Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label politics. Show all posts

Monday, May 09, 2022

If Life Begins at Fertilization...

 As usual, politicians are trying to enact policies without an in-depth understanding of the issues they're addressing. And also, as usual, the politicians in this case are Republicans, particularly those of the white male, misogynistic, evangelical persuasion. 

They want to deny women bodily autonomy, the same privilege they enjoy. They want to outlaw abortion, and eventually outlaw any opportunity for women to acquire health care for themselves presumably without their husband's/male partner's permission. 

There are, however, a few points these science-denying bureaucrats have failed to consider.

If life begins at insemination as they contend, will social responsibilities like child support begin at conception as well?

Will miscarriages be treated as accidental deaths or homicides?

Will we all be required to change our birth dates to the day we were conceived? Suddenly we'll all be 9 months older, on average, than we used to be.

How do they intend to deal with the scientific fact that all animal embryos, including humans, begin as female?

"Geneticists have discovered that all human embryos start life as females, as do all embryos of mammals. About the 2nd month the fetal tests elaborate enough androgens to offset the maternal estrogens and maleness develops." (

No one is "created" male, all humans are "created" female. I can't imagine how the religious will explain that other than simply denying the biological science behind it. 

Where does this subjugation of women end? Do they want to go back to when women couldn't have a credit card in their own name? Will they demand women get married as teenagers and become the property of their husbands, like in Biblical times? 

Don't those radical right-wingers have mothers, wives, or daughters? Do they not love and respect them, and want the best America has to offer for them? Their actions indicate they don't. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Trump is the president we deserve

My credentials as a progressive liberal will likely be tarnished as a result of posting this but I believe the truth must be faced; Trump is the candidate America deserves to have as president.
Those of us who dread a Trump presidency like to imagine a government that once again makes its citizens the focus of its policies. We want to believe that our fellow Americans value freedom and the diversity that has for years been the bedrock of our national character. We are full of optimism for a more compassionate and enlightened future for the United States.

But it's time for us to face reality.

The reality is that a majority of Americans appear to believe that the poor are victims of their own bad choices in life and that showing compassion to them is enabling their bad behavior, that acknowledging the advances of science is tantamount to denying their religious beliefs, that the only way to curb gun violence is for even more people to carry guns everywhere, that anyone different from us ethnically, sexually, culturally or philosophically is the enemy.

Racism still exists.

Trump's minions remind us that humans are not as evolved as we would like to think we are. Human behavior is still closer to that exhibited in Quest for Fire than that of Star Trek.
We are more like the Flintstones than the Jetsons.

For all of our technology, we still depend on fossil fuels and ignore our impact on the environment. The majority of us still look for comfort and guidance from fantastic super-beings before we seek it from one another. We still engage in and profit from wars waged against other human beings over possessions and beliefs.

My fellow progressive liberals, it's time we admit that for the majority of Americans, Trump is a more appropriate candidate than someone like Bernie Sanders. Trump speaks the words they respond to, like a fourth-grader.

Sanders would likely try to eliminate terrorism through negotiation and alliances with other nations, methods that may or may not work. Trump would likely bomb the hell out the entire Middle East, which undoubtedly would eliminate a majority of the terrorists there, along with millions of innocent men, women, and children. I'm sure he'd simply shrug at that possibility. Domestic terrorists he'd deport, except for the White male ones.

Of course we have no idea how he'd improve an already slowly improving economy, reduce an already reduced number of unemployed, or resolve any of the other major issues facing us. He fails to offer specifics on any of the promises he's made about his future presidency. Bluster and bombast are sufficient for the Trumpanistas. Just knowing that their hero says he has plans to deal with the Mexicans, the Blacks, the Gays, the educated, and all the rest of those who are to blame for all the problems he says exist is enough for them.

Trump appeals to our lesser nature, our base and uncivilized selves. That he seems to have found such a large number of adoring fans ought to tell us that the future of America is dark and regressive, that racism and xenophobia will exist for at least another generation. Fear and hate will be the hallmarks of American policy, not peace or equality.

