Thursday, March 19, 2015

What To Expect If Hillary Runs

              Image result for hillary clinton 2016             Image result for hillary clinton 2016

Yep, I'm 100 percent for Hillary in 2016 although I'm old enough to remember the awfulness of the 90's when the Republicans went after the Clintons like a pack of rabid dogs, with much of the so-called "liberal" mainstream media in full cry right behind them. Because Hillary was right, you know, there really was a "vast rightwing conspiracy" and it has only gotten vaster and louder and more vicious in the years since.

So, anyone who thinks the recent Republican destruction machine springs from their hatred for Barack Obama simply doesn't remember the glory days of impeachment. Of course, the Republicans detest Obama and yes, racism is a part of that and yes, simply being a Democrat is another part, but Bill Clinton's presidency (a white male straight Southerner) is where they honed their skills at treachery and deceit and they're even better at it now.

The New York Times, which recently broke a horrified story about Hillary's e-mail "scandal" (which was similar to Jeb Bush's e-mail scandal....the one the NYT brushed off with a yawn) was hugely complicit in the original attempted Clinton lynching. They jumped early on Whitewater and flogged that dead horse until it was hamburger....and still nothing came of it....or the one about cattle futures or Travelgate, or, well, there were so many, I can't even remember them all, the point being that they all fizzled into nothingness.

No, impeachment had to wait for Monica Lewinsky and oh, my, what a deliciously salacious scandal it was too. The Republicans reveled in it. It gave them an excuse to talk about blow jobs and cigars and dresses with semen stains....all for the people's good, of course. I expect some of them had erections behind their podiums as they talked about it, not that they were turned on by the sex, but about the prospect of nailing Clinton. Republicans have different ideas about what constitutes a sexual turn-on than Democrats.

So, they appointed Ken Starr and we went through the rigamarole of an investigation, as if the Monica Lewinsky affair was a high crime or misdemeanor) and through all it it, cable t.v. carried hours and hours of coverage. Some of the same people who are celebrity spokespeople on Fox today made their bones on talking about it. Like the Queen of Betrayal, Lucianne Goldberg's baby boy, Jonah.

The House impeached Clinton but the Senate didn't convict. As a last parting shot though, the Republicans and Ken Starr published the entire investigation on the internet. The American people, they said, deserved to know every sordid detail.

Then a funny thing happened. Clinton became more popular than ever and won re-election and in fact, he is one of America's more best-loved politicians to this very day.

We know how racism has reared it's ugly head during the Obama administration, no matter how much faux indignation Republicans express about that allegation. I have an absolute expectation that the raging sexism that greets a Hillary campaign (and, hopefully, presidency), will be even worse because even Republicans still consider overt racism to be somewhat unacceptable. For the most part, racism has gone underground though we have seen it peeking its head up more frequently in the last several years. I mean, my God, the Republicans not only elected a man who openly supported David Duke, Klansman, they made him their third in command.

Still, for the most part people deny being racists but that's not so with sexism. Many Republicans have trumpeted their misogynistic views all along. The red states have passed bill after bill affecting women's right to plan their own families, not only being against abortion, but even contraception. How many of them have told us in so many words that rape really isn't so bad and if you get pregnant (which you probably won't because women's systems know how to shut that whole thing down), well, gee, it was God's will, so deal with it. Right now, the big furor in Congress is the human trafficking bill, which virtually everyone supports, but Republicans want to include a provision that no federal monies can be used for abortions, even for those who got pregnant as a result of being a victim of sex trafficking. The insufferably arrogant men on the right feel totally comfortable requiring women to have a transvaginal ultrasound shoved up their vagina. They feel completely in their rights mandating our doctors to lie to us. All of this because Big Daddy knows what's best for us dumb girls.

We know how many women, the Republicans in Congress put in positions of leadership. Under Democrats, women held nine committee chairs and under Republicans, they will only have two. In the House, there is only one woman Republican and she deals with administrative affairs, like cafeterias and bathrooms.

