Monday, January 28, 2008
My spirits were elevated by the enchanting appearance of nature; the past was blotted from my memory, the present was tranquil, and the future gilded by bright rays of hope and anticipations of joy. - Mary Shelly, Frankenstein
Look, they just stitched in the liver for that new Frankenstein monster that the Daley Donklephant machine’s mad scientist is building. Not sure they’ve settled on a name for the monster ... currently it looks like “Change” is its first name, with “Hope” the middle name. Perhaps “Suckers” will be the name awarded at first communion. Time will tell, if it walks at all.
We’ve long since seen the red right hand connected to the thing, with big beefy arms in place and an eye each for conflicts to come. You’ve got some legs set to run away from past struggles, eager to insist that the only way to reach the future is to look back on the past with scorn.
It doesn’t seem to have a heart yet, nor the stomach for politics, but don’t worry, it’ll live!!!! Really, it will.
All you have to do is BELIEVE! So clap, cheer, don’t pay any attention for the areas where a history is lacking, or for those places where the history is troubling. So called “progressives”, with the lightning provided by your own credulity, can make this glorious monster rise and walk!
Just believe, and pay no attention to the rot of old DLC ideas and the corruption of an expanding pile of corpses provided by wars of empire and the recycled viscera of gutted social programs and what’s left of your civil rights. That stench isn’t what is making your eyes water ... those are tears of joy!
Just believe, and it will be so, and when that creature named Change Hope Obama walks into the White House birds will sing as they fall from the warming skies, fawns will cavort in the (decaying) National Parks and children will smile sunny smiles as their futures disappear.
All you have to do is believe.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Like Tears in the Rain
Chief Marie Smith Jones Prays for the Eyaks
The world moves on, so quickly, so carelessly, and so much is left behind, so many peoples and experiences churned up in the wake of advancing modernity:
Marie Smith Jones was a champion of indigenous rights and conservation. She died at her home in Anchorage.
She helped the University of Alaska compile an Eyak dictionary, so that future generations would have the chance to resurrect it.
Nearly 20 other native Alaskan languages are at risk of disappearing.
Ms Jones is described by her family as a tiny chain smoking woman who was fiercely independent, says the BBC’s Peter Bowes in Los Angeles.
“To the best of our knowledge, she was the last full-blooded Eyak alive,” her daughter Bernice Galloway told the Associated Press news agency.
“She was a woman who faced incredible adversity in her life and overcame it. She was about as tenacious as you can get.”
She believed passionately in preserving the Eyak language and wanted a written record of it to be kept so for future generations, our correspondent adds.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
What's At Risk
“I had an Abortion” montage
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
I’m not sure where to go after stating that basic fact, because beyond that, women’s access to control over their own medical care has all-but disappeared for far too many women in this country.
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
It’s just a fact. That’s all, a historical hiccup in the long history of the oppression of half of humanity, here in the supposed “Land of the Free”, anyway. We all know that it’s a much longer history than that. We all know that women’s bodies, their health, their choice to carry a child, is the province of the men who far-too-often treat them as chattel, as brood mares, as instruments of the imperial male drive for continuation of his domain, his name, HIS destiny.
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
Maybe we should listen to the REAL story of this day, this anniversary of an unfulfilled promise:
The voice on the other end of the phone line was soft but urgent.
“My daughter needs help,” the woman said. “She’s gotten herself into a situation.”
Emelda Ortiz had heard the story before—many times. Once a week for two hours, Ortiz staffs a hot line for women and girls desperate to terminate unwanted pregnancies but unable to afford the procedure.
Thirty-five years ago Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court said women have a constitutional right to choose abortion. Yet that right is difficult to exercise for large segments of the population—those too poor to pay for the procedure and those living too far away from a facility that provides it. Medicaid does not cover abortion because a 1976 law forbids the use of federal funds for that purpose.
In Cook County, Stroger Hospital performs first-trimester abortions on a sliding-fee scale, but many women say they can’t get through the red tape to obtain a timely appointment.
"Abortion is legal,” said Gaylon Alcaraz, director of the Chicago Abortion Fund, “but low-income women still can’t access it."
So, like the women of an earlier generation who ran underground networks to connect women with illegal abortion services, people like Ortiz and Alcaraz are doing what they can to help out.
Remember, it’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
What else to say beyond that fact rendered meaningless by three and a half decades of political action, by BOTH parties, to render that decision meaningless?
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
Maybe some more stories, this time from the Village Voice story where I found that photo montage at top:
Mothers in general figure prominently throughout the documentary—as supporters, as shamers, as doppelgangers in unwanted futures. As the daughter of a teenage mother who is the daughter of a teenage mother, Jenny Egan knew she didn’t want to keep the child she conceived at 16. But the men in her life were also pivotal in her decision; her Republican, Mormon, lawyer, Marine father reviled premarital sex and her slacker boyfriend didn’t look up from WWF long enough to make eye contact when she told him.
She spent time desperately searching the Bible for forgiveness and found only confusion about the idea that “life doesn’t begin until the quickening.” She wondered what constituted “the quickening.” Had she gotten to the clinic in time? “It didn’t feel like I had aborted a baby,” she says, “but it also didn’t feel like I had done away with nothing.”
Egan, now almost a decade older and, from the looks of her hipster haircut, many miles away from her straitlaced home, tells a chilling story of the day her parents found out. They received a letter in the mail that read: “Your daughter Jennifer had an abortion on April 9, 1997. Please let God guide your actions from this point forward. Signed, the Brotherhood.” Her mother immediately laid into her, shredding her already fragile conscience with a barrage of outrage. “I can’t believe you would do this!” she shouted. “You killed your baby!” To Egan’s shock, her usually stern father “wrapped me up into a little ball,” she says. “I was sobbing uncontrollably and he just held me and said, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay.’ “
A multifaceted story like this, of spiritual complexity and surprising compassion, makes the standard one-dimensional debate over abortion feel spurious. In a montage at the end of Speak Out: I Had an Abortion, we see a string of faces and hear an unassuming flow of voices make their own confessions. “My name is Sebastiana, and I had an abortion in 2000.” They go on. “I had an abortion in 1973. I had an abortion in 1939. I’ve had three abortions. I had an abortion.”
