Posts Tagged ‘culture war’

The tea party blames teachers unions, freedom of speech, scantily clad girls, gay marriage, and porn. Now NRO is blaming the fact that there were no big strong men (or even some built 12 year olds) around to save all the “helplessly passive” womenfolk. These are some truly disgusting people. What the fuck is wrong with them? They’re making McArdle look downright reasonable.


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In an otherwise run of the mill piece that goes through the various suggestions for gun control and shows that they would not have stopped Sandy Hook or some other example of a mass shooting, Megan McArdle finds it appropriate to end with this (my emphasis):

My guess is that we’re going to get a law anyway, and my hope is that it will consist of small measures that might have some tiny actual effect, like restrictions on magazine capacity.  I’d also like us to encourage people to gang rush shooters, rather than following their instincts to hide; if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.  Would it work?  Would people do it?  I have no idea; all I can say is that both these things would be more effective than banning rifles with pistol grips.

But I doubt we’re going to tell people to gang rush mass shooters, because that would involve admitting that there is no mental health service or “reasonable gun control” which is going to prevent all of these attacks.  Which is to say, admitting that we have no box big enough to completely contain evil.

So there you have it. Since there is no policy that would be 100% effective, we should just say fuck it and instead teach our kids that when the shooting inevitably starts they should counterattack. We should fucking drill them on it.

Fuck. That. I don’t want to live in a country that would provide fucking children with combat training because we can’t confront the demons of our gun-worshiping culture.

That is the most fucked up, repugnant “solution” I have ever heard to any problem. I can admit perfectly well that there is no solution, policy or otherwise, to preventing “all of these attacks”. There are some terrible people in the world and they do terrible things and no one can ever stop that. But it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do everything in our power to minimize the incidence. And it most certainly doesn’t mean that we should fling our kids into the gaping maw of gun violence while shrugging our shoulders and saying “meh, what can you do?”.
I don’t know how to solve the problem. I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe the beginning is nowhere and the problem is unsolvable. I don’t know. But what I do know is that we have to try. If the alternative is encouraging children to dive into the line of fire when the inevitable shooting starts, then we absolutely have to fucking try.
(via LGM)

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Here’s the sculpture that graces the entrance to Philly’s Christmas Village. It’s a giant Kraft Macaroni, because Christmas. Cheesus is the reason for the season, folks!


Also, this is generally good advice for your everyday life:


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Here’s Mitt Romney at a fundraiser, unaware that he was being recorded:

He describes how 47% of Americans are Obama supporters that cannot be swayed, and that those folks are all welfare queens who pay no taxes and feel they are entitled to food and medical care. Much will be written about all of that in the coming days, and it should be, those are just plain asshole-ish statements. And false. But no matter. The really important line is here:

And so my job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

As the President of the United States of America, yes, your job absolutely 100% is to fucking worry about those people. And the other 53% too. If you don’t believe that, you are not qualified to be President. End of fucking story.

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Nowhere is the Republican Party’s transformation from actual government into fundamentalist Christian sect more complete than in Tennessee. They are now freaking out because the governor has hired a Muslim, which is of course proof that our government is being replaced by Sharia Law.

I set out to write a post about this, but really The Gravel Kraken has summed it up quite nicely:

We live in a country founded on equality and freedom of religion. That is, everyone has an equal amount of freedom to be christian.

There was a good bit of sarcasm in there and I can only imagine how much more of it there would be if I had written it, but I want to point out that the above quote is entirely consistent with the Republican worldview in it’s current incarnation. Their party platform directly calls for the election of more Christians and the basing of public policy on Christianity, while simultaneously railing against Sharia Law. They are not opposed to religion in government, just opposed to anyone else’s religion in government.

Freedom of religion, indeed.

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This is part 2 of my thoughts on the GOP platform. Part 1 is here

The second part of the GOP platform is entitled We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government. It opens:

In the spirit of the Constitution, we consider discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, creed, disability, or national origin unacceptable and immoral.
Discrimination based on sexual orientation, however, is fair game. In fact, the rest of this particular plank makes clear that the GOP doesn’t actually believe a word of that. They start out early, appealing to racist fears that Barack Obama is going to impose Sharia Law, or the black people equivalent of it, or something like that. I don’t the hell know, they wrote this, not me:
As a matter of principle, we oppose the creation of any new race-based governments within the United States.
So there you go. Now let’s start the fun:
A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary, in which some judges usurp the powers reserved to other branches of government. A blatant example has been the court-ordered redefinition of marriage in several States. This is more than a matter of warring legal concepts and ideals. It is an assault on the foundations of our society, challenging the institution which, for thousands of years in virtually every civilization, has been entrusted with the rearing of children and the transmission of cultural values.
Wow! Hear that, gay people? Your marriages constitute an existential threat to our society. Pretty impressive. Do I need to point out that the definition of marriage has changed many, many times? That it has not existed in its present form “for thousands of years in virtually every civilization”?
We reaffirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
 Of course you do.
The Republican Party, born in opposition to the denial of liberty, stands for the rights of individuals, families, faith communities, institutions – and of the States which are their instruments of self government.
…how do you square this with the above? You just can’t.
I’m going to skip the bit about the preserving the electoral college and preventing voter fraud because really it just boils down to “Voter ID is KICKASS!”
Now, on to the first amendment! This section makes me want to scream and throw things, its truly astounding. They open by quoting Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, citing it as evidence that religious belief should be used as the foundation of public policy! But in that document, Jefferson acknowledges:
that our civil rights have no dependance on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry
Jefferson further acknowledges:
that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous falacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own
Jefferson is concerned here that “the civil magistrate” (ie the government) will extend his religious opinions into policy, thus forcing them on others. He argued for precisely the opposite of this platform! He would later write, in a letter to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut:
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
And so originates the phrase. After using Jefferson as an excuse to talk about how awesome the Boy Scouts are for their gay bashing, the GOP gives us this:

We condemn the hate campaigns, threats of violence, and vandalism by proponents of same-sex marriage against advocates of traditional marriage and call for a federal investigation into attempts to deny religious believers their civil rights.

