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Posts Tagged ‘Idiots’

Fuck the five right-wing corporate quislings on the Supreme Court, fuck the Democratic party leadership (sometimes), fuck bankers, fuck greedy, elitist, power-hungry old men everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shocked. Being quite liberal and giving support to the Democratic party is a Hamlet-esque experience. To be a Democrat, or just to acknowledge that I am consistently voting for people who will over-think and betray all of our core principles? It was tragicomically plain in those last weeks that Ms. Coakley would lose. I’m not proud of being aware of that or anything. It’s depressing. I don’t have a PhD; why do the people who do fail to have any grasp of reality? I think back to the primaries. Obama and Clinton, two pretty conservative Democrats who had different rhetorical styles. Obama is elected, and many people are shocked and disappointed that the progressive agenda is not being enacted.  But why? It was depressingly obvious. Neither of the presidential candidates was going to really enact a progressive agenda. I mean, they didn’t even really get specific about that. They said “Change” and criticized Republicans which, unfortunately, was actually shocking. Shocking because Democrats don’t like to actually point out who got us into all these disasters. We have to “move forward”. Which is probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. You take quizzes and study in school and take a test at the end of term to prove you’ve learned something. You don’t just “move forward” at the end of every class and try to put it behind you. You hold onto it! You absorb it! That’s what, you know, fucking life is all about. You have a memory. Use it. Jesus Christ.

And of course the present make-up of the Supreme Court made it clear they would go into a grotesque swoon as they crooned about how like, wealthy concepts are people or something. I know, I don’t get it. When I read about it as a young(er) lass in the Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad case, I was like: Oh, well, that’s stupid, um, ideas and institutions only have power because people imbue them with meaning, and if we don’t, oh, they fall apart. They have no reality except that which we bestow upon them. But the Supreme Court has been right-wing for a long time. And this decision will have all kinds of horribly disastrous results that I’m in no mood to even consider.

What I don’t understand, in the midst of all my “fucks” and “I could run the DNC better than Tim Kaine (though not as well as Howard Dean, that’s for sure!)” is: why? I don’t get it. Are they just technocrats at the end of the day? Are they really just thoughtless, lacking in imagination, overly cautious and unable to see outside their bubble? Are they mad, are they power-hungry? Just to make clear, I’m talking about the Democrats. The Republicans, I have no fucking idea what they are doing.*(aside below!)

I really don’t understand it. I can predict what consequences will come from certain actions, but I really am unable to understand what motivates some people. Is power, is greed really so alluring? Why is a few million dollars never enough? What creates an emptiness in people that they are willing to step all over everyone else? Fear of death? Original sin? A biologically built-in impulse to struggle and succeed? Then why isn’t everyone like that? I finished Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem today. I’ve been reading about it at length for so many years, I figured it was high time to read the thing itself. And what I got out of it is that there are just some questions so big, and the answers too paltry and meager. Evil can be banal. Massive, enormous crimes are committed by “sheer thoughtlessness”. It’s mind-blowing. We’ll sacrifice our Earth to the economy. We’ll sacrifice our democracy to an outrageous, deliberate misinterpretation of the Bill of Rights. Reprehensible. Atrocious. Or, as I said before: Fuck.

*As an aside (Aside!), a friend told me about some enormous changes they were undergoing. I was doing my best to be very supportive, when deep into it I started getting a little nervous. Very gently I said: “I don’t want to be rude, and I want to be completely supportive, but a quick question… are you going to become a Republican?” To be fair I (mostly) said this because I love my friend, and I don’t want to hurt their feelings by ranting about politics. My friend burst into laughter and cried, “No way, now that would be crazy!” And we had a good, long laugh. Because some things are too insane to contemplate.

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Oh man. Listen, I don’t like to talk about Sarah Palin. She doesn’t need the attention. She’s like Hydra, and everytime she says something dumb and it is pointed out by someone with prominence and we all think finally, she will go away, she doesn’t. She just sprouts like, a fucking million new heads. And a million people go buy her book, and then I cry. I have no jokes to make about it. It’s too awful.

