Review: Dallas Buyers Club (2013) Peddles the Usual Hollywood Stereotypes and Clichés

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The movie basically has one character and one great performance.  At the very least, you must be impressed by Matthew McConnehey’s ability to simply not eat.  He must have been very hungry on the set, and yet he still gives a performance that reveals that he is a much better actor than the interchangeable rom-com roles that he often plays.

But that’s it.  The rest of the movie is classic Oscar garbage.  The Oscars, in case you don’t know, are an annual gathering of fake liberalism, where movies which reinforce stereotypes about being demographically different (mentally challenged, physically challenged, sexually challenged, or just a black person who’s salvation is kindly, white liberals who teach him to speak and eat) are passed off as self-congratulatory bologna in a mutual masturbation ceremony where people say things like, “Look at how nice I am.  I even help black people.”

The central premise of the movie is actually a good one: After being refused immediate access to the latest treatments, a dying AIDS patient begins smuggling medicine into the country.  This, in and of itself, is an interesting topic, as it could have explored ethical questions, and situations where there may be no right answers.

But that won’t win you an Oscar.  The Academy doesn’t believe in the old idea that an artist job’s is to ask questions, not answer them.  No, they want definitive answers, so, of course, we’re given a familiar one: It’s the evil pharmaceuticals companies, this time pushing an evil drug called AZT!

Amusingly, the movie has to occasionally sneak in little disclaimers (to avoid being sued for lying) that AZT and the drug companies probably weren’t doing this to be evil, and that they’re only being accused of it so that a movie about a disease could have a human villain.  (The movie also ends with a statement that the companies simply hadn’t yet figured out the correct dosage for AZT, with the implication being that they weren’t actually trying to poison people.)

That villain is personified by some random FDA official who shows up anytime McConnehey has to deal with the government.  Apparently, the FDA only has this one employee, and he can show up anywhere, whether McConnehey is being held in the hospital in Dallas, or by Customs at the border.  Amazingly, the man always simply lets McConnehey get up and leave.  The hospital, the police and even the border patrol seem to have no power to prevent him from walking out the door whenever he feels like it.  The hospital, by the way, only seems to have one hallway and two doctors (one good and one evil) and the police seem to have only one cop in all of Dallas, as the same arresting officer, sympathetic to McConnehey’s plight, appears on the scene every time.

The movie ends with McConnehey interrupting a pharmaceutical conference and simply yelling at the drug companies, in a scene very similar to the ending of The Fugitive (a movie which also had a hard time coming up with a clear villain.)  I would just like to say that the pharmaceutical industry has doubled the life span in this country, and I’m not sure why some people are always insisting that those who invent and distribute medicines are simply evil people who trying to kill us.

At any rate, despite the movie’s potentially interesting subject matter, the script is very underwritten.  The film contains very few characters or ideas.  Instead, they throw in this whole subtext about how McConnehey has to learn to like gay people.  I don’t know if the real guy that the movie is based on actually was homophobic, but in the film, it’s one of his defining characteristics.  And so he’s given a gay business partner who is, of course, a gay stereotype.  Despite his heart of gold, he cares about little else besides dressing as a woman, making unwanted sexual advances, and prancing around in heels.  The movie does nothing to show us that gay people are more human and, dare I say, complex than that.  McConnehey simply needs to learn to tolerate these people because it’s not their fault that they’re obnoxious.  Oh, and the movie makes us sit through an embarrassing, 80′s cliché scene where the gay man has to go see his estranged, rich father (who sits silently behind a desk in a mansion) and ask for money.  Gimme a break.

My assement: The movie is crap.

The 9 Most Inspirational TV Theme Songs

No one understood the value of a great opening credits sequence more than TV producer Sherwood Schwartz.  Without that iconic opening song, Gilligan’s Island would have been little more than an exercise in frustration.  And the Brady Brunch would have been merely a show about plaid pants, fixing bicycles, and possibly incest.  The opening credits let us know why we were supposed to care: The Bradys were a blended family that blended perfectly.

But even those weren’t very inspirational.  What makes for a great, inspirational, heart warming TV theme song?  The lyrics always seem to do with how times aren’t what they used to be, and they don’t make them like they used to, but you’re trying to chase your dreams, and the world keeps beating you down, but you’re making incremental progress, and as long as your friends are there with you, we’re gonna make it.