In the often disingenuous clamor over Roe v. Wade, such a dignified chorus deserves a place.
Why don’t we remember that chorus? Why don’t we consider it? Why can’t we, as a people, understand that these choices are so deeply, desperately, wonderfully HUMAN that the scolding of religious fanatics and cold, distant political calculators PALE before the voices of women, the voices of female human beings confronting basic questions of life and death, individuality and family, hope and cold, hard choices?
Why don’t we ASK?
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
Here we are, and the needs and opinions of mothers and daughters and wives and sisters and friends and lovers matter so little in this debate, except to be trotted out for cold, political calculation. THIS IS NOT A QUESTION FOR POLITICS. This is a question of civil rights. This is a question of basic human freedom. For all of the Orwellian talk of “right to life” and trumpeting of poor, pathetic, “suffering" male “survivors” of abortion, we forget to ASK THE WOMEN.
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade.
We need to ask what that decision really means, why it is important, and why the basic freedom of just over half of our population is treated like some casual political bargaining chip to be tossed into the pot by not only the winger Republican but the disingenuous Donklephants too.
It’s been thirty-five years since Roe v. Wade. It’s past time we started acting like it fucking matters.
POSTSCRIPT: One Wisconsin Now: Support an End to the Criminal Abortion Ban. Disgusting to think that laws like this are still on the books, waiting for the powers that be to overturn Roe v Wade.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
40 Years Ago Today
Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
There was supposed to be a tribute concert at the Prison on this anniversary. It was cancelled, reportedly over “over filming rights, media access and security."
Given the current state of the rapacious society, I suspect that the rights, i.e. MONEY, played the largest part.
Anyway, we would do well to remember an artist who tried to exemplify what he believed by doing what those beliefs called upon him to do.
He’d been playing in prisons for more than 10 years when he recorded his legendary live prison records in San Quentin and Folsom in the late 1960s. “I really was interested in some kind of prison reform,” he said in a 1994 interview, “but I don’t think that’s the answer. The answer is out on the street. Jobs. Opportunities. Racial prejudice is another thing that’s wrong, and a reason for the crime and the drugs, too."
How sad that here in a new century, four decades later, we are confronted with the exact same list of wrongs. Our prison-industrial complex is bigger and arguably more brutal than it was in 1968. We’d would all benefit from a country that became more compassionate, that remembered that the people behind bars are human beings, human beings who will one day rejoin us out here in the so-called real world. We would do well to remember that people who are DIFFERENT from us in all kinds of ways are human beings, that we should try to find commonalities rather than always focusing on our divides.
We would all benefit if we stopped looking only at punitive “solutions” to our problem and started to work together to build a better society. Joe Avila, executive director of Prison Fellowship Ministries, which had helped underwrite the cancelled event, said:
"The whole Johnny Cash story is one of redemption,” he said. “Johnny was wild at heart, just like these men. But just like him, they can change. They can walk the line.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The Ugliest American
Palestinians wait to have their ID
checked at an Israeli-monitored crossing on Road 60 at Hawara
Turning to Israeli checkpoints, (Bush) said: “I understand why Palestinians are frustrated driving through checkpoints. I can also understand why the Israelis want a state of security.”
He went on to joke that "my motorcade of a mere 45 cars made it through without being stopped."
At a “flying” checkpoint on Road 60 near Jenin, Israeli soldiers examined a Palestinian driver and his car.
The highway is interrupted by checkpoints, permanent roadblocks, new crossing terminals and walls.
Very fucking funny, asshole. I would say that he’s an embarrassment, except that he is so perfectly, ignorantly, pathetically AMERICAN in his dismissal of other people’s suffering.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Prey: Our Souls, Our Lords' to Keep
“At the end—or maybe somewhere in the middle—a shaft of light
comes through and hits you and you experience an epiphany:
I have to vote for Barack.”
Just put the damned ballot boxes on an altar while we’re at it. It’s a mystery what’s happening in them already, might as well go the rest of the way with it. Let’s just hold elections on sanctified ground. Anoint voters’ foreheads with holy water or ashes or the blood of a virgin or something as they are welcomed into the sacred offering of their futures to another pious fraud.
I am very dependent on my faith, & prayer is a big part of that
There is nowhere to hide from this medieval bleating. It’s not enough that the superstitious already had one party where they could find their public opiate, but now it’s a requirement for leadership in “both” political parties.
Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.
Perhaps people need faith of one sort or another. Some beautiful art and good works have been motivated by people’s faith. History shows that the best products of faith come from the motivation that it provides for a believer to do something themselves. Mix it in with the political sphere like this, where it is used to exort OTHERS to do something, and it serves as nothing more than the seductive spiel delivered by a good grifter. God and faith and hope are empty slogans, seductive promises of some brighter future, some storied time when we will all live in peace and harmony, singing and dancing together in joy and contentment. Failing that con, it becomes a rallying cry for sectarianism and conflict and hatred. Much of the time, it’s both, barker’s patter tuned to the circumstances and the audience.
“I knew that things were going to start happening when we
started having our Web site
flooded with people who would simply say,
we are praying every day for you,"
The louder the prayers, the louder the proclaimations of faith, and the surer you can be that little will really change, because this empty balm has been spewed out by all of the various campaigns to bury any discussion of real problems. Be quiet, have faith, don’t ask questions. Know this, though. The dying will go on in our imperial wars, the poor will go unfed, unclothed and unsheltered. The Katrina diaspora will go on, ignored and denied. The cashing in by the privileged few will not be addressed, but we’ll be encouraged to wait, to take comfort from the prayer breakfasts and ceremonies at the National Cathedral and the moistened eyes when our ruling Lords stand before us in their tailored vestments of power.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Fill in the Blank
Invisible Man: A Memorial to Ralph Ellison
What did you see happen in Iowa on Thursday? Some saw hope that perhaps we’ve begun to move past racism. Some pundits on the right, like George Will, used Obama’s win to declare that racism was over and done with, a fairy tale that those on the right like to tell themselves as they work to suppress minority voting in election after election. If racism is gone, then their hateful southern strategies aren’t REALLY about the gnawing, hateful fear churning away in their slimey little lizard brains.