No, the Republicans have always been quite clear about their contempt for women.

I'm getting old and I'd really like not to have to fight but I will if I have to and I think anyone who supports Hillary will have to.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

The New American Dark Ages


We typically think of the Dark Ages as a time of war and ignorance and religious turmoil.

First, I have to qualify the term "Dark Ages" as one that is no longer used by historians. It is considered politically incorrect and too negative (that era is now referred to as the Early Middle Ages). There were still art and inventions and creativity going on at the time, of course. (The Goths, for instance, were highly artistic). Nevertheless, after Rome fell in 476, a world that had been somewhat settled under Roman rule began to fall apart, to be conquered by whoever got there first and didn't mind engaging in brutality to prevail.

Various sects invaded Europe and Muslims began to take over swaths of the Middle East, including what Christians considered the Holy Land. To make matters even worse, every now and then, a plague would come along and wipe out significant percentages of the population.

Life began to be more peaceful in about 1000 AD when Europe developed into a series of relatively stable feudal kingdoms. The Renaissance is generally considered the end of the Middle Ages and the bridge to modern history. Of course, before the Renaissance, were the Crusades (1095-1291) and well into it, in 1478, was the Inquisition. In addition, the 1340's brought the worst plague of all, the Black Death, during which 25,000,000 people died. So, just because we said good-bye to the so-called Dark Ages, it didn't mean everything was hunky-dory.

It seems to me that we have once again entered into a kind of modern Dark Ages.

America had a relatively golden youth although no time is perfect. We created one of the greatest democratic systems ever known to mankind but it still allowed for slavery and Native American genocide. We fought a bloody civil war that pitted family against family. We built transcontinental railroads and the world's most productive factories and a public school system second to none, even as we turned a tolerant eye toward child labor and discrimination of women and African-Americans.

Still, over all, knowledge and freedom and invention flourished in the Unites States and our path seemed ever upward in both innovation and civil rights.

Now, we have entered a kind of twilight time in which many of our citizens appear to want to take us backward.

The ideals for which America has always been known are being undermined - civil rights, self-determination, justice for all, due process, education of children regardless of status, thirst for knowledge, creativity.

One of our two great parties is paddling backwards as fast and as far as they can. As other countries are building high speed mass transit and innovative green buildings and turning to renewable sources for more of their energy needs, America falls behind as the Republicans allow our infrastructure to crumble and fight to the death to protect the fossil fuel industry.

As other countries strengthen their school systems and make university free, Republicans are busy trying to dismantle our own system of public education and if our kids can even afford to go to college, they graduate with a mountainous pile of debt.

As other countries provide their citizens with healthcare, Republicans in America take 50 meaningless votes against the ACA because, well, I guess because having no healthcare means freedom...yeah!

Speaking of going backward, the last time, not so long ago, that the Civil Rights act was re-affirmed under George W Bush, it was practically unanimous. But when the Supreme Court gutted it more recently, today's Republicans decided things were fine the way they were, even though several red states passed legislation that had already been judged discriminatory, within 24 hours of the ruling. America is considered one of the most "advanced' nations but our elections are rigged by gerrymandering and voter suppression and everyone knows it. I guess we just don't care enough to fix it.

The Republican side of the congressional aisle has become almost completely anti-science, denying what 95 percent of all scientists believe - that climate change is real and greatly contributed to by humans. Furthermore, they've packed the science committees with people who are totally ignorant about science, people who believe the earth is 5,000 years old and that man and dinosaurs co-existed and that there is such a thing as legitimate rape and that cancer is a fungus and who ask if a woman can swallow a mini-camera to monitor a pregnancy.

