Friday, December 02, 2011

The GTL Goes Around and Around With a Better Class of Right-Wing Folks. Cleaning Gingrich's Floors.

Responding to an Internet link posted by a right-leaning acquaintance. A new iteration of the ever-present, angry story of the uber-fertile minority mother, pumping fifteen brown welfare babies chock-a-block into the loving bosom of the taxpayer's bank account, the images of which I won't bother to show you... this comes from a very lively exchange with a bunch of well-educated folks on several sides of important issues, who invited me to join them. They are smart and kind, and debate fairly without the kind of sick cruelty the R. Brothers used to engage yours truly in before we immolated in a fricazee of death threats (by them) and de-friending...

A note on the text: My words from the facebook stream are in bold type. Responses are italicized. You will also meet CARSON, BILL and TREY, some new worthy and kind friends.

She could squeeze out another newborn entitlement welfare nightmare baby every 9.1 months for the rest of her fertile days and not do as much damage to our society as one CEO can do in one minute through one unscrupulous underhanded one-minute deal over the phone.

It wasn't poor mamas, or teachers' unions for that matter, that brought the world's greatest economy to the edge of collapse.

It's fun to puff about personal responsibility - and what sane worker is NOT for personal responsibility, BTW?! - get red in the face, et cetera, but the real theft, the REAL sacrilege to the social contract, is not lazy poor people fucking. It's rich corporations fucking US.

Many comments down, the Right-leaners were still carping about personal responsibility, conveniently ignoring the moral failings of people with ivy-league cred and expensive lawyers... so this from earlier this evening:

Hey baby, I'm a social worker. NONE of you know these people the way I do and I'll put my juice against yours on this any fucking day of the WEEK! I have EARNED the right to talk about welfare cheats and baby-making illiterates and so forth from first hand knowledge. I taught junior high and high school in Brooklyn, and went to those same schools too. I work in a DMH (Department of Mental Health) mental health center. I don't need anecdotes on the internet, I have actual patients to conjure up visually. Saw some today, in fact, and lots more next week too, and every week after that.

I'm here to tell you that the vast, vast majority of people on any form of government entitlement payments are TRULY miserable and poor, not faking it when they are judged unfit to be hired mostly through no fault of their own, and sick to the point of almost utter uselessness to any "free market."

Our society needs to be just and equitable, and use the carrot as well as the stick to eradicate the problems of intractable degradation and self-destruction.

There is no organism in nature that exists in a social community wherein the weak exploit the strong; not in nature and not in society. Ever. The strong always prey on the weak. The American experiment was supposed to end that, not perpetuate it under the hoary mantle of "freedom." To suggest otherwise is to dwell in some parallel universe.

Only a eugenicist would say, "sterilize 'em. Fuck 'em. They're a blight on society and should be eradicated, and to throw a nickel at them will only encourage them." Only Ayn Rand would bust out that social Darwinist bullshit. Most reasonable people would keep them out of the gutter, and likely hold their nose while recognizing that a sane society does not engage in survival-of-the-fittest policies the way feudal Europe did.

Entitlement IS A PROBLEM, BILL! We know this! I agree with you!

But the epistemological, ontological, and ideological thrust of the Right is NOT the path to solving problems. It just feels good! Of course baby woman should be better-behaved. but the penny it takes to keep the social safety net underneath her from unraveling is just that, a penny. The real theft is in the billions and now the trillions, and even if you cut off every brown skinned poor person at the thorax and lopped off every testicle borne by yon unwashed of the masses, you would achieve nothing.

Because systemic problems created from the top down cannot be corrected by tightening belts from the bottom up. Besides, it takes a great amount of cruelty to make the people behave. Not even Moses himself could do it.

Breathe, Dave...

Anyway, from the heart of Brooklyn to the bag of shitty townie shake we know as Lowell, I say... mad love cats and kitties. I remain, ever yours,

the Gun-Toting Liberal.

Then a very gratifying response:
Carson Cashman: I think that was the best post I have ever read in this group.

Followed by more praise:
Trey Stahl: I'm here to tell you that the vast, vast majority of people on any form of government entitlement payments are TRULY miserable and poor, not faking it when they are judged unfit to be hired mostly through no fault of their own, and sick to the point of almost utter uselessness to any "free market."..........this is what I really liked....

And then a thoughtful Libertarian response:
Bill Stahl: David W*******, You and I, I being a Conservative with a libertarian bent, and you apparently a liberal, agree on a hell of a lot more than many here would consider possible. I think, as you have stated, we do have a case of the strong preying on the weak. The strong being the politicians that play the class warfare card, using the poor as a lever to pray in the weak, the unsophisticated but sympathetic tax payers and voters.