Except, in the show, they would never actually pursue their dreams.  The characters would just go to the dentist or something.  But who cares?  One would get such a rush from that masterfully perfected opening montage, that the high would easily carry you through the first fifteen minutes of a show where almost nothing ever happened. (With the exception, of course, of very special episodes, usually featuring stealing, drugs, or most inexplicably, our beloved characters being raped.)

#9. Full House.

When you’re lost out there and you’re all alone, a light is waiting to carry you home.

#8. One Day At a Time.

Hold on tight, we’ll muddle through one day at a time

#7. Silver Spoons.

Makin’ a go, makin’ it grow together.

#6. Who’s the Boss.

Take a chance and face the wind.

#5. Perfect Strangers.

Standing tall on the wings of my dream.

#4. Growing Pains.

Sharing the laughter and love.

#3. Family Ties.

Sha la la laaaa.

#2. Kate and Allie.

Sha la la laaaa (again).

#1. Laverne and Shirley.

Never heard the word ‘impossible’.

The Post-Work Economy: Why I Want the Internet and Automation to “Kill Jobs”

First of all, the only way to be poor in America is to have kids.  Don’t want to be poor?  Then don’t have kids.  Next topic.

That’s why there’s more kids than jobs.  But why get mad at the robots?  Why get mad that a robot can now do what a man used to?  Are you angry at your washing machine?  Then why be mad at the machine that builds the washing machine?

And why be mad at migrant workers who cut costs of products in half and do it twice as well.  Or at the Chinese who reduce the costs of goods to practically nothing.  Now, you could object to that on a moral level.  But on a selfish level?  Do you not like cheap fruit and appliances?

Besides, I’m pretty convinced that people haven’t “lost” their jobs, as much as starting refusing to do them.  I remember, during the bottom of the recession, when CNN started running a daily segment where people would come on the air and apply for a job, and more importantly, to complain that they couldn’t get one.

But they always told the same story.  “I have a degree in IT (or whatever) and am requesting a salary of $70,000/year.”  Or really.  You’re requesting a salary of $70,000 per year.

Waaahhhh.  You know there used to be fuckin men in this country, and they didn’t make $70,000/year.  They worked as janitors.  Plumbers.  A manager at a fast food restaurant.  Or just started in the mail room.  And they didn’t sit around and collect unemployment and bitch about how no one was offering them $70,000 per year.

And they moved to this country to get those jobs.  You’re complaining that you can’t get a teaching job in your town?  How about the fact that people used to wander from place to place in this country looking for a job?  Maybe the problem is just that you expected an economic boom to occur wherever you were standing.  In this country, you’ve always had to move to another town to get a teaching job.  That hasn’t changed.  People have just started complaining about it.

But yeah, of course, the Internet has (and will continue to) cost people a lot of jobs.  There are pros and there are cons to the Internet and automation.  But think what life was like before the Internet.  House-ridden people (disabled, sick or just deformed) used to stare at a TV day in and day out, holding a remote control, clicking the button in the hopes that whatever comes on will be slightly better than staring at a fuckin wall.

Now these poor people have the Internet.  They have a virtual life.  They can go on social media, and they have friends and discussions and Ebay deliveries and a whole fuckin world opens up to them.

So yeah, the “post work economy” is coming.  But for the worst off among us, the elderly and ill, the latest technology will mean giant leaps forward in quality of life.

Why We Need a Multi-Party System

It was Will Rogers who once made the sadly hilarious comment that America has the best Congress that money can buy.  But the public is strangely apathetic to that idea.  They accept it as unchangeable and move on.  When are going to admit that the two party system has failed us?

We have the oldest Constitution in the world and the most corrupt political system in the First World.  One party panders to the corporations, and the other party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporations.  Both parties believe in consumerism, imperialism, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, militarism, low taxes during a recession, ignoring the inevitable Great Geo Disaster, lining their own pockets, politicians alternating between public service and working as a lobbyist, and most importantly, putting party way, way above country.

It’s the red team vs. the blue team.  An Ivy League rivalry that dates back to before the Gilded Age.  And many people have just given up on choosing between them, like the makers of South Park, which they show in their 2004 election-themed episode.  In it, the students must elect a school mascot, but are only given the choice of a “giant douche” or a “turd sandwich”.

