Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Our Job is Harder

Because building is harder than destroying.

Political Animal:

Beyond that, I am reminded of something Barack Obama wrote way back in 2005 when he was still the junior senator from Illinois.
The bottom line is that our job is harder than the conservatives’ job. After all, it’s easy to articulate a belligerent foreign policy based solely on unilateral military action, a policy that sounds tough and acts dumb; it’s harder to craft a foreign policy that’s tough and smart. It’s easy to dismantle government safety nets; it’s harder to transform those safety nets so that they work for people and can be paid for. It’s easy to embrace a theological absolutism; it’s harder to find the right balance between the legitimate role of faith in our lives and the demands of our civic religion. But that’s our job. And I firmly believe that whenever we exaggerate or demonize, or oversimplify or overstate our case, we lose. Whenever we dumb down the political debate, we lose. A polarized electorate that is turned off of politics, and easily dismisses both parties because of the nasty, dishonest tone of the debate, works perfectly well for those who seek to chip away at the very idea of government because, in the end, a cynical electorate is a selfish electorate.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Who Creates Poverty

Down with Tyranny, Noah's midnight meme:

A Kentucky Favorite Son on Fuck You, Red States

Duke Lives!

After the ascension of SeƱor Trumpanzee, Charlottesville and all the climate change denialism during and after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we had to share this tonight. It comes from his 2003 book, Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child In the Final Days of the American Century, combining biography and polemic with his unique Gonzo style satire and, for want of better words, abuse and angry prophecy. 
We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world-- a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us... No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we’ll kill you.

Well, shit on that dumbness. George W. Bush does not speak for me or my son or my mother or my friends or the people I respect in this world. We didn’t vote for these cheap, greedy little killers who speak for America today-- and we will not vote for them again in 2002. Or 2004. Or ever.

Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush?

They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill gooks. They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are the racists and hate mongers among us-- they are the Ku Klux Klan. I piss down the throats of these Nazis.

And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not. Fuck them.

"Fuck the South. Fuck ’em. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they’d stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves-- yeah, those are states we want to keep.

And now what do we get? We’re the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really?

’Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn’t bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing, lacy-shirt-sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead... Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?

No, no. Get the fuck out. We’re not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your Real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states... Get it? We started this shit, so don’t get all uppity about how real you are, you Johnny-come-lately, “Oooooh I’ve been a state for almost a hundred years” dickheads. Fuck off...

Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant?  What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so. Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.

All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it¹s a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.

The next dickwad who says, “It’s your money, not the government’s money” is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the 10 states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess?... They’re red states. And eight of the 10 states that receive the least and pay the most?... Blue states. It’s not your money, assholes, it’s fucking our money...
Let’s talk about values for a fucking minute... Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate, you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It’s fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay-marriage universe... Think that’s just some aberration? How about this: Nine of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates?... Ten of the top 10 are fucking red-ass, we’re-so-fucking-moral states.

But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you’re ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that’s okay because you go to church, right?

I mean, you do, right? ’Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time . . . Maybe we fucking Northerners don’t talk about religion as much as you because we’re not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you’re too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain’t us up here in the North, assholes.

Well, this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass...

Friday, September 15, 2017

Abortion: Satanic Temple Strikes Again

This may be the only way to deal with the fetus-fetishists: Turn their god-bothering back on them and stand firm on the fundamental reality.

