atmosphere of hatred by accusing us of starting it with hating Bush. Like Bush didn't come on the heels of eight years of your tireless efforts to destroy Clinton by any means necessary, like Bush didn't give us good reason to complain. A couple of posters on a website compared Bush to Hitler and you've used it as free license to compare Obama to Hitler 24/7 and I'm sick of your hypocrisy, where it's acceptable to say shit about Obama that you would have had an apopletic fit (and did) if anythign remotely similar had been said about your guys. Keith Olbermann calls Cheney a fascist when he was actually using fascist tactics and you think that gives you the freedom to call Obama a fascist, socialist, Marxist constantly for no reason at all. Fuck you and your bullshit false equivelancy.

I'm sick of the way you've made the populace stupid. Around a fifth of your populace thinks the sun orbits the earth, over half think evolution never happened. Your populace actually believe the media has a liberal bias. Not because it has, you have the most conservative media in the free world, but because you've shouted it so loud and so often that you've brainwashed the public into believing it, like the battered wife who parrots her husband's insults. You've got a whole segment of the populace shouting about socialism and fascism and none of them know what the fucking words mean. You've convinced them that fascism is a left-wing thing. You've got them so turned around that some of them actually believe global warming isn't happening. Fuck you.

I'm sick of the way you try to destroy the whole concept of government. You've tricked the people into believing that government can't do anything right, always being careful to exclude the army because you love your bullets and bombs but you've so destroyed the public's ability to reason that they don't even think of interstate highways, the space program, the national parks program, etc. Government is always great when it's doing what you tell it and inevitibly corrupt when it isn't. Fuck you.

I'm sick of your rewriting of history. You've bleated so loud and long that Reagan was a great president, that the New Deal didn't work, that cutting taxes increases revenues, that you actually have the people believing this bullshit. And these are the same people who will go on to become teachers and fill their student's heads with this self-same bullshit. Reagan was a mediocre president at best who had teh good fortune to be in power when the USSR collapsed under it's own weight and you bastards have turned him into teh Second Coming. You've rewritten history so that everything foul and hateful and wrong can be attributed to a Democrat while everything worthwhile is a Republican's glory. Fuck you.

I'm sick of your dragging the centre ever further to the right. How many whackjob fringe ideas have you dragged into the mainstream? The aforementioned idea that tax cuts increase revenues, the Laffer Curve, the idea that Welfare harms the poor, the idea that there's rampant fraud in Welfare, the idea that whatever is good for corporations is good for the country. And you push these ideas through your corporate media and you do it so long and loud that they become part of the accepted political landscape and because it is easier to tell a lie than to debunk one, we never get away from this rancid shit. Fuck you.

I'm sick of your casual criminality. Teddy Kennedy, a man who's boots you were not worthy to lick, was just buried and all I've heard from my rightist friends for days is Chappaquidick, Chappaquiddick, Chappaquidick. Your fucking golden boy raped the Constitution, mainly because he wanted to; tortured random people (and waterboarding is torture, fuck you too) essentially because he wanted to; spent like a drunken sailor, essentially because he wanted to; invaded a soverign nation, essentially for the loot and destroyed people's lives, essentially for the evilulz and you bastards are obsessed with a fucking accident a Democrat had decades ago? You don't go on about Laura Bush killing some guy decades ago. Fuck you.

I'm sick of you praising pure evil. You're letting Dick Cheney be the standard-bearer for Republicanism. Dick Cheney, a man so nakedly evil that even his friends call him "Darth"; a man so callous that Lex Luthor would recoil in terror; a man who probably has dismembered hitchhikers in those man-sized safes and kills plants by his mere proximity. Fuck you.

I'm sick of your attempts to tilt the playing field permanently in your favour. Democrats filibustered a few of Bush's most hateful judicial picks and you pricks started screaming about doing away with the filibuster but now you're in the minority, you're filibustering absolutely everything you can and whining when you don't get the chance. You ignored everything the Democrats had to say when you had power and now that you don't, you scream that everyone must be bipartisan. You don't budge a fucking inch on anything but you insist that everyone must compromise to meet you. That's your idea of politics: Don't move an inch, force the other guy to come to the right to meet you and call the result a "compromise". Fuck you.