Some saw him as the first black American to be able to garner so many votes in an election, even though this is patently not true:
While the primary season is early and Obama faces formidable competition, he hopes to succeed where other black major-party presidential candidates have fallen short.
In 1984, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson captured 3.5 million votes and won primaries in Louisiana and the District of Columbia during his first bid for the presidency. Four years later, he collected twice as many votes in winning 13 primaries and caucuses. He finished second to the ultimate Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis. Jackson also mounted major voter registration drives in both years.
Jackson’s campaigns came more than a decade after then-New York Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination; she dropped out after collecting 152 delegates in 1972. Four years ago, the Rev. Al Sharpton made an impression in the debates but received only 27 delegates in his Democratic presidential bid.
What he does offer that Jackson and Chilsom didn’t is an overt desire to make white people feel good.
As news broke of Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa, one of the country’s whitest states, political pundits of all stripes quickly told us that we were witnessing a historic shift: the end of race and racism as campaign issues. Even CNN’s dour conservative political analyst Bill Bennett waxed multiculti as he proclaimed that Obama “taught” African Americans that race wasn’t an issue they needed inorder to succeed in politics. Though enthusiastic about the Obama victory, Bennett’s more jocular colleague Jack Cafferty was not quite ready to intone a full-throated Kumbaya. But he did declare that the Illinois senator’s win “gives him currency in a state where the color of his skin may be an issue.”
NBC’s Tom Brokaw credited the Mike Huckabee victory in the Republican caucus to “his defense against illegal immigration,” an issue not viewed in racial terms by white voters. On all parts of the political and media spectrum, pundits and politicos are interpreting the Iowa results to mean that we inhabit a color-blind electoral system.
While watching a black man win the vote of an overwhelmingly white electorate is especially welcome in such racially-charged times as ours, and while the victory of a poor (at least in terms of electoral cash) populist preacher over the preferred Republican candidates of corporate America is refreshing, we are hardly entering the age of race invisibility in politics.
Instead, Iowa points us towards the age of invisible race politics.
The Invisible Man is back and willing to fulfill these demands on the part of white society: don’t make us feel bad, don’t remind us of past and current injustices, don’t make us acknowledge the fear far too many of us have the other, don’t show us pictures of the cancer of our own racism.
How can we find a true place of cooperation and equality and freedom without forgiveness, and how can forgiveness ever happen without acknowledgement of the crimes? We won’t find it in this campaign, no matter how many of us look at the Obama campaign and wish to see it, because Obama isn’t willing to jepardize his political prospects by going up against the owners. He’s in their pocket, he’s on their side. He is of the center-right of a party that WAS the party of Jim Crow for decades. HE WANTS TO FIT INTO THAT GROUP OF PEOPLE, he want’s a nice room in the corporate plantation house, and he will sell out your healthcare, your retirement, the social security system, to stay there.
Barack Obama’s corporate-made and -financed presidential campaign is the product of three distinct factors, all mitigating against Black self-determination and political cohesion:
1) corporate decisions, made a decade ago, to provide media and financial support to pliant Black Democrats that can be trusted to carry Wall Street’s water;
2) a widespread desire among whites to prove through the safe and simple act of voting that they are not personally racist, and/or to dismiss Black claims of pervasive racism in society, once and for all;
3) a huge reservoir of Jim Crow era, atavistic Black thinking that refuses to evaluate Black candidates’ actual political stances, but instead revels in the prospect of Black faces in high places. A President Obama would, of course, be the zenith of such narrow, non-substantive, objectively self-defeating visions.
In 2007, the Obama “package” amply satisfied all three “constituencies.” Corporations found him a loyal ally on Capitol Hill and on the speaking circuit, rewarding him handsomely for his fealty; millions of whites came to believe Obama could solve the “race problem” by his mere presence, at no cost to their own notions of skin privilege; and infinitely manipulable Black dreams of the ultimate Head-Negro-in-Charge. Many, if not most, Black folks yearn to see a Supreme HNIC before they die, and will not question how he got there or whom he really serves.
Paul Street has written often in these pages and elsewhere of Obama’s political charade: his impudent posing as the “Joshua” to succeed Dr. King’s “Moses Generation,” while supporting none of the fundamental social transformations sought by King; his fawning praise of the same U.S. “free enterprise” system that King thought was incompatible with racial justice and peace; Obama’s ridiculous and statistically baseless declaration that Blacks have already come “90 percent of the way to equality,” inferring that his election would provide the final ten percent; the senator’s initial insistence, later modified, that the Katrina catastrophe and the Jena outrage had nothing to do with race; his remarkable pledge to the Foreign Relations Council to increase U.S. troops strength by 100,000 soldiers and Marines, all the while maintaining the farce of being a “peace” candidate. The list goes on, and will doubtless lengthen as the campaign continues.
What I saw in Iowa was an illusionist, a man eager to make entire parts of American history invisible to gain power. Perhaps, in his mind, he’s doing this trick in order to gain that power to make a difference, electoral sleight-of-hand to insert himself into the White House (arguably the biggest plantation house in the land), a sort of dark (trojan) horse. I saw a man eager to render the movements for civil rights that made his run possible invisible, to pander to the boot-strap-ism that Americans seem to love. He’s no shouter of “no justice, no peace” like those OTHER uppity malcontents.
I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allen Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids--and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination indeed, everything except me. - Invisible Man (prologue)
Maybe he’s right. I don’t know, but have no patience for the cozy lies and the careful obfuscations anymore. I would like to believe that this was really a country of diversity, that we really were willing and able to confront and reconcile our centuries of enslavement and debasement and theft and genocide. Part of me smiles to see a black man building such momentum in a country as benighted as this one. I’m a sap. I want to believe all of the hallmarkian drivel of the “promise” of America. I want to believe that WE really believed in cooperation and openness and we’re not really a nation of greedy, warmongering racists eager to expand our hegemony over the globe.
