This article over at Salon is worth reading. It not only holds the Republicans accountable for their denial of science, but points out the Democrats timidity in dealing with the issue. It gives a brief and vivid overview of the problems we are already facing and are likely to face if we do nothing.
No historian will be able to capture it. No comedian will accurately convey the absurdity. No dramatist will be able to shine a light on its truth. Last night’s Republican debate was a depressing farce. It was the crying clown of politics. Horrible people said meaningless things, when they weren’t outright making things up. There was pandering to the ignorant on a truly ridiculous scale. Everything important was pushed to the background, while all of society’s scapegoats were put on parade.
Afterwards the media spoke of body language, facial expressions, and about who got the best digs in. Everyone acted as if the emperor still had clothes on.
The only question I have about the debate is this: Was it a sign of an empire in decline, or was it simply the death throes of the old gaurd, attempting to pull down a few more lost souls as they drown in the slop bucket of history’s losers? Only time will tell.
The above article over at Huffington Post is an interesting read that examines a scientific study of what the world would be like if humans had never existed. It shows how humans have wiped out a lot of diversity in the world, especially large mammals.
The news today is pretty bleak. At least the above article is informed speculation. There’s more gun violence. I read today that this year we have had more mass shootings than days of the year, if you count mass shootings as more than four people being shot at once, and not murdered, which is how the media often counts mass shootings. And yet we still refuse to have a sensible debate on guns.
The Republican campaign keeps reaching new lows as they debate the fate of babies. 2015 is looking to be the warmest year on record, but many politicians refuse to admit that climate change is happening. And on and on…
The news today reminds me of a scene in the movie Wild at Heart, where the two main characters, played by Nicholas Cage and Laura Dern, are driving through the desert listening to the radio. Every station has some horrible bit of news on it, until it reaches an absurd symphony of facts. The couple finally pulls over, puts on heavy metal, and dances and does karate kicks as the camera pulls away. They eventually embrace, two kindred spirits in a strange world. Here is the scene:
The scene is filmed in an absurd way, but there is a lot of truth going on there.
I was reading the article over at Huffpo about how certain Republicans want to repeal the 14th Amendment, ending birthright citizenship. I started thinking about the film Gangs of New York, where Daniel Day Lewis’s character, Bill the Butcher, represents nativist sentiment in America at that time. Only at that time Hispanics weren’t the target, but Irish Roman Catholics. Here is a brief history of nativism in the United States over at wikipedia. My family, going back, was partially Irish Roman Catholic. The groups that are deemed outsiders change, but the story remains the same. Certain groups think that they have more of a right to America than others. Sure, there needs to be some kind of fair and sane way to bring new groups into America, to make them part of the social fabric of the country, but that is far different than what shenanigans the Republicans constantly seem up to. Not only is the Republican strategy a losing one over the longterm, but don’t those at the base level realize they are part of a long line of people that lost out in the end, only to see the group they demonize enter the American mainstream? I’m sure once it becomes politically untenable to demonize Hispanics there will be some new group to suit their need to divide.
This is a long serving and predictable political tactic, to divide and conquer, bait and switch. A group in economic power will make groups with less economic power fight it out, so that those groups don’t unite and take a larger slice of the pie. Income inequality goes up, and poor whites, many that are of Irish, German, and Italian descent, all of which are groups that were scapgoated in the past, are lead to believe that it is poor Hispanics that are destroying their way of life.
Republicans will scream some version of Bill the Butcher’s line in Gangs of New York, “This is a night for Americans!” But which Americans are the ones really winning out by such a thing?
The thing is, when you actually think about it, it’s not funny. Given what’s at stake, it’s more like the opposite, like the first sign of the collapse of the United States as a global superpower. Twenty years from now, when we’re all living like prehistory hominids and hunting rats with sticks, we’ll probably look back at this moment as the beginning of the end.
In the meantime, though, the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination sure seems funny. The event known around the world as hashtagGOPClownCar is improbable, colossal, spectacular and shocking; epic, monumental, heinous and disgusting. It’s like watching 17 platypuses try to mount the queen of England. You can’t tear your eyes away from it.
– Matt Taibbi
I don’t mean to link to so many Matt Taibbi articles. Except, when he really hits his stride, he really makes me laugh like few other political commentators do. He also able to do this while getting to essential truths about the strange nature of our current political system. His latest Rolling Stone article is a must read.
Read the rest of the article here.
More Posts On Republicans Included: White Anglo Saxon Republicans – What Are They Good For?
