No, please, keep fighting amongst yourselves, … just like the 1% want

Divide and conquer works.  And it works really well on the willfully ignorant and those that would cut off their nose to spite their face.

Just read Esquire Magazine: Writer wanted to help convert class war into generational war. No skills required; pays top dollar..  Good piece.  Nice when FDL posts this stuff.  Shining a light on the malfeasance of the the 1% and their all-too-willing pawns.  Although I hear the gig does pay well.  All you have to do is sellout your fellow Americans.  Look around, this is the new American Exceptionalism.  Selling out is good.  Because greed is good.  And what could be more American than that.  How many liberal or progressive groups or people have to sellout before this becomes apparent?  Roosevelt Institute anyone?  How about other groups?  War is good?  How about groups like Komen?

Here’s a quick review for 2009:

Komen took in $331,328,414 in donations and revenues.
Komen’s General Administration costs, in 2009, were $37,148,000.
Their total fundraising costs across all programs were $29,496,000.

In the same year, the total amount given out, or allocated to:

  • Research was $70,147,000
  • Educational programs were $135,529,000
  • Screening was $39,653,000, and
  • Treatment assistance was $22,330,000.

Let’s stop right here for a moment and reflect.

A organization that is actively pursuing other small charities over the use of the term “for the cure” does NOT spend the majority of their own funds towards RESEARCH FOR A CURE.

What a silly goose.  Of course the majority doesn’t go to research.  That’s also why they no longer fund stem cell research to cure cancer.  If a cure was found, that 37 million gravy train for the execs would be gone.  And that’s not capitalism.  That’s not American, unless the few benefit.  The CEO makes 400k per year.  Does anyone think the CEO is going to give that up?  Are you kidding me?  The 1% like this world.  In it they are on top.  And everyone else … well they can “eat cake”.  (Oh ya, this is from Komen, but I’m sure they didn’t “fudge” the numbers to hide where the real money goes.  Komen would “never” do that, right?)

But back to the original diary about generational war.  Good piece, … and then I read the comments.  Sure there were comments that clearly saw that this was nothing more than more propaganda by the 1% to split the 99%.  Divide and conquer.

But some of the comments also showed that this strategy works.  Even here at FDL.  With “allies” like this, who needs enemies.  There were “old-timers” who were actually defending themselves and boomers.  If you have to “defend” yourself and the boomers, then you bought into the lie.  Good job.  While you geniuses are at it, why not defend the benefit of SS?  They want you on the defensive.  And they got you.  Point to the 1%.  And one even used the term “millennials” in a derogatory way.  Yo, morons, you just got pawned.  The whole point of the original Esquire piece was to divide and conquer.  And those comments showed that it does work.  Of course the boomers are not responsible.  Neither are the “youths”.  It’s not about that.  It’s about the 1% and the 99% and that’s it!  If you can’t understand that, … then you deserve what you get.  So keep on arguing amongst ourselves like fools, while the 1% chuckle.  On the plus side, these folks are like the majority of Americans, fighting amongst themselves while the bus goes off the cliff (nobody worry, the 1% aren’t on board, … wouldn’t want to get the stink of the 99% on them).

It’s the 1% against the 99%!  Fools that blame boomers for this or for 401ks bought the lie and are now ready to be used by the 1%.  As are the boomers who blame the “youths”, older generations, or whatever boogie man the 1% conjure to scare the willfully ignorant.  Congratulations, you got pawned.  Like most Americans, who blame … well we did the “blacks”, the “gays”, the “illegals”, “Godless heathens”, “brownies” (and more specifically Muslim “brownies”), “terrorists” (is there anyone the 1% can’t call a terrorist?), … so who’s next, … gee I really hope we go after vegans next (if you can’t go to your local store and buy meat from a dead animal, then are you even an American?).

So ya, keep fighting amongst yourself, just like the 1% want.

So that’s the rock and hard place people like me find ourselves.  The 1% are sociopaths that will suck the life out of this world and everything in it.  They can’t help it, … it’s in their nature.  So can’t side with them.

But so much willful ignorance and counter-productive BS by the majority.  Don’t care if you are a “liberal” (what like the Dems?  LMAO) or a “progressive” (RI and every other veal pen group selling out?  Sad and pathetic).