I'd love to be wrong. Get out and vote, prove me wrong.

(See also:

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

10 ways to thank a veteran for their service

Almost every time someone discovers I'm an Army veteran they will inevitably, at some point in the conversation, say, "Thank you for your service". 

I admit, I prefer thanks to chants of "baby killer" and accusations of being the tool of a fascist government.  

But all too often it's easy to see that the phrase is just a "feel-good" reaction, lacking any emotion or sincerity. It's as hollow as the "God bless America" that ends every political speech by every U.S. politician that has ever mounted a podium. 

My advice, as a veteran, is this: stop saying "Thank you for your service" or any similar trite, politically popular bullshit. 

You sincerely want to thank a veteran? Here are ten things (there are many more) you can do that will make every veteran's sacrifice and service worthwhile.

  • Vote
  • Defend and protect your family, friends, neighbors and children
  • Get involved in social projects that help less fortunate Americans: Provide jobs to the unemployed, provide shelter to the homeless and food to the starving 
  • Get your news from journalists, not commentators and entertainers
  • Champion honesty, compassion, empathy and generosity
  • Promote justice and the equal treatment of all Americans
  • Take care of our country; don't litter or waste resources
  • Don't give away your Constitutional rights for political expediency 
  • Understand we must work together to solve national issues
  • Realize that everyone who contributes to bettering our society is just as worthy of thanks as any veteran
In short, thank a veteran by working to improve the life of every American citizen, including yours. The American people are who we fought to defend and protect.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Money and Politics: Paying for Power

The election funding issue has become obscene. 

Where once upon a time people sought public office in order to serve their fellow citizens, now they seek office in order to enrich themselves and in many cases build a base of rich and influential backers in order to seek higher and higher positions. The higher the office one seeks, the richer they must be personally and/or the richer their supporters have to be. 

Too often, I suspect, those backers aren't putting their money behind the candidate they believe espouse the best policies for the country, have the clearest vision and most workable solutions for the problems we face as a nation or who possess the higher integrity as a person. Rather these backers are in essence buying the office. They are paying the going rate to ensure the election of a person sympathetic to their interests and who they expect will reward the backer's contributions with favorable legislation. What else explains the refusal of any politician from any party to seriously limit campaign funding?

In our market economy political office has become just another commodity to be bought and sold by those with the most money. Funding a presidential candidate has become the ultimate capital (perhaps; capitol) investment. The Citizens United decision and the creation of superPACS make it clear that politics is a market in which only the wealthiest have the sufficient means to play. The concept of representation is dead. What percentage of the American public do Obama and Romney represent? The wealthy, the best-educated, the most powerful and influential. They have no idea how the average American lives. 

If Mr. Smith went to Washington these days he'd never get past the Capitol guards. He'd have no more influence on politicians than the average citizen. Primaries and the electoral college ensure that the average citizen has little to no influence on the outcome of elections. All of our politicians are bought and sold by those with the largest stake in what decisions the politicians make in office. That stake has nothing to do with what's best for all our citizens. It is solely based on profits and the increasing of power and influence by those who pay to get their candidate elected.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

America 2012-2016

 I'm going to present my not-totally pessimistic scenario of where I see America headed in the near future. These are all assumptions, my opinions, and you are welcome to challenge any or all of them.

First, the conditions that underlie my scenario:

  1. Nothing of any significance will occur nationally or socially to improve Obama's popularity between now and the 2012 election. The approval rating bump he got from killing Bin Laden and the one he'll get by pulling the troops out of Iraq won't last long enough to push him anywhere near 50%. 
  2. The Democrats will only grudgingly support Obama in 2012. He's lost a lot of favor with Democrats over failed promises and his ineffectiveness in standing up against Republicans. I see a change in vice-presidential running mate in 2012 but don't see a possible candidate for the job that would assure a Democratic victory at the polls.
  3. By the end of 2011 a clear leader will emerge from the pack of Republican candidates that most if not all Republicans can support. 
  4. The Tea Party and "Occupy" movement will both remain marginalized and won't have a real impact on the presidential race.