That election was the most tense since the Vietnam because of the Iraq War.  But another significant factor was that people on the left were still reaping the misery of having foolishly tried to rebel against the two party system by voting for Ralph Nader in 2000.  If you vote for Nader, you’ll get George W. Bush.  Welcome to America.

But in 2008, people thought they’d found another way around this riddle with Barak Obama.  Obama won a landslide victory by masterfully mining the apathetic, independent voting block.  Many people said that, for the first time, they felt like they were voting for something more than just a political party.  Barak promised “bipartisanship”.

But it was only after he was elected that we realized that we’d always had bipartisanship.  Both teams huddling separately for their own interest groups and then sending their representatives to hammer out a deal with the other side.  That’s bipartisanship, and there was nothing new about it.  What we needed was NON-partisanship.

That’s what people thought Obama was referring to, but of course, they were terribly, terribly wrong.  Obama has been a decent Democrat president, but there hasn’t been much (if anything) non-partisan about his style of governing.  And if he’s accomplished anything great in the area of non-partisanship, it’s permanently putting to rest the idea that non-partisanship between the Republicans and Democrats can ever be anything more than a campaign slogan.

Maybe after all that, we can finally admit that two party politics are a scam propagated on a new social class: the consumer-peasant.

9 Reasons Ghostbusters III Will Be the Worst Movie of All Time

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#9. Dan Aykroyd hasn’t made a movie since 1984 that didn’t suck donkey ass.

coneheadsDr. Detroit, Loose Cannons, My Stepmother Is An Alien, Caddyshack II, Coneheads, Blue Brothers 2000, etc.  (Feel free to vomit if you have to.)

#8. Blue Brothers 2000 shows that Aykroyd revival movies suck donkey ass.

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#7. The actors are very old now.

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#6. Involves passing torch to “new generation of Ghostbusters”.

new ghostbustersThat just sucks so bad I can’t even describe it.

#5. Ghostbusters II sucked and had no point.

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#4. Absolutely no one is asking for this movie to be made except Aykroyd.

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#3. No Bill Murray, and he was the main character.

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#2. Slime isn’t funny anymore.

slimeThe first movie gave us a funny gag about it.  The second one gave us an entire movie about it.  Please, no more.

#1. No one cares about these characters’ lives.

ghostbusters familyYes, the original was a great movie, but who has ever even bothered to wonder how the Ghostbusters’ kids and marriages have progressed?

Is Snowden a Hero or a Traitor?

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Usually we define a hero by their intentions.  But one odd thing about the Snowden case is that the issue seems much more about the net effects of what he has done rather than what his intentions were.  Maybe we’re just all so afraid of terrorists that we don’t really give a crap about him personally.  The real question is: Is this guy helping us or hurting us?

Now certainly it is odd that a man who claims to have access to the greatest treasure trove of compromised intelligence in the world would physically hand himself over to Chinese spy agencies (which presumably torture people on a regular basis).  It’s especially odd considering how terrified of the NSA Snowden was.  (Reporter Glen Greenwald says Snowden communicated with him while typing with a pillowcase over his own head, and told him that the U.S. government would surely kill him if they knew what he was doing.)

Some people have made claims that “Snowden’s laptops were most likely drained by the Chinese”, but of course, as Greenwald pointed out, this is not 1986.  People  today have USB drives and cloud storage, not to mention encryption.  But again: Where does Snowden get his balls big enough to just hand himself over to the Chinese spy agencies, perfectly secure in the theory that they won’t give him any trouble because this was all very public.  It seems like this Snowden is either in tight with the Chinese or is a compulsive gambler in serious need of some action.

Now it does make some sense, I guess, for him to go to China and Russia because he was perhaps convinced that these would be the only two countries in which the U.S. government would not be willing to conduct a raid (being semi-hostile nuclear powers and all).  Kim Dotcom, who ran his own little cyber rebellion, apparently thought he was perfectly safe because he was operating out of New Zealand, and was probably very fucking surprised when the American FBI kicked in his front door.  And this was just over pirating movies.  If U.S. government is that concerned about illegal copies of the The Hangover Part II, then I imagine they’re pretty pissed at Snowden.

