Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The real problem with Carlos Danger

I do not care at all what consensual behaviors people choose or how they manage their relationships. I don't care if Carlos Danger likes to sext his junk. Loads of people do, and plenty of them are smart enough to get the app that makes the picture disappear after a few seconds. As long as the person on the receiving end agreed to it, it's none of my business. But this is a two part problem in this situation.

Here's the first part of the problem: we all know that plenty of politicians are corrupt and downright despicable. But we expect them to at least present a facade of being a class act. If you can't pull that off, you're disqualified. For example, if you name yourself and your photogenic junk "Carlos Danger". Automatic disqualification. If you're going to play in the public eye of politics, you have to either be much more discreet or subject yourself to a different standard, or you're displaying an inability to play the game. Epic fail, Carlos.

The second part of this problem isn't really his, but it's part of the same principle. In everyday life, I could not care less how people organize their personal relationships, what boundaries they draw, what they put up with or maybe even enjoy. But if Huma Abedin wants to stay in political life, she has to walk away from this whole situation. It's her choice, but she won't be able to have both. And while Carlos never really accomplished much politically, Huma is poised to sacrifice an awful lot for this. Step away from the political chainsaw that is Carlos, Huma. If he actually was a class act, he'd tell you to do just that. But he isn't.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pick up the rocks

I want to tell you why I care passionately about politics, and why we're being lulled into thinking politics is just some corrupt, boring mess that we'd rather not think about. I want to tell you why I think the distinction between oligarchy and plutocracy is meaningless and that we're stuck in the middle of both - because if you control with either one, money or power, why wouldn't you grab the other up as well? But I think I'm going to bore you to death before you finish reading these words.

This is one terrific explanation of what we're all experiencing.

But here is the thing:  there are more of us feudal serfs than there are of the feudal lords, and they are terrified that we'll figure that out and realize that politics is anything but boring and way more than corrupt and that we outnumber them and we still ostensibly have the right to vote, and just as important, the right to speak out.

There has never been as much transparency as there is now - it's very hard for anyone to hide anything, and not because of Edward Snowden or even the NSA. We now have the capacity to know pretty exactly what our elected officials represent. With a little digging, we can know who they took money from, who they worked for and with, how well they play with others. This situation has never happened before in all of history.

So I'm begging you, anyone who reads a word I write for whatever your reasons are, please pay attention, speak out, vote, do anything you can to counteract voter suppression (I live in the currently worst state, NC), and start with your state and local government and the off year elections. Pay attention. It really matters. We could throw rocks and win, we just have to pick up the rocks.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Warning: skittles may be hazardous to your health

I'm decompressing from the Zimmerman verdict, even though I wasn't really shocked by it.
I know that the whole "stand your ground" bullshit wasn't invoked, but it still influences Florida cases of self defense and how we view self defense in courts, in Florida and in other states with similar laws. What I want to know is, why does it matter who was the voice that was screaming for help? Why didn't Trayvon Martin, being stalked in the dark by a guy in a car armed with a gun, have the right to defend himself? The juror who has been so chatty about the decision has stated that one of the reasons for the verdict was the conviction that that voice was Zimmerman's.  Disregarding how she could be so certain of that, why does it make a difference? If some guy is stalking me down a dark street and I break his nose, is that punishable by death? Why didn't Trayvon have the right to self defense? We all know the answer. I hope the DOJ does its job.

Friday, July 12, 2013

We need some "extraneous" voters around here

I just want everyone to understand completely what the Republican Party in the US has become. You know, just in case they let you vote.

On Wednesday night at 8pm, they rolled out the farm bill to be voted on on Thursday. It's a 600 page document. In spite of this, enough people actually got it read for every democrat and even 12 republicans to vote against it. That wasn't enough. It passed by 8 votes.
Here is what they did: the farm bill has always been tied to supplemental nutrition programs. That kind of makes sense, right? We help out farmers, we feed the hungry. Sounds fair. Nope, not anymore. There is no supplemental nutrition included in the bill. Not only that, the insurance level for big ag goes up to 90%, meaning essentially that if you are a large scale commodity farmer, you cannot fail. It's now a risk free line of work. And not only that, a provision was snuck in to make this effective not until 2018 when it was supposed to sunset, but in perpetuity.

But wait, it gets even better. Donna Edwards (D, Maryland) asked the republicans who directly benefit from big ag investments to recuse themselves from voting on a bill that directly put money into their own pockets while taking food out of the mouths of the poorest of the poor. I think you can guess that they didn't go along with her request.

I'm asking everyone out there, everyone who can do this, to get together in your community with organizations that serve the poorest and most disenfranchised communities and make sure that the people in those communities get to vote, starting with the 2014 elections, and including local elections. Set up a shuttle to pick people up, take them to their polling place, take people back home and pick up the next load. Take them water while they stand in line for hours. Help them get the IDs that are now being required.  Take back our right to vote.

One other thing: the majority of people who receive supplemental nutrition are the working poor. The same people who don't want minimum wage to be raised to a living wage want to take supplemental nutrition away from these people. They also want to take food out of the mouths of children in schools, the elderly, the disabled. The word that was used to describe these people was "extraneous". (If you're on twitter, Donna Edwards started a hashtag for that - #extraneous.)

If anybody didn't already think this is the feudal lords trying to get rid of their excess of serfs, please think again. And please vote. If they still let you.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Does anyone know where the rule book went? It isn't in the box with the game.

Okay, so seriously. What if president Obama was treated in the same way the president of Bolivia just got treated? Have France, Italy and Portugal (along with the US of course), just decided that amnesty for political dissidents is no longer an option on this planet? Because regardless of what your opinion of Edward Snowden and his actions, there is nothing that should prevent him from seeking asylum. The United States has given asylum to plenty of people where their native countries want them back, who have been charged with crimes in those countries, who sought asylum exactly for those reasons.

Do we not play by the rules at all, in anything anymore? I live in one of those states that jumped on the Supreme Court ruling and immediately started moving to kill voter's rights systematically. I live in one of the states that is trying to sneak in taking away women's reproductive rights, voting the day before Independence Day - do you get the irony? Somehow I don't think our republican legislature does. Maybe your sense of humor fades when you're that old and grey? Or maybe it's only if you're old, grey, male and white. Who knows? We don't really have a control group to observe here in our state government.

I think I would like to go back to some rules. You know, basic playground rules. Where it has to be fair for everyone to play, to have a voice, and we don't change the rules in the middle of the game just to fuck with someone we don't like. I'm sorry if the parties involved in current politics had freakier childhoods than mine and didn't learn these basic things, but I would be happy to explain the principles.

 Also just to remind the feudal lords that us serfs outnumber them.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Just one quick question

If the roles had been reversed, if Trayvon Martin, a young black guy, had deliberately pursued George Zimmerman while carrying a concealed weapon and shot to kill, would the trial even be getting this coverage and would there be any question of the outcome? Okay, maybe two questions:  how is it okay with us as a culture that we perpetuate these biases on such a deep, unspoken level?