In what way does allowing a gay couple to marry violate the rights of “advocates of traditional marriage”? They would still be allowed to marry traditionally. They would remain married. Nothing at all would change! Thomas Jefferson, who I will continue to quote as this plank seems entirely based on an absurd twisting of his views, stated:

But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

This is directly applicable. A gay marriage has exactly zero impact on any other marriage! Not allowing the gay couple to marry, however, does actively deny them their rights. This is just purely an alternate reality. It is the most asshole-ish statement I have yet seen in a prepared document so far during this election. It reeks of bigotry, fear, resentment, and hatred. It has no place in this country, and certainly not in it’s government.

Moving right along, the GOP mentions briefly the fourth ammendment:

Affirming “the right of the people to be secure in their houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” we support pending legislation to prevent unwarranted or unreasonable governmental intrusion through the use of aerial surveillance or flyovers on U.S. soil, with the exception of patrolling our national borders. All security measures and police actions should be viewed through the lens of the Fourth Amendment; for if we trade liberty for security, we shall have neither.

This I very much agree with. I truly hope they actually believe it! If so, they could show that by proposing repeal of the PATRIOT act. I suppose I shouldn’t hold my breath. I also agree with the proposal, in the section on the fifth amendment, that seeks to ensure adequate compensation in the case that private property is taken “for a compelling public use”. I should state that I know very little about this issue, but I can foresee the devil being in the details as to what constitutes “compelling”.

Next, while discussing a constitutional amendment to define life as beginning at conception (and hence banning all abortions), they state:

We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.

But recall just a few pages earlier, and quoted above:

A serious threat to our country’s constitutional order, perhaps even more dangerous than presidential malfeasance, is an activist judiciary

So keep this in mind. An “activist judiciary” only refers to judges with whom you disagree. Speaking of activist judges:

The symbol of our constitutional unity, to which we all pledge allegiance, is the flag of the United States of America. By whatever legislative method is most feasible, Old Glory should be given legal protection against desecration. We condemn decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in its entirety, including “Under God,” in public schools and encourage States to promote the pledge.

So flag burning, which I would argue constitutes free speech, should be outlawed. How does that square with the section on freedom of speech?

we oppose governmental censorship of speech through the so-called Fairness Doctrine or by government enforcement of speech codes, free speech zones, or other forms of “political correctness” on campus.

How can you simultaneously oppose the “enforcement of political correctness” and support the banning of flag burning? This is just yet another example, much like the activist judges, of a principle applied only to those things with which the GOP agrees.

The GOP professes a reverence for the constitution and for the founding fathers. And yet, when it comes time to demonstrate those things, they fail utterly. They apply the constitution only in situations where it supports their views, and freely disregard it when it is no longer convenient. To show their reverence for the founders, they twist their words into the polar opposite of their originally intended meaning.

This platform isn’t a responsible set of governing philosophies and policy proposals, its a Christianist manifesto.

That’s all for Part 2. Energy, Agriculture, and The Environment is up next. Maybe tomorrow.

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Not As Seen On TV

Last week’s shooting in Colorado was a horrible, stupid tragedy. Emotions are understandably running high here, but I’d like to try to step back for a minute, and take advantage of the cool distance that reading about this on the internet from the other side of the country affords me.

In response to the shooting in Colorado a lot of folks have been saying if only someone there had a gun, they would have stopped it. In fact, this gets said anytime something like this happens. This isn’t going to become a post about gun control. I just find it hard to agree with this reasoning. I simply want to ask anyone who had this reaction to take a hard look at the situation. Would someone actually have been able to stop this tragedy, or lessen it, had they been armed?

Maybe. Or maybe not. Of course we don’t know and we can’t say for certain either way. But I suggest that its unlikely.

Our hero would have had to decide to act very quickly, fire accurately (at the shooter’s head, his body was protected) through a panic stricken crowd in close quarters, in a dark room, while incapacitated by tear gas and possibly confused by the audio from the movie. It’s certainly possible. But I find it more likely that the hero would have missed at best, or missed and hit someone in the crowd at worst. All of this presupposes that our hero succesfully fought panic and the instinct to take cover or run.

Now let’s assume that our hero is joined by five others. All the same circumstances apply except that this time instead of our hero vs. the shooter, we have five people, randomly placed throughout the room, vs. the shooter. Now the best way for our heroes to identify their target is to shoot at the guy with the gun. But they all have guns, and they’ll just as likely fire on each other than on the actual shooter.

I’m not saying that people can’t or shouldn’t have guns. I just think that people aren’t thinking realistically when they say that it wouldn’t have happened if someone had a gun.

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