Monday, February 21, 2011

A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican

     Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good 
clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water  quality standards.  
He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe 
to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.
 All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because 
some liberal union workers fought the employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe 
gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day.  Joe’s bacon is 
safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing 

     Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled 
with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his 
right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, 
walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree 
hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the 
subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable 
money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable
public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

     Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits,
retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and 
died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s 
employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union.  If Joe is hurt on the job or 
becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check
because some liberal didn’t think he should loose his home because of his temporary 
misfortune. Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s 
deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some liberal wanted to protect  Joe’s
money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the
     Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal 
student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government 
would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.
Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the 
country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world 
because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He 
was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration 
because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans.  The house didn’t have electric until 
some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded
rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark) 
He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his 
union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe 
wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.
He turns on  a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and
conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought 
against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day)  Joe agrees, “We
don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man 
who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Biblical Arguments

Those who use biblical arguments to oppose gay rights would do well to consider the fate of their historical predecessors who made very similar arguments in favor of slavery. Here is a great article on the reasons non-slave-owning Southerners supported slavery and secession. The second section on the role of church figures and biblical interpretation is particularly interesting. Here are some golden moments:

The Presbyterian theologian Robert Lewis Dabney reminded his fellow Southern clergymen that the Bible was the best way to explain slavery to the masses.  “We must go before the nation with the Bible as the text, and ‘thus sayeth the lord’ as the answer,” he wrote.  “We know that on the Bible argument the abolition party will be driven to unveil their true infidel tendencies.   The Bible being bound to stand on our side, they have to come out and array themselves against the Bible.”


A fellow reverend from Virginia agreed that on no other subject “are [the Bible’s] instructions more explicit, or their salutary tendency and influence more thoroughly tested and corroborated by experience than on the subject of slavery.”  The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, asserted that slavery “has received the sanction of Jehova.”  As a South Carolina Presbyterian concluded: “If the scriptures do not justify slavery, I know not what they do justify.” 

The Southern Presbyterian of S.C observed that there was a “religious character to the present struggle.  Anti-slavery is essentially infidel.  It wars upon the Bible, on the Church of Christ, on the truth of God, on the souls of men.”  A Georgia preacher denounced abolitionists as “diametrically opposed to the letter and spirit of the Bible, and as subversive of all sound morality, as the worst ravings of infidelity.”  The prominent South Carolina Presbyterian theologian James Henley Thornwell did not mince his words.  “The parties in the conflict are not merely abolitionists and slaveholders.  They are atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, Jacobins on the one side, and friends of order and regulated freedom on the other.  In one word, the world is the battleground – Christianity and Atheism the combatants; and the progress of humanity at stake.”

It seems to me that those who use biblical sources to oppose homosexuality should finally admit that the same arguments, in fact arguably with stronger textual support, can be made in favor of slavery. Hardly, I would hope, a popular position.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tunisia, Egypt and America

Here is an essay comparing the situation in Tunisia and American student loan debt.

Here is an op-ed piece by John Kerry encouraging the leader of Egypt to step down and encouraging America to support the people of Egypt.

What is striking about the two pieces read in conjunction is how they bring home the real power of public outcry and demonstration. The unrest that has sprung up in places like Tunisia and Egypt is about different things in different places and is far from being uniformly anti-American or Islamic-fundamentalist. Rather, the main strain that seems to unite these uprisings is economic hardship conjoined with a corrupt and unconcerned government. This is about poverty and the sense of entitlement on the part of the ruling rich which motivates them to go on crushing the backs of the middle and lower classes. With Republicans calling more and more for cuts in the government spending which seeks to assist Americans hardest hit by the economic downturn and cuts in taxes in order to serve America's most well off, our nation should perhaps take notice that what is happening in Africa could very well happen here. As noted in the first article, "between 2002 and 2007, 65 percent of all income growth in the United States went to the top 1 percent of the population." Those who are suffering in America do so at least partially because of those who are making (literally) a killing at the top.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What Happened To These Guys?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those that hunger and are not fed; those who are cold and not clothed."
-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a Republican, a Republican who was against the military industrial complex. A Republican who was for social security, for unemployment benefits, and for labor laws. And he believed that anyone who would actually try to eliminate these programs was "stupid."

This man would clearly never win the Republican nomination these days. I imagine if he were around to see people like Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachmann get elected, he would have nothing to do with a Republican Party that shifted so dramatically to the authoritarian right. It has become a party that I doubt even Richard Nixon (scandal aside) could get elected in.

I fear for the discourse in this country, when a health care bill that was proposed by Republicans in the mid-90's, would be slammed as an evil, socialist, "government takeover" of the health care industry by the very politicians that proposed it, only 12 years later. It just proves to me that these jack-asses that Americans Corporate Interests elect year after year care nothing about actually improving this country, only about beating the other guy, and winning the next election.

For the sake of our country, can we please wake the hell up?

Friday, January 14, 2011

So We're A Christian Nation?

"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we’ve got to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that he commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it."

Why is it that so often it seems to only be the satirists of a society that are able to honestly tell the truth?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Open Letter To Sarah Palin

Dear Sarah Palin,

I just watched your video. It is so unbelievably disingenuous, and continues your arrogant "How-can-I-ever-be-wrong-I-am-a-republican-and-say-Jesus-a-lot?" attitude, that it literally made me nauseous. If you want to be famous, go to Hollywood, but stay the hell out of politics, where all you do is create a trail of pain and ignorance in your wake. "Blood libel?" Do you even know what that term means? Are you even aware of the connotation it has in the Jewish community? Are you even aware that Congresswoman Giffords is Jewish? I suspect that you don't.

And no, it isn't your fault that this shooting happened. But for the love of God, don't make excuses for that ad you put out. How about a quiet apology to the Giffords family (since, you know, you did put a gun sight over her district), and a pledge to at least try to refrain from such violent imagery in the future? That would be classy, that would allow you to keep a shred of dignity. But I suspect that you won't, and then hopefully you'll piss off enough people that you'll finally fade into political obscurity where you belong.