Maybe they are right? Should “Radical Change” happen?

-by Kid Bucket-

There are many out there who complain that Barack Obama and the “Socialist Left” are trying to fundamentally change America. They say that by supporting same-sex marriage, addressing income inequality, limiting the amount of junk food provided in schools and trying to maybe get America off of it’s fat ass and walk every once in a while, we want to take everything that is good about our country and turn it inside out.

Let’s take a look:

  • The obesity rate continues to sky rocket, with the projected figures showing that OVER HALF OF ALL AMERICANS will be obese by the year 2020.
  • The income inequality continues to get worse, with the GOP doing everything it can to make sure the top 1% can continue to pay low taxes, doing this under the guise of “job creation”. They say they aren’t worried about social issues as much but, as a party, they continue to defund women’s health organizations and write horrible legislation that fucks over everyone who is in a civil union, regardless of sexual orientation.
  • The 24 hour news cycle does nothing but exacerbate issues, with more fighting over which channel is more biased than the other instead of what they are actually fucking talking about.
  • States are voting against equal rights, because they are either being pressured by their churches to donate against passing marriage equality with the threat of excommunication (California) or because a large number of people in the state don’t even really know everything in the bill (North Carolina).
  • Laws like “Stand Your Ground” not only exist, BUT THRIVE, in 2012. Wan’t to look at me the wrong way? I’ll just shoot you and tell the cops you advanced on me. Bingo bango, I’m in the clear.
  • Medical marijuana is not only illegal in most places, but still leads to an incredible number of arrests. With many of the arrests having harsher judgements on minorities.
  • These even exist.
  • A basic debate on the debt ceiling almost brought the country to it’s knees.

That is just a small percentage of the bullshit.

We have so much good as well, but it get’s completely drowned out by all the horrible that happens right beside it. The fact that anyone could even write something like this is more freedom than a lot of countries have. But being able to write about how something has gotten so shitty doesn’t really make up for the soul deadening developments that go with it.

Am I saying reboot the country? No. But until we can sit down and have an adult conversation about what it really happening to the country nothing is ever going to get fixed.

I’m surprised I was able to write that last sentence without laughing.

The War on Women has found a enemy—everyone else as well.

-by Kid Bucket-

The idea that the GOP is waging a war on women is becoming more and more apparent, but it doesn’t stop there anymore. The religious sect of the right is now taking its battle to both genders with the new Blunt Amendment. With this new attack on rationalism, the GOP have taken the contraception mandate and extended so that it extends to all forms of medical coverage, so they can use it to deny anything that costs more than a band-aid.

Example: You are an employer and one of your employees tells you they have cancer and boy… is that going to be expensive… but wait! You can say your super specific form of Christianity states that chemotherapy is actually the work of the devil and you aren’t going to cover it. Does it matter that this super specific religion doesn’t actually exist? Nope. But thanks to the Blunt Amendment you can be a super huge dick to employers and blame it on religious freedoms.

Now, is that as bad as decimating entire cultures and blaming it on a belief system that more and more people are coming to deny? No, of course it isn’t, but it is still the most recent example of pushing religious beliefs onto an increasingly nonsupporting public. At one time, the Catholic church was a very liberal institution, comparatively, but they are being left behind, and with the last couple breaths the leadership is fighting to stay relevant. Is it going to happen? It might, but there is also a chance of Santorum becoming president (sorry, I just had a waking nightmare) as well and that doesn’t make it any less scary.

This situation has been inching closer and closer to the boiling point, and not a moment too soon. The congressional hearings with no women scheduled to testify. A powerful pundit for the right using increasingly repugnant language to describe a woman who testified in favor of birth control. The brush off when it was brought up that the insurance covered Viagra.

But that was different of course. Viagra isn’t for women, and women aren’t men and have to have kids and cook while cleaning, so take that, people with vaginas.

That this issue is finally getting this amount of attention will turn out to be a very good thing, because this is a REAL case of the interaction between church and government. This isn’t some whiny girl who didn’t want to look at a banner that basically asked her to not be a dick to her classmates. This isn’t a display of the Ten Commandments in front of a state building. This is a case that has an effect of the lives of not just women, but all citizens, for the foreseeable future.

And in the meantime, let’s try to not need a banner to tell us to not be a dick to each other.

P.S. If you were wondering where most of the GOP talking points have been coming from, check out this article written be someone who obviously has no idea how birth control works.

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Reply to Book Review

-by Nerdface- 

Thanks to David Kennedy for responding to my previous post!

David Kennedy here.

Many thanks for the review and thoughts.

