when the status quo frustrates.

Good Cop, Bad Cop

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

How Democrats prepare for a convention:

Individuals arrested at the Democratic National Convention will be processed at an industrial warehouse with chain-link cells topped by razor wire, a facility some have compared to the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Groups planning marches, concerts and other events during the Aug. 25-28 convention dub the center “Gitmo on the Platte,” for the nearby South Platte River.

…Video footage of the north Denver warehouse on Denver’s KCNC-TV showed coils of razor wire topping chain-link cells. A sign read: “Electric stun devices used here.”

Gale said each cell will be about 20-by-20 feet. He refused to say how many people could be processed there.

“It’s just ridiculous, the thing looks like a dog pound,” said Mark Cohen of the protest group Recreate-68 Alliance. “Even if you only put dogs in there, people will be complaining about it. I think you ought to have the Red Cross and Amnesty International come take a look at this thing.”

and

“The infamous “free speech zone,” set to make a comeback at Denver’s upcoming Democratic National Convention, needs to be within earshot of delegates, a coalition of civil liberties advocates backed by the ACLU said [last month]. Chain link fencing or chicken wire at the end of the parade route, about 700 feet away from the Pepsi Center under the current plan, would separate demonstrators and protesters from other convention attendees, the Rocky Mountain News reported.

“No human voice, or any other sound,” ACLU counsel said in Monday’s amended complaint, “can ever hope to reach a person at the entrance.”

The ACLU lost their case, and the “free speech zone” went ahead as planned.

How Republicans prepare for a convention:

Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff’s department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than “fire code violations,” and early this morning, the Sheriff’s department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.

The officers refused to state why they were there and, until the very end, refused to show whether they had a search warrant.

Greenwald also states that ” both journalists and lawyers — in addition to protesters — have been detained and arrested even though not a single violent or criminal act has occurred.”

All in all, a nice microcosm of the difference in approach between Dems and Repubs. Only one puts a jackboot to your neck in their opening manuever… but both will keep you on your knees. And you can bet the boots come down in either case if you get uppity.

If we were in Hell, and Satan made us choose between an eternity behind Door #1, where we had to eat our own shit all the time, or Door #2, where we were continuously eviscerated and then, out of our still pulsing intestines, forced to eat our own shit… well, the choice would be obvious. But the question would remain: how did we end up in Hell in the first place?

I’d say right now most Americans are still just in the pure shit eating phase. I guess we’re just lucky that way.

Umm…..

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

This isn’t a real FOX screenshot, right? Please tell me someone made this up.

I’m scared.

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

The things you miss by living in another country. And not watching the news. I had no idea about this til now. I’m presuming that in America, Gustav is getting wall-to-wall coverage, and everyone is collectively biting their nails.

Global warming. Things are getting real.

Promises, Promises

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

I just got done reading Lisa Kansas’s post on prostitution and how it relates to the Edwards case.* I was just going to put a comment, but I realized it was starting to turn into my own manifesto, so i thought a separate post might be more appropriate.

As far as her questions one and two and subsequent answers go, I have no particular complaints. It seems a reasonable to have two separate levels for reality and theoretical levels when it comes to the hurting/ harming question in regards to prostitution, and a lot of sexist things.

But it is the third level that I have a disagreement with, and it’s the third part that relates to the Edward’s case the most.

Lisa KS’s contention is that:

3. Back to the perfect world/our world dichotomy–in a perfect world, the answer would be “neither”–it would be JOB. It’d help out the individual in question by being one and therefore providing cash to live off of, but other than that it’d have no impact on that woman in particular or women in general at all. However, unfortunately, we live in this world.

In this world, women’s bodies and the idea of spending money to induce one to have sex with you (you=men) are used to sell everything from coffee to cars. The last five movies I’ve watched, for instance, all have at least one scene where the main female character goes in the bathroom, takes her clothes off on-camera, and showers, and in only one of those movies was there any point to this in terms of plot at all. Women, in short, are presented all the time as a bombardment of something you want to buy and fuck–something you can buy and fuck–all you need is enough money. By validating this outright, female prostitutes help hold up the structure of the patriarchy that assigns women to be objects rather than fully human autonomous people like men.

From an interpersonal relationship standpoint (finally!! she gets around to actually relating it to the original Edwards post–lol) when a man and a woman choose to vow to be monogamous to one another, the woman is really the only one who is actually EXPECTED to do so. A big part of the reason that it is statistically much more epidemic in men than women to break this vow is because there is a plethora of women’s bodies offered to him for cash, quite discreetly–women who make it clear that they are perfectly fine with him treating his vow to another woman like so much bullshit, who have an active interest in encouraging men who have vowed monogamy to break that vow as that is the big majority of their customers. By enthusiastically endorsing that societal double standard, women who practice prostitution are enabling it to a degree that would be impossible without their active cooperation.

