Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Today’s GOP is the party of Jefferson Davis, not of Lincoln

From the Washington Post opinion section:

Fueled by the mega-donations of the mega-rich, today’s Republican Party is not just far from being the party of Lincoln: It’s really the party of Jefferson Davis. It suppresses black voting; it opposes federal efforts to mitigate poverty; it objects to federal investment in infrastructure and education just as the antebellum South opposed internal improvements and rejected public education; it scorns compromise. It is nearly all white. It is the lineal descendant of Lee’s army, and the descendants of Grant’s have yet to subdue it.

More here.

When liberals call the GOP "The Confederate Party," it is simply assumed by conservatives to be slamming them for perceived racism. But it's actually a more nuanced and sophisticated argument than that, and also, on the facts, approaching the status of undeniable.


Monday, June 29, 2015

WE'RE ALL RACIST...but that doesn't get us off the hook

We're ALL racist, in that we have ALL been socially conditioned within a culture that has white supremacy all over it.

Some people, like the group at the McKinney pool starting the entire ruckus, are overt racists, people who say things like "black f'ers, go back to section 8 housing." Others always jump to defend whites and blame blacks every time the opportunity presents itself. Still others, such as myself, feel racist impulses coming up, but are aware that such poison long ago affected their souls, and try to adjust and maintain their consciously chosen anti-racist position on the fly.

All of us. You, me, Hillary Clinton, all of us. Even black people have this vile shit stuck in their heads influencing their thoughts and actions, like black cops pulling over black drivers for "driving while black," or five year old black girls in studies saying that pictures of white girls are prettier than pictures of black girls.

Better get used to that, everybody. I think society is only now starting to wake up to the fact that racism isn't simply a switch within an individual you can turn on and off.

This is a far more insidious and complicated problem than most of us have ever considered.


Sunday, June 28, 2015


Now that the gays have been freed, we can finally answer an interesting social question.

Former Pennsylvania Senator and perennial Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has asserted for many years that if we end up with gay marriage, it will necessarily lead to "man on dog." Now, while I believe that the human race is infinitely weird, and that, in the grand scheme, humans will eventually do everything that can possibly be conceived, which means that the world has very likely had a little "man on dog" here and there for centuries, it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that legalizing gay marriage will cause any bestiality at all.

Of course, I'm not the only one who thinks that. Indeed, Santorum's bizarre ideas about teh gay are what led to his name being appropriated by many Americans to mean, well, something other than him. So a lot of people think that the self-proclaimed "family values" guy is just insultingly wrong about this. I mean, you know, he IS wrong about this.

But now we'll see for sure. If Santorum is right, we will very soon see a broadly based political movement to legalize and socially mainstream "man on dog."

I can't wait to finally know the truth about this!


Saturday, June 27, 2015


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, June 26, 2015



Be sure to check Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, June 25, 2015


Yesterday, after having my Obamacare for some months, I finally got around to going to the doctor for the first time in over a decade. Turns out I have high blood pressure, high enough to get me on meds for it right away.

Okay, cool, glad we caught that.

But I just can't help but reflect today, now that the ACA has survived yet another Supreme Court challenge, about what this all means to me personally. If I didn't have health insurance, I wouldn't have gone to the doctor. If I hadn't gone to the doctor, we wouldn't have caught my high blood pressure. Not catching my high blood pressure means that I would have done nothing about it. Not doing anything about it means that my chances of dying increase dramatically.

It's very likely that Obamacare has saved my life. Or, to put it another way, the Republicans want to kill me. Seriously, the Republicans, who opposed the ACA every step of the way, and continue to try to destroy it with every imaginable scheme, LITERALLY WANT TO KILL ME. They want to kill me, and millions of others like me in similar economic situations.

I continue to have big problems with Obamacare. What we really need is some good, old fashioned socialized health care, a system that isn't a massive corporate giveaway to Big Insurance and Big Pharma. I mean, it's a lot of crony capitalism, and I hate it.

But it is saving lives. And one of those lives is mine. So fuck you, Republicans, for wanting to kill me. You can go on all day about how bad you think "socialism" is for the country, even though the ACA doesn't even come close to socialism. But the only alternative you offer is MY DEATH.

So fuck you. I will never, ever, ever, ever support any political point of view advocating my own death. Fuck you all.

I'm glad this made it through the SCOTUS so overwhelmingly. It means I get to live for a few more years.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015


So what is Southern "heritage," anyway?