But assuming he didn’t turn over our secret Death Ray plans to the Chinese, the other big question is: How much has he hurt out ability to “combat terrorism”?

Now, I personally subscribe to the Winnie the Pooh Theory of Terrorism, which states that if you don’t put your hand in the honeycomb in the first place, the bees won’t try to sting you.  I find it laughable the idea that the reason we have so many problems with terrorists is that our security agencies haven’t been clandestine enough about all their secret wars and monkey business they’ve been getting involved in around the world.

There are few things more satisfying than watching James Clapper, head of the NSA, in the hot seat.  You gotta love Snowden, at least for that.  And as far as what even liberal humorist Bill Maher says, that all of this spying on Americans is necessary to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons, Maher is apparently not aware that even entire nations (such as Iran) are having tremendous difficulty getting nuclear capability, let alone an Osama Bin Laden type, a mere rebel with a 100 million dollar trust fund.

This conversation strikes at the heart of what American success (or “exceptionalism”, if you will) has been all about: That the openness of our government has, since our nation’s founding, helped expose government corruption, which has lead to better governance.  This is our greatest strength, not our greatest weakness.

Terrorists will not go away until we deflate the political issues they thrive on.  At any rate, you can find clips on YouTube of people saying this stuff about the NSA long before 9/11, claiming that the Internet was designed from the beginning mainly to provide a back door password into all computers in the world.  This is something which is clear to EVERYONE outside America: The boogeyman Terrorists are just a convenient excuse to do what the U.S. government was planning on doing anyway.

In Defense of One Jorge Zimmerman

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I don’t know who it was screaming on the tape.  The screams make little sense in either interpretation.  Why would Martin be screaming like that if he was winning the fight?  (He didn’t have a mark on him.)  But if Zimmerman was the one yelling, then why does it stop right after the shot is fired?

It’s a mystery.  We don’t know what happened.  We have reasonable doubts as to what happened.

The case should have never seen the inside of a courtroom.  To say there was tremendous political pressure to get the case into court would be an extreme understatement.  The president himself actually went on TV and said that the victim was like the son he never had.  So much for an impartial jury.

But this thing had such a huge race card on it from the beginning, that it was as unprecedented as it was outrageous.  First, networks began endless coverage where they berated Zimmerman as a racist, saying that he called Martin a “coon” (not true).  Then the media dug through his past with a backhoe (and the president, by the way, personally ordered an FBI investigation to see if the crime was racially motivated; the FBI said they couldn’t find anything), in a desperate search for racist gold, and found absolutely nothing.  In fact, the more they dug, the more they found evidence that Zimmerman was unusually un-racist.  He had mentored a black teenager, and had even tried to raise money for a black, homeless man.  Some racist.

The only racial thing they were able to dig up was that, in the years leading up to the shooting, Zimmerman, as the embattled neighborhood watchman for a subdivision (in struggling Sanford, Florida, average income: $20,000/year; %20 of people below the poverty line) which had been completely overrun by increasingly terrifying home invasions, had called police about once a month, and that many (but by no means all) of those phone calls were about black suspects.

He had been encouraged by the police to set up the neighborhood watch program and had been told to never to approach the suspects.  This explains why he did not simply pull up in his  truck and identify himself as neighborhood watch right away.  He had been through this drill many times.  He calls the police, and by the time they arrive, the person has taken off.  “They always get away.”

And we know that, at least this time, once the kid ran, Zimmerman pursued him.  Of course, Zimmerman’s recreation of events is a complete fabrication.  One can notice, in particular, the extreme difficulty Zimmerman has placing himself near the body (even, amusingly, describing in the reenactment some bizarre fall where he was punched but then spins several feet forward), though never quite able to place himself all the way over there. He was, after all (and infamously), instructed not to follow.  Of course, this is Florida, where it’s not illegal to follow someone with a gun strapped to your side.  And we also know that if someone was falsely accused of murder because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, any rational person would lie to avoid being framed.

What’s troubling, though, is how well Zimmerman lies.  Clearly a cop wannabe, he tells the story as if he had taken a master class in, to use Dave Chappelle’s old joke, sprinkling crack on black people.  He knew just what to say.  Yes, I concede, the whole thing is very shady.   But do we really know that Zimmerman murdered Martin?