On Monday, the Missouri State Court Western Appellate District will hear oral arguments from a religious organization challenging an abortion law — but not from the type of group you might expect.
The Satanic Temple is arguing that Missouri’s abortion restrictions — specifically, its informed consent law and mandatory 72-hour waiting period for abortions — violates the religious freedom of one of its members who believes in reproductive autonomy and scientific fact. The United State Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit will hear arguments in the case later this month.
The organization, which sees Satan as a symbol and “embraces rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism,” filed state and federal lawsuits in the spring of 2015 on behalf of a pregnant woman seeking an abortion in the state, identified only as Mary Joe.
In 2014, the organization announced an initiative that would allow members of the Satanic Temple to use waivers to exempt themselves from Missouri’s provisions based on their religious beliefs. Mary Joe attempted to use this waiver to circumvent Missouri’s restrictions, but it was rejected, prompting this lawsuit.
Informed consent laws require patients seeking abortions to read pamphlets designed to dissuade them from choosing the procedure. Often, the pregnant person must also receive an ultrasound. Six states require that patients are told that personhood begins at conception and 13 states require that patients are told about the fetus’ ability to feel pain, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Twenty-seven states have mandatory waiting periods and just four states have 72-hour waiting periods, the longest in the country.CREDIT: THE SATANIC TEMPLE
According to the The Satanic Temple, requiring members to look at non-scientific information in order to access an abortion is a violation of its beliefs. The group also argues that the 72-hour waiting period in Missouri violates the Free Exercise Clause because it asks members of The Satanic Temple to “consider a religious proposition with which they do not agree.”
The state filed a motion to dismiss last September, arguing that these restrictions do not promote the state’s religious beliefs and simply happen to “coincide or harmonize with the tenets of some or all religions.”
The Satanic Temple has turned its attention to abortion restrictions in recent years, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby found that closely held businesses that have religious objections to contraceptives should not be required to cover them on their employees’ insurance — effectively broadening religious liberty claims.
Since then, the Satanic Temple has been using religious liberty grounds to argue in favor of better access to reproductive care. In addition to going after informed consent laws and waiting periods in Missouri, the organization also issued a statement last year saying it would sue Texas for its new rules requiring aborted fetal tissue to be buried or cremated. It stated that its members were not requiredto comply with the law since burial rites were part of a religious practice and requiring a specific method goes against its religious freedom rights.CREDIT: THE SATANIC TEMPLE/FACEBOOK

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Gov. I Got Mine Fuck You Doesn't Know What Education Is

Bevin's exposing the real agenda of repugs in disparaging public education and demanding colleges teach nothing but computer coding:

They don't want informed citizens.  They want mindless drones who will work for pennies an hour.

Bruce Schreiner, AP:

Gov. Matt Bevin bluntly suggested Tuesday that some academic programs on Kentucky’s college campuses have outlived their necessity in times of tight state budgets.
With a pointed jab at the job prospects of interpretive dancers, the Republican governor challenged public university boards and presidents to consider eliminating some courses that don’t produce graduates filling high-wage, high-demand jobs.

His message comes as the state tries to fix its failing public pension systems, and economists estimate Kentucky faces a $200 million shortfall when the fiscal year ends in mid-2018.

 “Find entire parts of your campus … that don’t need to be there,” Bevin said in a speech to a higher education conference. “Either physically as programs, degrees that you’re offering, buildings that … shouldn’t be there because you’re maintaining something that’s not an asset of any value, that’s not helping to produce that 21st century educated workforce.”
We already have a 21st century workforce.  What we lack is 21st century wages and benefits that workforce earns.

What we lack is 21st century citizenship on the part of workers who will fight for their right to vote, and rich fucks who will pay their fair share of taxes, and corporations who use their profits to invest in our communities rather than socking those profits overseas where they don't have to pay taxes.

And that kind of citizenship is only learned in public education classrooms and college seminars that value a broad liberal arts education.

Including "interpretive dance" that Bevin so disparages.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article172961586.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article172961586.html#storylink=cpy“Find entire parts of your campus … that don’t need to be there,” Bevin said in a speech to a higher education conference. “Either physically as programs, degrees that you’re offering, buildings that … shouldn’t be there because you’re maintaining something that’s not an asset of any value, that’s not helping to produce that 21st century educated workforce.”

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/local/education/article172961586.html#storylink=cpy

When Free Speech Gets Patriotic

The First Amendment guarantee of free speech was designed to protect dissent.  Political speech that criticizes government is the most patriotic speech and thus deserving of the strongest protections.

Especially when that speech - "speech" of course including action, even if silent - offends members of the ruling class and their pet storm troopers

A remarkable coalition of athletes, activists, and academics has come together in solidarity with Michael Bennett against the slander being put forward to discredit him by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Las Vegas Police Protective Association. Their statement of support follows.