I'm sick of your corporatism. You dress it up in false populism but anyone with half a brain can see that you're the brought and paid for subsidiary of big business. You keep pushing tax cuts as the answer for absolutely everything, you keep sabotaging every attempt to control the excesses of big business. You geuinely think the world would be a better place if it was a combination of Bill Gibson's dystopian vision of a corporate dominated world and Ayn Rand's bullshit Objectivism, yet another entry in mankind's endless attempts to find a moral justification for naked greed. You've taken the clinically insane spewings of a woman literally to the right of Hitler (pardon my Godwins) and the 1984-like vision of a dystopian author and convinced yourselves that would be a good place to live. Big business is the enemy of the people, always has been. The ideal for the corporate class is to have a small pool of people rich enough to buy their fucking crap and a much larger pool of people so poor and with so few options that they can be used and abused at the corporation's whim. A corporation's objective is not to look after you, it is to make ever-larger profits by any means necessary. You bastards want to reinstate fucking slavery to the corporate class and you've made the public so fucking stupid that they actually swallow the bullshit you're serving up, they actually want to enslave themselves to the corporations that abuse them at every turn. They actually care more about the corporations right to make obscene profits than they care about their child's right to live on a habitable planet. Fuck you.

Fuck you, you scumridden shitehawks, you make me sick. Just fuck off and die.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I wonder...

I wonder sometimes, what it must be like to be an American conservative. To believe wholeheartedly in such an outrageous collection of fictions, exagerations and lies. To believe that Obama isn't a US citizen; that global warming is unproven; that the jury is still out on evolution; that government is always the problem; that taxes on the rich are always too high; that a world run by corporations for their own benefit is a desireable objective; that Keith Olbermann is in some way equivelent to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck; that waterboarding and wallslamming aren't torture, no matter what 500 years of history says; that Bush "kept us safe" and Reagan "won the Cold War"; that cutting taxes increases revenues; that Clinton was unusually corrupt and Bush did not deserve impeachment a dozen times over; that the media has a liberal bias, the Obama administration is already unusually sleazy and Faux news is "fair and balanced".

I'm mentally ill. I have an excuse for believing utter bunkum. What makes me shudder is that supposedly sane people exist who believe this collection of bullshit and fairytales and not only that but they get elected to national office.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dude, Where's My Religious Rights?

I am a man of faith. I am a Luciferian Satanist. In extremely simplified terms, that means I believe that Satan (whom we call Lucifer) exists and is best described as a noble rebel against an unjust and tyrannical God. That's extremely simplistic as I don't wish to bore you by explaining the theology but those are my beliefs. It's an unorthodox faith, certainly, but faith all the same. A friend once described it as similar to the internal struggle at Disney. Roy Disney (playing Lucifer here), while remaining loyal to the ideals and dream of Disney, became dissatisfied with the direction Michael Eisner (God) was taking the company and attempted to organise a revolt of stockholders (the rest of us). It's a good analogy and, for the most part, it works. Lord Lucifer is not some medieval loanshark stalking New England offering to exchange souls for material wealth. He (and the masculine is used purely for convienience) is former upper-management attempting to organise resistence to the regime of the existing CEO. Yes, He is also a general but this war will not be fought on the plains of Israel but in the hearts and minds of all of us.

I explain this not because I'm trying to convert you (actively seeking to convert others is not allowed) but so that you have some idea of where I'm coming from and don't fall prey to the common misconceptions of my faith. The right like to talk a great deal about their religious freedoms, usually when they're not under threat. The argument is near-constantly made that the legality of same-sex marriage in some states or abortion is an attack on their religious liberties. Naturally, that's not only wrong but ridiculously wrong. The simple existence of something you disapprove of doesn't threaten your rights but, to take their argument at face value, what about my religious rights?

