#RFRA is wrong. Take your cupcakes and go home.

Way to go, Indiana. Full speed ahead, backwards.

I’m going to make this brief. It doesn’t need to be long.

If you run a business, your business is licensed through the government, which represents all people. You open your doors onto sidewalks, your customers access your parking lot from public roads and streets. You enjoy the protection of the police and the fire departments in the communities in which you do business.

These things are paid for by taxpayers.

LGBT people are taxpayers.

Sell your cupcakes to everyone, or take them home.

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Did your ice cream kill you? Ben, Jerry, and Obama’s fault!

Kids, beware. You don’t know who is all up in your butter pecan. In a thread at Free Republic about the recent incident, by post #2 there was a suggestion that the outbreak of listeriosis that killed 5 people in Kansas might be union sabotage or the result of filthy immigrants.

I’m sure it wasn’t lack of regulation. I mean, they’re sure.

But it only took until post #6 before one of the Freepers connected the dots. It was Obama sabotaging your ice cream, to destroy the Texas economy (first ebola, now this!) and to secure the ice cream market for Ben and Jerry’s, tyrannical purveyors of liberal deliciousness. Damn you Ben and Jerry!

Read it for yourself.

This is either a brilliant troll, or a very sad, frightened person.

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The SAE chant – it’s racist and more

Make no mistake, the SAE chant is how the fraternity conveyed their discriminatory policy to new members because it was too vile to go in their “official” policy documents. Take the N-word out, and that’s what you have: a discriminatory policy, passed from one cohort to the next like a secret handshake. It’s truly no less offensive without the N-word.

These privileged young men grow up to become judges and prosecutors and congressmen, and they always have their “secret” chant that perpetuates the privilege and helps them identify kindred racist spirits.

Wonder who else they are singing about.

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Let’s talk about the “politics of envy.”

So they’ve stopped saying “class war.” Now Paul Ryan and his Ayn Rand worshipping cohorts call it the “politics of envy.” (Read that link, it’s an excellent column by EJ Dionne).

“You’re just jealous.”

Well, okay then. Envy is a sin. So is gluttony, by the way. And of course there’s pride, which is the number one sin, leading to all others etcetera.

But I’m not going to get Biblical here, because there’s really no need. Logic will suffice. And we are even going to spot them their own beloved Randian premise.

Contrast and compare:

  • Rich dude stashes his money offshore, avoiding millions that are rightfully owed in taxes to the country that made his success possible. What do we call him? A job “creator,” a maker, a savvy businessman. I mean, who can blame him? Looking out for his own interests. That’s capitalism. Any smart businessman is going to avoid all the taxes he can. Oh yes. Smirkity-smirk. Slapping you on your well-dressed back.
  • Poor lady figures out how to get a few more dollars on her SNAP card, maybe doesn’t report some house cleaning work she does on the side, because her children don’t have enough to eat. What do they call her?

You know what they call her. And if she dare complain about standing on her feet for eight hours a day and riding a bus for two more in order to make 56 bucks, they tell her she needs to be more aspirational.  They don’t want her to settle for that minimum wage job. Poor thing, she just can’t see the problem is she simply doesn’t want it badly enough. But they have just the remedy. She needs more misery-motivation.

Because the poor are motivated by misery, did you know that? Misery is  what’s good and ennobling for them. The wealthy work more like vending machines. You put money in and…well, then they have the money, so never mind that metaphor. All you need to know is that what ennobles them is telling you that you suck for not being them.

Paul Ryan’s heroine Ayn Rand found a depraved killer heroic because of his remorseless pursuit of his own selfish and gruesome desires. Her philosophy is all about the virtue of selfishness. So why ignore the heroism of the welfare recipient, or the collector of disability payments, if you believe they have contrived a method to get something for nothing? I NEED TO KNOW. Surely that is just a baby step version of a Bain Capital style move, playing a system for your own benefit. Is that not what you admire? Isn’t that as “aspirational” as stashing hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore havens? I’M JUST ASKING. Perhaps nipping a little extra from the food stamp program could lead a poor person to aspire to bigger things. You know, like becoming the vulture instead of the prey, trading on Wall Street, opening a payday loan franchise. Did you ever consider that?