So my answer to this last question is, in a perfect world, consensual adult prostitution would neither hurt nor help women in general. However, in the world we live it, it hurts all women, including the ones engaging in prostitution, a lot.

Now, I disagree with this for two reasons: the first is where it assigns blame, and the second is a more general philosphoical question about the nature of promises.

If I’m reading this correctly, (and Lisa, please feel to correct me if I’m misrepresenting something), prostitution would not be bad if we did not have a society that saw women as consumable objects. But since we do have a society where women are seen as consumable objects, prostitutes cash in on this, thus since they are selling themselves as “products” and reinforcing this mindset.

But, as it was already admitted, that prostitution would be fine if we didn’t have this mindset, I can’t see how it can be at all a cause of, or even a reinforcement of, this mindset. The problem is the mindset, not the prostitution.

I also disagree that “statistically much more epidemic in men than women to break this vow [marriage] is because there is a plethora of women’s bodies offered to him for cash”. For one, the differences in infidelity is not that sharp: the rates change from study to study, but according to this http://www.springerlink.com/content/j21080r5q5551u41/ The Hite Report says that about 54% of women and 72% of men have cheated at least once on their long-term relationship. Others say that 25% of women have and 42% of men. Since we’re dealing with self-reporting, I’m going to assume that the female number is problably lower than it really is. So, the whole “cheating” thing seems to be pretty common.

I also feel that to claim that men cheating can’t be blamed on women for the same reason that I don’t think women wearing “slutty” clothes entitles men to treat them poorly, or that men would be ready to “settle down” if it wasn’t for all of those loose women who are willing to have sex without a ring. As an individual, you are expected to be responsible for your OWN actions, regardless of the actions of others. To say that if women were just “better” men would be better is a conservative line, not a feminist one.

And the second disagreement has to do with the nature of promises. If I promise someone something, it is on me to deliver the promise, not the people around me. If I promise to be home at 7, and I’m late because a friend starts talking to me and I lose track of the time, it is not that friend’s fault that I am late, it is mine. My friend has no moral obligation to make sure my promises are enforced.

The same is the true with a marriage. Someone who has made no promise has no moral culpability if the others do break that promise. Marriage is a promise: nothing more, nothing less, and it does not deserve any other special treatment. Like any other promise, the responsibility is between those who make the contract, not the parties outside of it. I, personally, would not sleep with someone who was married, because if he breaks a promise to others, he’ll break it to me. But that is a matter of personal taste, not an admission of moral culpability.

There are enough people in the world that blame women for everything, I think feminism should err on the side of giving women a break. I’m not saying that we should give a “pussy pass” to women, for women, like humans, can do evil things and should be called on it. I’m not even saying that we shouldn’t examine how are everyday actions contribute to the patriarchy (show of hands, who’s wearing makeup, a push-up bra, or high heels right now?). I’m saying that we should leave the criticisms of women and their actions for things they directly do and contribute to, not to promises they didn’t make and systems they didn’t set up.

*I wanted to avoid the whole Edward’s affair entirely because, frankly, I hate how much effort it takes to maintain idealism. Every time a politician can’t get his morals straight, it bothers me.

Fallout from the Edwards Affair: Part Two!

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

(Part One is here.)

This entire blog post was actually supposed to be a comment, in response to another commenter’s question on my take on sex work and its inherent feminism or lack thereof. However, once I started writing said comment, it became clear that I had WAY too much to say on the topic to inflict my response in the little comment section of a post! So I asked the commenter how she’d feel about a blog post and she said Sounds fine! (Of course, it’s taken me so long to get around to writing it, she probably isn’t even looking for it anymore.) And then, once I started writing the blog post, I realized that what I really needed to do was write an entire book in response to that query, because it is extremely complicated! and so, apparently, are my feelings on the subject.

(Note: In an attempt to keep this post from turning into the aforementioned book-length commentary, I’m restricting myself to discussing prostitution, not any other kind of sex work.)

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Sarah Palin is too much, too little, and too late.

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Everyone’s talking about McCain’s choice for VP candidate, MILF Sarah Palin of Alaska. His motivations are transparent, and were within seconds being widely discussed on all the hottest blog comment threads. Everyone knows why she was picked, the question is, will it work?

If the opinion of Vision Forum is any indication, I’m going to have to guess, no.