The Invisible Man may very well be the Democratic (sic) party’s nominee for President. He is willing to practice the right sorts of misdirection to keep our eyes away from the real problems we face, willing to parade his beautiful assistant/wife to captivate and enthrall. He is willing to disappear behind a fog of beautiful words and high-flown promises, encased in the cozy nostrums of faith and family and a “new generation” of “change”.
I wish I could believe, but I just can’t fill in that blank anymore. I can’t allow another corporate lawyer to coax me into seeing in him what I wish he was. The exploitated lower classes in this country will not find a champion in the Invisible Man anymore than they did in Bubba Clinton. The people of Afghanistan and Iraq and who knows where else will continue to feel the wrath of American firepower. The insurance companies will continue to bleed the sick and dying dry, the oil companies and chemical companies will continue to foul the earth and the sky, the past will go unremarked upon, the children will continue to be left behind. He’s just another politician. Project more upon his blank canvas if you like, but there is one blank I will not fill. I will not vote for this fake agent of change. He’s more of the corporate same, his true intentions rendered invisible behind his carefully crafted wall of words.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Shuttering the Window
Oh, if only a group of brave centrist elder statesmen would come along and save us from all the ugly partisan political noise!
Former U.S. Sen. Nunn of Georgia has placed himself at the center of a bipartisan move to push Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to spell out their plans for a government of national unity —- an effort that also could lay the groundwork for an independent White House bid.
Nunn and former Senate colleague David Boren of Oklahoma, both Democrats, have summoned at least 17 well-known, middle-of-the-road political figures from both parties —- including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a possible independent presidential candidate —- to a one-day meeting next week to take the first steps toward a consensus agenda.
Personally, I think Marisacat has this pathetic bunch pretty well summed up:
... the distasteful and lying parade of nearly elderly, center-right, congealing fuckball of pols past any prime they ever had ...
She links to a Clemons piece at The Washington Note. Make of it what you will; it does make a solid point or two, but I think it and much of the other commentary floating around misses the point about what such gatherings are all about. They aren’t about “changing the tone”, or finding some kind of collection of technocrat princes to gather around and dispassionately solve our many problems.
Whenever you hear calls for “bipartisan consensus” or “centrism” or any other the other locutions calling for “civility” or “sanity” in politics, what you are really hearing are people who have benefitted from the status quo trying to lock in the best part of the current situation (for them, anyway) while heading off any possibility for real change, for a real debate.
It is no accident that you’re witnessing the “leading” candidates of both parties (BOTH ... HAH!) propose variations on the same imperial themes. Private insurance for healthcare is a given for both parties. Our empire of bases, secret prisons, piles of missiles, guns, bombs, planes and other instruments of death are here to stay. One of the world’s most unforgiving and brutal criminal “justice” systems and our prison-industrial complex that it feeds cannot be reformed, or even really questioned. Israel, no matter how brutal its war crimes, MUST be supported unquestioningly. The “drug war” will continue to claim lives, the “war on terror” will continue to provide an excuse for western hegemony and state terror. I could go on.
The sorry bunch of pols zipping around the frozen Iowa wasteland will offer no change, or debate. Dueling marketing, yes, but actual solutions, no.
However, you’ll continue to hear talk about a “third party” run by some winner of life’s lottery like Bloomberg just in case the pressure for a populist candidate produces the possibility to shake up the system. They are a sad bunch, those populists—Edwards, Huckabee, Paul, Kucinich, Gravel—but that is a larger number willing to bet on such a strategy than we’ve seen in quite some time. It’s plain for anybody with half a brain the our present societal setup is teetering on the edge of serious instability, and the time for a runaway populist to mess up the gravy train for the lobbyists and career pols appears to be making the poobahs nervous.
The talk of Bloomberg’s campaign, of Hagel and Nunn and Hart coming up with some “consensus” solution to this country’s problems is a setup to quash debate just as one threatens to break out. Paul and Edwards and the rest are questioning some of those assumptions listed above, and speeches calling for the end of our expanding military presence across the globe in the case of Paul or Edwards increasingly strong statements against corporate power, even though I suspect they are utterly insincere, threaten to push back open the Overton window of our stunted political discourse.
Imagine, if you will, a yardstick standing on end. On either end are the extreme policy actions for any political issue. Between the ends lie all gradations of policy from one extreme to the other. The yardstick represents the full political spectrum for a particular issue. The essence of the Overton window is that only a portion of this policy spectrum is within the realm of the politically possible at any time. Regardless of how vigorously a think tank or other group may campaign, only policy initiatives within this window of the politically possible will meet with success. Why is this?
Politicians are constrained by ideas, even if they have no interest in them personally. What they can accomplish, the legislation they can sponsor and support while still achieving political success (i.e. winning reelection or leaving the party strong for their successor), is framed by the set of ideas held by their constituents — the way people think. Politicians have the flexibility to make up their own minds, but negative consequences await the elected officeholder who strays too far. A politician’s success or failure stems from how well they understand and amplify the ideas and ideals held by those who elected them.
In addition to being dependent on the ideas that form the boundaries of the political climate, politicians are also known to be self-interested and desirous of obtaining the best political result for themselves. Therefore, they will almost always constrain themselves to taking actions within the “window” of ideas approved of by the electorate. Actions outside of this window, while theoretically possible, and maybe more optimal in terms of sound policy, are politically unsuccessful. Even if a few legislators were willing to stick out their necks for an action outside the window, most would not risk the disfavor of their constituents. They may seek the good of those who elected them, and even the good of the state or nation as a whole, but in pursuing the course they think is best, most will certainly take into account their political future. This is the heart of the Overton window theory.
Centrists, that is to say corporatists, the wealthy and the people who have hitched their hopes to the current state of play, do not want that range of ideas widened. Business plans have been laid out, investments made, futures planned, and someone who might threaten the profit-making potential of our usurious financial “services” industry or the protection racket laughingly called the insurance industry or the black-budgeted war machinery is definitely not welcome in the halls of power. We have a box within which the conventional wisdom is perfectly comfortable, thank-you-very-much, and newfangled opinions are not welcome.