There is a meme going around on Facebook right now where Texas Governor Greg Abbot is quoted:
“Marriage is defined by God, no man can redefine it.”
Then it shows the three women Supreme Court Judges and below their picture it says: I Am No Man.
I loved it. I wrote below it on my Facebook page:
I couldn’t help post this. It made me laugh thinking how certain heads would explode. As a straight white male maybe you think I shouldn’t be laughing. But after centuries of war, environmental destruction, and economic injustice (just for starters!), I figure it’s time to let some other people drive. We have three women on the Supreme Court and a black president and we got affordable healthcare and tolerance that just a few years ago seemed a dream.
I don’t usually like to post those memes on Facebook, but sometimes you have to break your own rules. But anyway, it made me think of my voting system that I use if I am not sure of who to vote for. Let’s just be honest, sometimes you go to the polls in those off years and you just don’t know all the races. So you have to have a system. So here is mine (I will explain after):
1. If there are different parties I select the most liberal party.
2. If there are not different parties I will vote for a woman over a man.
3. If the candidates are all one sex, then I try to see if one of the candidates has a name that looks like a minority name. If so I vote for the minority.
4. If the only name present is a white Republican male, then I write in a candidate.
5. If there is no one that I can think of that is breathing to hold an office other than a white Republican male, I then write in a fictional character.
Basically, in my opinion, George W. Bush doomed white Republican males until the end of time. The Republican party, which was the party of my grandfather, and used to feature sensible moderates at times, spent the years between Reagan and W. driving all moderates out of positions of power in the party. (I know many of you are still out there in the wilderness. Stay strong!) Somehow this thinning of the moderate heard reached light speed under George W. Now that party’s leadership seems to be left without any candidates that aren’t anti-science, religious freak, free market fundamentalists.
It’s not that I think that all liberals, women, and minorities are great. Not by a long shot. It’s only that I am willing to bet they will be better than the WRM alternative.
In life the driving forces should be love, tolerance, and peace. I don’t mean that in the kind of utopian sense than many on the right would call, “hippie bullshit.” I just mean that we should strive to be tolerant of those individuals who are born differently from us and that as a society we should only use violence as a last resort. As much as I would like to believe otherwise, if you put Hitler at one end of the human spectrum and Martin Luther King Jr. at the other, I would probably be somewhere in the middle. But I’m trying. It’s striving to be loving, tolerant, and peaceful that is important. Many of us will trip along the way, but we must get up and try harder.
I feel like more often than not, those that have struggled have more empathy for other people that are struggling. Unfortunately, right now, in our society, on average, women and minorities have more roadblocks in their path than white men do, despite whatever bullshit Fox News tries to sell you. (You will see all kinds of “traditional values under attack” over at Fox News after the gay marriage vote. Fox News viewers will be made to feel like victims, again. Please, gay people are just being allowed to marry someone they love, not being given free mansions.) There is no promise that any kind of person is going to be loving, tolerant, or kind, but again, I’m playing the odds at the voting booth on occasion. If you’ve been shit on by the system, the odds are you are going to extend a hand to others that have faced similar problems. And that’s what this whole life thing is about, making sure that as many of our brothers and sisters get a fair shake as possible.
Now granted, occasionally my system could vote in Clarence Thomas in a whig, but whoever said life was without its risks?
Above is a really interesting article that talks about Scott Walker’s largely successful campaign against unions in Wisconsin. This is part of a larger right wing move to destroy unions in this country. It is done under the guise of “right to work” by methods of divide and conquer. A sample (The article starts out by following a union worker named Randy Bryce who takes a day off to have his voice heard at a debate in the state government.):
At 6 p.m., Bryce’s name finally appeared on the list of coming speakers. He paced the hallway outside the hearing room in anticipation. But 20 minutes later, Stephen Nass, the Republican senator who is the chairman of the Labor and Government Reform Committee, announced that there was a “credible threat of disruption” and that the hearing would be adjourned so the committee could vote to move the bill forward (it passed). A labor organizer, it turned out, had told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that some people planned to stand up in protest at 7 p.m., when testimony was to be cut off. (“I went through Act 10 — it was ugly,” Nass said earlier in the hearing, referring to the difficulty some senators experienced reaching various parts of the Capitol after the rotunda was occupied. “We had to go through a tunnel like rats. We don’t want to go through that again.”) About a hundred people were still in line to testify. A chant of “Let us speak” erupted. But Nass quickly took the committee members’ votes and was then escorted out, with his two Republican colleagues, by a phalanx of state troopers.