Finally, I will just point out that, as Sarah Palin said so drunkenly just the other day, when you point the finger of envy there are three fingers pointing back to you and a thumb that is sort of unemployed. In fact, Mr. Ryan, your whole argument is that poor people have it too easy, what with their mobile homes and their food stamps, maybe a little Medicaid, living the good life pushing carts in from the parking lot at Walmart, out in the fresh air, yuk yuk yuk. What a party. It’s like a hammock, that safety net. A permanent vacation. Those guys have it way too easy. I mean, it’s like they’re laughing at you, at least as long as ramen is six bags for a dollar.

It almost sounds like you envy them.

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No, Chris Kyle wasn’t murdering people to defend Michael Moore’s freedom of speech

There are some familiar notes being sung by the defenders of the movie “American Sniper.”

If you criticize the movie, the standard snarl you get back is: “Chris Kyle was protecting your/Michael Moore’s/Seth Rogen’s freedom of speech.”

This is, of course, an enormous crock of the same BS we’ve heard since 2003.  Saddam Hussein in no way threatened any American’s freedom of speech, and in fact, the true threat to freedom of speech in this country came from the proponents of the war. It wasn’t that long ago. Many of us who objected to the rush to war remember quite well, especially those who were arrested for protesting. Suddenly no criticism of Bush or his policies could be tolerated, and people were destroyed for speaking out. Just ask the Dixie Chicks.

Chris Kyle was not fighting for your freedom of speech, he was fighting to protect the Bush Administration’s power to suppress your freedom of speech. Whether he knew it or not. Now that we know there were no WMDs, and that the entire war was based on lies, to make a movie that makes a hero of the murderer of people who never threatened us, who were only defending their own country and families, is utterly despicable.

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Why we must prosecute Cheney and all who torture in our name

When I was growing up, I fell in love with my country and what it represented. I was taught that we were the good guys, the country that fought with honor, the country that prosecuted other countries for torture, the country that maintained a higher moral standard. The Bush Administration tarnished our reputation like no other. Not only did they torture people in violation of our own avowed standards and treaties (bad enough) they tortured innocent people. They did things that were shameful and depraved, perverted and disgusting. In our names.

Don’t shout NINE-ELEVEN at me. It is not a “get out of your moral and ethical standards free” card. And by now, all the evil that was done on 9/11 has been cancelled by the piles of dead bodies in Iraq and Afghanistan. They outnumber our citizens who were tragically murdered that day, and yet neither country actually sent a hijacker to carry out the attack.  I would also note that more than 14,000 women have been killed by husbands or boyfriends since 9/11. Imagine if all those resources had been spent defending their lives!

Let’s face it, we were traumatized by 9/11. The response was totally out of proportion, and the cost and the backlash have been immense. Moreover, the losses have been staggering for those whose sons and daughters were sent to kill in our names, just as the loss of civilian life in both countries we invaded has been staggering.

But the profits for some have been immense. These are the people who saw the attack on us as an opportunity. These are the people who would do it all again.

It will take decades to undo the harm that was done to our standing, economically and morally. I agree with the New York Times: prosecuting those who committed great crimes in our names is a start.

Oh, and if you ever came across my website during the Bush years, you know that I’ve been calling for justice for Billion Dollar Cheney for a long, long time.

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Violence as Entertainment

We have a sick fascination with violence in American culture. It’s the elephant in the room. This is what we find entertaining. This is our spectacle. The public lynchings of old–the public torture and murder of our fellow citizens was immortalized on postcards. It was entertaining.

Now we have video loops, and they play endlessly on the Internet and the news channels. So many feature violence done upon black bodies. Over and over Janay Rice hits the floor of that elevator, over and over again Eric Garner flails on the pavement, under a pile of five or six officers who were apparently dispatched to protect New York from unpaid cigarette taxes.

Over and over again, black (and other) bodies are murdered by police; women are killed by men. It is shameful enough that it is still happening, but even more shameful that we are still turning it into “entertainment.”

Have far have we really come?

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