See, your Constitution (and Article 9 of the ECHR which the UK is a signatory to) makes no distinction between religions. It says that your faith (or lack thereof, and the ECHR makes that part explicit) is on exactly the same level as my own. Your religious rights do not trump mine, regardless of our respective numbers. The documents do not say "all religions except Satanism". If you believe your religious freedoms must be legally respected, you have to respect mine as well and the disproportionate numbers of Christianity make precisely no difference. The ECHR also explicitly guarantees the right to freedom from religion and to freedom to change one's religion. Those rights are implicit in the First Amendment to the Constitution but they are not codified (that is, made explicit by being written down).. So, we're on equal grounds, right?

In which case, why should your religious rights trump mine with regard to same-sex marriage. My faith says that, in the wild dance of creation, some will love the opposite sex and some will love the same sex and it's all good. Love, real love, is a merging of souls and the love shared between two men or two women is exactly the same in quality as the love shared between a husband and wife so why should we take issue with two people's love because the bodies their souls currently reside in share the same configuration of genitals? My faith says that love should be preserved wherever possible. I hold a minister's license and I will happily marry any two people who want to be married (due to the UK laws, it won't carry any legal weight until registered though). Since the only arguement against same-sex marriage is religious (and it is, the other arguments can be disposed of in a matter of seconds), why should your religious objections to same-sex marriage trump my own religious beliefs which says that same-sex marriage is just as laudable as hetero marriage? Do you only respect that faith which agrees with you? Well, probably you do because if you're arguing against same-sex marriage, you're probably a militant fundie and the hallmark of militant fundies (of any stripe, both theist and atheist) is the utter belief in their own rightness.

In fact, that's true generally. In the US (and almost uniquely in the US), the populace impose their own religious test on public officials. With a very few exceptions, non-Christians cannot get elected. In coded language, the argument is often made that you can't trust them because they're not Christian. Can you imagine if there was ever any kind of similar whisper campaign against a Christian candidate? Can you imagine if there was robocalls saying "Senator Bachman worships a sadistic sky-god who sacrificed himself to himself to appease himself"? Bill O'Lielly wouldn't shut up about it for a year. See, we believe that God really does disapprove of same-sex marriage. We believe that God does that because God is a sadistic bastard who doesn't want people to be happy but I'm curious why you guys think that a benevolent God doesn't want gay people to be happy. Does your God create people with the express purpose of being abused? I think so but you guys tend to disagree.

I don't live in the USA but if I did, chances are my religious beliefs would be abused all the time. I believe it is a moral wrong to allow people to be denied healthcare but your country (or at least, the right-wing who run the country) seem to think it would be a sin to provide healthcare. I believe it is a moral wrong to deny gay people the chance to be happily married and a significant portion of your nation wants to enshrine that moral wrong in law. Would my religious rights be infringed by a law which I consider to enshrine a sin? If not, then your religious rights are also not being infringed by recognising same-sex marriage. If so, then our faiths are considered to be legally equal so why are my religious rights being trumped by yours?

Faith can be a great thing for some people. Some of us find peace, purpose or wisdom in a faith. Others find them in a philosophy or in the works of great minds and that's all good (my faith is the right one for me, whether it is right for you is a decision you have to make on your own). Some find the inspiration in their faith to do great things, such as the Rev Martin Luther King or Dr Barnado. But when religion becomes not a matter of faith and introspection but a matter of dogma, when it becomes a case not of faith in the deity or the teachings but in the institution and rules, it becomes a tool for evil. When the institution of a faith views itself as a tool for shaping law, then that institution will act to preserve the world as it wishes the world to be. Faith is about the search for the self, it isn't (or shouldn't be) an excuse for forcing others to live your way.

I've read the Bible, many times. Jesus had some admirable things to say and his teachings stand by themselves. Assuming we take the Bible as an accurate record (I don't but many do), Jesus spoke at great length and with eloquence about the plight of the poor, about social justice, about equality and tolerance and the need for good people to aid others. Granted, it's been a while but I don't remember anywhere where he says "QUEERS NOT INCLUDED".

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It has been twenty years since President Obama was swept from office. In those twenty years, the political game has been run by the Republicans. When in power, they pushed their measures through. When not in power, strategic use or threat of the filibuster, the echo chamber of corporate media and corporate backed advertising acted to prevent any progressive legislation from being passed.