We know a little about Martin, too.  I’m not trying to throw mud on his grave, but let’s face it, text messages show that he bragged about recently winning a fight, was asking about getting a gun, and his school records show that he brought weed to school and had been caught with burglary tools in his book bag.  Not exactly your average student.  While he certainly he didn’t “jump out of the bushes” (there were no bushes), is it so inconceivable that he might have thrown the first punch?

We know that he had a long time to go home and chose not to.  He must have circled back.  We know also that Rachel Jeantel is lying as much as Zimmerman, as both their timelines omit the all important two minute gap before the fight. To say her incomplete, inconsistent, vague, mumbling “I heard wet grass” testimony was weak would by a major understatement.

The two minute gap, for its part, mystified all analysts.  It is a baffling period of time, in which nothing seems to occur, and in which Zimmerman and Martin end up nearly back where they started (if they ever left), but this time colliding.  At the end of it, as if straight out of a Hitchcock film, we hear an audio recording of a life and death struggle, and then a shot.  But the recording raises more questions than it answers.

In the end, all you really had was a case with almost no actual evidence against Zimmerman.  In fact, a great deal of the prosecutor’s evidence actually helped him tremendously, such as the police report which said that one witness told them that Zimmerman was on the ground begging him for help.  (In the police investigation, the witness later waffled on this point, though eventually, despite clearly being very stressed out about possible retaliation against him for his testimony, he confirmed in court that the man who called out to him was wearing Zimmerman’s clothing.)

The media, though, was just happy to have the story, and one network in particular, MSNBC, was completely outrageous in their obvious agenda to bag a “white” supremacist.  (Zimmerman is only half white, looks hispanic and was raised by an all-Hispanic family where he learned English as second language.)

MSNBC actually ran a segment where each African-American, on-air personality recounted their own experiences with being wrongly pursued by police and security guards.  (The commentator Toure complained about white ladies fearing him on elevators.)  Okay, so this proves what happened that night?  I mean, none of these people were talking about being pursued by George Zimmerman personally.

That’s not journalism.  That’s an African American media lynch mob fueled blatantly by the same confirmation bias they were claiming to be the victims of.  Toure, for his part, instead of debating Piers Morgan (whose contention was merely that the media should reserve judgment until it had all the facts), simply denounced Morgan, and, astonishingly, practically stated that convicting Zimmerman was part of a larger, American, historical narrative that was more important than his individual right to a fair trial.

The most annoying part of the coverage, though, was endlessly hearing about the “white privilege” in the education and court system.  So, let me see if I understand this: Michael Jordan’s kids get a worse education than, say, some dirt poor, white kid living in a trailer?  “Oh, but Michael Jordan is rich,” they would probably say.  And I’d say, “Exactly.”  It’s based on what school district you can afford to go to.  These commentators are apparently not sophisticated enough to understand the difference between correlation and causation.  There hasn’t been a white conspiracy to stop black people from moving into nice school districts in quite some time.

And if only white people can get an education in this country, then why is it that Asian people actually make more money the white people?  Why don’t people from India (they can be quite brown) have this problem?  Are you actually suggesting that people from India can’t get a good education in America?  What the fuck are you talking about?  Go look at the honor roll in any fucking school.  I can tell you right now what it’s gonna say: “Patel, Patel, Patel, Patel…”  These Indians seem to be doing surprisingly well in this whites-only education system.  Maybe it’s because, and this is just a crazy long shot here, they have tiger parents who put a lot of emphasis on education?  And as far as getting into college, universities routinely angrily demand the right to move African-American applicants to the top of the list.  Are these the white people that are trying to stop them from getting an education?

But the media wouldn’t have conceded any of that.  Not while they were too busy telling us about Saint Rachel Jeantel, who I actually saw compared to Harriet Tubman in one blog.  Listen.  I have some sympathy for Jeantel.  After all, her friend did die while on the phone with her (or right after).  It’s hard not to feel sorry for that.  But, let’s face it, she’s not exactly a likable person. If those cameras hadn’t been in there, that judge would have thrown her ass in jail for contempt of court.  NOBODY, in any courtroom in the world, (not just racist America, but Africa, too) is allowed to act like that in court.  She was disrespectful to the proceedings, and her testimony was filled with child-like deceptions, such as repeatedly refusing to speak loud enough to be cornered into a definitive answer, or just changing her story from her police deposition.  I wouldn’t make fun of her apparent learning disability, but her tweets in the run-up to the trial often spoke of getting high, drinking, and even one announcement that she was planning on drinking and driving that night.  It’s inarguable: she’s an idiot.