The selection of a feminist, pro-life mother of five with four children, seventeen and under, including a newborn Down’s syndrome baby, to fulfill the post of vice president is without precedent in American history. What Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro was unable to accomplish for the feminist cause in 1984 may now be handed as a fait accompli to America through the hands of evangelicals and conservatives. After decades of Christian leaders fighting against the feminstic vision of the working supermom, Republicans are now showcasing the vision in the most high profile election in the world.

It was from this post that I learned Palin returned to work a mere three days after having her latest child, who is afflicted with Down’s Syndrome. From this, I infer two things: first, god damn, there’s a woman used to working at least twice, if not six or seven times, as hard to be considered half as good. I mean, just, damn. And second: someone’s got a lot of help at home. A lot. Of really trustworthy help, because who besides your own mother do you leave a special-needs newborn with? At any rate, she’s clearly figured out how to have the mythical feminist dream of having it all, so it’s a damn pity that this perfect specimen of a strawfeminist is in fact there to balance out a perception that John McCain is just too soft on women’s issues.

But she chose her side, and unfortunately for her that side has spent the last two decades or so pandering to a base that thinks “Feminists for Life” is actually comprised of a bunch of feminists, and so she just might fail as a token. Could you imagine if she became president in the event of Old Man McCain’s death? How can a president have children? It’s just too much work! Who will take care of them while she’s presidenting? There’s no guidance about this situation in the Bible, so the whole damn situation is unthinkable. Back to the kitchen you go, Mrs Palin!

I am confident that Mrs. Palin is a delightful, sincere, thoughtful, and capable woman with many commendable virtues. But in fairness, there is nothing “traditional” about mothers of young children becoming career moms, chief magistrates, and leading nations of three hundred million, nor is this pattern the biblical ideal to which young women should aspire.

Of course, Palin’s nomination means it’s again time to think about the unthinkable:

With more and more women entering the political sphere and running for political office, the conscientious, biblically oriented Christian is confronted with the question of whether or not he should give his support and vote to a woman. This question becomes more pressing for many when the “best candidate,” i.e., the most conservative, pro-life candidate in a particular race is a woman.

Short answer: No.

…is it biblically proper for a woman to hold political office, and thus rule over men? Has God ordained women to be civil leaders, or has He reserved this authority for men only? I believe that the Bible gives a definitive answer to this question: women are not permitted by God to hold political office and rule over men in the political sphere.

That’s right, you Serena Joy wanna-bes. No power for you, no matter how good you are at turning your loathing of those sinful daughters of Eve into policy. True Christians are apparently required to vote for a be-penised man who will uphold the unbiblical rights currently given to wayward harlots over a more theologically-minded cuntsack. The parts of the Bible William Einwechter cares to include in his analysis say so. Every mention of women holding authority states that this is wrong, except for that story of that woman who held some authority, which doesn’t count.

The example of Deborah does not give sufficient evidence to prove that she held the office of civil ruler or to overturn the biblical doctrine that men alone are called of God to the office of civil magistrate. Therefore, Christians should not support a woman for the office of civil magistrate.

I do believe that by this logic the Religious Right will have to vote for Barack Obama, with his stylish, more traditional wife and his betesticled running mate. And we on the left welcome our new swing voters. Please, make yourselves at home, take a look at the platform. Have some coffee before we start screaming at each other about abortion.

A mug’s game

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Chris Floyd cuts to the heart of the matter:

Sometimes after I write critically of Obama and the Democrats, people ask me: “Well, what are we supposed to do? He’s not perfect, they’re not perfect, but don’t you think McCain would be worse?”

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Changing Tacks

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Don’t you hate when bloggers write self-consciously about blogging? Yeah, me too. Please don’t read the rest of this post.

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The Fetusmobiles are here again.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

The DNC seems to be bringing out all the protesters. Including the protesters who feel that both the number of (1) women killed by a lack of access to reproductive healthcare, and (2) the number of car accidents stemming from drivers being distracted by giant fetuses, are far below what we, as a nation, could achieve.

(Disturbing fetus picture below the cut.)

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Why gmail’s targeted ads are superior to hotmail’s.

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

So your ex, with whom you thought things were unresolved, sends you an email to let you know he resolved them while you weren’t paying attention and he hopes the presence of his new girlfriend at his party won’t stop you from attending. Gmail apparently has no keywords that target ads to the “we’ll always be friends” boilerplate, and even if they did they’d be off to the side. However, my ex uses hotmail, so right under the last sentence where he makes some effort to pretend my feelings still matter, I’m informed that I can “Be the filmmaker you always wanted to be—learn how to burn a DVD with Windows®. Make your smash hit”

Actually, the absurdity is helping a little.