And this is why I can’t side with the majority of the 99%:

1) These folks are patsies lining up for the meat grinder, and smiling and applauding all the way,

2) Don’t tell me everyone who works at Health Insurance companies, or a host of other companies that destroy lives, are all conservatives.  Save that BS for someone else.  Everyone on Wall Street?  Everyone who works for energy companies?  Exxon?  Shell?  Chevron?  TVA?  etc …?  (selling out is the American way)

3) These folks are no different than those who work the gears of the machine.  The same machine that may chew and excrete their own children one day.  But willful ignorance is all the rage these days.

So keep fighting.  Like petulant children.  Every time the 99% fight themselves, a 1% smiles and cackles with laughter.

Late Late Night FDL: Genial Genie

Yogi BearGenial Genie.  This Hanna-Barbera cartoon was released on March 27, 1961.

Directed and Produced by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna. Story by Warren Foster. Animation by Dick Lundy. Layouts by Paul Sommer. Backgrounds by Richard H. Thomas. Titles by Larence Goble. Film Editing by Donald Douglas (as Donald A. Douglas), Hank Gotzenberg, Warner E. Leighton (as Warner Leighton), Joe Ruby (as Joseph Ruby), and Greg Watson. Production Supervision by Howard Hanson. Cameras operated by Bob Collis (as Robert Collis), Charles Flekal, Frank Paiker, Norman Stainback, and Roy Wade. Voices by Daws Butler (Yogi Bear) and Don Messick (Boo Boo). Musical Direction by Hoyt Curtin.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the seatback in front of ya, and aim your spitballs at the ushers please. This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in. What’s on your mind?

Why has NOM’s chairperson been silent during scandal?

Why has NOM chair John C. Eastman (left) has been silent during this week's scandal while former chair Maggie Gallagher (right) has been spinning her heart out to explain it away?

We’ve all missed one fact during the scandal this week involving the revelation of confidential documents leaking the National Organization for Marriage’s plans for homophobic race-baiting and other eyebrow-raising tactics to stop marriage equality.

Where in the heck is NOM’s chair, John C. Eastman?

We’ve read statements from NOM president Brian Brown and its former chair, Maggie Gallagher –  statements which were obviously coming from a sad attempt to spin this controversy into a minor blip or the fault of the gay community.

And we’ve seen Gallagher on MSNBC furthering that bad spin.

But throughout the entire thing, we have yet to hear or see NOM’s present chair Eastman.

In September of last year, NOM announced that Gallagher was stepping down as chair to focus on specific and outside projects and that Eastman was taking her place.

But since then, Eastman has been pretty much a ghost. And that is his prerogative. Some board chairs are very hands-off.

However, for a controversy of the magnitude we have been seeing (and I think that we will be hearing more as time goes on), isn’t it strange that not only has NOM’s chair been conspicuously silent, but its former chair has been the leading face and voice in trying to quell the controversy?

I think that there is more to Mr. Eastman’s absence than meets the eye.

Photo from LGBTQ Nation.

How Rick Santorum Ended Up Getting 8% in Puerto Rico

In my previous post, I wrote that:

In Hawaii, white and Asian Mormons in Laie ended up giving 93% of their vote to Mitt Romney. Put any group under a particular set of (usually adversarial) circumstances, and it will end up giving 90+% support to a certain side in an election. Hawaii’s Republican caucus is a perfect example of this.

Another example of this maxim cropped up a few days ago, when Puerto Rico voted in the 2012 Republican Primary. The territory ended up giving 83% of the vote to Republican Mitt Romney. This is a higher figure than Romney’s percentage in any other state which has so far voted.

Most political observers will connect Puerto Rico’s strong pro-Romney vote to a recent Rick Santorum interview. In this interview Santorum argued that Puerto Rico needed to make English its official language before becoming a state.

Santorum’s statements were treated negatively in the mainland press. However, this doesn’t necessarily indicate that Puerto Ricans themselves were extremely upset about Santorum’s views – or that they even knew about Santorum’s comments in the first place. I’ve searched out four Puerto Rican newspaper articles (here, here, here, and here) about Santorum’s comments. Three are pretty short and perfunctory; one is longer and more negative. Does this mean that the average Puerto Rican was aware of and upset by Santorum’s comments?