The reforms of the New Deal have been swept aside. There is no minimum wage. The workday averages twelve to sixteen hours for an average wage of whatever the corporation feels like paying you. Health insurance in the current sense no longer exists. Instead, you are legally required to buy insurance and, each month, the insurance company will draw twenty claimants at random to have their costs paid. Medicare and Medicaid are gone. If you lose your job and get sick, you die. The conservative Supreme Court ruled in 2022 that forcing hospitals to treat anyone who needed treatment was an unfair infringement on their right to earn profits. Your home is provided by the corporation. Between rent paid to the corporation, out-of-pocket health costs and money owed to the company store, your take-home pay may even be five dollars a month. Your employment is entirely at the whim of your employer. You can be fired at any time for any reason. Your welfare payments will last a week and there is an ongoing effort to remove those amid cries that the US cannot afford it. Military costs now average 70% of government spending and we are at war with Eastasia.

I say this not because I want this to happen. I say this because this is the dream of the corporate class. Not because they are evil men (although you and I may think so) but because, to them, all that matters is the economy. When I wrote this scenario (in far greater detail), I wrote it as the background for a dystopian roleplay game I was working on. I never thought it would happen but I was wrong.

Because if something as simple, as plainly commonsense as a public option can be turned into a cause celebre for the corporate class and the horrifying faction of morons they lead around by the nose, then there are no limits. If a public option can be bargained away, anything is up for grabs. And the dream of the corporate class, of the owner class, has always been of an employee class completely at their mercy, as they were prior to the New Deal. And I now, even as I write this, that using the words "corporate class", talking about the division between the "malefactors of great wealth" and the serfs who labour for their enrichment will cause some, perhaps many, to label me a socialist or even a communist. Because people don't know or care what those words mean anymore. Now, it seems that we just accept entirely unregulated, free-for-all capitalism as a divine imperative and anything which deviates from that, even slightly, gets you labelled a socialist. Talking about providing for the less fortunate, in any way, makes you a commie. Compassion is outlawed, by public disdain, if not by law.

I'm trying to be angry here. Normally, I can deliver a pound of fresh outrage fresh on your doorstep every morning but today, I'm just fuckin sad. The civilised world would love to see you, America, but you never return our calls anymore.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dear Mr President

Dear Mr President,
First off, thanks for reading my letter. I know you're a busy man. I know you have the demands of both your job and your family to balance and your time is precious so I won't take up too much of it.

Mr President, what are you doing? I'm hearing ugly rumours that you may allow the public option to be "compromised", that is, either removed or watered down to insignificance. Sir, did you forget that the public option was the compromise position in the first place? The left-wing option was single payer, a system I live under here in the UK; the right wing option was doing virtually nothing and the public option was in the middle. "Compromising" away the public option isn't compromise, it's capitulation. It's continuing the politics of the last twenty years where the right refuse to budge at all, the left gradually come to meet them and we call the result "compromise".

Sir, are you deluding yourself into thinking that if you "compromise" some more, the Republicans will vote for this thing? They won't. There are perhaps two reasonable Republicans left in Congress, they're already looking increasingly uncomfortable in their party and they probably would have voted for a halfway decent public option. Two Republican votes and that's it. Th rest are not open to negotiation or compromise. It wouldn't have mattered what was in the bill, they would vote against it anyway because it's not about the bill, it's about you. They hate you, Mr President. They hate you even more than they hated Bill Clinton. Part of it is because of your ethnicity but mainly, it's because you're a Democrat and the only way the modern Republican party knows to deal with Democrats is to attack constantly. No negotiation, no compromise, no reason, just endless attack.

Mr President, you will never win these people over, stop trying. Craft the best bill you can. If they have worthwhile ideas to offer, include them but don't pursue bipartisanship just for the sake of it. The public doesn't care about bipartisanship, they care about getting things done. Just craft your bill. If some Republicans vote for it, great. If not, no great loss. This isn't a collegiate meeting, this is a war. You're seeing yourself as a referee and the Congressional Republicans are seeing themselves as a pugilist. Guess which one of you is going to get hit?

