Our American Values and Character

by joshua

“Ten years later, I’d say America came through this thing in a way that was consistent with our character. We’ve made mistakes. Some things haven’t happened as quickly as they needed to. But overall, we took the fight to al-Qaida, we preserved our values, we preserved our character.” President Obama to NBC News

Advertisements

What Tyranny Actually Means

by lestro

Dear Tea Party,

I couldn’t help but notice that you spend a  lot of time and energy making lots and lots of misspelled signs talking about tyranny, with little to no regard for what the word actually means or whether it could even be remotely applicable to a government made up of elected representatives making votes on potential laws and then having to face voters again, including this year.

Here is a tip: It’s not tyranny. It’s not taxation without representation. It’s absolutely nothing like the circumstances that prompted the original Boston Tea Party, whose name and legacy you are constantly maligning with your idiocy.

I realize that you have no use for history and a total contempt for any facts that might possibly cause you to question or challenge the bullshit, half-truths and lies that Fox News feeds you, content in the knowledge that you will just accept what they say without checking it or even doing a simple Google search to see if it makes any damn sense at all.

Luckily (for our purposes), there is still actual tyranny in the world we can compare our situation to. This is what it looks like.

First, power is consolidated, usually in a non-elected executive position.

Taking the unusual step of limiting its own authority, Iran’s parliament on Wednesday adopted a law that would curb its ability to review regulations issued by the most powerful, un-elected institutions of the state.

It was not immediately clear what forces propelled the parliament to adopt a measure that would formally undermine powers granted to it under the constitution. But the decision seemed to acknowledge the reality that the elected parliament was often blocked from fulfilling its role as a watchdog over the elected and appointed institutions of state.

The legislation did, however, appear another to represent another step in the political evolution of Iran to a state where appointed officials and allies of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wield far more authority than do the elected institutions. That tension between appointed and elected branches has existed since the founding of the Islamic Republic, but the balance lately has tipped steeply in the favor of the Supreme Leader and the appointed institutions.

Next, political opponents are maligned as being unpatriotic and traitorous:

Their regulations now will not be subject to parliamentary oversight but will have to go through another committee — the Supreme Council for Revising Laws — made up of several allies of the leader, as well as the speaker of the parliament.

Since Iran’s disputed presidential election in June, Ayatollah Khamenei and his allies have labeled those who challenge their decisions as enemies of the state. By voting to limit their own powers, members of parliament might have been signaling a desire to avoid confrontation with Ayatollah Khamenei.

Finally, political dissent is outlawed.

Which, as you can tell by the large group of fellow poor spelling demonstrators around you, is not happening at all here.

Now that you know what tyranny is, you can watch for it.   To find further examples, you could begin digging through the past decade worth of bullshit.  Perhaps you’ll be surprised as to what sort of undemocratic and potentially tyrannical bits you might find in the guy the vast majority of you blindly supported for eight years…

Any questions?

Good.

Love and kisses,

Lestro

The old ways are the best ways

by lestro

On June 17, 1972, five guys working for then-president Richard Nixon’s political henchmen (known as “the Plumbers” because they “plugged leaks”) broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. and fix the taps the Republicans had put on the Democrats’ phones during a previous break-in. The burglars were wearing blue surgical gloves and had their pockets stuffed with hundreds…

This time, however, a security guard noticed the tape the burglars had put across the latches of the locks on the doors and called the police.

The resulting scandal eventually forced Nixon to resign the presidency and slink back to California bathed in the stench of shame and flagrant assholery. It also gave rise to the now ubiquitous “-gate” ending for any and every political scandal and reinforced the journalist’s role as a watchdog for the people (thank you Woodward and Bernstein).

So?

Well, here we are 37 years later and the right wing still hasn’t learned a goddamn thing:

Four people were arrested on Monday for allegedly posing as telephone technicians and trying to tap the phones of Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, in her New Orleans office.  […]

All four of the people arrested in New Orleans were charged with entering federal property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony. At least two of the four people were dressed in telephone company work clothes and construction hats when they were arrested.

go team! I guess those who fail to learn from history ARE doomed to repeat it.

Among those arrested was James O’Keefe, most known for his law-breaking, vigilante-style videos at offices of the organization formerly known as ACORN, with himself dressed as a pimp trying to get some financial advice with one of his whores (Hannah Giles) and appearing to depict ACORN workers “giving advice about tax evasion, human smuggling and child prostitution.”

His disguise in the first video was definitely better though.

