Monthly Archives: February 2015

An Idea Whose Time Will Likely Not Come

I was just talking about this with the wife. Y’all know that conservatives like to bitch and cunt about the social safety net, right? Well if everyone had a wage they could live on, why, the social safety net would shrink without leaving people to the wolves. There’s your big fat tax cut that you keep angling for. But I guess that would take away something for them to whine about, so that idea is out the window. After all, outrage is their sustenance.

Republics And Democracies-Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

I am an ex-right wing nut job. It went against everything I actually stand for. I learned total contempt for everything that makes us a thriving body politic. I sided with authoritarians, warmongers and bigots. That was officially a long time ago. I am now a happy, unblocked, unabashed red diaper baby(eat shit, Michael Savage), the way all true Americans should be. No need to elucidate, I just need to throw that out there before I proceed with today’s rant.

As I said in my last post, the Internet is full of self-educated folk. Anyone can now be informed to the point where it may not be good for them. Just because you read something, it doesn’t mean you understand it. I love that line in A Fish Called Wanda where Jamie Lee Curtis lets loose on Kevin Kline-“Otto, apes read Nietzsche, they just don’t understand it”. And what is one of the most misunderstood pieces of material in this way? It ain’t quantum theory. It happens to be, almost frighteningly, the document that shapes the way we govern this crazy country.

Even the brightest academics can’t come to an agreement on what parts of it mean. What chance do we stand as serial Googlers to apprehend it properly? I want to focus on one persistent conservative trope, one I used to parrot for some reason. I delighted in reminding my erstwhile liberal debate opponents that we are a republic, not a democracy. See what I mean about blind deference to authority? I said that to belittle the often fractious vox populi. I used it as a cudgel to scoff at the American people’s will. I thought “democracy” was for dupes.

This idea is legion in conservative circles, the so-called champions of liberty. The Federalist Papers, the arguments for the new Constitution and the replacement government for the feckless Articles of Confederation, contain passages rather disdainful of democracy too. Some of our framers were not, as is often assumed, fond of the freedom to speak and be heard. It took ages for us to disabuse us of the notion that only certain people should have a voice.

The truth is, this is a democracy. We vote our leaders in to represent us. We vote on which laws should be enacted. If that ain’t democracy, I don’t know what is. The deal is, we are guaranteed a republican form of government to stop the slide back into despotism and monarchy, not because we are afraid of democracy. Republic, democracy, it’s the same damn thing in practice. We are a Republic of states, and we the people control who represents us in democratic fashion. I guess if you wanted to be technical, this is a democratic republic, which is redundant in a way. This is a good place to read some fundamentals regarding the Guarantee Clause. Let’s put this nonsense to rest already.

Take A Moment To Thank The Feeble- Minded

I am on a Facebook strike. I plan on holding out for a long fucking time. But I still haven’t given up my HuffPo. I check that fucker more than I used to check Facebook, so maybe I have gained nothing, no time at all, by signing off on Facebook. I can no longer comment on HuffPo because it requires a Facebook account to post. What a colossally stupid fucking thing to do, in my opinion. They must have lost a lot of good commenters by circumscribing access the way they did. In spite of all of this, it is still a monumentally important online paper. I know of no analogue to the HuffPo. No one has the mix of news, opinion and damn near about anything to suit your tastes if you just poke around.

Anyway, I read the comments. Nowadays, everyone is a fucking expert at everything, and that includes me. I have been on the Internet long enough to know where to find credible information. The comments are full of self educated folk, who use a peculiar lingo (never have I seen nor heard the words “spew vitriol” in so much use as on the Internet) that is a hallmark of participating in something online. Some people’s grasp on current affairs is indeed impressive, and I often come away a bit more informed. Then there’s the trolls. Ah, the trolls. All it takes is one obnoxious buffoon to set off hundreds of peoples’ bullshit meters. At HuffPo, they have never heard the dictum “don’t feed the trolls”. It’s good policy to ignore a drive-by poster, and that’s what most of them turn out to be. Just one line and they take off…leaving indignation and disgust in their wake.

Today, one thing caught my attention. Someone said that Judaism doesn’t believe in an afterlife. I had to do a double take on that. Does it? Yes. Who gets something wrong like that? Conservative trolls, that’s who. The offender was immediately schooled and dismissed. I learned something from my little troll friend, though. It was worth looking into, and I thought I’d  share. While it is indeed true that Judaism focuses in large part on this life, there is no shortage of afterlife citations in Torah. The gist is, Judaism is no less eschatological than Christianity or Islam. They are all messianic religions who believe in final judgement and resurrection.

Now you know, if you hadn’t considered it.

Vocabulary Time

Lame duck-

  • an elected official or body of officials remaining in office in the interval between the election and inauguration of a successor

Thank you. Though it has become a catchall for a politician past his sell-by date, it renders the original definition meaningless, and the new one nebulous. The old ways are the best. Let’s not abuse the lexicon.

American Gulag

I think Facebook is bad for people. It’s banal, boring, and jejune. You can get yourself in a lot of trouble using it. But I did not know to what extent that was true until I read that prisoners in US jails can go to solitary confinement for performing something as innocuous as a status update. And I’m not talking a week. I’m talking years, lots of years.

It is true we are the most prison-loving people on the planet, bar none. And I think we send people to jail for some very dumb reasons, like low level drug offenses. Prison is big business, and unnervingly, we have no problem turning it into a revolving door system for that very reason. This issue needs reform, and badly. For egregious offenders like rapists and malicious murderers, I have no problem sending folks to jail for a long time. But I worry that we are skirting perilously close to cruel punishment when we put people in solitary for long stretches of time. We have already removed the offending individual from society by imprisoning them-must we, should we risk driving our inmates slowly insane? For what? Facebooking? I mean, I get solitary if you can’t get along in gen-pop, where you are a menace to your fellow inmates, but Jesus, let well-behaved fuckers social network. No harm.

I think we have lost touch with what it means that something is “American”. That used to stand for something-liberty, freedom, happiness, something good. How sad it is when our actions as Americans are… un-American.

 

Pretenders

Guess who else isn’t taking 2016 seriously.

Pander Bear

Chris Christie’s conservative dogwhistle: “I think parents should have a choice when vaccinating kids.”

Chris Christie, when faced with reality:” There is no question kids should be vaccinated”.

So, I was not heretofore aware that “the base” included anti-vaxxers. God, the right sucks ass. Just pathetic.

Another View

Steve M. is in the Top Ten of Steves that I know. I may only know four or five, though. He doesn’t see the fait accompli re: the Bush nomination. I think Walker peaks early; may take loopy Iowa, but probably will not bridge the enthusiasm gap.

Share Some Bloggy Love

The era of the blog is almost in the rearviews, and I’m a little late to this, but it is Blogroll Amnesty Day. I have no one to link to, but if you find someone worthy of attention that isn’t getting any, link. Do the right thing.

Argh, Mateys

The Bay is back! You didn’t hear it from me, though.

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