The book doesn’t talk about legalization for the same reason it doesn’t talk about gun control or economic development or fixing urban education: because none of it is going to happen, if at all, on a scale and at a pace that will mean anything anytime soon for these devastated communities. The country is simply not going to legalize heroin and crack. Whether it should or not is another question, but one entirely immaterial to a practical approach to addressing violence and related issues. A core part of the outlook that has led to the Don’t Shoot work is that anything meaningful has to be capable of being done by real, ordinary people using ordinary resources. That’s led away from a lot of the usual discussion to a different set of – thankfully very powerful – approaches.

On the race front, the point is less that the history exists – though in fact a lot of people really don’t understand what it was – than it is that the history has led to a set of very powerful and destructive narratives that the opposing parties don’t understand at all. Most white folks simply can’t comprehend why angry black communities would think that the CIA would conspire to destroy them with drugs. Most folks in angry black communities can’t understand why the police would believe that they’re all living off drug money and don’t care about their kids being killled. What matters to changing the way we see each other and work together is understanding how we’ve gotten from the history to where we are today. The main point of the book on that front is that those narratives hide the fact that on the core issues of violence nearly everybody – communities, cops, and offenders – feels the same way: they’re against it. That common ground is enough on which to build massive, and thankfully rapid, change.

Thanks again,

David

It’s an election year…

-by Nerdface-

…so let’s take a look at Obama’s record, shall we?

Negative:
-He didn’t close Guantánamo Bay, possibly the largest stain on the American conscience right now (and that’s saying a lot, sadly). If you read only one article today, read this.
-He signed the 2012 NDAA, which allows Americans to be imprisoned, indefinitely, without trial, until “the end of hostilities” (of the war on terror), which, we can all agree, at the current rate, is never.
-He supports the PATRIOT Act and has voted for it (as a Senator) and signed it into law (as President), despite the many times that he previously spoke out against it.
-He authorized the assassination of an American on foreign soil, based on his say-so as President: no day in court, no trial.
-Continued and escalated foreign conflicts, including the use of drones. He brought troops home from Iraq only when (per a treaty signed under George W. Bush) he could do nothing else. There are still thousands of “security” contractors in Iraq.
-His administration stated it would have a hands-off policy for medical marijuana, then did an about-face and orchestrated an on-going, multi-agency crackdown against pot that’s far beyond anything Bush did.
-The Obama administration has prosecuted more current or former government officials for providing classified information to the media than every previous administration combined.
-Supported the Wall Street bailouts, appointed former heads of JP Morgan and Monsanto to influential government positions.

Arguably mixed bags:
-Passed a health reform law.
-Deported record numbers of illegal immigrants, supposedly focusing on those with criminal records.

Positive:
-Repealed DADT.
-Officially ended the policy of torture carried out by the Bush administration.

The negative list is worthy of the Bush administration, and, under a Republican president, would be subjected to scathing critique and righteous fury from liberals.
We cannot afford to overlook these acts, even when they come to us at the hands of an eloquent, handsome, black, nominally progressive President. Believe me, I understand. I doubt that anyone—except maybe those imprisoned without trial or killed—is more sorry than I that Obama is not what he could have been. But reality is here. And we cannot and must not delude ourselves any longer.

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Real life jumped the shark

-by Kid Bucket-

It’s obvious (if it wasn’t before) that the GOP is in shambles. Their only real hope right now for any change, Ron Paul, is stuck in third and is unlikely to go anywhere in the future and the front runner?

Mother Fucking Rick Santorum.

Why is this happening? Timing.

This is all a case of good timing and effective pandering on Santorum’s part. There have been other candidates with his credentials of disliking people who aren’t white male land owners, but one thing they were missing was a sense of knowing when to really get their face out there. He waited… biding his time until the Bachmanns and the Perrys and the Cains were out of the race.

Has he shown he can be an awful human being on many occasions? OOOOOOOH Yeah.

But is he an idiot? Not in the slightest and may turn out to be dangerous, come election season.

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GUNS AND DRUGS AND STUFF

-by Nerdface-

I recently finished reading Don’t Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence by David Kennedy (quite a mouthful, eh?). Don’t Shoot chronicles the author’s work developing and helping implement what was originally called the Boston Ceasefire program—alternative policing strategies designed to lower the rates of street homicide and/or shut down open drug markets. Kennedy and his coworkers started in Boston and then took the program ‘on the road’—to Stockton, Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Cincinnati—after they saw how dramatic and immediate the results could be. The program has since been used all over the country, including in Los Angeles.

Don’t Shoot was a fascinating but incredibly frustrating read. I highly recommend it—the story deserves attention, and the writing is lyrical and gorgeous. But I cannot emphasize enough how frustrating I found it.