And just how important was the primary to the average Puerto Rican? Of course, America’s primaries have less to do with Puerto Ricans than people on the mainland. But just how much less so? To find the answer, we have to look for hints. The Puerto Rican primary results did make the reel of top news stories in Puerto Rican newspapers.

There is also turn-out. In the 2008 Democratic primary, turn-out was above that of Connecticut but below that of Oregon and Oklahoma. This matches the relative population of these respective states. In the 2012 Republican primary, however, the number of Puerto Ricans who voted was less than half the number of Oklahomans. So it seems that the 2012 Republican Primary was far less important to Puerto Rico than the 2012 Democratic Primary.

It’s a difficult question how Puerto Rico would have voted without Santorum’s statements. Puerto Rico is very different from the American mainland; therefore it’s not easy to predict its political behavior.

In general, Puerto Rico seems to go for the more well-known, establishment candidate. And upstart Santorum is a bad cultural fit for Puerto Rico. It’s pretty hard to see Santorum winning Puerto Rico even without his English comments.

Nevertheless, Santorum ended up getting 8% in Puerto Rico. That’s a very, very low number. In 2008, despite his weakness amongst Hispanics, Barack Obama still ended up getting 31.2% of the Puerto Rican vote. It’s not unreasonable to think that Santorum would have done similar if he’d not argued that Puerto Rico make English its official language to gain statehood. At least he probably would have broken into double-digits.

All in all, as stated before, place any group under the right adversarial circumstances, and it will vote very strongly for one side and against another. Rick Santorum, with his English comments, put Puerto Ricans in a very adversarial circumstance. A few days later Puerto Rico gave his opponent ten times the number of votes Santorum won.


Late Night FDL: Romney PAC Donated $10K to NOM Under the Radar, Fueling Anti-Gay Org’s Race-Based Strategy

A $10K PAC donation is exposed in never-before-seen National Organization for Marriage financial documents. The Human Rights Campaign was exclusively able to obtain the private 2008 IRS filing from NOM via a whistleblower. It shows a contribution from an obscure Alabama PAC belonging to Romney, rather than from Mittens himself.

Scott Wooledge asks the pertinent question — “How Much Racial Division and Hostility Did Mitt Romney Buy with His $10,000 Donation to NOM?

Was Mitt Romney among the privileged few high-dollar donors who got an “eyes-only” glimpse at NOM’s confidential strategy memos?

In other words, it’s worth asking: what did Mitt Romney know, and when did he know it? To be fair, Romney’s 2008 donation predates the materials that have been made public. But his relationship, and that of his Church — a major donor to NOM — continues. And it stands to reason that there were 2008 versions of this strategy memo, as well as 2010, 2011, and 2012 versions. The mind shudders to imagine what is in the ones we haven’t seen.

NOM’s disgusting strategy to fight marriage equality efforts by driving a political wedge between the black and gay communities was exposed last week, and the leading candidate for the GOP nomination funded NOM’s tactics under the table, while proclaiming his support for Prop 8. HRC: [cont’d.] (more…)

Text Book Racism

Text Book Racism
By David Glenn Cox

Sometimes you must let these ideas incubate inside of you; these are ideas which have been with me most all of my life. They were ideas just percolating under the surface, just under the skin, so to speak. I was born towards the end of the 1950’s and my early days were spent in a lily white, baby boomer suburb outside Chicago. There were no black people there none, zip, nada.

When we would watch television inside this white bubble, I saw no black people on TV with the exception of Louis Armstrong or Sammy Davis Junior. Because of this, I had no understanding of race in America, none, zip, nada. I was still a small child when I saw Martin Luther King on television, in front of the Lincoln Memorial and the power of his voice moved me. I felt as if I were hearing the voice of god himself.

My parents were both children of the Great Depression and my mother was a Catholic and I remember her explaining to me about the civil rights movement by saying, “the same people who don’t like those people because of their color don’t like you because of your religion.” It was a very simple concept even for a child to understand, the internal belief in the superiority of one group over another because of their beliefs or the color of their skin or both. My parents were both great liberals and supporters of the civil rights movement but still they had no contact with black people, none, zip, nada.

In 1965, we moved to Montgomery Alabama. We lived in a lily white settled neighborhood and the only black people I saw there were the maids walking to the bus stop along towards evening. When we would go shopping downtown I would see black people but had no contact with them. They were not cashiers or employed in positions where they would have contact with the public. But I remember one day seeing a baby doll for sale in a store and it was a black baby and I still remember thinking what great idea that was. Obviously, black children would want to play with a baby doll that looked like them.

