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Member since: 2001
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Political Correctness vs Legal or Regulatory Action: Where does "real change" come from?

The "PC is a waste of time" argument is made here: The Culture Of The Smug White Liberal

Before you decide, read this one, too: Waitress stunned by cruel message diners left on receipt instead of giving a tip

This is not our first time through this cycle. I remember listening to arguments about whether it's worthwhile to "force" people to conceal their racism and bigotry by eliminating the n-word from circulation, back when.

The arguments took several tacks, one of which was "they're gonna be bigots anyway, showing their ugliness in public hurts their own cause." Another was "we have better things to do, like pushing anti-redlining regulations in the mortgage industry (or other 'actual action.')"

There's always been a school of thought that dismissed the importance of semantics and social disincentives focused on bigotry, cruelty, and oppression, in favor of structural redirection via legal and/or regulatory action.

Sometimes it's been argued that "enforcing political correctness" has the paradoxical effect of exciting oppositional defiance and actually encouraging the tendencies such enforcement is focused on limiting. Lord knows, the cussedness of human nature certainly validates that in individual cases.

And sometimes it's argued social engineering via 'pc enforcement' runs counter to liberal/progressive core ideology itself, if not the actual First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. After all, people SHOULD be free to express repugnant beliefs.

They are, of course. "PC enforcement" via the application of social incentives and disincentives is not the same thing as legal/regulatory action. It's focused not on what people have legal sanction to do, but on what they have social sanction to express.

I will defend to the death your right to hold repugnant, bigoted views and beliefs, but that doesn't mean you have a right to make me listen to them or validate them.

I remember listening to a clueless racist from my own family, back when I was a youngster, arguing that "desegregation won't help" against racism, and that busing laws were the wrong way to go about it.

They certainly aren't magic, solve-it-all-permanently-in-one-go bullet solutions.

We thought at one point that the Voting Rights Act would be such a magic bullet solution, and how tragically wrong history has proven us in this era of diligent voter suppression.

I don't think it's an "either/or" choice.

Research validates that not only can you make people change their behavior by changing their beliefs, but you can make people change their beliefs by changing their behavior.

In other words, "acting as if" can powerfully change your thinking, just as changes in your thinking affect how you act.

Here's what I wonder: What made the person who wrote that disgusting message believe it was OKAY to do that? And with the belief that it's okay to treat someone that way based on what you assume about them, how and where will they next act on that belief?

If we want real change, I firmly believe that we MUST work both ends against the middle, consistently, thoughtfully, incrementally, and for the long, long haul.

There will always be backlashes against change, from one direction or another. Attempts to roll back progress, by playing one end against the other.

Only by working BOTH ends against the middle: pushing for changes in thoughts and actions and belief via social incentive/disincentive, AND pushing for changes in actions, systems, and structures via legal and regulatory means, can we continue the journey in the direction of human evolution.



They all seem to be either a) curled into a fetal position rocking themselves gently and moaning; b) standing around with deer-in-headlights looks and rigid pasted-on smiles; or c) diving behind doors and muttering 'no comment!'

They have what may be the single best (and maybe ONLY) chance to salvage the party's chance to boost down-ticket races, and they're blowing it, JUST TO SPITE OBAMA!

Let's see if we can break this down into really simple concepts, like GOPpie voters need, okay?

1. Zika virus is in Florida, which is IN THE U.S.

2. The worst damage Zika virus does is profound damage to gestating embryos, resulting in severely malformed fetuses.

3. Profoundly damaged embryos and severely deformed fetuses generally RAISE THE ABORTION RATE.

4. The GOP has staked a massive percentage of its political capital, for DECADES, on preventing abortions in America.

5. President Obama has requested Congress to allocate $1.9 billion in emergency funding to keep the Zika virus from spreading and producing a virulent epidemic.

6. Which would, if successful, prevent abortions, save babies and moms, and generally be a public health triumph.

And Congress first whinged about grabbing money away from other important programs to provide pathetically smaller amounts of emergency funding, and then tabled the WHOLE FUCKING THING until after their summer vacation????

With MORE Zika cases emerging?

Guys, guys, guys.... THINK!!!

WHAT does it cost you, Paul Ryan, to holla "OKAY, everybody back to Washington by 9 am Monday, we are GONNA SAVE BABIES, NOW!"


Oh... I see. Y'all only wanna save babies when Obama isn't involved, izzat it?

Or... or... maybe y'all are just so effing paralyzed by the looming Orange Dumpster Fire about to engulf your party that you can't even raise a finger to save yourselves?