And when some guests and commentators in the media dared to point that out, they were silenced, being called elitist or even racist.  “That’s her culture!” they were told.  “You just don’t understand the culture!”  Really?  Her culture is to drink and drive, and then brag about it in a tweet, even though she knows she’s in the biggest trial of the decade, and everyone’s watching?  Culture is about, among other things, music and language and clothing.  It has NOTHING to do with being an irresponsible idiot.  I reject the stereotype that there is anything inherently irresponsible, rude or law breaking about African-American culture.  All cultures have people who want to be responsible and play by the rules, and people who don’t.

Others in the media pointed out how, in a separate case, a black woman had been sentenced to twenty years for merely firing warning shots at her abusive husband.  These people neglect to mention, of course, that this woman confessed to leaving the house, getting a gun from the garage, and coming back in blasting, which hardly counts as self-defense in a trial.  Now, if that had been Zimmerman, he would have probably told the police that the gun had already been in the house, that the other person reached for it first, etc., etc.

The point is that, if you’re talking to the police, and you tell your story in a way where you have not technically broken any laws, and they have no other evidence, and you stick to that story, and you hire two high priced attorneys, then you’re probably gonna walk free.  That’s something which the woman in that other case did not understand.

It is something, however, that O.J. Simpson understood.  People want to say that if Zimmerman was black, he’d be in jail.  Oh really?  You’re telling me, that Johnny Cochran, in his day, would not have won that case?  Are you joking?  Johnny Cochran WOULD HAVE KILLED HIMSELF if he ever lost such a slam dunk case.

After all, there is, without question, such a thing as “rich man’s justice” in our system.  But “white Hispanic man’s justice”?  Give me a fuckin break.

“Tolerance of Bigotry” Is Just the Latest Oxymoron From the Tea Party Morons (Phil Robertson Controversy)

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The Tea Party have a strange fondness for oxymorons.  Here are some oldies but goodies:

1. “Obama supports gay marriage because he’s tryin’ to pass sharia law!”
2. “Obama’s a warmonger who’s guttin’ the military!”
3. “Obama’s a socialist who supports crony capitalism!”
4. “Obama’s a Muslim and a disciple of Reverend Wright!”
5. “Obama’s a fascist and a communist!”
5. “Obama is a Muslim puppet of the atheist, Satanic Illuminati, which is a conspiracy in which the world’s competing corporations get together and share power, because they’re only pretending to be competing, because they’re actually secretly socialists!”
6. “Obama is just anything bad you can think of, even if some of those things are exact opposites!”

And so on. But now, emerging from the Phil Robertson debate, there is a new one: “You have to be tolerant of intolerance.”  This idea that Sarah Palin and others are pushing (that intolerance itself should be tolerated, rendering the word “tolerance” meaningless) should be discredited.

Let’s get something straight here, hillbillies: HUMAN RIGHTS TRUMP RELIGION.  You can no longer say that your religion commands you to persecute innocent people.  If your religion says to do that, then that’s your problem.

Yes, it is protected free speech, meaning that, as long as you’re not threatening violence, you cannot be arrested for saying it.  But the First Amendment does not make something socially acceptable nor does it protect your job.

I do agree that the idea of suspending Phil Robertson (any relation to Pat?) is a bit over the top, especially since he didn’t even say these things (which, among the disparaging remarks he slung at various groups, included the outrageous suggestion the black people were quite content during Jim Crow) on the actual show that he was suspended from.  He said it in a print interview, which is a different forum from a basic cable station that most Americans subscribe to as part of generic TV package. And while it may not even matter that much what the star of a show about duck hunters even thinks, the substance of what he said has gotten enough press that it merits a rebuke.

Being gay is not a choice.  This is clear from evidence and from common sense.  Did you choose to be straight?  As a straight man, would you be comfortable marrying another man?

