Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Some Rare Democratic Gumption

So, the Democrats in Congress aren't simply allowing the corporate bigshots to ram through a bailout deal that gives billions in freebies to corporations without any oversight, or without any possible benefit to the taxpayers and consumers.

They've grown a pair, indeed!

I quite understand why libertarians object to government having power without any oversight by the people. But in their eagerness to kiss corporate ass, what these folks fail to understand is the hypocrisy in their condemnation of governmental oversight of big business.

WE are the government. We are. Does that mean that irresponsible people never manage to worm their way into powerful government posts and abuse their power? Of course not. But when that power is abused too egregiously, there are others in the government who can smack them around. Like the FBI is doing to the CEO's who presided over last week's mega-corporate failures.

Who oversees these corporations? Within the corporations themselves, that is? Nobody, of course.

The shareholders aren't going to do it, because all they care about is the same thing the CEO's do: making all the money they can. The consumers can't do much, either, when huge corporations have eliminated the competition by running everybody else out of business so consumers have nowhere else to go.

Libertarianism has failed dismally at keeping corporate America responsible to the people these companies are supposed to be serving. This isn't because there's anything wrong with the basic principles behind libertarianism -- that all power is potentially corruptive and should be checked by those over whom the power is wielded -- but precisely because corporations are treated, in libertarian-world, as if they are incapable of corruption. Or -- just as insanely -- as if, once they have squeezed out all the competition, those companies' consumers are in any real position to exercise oversight over them.

Libertarianism is a great concept. Libertarians ought to try it sometime -- for real. Unless the theories behind that philosophy are applied consistently -- holding true in the world of commerce, as well as that of government -- then the whole concept falls apart.

Checks and balances, people...remember? Government oversees business, and the people oversee government. When government goes awry, the people are in a position to do a hell of a lot more about it than they are about a corporate giant that holds a monopoly on a product or service they can't do without.

The Democrats used to be the ones who understood this. Then Clinton came along and corrupted the whole works. Now the Dems in Congress seem -- thank Heaven -- to have wised up. Let us hope that President Obama does the same.

He's starting to show more gumption in standing up to Nasty Grandpa McCain. He's not going to let the old grouch chicken out of the first debate on Friday night. Good for Obama.

And let's hope we're still saying "Good for Obama" four years from now.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Some Random Ramblings for Mid-September

Here are a few odds and ends worth mentioning in the middle of the month...

  • What earthly sense does it make for Bush and Company to assert that the terrorists "hate our freedoms," then use fear of the terrorists as an excuse to attack our freedoms themselves?
  • Republicans have a vested interest in another terrorist attack. And right now, that means pretty much all of them. Democrats, on the other hand -- particularly leaders like Senator Obama, who is campaigning on a message of hope -- have a vested interest in our not being attacked again. Hmmmm...seems to me that if we really want to be safe from further terrorist attacks, our choice is pretty clear.
  • Though I would in no way compare my loss to that of those who died or lost loved ones on September 11 of 2001, I certainly suffered a very personal loss at the terrorists' hands, too. My birthday was taken from me, in a very real sense, and I don't know if I'll ever really, truly get it back. Not the way it was, in any case. Probably for the rest of my life, every time I tell people when my birthday is, I'll have to hear " AWFUL!" and restrain myself from belting the insensitive dolts. It is now a national day of mourning and remembrance, and as I cannot simply exchange my birthdate for a different one, I will always have to live with that.
  • If Sarah Palin hadn't made a career (as have most Republicans) of butting her nose into other people's private lives, then of course how she raises her kids would be nobody's damned business but her own. As it is, she -- and people like her -- had just better get used to their private lives being an open book. Karma's a bitch, ain't it?

Sorry I have nothing more cohesive or coherent, for this week, than these few musings. The election season has gotten me so frazzled that right now it's hard for me to put large concepts together. Thank the Lord in Heaven, we only have another month and a half of this. Any longer than that, and I think my brain would shut down completely.

If only so many Americans' hadn't shut down already. The McCain-Palin campaign is now running on sheer stupidity alone. Hoping for an Obama victory is no longer enough. Folks, we need plenty of prayer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Ice-Cream Cone...Right in the Forehead!"

I still get emails from GLBT conservative groups like Log Cabin and Outright Libertarians. Now that I have been around a while and know the score, these people appall me. Ditto for websites like the Independent Gay Forum. I don't know where they come from, but it's got to be some planet other than Earth.

Whatever the problem is with this country, it is NOT (A) frothing-at-the-mouth extremist liberals or (B) the "liberal" media. I have come to the conclusion, watching the ongoing circus that is American politics, that MORE "extremist" liberals, and a genuinely liberal media. are exactly what we need.

Keep on drinking the Kool-Aid, Log Cabin and IGF people. And enjoy your fanciful little flight in orbit. The rest of us will just have to deal with the problems you won't.

I know -- "duh!" Or, as we used to say in high school, "Ice-cream cone...right in the forehead!" I was somewhat slow in coming around, but I have gotten here at last. And better late than never.