A Metaphor for Her Political Career

I don’t care about every stupid, ignorant, nasty thing this woman has ever said. There’s too many to count. For me, it all goes back to that Katie Couric interview. Katie asks her what magazines and newspapers she reads, Palin responds with: “All of ’em!” Boom. Political career over. That is what should have happened. If there is any operating principle of rationality in this universe, if humans are capable of maintaining a functioning society, then that should have been it. I don’t care how horrible every other answer was. They were all equally embarrassing and atrocious. And the seed of it all is in that little phrase. All of them, really? Really Ms. Palin? I have to say, with the enormous fucking number of magazines in the world, with the frequency they come out, I’m shocked. I’m shocked you read The Nation, Bitch, Mental Floss (you should maybe try that one).There simply can’t be enough criticism levelled at the stupidity of such a comment; the fact that she thought she could get away with it insane. And then, she kinda did! She has, I can’t believe it, actual influence. I can’t understand it. It’s sick.

And now she comes out with that same, stupid fucking answer to the question: “Who is your favorite founding father?” For Christ’s sake, you couldn’t just say “George Washington! He was a great leader,” and then keep your mouth shut? It’d be stupid and dumb, but at least it would be a fucking answer. Sarcasm, disbelief; it all fails me. Steve Benen dealt with it best :

About 12 years ago, there was an episode of “The Simpsons” in which Bart was supposed to deliver an oral report on Libya. Bart, of course, hadn’t done his homework and had no idea what to say. He stood up, cleared his throat, looked at the blank page in front of him, and winged it.

“The exports in Libya are numerous in amount,” Bart said earnestly. “One thing they export is corn, or as the Indians call it, maize. Another famous Indian was Crazy Horse. In conclusion, Libya is a land of contrast. Thank you.”

None of this made any sense, but Bart couldn’t just stand up and say, “I have no idea what I’m talking about because I’m unprepared.” He had to say something, so he made up some silliness and got the ordeal over with as quickly as possible.

Every time I hear Sarah Palin try to answer any question on any subject, it immediately reminds me of Bart’s classroom presentation… But like Bart, she couldn’t just take a pass, so she told Beck, “You know, well, all of them, because they came collectively together with so much … so much diverse and so much diversity in terms of belief, but collectively they came together.”

She eventually said, “And they were led by, of course George Washington.” I kept waiting for her to say, “Or as the Indians called him, George Washington.”

Unfortunately, it’s so close to reality that it’s difficult to laugh.

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My first impulse was to title this post something that had a lot of curse words (I was really fucking pissed when I finished Maureen Dowd’s weekly exercise in imbecility), but that wasn’t nice. So instead I will politely request all the powers that be to please never show any of these people on television again. Or, when they talk, no sounds come out. Their computers shut down, their pens have no ink! It’ll be like a science fiction novel – the pundits and politicians who were so full of shit they could no longer communicate. Yeah!!

1) Maureen Dowd – for not only every moment of her journalistic “career”, but for this ignorant, cliche-ridden pile of vomit that she calls an editorial.

2) Liz Cheney and The Dick – Who the fuck cares what this woman thinks? Why I am supposed to listen to her? Why is she always on tv? WHY? Why is her father not in jail? These people have not been right about anything, ever. They are selfish, destructive people who base their opinions on two things: A) Democrats are wrong B) gimmemoney, gimmetorture, gimmedestruction, gimmepower, gimmewhateveriwantandwhatiwantisevilipromiseyouthat.

3) Michael Steele – You think Harry Reid should resign? Well, I do too, but for vastly different reasons. But I also think you should resign, not just for doing the same thing that you think warrants Reid’s resignation (“Honest Injun”? Really?), not just because you are an incompetent disaster, but also because the only thing you have to offer is suggesting other people resign. Climate crisis? Healthcare crisis? Economic crisis? National security crisis? You have nothing. But Reid’s gotta go! What a fucking moron. I’m embarrassed you’re from Maryland.

4.) John McCain – You lost. You are not an important voice on anything. You are not right about anything. Please get off the television. Also, the President is not an extreme far-left radical. What is your problem?

Sigh. Rage is so exhausting.