You're denying the 247 GOPpie Congresscritters running for re-election the opportunity to stand up at their town halls and look stern and noble and say "We made an extraordinary commitment to save babies, because we believe in that."

Because Obama had something to do with it?

Or because you've just already given up and are mewling helplessly trying to drag yourselves out of the radius of total destruction by the Nuclear Cheeto?

Which is it?

Just curious...

(Oh, and BTW, do you know how much each and every microcephalic baby costs? Fo' shizzle, dudes... ask any health economist. $1.9 billion to keep it from happening is the CHEAP route.)


If you think the pre-election misogyny is bad...

Someone in another threat asked "Is there a rational explanation for the virulence of Hillary-hatred?"

Well, several. Starting with the one unforgivable sin in the eyes of the GOP, that applies regardless of gender, ethnicity, skin color, etc.-- WINNING. She was already tainted by association with Bill Clinton, who'd committed the Unforgivable Sin of denying the head of the Bush Crime Family a second term. Then she won the NY Senate seat. Then she just would NOT give up and take her shellackings in the media, crumble under all those Congressional investigations, etc.

That's all pretty unforgivable in GOP eyes, irrespective of demographics.

But I'm remembering back to 2008, when America nominated its first non-white major party candidate for President. I honestly felt, back then, as though it was a sign of progress in the generations-long fight against racism.

Not a victory, no. I wasn't THAT naive. But the nomination itself, followed by the victory (and a fairly decisive victory, at that,) convinced me that we'd come further along the path than in fact we had.

The roseate glow of that victory dissipated quickly, of course. The festering wound of racism hadn't really healed much at all, if any, and that election simply ripped the scab off and let forth a flow of putrescent manifestations of racism beyond anything I'd imagined or feared.

Now I watch the misogyny, overt or thinly-veiled, or even heavily-cloaked and dog-whistled, in the coverage of and responses to Hillary Clinton's campaign, and I wonder what we're in for, should she win the Presidency.

Buckle up, my friends.


"Is there sanctuary for the disenchanted Republicans in THIS Democratic Party"

One pundit asked rhetorically, after Hillary's acceptance speech. And then answered (quelle surprise) with a critique I'm sure he thought was scathing, of the agenda she laid out.

So, let me expand a little on the issue of "sanctuary" for Republicans, in the Democratic Party that nominated Hillary Clinton for President, in 2016.

If you want a refuge from the thin-skinned ego, the unprepared narcissism, the uncontrolled temper, of a man who has never done a day of public service, welcome.

If you want a refuge from the terrifying thought of a man who honestly believes "I, alone, am the answer", in spite of not one single day in any kind of elected office, welcome.

If the notion of that orange-tinged finger on the metaphorical nuclear button gives you the jimjams, welcome.

If the scams, the bankruptcies, the stiffed contractors, the bilked 'students' of "Trump University," the hypocritical cheap-labor underpinnings of his clothing empire repel you, welcome.


Here's the deal.

You take us as we are.

Progressive platform and all.

You don't get to re-make us into your vision of what a left-ish, center-ey, sort of moderate-oid, 'acceptable' party with an 'acceptable' agenda SHOULD be.

If you're looking for refuge from a GOP that's become a hot mess, in the hope you can push and twist and leverage and maneuver and whine and insist and shove the Democratic Party into your box, fuggedaboutit.

It's a harder job, maybe, but what you should REALLY be doing, is heading back to your hot mess of a party and cleaning it up, turning it into what you think a party should be. And if that's "adult, deliberate, respect-worthy, conservative, thoughtful, practical, and successful," more power to you. I'll never love ya, people, but you could regain the small amount of respect I once had for some of you.

In the mean time, yeah, you can take shelter here, temporarily.

We get it, you don't like us, you don't like what we want to accomplish for this very great nation, but we're less awful than what your party's become, and right now, between today and November 8th, we ALL have to make some hard choices and compromise some passionate desires to preserve us from something infinitely worse.

The coffee's hot. Help yourself. Remember you're a guest, and we will try to remember that, too.

Guests don't get to redecorate or remodel the host's home.

But they get shelter from the storm, and respect for their humanity. We're up for that.

Stick with us through November 8th, then head back to the smoking ruins of your own party and rebuild THAT.


#RNCinCLE: America's Red Hour

It is rumored that tonight, Republican nominee for President Donald J. Trump is going to pull out all the stops to remind those in the audience of how terrible they have it and why voting for him is the only answer.