Montgomery pried open my ignorance about race, we went to the movies at a theater downtown and I saw a balcony and being a precocious ten year old boy the lure was almost irresistible. How cool, I thought it would be to watch the movie from up there in the balcony, but no matter how hard I searched, I could not find the stairs. Finally, I asked the usher, “Where are the stairs to the balcony?” He answered abruptly, “The balcony is closed.”

His answer did not explain to me where the stairs were and it was years before I discovered that the stairs were located on the outside of the building almost like a fire escape and offering no access to either the snack bar or to the restrooms. The balcony had been closed by a presidential executive order which banned segregation in public places.

This was the same executive order which prompted Montgomery city officials to close and destroy all of the cities public swimming pools. The officials had used city funds, equipment and employees to fill these pools in and cover them over with asphalt rather than to share them with its black citizens. The local public library was having a book sale and so we went looking to find some good books. Most of the books in the sale were text books because at this time the state and county did not supply free text books. The text books had to be purchased each year by the student’s parents.

This wasn’t your head on fill in the swimming pools type of racism but a more subtle economic racism. Of course, since blacks couldn’t be hired into better paying jobs it was more difficult for them to be able to afford to educate their children. My parents were conscious of what was going on in Montgomery and so when Martin Luther King led the march from Selma to Montgomery down Hwy 80 my parents loaded us up in the car and we went to see the march. I saw a lot of black people and a lot of cops but understood little about voter’s rights.

We moved back to Chicago in 1967 and I attended a junior high school with 1,200 students and of that number only two of the students were black. I had no idea of how to relate, it wasn’t that I disliked them or hated them. I just didn’t understand in those tumultuous times how to break through the barriers which divided us. It was due mainly to my own self imposed fear based quarantine, for no good reason what so ever I was afraid of them. They were different from me, strange and alien and I was an ignorant little white boy. For all my liberal ideals of equality and of teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony, I was a fraud.

Circumstances placed me back in Montgomery in 1973 and this time I was attending a high school where half of the students were black. A school named after the President of the Confederacy which had only been integrated for three years before my arrival. These black people were so different in my eyes, their clothes were different and their hair was different and to a great degree I couldn’t understand their Southern black English which led to a lot of nodding my head and answering “un huh” no matter what I was asked.

Gradually, my fear diminished and just as gradually my dislike for a lot of the white population grew. Many of the whites, both adults and children were coarse and ugly in their speech and attitudes towards the black population. It became for me not so much a matter of race as a matter of civilization. Which side are you on? Are you going to live your life hateful and close minded or accepting and willing to learn from others?

I quickly learned that if your car broke down in Montgomery you had better hope that there were some black folks around because white folks wouldn’t stop to help a long haired white boy under any circumstances. I was living in a rough side of town and the battery in my car had died. My roommate was going to give me a jump and I had hooked the jumper cables to my car when a black man turned his car around in traffic and pulled up in front of my car and popped his hood latch and enabled me to get to work on time.

There was no conversation between us as I called out “thank you” and he just waved. I couldn’t buy a new battery until Friday and there he was the next day and the day after that to jump me off. He never asked for anything and he owed me as a white man in Montgomery Alabama nothing. As a teenager, I was traveling from Montgomery to Chicago on a train; I struck up a conversation with an older black woman taking her grandchildren back to their parents in Chicago.

This woman was the only person on the train to notice that I wasn’t eating. But what she did was more than to just offer me a sandwich because she allowed me to keep my dignity along with the sandwich as she explained, “The children won’t eat egg salad, would you please do me a favor and eat it so I don’t have to throw it away.” It was a small act of charity but to me it was near divine as this woman raised and reared in the Jim Crow south where text books weren’t free and white politicians would rather fill in public swimming pools before sharing them with black children saw only my hunger and not my race.

My thirty five years in the Deep South have given me hundreds of other instances where black people have been inordinately kind to me. Over the years I’ve had more trouble with white people than with black. I had as a customer in Montgomery who was a Tuskegee Airman, he told me stories of returning from Italy as a decorated veteran and being forced to stand on the train after it passed Saint Louis into the Deep South. It made me ashamed of this country as I asked, “Didn’t that make you angry?”