Update: Tristero at Hullabaloo wrote this awesome piece about Maureen Dowd’s pathetic column this morning:

I simply can’t believe that anyone would need the president of the United States to be their Daddy. I simply can’t believe that anyone would write that they need the president of the United States to be their Daddy. I simply can’t believe that the New York Times would publish an op-ed columnist who would write that she needs the president of the United States to be her Daddy. I simply can’t believe that our public discourse is so debased that someone as unstable as MoDo has regular access to a wide public – not to rise above her psychological problems and inform us, or provide us with sensible opinions, but merely to trot out her deeply weird neuroses because she apparently thinks everyone shares them.

And that – the abysmal level of our public discourse – scares the daylights out of me.

Yep, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

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Oh, senators. You guys would be so adorable if you weren’t such assholes. I’m talking to you, Jeff Sessions. Most politicians crack me up as self-interested ego-maniacs with no interest in the truth, but GOP Senators take it to outer space. They must not be getting enough oxygen since they lack even the smallest iota of self-reflection, awareness, wisdom, tolerance, intelligence, brains, thoughtfulness, reason, logic, comprehension, coherency… well, I could go on all day, but let’s get to the issues.

Why oh why do Senators keep talking about judicial activism? Let’s get this straight. Judges make decisions, and decisions involve values. They do not just call “balls and strikes,” as Chief Justice John Roberts once said. No, judges make decisions about the morality and justice of laws. About what is unclear, about precedents, about striking down bad laws (sometimes). Roberts himself knows this, because he himself is a flaming judicial activist. He’s just a right-wing one. As Jeffrey Toobin summed up beautifully a few weeks ago:

His jurisprudence as Chief Justice, Roberts said, would be characterized by “modesty and humility.” After four years on the Court, however, Roberts’s record is not that of a humble moderate but, rather, that of a doctrinaire conservative. The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff.”

So what we have here is a Chief Justice who is not at all about balls and strikes, about letting the law decide. But the truth is that being a judicial activist is not in and of itself a bad thing, and it is also hardly avoidable. First off, laws contradict each other. Second, the Constitution is not a perfect document. Third, our amendments can and do come into conflict with one another.

Sacrilege, I know. But the law is not a perfect thing. Laws are made by people, usually men. The Constitution is an imperfect work written by imperfect men. To turn it into an idol is to condemn us to the morality of a very small group of people who weren’t really all that moral. They were self-interested, and willing to allow other people to suffer in order to serve themselves: 3/5 rule, anyone? The Supreme Court itself has made lots of lousy decisions, and with Chief Justice Roberts at the helm, it continues to make rulings I find abhorrent, because Roberts and other right-wingers have different value systems than my own. Men like John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Antonin Scalia seem to have value systems based on the narrow (and short-sighted) self-interest of wealthy, (usually) white men, and the protection of their biases and powers. So I find their judicial activism awful.

A friend of mine sent me this speech by Thurgood Marshall the other day, though, and I think including an excerpt would make my primary point clearer:

I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever “fixed” at the Philadelphia Convention. Nor do I find the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice exhibited by the Framers particularly profound. To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and momentous social transformation to attain the system of constitutional government, and its respect for the individual freedoms and human rights, we hold as fundamental today. When contemporary Americans cite ‘The Constitution,’ they invoke a concept that is vastly different from what the Framers barely began to construct two centuries ago.

For a sense of the evolving nature of the Constitution we need look no further than the first three words of the document’s preamble: ‘We the People.” When the Founding Fathers used this phrase in 1787, they did not have in mind the majority of America’s citizens. ‘We the People’ included, in the words of the Framers, ‘the whole Number of free Persons.’ On a matter so basic as the right to vote, for example, Negro slaves were excluded, although they were counted for representational purposes  at threefifths each. Women did not gain the right to vote for over a hundred and thirty years…

…What is striking is the role legal principles have played throughout America’s history in determining the condition of Negroes. They were enslaved by law, emancipated by law, disenfranchised and segregated by law; and, finally, they have begun to win equality by law. Along the way, new constitutional principles have emerged to meet the challenges of a changing society. The progress has been dramatic, and it will continue…

If we seek, instead, a sensitive understanding of the Constitution’s inherent defects, and its promising evolution through 200 years of history, the celebration of the ‘Miracle at Philadelphia”‘ will, in my view, be a far more meaningful and humbling experience. We will see that the true miracle was not the birth of the Constitution, but its life, a life nurtured through two turbulent centuries of our own making, and a life embodying much good fortune that was not.”