In our craven fear after 911, the U.S. immediately threw its long-held principles overboard. Though we were instrumental in writing the Geneva Conventions banning torture, we suddenly decided they no longer applied. Due process, right to know the charges against you, being able to face your accusers? Bah, we can no longer afford such airy-fairy moral luxuries. And if we weren't altogether sure if some of the Guantanamo detainees were actually guilty, well, hey, you gotta' break some eggs to make an omelet.

Many of us are not shocked when our police shoot unarmed black kids because chances are, they were thugs and deserved it. Stand-your-ground laws are in and so are stop and frisk and warrantless searches. Better to err on the side of safety than freedom and fairness, right?

We have elevated guns to the level of icons to be worshiped. No number of dead children are too many to accept as we bow before the altar of the NRA. Collateral damage is just part of it. If it's your kid, well, too bad, so sad.

I'm an agnostic myself but it seems to me that much of conservative Christianity has turned into something I believe would horrify Jesus. These Christians seem so hate-filled. They hate immigrants and gays and poor people and Muslims and blacks. They love fetuses but hate children who need things, like food and housing and healthcare. Does anyone truly believe Jesus would be into Prosperity Theology if he came back today?

What is happening in the U.S. isn't quite so noticeable if you only catch the national news but if you follow what is happening in the states, it is shocking. The North Carolina Senate just passed legislation that would allow magistrates to recuse themselves from marrying any couple of which their religious beliefs did not approve - gay marriage, interracial marriage, interfaith marriage - and since they also decide on matters of domestic violence, divorce and child support, would these same scruples also mandate how they might rule in those cases?

North Carolina attempted to declare Christianity the state religion although the bill was withdrawn.

Literally, hundreds of laws affecting women and their right to control their own reproductive choices have been passed in red states - all making it more difficult for women to determine their own lives and futures. These are laws, mostly proposed and passed by men, that treat women as too stupid to make decisions for themselves, and for whom having a transvaginal ultrasound forcibly thrust into her body is no big deal.

Sex education has been outlawed in some states. Books have been banned. Oklahoma recently dropped the teaching of college placement classes because they taught America's history, warts and all, and weren't considered "positive" enough. Teachers are treated with contempt.

Workers' rights that our forefathers fought and died for are being undermined by the passage of Right to Work laws that give employers ever more power over over their employees. In several red states, collective bargaining rights of public workers are being over-ridden.

States have passed "right to discriminate" laws even as they forbid their employees to enforce other laws ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court. They've done their best to deny their gay citizens the right to marry....or even the right to work if their employers disapprove of homosexuality. They've done their best to deny their citizens the opportunity to have healthcare. They've done their best to give employers the right to decide whether or not their female employees have access to birth control.

In fact, it appears that red state politicians are systematically trying to dismantle democracy itself. In Michigan, the governor appoints managers, who only account to him, to take over cities and counties and school systems...and who has the power to sell off assets owned by the public, such as park lands. They are systematically privatizing every possible agency in favor of profit-making entities - schools and prisons and toll roads and utilities. They play by no recognizable rules. In Indiana, the governor and Republican legislature stripped the duly elected head of public education of her power. In Michigan, they called a voice vote on the recall of the manager law and though it was obvious they didn't get a majority since every democrat voted against it, they declared it passed anyway. In Ohio, they put abortion legislation in their budget, something that had never been done before.

I believe conservatives no longer trust our democratic republic, seeming to think that they are mandated to control America and if the people don't agree, then the people shouldn't be allowed to make the decision and they are within their rights to step in to try to undo the election. When Bill Clinton won, they impeached him.

It has been even worse since Barack Obama was elected. In my opinion, it is worse in large part because Obama is black although they become indignant if you say so. He hasn't done anything to be impeached though God knows, they've tried hard enough to drum things up, so they have to settle for smears and investigations - unAmerican, unChristian, hates the country and the Constitution. They have make such extreme claims to justify their own unAmerican behavior. This, despite the fact that the Obama administration is the first that I remember that has had no cabinet member charged, tried or convicted of a crime.