The primary reason for my frustration is Kennedy’s thundering silence around the question of drug legalization. Multiple times in the book he explains, and backs up with statistics, that the basis of street violence is NOT in drug use, but in drug markets. He makes this point over and over, almost from page one. The first time he brought it up, I waited for the logical follow-up, addressing legalization. It never came. Well, it’s a huge issue, I thought—maybe he’s saving it for a chapter down the road… or the other road… or that other road…? No?

It drove me crazy the whole time I read the book, and it’s driving me crazy still. I don’t know which side Kennedy would argue, but I believe he would have some interesting and valuable insights. He spent years and years working on the forefront of drug-market-fueled violence. Surely he has something to say on the question. I doubt he is in favor of substance criminalization in its current form—he says as much when he says that police on the ground never chose the ‘war on drugs’, that they readily admit, in private, it’s unwinnable. But he also comes down over and over again on the side of The Law—as he must, for someone trying to work with and within The Law—and, of course, he never specifically addresses the question. So who knows?

I also found some of his writing on racism, minority communities, and street criminals frustrating. Not offensive—not wrong—just frustrating. At times he writes as though America’s racist past (and present), the distrust of police by poor urban minority communities (and the damn good reasons for it), etc, are a revelation. My God, he seems to say—did you know?!?! It used to be this way—and it still is this other way? Sometimes the police do this? I’m not sure if he was simply white-upper-middle-class naïve (not a good excuse, if you ask me), or was working too closely with The Authorities to easily see it, or what exactly, but I found it frustrating that the reality of Our Super Fucked Up Past and Our Still Fucked Up Present seemed so mind-blowing to him. It was frustrating because if these basic realities, which millions of Americans lived and live daily, represented such an awakening to this [liberal, educated] guy, how much further must that same awakening be from a hell of a lot of other guys?

In conclusion. I never threw this book across the room, as I have done with certain other books, but I did find it frustrating. And fascinating. And beautifully written. So read it, and if you ever get the chance, tell David Kennedy to get on the damn record already about drug legalization. We need his voice. We need every voice.

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oh I’ve just come from the land of the sun…

-by Nerdface-

…from a war that must be won
in the name of truth

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we’re rich!

-by Nerdface-

Haitibabies got this today:

Our reply:

Awesome. Can you please send it in cash. Twenty dollar bills would be best, I think.

Once it gets here, we’re taking all four five of you devoted readers out to dinner!

I also appreciate how bankers are now using Comic Sans. It is a sign that clearly we have now reached the end times. Hope you guys have your zombie-shotguns ready.

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I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M GOING TO TAKE IT FOR 4 MORE YEARS PROBABLY

-Kid Bucket-

It actually happened.

Conservative values went so far to the right they spun back around to “values” that makes a lot of liberals say “That’s fucked up”. The debate audience showed again that without Rick Perry they need a candidate who will pander to them. A candidate that will tell them what they want to hear. A candidate that is so far out of the establishment they are in the establishment to tear it apart from the inside.

That candidate is Rick Perry Newt Gingrich.

I’m not an economist. Most economic questions that are more complicated than “You had 20 dollars and you spent 5, how many dollars do you have now” is somewhat gibberish to me. I’m really trying to understand what put us in this shit storm of an economy, and I’m getting there. So in the meantime I will focus more of the fucking sleazy aspects of his hypocritical “values” campaign.

To anyone who wants to see a debate wizard, I would highly recommend they watch Newt Gingrich’s performances. I say performances because I think I’ve already used my allotted uses of the word “pander” since the Tour de Douche hit the south. He doesn’t get asked something he likes? Says he doesn’t want to answer the question, puts on his beat-down strung-out face, and gives a sanctimonious answer. He would give a straight answer but he isn’t in the establishment so fuck you. His quick rise just goes to show that the idea of “anyone but Obama” is going to lead to some really terrible candidates, most of them worse.

In four years, if we end up with President Newt, it’ll be the same shit over again.

“lies, damned lies, and statistics”

-by Nerdface-

Stuff like this makes me absolutely batty. Right wing/left wing? Love Reagan/hate Reagan? Love Obama/hate Obama? You pays your money and you takes your choice.

It’s all the same—impossible to find out the truth, because no one cares about the truth. We just want to be right. We need to be right. We’re sure we’re right. OF COURSE we’re right. How could we possibly be wrong? OTHER PEOPLE are the wrong ones.

We cherry-pick. We believe the articles that agree with us, we repeat/repost/regurgitate the data that fits our particular worldview, we surround ourselves with media that tell us only what we want to hear. And all the while we spiral more and more into our own crazy.

Both these images came to my attention as recent Facebook shares. Beautiful, isn’t it, how Reagan increased debt by a whopping 189% compared to Obama’s paltry 16%, while simultaneously Obama doubled the overall debt of all previous presidents before him? Impressive, to say the least!

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” -Mark Twain

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