I've had a hard time understanding the Trump phenomenon all along. I'm reasonably savvy about both history and sociology, and I do grasp the basic strategy that got the Republican Party to this point. If you mong enough fear to release the Inner Terrified Predator of your desired electorate, focus them on appropriate scapegoat(s), then promise to hand the scapegoats to them all hogtied and ready for a bloody kicking by those Inner Terrified Predators, you build a hella momentum.

But... Trump?

The solons of the GOP knew the weakness as well as the strength of that strategy. It's how they got so good at the Dog Whistle. There's not enough of any one type of voter for this strategy to work without obfuscating it behind the nudge-nudge, wink-wink that will allow several different segments of the electorate to feel the fear of the Awful Other, all at the same time. You have to keep what would otherwise be natural opponents of one another all riding in the same cart.

Your out-of-work middle-aged blue-collar stiffs, your misogynistic alt-right manboys, your retirees piously wistful for the never-was Mayberry of their fading memories, your wannabe Galt misfits, and so many more. They really don't have that much in common with one another. How do you unify them? Attract enough more to credibly steal an election?

The last thirty years have demonstrated exactly how. You mong the fear with subtle skill, allowing out only flashes, with plausible deniability, for each segment, wooing them into a warm sploogefest of 'we all understand what's REALLY being promised but we're not gonna talk about it here.' And as the fear and the hate build up, you front puppets outside your organization, via hate radio and other tools, to provide confirmation and the occasional catharsis, while you maintain your own appearance of respectability.

And the sense of fear builds. It gets channeled productively (for the GOP) into scapegoat-hatred, and you cleverly gerrymander and game the system to maximize the effects. You throw just enough biscuits to each pack to keep them in your vicinity, while reminding them of the 'unreasonable' oppression and control being exercised over their "freedom" by the Vile Scapegoats (be they Democratic office holders, Social Justice Warriors obsessed with politically correct speech, minorities grabbing free stuff, immigrants taking jobs, whatever...)

You tell them they're oppressed, over and over. You tell them that the seething fear inside them that you've been ginning up isn't fear at all, but justified hatred of the oppressors curtailing their freedom.

But you always have to do it in dog whistles, by proxies, by second- and third-hand means, because there must be a core of control, the planners, the exploiters, the true beneficiaries, to direct things.

Then comes the Red Hour.

No one is in control anymore. No one is in charge.

I wanted to understand this phenomenon, especially after reading this Huffpo post about why women support the man who's loudly and proudly exhibited his contempt for them, calling us "dogs," "slobs," "fat pigs," "disgusting animals" and more.

Here's a couple of quotes:

Ive said things like that about guys ― Oh, hes short, or look at his little feet. But just on the surface about it, and thats the refreshing part for me, is that he can speak his mind, because weve been so inhibited,

Im a woman with a loose mouth so I get myself in trouble,

And of course, we're all familiar with the oft-highlighted "I like Trump because he's upfront and tells it like it is" cognitive dissonance.

Essentially, Trump is the promise of enshrining the right to be an asshole in public, into the Constitution.

Mind you, all too many of the GOP's perfervid shock troops think it's already there, a nebulous conglomeration of the First and Second Amendments that guarantees them not only the right to be assholes, shoot anyone who disagrees with them, and be granted unrestricted tolerance and public forums for the display of their assholery. But those Vile Oppressors enforcing politically correct speech, denying them their rights to roll coal on the roads, brandish military-grade ordinance at Wal-Mart, and force baby-factories back into the kitchen where they belong need a real ass-whoopin', and Trump is just loud enough, obnoxious enough, and uninhibited enough to deliver it, with their help.

And so, the clock is striking six in Cleveland, and the Festival begins.


Black Lives STILL Matter

They mattered 300 years ago when European merchant imperialists fetched up on African shores, massacred those who resisted, and hauled the rest off as cargo, because people who looked like that couldn't possibly be as human as the greedy shitheads killing them.

They mattered 250 years ago when Africans were brought to American shores to be sold as property, beaten, abused, separated from family members and killed with impunity.

They mattered 200 years ago when the people who'd penned the words "All men are created equal" and fought a war to prove it, decided that the ones with dark skin were only 3/5 as equal as all other men.

They mattered 150 years ago when Confederate veterans formed terrorist organizations to harrass and kill newly-freed slaves and prevent them from holding the lands, jobs, and benefits promised as part of Reconstruction.

They mattered 100 years ago in the Jim Crow era when lynchings, beatings, home-burnings, and 'separate but (certainly NEVER) equal' were used to keep black Americans from presuming to the rights of citizens and equal status under the law.