In my opinion there are as many right wingers as left wingers that would help the helpless. The issue that should be debated is: what is the best way to provide the help. The left insists on couching the debate as a struggle between good and evil, when it is should be a debate over the best way of doing good for the most people.

And finally, my characteristically histrionic though lovable and intellectually cohesive response (ain't I the humblest, O my loved ones?):

Bill, you and I can hang. But if you ask me, the class warfare waged by the powerful and rich since their grinning simpleton goon Ronald Reagan put us all into a torpor of nostalgia, jingoism, fag-hating and red-baiting, is most definitely, objectively, intentional. Old man Bush called it Voodoo until he realized he could get it over the finish line and make out like a bandit. Oh, he shut up then, yes he DID! He was incredulous that Reagan could loot the treasury and tilt the tax code down on the rest of us and we'd thank him and wait for the gold to "trickle down." And then, when the only thing trickling down on us was rancid ideological urine from Reagan's wilted piss-bag, they simply bullied us with the same old shibboleths, blamed it on the poor and the gays and the Commies, and whammo! back to sleep we all WENT.

To corrupt what was once a healthy economic and civil society, to steal from the middle and bottom to feed the gluttonous top, may not seem evil to you, but you'd probably agree it isn't very nice.

And at the end of the day, I reject the crowd who want to turn that miserable, dead-souled, emotionally crippled fraud Ayn Rand into some kind of Mother Theresa of self-determination. Survival of the fittest works in nature evolving balanced ecosystems over eons; in day-to-day practice on the human scale, the apotheosis of Randian evolution would be a ruthless drug cartel. Or the Kennedy family. But then, I repeat myself.

No, Bill, as a Liberal I do not see the debate in terms of good versus evil - that's the religious Right's job. I see it as a puzzlement of civics. The Right, as I understand it, would prefer that the homeless and hungry come to the church door humbly and beg. They believe that large economic and socio-political forces don't actually exist. They believe there is only the steely-eyed, self-disciplined, self-actualizing winner and the inferior, handout-seeking loser. No one was ever a victim of circumstance.

Now, my good friend and future Jaeger-buddy, you know that's hogwash. There is no man lazier or more shiftless than the inheritor of enormous wealth.

The mouths on the Right tell us society as an institution, and they themselves as individuals, should not be forced to care for those who cannot or will not care for themselves and their own. But they ignore the tilted playing field. When every ball magically rolls unassisted into their opponent's net, and the referee's been paid off besides, and he went to their prep school and looks like the grinning face that greets them each day in the mirror, they are blind, blind to their own advantage.

It's not about good or evil. It's about justice, fairness, and an equal journey to the starting line. Make everyone start equal and I don't give a damn who wins. But we're nowhere near that mythical starting line and never were.

Take for example capital punishment: if you have the capital, you don't get the punishment. We Lefties has a problem with that. The Right replies, "take a bath." I'd rather stink than smell like hypocrite ass.

Don't get me wrong; many of my Right-Wing and religious friends give a lot of time and money to worthy charitable causes which it would be foolish not to support and praise, simply on ideological grounds.

But my perspective is that a healthy society does not make people abandon their self-respect and beg at the door of a private institution to have their basic human rights met. When Newt Gingrich says poor children should clean the floors beneath the feet of their better-off schoolmates in exchange for basic survival and an education, he is blind to the cruelty to the human soul such a corrosive arrangement creates. It is nothing new, this moral lecturing by the corrupt and corpulent, this idea that the poor must clean for them and beg them and politely refrain from bothering them. Oh, and also, please, don't kill them in their sleep and drive off in their Lexuses.

This attitude of self-congratulatory self-delusion by the fabulously well-to-do is not new. It existed for thousands of years, it persisted until the United States, praise be to the People in their wisdom, and to the glorious God that is rumored to exist, put an end to it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Response to a Death Threat on Facebook. Open Letter to a Tea Party American.

The R****** brothers, with whom I spar about politics on facebook, have stepped over the line and engaged in death threats. During a conversation about his belief in the upcoming total collapse of the economy, M***, threatened that he would "shoot [me] to kill, and hang [my] body from the porch." (That's a paraphrase; I went looking for the comment a moment ago and find that either it is mysteriously missing - or that facebook sucks. Either is possible).

Vanessa, a mutual friend who is both reasonable and generous, but agrees with the R****** brothers on every point of our debates, attempted to restore harmony, and apologized for any disrespect she showed me as an unapologetic progressive. Here is my response:

I'm not one-sided, and that's where I think you've lumped me in with the "problem crowd of Liberals."

But the immediate issue is the contempt and pathological rage the R***** brothers are expressing toward me. If you think their behavior has been as reasonable, courteous, civil and appropriate as mine, fine, we'll agree to disagree and go our separate ways. But there is no evidence to support that conclusion except naked bias - IT IS NOT OK TO THREATEN MURDER. The "us" versus "them" trend runs deep in them. It is not the noblest aspect of human character. It is, in fact, dangerous.