Bryce still wanted to speak. He had lost a day’s wages, and the committee’s two Democratic senators had remained to hear more testimony. State troopers were now blocking the door to the hearing room, though, so he decided to address a group of protesters in the hallway outside instead.
“My name is Randy Bryce,” he began in a loud voice. “I’ve been a member of Ironworkers Local 8 since 1997. I’ve had the privilege in that time to work on many of Wisconsin’s landmarks, private businesses and numerous other parts of our infrastructure.” As he spoke, the protesters began to quiet. Bryce described how he had wandered from job to job after he left the Army, how Local 8’s apprenticeship program had given him direction, a real career. Finally, he presented the case against what he called “a blatant political attack” on his union. “All of our representatives are elected,” he said. “All of the decisions that we make are voted on. The general membership is given monthly reports on how every dime is spent. Every dime spent is voted on. Unlike what is taking place this week, Ironworkers Local 8 is pure democracy. I am disappointed beyond words at not just what this bill contains, but how it is being passed.”
Two days later, just after the full Senate approved the bill that would make Wisconsin the 25th right-to-work state, Scott Walker was in Maryland, attending the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual showcase for conservative activists and Republican presidential hopefuls. At a question-and-answer session, one attendee asked Walker how he, as president, would confront the threat from radical Islamist groups like ISIS. Walker’s answer was simple, and may in the end define his candidacy. “If I can take on 100,000 protesters,” he said, “I can do the same across the world.”
I can’t help but feel that anyone that knows the history of working people in this country should be outraged.
Although the song above is dated, it actually deals with Solidarity concerning workers in Poland during the 1980’s, I can’t help but feel that with a few minimal lyric changes, it works perfectly today. Only this time the tyrant is more elusive. Power is with those who exist largely in the shadows and hide behind the utopian myth of the miracle of the unfettered free market. They use the language of hard work, religion, and patriotism to achieve their aims, although I know of no religion whose text celebrates endless greed, they shamelessly drain the livelihoods of many of those that work hardest, and they preach a kind of patriotism which leaves out a great deal of their fellow countrymen and women, which is no kind of patriotism at all. Unions, like all things manmade, are imperfect, but they have played a great role in strengthening the working and middle class of this country. People have literally died to gain the ability to earn a livable wage for an honest days work. If you find yourself again unions, read the history of the coal towns or read about many early factory conditions. Find out the things that the American worker has come to take for granted that exist because of unions. We need strong unions now more than anytime since before the New Deal, when those like Walker stalk the corridors of power.
This is what the modern GOP has come to: Wanting to amend the Constitution to actually deprive people of the pursuit of happiness. All the meanwhile sliding money out the backdoor to multinational corporations. This is backwoods barbarity combined with snake oil salesmanship. They distract people from what is really destroying their quality of life with archaic notions of morality. It’s cruel and stupid. Don’t let them dupe you. Love is the only engine of our survival. Only through kindness and tolerance can we move forward to better days.
Jesus Christ! I haven’t seen this many freaks and mutants in one place since The Monster Squad! Do you really want one of these men to be the next president? Is this the best the GOP can do? This is the flab of the American Empire. When you have to pretend that you don’t believe in evolution, that climate change isn’t happening, and that the free market lifts all boats, this is the kind of crew you end up running with. These guys look like they should be salesmen down at CarMax, not the leaders of the free world. Swirl unfettered free markets and backwards religious ideas in a jar and this is what leaks out. America, so much to answer for…
The Republican controlled Senate voted 50-49 that climate change is not caused by humans. These people are the modern day version of those that persecuted Galileo for saying that the earth went around the sun. Unfortunately for us, these climate deniers’ folly is going to doom a lot of people around the globe. Their ignorance will destroy lives. It is easy to look back at history in disbelief at people believing that the sun revolved around the earth. But that same kind of mindset is with us now. It is created by the same thing: Power that does not want to be challenged. The church didn’t want their authoritarian power being challenged. Today it is the fossil fuel companies who don’t want their power to make money to be challenged. The politicians that voted that climate change was not caused by humans derive their power from the fossil fuel companies. They are bought and paid for. Every major scientific institution has made the case for human caused climate change. The facts are not up in the air, they are just inconvenient to some of those that have a great deal of power. One day they will look as foolish as the church of Galileo’s time does now. Hopefully there will be a civilization around that can afford to laugh at them.