In 2012 the Republican candidate will win the presidency. I think this will happen due in part to Democratic apathy over Obama's presidency and the Republican's appeal to God, patriotism and financial stability, all of which resonate with the majority of voters right now. Specific plans for improvement won't be forthcoming, but that will be excused in 2012 for the same reason they were in 2008; Any change from the current situation has to be better than imagining a continuation of our current economic and social problems. 

A more fundamental form of Christianity will flourish under the new administration. Science, especially in education, will be less emphasized and more effort will be put into integrating Christian dogma and principles into government and education. The concept of a separation between church and state will largely be ignored solely in favor of Christianity. 

Conservatism will be the rule in economics and policy making, except in the case of military expansion. Entire federal departments will be eliminated or under-funded into non-existence in an effort to save the federal budget, with little or no thought as to how vital programs to millions will continue. 

Abortion will once again be outlawed in most if not all cases. Most if not all wildlife areas and national parks will be opened to resource exploitation. Little or no effort will be put into weaning Americans off their dependency on oil. Instead new oil deposits will be sought and/or new alliances to obtain foreign oil will be created. 

The economy will slightly improve for just enough Americans for the government to take credit for having stopped our decline into economic disaster. Thanks primarily to efforts to reduce the role of legislation in our lives, the same industries that created the problem in the first place will continue to conduct their businesses unregulated and unhampered. Fewer rules will be imposed on businesses, so wages will decrease and part-time work will prevail. Benefits will be available for only those few full-time jobs that remain. Profits will still be banked off-shore and even larger tax breaks will be given to big businesses. America will shift from being a nation "of the people, by the people, for the people" to one "of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations". 

Individual liberties will continue to erode. The threat of foreign and domestic terrorism will continue to be used as an excuse to employ tighter controls on the activities and movements of the citizens. The underlying xenophobia in the immigration issue will be used to excuse law enforcement from observing search-and-seizure laws and ignore the need for warrants. With the practices of Abu Ghraib as precedent, arrests and detainment without cause and without due process will be allowed in "certain" cases, and slowly expanded to any case in which the local, state or federal government can claim just cause, even secretly. Privacy will lessen to the point of non-existence. Phone and Internet traffic will all be routinely monitored, though it will still be nearly impossible for any government agency to properly assess the intelligence gathered as there will simply be too much to sort out. Key words will become the favored tool of the monitors and citizens will learn not to use certain words at all, just as we've learned how foolish it is to joke about hijacking a plane in the airport.  

Programs such as Medicare and Medicaid will be abolished as too expensive. Seniors will become a huge burden on society and many families will go broke trying to care for their elders. College tuitions will increase resulting in most middle and lower income class kids not attending college. Families will have to deal with stay-at-home kids in addition to caring for their parents and grandparents. The personal option of elective euthanasia will not be a legal alternative for the elderly. 

During this period the Democrats will remain largely ineffective in saving vital social services, protecting the rights of citizens or in improving the economy. They will continue to lack the resolve and power to challenge the Republicans on almost every issue. They will snipe and complain, but that's about all they'll do.


The promises of the Republicans to right the economy will be seen as efforts only to enrich the already wealthy, their biggest supporters, and corporations. The citizens will not be any better off financially than they were in 2010. The citizens will also realize that the freedoms they've sacrificed have not made our nation any safer nor have they contributed to the quality of their lives. After three years of entitlement, Christians will in large numbers become politically apathetic and the Republicans will lose the support of many big churches. The Republican's transparent support of big business will become a burden for those same businesses as their own employees begin to revolt against them. Businesses will consider it in their own best interest to provide better working conditions for all their employees and they will blame the Republicans for fostering the anger towards them. Businesses will also suffer from a less well educated work force. Any industry that relies on mathematical, engineering or scientific skills will be especially hit hard by the low numbers of college graduates with those skills. Meanwhile fast food franchises will appear on every block in every town just to take advantage of the huge number of unemployed, willing-to-do-anything-for-a-paycheck people of all ages. 