I'm not saying there's not such a thing. I'm just wondering what it means, exactly, when Confederate battle flag supporters say it's not about elevating the values of the Confederacy, but rather displaying their Southern "heritage." So just what is that?

I mean, we all talk about this as though we have something specific in mind, but I don't know that we're all on the same page with it. Is this kind of "heritage" about, what, loving our mammas? Is it about country music and pickup trucks? Is it about fried chicken and shotguns? Is it about saying "no, sir" and "yes, sir"? Is it about loving Jesus? Is it about supporting the military and loving your country?

Really, though, if displaying the Confederate battle flag is about loving America, I can think of another flag that's probably more suited to the task. But I digress. I'm very curious about what people think Southern "heritage" means when stripped of its historically traitorous, racist, oppressive, and barbaric aspects. I mean, you know, the blues, gospel, and jazz are Southern, too, but I don't think Confederate battle flag supporters are talking about that with the word "heritage."

But maybe they are, which makes me think of another question: why must Confederate battle flag supporters choose a symbol for Southern "heritage" which immediately excludes virtually all black Southerners? Wouldn't another, more inclusive symbol be better?


Tuesday, June 23, 2015


At the end of the Civil War we should have done the same thing to the racist icons and ideas of the Confederacy that we did to the Nazis at the end of WWII. How did we botch that so badly? At any rate, the tide may finally be turning. Maybe. But how many more black lives need to be snuffed out before we finish the job?

'Nuff said.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Charleston Shooting Reignites Debate About Confederate Flag

From the New York Times:

The conflict over the banner of the Confederacy has been raging for decades between those who feel it is a symbol of free speech, and others who see it as a symbol of white supremacy. But with a photo emerging of Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old suspect in the Charleston church shootings, posing in front of a car with Confederate plates, the debate has been reignited on social media and beyond about whether the flag should be displayed, and whether politicians should continue to defend the flag as a symbol of Southern heritage.

More here.

The arguments in support of the Confederate battle flag are all pretty bad.

As far as I've ever been able to tell, they go something like this. No, it's not racist. It's about heritage and Southern pride. And that's about it. I mean, if you want, you can also throw in related arguments that the Civil War wasn't about slavery, but, of course, that's pretty stupid because the Civil War was ENTIRELY about slavery.

Now contrast those "arguments," for what they are, with the arguments against it. The battle flag was flown by a treasonous army defending a traitorous regime which was both economically and philosophically based on the ownership and oppression of human beings, and can mean nothing except what its designers and users originally intended it to mean. The flag was never "rehabilitated," never conceptually purged of its poisonous and vile significance. It means slavery. It means hate. It means inhumanity and barbarity. It means treason. It is anti-American.

In short, here's the clash. Opposers: the flag represents cruelty and hate, which is undeniable historical fact. Supporters: no, it doesn't. Slam dunk. Supporters lose, and they lose big, really big.

In fact, this is pretty much how a lot of arguments on race go in this country. People scream for justice. This is met by a collective white shoulder-shrugging followed by patronizing lectures and head-in-sand burying. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The power of white denial in this country is nothing short of amazing.


Sunday, June 21, 2015


Since the awful shooting in SC, something beyond astonishing has been happening among the conservative mouths talking about it. A lot of them have gone out of their way, bent over backwards, to deny what it was, an act of heinous, racist terrorism.

From Rick Santorum, Fox News, and others' ludicrous attempt to situate the attack as part of the false "persecuted American Christians" narrative, to Jeb Bush saying, "I don’t know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes," to Rick Perry calling it an "accident" and focusing on mental health, to the Wall Street Journal's claim that racism no longer exists, and on and on and on, we are seeing a deluge of conservatives falling over themselves to deny what is totally and completely obvious. A horrific white supremacist piece of shit, a neo-Confederate far right reactionary conservative, committed a racist, absolute atrocity.

I mean, it's SO obvious that all these conservative rhetorical distracters appear to be totally insane. It looks, at a casual glance, like something very weird, indeed, is going on. That so many prominent conservatives would so quickly take to the airwaves to proclaim unflinchingly that up is down, left is right, white is black, would appear to need an explanation.

Except that this isn't weird at all, and it doesn't need an explanation. We know EXACTLY what's going on.