Read more of this post

Family friendly?

by lestro

Yesterday, on The Commentators on KOMO radio in Seattle, they were discussing the law signed today by the Governor, which gives all of the rights and privileges of marriage to domestic partners that spouses automatically get (once again proving my point that not allowing gays to marry in this state is UNCONSTITUTIONAL, as these are rights and privileges granted to one class of people that were denied another) and John Carlson, the show’s right-wing voice (and former Republican candidate for Governor) made reference to states becoming less “family friendly” as they become more “gay friendly.”

And for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how those two things were opposites, but I didn’t have time to call in to the station and ask.

Then, this afternoon, as if to prove that “family friendly” and “anti-gay” are not the same thing (as well as providing a perfect example of Washington State’s shiny new “separate but equal” law will fail like every Plessy v. Ferguson before it), the New York Times ran a story about a gay family who had a medical emergency while on vacation.

One woman, part of a longtime couple in Washington state suffered an aneurysm while the family was vacationing in Florida. Essentially, the woman’s partner of 18 years (longer than most “opposite marriages” last) was denied access to see her before she died – as were the couple’s adopted children – and the hospital denied her information about partner’s condition because she was not “real family.”

The details are ugly:

Ms. Langbehn says that a hospital social worker informed her that she was in an “antigay city and state” and that she would need a health care proxy to get information. (The worker denies having made the statement, Mr. Alonso said.) As the social worker turned to leave, Ms. Langbehn stopped him. “I said: ‘Wait a minute. I have those health care proxies,’ ” she said. She called a friend to fax the papers.

The medical chart shows that the documents arrived around 4:15 p.m., but nobody immediately spoke to Ms. Langbehn about Ms. Ponds’s condition. During her eight-hour stay in the trauma unit waiting room, Ms. Langbehn says, she had two brief encounters with doctors. Around 5:20 a doctor sought her consent for a “brain monitor” but offered no update about the patient’s condition. Around 6:20, two doctors told her there was no hope for a recovery.

Despite repeated requests to see her partner, Ms. Langbehn says she was given just one five-minute visit, when a priest administered last rites. She says she continued to plead with a hospital worker that the children be allowed to see their mother, even showing the children’s birth certificates.

Read more of this post

The inherent “conservative” hypocrisy

by lestro

One of the main tenets of the “conservative” movement is supposed to be limited government and more individual rights and responsibility.  It is supposed to be about the pure American spirit of liberty: this is my land and ain’t nobody gonna tell me what I can and can’t do.

They want strict readings of the U.S. Constitution, a document that was written with the sole intent of hemming in government power and protecting personal rights of the individual.  It’s all right there in the preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Constitution is the rule structure for our government.  It dictates the limits of what the federal government can do.

Read more of this post

Rights and benefits denied

by lestro

After reading this article in today’s New York Times, it is literally impossible to continue saying that marriage does not provide certain rights and benefits that are being denied to an entire class of people (to use the legal term) while being bestowed on another.

And that is wholly unamerican and unconstitutional.

Today’s article is about health care and how difficult it is for gay couples to get the same benefits married couples get simply by signing a legal contract denied to a certain percentage of the population:

Same-sex couples have been making headlines; Maine followed the lead of Iowa and Vermont this week in legalizing same-sex marriage, and several other state legislatures are now considering it. But Ms. Hudson says that fairer and more comprehensive health care coverage for partners — whether they are legally married or not — is not necessarily part of the package.

“For the vast majority of gay couples,” she said, “getting health insurance for a domestic partner is still a challenge.”

[…]

Even if the relationship is formalized with the state in a marriage or union, that does not always obligate the employer to cover a same-sex spouse. For one thing, self-insured employers are not regulated by the states.

And other benefit-providing employers that choose not to offer such coverage can sometimes use the Defense of Marriage Act — a law that forbids the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage — to trump state laws, said Ilse de Veer, a principal with Mercer.

Let’s review the 14th Amendment while we’re at it, just to make sure we understand why all this is illegal:

…No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws…

Without a doubt, gay people are not getting equal protection under the laws, especially in health care.

Read more of this post

Red dawn feminism

by twit

Lunchbreath.

image via The Daily What

We’ve come a long, long way.

There’s so much more work to do, but I’m not sure that it is appropriate to continue to fly the feminist banner when doing it.

Since history tends to like dates and such, I’ll be so bold as to say that the day American feminism died was when Cosmo laid claim to the third wave.

When a radical movement goes that mainstream, I think that’s as good a sign as any that the tide has turned.

Read more of this post