Statement of Solidarity With Michael Bennett

We, the undersigned, stand with Michael Bennett, a professional football player with the Seattle Seahawks, philanthropist and activist, following an incident of police brutality in Las Vegas. On the morning of August 27th, a reported shooting on the Vegas strip led to chaos. Michael Bennett ran for cover, as did hundreds of others. Instead of being assisted, video and photographic evidence shows that Las Vegas police targeted Bennett, put him on the ground in handcuffs while the primary officer took out a weapon and placed it near the back of his head. According to Bennett, the officer said that if Bennett moved, he would “blow [his] fucking head off.” Bennett was then put in a police car, and after a period of time let go without charges.
We condemn this act of racial profiling and excessive force perpetrated by the Vegas police against Mr. Bennett.
This story is awful enough. The response by the Las Vegas police union has been even worse. They have issued a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling for Bennett to be investigated for “obvious false allegations against our officers.” Instead of refuting these allegations, the police union made reference to Bennett’s protests of the national anthem, writing, “While the NFL may condone Bennett’s disrespect for our American Flag, and everything it symbolizes, we hope the league will not ignore Bennett’s false accusations against our police officers.” They are, in effect, using Bennett’s political protest as a pretext to investigate him.
Since Bennett publicized his encounter with the LVMPD, a spokesperson for the police has confirmed that it is conducting an investigation of Bennett to determine “Whether Mr. Bennett was involved in the altercation at the hotel casino prior to his detention on Las Vegas Boulevard.” This is clearly an act of retaliation against Bennett for speaking out against police brutality. It is also a gesture of intimidation against anyone else who would dare challenge the right of the Las Vegas police department to act with impunity. This is unacceptable.
Michael Bennett has been sitting during the anthem precisely to raise these issues of racist injustice that are now an intimate part of his life. Now we stand with him.
This is a threatening escalation of the blackballing being perpetrated against Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and even of the deliberate breaking of Thabo Sefolosha's leg.  The next black athlete who dares to challenge the ruling power is going to get killed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Stop Talking Respectfully About Traitors

Racists want the monuments to stay up, of course, but for others, the "tearing down history" argument seems to settle the question, and opponents can't seem to refute it effectively. We can say that we don't put up monuments to the 9/11 hijackers, or to Hitler and Hirohito's soldiers, or even to British troops in the Revolutionary War, and no one says that we're "denying history." But that argument doesn't resonate.


The backlash is strong. It's not going away. And Americans in the middle simply don't understand the reasons for opposition. 
Those artifacts are not the only way we legitimize and honor the deadly and racist 19th-century rebellion against the United States. Much of the language used in reference to the Civil War glorifies the rebel cause.

The language we turn to in describing the war, from speaking of compromise and plantations, to characterizing the struggle as the North versus the South, or referring to Robert E. Lee as a General, can lend legitimacy to the violent, hateful and treasonous southern rebellion that tore the nation apart from 1861 to 1865; and from which we still have not recovered. Why do we often describe the struggle as between two equal entities? Why have we shown acceptance of the military rank given by an illegitimate rebellion and unrecognized political entity? In recent years, historians in academia and in the public sphere have been considering these issues.


Landis goes on to suggest that we call plantations what they really were—slave labor camps; and drop the use of the term, “the Union.” A common usage in the 19th century to be sure, but now one we only use “the Union” in reference to the Civil War and on the day of the State of the Union address. A better way to speak of the nation during the war, he argues, is to use its name, the United States.

In the same way, we could change the way we refer to secessionist states. When we talk of the Union versus the Confederacy, or especially when we present the strife as the North versus the South, we set up a parallel dichotomy in which the United States is cast as equal to the Confederate States of America. But was the Confederacy really a nation and should we refer to it as such?

When historian Steven Hahn participated in the 2015 History Film Forum at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, he noted that using these customary terms to tell the story of the Civil War —Hahn suggests we use “War of the Rebellion”—lends legitimacy to the Confederacy.
“If you think about it,” Hahn said, “nobody in the world recognized the Confederacy. The question is can you be a state if no one says you are a state?”


In his writings, Lincoln referred to the group he was fighting as the “so-called Confederacy” and Jefferson Davis never as president, only as the “insurgent leader.”
And if the so-called Confederacy wasn’t a country, but rather what political scientists would call a proto-state, because not a single foreign government in the entire world recognized it as a nation-state, then could Jefferson Davis legitimately be a president? Could Robert E. Lee be a General?