This is business as usual for conservatives. This is how they think. This is coming from the same impulse that makes Trayvon Martin a thug. This is the same impulse that makes conservatives condemn rioting while supporting the kind of policing that kills unarmed black people--and inspires rioting. This is the same impulse that blames black people for the poverty in which they live. And on and on and on.

From Hullabaloo:

All these acts of terrorism against black churches are coincidental. The mass incarceration of black people is coincidental, The killing of unarmed black teenagers is coincidental. There is no racism. It just so happens that black people are born criminals, act suspiciously and are, for some reason, often the targets of crazy people who aren't motivated by the racism they see around them in the form of symbols like the confederate flag or the vile racist rhetoric that comes from right wing extremists in every form of media.

More here.

They're so used to doing this shit, denying racism while trashing black people and supporting racist institutional behavior, that they've lost the ability to see how the anti-racist majority in this country will react to their bullshit. Sure, they do everything they can to confuse the discussion, change subjects, use "witnesses" who are obviously lying, raise their voices, pound on their chests, and that often works pretty well. But they can't confuse the massacre in Charleston with anything, no matter how hard they try. They can't deny the horrible awful racism this time. But still they try. So their racism is laid bare for all to see.

Denying racism IS racism. We will never move forward as a nation with this right-wing albatross around our necks. Time to end this bullshit forever.


Saturday, June 20, 2015


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, June 19, 2015


From the New York Times opinion section:

The jubilation following Granger’s announcement in Galveston moved across Texas, quickly reaching the state’s 250,000 enslaved people. A year later, a spontaneous holiday called Juneteenth — formed from the words June and nineteenth — began to be celebrated by the newly freed people of Galveston and other parts of Texas. In 1867, Austin, the state capital, saw its first Juneteenth celebration under the direction of the Freedmen’s Bureau, the federal agency created to provide relief to people displaced by the Civil War.

More here.

I've been saying this for some years, myself. Juneteenth ought to be celebrated by ALL Americans. After all, this country instantly became a better place, about a thousand times more civilized, the day slavery ended. This is a no-brainer. Ending slavery is as important to this country as gaining independence from England is.

That this day of emancipation is not celebrated by all of us says a great deal about our truly f'd up attitudes on race: it's the most obvious evidence that white Americans just don't want to think about our bloodstained barbaric past, and its ongoing legacy today. Just sweep it all under the rug and it will all work out. That's the white American way, and it's obviously not working out so well these days.

I say try celebrating Juneteenth, instead. Think about what it means. Contemplate freedom for yourself, and for others. That's much more American, I think, than living in denial. Happy Juneteenth!




Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, June 18, 2015


From Wonkette, courtesy of Hullabaloo:

Fox News’s The Five had a little memory problem Monday, accusing the Department of Homeland Security of completely imagining that rightwing extremists pose any threat to U.S. Americans, because as we all know, the only real terrorists are the Islamic ones. Most of the panel dismissed the DHS’s recent report on the threat from “Sovereign Citizens” and other far-right groups as a pathetic attempt to avoid offending Muslims by pretending that anyone else does terrorism in U.S. America.

More here.

The shootings in Charleston are, it goes without saying, totally horrible. I'm not going to talk much about that, myself--lots of other people have that well covered, it seems. But I do think it's extraordinary important that we contextualize this event: it is, as one of my favorite bloggers, Digby over at Hullabaloo, notes, yet another example of right-wing extremist terrorism.


Yeah, yeah, I know that even talking about this is considered to be in very poor taste by conservatives, especially since the release of that Department of Justice report a few years ago about the very real dangers coming from right-wing terrorism. But whatever. I talk about global warming, poverty, labor, racism, and evolution, too, conversational topics which conservatives also find distasteful.

But that's what it is. That's what shooting up a black church is. Right-wing terrorism. And, according to the linked Wonkette blog post, it's been happening at the rate of about two or three attacks a year for the last half decade. So it's a very real problem, a deadly problem, and it belongs to conservatives. I mean, I suppose it's not so surprising that the American tribal group making guns, war, and capital punishment some of its central most ideas are going to have tribesmen who really, really, really take that seriously.

But that's basically what the deal is. If you're a domestic terrorist in the US, it's HIGHLY LIKELY that your politics are very conservative, I mean, FAR more likely than you being an Islamic terrorist.

