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These are the Only Candidates We Can Field?

9:30 am in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

The Barack Obama faithful are enthusiastically lining up behind their man even as a healthy heap of Democrats and moderates are either going elsewhere or sitting on the fence. It’s early yet, but polls already show Obama making few inroads against a gaff-prone, non-committal, out of touch boob of a pandermeister. That is not a good thing, early or not.I’ll confess up front that I wasn’t a dyed-in-the-wool Obama man in 2008. I felt as I usually do in Presidential elections – we have more than 300 million people in this country and these are the best we can field? At one point or another I toyed with almost all the candidates and found each of them lacking – some more than others.

However, I was sure of one thing. John McTheusela and Moosilini Mom were potentially even worse than George the Lesser – and those are big cowboy boots to fill. The nation was in the crapper and a cranky, serial panderer with skin as thin as a condom paired with an illiterate, half-term governor with an expensive clothes jones would only make things worse. So, it came down to a razor-thin choice between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama…and an opportunity to be called sexist by Hillary supporters and racist by Barack supporters depending on who I eventually voted for. Either way, I was pre-convicted in the court of public “isms” with only bad choices available.

Even though neither candidate was perfect, as none will ever be, I looked at both sets of campaign promises and found each acceptable to vote for.

Prepared for the Unpreparable

Those promises aside, I felt Hillary was as prepared to become President as anyone could be for a job for which nobody is truly qualified. My biggest knock against her was a belief that Republicans would make her an even more polarizing figure than she was as First Lady and that weakness would make digging out of the Bushole even tougher than it already was.

Barack had something the Cowboy With No Hat sorely lacked for 8 years – charisma and an ability to speak with a degree of intelligence while not sounding like an ignorant, shit-kicking goat-roper wearing Presidential Seal boots. Still he had a disturbing habit of speaking with his chin up and slightly pouted lip not unlike Mussolini. I also had dim hopes he could weasel at least some bipartisanship out of the MMA ring that is American politics. However, I didn’t completely buy into the whole Hope and Change thing. I may be a skeptic, but there’s a reason they call politics politics and some sunshine in the air never lasts, especially when Mitch “Yertle the Turtle” McConnell announced getting rid of the Kenyan Communist was his first, and only, priority for the next 4 years. Mitch may be an asscake, but he is true to his word.

While the current Obamunites have many good points proving things have gotten better, the general populace is still restive for some good reasons.

Yes, the previous Crapweasel-in-Chief tanked the economy, but the O-Man’s successes since then have been modest. When you sit in the Big Chair all issues great and small become your issues on Day 1, fairness and the poor ability for Presidents to cure economic ills notwithstanding. It goes with the crappy job. Besides, Obama’s economic cures started as small retools of flawed Bushian solutions he timidly deployed and including provisions – like excessive executive pay redress – falling by the wayside. Selecting a fox from the chicken coop for TreasSec, Timmy Geithner wasn’t a way to get tough with Big Ballsy St. either.

Sure, he sneaked a sort of health care past the perpetually healthy and wealthy crowd, but he did it by conceding plenty before his minions even entered the negotiation room – a used car salesman he clearly isn’t. He also picked it as his signature issue and decided to do it as his first big order of business – a rookie tactical mistake.

Pandering Isn’t an Altogether Bad Thing

LGBT rights were a general success, though he still straddles a line between saying what’s good for gays is good for the country and waffling on his “personal” belief that letting no man tear asunder God’s assertion that marriage doesn’t apply to gays. But he got it largely through, proving pandering isn’t an altogether bad thing.

But he’s not only been worthless on my core issues, he’s actually taken the Bush line and made it worse. Civil rights and a reasonable expectation that drones won’t be colonoscoping my kiester are hardly mentioned anymore. There is still a de facto suspension of habeas corpus and you can’t talk on your unregulated phone without being tapped and spied by ubiquitous street-corner TV cameras. Watch the TV show Person of Interest for a real reality show way more true than Snooki and Co.