I have no idea whether Barack Obama will win the election or not. And, sad to say, I'm no longer sure it will make much difference if he does. He is, for sure, the "lesser of two evils." But he seems to have caught the same "centrist" virus that plagues most of the Democratic Party.

People, we've got to excommunicate ourselves from this cult of personality. I keep hearing people -- young ones, especially -- say they've gotten more politically active because of Senator Obama. They seem to be threatening that if he doesn't win, they'll crawl back under whatever rock they were hiding under before he came along.

I've got news for them. THERE IS NO QUICK FIX. This country is in such dire trouble that even if Obama is all that and a bag of chips, and even if he does get elected, there isn't much that he, as President, can do all by himself. He really does need us -- ALL of us. I don't think that's just rhetoric coming from him; I think he's smart enough to mean it. We all need to stay committed, keep active and stand firm.

I have gotten a lot of things bass-ackwards, in the past, from having listened too much to GLBT conservatives. This has caused some of my judgments about things to be real turkeys.

The flap about my former pastor is one example of this. After her betrayal of the GLBT members of her congregation, I spluttered that she was a "typical liberal." Well, no...she isn't. Her problem -- far from being "typically" liberal -- is that she is (no matter what she wants to call herself) no damned liberal at all.

Not everyone who claims to be a "liberal" or a "progressive" really is one. Most Democrats, these days, are neither liberal nor progressive in the least. Gay conservatives fail to understand this (or, in their eagerness to demonize their chosen political enemies, they simply refuse to). Not all Democrats are progressive. And, as I have said before, to defend one's Republicanism on the basis of the wishy-washy quisling-hood of many Democrats is absurd.

Real progressives -- who are not afraid, incidentally, to call themselves "liberals," either -- are pretty fed up with the Democratic Party. But they understand how utterly apeshit insane it would be for them to protest this by becoming Republicans or Libertarians. It is simply not logical to define oneself as a conservative because you don't think Democrats are liberal enough.

There -- I've said it again. No more ice-cream cone on my forehead. From now on, I'll put my ice-cream in my mouth. And I hope to enjoy a jumbo triple-scooper when Barack Obama becomes our next President.

At the moment, worry may be warranted. We're all still waiting for our champion to remember that the people who gave him the nomination were members of his progressive base, and not wishy-squishy "centrist" cowards. We're also hoping he'll stop crying about what a big meanie McCain is and ACTUALLY FIGHT BACK.

Hope is still a beautiful thing. Let's all pray it turns out to be justified.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

All Alike in the Dark

If there ever was any doubt that the Right-Wingers think women are stupid, since John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running-mate, that doubt has disappeared. They think we've even dumber than I realized. Throw those Clintonites a woman -- ANY woman -- and (the theory goes), they will automatically vote for her.

Of course no real Hillary supporter is going to go for this crap. Governor Palin is against everything Hillary Clinton stands for -- as is McSame. The polls clearly show that nobody's being fooled by this except for the fools on the Religious Right. And they are pretty much fooled by everything.

The philosophy seems to be that, as the old male-neanderthal saying goes, we're all alike in the dark. But unless we're Right-Wing, Christianist whackjobs, we are NOT in the dark. Therein lies their problem. They may believe their charlatan leaders' lies, but we won't. It's becoming encouragingly apparent that no one else will, either.

How odd that these people don't distinguish between one woman and another. How much odder, still, that they take such a view -- yet call themselves Christians. Nothing could be farther from the genuine Christian perspective.

The God revealed in Jesus Christ is "no respecter of persons." And in Christ, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, but all are one." God looks at our humanity, NOT at our gender. Yet God made -- deliberately and lovingly crafted -- each and every one of us. God loves, values and judges each of us as an individual person.

This is only one of at least a thousand examples of why the "Christian Right" is neither. Not only are these people very, very wrong, but they are not even real Christians. Their view could not be farther from it.

Christian doctrine also says we should judge ourselves more harshly than we do anyone else. Not so the Republican thugs of today, who are tripping all over themselves with excuses for the trailer-trashy carryings-on of the Palin family, even while they pass endless judgment, with Moses-like sternness, on the morality of just about everybody else.

If she were anybody else's daughter, Bristol Palin's sex life would be none of our business. But her mother chose to run for the second-highest office not only in the country, but in the world. So her daughter's sex life is not only the business of the family, but of the country -- and the world. Can't stand the heat? Then get the hell out of the kitchen.

They want to pass judgment on us. Not only that, but they want to be able to FORCE their judgments off on us, whether we agree with them or not. They would usurp the very role of God "Himself." Thus have they forfeited any right to "privacy."

Please, please, PLEASE let's have the debate on morality -- especially Christian morality -- the Religious Right keeps claiming that it wants to have. They're playing chicken with us, of course. The last thing they really want is an honest and rigorous discussion about morality, but they think that we're afraid to call their bluff.

Never has a more shamefully immoral crowd run this country. We owe it to the country to call their bluff. In fact, we owe it to Christ.