These people are not interested in what you have to say. They are interested only in sabotaging you. They will sabotage everything you try to do, they will spread lies about you and, if given the slightest opportunity, they will impeach you. Sir, I know you haven't done anything to warrant impeachment, it doesn't matter. They are trying to destroy you and if you don't give them the opportunity, they'll make one up. If you do not pass a string public option, the Republicans will run their 2010 and 2012 campaigns on your inability to fulfill your campaign promises because they torpedoed them. These people are not logical, sir, and they can't be reasoned with.

Sir, you were elected with an overwhelming majority in Congress and the Republicans are still running the show. They are still blustering you into siding with their position. You are being turned into the puppet of the right fringe and they're going to try and destroy you anyway. Mr President, what is it going to take? When are you going to realise that you cannot rely on these maniacs to act in the best interests of the country? They are going to act in the best interests of themselves and the corporations they are the political arm for. Sir, I know you're a comic book fan. Me too. You are trying to negotiate with Lex Luthor, sir, with the Kingpin, with the Joker and you are losing.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Right Goes Crazy

Anyone else noticed that the right have lost their minds of late? Now, I'm diagnosed mentally ill, I'm allowed to call others crazy but the right's base, that roughly 25% of the country that stuck with Bush to the end seem to have collectively gone completely tonto.

Let's start with the Birthers. I've avoided talking about the Birthers because I was under the impression that they were a despised but extremely vocal minority but according to recent surveys, they may even constitute the majority of the base in the South.

Let's not mince words here, the Birthers are insane. Obama's birth certificate has been posted online and they complain that a Certificate of Live Birth isn't the same as a birth certificate (they're exactly the same thing). The Hawaii state department has confirmed that Obama was born there and that's not good enough. Two birth announcements were placed in Hawaiin newspapers at the time and that's not good enough. They complain that Obama's father was a British citizen (true) and therefore, Obama isn't an American citizen (false, as several of the Founders were in the same position). The Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to waste their time on this nonsense. One gets the impression that handwritten note from the Almighty wouldn't be enough proof for these people. They're crazy, utterly Dagenham (two stops up from Barking). The Birther movement appears to be a straight up split between racists convinced that a black man cannot possibly be a natural-born citizen (usually they will defend themselves with the bullshit argument that they haven't mentioned race); crazy conspiranoids who will believe absolutely frickin' anything if it complies with their pre-existing fantasies and rabid Obama-haters determined to destroy him by any means available.

That last group are interesting. Some deny their own hatreds under the banner of patriotism (the last refuge of the scoundrel, according to Johnson), others are blunt about their mission to destroy Obama. Sometimes they defend themselves with the usual false comparison to how Bush was treated. Naturally, they forget that Bush was given pretty much a free pass from the media for most of his first term (if you genuinely believe the US media has a liberal bias, you need to kill yourself and remove your stupidity from the gene pool), they forget that Dubya gave us a lot more valid reasons for complaint and they ignore that W's stint came directly after eight years of non-stop Clinton witch-hunting when every rumour and smear was treated as cause for charges of treason. In other words, if the atmosphere had become toxic, it was because the right had made it so. All of the accusations were bullshit of course and David Brock, who broke many of those stories (and has since apologised and tried to make amends) is refreshingly honest about their motives in his autobiography, Blinded By The Right. There was not so much a conspiracy as a generally understood aim on the right that the public had no right to vote in a Democrat and therefore, it was the duty of Republicans to destroy him by any means necessary. It's clear that if Clinton hadn't been impeached for misuse of presidential cigars, he would have been impeached for something, such was the Republican hatred of him.Reagan's administration committed crimes which warranted impeachment by any reasonable standard and nothing happened. Clinton's only crime was an entirely consensual affair with an adult woman and he gets impeached. W rapes the Constitution and deserved impeachment a dozen times over and yet, nothing happens. Obama is allegedly a socialist for saving America's collosal banks and you better damn well believe that the right are already looking for some way to impeach him.