This is not to say that any of the candidates I’ve identified as “populists” are anything other than card-carrying members of the ruling class, but politics and ambition sometimes combine to form a wave that might make a millionaire see an opening to his advantage, or perhaps one that wells up and jars loose some grain of interest in fighting for some actual justice or broadened opportunities for those who have few now. Think of someone like RFK, or FDR ... neither of them streetfightin’ working men.
The meeting coming up next week that Nunn and the others are pushing, the continual floating of the names Bloomberg and Hagel, are attempts to slam closed shutters on the opening Overton window that the growing pressure for populism from both the right and the left threatens to force upon our increasingly inequitable corporate feudal state. New light is not welcome ... it is better for those on the bottom to continue to labor in spreading darkness, and for them to shut the hell up. No crazy Texans or Baptist preachers or reborn millworker’s sons have any right to claim places at the gilded table for their supporters.
Friday, December 28, 2007
A burned out office. If it had been a military recruiting center before it was firebombed, you know what the media and authorities would be calling it.
If it had been a lab where animals were subjected to experimentation, you know what the media and authorities would be calling it.
Unfortunately for the women who relied upon it, this was an abortion clinic, so it isn’t called “terrorism”, it’s merely arson. Hell, since it’s ONLY an abortion clinic, attacks on it and other such women’s healthcare facilities are noted with soft headlines like: Albuquerque Has Renewal of Attacks on Abortion.
A rash of attacks on abortion and family planning clinics has struck Albuquerque this month, the first such violence there in nearly a decade.
Two attacks occurred early Tuesday at two buildings belonging to Planned Parenthood of New Mexico, according to Albuquerque police and fire officials. An arson fire damaged a surgery center the organization uses for abortions, and the windows of a Planned Parenthood family planning clinic 12 blocks away were smashed, the officials said.
Neither building sustained significant damage, and activities at both of them resumed Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.
The attacks came just weeks after the Albuquerque clinic run by a nationally known abortion provider, Dr. Curtis Boyd, was destroyed by arsonists on Dec. 6.
On Wednesday, agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with local arson investigators, arrested two suspects in the fire at Dr. Boyd’s clinic, which has provided abortions to women from throughout the region and Mexico since 1972.
The suspects, Chad Altman and Sergio Baca of Albuquerque, both 22, were arrested on arson charges after the authorities received a tip, said Jake Gonzales, the agent in charge of the firearms agency’s Albuquerque office.
Mr. Gonzales said it was not clear whether the Dec. 6 attack was related to those at the Planned Parenthood offices, which are still under investigation by federal and local authorities.
The small, tightknit group of abortion providers here reacted with a mix of shock and fear over the attacks. In 1999, the same Planned Parenthood surgical center was set ablaze. An ex-convict, Ricky Lee McDonald, who has a history of violence against New Mexico abortion clinics, was found guilty in that attack and sent to prison.
It just sort of HAPPENS. Never mind the long pattern of violence directed at women’s healthcare for forty years now.
It’s been reported that this particular attacker was motivated by an ex-girlfriend’s intent to get an abortion, but one must recognize that generations of agit-prop directed at demonizing abortion, birth control and healthcare providers made this course of action much easier to contemplate for the young Catholic who lists Jesus as one of his heroes, and if there is one thing that the Prince of Peace would smile upon, it’s burning something down.
Planned Parenthood affiliate health center in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
© Planned Parenthood South Central Michigan
Clinic-directed violence waxes and wanes, but it is no different from the violent attacks used by ALL extremist groups to advance their agenda. A group of people are demonized, supporters are fired up, and eventually some young testosterone case decides to be a hero against the devil he’s been told he knows. If he’s got a personal stake in it, all the better. What is important is that the target be made fearful, that they retreat behind barricades, that they are shunned by people who would normally either not care about them or who would at least moderately support them.
One of those testosterone cases is getting out of jail soon:
As investigators grapple with three attacks on Albuquerque abortion clinics in as many weeks, Planned Parenthood of New Mexico is bracing itself for the release of the man convicted of setting fire to its clinic during the last wave of abortion clinic violence here nearly a decade ago.
Ricky Lee MacDonald will be released in February after serving five years in prison for setting fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Albuquerque in 1999, said Michelle Featheringill, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New Mexico.
Featheringill said the organization has been reviewing its security measures since the U.S. Justice Department informed them of MacDonald’s upcoming release.
Abortion rights advocates across the state plan to meet after the holidays to discuss his release and the recent attacks on abortion clinics in Albuquerque by what Featheringill called “domestic terrorists.”
“Clearly they’re trying to intimidate anyone who provides abortion services or any patient who is seeking an abortion that is constitutionally protected,” she said. “I find it deplorable. I think it’s completely reprehensible."
We could be entering another ramp-up of such attacks:
On Christmas morning, a Planned Parenthood surgical center was damaged after a Molotov cocktail was thrown on its roof and the windows on a nearby Planned Parenthood clinic were broken. Both incidents were minor and the clinics opened on time the next day.
Investigators are still trying to determine if the Christmas Day attacks were the work of a national anti-abortion group or connected to the earlier attack.
“You have some radical groups that go around nationwide and deliberately attack abortion clinics, but we don’t know if that’s the case here,” Albuquerque Fire Department Capt. Mike Paiz said. “It’s too early to tell."
Featheringill said since she’s worked at Planned Parenthood for the last 10 years, she’s seen waves of violence against abortion clinics that are cyclical with rashes of serious attacks interspersed with smaller incidents.
She said Planned Parenthood gets phoned-in hate messages and has been spray-painted with graffiti. On Friday, about 50 protesters were picketing Planned Parenthood, she said.
“We completely recognize and understand people’s First Amendment right to conduct themselves in a peaceful protest. We have no problem with that,” she said.
Featheringill said Planned Parenthood patients have not called with specific concerns related to the attacks, except to ask whether the offices would remain open.
But that doesn’t mean the events in recent weeks doesn’t worry patients and clinic professionals.
“It’s very upsetting for the staff and I’m sure for patients as well to have these kinds of incidents occur,” Featheringill said. “I can’t think of another way to phrase it, which is intimidation through domestic terrorist activities."