And oh, how they long for a truly authoritarian leader, a powerful leader, a leader like Vladimir Putin or Benjamin Netanyahu. Bibi makes the blonde babes on Fox cream their panties. Well, in fact, I think some of our Republican congresspeople had wet spots on their britches after Bibi's speech too. They're ready to follow him anywhere....into war with Iran, for instance. We have plenty of resources to go to war with Iran because, of course, Obama is doing nothing in Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan and Africa. If you heard that we were spending millions of dollars a day and leading the bombing raids in Iraq and Syria, and we recently killed ISIS' lead recruiter in Afghanistan and Boko Haram's leader, why you must just be wrong. Listen to Fox, they'll set you straight on how feckless America is under this president.

Ask them to put their money where their mouths are and call for a return to the draft. Ask them if they believe enough to put all our children in harm's way to fight for us and not just the same soldiers over and over and you'll hear....crickets.

And the latest trick when 47 Republican Senators wrote directly to the Iranian government to undermine the talks between Iran and the United Nations Security Council plus Germany made us look like a laughingstock, like we are voting for, and being led by, a bunch of buffoons.

We're not all like that, of course, but a significant minority of the population seems to be getting dumber and meaner. They believe crazy conspiracy theories about the president. They think if you don't teach about sex education, teenagers won't have sex. They think if you don't actually say the words "climate change", it won't be true (Florida actually forbid its public officials to use that phrase.) They think the murders of children at Sandy Hook were an elaborate hoax.

I feel as if I'm living in the midst of a new Dark Ages.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It's Official - I'm a Hater

The Netanyahu insult was my last straw. The right-wing has finally won. They've beaten me. I've tried so hard to remain reasonable in the face of irrationality, to remain tolerant in the face of bigotry, to pull my punches even in the face of gut blows. I was determined not to let them drag me down to their level, not to strike out blindly for the pure satisfaction of inflicting pain.

Anyone who has ever been in a fight knows the side that recognizes no boundaries will generally win. If you are a reluctant participant who'd really rather not hurt anyone and your opponent is perfectly willing to go nuclear, you're probably going to lose.

As I see it, that has been the set up of the war between liberalism and conservatism in America. The left has generally had to be dragged into it. They were raising their hands in protest and saying, "can't we work things out" even as the right was aiming arrows straight to the heart.

After 8 years of living with George W Bush, we Democrats were euphoric in 2008 when we won the White House with Barack Obama. We thought that was the way democracy was supposed to work. Your turn/my turn. Having watched Clinton's impeachment, we should have known what was coming, but we were blinded by our euphoria.

Meanwhile, the Republicans began their reign of terror on Day One. There was no dirty trick they wouldn't stoop to, no lie they wouldn't tell, no harm they wouldn't inflict on their country to bring down the despised Obama.

This was nothing new for the Republicans. They had a whole playbook of ugly smear tactics from years past. Again, I will refer to Clinton and impeachment...and Whitewater....and Vincent Foster's suicide (or was it?)...and drug running and murder and Hillary the Lesbian, who is Chelsea's real father and, and, and..... It is never enough for Republicans to disagree with those who beat them. They want to destroy them even if they have to destroy the village, meaning the U.S., to "save" it.

And so, we have endured government shutdowns and credit rating downgrades and sequesters and fiscal cliffs and threats of debt ceilings and defaults.

They set new records for filibustering anything and everything, not only legislation, but ambassador and judge nominees. They let us go for years without an ATF Director. They refused to send an ambassador to Russia, for God's sake, along with many other important countries. Judgeships went unfilled.

They voted against legislation meant to help us get out of the recession though jobs and infrastructure programs have been proven to work and both Republicans and Democrats have used them to stimulate the economy during downturns in the past.