And don't give me that eco-terrorist crap. The left hasn't engaged in any of this murderous shit since Patty Hearst. American terrorism is right-wing terrorism. And that's that.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Southern Baptist head vows never to perform same-sex unions

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

The president of the nation's largest Protestant denomination on Tuesday vowed never to officiate at a same-sex union, and the Southern Baptist Convention called on the U.S. Supreme Court not to declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Pastor Ronnie Floyd was speaking to delegates at the convention's annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio. But he said his message was also for the U.S. Supreme Court — which is expected to rule within days on same-sex marriage — and for all of America.

Floyd said he has compassion for people whom he described as struggling with same-sex attraction, but he said it would be wrong to remain silent on the issue.

More here.

Ah, just give them time, I think. 

Flash back to the 1970s: Southern Baptist ministers would never, ever, ever officiate a wedding where the bride, or groom, or both, had been divorced.  That's probably still the SBC's official position.  But I also know that there are Southern Baptist ministers these days who will, in fact, re-marry people.

I mean, for that matter, the Southern Baptists eventually got around to apologizing for the theological stance that long served as their reason for existence, the belief God is cool with slavery.  I mean, it took well over a century for them to do it, but they finally did it.

All they need is for the overall culture to overwhelmingly embrace the idea they hate right now.  And they'll follow.  It might take a long time, but, mark my words, there will come a day when Southern Baptist ministers perform gay weddings.

It's going to happen.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015


The "black thug" is a mass media construction, and it is one of which everyone is aware. We see the concept relentlessly promoted in popular music, on television, and in movies. We see it pushed on news programming, local and national. We see it pushed in the fashion industry, giving street cred to corporate products. The "black thug" is EVERYWHERE regardless of whether there are any actual black people there or not. It looms powerfully in the nation's consciousness.

It's why there are sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine, which are the exact same substance, with the only difference being the color of the people who use it. The "black thug" makes white people nervous in black neighborhoods. Hell, the "black thug" makes some black people nervous in black neighborhoods!

But he doesn't really exist.

I mean, yeah, there are black criminals, just as there are white criminals. But black criminals are represented by a powerful and omnipresent cultural icon; there is no corollary for whites. We're all in on this. We all buy into the image of the "black thug" to greater and lesser extents.

It's probably the main reason so many white people have bought this "black mob" nonsense in McKinney. Racism is not a switch one can just flip on and off. It ends up being wired into our brains in extraordinarily problematic ways.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Rachel Dolezal Tried Really Hard to Be Black—But Why?

From AlterNet:

By now, you may have heard about Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist out of Spokane, Wash., who is generating intense media scrutiny after her parents claimed she has been passing as a black woman for years.

Dolezal, who is currently president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, avoided questions about her ethnicity when contacted by the Spokesman-Review Thursday.

“That question is not as easy as it seems,” she told the newspaper. “There’s a lot of complexities … and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.”

During an interview with a local television reporter, Dolezal walked away after he asked about her ethnicity. Today, she told Sky News that she identifies as black, yet rejects the term African American.

More here.

My own personal rule is that white people should never do blackface. Under any circumstances. But then this story, in its gross spectacle, is more like Andy Kaufman's take on minstrelsy as extended performance art. It's bizarre and disturbing in about forty or fifty different ways.

I feel much safer discussing Miley Cyrus and twerking.


Sunday, June 14, 2015


It's not the individual white man, okay? It's a power structure, complete with its own domination of the American cultural mainstream, which is run almost completely by white men. The vast majority of American white men are not part of this power structure, and are, in fact, oppressed by it, too, in terms of economic issues.

The really awful thing is that so many white men, who are also oppressed, tend to think of themselves as being part of that oppressive power structure, when they're not, and consequently vote as though they were in the one percent.

That is, you might be a white man, but you're not "the man," and you should never, ever, interpret any political attacks on white men as being at you, an individual. They are aimed instead at the small group of white men riding herd on that power structure.


Saturday, June 13, 2015


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, June 12, 2015



Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Party host: Racist white people started McKinney melee before calling police on black kids

From Raw Story:

Neighbors are defending police who chased black teenagers at gunpoint and tackled a girl wearing a bikini after breaking up a party at a community pool over the weekend in McKinney, Texas.

But one homeowner and her daughter say those neighbors confronted some teens when they went outside and began taunting them and their guests with racial slurs before starting a fight.

More here.

There was no mob. 