The law is a living thing. There are good laws, and bad laws. I think this means our sense of justice lies outside the law; or at least it should. Upon what that basis for morality should be is a matter of great disagreement. Without involving religion, though, I think the basic premise of human morality should still be some version of  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It’s actually not the height of morality, because we all do want different things. But our reach so often exceeds our grasp, and I think this is a circumstance where it’s better to accept as a root definition of justice something most people can understand.

Almost no one likes to be made the means to other people’s ends.  Almost no one wants to suffer. These are fairly universal characteristics. They imply a standard for treating people as ends in themselves, as self-conscious beings who wish to avoid pain. We also have a sense of history, of cause and effect. So while we should treat people as equally as possible, we must also seek the cause of why certain inequalities exist, and do what we can to remedy them. Eugene Robinson made this point quite succinctly the other day:

Pretending that the historical context doesn’t exist — pretending that white men haven’t enjoyed a privileged position in this society — doesn’t make that context go away. Yes, justice is supposed to be blind. But for most of our nation’s history, it hasn’t been — and women and minorities are acutely aware of how our view of justice has evolved, or been forced to evolve.”

We must also be willing to protect the innocent from those who would violate their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There are people who are predators, and institutions who are predators as well. We must keep this in mind when we talk about the law. The law can protect either the people or those who seek to make a profit at the expense of the common good. It cannot do both. One must be more important than the other.

Words are used with less and less concern for their actual meaning. That’s why corporations have ‘personhood’. Sorry, but an institution is not a person. It simply doesn’t have the same rights as a human being. This is an instance where our laws have gone berserk. I don’t think being a judicial activist is a bad thing in and of itself. I like to see people consider whether the law is good or bad, to think about the Constitution, and to think of it as a living and evolving document. I like to see judges make their decisions, though, with the idea of there being something more important than the law: human beings.

Chief Justice John Roberts isn’t as interested in human beings or their rights as much as he is interested in corporations. He’s not just interpreting the Constitution to defend that view, but he’s twisting the Constitution that way. I think breaking with the Constitution to give women and minorities the same rights as everyone else was an excellent break. That’s good judicial activism. But John Roberts is a judicial activist too. He is interested in protecting the rights of corporations to subvert laws and wreak havoc and escape consequences, and he uses the law to justify that. I think this should remind us that the law is neither good nor bad in and of itself, but it is the intent behind the law which matters.

These hearings are a joke. The hypocrisy, the smearing of Sonia Sotomayor as a racist by actual racists, the attacks on empathy as some sort of negative quality: ridiculous. What I wouldn’t give for some honesty. The GOP opposes Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination because they are interested in a certain interpretation of the law which advances their own agenda; or, rather, the agenda of their financial contributors. Be honest about it. If they think corporations have the same rights as people, come out and say it. If they are worried that Sonia Sotomayor will make less conservative decisions than Roberts, say so. Be explicit that you want right-wing judges in order to advance a certain agenda, and stop hiding behind some false image of the law as an unchanging deity, and of our judiciary as its faithful, emotionless worshippers without any sort of moral or personal thoughts of their own. I wish we could get to the real argument and stop using words like ’empathy’ and ‘judicial activist’ as smears to prevent any real dialogue.

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My God. Arizona has decided to push through a “common sense” gun law which would allow guns… in… bars.

Here is the story.

I can’t believe someone had to point this out: “We don’t let people drink and drive, why should we let them drink and carry guns?” – Senator Paula Aboud, a Democrat from Tucson.

My favorite piece of ridiculousness? MSNBC ran the article with the line:

Critics of the measure say guns and alcohol are dangerous combination.

Really? You, you think so, MSNBC? I’m glad you’re willing to allow people to point that out. I mean, I know common sense according to the NRA means we should always ask ourselves “What would John Wayne do?” in any given situation. But these critics… I dunno, I think, I think they may be on to something.

Personally, I just don’t feel good about a law which means a person driving home drunk can say “hey, this may be dangerous, but at least I don’t bring a fucking gun to the bar though I’m legally allowed to do so,” and honestly seem like less of an asshole than the people who do, you know, bring guns to bars. Cos they can now.

Arizona. Seriously.

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