Sunday, December 6, 2009

When Mothers Are Enslaved...

I just read that the Stupak amendment is even stupider than I thought. There was already a really good, balanced amendment, the Capps amendment, which proposes that the government ensure that all patients have access to at least one plan that covers abortion and services and one that does not. Anything less amounts to state establishment of religion.
This is not self-government. This is nothing but polarized party politics. Parties are not in the Constitution; when will the Supreme Court just uphold a prohibition?
And this is not about life, it is about domination. About men, some of whom cannot stand to not dominate women, to just be co-operative. Men like women to respect them; respecting women, mothers, and children is the best way to get there.

Friday, November 13, 2009

ACORN Fights For Equal Treatment

Democracy Now reported today that ACORN is suing the U.S. government on the grounds that singling out one organization for special treatment, whether favorable or punitive, is unconstitutional on several counts.

Dec. 7, 2009 update:
Darcy Burner recently said on C-SPAN that there had been a small problem with the legislation defunding ACORN for fraud, namely that almost all defense contractors would also have been similarly affected.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Update on Rightwing Persecution of ACORN

At the very end of an op-ed piece posing as journalism, I learned that the cowardly Congressional ban on federal funding for ACORN expires on December 18.

The ax-grinding that precedes this lone piece of information contains a number of accusations about ACORN's radical advocacy for extremist groups such as a Working Families Party that advocates for living-wage jobs. Although somebody thinks I should be very afraid of advocacy for working families and voter registration for poor folks, I don't get why ACORN's victimization by internal embezzlement means that registering poor people as voters is bad.

Similarly, allegations - that minor instances of registration inflation by a handful of young staffers among thousands nationwide constitute voter fraud that is anywhere near as momentous as what we witnessed in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004 - are apparently more examples of straining at gnats while swallowing elephants, since these claims seem to be more related to party affiliation than anything.

Other allegations that ACORN is connected with violations of campaign funding cite a source that doesn't clearly support the allegations, at least for this reader. But that hasn't stopped fishing expeditions by investigators.

Don't Republicans and so-called conservatives have anything constructive to do with their time? There are a lot of real problems, such as homelessness and nuclear weapons that are far more hazardous to the health of our nation than a grassroots community organization that focuses on voter registration and financial literacy.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Truth: Evolution or Creationism?

The truth is that this teapot tempest is an effective way for creationists to distract attention from a far more important discussion, namely, about practicing the key moral precepts that make Christ a guy worth listening to, such as the golden rule, or judging ourselves rather than others.
I'm sure there are also advocates of the theory of evolution who would benefit from some consideration of ethics and civility, as suggested by Professor David Sloan Wilson.
He expressed heartfelt sympathy for those "fighting for the middle ground." It seems to me that one very important weapon in this fight is an awareness of the emotional tone of a discussion. Naming it, particularly when a fervent advocate believes that making his opponent wrong will make him right, is also essential.
Fighting one's own prejudices and habitual perceptions - the most challenging kind of jihad - is a far sharper weapon for cutting away falsity than is any fight against another person or idea.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clueless on Wall Street

This morning in USA Today, Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware is quoted as saying, "It's true that salaries are out of control, but this is not the right approach - politics and business do not mix."
Does this mean the end of corporate lobbying and massive political contributions to the politicians that toady to corporate CEOs and their profiteering agendas? Don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Do Parents Believe Their Own Bullshit?

I read in the paper this morning some news about lying. According to a newly-released study, most parents want kids to do as they say, not as they do, when it comes to not saying what they think.
I, unlike most kids, was raised by parents who generally said what they thought, and what they meant. They expected me to do what they said, and they followed these prescriptions themselves. But that doesn't mean they told me that Santa or the Easter Bunny didn't exist before I had noticed on my own.
Not all lies are created equal. Some, such as great novels, express deeper truths about human emotions, about human nature. And others can be transformed into truth with a little editing. For example, a parent said, "Lying is for bad people and witches; good people and fairies never tell lies." It would be more accurate to say that lying can make people feel bad and even mean, while telling the truth in a fair-minded and cooperative way can make everyone feel good, even if it seems like only a perfect fairy can achieve this.
So it's very important to understand all the key kinds of lies, and the reasons for them, good, bad or forgivable. Lies of commission are usually judged worse than lies of omission. But often people lie because they don't know how to tell the truth in a kind, gentle, simple way. It can be uncomfortable to say things we think will be unwelcome, but with a little guidance and practice it's possible to remind yourself: "Don't Be Nice, Be Real."
The kind of nice we really don't need is telling white lies about things that aren't that important. Or flattery. Or advertising, which leads to telling lies to make money. Eventually, lying too much can lead to losing track of the truth.
Lying will continue to be a subject of moral and philosophical inquiry. It's worth noting that the government can only lie to us be means of individuals who choose to hide the truth and betray the transparency that democracy requires.
Of course, the most devious and stubborn untruths are the ones we believe in all conscious honesty.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Straining at Gnats... and ACORNs

Republicans' vendetta against ACORN for registering poor people to vote proves beyond any doubt that they are not the fiscally responsible party they pretend to be.
They continue to harass ACORN, which was apparently the victim of a private political sting operation, after reluctantly pretending to investigate Diebold and related scams in 2004, not to mention companies like KBR and Halliburton that have been stealing $billions of taxpayer money in Iraq with contract fraud and featherbedding - Republicans are straining at gnats and swallowing camels.
I am also wondering if the Republicans put something in the water in the House, which is supposedly controlled by Democrats who, unbelievably, joined Republicans in voting to pull ACORN's funding and instead waste the money investigating them. For Sacramento, this means less assistance for hapless homeowners facing foreclosure and fraud. Gee thanks.
This is not the first time Democrats have allowed Republican hissy fits to derail due diligence and the greatest good for the greatest number. When wingnuts act out, that's a good time to sit back and make sure you have all the information you need to actually understand the whole situation. It turns out that the undercover movie producer and accomplice are elite young Republicans who will never have to worry about foreclosure happening to them. And it turns out they visited a third of ACORN offices nationwide, and were at times so pushy ACORN staff had to call the cops. I wonder who paid for all their equipment and expenses?
I think the real agenda here is to get ACORN out of the 2010 census, so more poor people can be missed. Republicans have "trust issues." I'll say they do; you can trust them - and Democrats - to care more about power than people.