The only fight was the one started by the racist whites who ended up calling the cops.  The vast majority of the teens attending the party lived in the neighborhood and had passes to be there--apparently, the fence-jumping gate crashers were a tiny, tiny minority.  The single arrest made resulted in the charges being dropped.  One of the 911 callers, who was in the company of the racists who started the fight, has a conviction for animal torture on his record, you know, the kind of stuff serial killers have on their records.

The McKinney swimming pool debacle is exactly what it appears to be to all honest observers: a white freakout, provoked by actual overt white racists, about too many black people being at the bourgeois pool.

If you believe anything else about this event, you have been duped, probably once again, by the white supremacist attitudes deeply embedded in American culture which make most white people blame black people first, always, all the time, regardless of the facts.

Stop being idiots and get on the right side of history.  You're doing the Devil's work, whether you think so or not.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Who Gets to Go to the Pool?

From the New York Times opinion section:

IN a 1948 speech to fellow Dixiecrats, Strom Thurmond famously declared that the entire United States Army couldn’t force white Southerners to allow black people “into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches.”

I’m always struck by his invocation of swimming pools as a battleground for racial segregation, although perhaps I shouldn’t be. After all, some of the most potent symbols of Jim Crow involve water, from segregated drinking fountains and toilets to swimming pools and beaches.

In a YouTube video of a pool party that took place in McKinney, Tex., on Friday, a white police officer appears to shove, handcuff and pull a gun on a group of black teenagers. He grabs a black girl by her hair and drags her to the ground. He puts a knee on her back as she screams. According to the McKinney Police Department, officers responded to calls of a “disturbance” involving multiple juveniles “who do not live in the area or have permission to be there.”

More here.

"Oh my god! There are waaaay too many black people in our bourgeois pool! Call the police, get these black people out of here!"

That's what McKinney is really all about. I mean, the gun-waving cop is only the worst aspect. What's truly disgusting is how white supremacist attitudes like this persist a decade and a half into the twenty first century. The more I think about it, the angrier I become.

This harkens back to old school Jim Crow racism. Segregated pools, as observed by the linked NYT essay, were a major flashpoint during the desegregation period, and using local law enforcement to make it so was just as big of a tradition. Now I know this pool wasn't segregated in the way it might have been sixty years ago. As everybody knows, however, de facto segregation continues, but with other ostensible justifications like zoning and geography. This is why we still have black and white schools. This is why we still have black and white swimming pools.

They call Jim Crow "slavery by another name." Since those days the white power structure has responded with racial segregation by another name. The massive police response to teenagers breaking a few pool rules, some horseplay, some gate crashing, was ALL ABOUT continuing that segregation by another name. The new Jim Crow looks a lot like the old Jim Crow.

Just a bunch of white people freaking out about too many black people. I'm sick of it.


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

These troubled times call for potty mouths.

A facebook friend scolded me a bit for yesterday's post wherein I used, as she said, my "potty mouth."  I responded that these times call for potty mouths.  Then I thought it was so funny that I posted as a standalone status the title of this post I'm making right now here on Real Art.  That inspired another friend to ask me why I use dirty words sometimes.

So I told him.

Words are entirely arbitrary in that they're ultimately just sounds to which culture, various cultures really, have assigned meaning, which makes a dirty word in one language gibberish in another. That is, they're just words, man, having as much or as little weight as the individual assigns them.

Having said that, though, I have to observe that so-called "dirty words" ONLY have the weight they do because of the way that some people try to police or condemn them. So for that, I thank you. Your problem with dirty words makes them all the more effective and meaningful in the mainstream. I really probably wouldn't ever use any dirty words if nobody had a problem with them. So really, thanks. I need you for this to work.

But a briefer answer to your question is that I use dirty words very specifically. I never put them on facebook without having thought about it first. And I use them to show that I'm very serious about what I'm saying, serious in a visceral and instinctive way.

I just couldn't imagine living my life without them. They are important tools in my overall lexicon.
'Nuff said.


Monday, June 08, 2015

Texas Police Officer On Administrative Leave After Pulling Weapon On Teens During Pool Party

From BuzzFeed:

However, video later emerged of one officer aggressively handcuffing and detaining teens who described themselves as bystanders, before wrestling a girl in a bathing suit to the ground and drawing his weapon on others who came to her aid.

More here, with video.