He smiled, “That’s they way things were then, they’re better now.” He was right of course, but then he was wrong as well. Barack Obama was elected the President of the United States but still, even as he finishes his first term the racism and racist remarks persist. I had left the Deep South for Minnesota and once again there weren’t many black people around and I found that I missed their community.

I visited Texas and a black cashier checked my groceries and I had to tell her “it’s just so nice to hear southern speech with its warm tones and friendly colloquialisms which have become so deeply ingrained into my own voice and vocabulary. I don’t see it as white guilt but of white understanding and this was all brought into sharp focus by the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Once again, I’m ashamed by the behavior of so many of my white brethren. I have seen and heard their outright racism shouted from the balconies of intolerance on anonymous internet boards but what’s more troubling, and even worse, is the subtle text book racism. The willingness suspend common sense and to make excuses for an obviously unjustified shooting of an unarmed teenager. It is a sickening behavior, it is appalling and I am reviled by it.

It makes me ashamed to be white as the other day I heard and older white man explain to his friends, “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with health care, its lawyers suing everyone” then as the subject changed to the shooting he added in the same breath, “Oh, we can’t tell what went on, but if the cops didn’t arrest him it must have been justified.” It is this subtle and pervasive racism, just under the skin which has been with us always in this country. An almost subliminal racism which implies if the victim is a black man he must have somehow deserved it.

The bigots and Klansmen types can easily be ignored because they so richly display the bankruptcy of their ideology with their own tongues. It makes them easy to distinguish and difficult to take seriously, but this subtle racism disguised as hoodies and questions of Trayvon’s character that is something else. If Trayvon Martin had been struck by lightening no one would ask what clothes Trayvon was wearing and no one would ask about his school record, but Trayvon wasn’t hit by lightening. He was shot and killed by a grown man, a grown man who identified Trayvon as black and suspicious and possibly on drugs to 911 operators.

I have heard George Zimmerman supporters make the claim that George Zimmerman isn’t a racist. I will accept that Zimmerman isn’t a segregated balcony racist, but instead to me he’s a text book racist. He wouldn’t shout the “N” word at school children attempting to desegregate a public school but he will instead mumble under his breath, “The ***** always get away,” because he feared and suspected anyone strange or different from himself. A teenager minding his own business eating Skittles and talking to his girlfriend appeared to George Zimmerman as a gang banger and as a threat. This is the modern day text book racist, rather than preaching racial superiority based on an ingrained fear we see the inverted version, a fear based racism based only upon ignorance and stereotype.

Frank Zappa once said, “I’m not black, but there’s a whole lots a times I wish I could say I’m not white.” Me too Frank, but what is most important is for those in the white community, who do care and who aren’t afraid, is to speak up and to not let the subliminal and pervasive modern text book racism to hold the floor and to control the dialogue. The victory of this modern text book racism is entirely dependent on what racism has always been dependent on, on good people remaining silent.

In Praise of the Universal Surveillance State. No Shame in Our Game.

(photo: laverrue/flickr)

The left has fought tooth and nail as the proliferation of surveillance devices, both privately and publicly installed, continues apace.

I believe that this is an error.

One, we’ll never roll back the surveillance devices because they give to their controllers the irresistible superpowers of being in more than one place at once, and being invisible.

Two, we should welcome, not oppose universal surveillance.

The recent importance of chance police video of George Zimmerman has highlighted, not for the first time, the crucial evidentiary material contained in such surveillance records as to which  the government is willingly  (or inadvertently) subject.

Per contra, whole police departments have gone to court to oppose citizen cell phone videos conducted in the public streets.

To date, law enforcement, who would put cameras everywhere, fights cameras in the one place an honest cop wants it-the interrogation room, so he cannot later be accused of improper force.

This is another of the super powers of surveillance-the power to disambiguate.  Instead of the victims word against the aggressor, the camera/recorder/gunshot locator, etc, brings clarity out of attempted perjury.

Viva Surveillance, may it be frequent, pervasive, and UBIQUITOUS

Thus, complete transparency in government.  Nothing is said or done outside the public eye.

If they want to watch us, we get to watch them.

Speaking as a retired stripper, it’s only fair.

