Thursday, March 19, 2015
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
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
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 policy....is 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.