I Finally Figured Out What “Elitism” Really Means!

Sunday, August 24th, 2008


Just call me Emma.

Ever since John Kerry ran for President (I think before, too, but that’s when I really started noticing it) Democrats have somehow gotten the label of the party of “elitism.” It has certainly reached a fever pitch during the Obama and McCain campaigns this year. I always found it puzzling but didn’t really start to dwell on it til the recent brouhaha about McCain’s inability to recall how many houses he owns.

(‘Scuse me for a second. BWAHAHAHAHA!)

(ahem.)

ANYWAY, at that point the full ridiculousness of the whole thing just descended upon me. WHOA NOW, I thought, now they GOTTA drop that whole “elitist” thing, I mean, my God, can the party represented by the guy who doesn’t know how many houses he owns really sustain some kinda claim of elitism against the party represented by the guy who not only DOES know how many houses he owns but that number happens to be “1,” just like the vast majority of Americans who own homes..?

Apparently so.

[Fox and] Friends defended McCain’s stumble as a desire to be accurate – he doesn’t actually own any of the homes…Cindy and her family’s various trusts hold the titles, and some of them are not for the McCain’s enjoyment but are rather investment properties and housing for family members.

Oh well, that clears THAT up!

Now, see, I always thought that someone who was “elitist” was most likely that way due to having ridiculously enormous amounts of cash and equivalent to call his own. I mean I ALWAYS just assumed that, as far back as I can remember ever considering the matter. However, I now humbly admit I was entirely mistaken and should’ve known that as far back as the Kerry campaign. After all, Dubya and Kerry were both rolling in dough. Ah! I now think to myself. What they REALLY must’ve meant by “elitist” was like, FAMILY money. Lots of money, after all, can be the result of an individual’s insanely and obsessively hard work in the professional millieu–such a person might end up with lots of money but would still be a parvenue, a pushing mushroom, a nouveau riche—

Erm, no. That theory doesn’t stand up either. Both Bush and Kerry’s FAMILIES are wealthy too and have been for quite some time. So’s John McCain’s, and for heaven’s sake, nobody could accuse Barack Obama of having hailed from an old-money family!

WAIT! A sneaking suspicion rears its ugly head…it’s isn’t about MONEY, precisely…it’s about EDUCATION! You know, them snotty types with that-thar book learnin’–

(sigh) No. Not it either. Both Kerry and Bush attended Yale, after all. McCain attended the US Naval Academy, which doesn’t really say an enormous amount about elitism or lack thereof, but he did shoot in there from a private prep school. Obama graduated from Columbia University.

But you know, I did have the feeling, the sneaking suspicion, that I was onto something…like I was close

And then I figured it out.

“Elitism” is code for “they’re really, really smart.” Smart as in, sheer raw intelligence, you know, Nobel prize and Rhodes scholarship smart. Or like being President of the Harvard Law Review and a professor of law smart. As opposed to, say, Dubya, or even John McCain, who graduated 894 of 899 from the Naval Academy.

I think that people who aren’t very bright…that would be at least half the population, sadly…actually fear people who are very bright. They seriously seem to see being really smart as having some kind of superpower, one that will be used against them if they allow said very smart people to have any power over them. I saw this on a website that turned out to not be a joke or a parody:

Most Atheists are highly intelligent. Probably better educated than you are…You need to read and think a lot too…Don’t be surprised if they manage to persuade you to give up your beliefs.

Really smart people, you know, are dangerous. Like mutants!

Magneto[to Senator Kelly]: Are you a God-fearing man, Senator? That is such a strange phrase. I’ve always thought of God as a teacher; a bringer of light, wisdom, and understanding. You see, I think what you really fear is me. Me and my kind…Oh, it’s not so surprising really. Mankind has always feared what it doesn’t understand. Well, don’t fear God, Senator, and certainly don’t fear me. Not any more.

It sounds pretty pathetic to actually SAY that you fear and hate people who are clearly functioning at least one full mental level above you, though. It sounds a lot more noble to accuse them of “elitism.” Seems to be working like a charm, too.

Why do I torture myself reading this stuff?

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Well, usually I don’t. I was procrastinating, an activity I have raised to a fine art form. But anyway, here it is:

Why We Must At Least Pretend to Believe in God, Though I Will Make It Clear Later In This Piece That By ‘God’ I mean ‘My God In Particular,’ by Some Douchebag Named Dennis Prager

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