And Obama - they accused him of not being an American, of not being a Christian, of being a socialist communist Nazi Muslim (and maybe even gay, to boot). They've accused him of trying to shred the Constitution though he's done nothing more than other presidents have done. They've accused him of being a traitor. He is so awful that, of course, every terrible thing they say and do is totally justified.

And, oh, my God, when they lost to him the second time, their vituperative invective ratcheted up even higher. Their investigations got even more intense. They've spent millions to fund witch hunts and haven't laid a glove on him. And nary an Obama cabinet member has yet been charged, indicted or convicted. Fifty wasted votes against the ACA instead of doing the nation's business.

The posts on Facebook have become ever nastier. During the first term, the right tried, a little, not to come across as racist but they've abandoned that stance now. They still protest about those accusations but their heart isn't really in it. (And does anyone doubt that they will become just as virulently sexist if Hillary becomes president?)

While I tried to tiptoe through the thickets of political disagreement, they were marching like Sherman to the sea. If you don't believe with them, you either don't love America or you're a moron...or both. They have no room for any middle ground.

The Republicans have made a practice of disrespecting this president. They've gleefully sided with the likes of Vladimir Putin against him. Their current crush is on Benjamin Netanyahu, that manly man who, so like everyone in their own previous administration, has been wrong about almost every prediction he's ever made.

But this....inviting a foreign head of state - who is in the midst of an election campaign himself - to a joint session of Congress without consulting the president to undermine their own country's foreign just one step too far for me. So, I admit it. I hate them for it, them and all those who go along with them.So, this is my declaration....I'm officially a hater.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Conservative Mind - Where Ugly is Beautiful


It's official. I have become a hater. I've really tried not to let it happen. I've watched the "other side" become meaner and meaner as the decades have gone on. I thought the Republicans couldn't get any more venal and self-serving after impeaching Bill Clinton but I was wrong. That was child's play. They were only cutting their teeth on Clinton, practicing for their Academy Award-winning role as Obama loathers. Yes, they called Bill terrible names and published the sordid details of his sex life on the internet for all the world to see (for the good of the country, you know....yeah). But, to be fair, Clinton knew they were after him and gave them the ammunition to shoot him with so although I thought it was terrible for America, what they did, he had to take some of the blame.

So, then we had eight years of Bush and those oh-so-fiscally-prudent Republicans spent money like it was going out of style. Wars, entitlements, Wall Street, tax cuts - deficits be damned! And by the time it was over, the economy was in shambles and we had become a nation that took its principles and threw them out the window like so many dirty diapers. Gleefully, we went to war in Iraq for no reason, although we were already at war in Afghanistan. I guess we just wanted to get back at Muslims after 911 no matter whether they were the right ones or not. We tortured and imprisoned whomever we pleased without bringing charges. Who worries about a little thing like evidence - 911! And, of course, we did all this with our volunteer army because we didn't have the guts to reinstate the draft and make everyone contribute to the cause of "keeping America safe". We sent the same guys (incidentally, when a Hoosier says guys, it is genderless) back over and over again. Big surprise that they are committing suicide in record numbers after 5, 6, 7 tours in a war zone and we only just now passed a tiny bit of funding to try to help....and even that was damned hard to get through our dysfunctional Congress.

As we usually do, we elected a Democrat, Barack Obama, to put our house back in order....and he has. But who could have foreseen the kind of destructive, hateful, vicious tear the Republicans would go on in response to a black president. It's been as if they believed all monitors were off their words and their behavior. "Wag the dog" was bad enough with Clinton, the implication being that he was too caught up in sexual peccadilloes to mind the country but with Obama, they just come right out and say it: traitor...socialist....communist....Muslim...non-American...America hater...Hitler.  There's is nothing they can think up that is too bad to call this president, or his wife, nothing. They are like a car with the gas pedal stuck and no brakes....full speed ahead. "Hey," says Rudy to King of the Birthers, Donald Trump, "listen to this...I can up the ante on that!"