They mattered 50 years ago when black churches were bombed, black schoolchildren were killed, dogs were set on peaceful protesters, and activists working for Civil Rights were assassinated.

And they matter today when law enforcement officers constitute themselves judge, jury, and executioner for anyone with black skin they consider any kind of threat-- and GET AWAY WITH IT.

So when you're tempted to remind us piously about how "all life matters," just stop and think.

The reason it's important to keep reminding everyone in America today that Black Lives Matter is because it's a lesson we apparently have failed to learn, for THREE HUNDRED (plus) YEARS.

It's the lessons we DON'T learn that have to be repeated over, and over, and over.


"Officer, Can You Help?"

A friend of mine who's now long, long retired from a police force told me once that those words were why he chose to apply to become a police officer.

He wanted to help.

He wanted to protect.

He wanted to make neighborhoods and communities safe and strong.

I asked him, "Was your life ever at risk?"

A few times, he told me. But rarely because of "bad guys shooting at me." Cops get exposed to a lot of dangerous situations.

Once he dove into a lake to free a dog trapped in a sinking boat, which was the only thing close to a bona fide 'hero story' he'd ever tell about working as a cop.

I suspect he could tell more.

He is white. There were "black neighborhoods" in his city and sometimes he was assigned there. He said he didn't feel extraordinarily alert or threatened or risk-conscious there. He was just doing his job.

He knew there was racism on the force he worked for. He knew there were racial tensions in some of the areas he worked. He did what he could to address that, including spending off-time in some of those neighborhoods, volunteering at community centers, participating in pick-up basketball games, eating out at local joints, getting to know people.

But that was then. Forty-plus years ago, when SWAT teams hadn't yet migrated eastward from the West Coast, before President Nixon declared "War on Drugs", before the manufacturers of military hardware decided domestic law enforcement was a fruitful new profit center, before the Endless Oil War supplied police departments with so many recruits with military training and rawly traumatic urban warfare experience.

Forty-plus years ago, when the Civil Rights movement had just accomplished a series of victories and the assassination of Martin Luther King heightened consciousness of just how dangerous racism was for all concerned. No one wanted to set off more Long Hot Summers. De-escalation of racial tension remained a priority even in an essentially racist mostly-white police force in an oh-so-politely racist white northern city.

I've been trying to parse out what I know about the corner law enforcement has backed itself into, with its increasing militarization, paranoia, hyperactive threat assessment reflexes, and above all, racism. How all of those things have combined into a powerful bunker mentality, an us-versus-them stance, empowered by good-old-boy unions complicit with City Hall lawyers.

It's not going to be easy to change.

The present calls for unity, for de-escalation, for finding common ground, for making change, etc., aren't exactly unprecedented.

But the reality is that until the police departments of America take steady, consistent, and observable actions to change their culture, their recruitment and training practices, their operational doctrines, and their willingness to be accountable to ALL the people in ALL the communities they serve, the spiral will continue in the wrong direction.


So, my 86-year-old Mom phoned today about gun violence.

She said, "Okay, I need you to tell me why this idea is so crazy, right? I've got an idea I think will make mass shootings less common."

Sez I, "Okay, Mom, shoot. I mean, lay it on me."

"So, I know this sounds weird, right? But I was awake feeling sad about all those people killed and their families, and it just occured to me. Everybody has cars, right? Well, not everybody, but enough so it's almost the same thing."

"Sure, Mom."

"And cars can be real dangerous- people get killed in car accidents a lot, although not as much as they used to when I was a lot younger. Although with more people, the numbers look bigger, but the percentages are down, right?"

"Lemme stop ya here, Mom. I think what you're about to say is that anyone who buys a gun, or at least an automatic-type with the ability to shoot a whole lotta bullets really fast without reloading, they should have to pass a safety test, and get a license to use that gun, and then get a license for the gun itself, and they should have to have insurance, and renew their license regularly, and take ongoing safety tests as needed. Amirite? That what you're thinkin'?"

She's clearly a little miffed that I stole her thunder, but, "Well, yes. Don't you think it's a good idea? Why wouldn't it work?"

"Well, I won't tell you that, because I think it actually WOULD reduce the number of mass shootings. But I CAN tell you why it'll never happen."

"Okay, why's that?"

"Simple. The U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights don't guarantee any right to keep and bear cars."

Long, long silence.

"Mom? You still there?"

"THAT is just STUPID."

I can't say I disagree, actually.



Yes, it's also a hate-filled culture in which homophobia is on the top ten list, certainly.