No shame in our game, no shame in theirs.

Kochs, Lies, and Videotape

This week as I premiered my new film, Koch Brothers Exposed — the result of a year-long investigation on how two billionaires are using their wealth to corrupt democracy — Koch Industries has launched an attack on the film and me. The Kochs intimidate, they menace; they have a letter from their lawyer borderline threatening the media if it reports what’s in the film — and they always try to change the subject so their behavior can stay in the shadows: not only are they unwilling to accept my offer of a debate or interview, they also refuse to testify about their interest in the Keystone XL pipeline and may have to be dragged kicking and screaming into revealing their secret contributions to groups doing election work.

This time, the Kochs are using a technique I point out in the film: attacking to avoid dealing with the facts. They are dodging and distorting the truth to avoid confronting our findings on cancer, voting rights, civil rights, and more.

How? Let me count (some of) the ways:

1) Cancer. People are dying of cancer near the Kochs’ Georgia Pacific plant in Crossett, Arkansas, and the Kochs refuse to answer the relevant question: What are they going to do about it? On Penn Road in Crossett, right near the mill, residents powerfully show how nine out of 11 homes have suffered from cancer. A USA Today study said Crossett’s school district is in the top 1% in the nation for cancer. Meanwhile, the Kochs’ facility releases significant amounts of formaldehyde — a known carcinogen — and there’s no other chemical plant in town. The Kochs are among the country’s top 10 polluters and lobbied hard to keep formaldehyde from being labeled a carcinogen. For a company where one of the owners (David Koch) and the communications director (Melissa Cohlmia) are cancer survivors, this is tragic and infuriating. It reflects a warped sense of humanity where greed trumps all.

2) Voting rights. The Kochs have given over $1 million to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that’s trying to pass severe voter ID restrictions in states across the country. These bills disenfranchise the poor, the elderly, the young, people of color — in short, people who are likely to oppose a 1% agenda. The Kochs won’t explain why anyone should believe that ALEC’s pro-corporate, anti-99% agenda is somehow detached from its billionaire funders. Onerous voting restrictions are already impacting people’s ability to vote in the 2012 election. [cont’d.] (more…)

Milestones, and Dreams in the midst of Reality


Life is often measured and evaluated through what we refer to as milestones.  If you see life as a journey in the metaphorical sense, then the milestone is a marker, an indicator of distance between one place in life and another.  For practical purposes, all a milestone really is an occasion to recognize where you are, give some thought to where you’ve been and ponder just where it is that you are headed.  A milestone is often the birth of one’s first child, or one’s first girlfriend or boyfriend.  Milestones are subjective, belonging both to the eye of the beholder and the eyes of the beheld. A loving parent looks upon an adult son or daughter with eyes that see not only the man or woman before them, but the infant of times past and everything in between.   For soldiers in combat a milestone is often nothing more than the last phone call to a loved one, or waking up alive to fight another day.

Death is also a milestone.  As such, I would like to acknowledge the passing of Anna Brown, a soldier and victim of the  decades long offensive against the working class as part of the perpetual domestic and global class war that is the defining characteristic of the United States of America. Ms. Brown died on Sept 20 2011 in circumstances indicative of the institutional contempt and neglect of the poor and homeless in the U.S., a contempt that in itself is only an extension of the neglect and contempt for America’s working class, a working class which makes up the vast majority of the population of the U.S.

A tornado destroyed Ms. Brown’s home, she and her two children moved into another place of residence and soon afterwards, Ms. Brown lost her job.  She fell behind on rent, water and heating bills and soon lost custody of her children and found herself homeless. Throughout all of this, it is believed that she was suffering from untreated mental illness issues.   Her last moments on earth consisted of being thrown out of a hospital in debilitating pain, arrested and dragged into a jail cell where she died about 15 minutes after officers left her moaning weakly in pain on the cell’s floor.  And then she was gone, her plans for the future, her worries, her hopes and her dreams for her children, gone.

I would like to think that upon hearing the details of Ms. Brown’s passing that most people would think of their own children, their grandchildren, or even themselves, ANY human being or fellow citizen experiencing a similar fate.  In other words, I would like to think that there exists in the U.S. a basic level of shared empathy.  But there is no such shared empathy in the U.S.