Black people put up with this shit EVERY FREAKING DAY. And a whole lot of white people, perhaps a majority, always think that black people have it coming. Fortunately, no one died in this instance, but it is certain that the usual white suspects will explain to any and everybody, until they're blue in the face, that these black kids had it coming.

"Oh, well, you know, that fourteen year old girl probably smoked marijuana" or "they weren't from that neighborhood, so they had no right to be there in the first place." As if black people can't go to pools in white neighborhoods, like that's a good thing. Or "they were wearing gangster clothes" or "when I was a teenager, I always let cops do whatever they wanted and always acted in a very respectful way."

Yeah. Whatever. When you're treated like this your entire life, when your parents were treated this way, and their parents before, and your children, and their children, it's not likely you're going to want to always be "respectful" to law enforcement, who seem to exist to do nothing but harass you. But like I said, whatever. Disrespect isn't a crime. Disrespect doesn't warrant being thrown to the ground or having a gun pointed at you.

This is the flip side of Ferguson, of Baltimore, of New York, and thousands and thousands of other stories about cops killing black people. There's not always a killing. But this sort of shit always precedes the killing.

I'm sick of it. And I'm sick of white people self-righteously defending it. We will never be a just nation until we put an end to it all.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

Bill Maher pummels right-wing Republicans for their phony Christian persecution complex

From Raw Story:

Sharing an assortment of stills of conservative Republicans complaining that Christianity is under attack, Maher said that credit for all of the attacks on Christianity should go to himself.

“This idea that everybody on the left is plotting against Christianity and wants to wipe out religion is offensive. — to me,” he exclaimed. “I’m the only media figure with a show, week in and week out, that says that. I’ll be damned if the credit goes to the left when I’m doing all the heavy lifting.”

Click here for the video.

Maher really nails it here. I'm not his biggest fan, but when he's on, he's definitely on, and he's definitely on in this clip.

The "persecution of Christians" in this country is nothing but a line of false propaganda used by fundamentalist leaders and right-wing demagogues to outrage and galvanize conservatives against the non-existent anti-Christian liberal oppressor. It is a complete lie, and if you believe it, you're a fool.

No, really. I'm a big liberal, and some of my best friends are Christians.


Saturday, June 06, 2015


Two of my facebook features exported to Real Art.


Friday, June 05, 2015



Be sure to check out Modulator's Friday Ark for more cat blogging pics!


Thursday, June 04, 2015

Scott Walker Shocker: Rape Pregnancies Only an Issue in 'Initial Months'

From AlterNet:

Turns out the Wisconsin gov, presidential aspirant is able to channel the consciousness of a rape or incest survivor. He knows, because he just does, that rape and incest survivors are only concerned about having an abortion  "in the initial months" of pregnancy, television station WKOW reported. After that, they're apparently overjoyed.

Walker was explaining why he is willing to sign a 20-week abortion ban without exceptions for rape or incest.

More here.

Walker doesn't know a damned thing about being raped, and his callous attitudes about it make him clearly a total misogynistic scum bag. There is a special place in Hell for him.

But you've got to give him credit for his consistency.

If I understand correctly, among pro-lifers the majority position is to ban all abortions except for cases of rape or incest. Well, isn't that nice of them? They assert that abortion is murder, which is why it should be banned, but they're just fine with murder if the pregnant woman behaved in what they consider to be a sexually virtuous way.

That's why I don't take most of the pro-life movement seriously. That's why I think they don't give a rat's ass about "murder." No, what deeply concerns them is sluts. It's all about the sluts. Sluts, sluts, sluts. They're so into sticking it to the sluts that they're just fine with abortion for women who aren't sluts. I mean, screw the "murdered babies." That's not the problem. The problem is women having sex of which the "pro-life" movement doesn't approve.

Otherwise, they'd take Walker's position. No abortion, no exceptions. Because a fetus is a "baby," a real live "human being." Regardless of the pregnant woman's sexual behavior.

Of course, I don't buy any of that shit at all, myself. Abortion isn't murder. And the only real issue about this is who gets to decide what happens inside one's own body, the government or the individual.

I take scum bags like Walker, however, more seriously. At least, his position is consistent with his stated view. I mean, he really is a total piece of woman-hating shit. But he's putting his money where his "pro-life" mouth is.

Unlike most of the rest of his movement, who are totally full of it.


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Capitalism, like fire, is useful, but also extraordinarily dangerous.