But those who decide to no longer back the Republicans won't have much of a viable option. During the previous three years the Democrats will have failed to develop any realistic strategies of their own for fixing what ails America. Indeed, the majority of Americans may have, by this point, concluded there is no way to fix all the problems facing their nation. 

The elections of 2016 may be the end of business as usual for America. With neither major party trusted and no emergent party with enough power to exercise change, Americans could very well lose all hope that the country will ever again be financially solvent and the home of freedom and liberty. At that point its likely that America will become a true corporatetocricy, owned by and run as a corporation. Citizens will be considered employees and the federal budget will be based solely on profits. 

2017 could be a very interesting year in the (if they still are) United States. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Is theism on the rise in America?

Today over on Ayloo, a new social site that encourages conversations centered on specific topics raised by its members, I was asked if I thought theism was on the rise in America, on the decline or unchanged from years past. Here's the reply I posted there.

I perceive theism as being on the rise here in the U.S., but not a compassionate theism or even a primarily religious theism. By that I mean that the theism that I see becoming more popular these days is more political than spiritual. Theists are embracing conservative political values and infusing them with their theological beliefs, creating a conservative movement that unashamedly defers to the Bible as the basis for deciding national and foreign policy. It's ironic that George Bush was lambasted for saying that part of the reason he went to war in the Middle East was because he thought god told him to and now we have candidates openly calling for prayer to end the drought in Texas and the teaching of creationism in schools as an "alternative" to evolution, and the press and public seem unconcerned.

It's been said for years that an atheist would have no chance to be elected to the presidency, or any public office for that matter, but now we have evangelical Christians running for office that don't accept or endorse the notion first put forth by Thomas Jefferson that there ought to be a wall of separation between religion and the government. I'm amazed that Perry, Bachmann and their fellow conservative Christians have convinced their followers that the economy and crime will both be straightened out if only America becomes a more Christian nation in light of the fact that America has always been a primarily Christian nation. Considering their percentage of the population it's reasonable to conclude that the economy was wrecked by people who call themselves Christians and most crime is committed by people who would describe themselves as Christians. Bars and sex shops would have gone bankrupt long ago if their only patrons were non-believers. The state that consumes the largest amount of Internet porn is Utah, home to some of the most conservative Christians there are, many of whom must have had to dip into their porn allowance to send money to their church in opposition of California's Proposition 8. It appears this massive hypocrisy not only doesn't bother American Christians but is completely ignored by them. Despite all evidence to the contrary they think that if only they can get a conservative Christian candidate elected president the nation will somehow be blessed by god and everything will get better.

The theism I see on the rise is a form of fundamental Biblicalism combined with a devotion to profit and a deference to the wealthy. This is understandable in the case of politicians, they follow the money. But it would be hard to explain in the case of the average citizen. I think this is why religious belief is being emphasized so much. Religious citizens naturally follow strong religious leaders. It's a part of their training. Perry and Bachmann, even Palin, are attempting to portray themselves as religious leaders as much as political leaders.

The primarily religious theism that is increasing is in reaction to the perception that civilization is going to hell at an increasing rate and that end-time predictions are coming true. People unfamiliar with history can easily be fooled into thinking that times like these have never occurred before. Plato credited Socrates with complaining "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers." Nothing we see today is new or unique to our age. But once again, as they have many times before, Christians have decided that these must be the end times and many quasi-religious people, worried that they may be among the "left behind", are becoming more committed to the claim that they are religious. Not that they are attending church any more often or have increased their caring for the poor among us. They are less interested in following the dictates of Jesus than they are interested in avoiding hell. It's a convenient Christianity, and in my opinion a useless one. Another minor factor in the increase of theism is as a reaction to the perceived increase in the number of Muslims in the U.S. The "Us or Them" mentality of the Middle East has waded ashore here.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Will liberals support Obama in 2012?