Domestic terrorists. That’s what these people are. That’s how they should be treated. That they aren’t is just another demonstration that we don’t live under the rule of law, but rather the fiat of the powerful, who pick and choose their priorities, and those priorities generally do not include the protection of women.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Borders of Darkness and Light
I’m not a believer in any religion, or supernatural explanations for life, but the old pagan and animist beliefs make a little more sense to me than the more elaborate belief systems. Rituals like the two solstices make sense, tied as they are to very real questions of survival and experienced life. Over at Crooked Timber I found (in addition to the picture above):
Newgrange is a clock. The shaft leading out to the roof box is precisely aligned so that on the morning of the Winter Solstice the first light of day will run directly into the middle of the tomb. Or, at least, it was precisely so aligned. It is so old that changes in the Earth’s orbit have affected its operation. When it was built, the sun would have struck the back wall of the chamber, rather than the floor, and the light would have remained in the chamber for about four minutes longer than it does now. It was very accurate. The people who built Newgrange knew what they were doing.
A society—a civilization, if you like—is a hard thing to hold together. If you live in an agrarian society, as the overwhelming majority of people did until about two hundred years ago, and you are on the western edge of Europe, few times are harder than the dead of Winter. The days are at their shortest, the sun is far away, and the Malthusian edge, in Brad DeLong’s phrase, is right in front of you. It’s no wonder so many religious festivals take place around the solstice. Here were a people, more than five millennia ago, able not only to pull through the Winter successfully, but able also to build a huge timepiece to remind themselves that they were going to make it. It’s astonishing.
The winter solstice is the border between advancing darkness and returning light. It is a celebration of hope, of greener futures and warmer days and fertility and growth. I was reading a lot of stories about borders this week. There was another border celebration like that festival of oldthis past week:
Europe just got bigger. At one minute after midnight local time on early Friday morning, border controls vanished for nine more European Union members, many of them former members of the Soviet Bloc. Fireworks, cheers, music and speeches throughout the morning welcomed the expansion, which means that travelers can move from the far corners of Estonia all the way to the Atlantic coast in Portugal without once encountering a border guard.
“This is an especially beautiful moment,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a Friday morning ceremony at the German border with Poland and the Czech Republic. “It is a source of great pleasure that coming generations will experience open borders as the European normalcy."
Borders, at their best, should be ephemeral things, permiable, as brief as a splash of light across a stone floor. Transitions, not barriers. Places where people meet and trade and interact. Healthy, growing, peaceful cultures know this. It is interesting to watch the nations of Europe, after centuries of religious war and imperial war and ethnic war, make this leap of faith, to take this chance on one another.
There was another story about a border this week, a physical border and a cultural border. Banksy paid a visit to the “fence” in the West Bank, where he got varied responses to his impish work:
Banksy also records on his website how an old Palestinian man said his painting made the wall look beautiful. Banksy thanked him, only to be told: ‘We don’t want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall. Go home.’
Soldier: What the f*** are you doing?
Banksy: You’ll have to wait until it’s finished.
Soldier (to colleagues): Safety’s off
Sometimes borders and barriers are rooted in so much hatred and fear and prejudice that there is no crossing them, not in the mind or in spirit or art or commerce. They become more than physical impediments, multi-dimensional markers that scream, beyond here there be monsters. It is interesting that two of the most militarily powerful nations on earth are retreating behind walls that blot out the light, the “other”, the hope for better futures.
Border: Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico
The tensions between agents of the US government and residents across the border are heating up:
For years, people here have joked that they live just a stone’s throw from the United States, but last August that turn of phrase became a challenge.
Rubis Guadalupe Argumedo’s kitchen window looks out at the border fence. She says one sweltering night last summer she had all the windows open and tear gas poured inside.
She says Border Patrol agents lobbed a canister over the border fence and told her it was payback for the rocks that were being hurled at them.
Argumedo says the tear gas gave her son nosebleeds for two weeks.
11 Injured in Attacks
The Mexican Consulate has confirmed that at least 11 neighbors have been treated at Tijuana hospitals as the assaults have continued.
Argumedo says after a tear gas attack one recent Saturday night, she yelled at a Border Patrol agent from her front porch. “I told him, ‘Don’t throw anything. There are kids here,’” she recalled. “I said, ‘You’re not in Iraq.’”
She said he responded that he was sorry, but that the tear gas attacks would continue because rocks were being thrown at the agents.
Two nights later, on the opposite side of the fence, Border Patrol agent Damon Forman’s radio crackles with news of the latest rock-throwing incident.
“It just happens. Just moments ago when the sun was up, it was quiet. And now, slowly but surely, there’s going to start being movement,” Forman said.
Forman is perched on a dirt mound on the U.S. side of the border and can see Argumedo’s home.
He says assaults on agents have increased five-fold in the area since October compared to the same time last year.
“At one time, they’ll be maybe 15 people on the south side of the fence,” he said, “and you’ll see the sky fill with rocks, and all of them will come over on top of our agents at one time.”
Forman won’t acknowledge the use of tear gas, but he says whatever means the agents employ is aimed only at protecting themselves. “I can stand by my word in saying that I am sure those agents — whatever tactics they are using — it’s not targeted toward anyone but the people who are committing the assaults and trying to harm our agents."
Eighteen years ago on the 22nd, around another solstice, the West, celebrated the opening of the Brandenberg Gate. A celebration accompanied by much backpatting by Americans and our belligerent President who liked to claim credit for it. We shame ourselves now as we build walls ourselves, as we hide in fear and revulsion and hatred and greed. It’s too bad that we can’t follow the example of the Europeans, that we are so unwilling to take a chance and open our faces to the rising sun at the end of the longest night of the year in a spirit of openness and opportunity. No, we prefer to cower in a dark corner, behind fortifications like our ally in the middle east, detaining and abusing and torturing and building more walls, more fortresses, more barriers to the light.