Yesterday's post about the importance of business regulation, in which I compared capitalism to fire, meaning that the two have both creative and destructive aspects, brought out a couple of conservatives to hassle me when I cross-posted on facebook.  Missing the point entirely, they went to town on my fire comparison, bending over backwards to find situations making it just fine to let fire do its destructive thing, in order to show that sometimes regulations are bad.

They just went on and on, each scenario becoming increasingly ridiculous.  I kept telling them that, in the end, with firefighters' "controlled burns," or whatever, somebody, somewhere, was making sure fire wasn't destroying everything in its path.  But they refused to let go.

I finally had to address their bullshit more directly:

You're talking as though America is not currently in an era when an enormous percentage of the political class is straight up hostile to all business regulation. This is the context in which I offer my metaphor, a context where it is widespread "good sense" to deregulate as much as possible, and when not possible, to do some regulatory capture, staffing agencies with people friendly to the industries these agencies are supposed to regulate.

I get your point. You want to make sure that I understand some regulations don't do what they're supposed to do and have needless bad effects. But I already agree with that. I've agreed the whole time. I've even said so on this comment thread.

Right now, however, I think pushing the notion that we need regulation, and that a lot of regulation actually helps rather than hinders the economy, is far more urgent than telling everybody what we already know, that some regulation is bad.

I mean, after all, conservatives have spent the last four decades citing examples of regulation-gone-wrong to falsely "prove" that all regulation is bad. We've got a big huge conceptual mess to clean up here as far as how the public understands regulation. 
'Nuff said.


Tuesday, June 02, 2015

25 Images of Markets "Regulating Themselves"

From Daily Kos:

When economists talk about how a market "regulates itself," what they mean is that markets reach an equilibrium between supply and demand.

This says nothing about whether or not this equilibrium will be a good thing for society. It simply states that if consumers choose what to buy and producers choose what to sell and how to produce it, the market settles on a product distribution and prices.

Lately, many people I know have argued that "free markets" mean something more. They see markets as ethically right or ethically moral, meaning pursuit of profit always somehow leads to a greater good.

Unfortunately, morality isn't built into markets.

More here.

Capitalism, like fire, is useful, but also extraordinarily dangerous.

When we work with fire, we understand that only fools do not take safety precautions. I mean, we don't want to burn down the whole forest, after all. Same thing with capitalism. Only fools, which, in this case, means "libertarians," believe we should not take safety precautions, which, in this case, means "regulations." Frighteningly, these libertarian fools have the dominant voice in national affairs.

Which, in this case, means that the whole forest is burning down.


Monday, June 01, 2015

Why Did We Ever Make the Duggars Famous in the First Place?

From Cosmopolitan.  Yes, I'm posting from Cosmo now.

We are a society so schizophrenic about sex that we use images of half-naked girls barely out of their teens to sell everything from Internet service to hamburgers while we also spend millions on abstinence-only sex education. We have one of the highest unintended pregnancy rates in the developed world but fight legal battles over whether bosses should be able to decide what forms of birth control their employees can access. We live in a country where 1 in 5 women will be raped and where we also have politicians who see fit to publicly philosophize over what makes a rape "legitimate."

More here.

That, in a nutshell, explains why American attitudes about sex are downright insane. Essentially, our public discourse on sex is bipolar. I mean, literally bipolar. We have on one end of the spectrum the religious fundamentalists who offer sexual morality designed for paranoid and primitive Bronze Age people barely surviving the harsh desert environment in which they wandered endlessly. Needless to say, such situationally specific "morality" is, at the very least, harmful in the current era. On the other end of the spectrum are the amoral capitalist exploiters who would sell their own grandmothers into sexual slavery if they could get away with it and if it was profitable enough. For them, anything goes, any humiliating oppressive depiction, no matter how divorced from the real world, no matter how many kids see it online, or everywhere, really, as de facto sex education, as de facto education on what it means to be a man or woman.

In between, there is nothing. I mean, okay sure, there is in fact quite a good discourse on sexuality out there, one looking at sex realistically, where the aim is to empower individuals in a healthy and uplifting way. But it is a discourse which is totally marginalized. A discourse you have to find on your own. It is NOT part of the public discourse on sexuality. Consequently, the public discourse we have is utterly dominated by people who really ought just to shut their fucking mouths.

The Duggars, with or without the child molestation scandal, are a part of this. It's good that their show has been cancelled. One less voice for sexual insanity is a good thing.