I still have to strip to my skivvies to catch a flight and stand in a long, ill-tempered line for the privilege. Gitmo’s still an open sore on our international reputation and corporations and their Gods-on-Earth still run amok. And, despite quasi-draw downs both Iraq and Afghanistan are still wars no matter how you look at them. We fly drones over our erstwhile ally Pakistan with the same impunity we use them to spy on our own people and prop up an Afghanasshole who pisses on our shoes while we say, “thank you sir, may we have another squirt?”

No doubt, Obama has made headway and should get his just props, especially while doing it with an anvil tied around his neck. Am I, like the American people, demanding too much of a mere mortal? Yes, but we vote to get Gods, not Joe the plumber. We’re Americans. We’re funny that way.

No President ever measures up completely, but some do a much better job than others. All things equal, if I had a viable choice, I’d be looking for my God elsewhere. But, Mittens is not only unviable, he looks suspiciously like a Stepford Husband. As the election grows near, I’m shopping for a clothes pin for my nose and getting ready to vote for Mr. Obama.

And, wondering how we can have 300 million people and these are the only candidates we can field.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture.

Peace Talks in the War on Christianity

12:53 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

It does not take much for many Christians to throw down the Christian Card and declare war on themselves. They loudly point out the freedom of religion clause of the First Amendment. But, many of them read “religion” as synonymous with “Christian” and “freedom” to abridge all other religions and non-theists. The War on Christmas, laws against sharia, and dismissal of rights for non-theists or atheists run hot and are but a few examples of their self-declared “War on Religion (or alternately, Christianity)” . They take the whole Onward Christian Soldiers thing very seriously in the same way the blitzkrieg was serious.

The latest skirmish is the one aledgedly waged by evil secular humanists  – or future candidates for hell as some would say – over compelling Christian hospitals to offer abortion services against their beliefs.

In this particular war, however, Christians have a point. It’s obvious that if a religion were compelled to offer the offending services it would violate the freedom of religion clause whether the majority of followers – for instance, Catholics – follow church teachings or not. But, that’s a narrow view. It excludes the beliefs of others to benefit to narrow, but powerful, Christian beliefs. The First Amendment applies to them too.

But, there is a compromise.

Many secular people don’t argue so much about religion as they do imposing religious beliefs on others. They object to the government giving religious enterprises special rights by exempting them from taxes and providing funding for some of their enterprises.

The compromise here is easily evident. If religions want to offer services to the public, but not offend their own beliefs, forsaking government funding for religion-owned businesses should be on the table. If a religion wants to operate secular businesses – like schools or hospitals – they have two choices. Stop asking the rest of the nation to pay your businesses in support of your specific religious teachings. Or,  stop providing services to those who do not share your beliefs.

There are positives in this compromise. Religions would no longer be required to provide services against their beliefs. They could provide any service they want to any person they want. The secular community would get relief for their complaints about government policies that are against their beliefs. Both sides get a sturdier wall between church and state to resist the evils of theocracy, which isn’t good for anyone, even the Christians.

However, there are some problems too. People living in areas where religion-affiliated health care is the only practical choice will have to find their care in between different church decisions that conflict with their ability to get dogmatically unfettered care or travel far to find it. However, there are ways to mitigate that issue.

There might also be some degradation of education and charitable services through reduced government funding, but again, there are mitigation solutions for this as well.

Given the religious and political trench warfare of our times, these solutions will never be mentioned, much less adopted. Both sides will agitate for solutions that require total capitulation from their ideological foes. These ideas may make things fairer, but neither side will buy into them.

After all, compromises are “one size fits all” and so, by definition, fit no one perfectly.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Trayvon Martin Dead: Can Justice Be Served?

12:17 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

About the only thing America can agree on is that Trayvon Martin is dead. He’s deceased. He no longer is. He’s not coming back. However, that salient fact is getting lost in a side-choosing scramble that makes the Republican primaries look positively dignified by comparison.