I fear it will be a long dark night before we allow the sun to brighten our floors again.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Run Cynthia Run
You should not choose the lesser of two lessers, even if it means a short-term victory for the far right. To vote for Clinton, or Obama, or Edwards, is to vote for the corporations locking in their theft of your civil liberties, in continued war, in the destruction of human rights.
Vote for your values.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I Don't Care, Shut Up
You have GOT to be kidding me. Former Senator Mitchell referred to the Northern Ireland peace talks today, when he was talking about A FUCKING GAME:
NPR: You raised Northern Ireland.
CLUELESS OLD MAN: Yes.
NPR: You invoked your experience as a Northern Ireland mediator. What did you learn in Northern Ireland that is germane to steroid abuse in Major League Baseball?
RICH FUCK WITH NO SENSE OF PROPORTION: That letting go of the past and looking to the future is a very hard thing to do. But it’s necessary to deal with an ongoing problem.
NPR: Are you struck by any irony here that the Ulster men and Provos in Northern Ireland may have been more forthcoming to your mission than the baseball players union was in this case?
POSTER CHILD FOR STUPID AMERICANS: (Laughter.) Well, I thought about that from time to time.
I’m so fucking sick of the phrase “sanctity of the game” that I could puke.
It’s not people killing each other over who has the bestest imaginary Friend. It’s not feeding children, or clothing them, or housing them, or providing healthcare or a living wage for their parents. It’s not ending criminal wars of choice, or impeaching the war pigs that started it, or who continue to fund it.
No, this is a seemingly ENDLESS story about grown men playing a children’s game for large sums of money. Grown men who obviously want to maximize their earnings in this society where how much you have seems to be the only measure of a person’s worth that matters, and what fans want is bigger muscles, faster pitches, farther homeruns. BIGGER BETTER FASTER STRONGER MORE! should actually replace “In God We Trust” on our money, because they are plainly the things that Americans really value.
This is a nation that places profit over everything else, that all-but looks the other way as massive corporations rape the environment and poison their neighbors. Who cares if a bunch of overly competitive ‘roid freaks destroy their own bodies?
It barely counts as a “problem”, unless it’s fucking up the betting on a game, and anybody who thinks that is a REAL problem needs to take a look around.
Retired Senator Mitchell is a perfect example of the fucked up priorities of the ruling political class in this country. A political class which spends time on victimless crimes and MoveOn ads and declaring that Xtianity is more wonderful than puppies, warm apple pie and a mother’s hugs. A political class that goes to work solving small problems for big money for corporations and the rich people who control them when they’re done doing that exact same they did when they held office.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
CNN and the rest of the infotainment hucksters are so excited. Their very own Christian version of a hot woman with a gun and a DEAD BODY, in a CHURCH! A blonde with a license to kill, from GAWD himself:
"I saw him coming through the doors,” she told reporters on Monday. “I took cover, and I waited for him to get closer, and I came out of cover and identified myself, and engaged him, and took him down. And that’s pretty much it."
Actually, that wasn’t actually pretty much it, as the young gunman had delivered the coup de grâce himself, but back to our soldier of Gawd.
"I give the credit to God. And I say that very humbly. God was with me and the whole time I was behind cover—this has got to be God, because of the firepower that [the gunman] had vs. what I had,” Assam said.
“I did not run away and I didn’t think for a minute to run away, I just knew that I was given the assignment to end this before it got too much worse. I just prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me.”
She told reporters she had not slept since the shooting, “as I’m sure you can tell.”
She said she was on the third day of a three-day regimen of fasting and prayer, wanting to know God’s will for what to do with her life, when the shooting took place.
“I was weak, and where I was weak, God made me strong,” she said. “He filled me and he guided me and protected me and many other people. And I’m honored that God chose me."
Not much humility in evidence when you claim Gawd is your very own laser sight, but we can’t expect humility from an armed fanatic being proclaimed a hero by pretty much everybody. Even better, she has turned out to have a reportedly spotty record, so the talking heads can ladle another flavor of pre-sweeted sauce onto the story: she was REDEEMED! In a church! (cue choir of cherubum in gun belts)
We’re awash in Gawd, here in the Land of Free and the home of the heavily-armed brave. Just in the last week, Gawd wants us to:
- Have Obama as our President.
- Save us from the “liberal media” that makes boys in black kill His people.
- Put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
- Wants a grand jury to investigate the healthcare provided to women in Kansas.
- Be homeschooled and vote for Huckabee.
He probably wants someone to ski faster, score a touchdown and see His mama in a waterstain somewhere, too.
The gunman was identified as Matthew Murray, 24, who was home-schooled in what a friend said was a deeply religious Christian household. Murray’s father is a neurologist and a leading multiple-sclerosis researcher.
Five people _ including Murray _ were killed, and five others wounded Sunday in the two eruptions of violence 12 hours and 65 miles apart.
How did this lead him into the path of the gunwoman with Gawd guiding her hungry red right hand?
In a statement, the training center said health problems kept Murray from finishing the program but elaborated little. Murray did not complete the lecture phase or a field assignment as part of a 12-week program, Youth With a Mission said.
“The program directors felt that issues with his health made it inappropriate for him to” finish, it said.
Police gave no immediate details on the hate mail. And the training center said that Murray left in 2002 _ five years ago, not three _ and that no one there can recall any visits or other communication from him since then.
Earlier Monday, a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said it appeared Murray “hated Christians."
I wonder why he might have “hated Christians”?
Boyd said members will hold a family meeting Wednesday. “We will gather to worship, pray, mourn and begin our healing process,” a statement said.
“If we could find some motive, some written motive or some recorded motive that he gave, it would be helpful for the healing process, sure, because that is the question: Why? Why, why, why is going to be the number one question that we answer,” Boyd said.
Some answers may be gleaned from a warning Murray posted online just 90 minutes before he went to New Life Church.
The message attributed to Matthew Murray—using the screen name “nghtmrchld26”—mirrored the wording of a warning posted in 1999 by Eric Harris before he and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School.
“I’m coming for EVERYONE soon and I WILL be armed to the @.%$ teeth and I WILL shoot to kill,” the posting obtained by CNN affiliate KUSA-TV read. This was the same wording used by Harris, with the exception of symbols used to replace an expletive.