Vacations, pointing, words used or not used, Michelle encouraging school kids to exercise and eat healthier, tan suits, going or not going to funerals, golfing.....nothing is too mundane (and no matter how many presidents have done the same) to elicit outrage from the right.

They lie with impunity. Rudy says Obama has never said America is exceptional...except, yes, he has. There is video evidence if anyone cares to look and listen but of course, they don't. They just go right on, with Fox News and the poisonous right-wing web sites parroting the accusations...and even doubling down on them. For the most part, Republican politicians sit on their hands or shrug as if to say, "well, maybe".

Their most recent meme is that Obama has done "nothing" about ISIS. What a feckless president he is. Now the King of Jordan, there is a president! Forget that Jordan is following US! America is the major contributor of planes, money, bombs, intelligence, drones, helicopters and missiles in the war against ISIS. Remind Republicans of that and they just ignore you and repeat that he has done nothing or even if he has done a little something, he's done it using the wrong words, by God! They so wish we had a strong leader like Putin. Or, yeah, BiBi Netanyahu....that's their latest hero, to the point of inviting him to speak to a joint session of Congress without conferring with our own president, a disrespectful gesture never done before, because it's all about sidetracking the diplomatic talks with Iran regarding their nuclear weapons program, which will end in March in any case, but they can't wait that long because, geez, what if Obama pulled it off! BiBi is, of course, up for re-election soon so it isn't just about Iran but the Republicans mucking around in another country's choice of leaders....because, you know, screwing up our own elections isn't enough.

So I have watched my country getting farther and farther off the path of what I always thought America stood for. I've watched hatefulness and ignorance take over an entire party. I've watched them with their fiscal cliffs and sequesters and government shutdowns and threatened defaults and credit downgrades and filibusters. I've watched them throw cheap little hissy fits as their supporters egged them on. I thought they might step up and try to govern when they won in 2014 but so far, we've gotten more of the same. This Friday at midnight, the Department of Homeland Security will run out of money if Republicans can't find a way to fund it. Seriously, with terrorist threats around every corner, they are going to let the Department of Homeland Security go broke? Really?

I've watched, heart-broken, as we've gotten more and more vicious. Muslims? Nuke'em! Young refugees? Scare'em first, then send'em home? Kids who came here as children, went to school here, know no other country and are contributing to this one? Deport'em. Unions? Bust'em! Uninsured Americans? Tough shit! Minimum wage workers who can't afford to feed their families? Who cares? Young black males getting shot and/or incarcerated in record numbers. Ah, they're thugs, it's what they deserve.

Take science out of schools and put God back in. Don't let gays get married. Don't let minority and poor people vote. Don't let women control their own health and families. Don't let towns and landowners control their own destinies. No, you can't ban fracking, no you can't refuse to let oil companies pour poisons in your rivers, no you can't deny a pipeline going through your property. Apaches, we know we gave you that land but you know what, we're re-taking it and giving it to the mining companies.

I used to enjoy the back and forth of debating with my conservative friends but no more. It's like debating with someone in an alternate universe - an alternate universe where up is down and good is bad and ugly is beautiful.



Monday, February 16, 2015

What Does Your God Expect?


Most people who read my writing know that I consider myself an agnostic in that I neither confirm nor deny that there is a Creator and if so, whether he/she/it cares about us on a personal level. The farther NASA's telescopes take us into the vastness of outer space, the more difficult it becomes to think we are as important as we like to believe. If there is a Supreme Being, does s/he really take note of a single sparrow falling? Or even of the entire sparrow species disappearing? Is he (which term I'll use from now on for the sake of convenience and since almost all religions seem to agree that this Intelligence must certainly be male) even concerned with the whole planet, for that matter?

I wonder about these questions quite often and sometimes I try to talk to religious people about them but they usually won't deign to discuss them with me. Maybe they don't have satisfying answers either and that's where faith comes in.