New revelations about the two people involved in the tragedy arrive almost by the minute. Depending mostly on your political bent, Trayvon is the bad guy with a hoodie-full of malice aforethought and ready to spring into deadly action against poor George Zimmerman. But no, George is a hapless Neighborhood Watch volunteer in the wrong place at the wrong time just doing his undeputized act of public service.

Everyone from slap-silly Congressmen (and their opponents) to pundits to run-of-the mill citizens feel perfectly justified in  ripping their opposing side a new one based on uninvestigated and unverified statements from a bunch of people who know nothing in dead-solid certainty about who is guilty or innocent.

OJ Part Deux

This is OJ Part Deux. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone feels they “know” what happened and everyone will howl like hot air siroccos bloviating like an Oklahoma dust bowl about unfairness after the investigations and sentencing are done. There is no way this case can now be fair. The concept of guilty until proven innocent has been well and truly trampled.

Part of the public’s visceral reaction is a deep belief that our justice system can’t do anything except tyrannically rob everyone of their Constitutional rights, even though the public’s constant screeds are already doing that far more effectively.

Part of it is also a hyper-sensitivity to anything remotely racial. Had this been one of the dozens of white-on-white, black-on-black, or Insert Ethnicity Here-on- Insert Ethnicity Here crimes that happen every day, we’d all be listening to Rick Santorum being the world’s biggest nutcase (well, next to Michele Bachmann) instead.

Asking Americans to calm down and let the facts surface as they should is a lost cause. The facts of this whole disgraceful crime will come eventually come from both sides. That is the nature of criminal cases. Never is one side or the other totally wrong or totally right. Almost no one stands up, claims responsibility, and then provides air-tight facts to prove their confession. Ain’t gonna happen, regardless of what the public thinks.

Blathering Everyone Into a Lather

Did OJ do it? I think so given what I saw of the trial. Had I been in the jury room where some information never appeared, I might have felt differently. Did Zimmerman do it? Was Trayvon simply a good boy shot by a rabidly racist Rent-a-Cop? As with the Juice’s trial I don’t know and neither does anyone else, despite their self-ordained “expert” status.

It would behoove everyone to settle down and let the justice system run its course without all the blather. At the end of the day, you can fault the jury and judge as much as you like. At least we will have more of the facts than we do today.

Justice is an imperfect thing, regardless of who metes it out and fairness is a subjective thing – especially when someone may end up with a needle in their arm based on that subjectivity.

When all is said and done, you don’t get to make the decision, the jury does whether you like it or not.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Rick Santorum: Racist, Stupid, or Misunderstood

5:37 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

"Rocky" SantorumADRIAN! – “In this corner…Rockin’ Rick ‘Rocky’ Santorum”

I don’t know if Rick Santorum is a racist. I know he says many stupid things, so he might be an idiot, or maybe a racist idiot. It hard to tell when a person has a brain the size of an empty, withered walnut.

But, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume he’s an earnest man without a trace of racism and that he really believes, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money and provide for themselves and their families. The best way to do that is to get the manufacturing sector of the economy rolling.”

Minorities are as Rare as Untipped Iowan Cows
Let’s forget that most welfare payments go to white people and let’s forget that 91% of Iowans are white. Minorities in Iowa are as rare as untipped cows.

Getting manufacturing going is important. If it was working everyone in the economy would be better off, even the rich. However, many American manufacturers are so far gone they can’t come back. Plus, there are fewer people who can afford products, regardless of where they’re made. The golden goose has been fed rat poison by over-consumption and under-manufacturing.

Santorum rightly makes the point that while minorities aren’t the bulk of the welfare population, they are disproportionately represented. You know, sort of like the 1 Percenters. So, programs to help them get out and, “give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money and provide for themselves and their families,” is a tough, withered walnut shell to crack.

Santorum and others of his ilk want to put the poor back to work without funding schools, job training, medical care, affordable housing, or anything else that jacks up Bill Gates’ tax rate. In fact, some Republicans want the poor to pay more in taxes. What sort of math allows you to raise the poor’s taxes by 50% without understanding that 50% of nothing is, urm, NOTHING?!!