The highest rank Lee achieved in the United States Army was colonel, so given his role as general in service to a failed revolution by a group of rebels, how should we now refer to him?

It would be just as accurate to refer to Lee, who led an armed group against national sovereignty, as an insurgent or a warlord, if not a terrorist. Imagine how different it would be for a school-age child to learn about the War of the Rebellion if we altered the language we use.

When news reports about the debate over monuments say “Today the City Council met to consider whether to remove a statue commemorating General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army,” what if they instead were written in this way: “Today the City Council debated removing a statue of slaveholder and former American army colonel Robert E. Lee, who took up arms in the rebellion against the United States by the so-called Confederacy?”

Douglass knew, day-by-day, after the shooting stopped, a history war was playing out. It is clearly not over yet. Words, though they do not stand as marble and bronze memorials in parks and in front of buildings or fly on flagpoles, are perhaps even more powerful and pernicious. The monuments we've built with language may, in fact, be even more difficult to tear down.
They are Traitors in Defense of Slavery (thank you, Erik Loomis), and so are their apologists and defenders today. 

Call them out and name them accurately: Traitors in Defense of Slavery.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bevin Scamming Taxpayers With Budget Cut Fuckery

If your goal is actually to balance the budget rather than just drown the last shreds of public service and government in the Commonwealth, there are a few sources of money you should tap before attacking the agencies that serve Kentucky citizens.

Start with the $1.8 million he's handing to the freakazoid grifters of the Big Wooden Box.  Then however much he paid his buddies to recommend destroying the state pension system in order to save it.  Then let's make rich fucks and corporations pay their fair share of taxes that they haven't paid for the last 30 years.

Then we'll see how much the "shortfall" is. 

Bevin's lying.  Again.

The Bevin administration asked constitutional officers and cabinet secretaries Friday to cut spending in most state agencies by 17.4 percent this fiscal year to address an expected $200 million budget shortfall.

The cuts would not affect SEEK, the state’s school funding formula; universities; Medicaid; the Department of Corrections; and debt payments, said Bevin communications director Amanda Stamper.

In a letter to state officials, State Budget Director John Chilton said Kentucky “must start preparing for the ongoing financial challenges facing the state” and come up with a budget reduction plan by Sept. 25.

Chilton said the cuts would save an estimated $350 million, enough to close the $200 million projected shortfall for the fiscal year that began July 1 and replenish the state’s $150 million rainy day fund for emergencies. He said the emergency fund will be spent in coming months and must be replaced to protect the state’s credit rating.

Kentucky has endured repeated rounds of budget cuts since the Great Recession of 2008. In all, some state agencies will have seen more than 70 percent of their budgets disappear in the last decade, according to the liberal-leaning Kentucky Center for Economic Policy.

House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Morehead, called Bevin’s request “unprecedented.”
The possible cuts to services, programs and jobs “seem premature,” Adkins said.

“We’re only in the third month of the new fiscal year and the governor’s move is based on a projection from a group of independent economists,” Adkins said. “It would seem to me to be better and more responsible to wait until more months pass in the fiscal year to get a better reading of what the shortfall might be.”

Jason Bailey, executive director of the Berea-based Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said Friday that the new cuts “are sudden, so early in the fiscal year.”

He said Friday’s announcement coupled with Thursday’s announcement by the administration that local governments in Kentucky might have to contribute up to 60 percent more money next year to provide pensions for their employees is “clearly an attempt to create a sudden crisis.”

“We need long-term solutions more carefully and thoughtfully reached,” he said.

Bevin promised as recently as July that he would call a special legislative session this year to overhaul the state’s tax system and fix its financially ailing pension plans, but he has since backed away from that promise and said lawmakers should consider the issues separately, starting with pensions.

Pension consultants hired by Bevin released a list of recommendations last week that would save an estimated $1 billion, though leading lawmakers have said some of the most controversial proposals are “highly unlikely.”
Without the changes, Chilton has said the state would have to cut funding for K-12 schools by $510 million and slash spending at most other agencies by at least 16.8 percent to make up the difference. Meanwhile, Bevin has pledged to fight any proposal that increases taxes to pay for pensions.
Here's an easy way to judge anything Bevin says:  If Governor I Got Mine Fuck You wants it, do everything you can to do the opposite.