But faith? Christians believe they have true faith and so do all the others but is your faith simply a product of the circumstances of your birth? If you had been born into a Sikh family in India and taught from the time you were born that the Sikh faith is the one true one, wouldn't you believe that just as sincerely as you believe in Christianity now? Do Christians think they would have gone against the grain and become Christians even if they were taught absolutely nothing about that religion? And when I say Christians, I'm not picking on just them, I mean every member of every religion.

All religions believe in miracles and it does seem as if what appear to be miracles do happen from time to time but why? How does God choose who is to be honored with a miracle? I often see prayer requests on Facebook and I usually send positive thoughts that way, in case it helps. But does it? Does the number of prayers you get make a difference? Doesn't that make it a popularity contest? We all vote on the contestant we want to recover from leukemia?  Surely, that can't be right. Sometimes, miracles even seem to happen to animals - when a baby buffalo is saved from the crocodile in the nick of time. Why did god decide to intervene in that particular instance and not in thousands of others?

Between them, Muslims and Christians make up over half of all the earth's people who claim to be religious. I would guess they are also the two most violent and insistent that others adopt their own beliefs. Perhaps there are some just as bloodthirsty but we don't hear about them because they are too small to make much of an impact on the world.

Christians and Muslims have been warring with each other (and warring among themselves) for as long as they have existed. Unfortunately, since they are both rooted in the Middle East, these wars often involve territory both sides consider their Holy Land. From the Crusades until the present day, Christians and Muslims have looked upon each other as opponents and enemies.

But it's even worse than that. Different denominations within each religion hate each other as well. Sunnis versus Shia....Catholics versus Protestants. People of faith want to believe that religion is a force for good but just as often, it has been a force for cruelty and death.

It's not what people believe that is the heart of the problem, it's what they've convinced themselves their god expects them to do about those beliefs that send things spinning out of control. Your god may tell you that homosexuality is an abomination or infidels are evil or the idea of an infallible Pope is nonsense but does he expect you, personally, to try to right these wrongs? Unfortunately, many religious people do think that. It's not enough that you live a good Christian or Muslim life by your religion's standards but you must also be your brother's keeper - or sender-to-hell, as the case may be.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Conservatives, Join the Rest of Us in Reality!

Do conservatives not understand what we are doing in Iraq and Syria? Are they unaware that we are spending $7.5 million per day to fight ISIS (and that it sounds as if we are preparing to up the ante considerably). Do they not realize that US/Coalition Forces have hit ISIS targets over 1000 times? Has it escaped their notice that the U.S. is the leader in the war against ISIS? Are they oblivious to the fact that while 40 nations contribute in some way to the fight against radical Islam, America is far and away the biggest provider of money, men, material and planning?

I keep reading these memes on Facebook from conservatives about how America just won't help those poor countries being overtaken by ISIS because, well, because our president is a coward...or maybe he's secretly a Muslim sympathizer in league with the extremists. Yeah, that could be it.

Are you fucking kidding me? Where is that coming from? Is that what Fox News tells you or the right-wing blogs? Because it is so totally and stupidly wrong that I literally have to catch my breath when I read such drivel.

If you want to be upset with someone who isn't committed to this fight, be upset with your own chickenshit congress people who haven't even found it within themselves to so much as debate what should be done and put their butts on the line by taking a vote.

No, first they were on vacation when all this began and you certainly wouldn't expect them to cut their vacation short as exhausted as I'm sure they were from all the days they worked in 2014. (The House's calendar showed they would work 113 days but I don't think it amounted to that many in the end).

Our current engagement against ISIS in Iraq and Syria is being fought under the authorization Congress gave Bush to go to Iraq after 911. It is long out-of-date and it is doubtful that it even provides the legal authority the president needs to do what he's doing. But, OH, MY GOD, imagine if he wasn't doing it? What would they be saying then?

Congress could remedy all this at any time, of course. They could give Obama a new expanded authorization or they could shrink it if that's what they feel is called for.