Welfare programs are hugely expensive, though not as expensive as other expenditures being stalked by ravenous budget-wolves. But assuming welfare will magically go away if we simply stop paying is wishful thinking – like absorbing millions of illegal aliens and then assuming they’ll disappear if we throw up some chain link halfway between Arizona and New Mexico.

Yes Rick, there is a problem. But no, busying yourself with the sex lives of other people doesn’t solve it. And further, this isn’t a new problem. It is the result of kicking a very large can down a very long road.

Many welfare programs were born of LBJ’s Great Society. The Great Society was an admirable effort to lift poor sharecroppers above poverty by trying to balance the economic and racial inequities of American society. In the end, all it did was move people to housing projects were there is no sharing or crops and minorities are contained so they wouldn’t be so noticeable.

The great failing was assuming you could start by giving kids something to eat, a place to live, and a school to go to while ignoring the generations of people who were already past the point of lifting up.

Mommy the Crackhead and Daddy the Pimp
You can teach a kid how to read and count, but Mommy being a crackhead and Daddy being a drug-dealing pimp isn’t exactly world-class role modeling. Too many people are simply warehoused in crumbling housing, ducking gang raids, and learning that dealing drugs makes way more money than flipping burgers. All the while listening to nitwits preach that fixing the problem is as simple as stopping payments for the crumbling housing and decrpit schools.

Santorum probably thinks that being poor trumps being a minority. He may not want black folk in his neighborhood, but that wouldn’t be as bad as a white family of project transfers moving in next door. He just doesn’t like one, the other actually drives down his property values.

Being poor or a minority is a problem in this country. Sometimes they’re inextricably linked, other times you can tease economics from bigotry. But either way simply stopping funds and pretending that all the downtrodden need is some paternal advice to get a job won’t make it go away. No matter how hard he might try, Rick can’t make these people and their problems invisible. He can’t pretend their problems aren’t the nation’s problem.

In the end Rick’s solution is no solution at all, it’s merely another kick of the can. If we want to lessen the need for welfare, we’ll need to reform what we spend on, not how much we spend. Throwing cash at ill-advised, half-assed, ineffective programs is just as bad as doing nothing.

And nothing is exactly the change Rick’s plan will make.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

The Light Bulb of Freedom and the Flush Heard Round the World

1:23 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

The Tea Party loves liberty and freedom and well they should. No one likes to be mashed under the jackboot, drink tea under totalitarianism, or otherwise be ruthlessly held under duress by a tyrant. After all, that’s what the Constitution is all about. Sic semper tyrannis and all that.

But, tea totalitarianists have a curious sense of how to prioritize the liberties they’ll save. In May, Rand Paul (R-Kentucklhead Corners) took on the tough battle to protect the liberties of those squashed under the jackboot of light bulb efficiency rules and low-flow toilet regulations. He spoke passionately of how his low-flow toilet robbed him of his God-given right to crap in a bowl of his own choice and required him to sometimes flush twice, thrice, or quadrice. What a horrible injustice!

Ritch Workman Ain’t No Braveheart
The latest quest for freedom comes by way of FL Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Anita Bryant County). His excellency is worried about unemployment so is calling for the repeal of a 1989 statute outlawing the traditional values sport of dwarf-tossing. Rep. Workman sees the repeal of the safety regulation as a way of solving Florida’s unemployment problems by harnessing the free-market to put the state’s millions of Little People back to work at their chosen profession.

“To me it’s an archaic kind of Big Brother law that says, ‘We don’t like that activity,’ ” Workman said. “Well, there is nothing immoral or illegal about that activity. All we really did by passing that law was take away some employment from some little people.”

Now that’s true enough I suppose. Little People should be allowed to eschew demeaning carnival jobs in favor of opening for far more dignified Wet T-shirt contests. After all, they can’t all work on reality TV shows like a gaggle of excessively large repo men.