If there were, would it not be reasonable to assume that someone somewhere would have intervened in such a way as to spare Ms. Brown her eventual fate?  Would it not be reasonable to assume that the hospital, instead of turning her away in pain, would have kept her overnight, just 1 night, under observation?  Would it also not be reasonable to assume that the responding officers, upon encountering a woman complaining of debilitating pain would have implored the staff to check one more time as to the cause of Ms. Brown’s agony?

Would it not be reasonable to assume that, in a nation with national health care (like ALL other modern nations worldwide) or with adequate unemployment insurance (like ALL other modern nations worldwide) that Ms. Brown would have had a fighting chance to have been treated for her mental illness and to  have survived the condition which eventually killed her, and to avoid being left on the street simply because a CONservative/NeoLiberal economy failed to provide her a job?

Is it not reasonable to assume that in a nation in which a privileged few make more money in one day than most could possibly hope to make in several lifetime’s that something more could have been done for Ms. Brown, and the countless Ms. Brown’s of the world?

If a real and healthy sense of shared empathy existed in the U.S. is it not reasonable to expect that perhaps, perhaps Ms. Brown would still be alive to raise her two children?

Is it not reasonable?  Or is expecting the simple of acknowledgement of a humanitarian idea like equality simply a dream in the U.S.?

And is it time to ask ourselves are we simply dreamers, or are we actually willing to do what it takes to realize the modest dreams we have for ourselves, our families and for our fellow citizens?

In my opinion, an empathetic, and reasonable nation would not suffer the collection of racist, theocratic, regressive criminal  con men, swindlers and bigots that is the GOP.  An empathetic and reasonable nation would also not accept a watered down, compromised and slightly less racist and criminal version of the same in the form of Democrats.  I include myself, naturally, as a member of the society that has created and nurtured the current state of affairs.

I DO NOT include myself as a member of society who will stand idly by and allow the status quo to continue.  By every legal and nonviolent means that is available to me I will resist the continuation of a society and a system devoid of equality, justice and empathy.  By every legal and nonviolent means available to me I will actively pursue the creation of a society that anchors itself  in equality, justice and empathy.

The hallmarks of a decent society are not spectacular; equality, justice, shared sacrifice AND prosperity, no ceilings on success, but a guaranteed, humanitarian and basic level of existence that is guaranteed for and by All citizens.

These things are attainable, I know it, you know it, we know it.  So what are WE doing about it?


This Is How Twisted Gingrich Is

Remember this whole thing about Gingrich saying that union janitors in schools should be fired and replaced with kids? When I read that, I could not stop thinking, “Where the heck is THAT coming from?”

Well, now we know.

“During the Republican presidential debate this week, Newt Gingrich shared a story about how his daughter worked as a church janitor when she was only 13…Gingrich’s reference to his daughter’s youthful employment is part of an ongoing narrative for the former House speaker: Poor kids should start toiling as early as 9 years old so they can learn what it means to make a living. “I’m going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job and learn someday to own the job,” Gingrich said in the debate Monday..”

Gingrich daughters work

Now, let’s not bother to go into the child labor law violations here. Let’s look at what and why. here’s what we know:

? When Gingrich’s daughter took this job, she was 13 years old – she was born in 1966; this makes it somewhere in the 1979-1980 time frame.

? Gingrich filed his papers to divorce Jackie Battley (wife #1) on July 14, 1980. He was already in the affair with the woman who became Wife #2 for some time and they were married when the divorce became final in 1981. Jackie Battley responded to the court that she did not want a divorce from Gingrich at that time because … (wait for it…wait for it) he was basically not providing them with any sort of support.

? It is well known that their church in Georgia ‘supported’ Jackie and the girls during this period. in 1980, Jackie Battley and Gingrich had already been separated for some time and he was already squeezing her down (in anticipation of filing for divorce, no doubt). So no wonder Jackie Jr. (the daughter) took it upon herself to take a job which was probably offered to them by the church. There’s the answer. So now Newtie is claiming this was some sort of ‘good thing’ that his daughter did voluntarily, when it’s obvious that little Jackie basically had to become a breadwinner because her father was being an asshole.

I realize at this point, Gingrich is basically out of the race, and this could be considered ‘making lemons into lemonade’ but it sure seems to me that it’s another example of Newtie’s supreme narcissism — “See, I make it possible for you to have this fantastic experience.”