But, instead, they want to scream and shout and moan and groan and call everything he does wrong while leaving it completely up to his discretion to make the decisions even though they say they don't trust him.

And, of course, their biggest bitch is semantic. They don't care so much about the actual physical costs of what we're doing, they care that Obama doesn't call ISIS by the name they want him to use, which is Radical Islam.

Because as a world leader, he's trying to be careful. He doesn't want to tar an entire religion with one brush because of what a minority of extremists perpetrate, just as Christians would not want their entire faith to be lumped under one heading because of acts by radical Christians.

And remember that some of the Coalition countries are Muslims themselves...and the countries we are fighting ISIS in are also Muslim. The pilot who was just burned to death by ISIS was Muslim, for God's sake....and the man we think organized his burning was born a white English Christian.

What Obama understands is that there is no one-size-fits-all here.

So, you know, conservatives who don't believe Obama's America is helping fight ISIS, maybe you ought to try reading from sources that report actual facts for a change.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The State of Our Union is.......


The State of our Union is....pathetic. I'm talking about the union that is represented by and me. President Obama is wrong. We are a collection of red states and blue states, blacks and whites, gays and straights, Christians and non-Christians, liberals and conservatives. We aren't all united in this endeavor, America, anymore.

And Obama himself, who I think truly wants to believe what he's saying, is a perfect example of just how divided we now are. I had someone tell me on on Facebook just a few days ago. "He's not my president. He wasn't born here and he isn't legally the president. He should be in prison." And that is not an uncommon theme on the right-leaning side of America.

So, this is what our democracy has devolved to. He's not my president because I refuse to accept the will of the voters who elected him. If I don't get my way every time, then I will simply refuse to honor the outcome.

Take nullification, for example. Mike Huckabee, possible Republican presidential aspirant, recently floated the idea that even if the Supreme Court outlaws gay marriage bans throughout the U.S., states don't necessarily have to follow that decision. Ultra-conservative sheriff's have declared that they will refuse to enforce gun laws and in fact, will arrest and charge federal agents who try to do so. Different areas of the country have made every possible effort to shoehorn Christianity into our schools in place of science. Some of them have even tried to declare Christianity their official state religion, despite our Founding Father's strongly held belief that the government must be neutral on matters of faith.

 So, despite the right being the side that howls about the sanctity of the constitution, they have declared war on that document if it means being ordered to do something they don't want to do. I guess it boils down to all of us getting to decide for ourselves which laws we want to follow and which ones we don't....and that isn't a government, it's anarchy.

In the ultimate expression of nullification, some Americans want to secede from the union and start their own new, proudly red, country. Let's call it the nation of Reagan as one proponent of secession wants to do. In Reagan there would be no abortions but lots of guns. There would be no gay marriages but lots of....gee, I can't think of anything they're for but more guns. Gays, immigrants, Muslims, atheists, African-Americans, independent minded women, union workers and poor people - leave Reagan because we don't want your kind here. Seems as if it would be a rather sparsely populated country, doesn't it? But not to worry - with no abortions or contraception, I'm sure the population would soon boom with good white Christian conservative residents.

In Reagan, there would be no unions and no taxes. If a Reaganite suffers from a catastrophe, they'd better be prepared to pack their bags and head for the familiar old U.S, because, of course, there are no assistance programs in their new country. It's Every-Man-For-Himself-Land.

We have become a collection of disparate factions, all pretty much hating one another, each with our own go-to set of media sites that parrot back to us what we want to hear.

And what are liberal attitudes toward all this division and dislike and dysfunction? I can only speak for myself but where once I would have tried to cajole, argue and convince the other side that we all need to work together for the sake of America, I find myself admitting defeat. I'm more than tired of it all. I'm ready to tell them, "just go already...secede....take your hate with you and the rest us will continue with the business of America....all of us together....all the people you cast aside. And may the best country win."