As I continued to explain my point of view, it began to gradually emerge as a general statement of my beliefs about government. Here is the conclusion of my post to Vanessa, which I will consider an Open Letter to all who identify with the political platform of the so-called "Tea Party":

Dear Tea Party Member:

I work very hard and loathe the idea of useless, sponging people abusing the social safety net probably more than you do. Every time a person collects disability when he should and could be working, the needs of the truly deserving disabled person are corrupted by association, and that pisses me off to the nth degree.

I also despise useless, sponging people abusing and corrupting the markets as well. In fact, I like personal responsibility for the healthy and firm, and collective responsibility for the helpless and sick. I like to see work rewarded, and workers motivated by potential rewards.

Private property, including vast wealth, is among others an American right worth fighting for. I am no Communist. I dig money and nice things, too. But we can't keep our hard-earned or inherited wealth unless we also use a portion of it to provide everyone with a real avenue for advancement. This protects not only the poor from poverty, and the middle class from bearing the burden of the poor, but the rich from the guillotine and the garotte.

Justice, equality, and the equal opportunity to strive and succeed have never happened on their own in any society, and must be protected by the collective will of the people. In America we call that collective will the federal government. The rights and privileges of citizenship here are not granted by God or the wealthy, but by the people themselves. The founding fathers were the elites of their day and they wrote this miraculous document that essentially dis-invested them from absolute power and shared it with the hoi-polloi. That had never happened anywhere - and we're at risk of losing it today.

According to the political beliefs of the Tea Party, our entitlement programs are pernicious examples of Socialism ruining the freedom of our nation. I understand that you believe this, too. Fine. One can compromise with those beliefs and achieve something worthwhile. (I personally believe entitlements are not only NOT pernicious, but are in fact the rich's best friend, for the reasons above.)

However, you do realize that your own definition of Socialism defines every wealthy nation on Earth today as a socialist nightmare.

I love America, I love the Constitution, and when all segments of the economy act in more or less good faith, we have the healthy middle class the founders so clearly intended. I love our government. It is - when everyone respects it and compromises for the greater good - the least odious and most trustworthy government on Earth. In America, you don't have to pay a bribe to get a business license or a driver's license or to have your case heard in Court. In America, if I can prove my Mayor or State Assemblyman, my Senator or Congressman is on the take, I can challenge him in Court and he'll have to give up his power.

That is a flat-out miracle which is contrary to "pure" capitalism and "free markets." After all, government is required to punish the bribe-taker. It is miraculous. Essential. American.


The Tea Party groups prize freedom above all else, principally the freedom from grand federal social entitlement experiments, which in their opinion are unconstitutional. They want to return to the intentions of the founding fathers. But I don't believe the founding fathers would endorse the statement that "if the freedoms we are putting in place eventually result in the rich and powerful owning everything, including access to power and the electoral process - as in England - then we'll just have to endure that as an inevitable result of freedom."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Old Fears Hurt Less. Brace Yourself for More Utopia (GOP Style).

I dunno, I liked the GOP's old fears better. Commies, busing, flouridation, bra-less women, gays, Roe vs Wade, Medicare, weapons of mass destruction, firefighter unions, the United Nations, hordes of al qaeda lining up at the border of Mexico, fake birth certificates, Kenyan spies in the White House, Sharia Law in Colorado...

I ask you, dear friend: what fun is a party of paranoid rage-aholics when they're yelling about debt-to-GDP ratios?

None of these people ever gave a damn about deficits until the line formed on the Right. Now, according to them, the deficit will kill us all unless we do exactly as they say, immediately.

Been there, done that. There's always a lot to be afraid of, but you could make a nice living betting that the real crisis and the GOP-manufactured one will never be the same. Wonder what odds Jimmy the Greek would have given?

Default on the debt will hurt us lots more than any other plan, including (obviously) more stimulus spending.

How about this: we turn back the clock to when Bush inherited a surplus, undo things he said would lead to prosperity but brought us instead to the poorhouse, and start over. His illegal war in Iraq over weapons he said would kill us all, but didn't exist? Gone. His debunked "trickle down" tax policy? Pffft. A memory. His million-mile fence and hi-tech attack on fruit pickers? Suspended. His subsidies to Oil companies who already have more cash than they know what to do with? Gone. Kaput.

This entire crisis is merely the beginning of the endgame of a long-established Right-Wing plan for society known as "Starve the Beast." Please look it up and learn. It is not a new crisis. It isn't even a crisis. It's Republican Utopia, once again breaching the horizon, heading our way.