It is immoral to force people to do things sexually that they don’t want to do.  Encouraging gay people to attend summer camps where they learn to be straight is considered, by all major medical organizations, psychological abuse.  And having closeted gay men marry women is just dumb for obvious reasons.

And as far as the slippery slope of gay marriage leading to polygamy, I’ll say this: I agree and think it’s awesome.  I REALLY DON’T CARE IF FIVE PEOPLE WANT TO MARRY FIVE OTHER PEOPLE, OR WHATEVER.  Knock yourself out.  It’s simply a legal agreement to share finances.  Any religious significance you attach to it is your personal belief.

As for bestiality, this is, maybe, one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.  First of all, there is no bestiality lobby that I am aware of.  This is a not an issue.  Like voter fraud and secondary crime caused by marijuana, concerns of escalating bestiality are  non-problems pushed by propagandists.

Secondly, our constitution would have to be radically rewritten to legalize marrying your pets.  Pets are not citizens, they are property.  It would be like trying to marry your TV, or a piece of exercise equipment.  And, under laws against animal cruelty, it wouldn’t be legal to rape your pets either.  This is a ridiculous conversation even to have.

So enough with the bestiality.  And as far as polygamy goes, I don’t carry if you marry more than one women. If your idea of fun is five women telling you to take the garbage out while you’re trying to watch the NBA Finals, then have at it.

What It Means to Be a Democrat (and Why Lincoln Wasn’t One)

draft_lens2011538module10181861photo_1214446672jackson-lincolnIt’s a common misconception that Lincoln’s Republican Party was liberal and against racism.  It was actually right-wing and racist.

First, let me quickly explain the American political model during the 19th century. At that time, the right-wing/left-wing divide was largely a North vs. South issue.

On the right-wing were the New Englanders, who wanted more power for the Federal government, big business, and high tariffs.  Their party was called, at different times, the Federalists, Whigs, Know Nothings, and Republicans.

On the left-wing were the Southerners, who wanted more states’ rights, suffrage for white peasants and low tariffs.  Their party was known as, at different times, the Anti-Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, and Democrats.

Both parties had a racist agenda, but that agenda was only against their own local minorities.  In the North, the minorities were the Catholics and immigrants.  The Republicans were violently racist against them.  In the South, the minorities were the blacks, and the Democrats obviously enslaved them.

Just as importantly, both sides courted the other side’s minorities.  The Republicans were the party that supported Southern blacks, and the Democrats were the party of the North’s Catholics and immigrants.

Taking race out of it, the political divide between the South and North was a legitimate, left-wing vs. right-wing debate about states’ rights vs. the power of the Federal government, and one which was on-going throughout the 19th century.

So no, Lincoln was not a left-wing liberal.  He was a right-wing conservative.  Race was simply highly politicized within that debate.

So how did the American left-wing end up being the defender of blacks?  Well, the American left-wing has always been the defender of the “little guy”, but the definition of who the little guy is has expanded over time.

With Thomas Jefferson, the “little guy” was the white landholder (vs. the Federal government), which is why he argued vigorously for states’ rights.

With Andrew Jackson, the definition of the “little guy” was expanded to mean any white man, rich or poor, which is why is he supported universal suffrage for all white men.

With William Jennings Bryan (who was the Democratic nominee for president three times during their longest losing streak), the rights of the poor white man (the worker) were expanded to include the right to unionize and work an 8 hour day.  This brought the unions into the Democratic party.

Under FDR, the poor white man’s rights were expanded to include safety from economic depressions.  Since the nation’s founding, there have been eight depressions in America (1807,1815,1837,1857,1873,1893,1920,1929).  With the complete collapse of the banking system in 1929, laissez-faire capitalism was largely seen to have spectacularly failed.  FDR promised a New Deal, where, under a new economic system (now referred to more generally as “Keynesian economics”), there would be no more depressions.  More than 75 years later, we see that there hasn’t been another depression since.

And under LBJ, the definition of the “little guy” was expanded to allow for African-Americans as well.  Only then, did the Democrats become their party.  However, I notice that the Know Nothing Republicans still have a problem with immigrants.  (See their idiotic push against the H-1B Visa, a program which basically allows the world’s future innovators to immigrate to America.)

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