But no matter who that asshole hated, or how much, or why, it was THE GODDAMNED GUNS that allowed him to kill so many, so quickly, so horribly.

Please, do NOT use this thread to post all the arguments about how if the right person had had the right caliber weapon in the right place at the right time, this wouldn't-a got so far and that's why everybody should be packin'. Just... DON'T.

Being someone who is not unknown within LGBTQ social establishments myself, I also respectfully ask the people I love and sorrow with and fear with and hope for, to discuss the contribution that homophobia and other sick manifestations of a fearful, paranoid, bigoted, dogma-sodden culture made to this horror in the several threads focusing on that.

This OP is about THE FUCKING GUNS.

Or, as I shall call them henceforth, the DEATHTOOLS.

They are tools. Their purpose is to kill.


What more will it take to convince lawmakers and the deathtool Oligarchs and NRA shills who terrorize them into collaboration, that a community cannot live in freedom from fear when every pathetically inadequate, criminally irresponsible, asshole can get their hands on unlimited deathtools?

Can carry them anywhere, can make them shields against their own fear and inadequacy, and can USE them with the willing collaboration of a ghoulish, profit-obsessed media and a violence-fueled network of subcultures that simply ADORE popular entertainment full of blood and explosions and revenge and go ahead, make-my-day machismo?


Answer me, dammit, you pusillanimous, greed-soaked tools, and the fearful, whiney, inadequate voters who keep electing you!




Dear GOPpie Solons: DON'T Go There. You WILL Regret It.

A person who spends more time delving into commentary and coverage of The Levers Of Power than I do gave me this warning:

"Trump hides his very real vulnerabilities by flaunting his "Teflon" bits. You can't get him for being a bigot or a misogynist or a lousy businessman or an ignoramus-- those are things he's proud of, things that appeal to his 'base,' part of his ego-inflating mechanism. They all come with 'justifications':

Bigotry and misogyny are justified because "those people" deserve it.

Those bankruptcies and business failures are all part of his Master Plan to game "the system" that's rigged against "real people" and make tons of bucks anyway.

It's not "ignorance" it's "common sense" like all the "regular guys" who know the same stuff I know.

The problem is, Trump also has very real vulnerabilities. As in, the kind of dirt swept under the rug that Congress and the Courts could use to bring him down hard, including taking away his money and power, and even sending him to Club Fed for a nice, long, time.

And the GOPpie Solons know which rugs to lift. They're not doing it now, because they're mulling over a strategy of maneuvering him into a General Election win, and then bridling him, shoving the bit into his mouth, and riding him for the next four years. IOW, 'play nice, Mister President or it won't just be impeachment, it'll be five-to-nine behind bars and confiscation of every asset.'

Some of them think this might work."

I don't know if this is true. But knowing our GOPpie Solons, it makes a creepy kind of Realpolitik sense. It's right up your alley, isn't it, guys? (And yes, you're almost 100% guys, so I use the term advisedly.)

I'm hoping that one or more of your helots charged with Oppo Monitoring/Research is reading this and might pass it along, because, guys, you need to hear this:

This is not a good strategy for you.

It will not end well. For you, or for anyone.

Because, unlike all the "GAWD TOLE ME TO RUN!" morans who've already stumbled into the chute, what you're looking at with Mr. Trump is an actual Biblical re-enactment.

Donald Trump is Samson, guys.

He is bugfuck crazy, and completely uncontrollable.

And you might, indeed, manage to Delilah him into the White House. But read the Book of Judges, Chapter 16, for how well that'll end.

You might chain him between the pillars of Impeachment and Prosecution, but he WILL bring down the temple, on you and all your minions.

He doesn't care about reason, or "best interests," or financial self-preservation, or even avoiding prosecution and public scandal and the rest of it. He genuinely believes he can overcome ALL of it, with the help of the Massive Ego that is his Higher Power. And if you attempt to load him down with the shackles of Realpolitik, or even reality itself, he will pull everything over in a mighty heave.

And you will NOT benefit therefrom.

So, guys, if this IS a strategy in serious consideration, for your own sake, do not go there. Lift those rugs NOW, while there is still time. Save what you can (the Senate, maybe? Well, the House, at least- you still have a good shot there-) for now, and reassess your Long Game for 2024.

I don't wish you well, you know that. But on the other hand, we're all in this together, and the blast zone of this particular error would engulf a lot of good people as well as y'all, standing at Ground Zero. This is a bunker-buster, guys. You would NOT survive it.

So think, please.

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