If Obama fails to secure a second term as president, and I think it's quite likely he will be a one-term president, it will be largely because he's lost the support of his liberal base.

He's not likely to win over any Republicans, conservatives or members of the tea party. They despise him as a person and president; that has been evident since he was sworn in. So extreme is their disdain that they have not even attempted to disguise their hostile rhetoric in the cloak of patriotism.

And he can't rely on support from progressives. They don't even have a party to represent their opinions. They are dedicated more to an ideology than any particular candidate. If the Republican candidate offers a more progressive agenda than Obama they'll back him/her over the Democratic incumbent.

Obama has lost the good faith and trust of the American liberal. His campaign promises appealed to the goals of the liberals. He envisioned an America where everyone would be welcome to share in our prosperity and freedom. He promised greater governmental transparency. He pledged to undo most of the damage done to our image and economy during the Bush years.

Once elected, he failed to follow through on those promises and pledges. He didn't close Gitmo, he didn't immediately end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", he didn't put an end to tax loopholes enjoyed by the wealthiest of our citizens. Transparency in government never saw the light of day. Federal powers to snoop and spy on American citizens weren't curtailed, they were expanded. In many ways he became more "Bush" than Bush himself had been.

If Obama can't win back the hearts, and more importantly the minds, of liberals before the campaign gets well underway, where are liberals to turn? Certainly not to any Republican, conservative or tea party candidate.

The Republican party and their followers in the conservative and tea party clans have shown that they don't share the same vision for America that liberals do. They are beholden to and do the bidding of corporations and the wealthiest among us. They support big business because big business supports them. When was the last time a middle-class person dropped a check for a million dollars into a Republican's campaign chest?

It most likely won't be another Democratic candidate. Who else besides Obama can the Democrats hope to put into place before the 2012 election season kicks off? Not to mention how much credibility the Democratic party has lost in the recent debt debates. The only way they could have capitulated even more would have been to offer Obama's resignation on the spot. The Democratic party has been effectively neutered, primarily by their own inaction and inability to stand up to the opposition.

We could be seeing the end of a liberal perspective in American politics. In the near future we may no longer have a counter opinion to those voiced by the more conservative elements in our government. We may well be witnessing the end of governmental checks-and-balances. And where there is but a single party, a single ideology, a single candidate with any real hope of being elected, we no longer have a representative democracy.

I'm not saying liberal ideals are always the most beneficial for our country. The liberal ideals of caring for even the most destitute citizen and trying to ensure that no one goes unfed, unclothed and uncared for have to be paid for, and yet Democrats are loath to suggest an increase in taxes even for the wealthiest among us. The Democrats are as afraid of pissing off the money merchants as the Republicans are, and for many of the same reasons. Yet taxes are how we Americans pay for the services we receive from the government, from the local level to the federal. To suggest that we can receive benefits without having to pay for them is the height of folly.

So where do liberals turn for a champion for their liberal ideals and goals? I honestly don't know. But I do know this country needs at least two parties in power. We need opposing opinions and debates over proposed spending. We cannot afford to become a one-party country, not unless we're willing to scrap the Constitution and invent a new corporate-sponsored image for the nation.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Who Owns You?

George Carlin is a hero of mine. Not because he's smarter than everyone else, not because he's more successful than everyone else. Carlin, like Lenny Bruce before him, has the courage and insight to say the things we don't want to hear, to tie together the threads of thought we're often too distracted by daily life to put together ourselves. Carlin says what ought to be said, what needs to be said, whether we want to hear it or not. He presents the alternative view to the news broadcasts, the television commercials, the pronouncements from the government. His is the clear vision of the common man. And nowhere does he cut to the quick deeper than in the following video from one of his concerts. Be warned, Carlin's routine contains many words you won't want your children to hear, and quite a few obscenities as well. Carlin's objective has always been to make people think for themselves. I hope this video causes you to think.