There is a double standard here. A naked and blatant double standard. Democrats are expected to conduct themselves like saints in their private lives and paragons of statesmanship in their professional ones or they'll be impeached at a moment's notice. Republicans are free to conduct their personal and professional lives like the bastard offspring of Lex Luthor and Jack The Ripper but because they are Republicans, they are always right and can do no wrong. It's the refuge in audacity, a lesson that the previous administration learned far too well: You can get away with pretty much anything if you're brazen enough about it.

Then there's the health care crazies. Now, I'm not talking here of those who have reasonable concerns about cost, availability, government power or the technicalities of the bill. All of those are legitimate topics for discussion but euthanasia? Really? We're going to have a discussion about euthanasia? Well, actually, we're not. I'm going to have a discussion about it, the right are going to work themselves into spit-flecked madmen over it.

There are no "death panels". There never have been, the proposed legislation would not create them and the chances of this president creating them are slim to none. The proposed legislation simply proposes paying the cost for the discussion which you will someday have to have with your doctor about end-of-life care. Someday, everyone will need to have that discussion. If not for themselves, with regard to a spouse or loved one. That's an unfortunate fact of life and no reasonable person is going to judge the outcome of that discussion. But proposing to reimburse the doctor for that conversation (or encouraging people to take out living wills, which is also in the legislation) is not the same thing as a "death panel" (and incidently, that would make a great name for a thrash band). To enact the latter would take far more than a couple of lines in a proposed healthcare bill. It would take a sea change in public morality and feelings, a completely different set of legislators and, by the way, what are the chances of the courts holding it to be lawful anyway? Also by the way, I thought conservatives were meant to be pro-life? And yet, the right is coming very close to advocating actual treason over legislation which actually would extend life. Interesting. This isn't protecting the people from government, this is protecting insurance corporations from the people.

Likewise, there are no plans to cover illegal immigrants or sex changes. I don't know but I doubt that there are plans to cover abortions, given that the issue is radioactive in the States. But really, this just illustrates my point: The right's utter willingness to wholeheartedly believe (and say, even in Congress) things of Democrats that would have brought cries of treason if they had been said of Bush. If you think Obama wants to euthanise your granny, you're an idiot. If you believe Obama wants to sieze your guns, you're an armed idiot and if you think Obama wants to give your guns to an illegal immigrant to kill your god, you're Bill O'Lielly.

This is all horseshit. There is no plan to sieze your guns and, barring an outright insurrection, there won't be. There is no plan to kill your grandparents. Saving America's collosal (and politically powerful) banks and auto makers from collapse is not socialism. Obama isn't a socialist, communist, Marxist or fascist. He's not even especially liberal. He's a left-leaning moderate, same as Clinton was (and I'm aware that I'm talking to the people who think Bill Clinton was the devil). He hasn't moved on DADT, on civil unions (he's already come out against same-sex marriage), his SCOTUS pick was a wildly qualified and sensible moderate (and incidently, the right's ciriticism of her also used rampant racist tactics). Don't misunderstand, I can find a hundred things to ciriticise Obama for (two of which are above) but the right aren't criticising Obama, they're criticising an acid trip hallucination of Obama.

And while we're talking about this meaningless piffle, right-wing protesters (and I will do a favour they certainly won't return by pointing out that this is a small faction) are actively disrupting Democratic meetings with constituents. Glenn Beck can make jokes about poisoning Nancy Pelosi; Bill-O can talk about "Tiller the Baby Killer" a thousand times and yet, Keith Olbermann's carefully-phrased rants about policy issues are held to be equivelent? I'm sorry, I don't throw this word around much because I know too well what it actually means but the or threat of force, using intimidation to drown out the opposing side is fascist in the literal, academic meaning of that word. And so, we arrive at a position where a small but vocal minority of the right have embraced outright fascism. And they have constructed the situation very carefully to avoid any kind of restraint. You can't take away their weapons due to the 2nd Amendment (although I'm unclear if the 2nd covers taking a gun away from a would-be domestic terrorist). You can't even ask them or their corporate media enablers to dial it back a notch or they scream that their 1st Amendment rights are being surpressed and amp it up even further. Souting "FIRE!" in a crowded theatre isn't covered by the 1st but apparently, doing the same to a segment of the population that currently resembles a powderkeg is covered.

So where do we go from here?