Murray, who lived in Englewood, Colorado, just 13 miles from the Columbine campus, titled his entry “You Christians brought this on yourselves.” It was published on a Web site for people who had left Pentecostal and fundamentalist religious groups.
The message, first reported Monday by KUSA-TV, was taken offline by the site’s administrator after he talked to the FBI, but has since been put back online.
The posting on the online forum, maintained by the group Association of Former Pentecostals, indicated it was published at 11:03 a.m. on Sunday—two hours before the shooting at New Life Church and about 11 hours after the shooting at Youth With A Mission.
In earlier postings, “nghtmrchld26” railed against the Rev. Ted Haggard, founder of New Life Church.
Gawd has been all over the place lately, little more than a hired shill for whatever story we’re being sold, and now we’re being sold that most fond fantasy of the theofascist right. A Christian warrior woman, killing a heathen, in a church, in an act of redemption smack in the middle of the holiday season that repeatedly rebrands the birthday of Gawd’s Own Son/Self/Sacrificial Lamb. (A birthday that no one knows the actual day when it actually happened, if myths can actually happen on a given day.)
What fun, and good ratings for the infotainment scum, all the better to sell SUVs and boner pills and financial “services” and bigger gas-guzzling cars. All of which, I’m sure, are what Gawd wants as well.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone. - Mitt Romney
One of my favorite games as a young philosophy major was arguing with the theology students. Pascal’s Wager, all the various and sundry explications of choosing salvation as an act of “free will” ... you’ve heard many of them, I’m sure. I know I did in the student lounges and cafeterias.
Depending on whether they were Catholic (at my university most were) or protestant, they explained that I had the “free will” to choose the Sacraments of the Church / Jesus Christ as my personal Savior (depending on the flavor) ... OR ... eternal damnation. The Catholic version of eternal damnation sounded a little less scary, and they seemed to take less joy in my limitless punishment (sometimes described as “the absence of God’s love, FOREVER!") than the protestants, who seemed to get tiny little erections at the thought of hot pitchforks sodomizing me.
I would point out that this sounds much like the relationship that a less-than-patient adoptive owner would have with a new puppy. Scratch at the door so I can be let out, earning love and approval, maybe learn to fetch, or back to the pound for punishment or death.
They were bemused by this response. “How can you say that? you make the choice of your FREE WILL.”
I was free because an omnipotent being had given me a choice between submission or eternal suffering. I would tell them that wasn’t much of a choice, and if they were going to present life as such a limited “choice”, they should at least be as honest as Kierkegaard and admit that it wasn’t much of a choice but still the only leap we have left to make.
Well, Mitt is much like those earnest students, falling back on cant and platitude, on threat and fear, and reliant on a pinched idea of “freedom” that is at odds with the founding fathers that he cherry-picks quotes from as earnestly as any evangelical theofascist:
“There are some who may feel that religion is not a matter to be seriously considered in the context of the weighty threats that face us. If so, they are at odds with the nation’s founders, for they, when our nation faced its greatest peril, sought the blessings of the Creator. And further, they discovered the essential connection between the survival of a free land and the protection of religious freedom. In John Adams’ words: ‘We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people.’
Of course, if that was true there would never have been the whole balance of powers thing, Adams would never have worked with friend and foe to develop a government that was more a house of cards than a structure, a system held up by competing pressures from all sides.
Mitt forgets all of that, preferring to join the modern puritans in the evangelical movement in the erection of straw secularists, for him to tie to a stake and rhetorically burn:
"As a young man, Lincoln described what he called America ‘s ‘political religion’ - the commitment to defend the rule of law and the Constitution. When I place my hand on the Bible and take the oath of office, that oath becomes my highest promise to God. If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause, and no one interest. A President must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States .
“There are some for whom these commitments are not enough. They would prefer it if I would simply distance myself from my religion, say that it is more a tradition than my personal conviction, or disavow one or another of its precepts. That I will not do. I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers - I will be true to them and to my beliefs.
Well, no. If a person’s faith inspires them to speak truth to our common trials, to ACT for the public good regardless of others’ beliefs, then I have absolutely no problem with them. If only that was the case for so many of the theofascist activists, then they wouldn’t be so much of a danger to this fragile house of cards that Adams and the rest erected.
"It is important to recognize that while differences in theology exist between the churches in America , we share a common creed of moral convictions. And where the affairs of our nation are concerned, it’s usually a sound rule to focus on the latter - on the great moral principles that urge us all on a common course. Whether it was the cause of abolition, or civil rights, or the right to life itself, no movement of conscience can succeed in America that cannot speak to the convictions of religious people.
“We separate church and state affairs in this country, and for good reason. No religion should dictate to the state nor should the state interfere with the free practice of religion. But in recent years, the notion of the separation of church and state has been taken by some well beyond its original meaning. They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God. Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life. It is as if they are intent on establishing a new religion in America - the religion of secularism. They are wrong.
“The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation ‘Under God’ and in God, we do indeed trust. (well, NO, but if they keep saying it then it must be true - Madman)
“We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders - in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from ‘the God who gave us liberty.’
Therein lies the kernel of truth about what all of this religious blather is about. This isn’t about what Mitt’s religion tells HIM to do, it’s about what his and the evangelical right’s religions want OTHER PEOPLE, notably women, to do.
It’s a game being played by members of both parties now. This is about imposing religious beliefs upon other people, especially women.
“Freedom” has nothing to do with any of this, nor does religious tolerance. I will be perfectly tolerant of your magic underwear or plural marriage as long as you aren’t using your fairy tales to work with other zealots to enslave women to the fruit of their uteruses. This isn’t about religion, this is about REAL freedom, the kind of freedom that Adams and the rest talked about (while falling far short of it) for a free people in a truly public square.
If you and others (this goes for Clinton and Obama and Edwards too) insist on bringing up your Imaginary Friend as an excuse to appeal to bigotry and fear and misogyny to obtain power, then you deserve all of the scorn directed at your beliefs that I and others can heap on you. Shut up about your superstitions, and I will stop caring about them.