I’ll agree the law infringes the liberties of Little People. However, I can think of many things that abridge freedoms and liberties worse than bad plumbing and flinging Little People. Yet, the Tea Party either ignores those liberties or supports them without seeing it irony.

All Hail the No Dwarf Left Behind Bill
For example, why are so many Tea Partiers intent on passing a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that crushes the freedom of gays to marry whom they like? Aren’t no-warrant phone tapping and the ability to board a jet without a cavity search liberties to be enjoyed by all – even Little People? Stacked against a recalcitrant toilet, someone listening to my phone calls seems a larger infringement on my freedom.

About the only bipartisan thing in America today is a fear of government. That’s a healthy thing. It is what keeps a democracy a democracy. Hand too much power to the government, corporations, or any other large institution insinuated into American life and you have a prescription for unrest and rebellion.

So, let’s extinguish the light bulb of freedom and the flush heard round the world and get to work on issues that actually mean something.

A little less tea drinking and a little more action please.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Parody Canceled, Crackpot Rabbi Blames Earthquake on Gays

1:22 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

God Hates Fags...NOT

HARSHING OUR MELLOW - For the creepily bigoted, it's important to keep the nonsense alive. For these kids and their parents, it's out of the mouths of parents and into the mouths of children.

I had planned a parody post today. The basic idea was simple: Fundamentalist crackpot, Pat Robertson, would announce that yesterday’s east coast earthquake and coming hurricane were caused because of “teh gays”. However, a real pronouncement ruined the whole thing, except that instead of a brain-addled Christian bringing the “funny”, a Rabbi harshed everyone’s mellow.

DAMN YOU RABBI YEHUDA LEVIN!”

In our fast-moving world, events overtake blog topics all the time. It happens to me and may have happened to you. What makes this near-miss a bit unique is Levin’s uncanny similarity to what I would’ve made up. He’s made me look like some sort of omnipotent Nostradumbass.

Making Parody True

It’s distressing when you can’t write a parody without some lunkhead making the parody true. Many “leaders” of the ignorati – political, spiritual, and economic – do it all the time. As they strengthen their grip, it’s getting easier to take “reality” and make it more real so it can be classified as parody. Will the Daily Show and Onion become straight news outlets?

Don’t answer that, it’s too scary to ponder. Read the rest of this entry →

Christian College Bans National Anthem

6:48 pm in Uncategorized by Omnipotent Poobah

In a bit of a twist, a Christian school has banned the National Anthem. “As a result of a thoughtful, thorough, prayerful period of listening, learning and discerning,” the Goshen College Board of Directors said, “it is the board’s judgment that continuing to play the national anthem compromises our ability to advance the vision (of Goshen College) together.”

What? None of the usual insistence that not wearing a flag pin makes you a traitor and not placing your hand over your heart is tantamount of crappingon Old Glory? Nope, because Goshen is a Mennonite college, a religion that is vehemently pacifistic and probably more devout than your run of the mill spaghetti dinner fund-raising crowd.

Many Americans conflate flag waving and God-fearing so I suspect many of them will look at Goshen’s decision as “politically correct” or an attempt to inflame the delicate sensibilities of the “true Christian” majority of conservative Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, et al.

(In fairness, that hasn’t happened on a wide scale yet even though one Catholic athelete seems a put off by it as are several of Goshen’s city council members. However, I suspect the story will gain traction soon.)

This is as a legitimate decision based on strong Mennonite religious beliefs, applied to their religion’s school, and in line with the belief that not singing about rockets glaring and flags still being there is a choice. In this case, a choice that doesn’t impinge on anyone else, secular or non-secular. The school even supports the ball player’s right to speak his mind.

It’s also in line with another important American value: Freedom. Being forced to sing the national ditty doesn’t perfectly symbolize respect for the country, nor does it diss the sacrifices of others. It exercises the free speech to say no and celebrates that freedom.

I’m an atheist and a veteran who does sing the anthem and put my hand over my heart, but I’m with these Christians on this one.

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Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!