Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 13,331
Number of posts: 13,331
First, let me differentiate between what I consider an "effect" versus a "consequence."
You put your hand on a hot stove burner, the EFFECT is a nasty burn. The stove burner isn't providing a "consequence" for your stupidity or absent mindedness, any more than it's providing a "consequence" for the teakettle you just put there.
If you want a big, powerful car and you don't have the money to buy it, so you decide to just take one from a parking lot, you can expect a CONSEQUENCE of getting arrested when you're caught, and possibly further consequences from the court.
In a gray area there's a third thing: The risks we knowingly or unknowingly take.
In the late 1940s, my father started smoking because it was what young men did in those days, and no one knew it carried a risk. He died of lung cancer in 1970. A young woman I was close to in High School chose to go motor-cycle riding with her boyfriend, even though he didn't have a helmet for a passenger. He offered her his helmet, but she "wanted to feel the wind in her hair." This did not turn out well, and our whole class attended the funeral. I've often wondered how he feels about it, after all these years.
We can say that taking risks "carries consequences," but in fact, they're more like "effects with odds." No one decided that smoking should be discouraged and therefore added carcinogens to tobacco to create a "consequence" for smokers. (They DID add carcinogens to tobacco, but not for that reason.)
In other words, "consequence" has an ethical or moral dimension. When you do something that is deleterious to the well-being of your species, tribe, family, social group, etc., a consequence may be created to sanction that behavior.
So here's a short, VERY incomplete list of stuff that should definitely have consequences:
And here's something that should generally not have consequences:
(Which isn't to say that it won't have personal consequences, if, say, you're in another relationship at the time and the other person doesn't know you're cattin' around... there may definitely be some individual impact, there. But that's between y'all.)
Just my tuppeny'orth.
Posted by TygrBright | Sat Jul 5, 2014, 02:13 PM (7 replies)
"Your Reason Not To Shop Here" boycott.
This is how it works:
You print up TWO sets of flyers, and you set up a webpage or blog with info on it.
Includes a brief statement about how HL owners are fucking over female employees and chipping away at Church/State separation rights by denying women health benefits based on the owners' religious beliefs.
Includes a list of LOCAL alternative places to shop for crafting and decorating supplies.
Includes information about the HL retirement plan investments in companies that manufacture "abortifacients" (contraceptive pharmaceuticals and devices.)
Includes a list of LOCAL alternative places to shop for crafting and decorating supplies.
Then you run a no-buffer zone boycott protest as close to the door of the Hobby Lobby as you can get. On one side, the signs have crosses and pro-life slogans, and the protesters hand out Flyer Two. On the other side, the signs have 1st Amendment and equal rights slogans, and the protesters hand out Flyer One. On EACH side is the banner: "Your Reason Not to Shop Here."
Setting up protest coverage for something like this is a lot of work. Start by identifying volunteers. You're looking for two- to four- hour shifts, at least 2-3 people in each group (so 4-6 people) throughout opening hours at HL.
But if you're serious?
If this happens in DOZENS of cities, if it goes on for a couple of weeks, you WILL hurt HL.
Do not engage in in-store actions or stuff that makes life difficult for the low-wage employees that are already getting screwed over.
You know what will chap HL management asses? Seeing those HL employees standing around in a just-cleaned store with fully-stocked shelves, DOING NOTHING.
Yes, some employees will be RIF'd. That's inevitable. With luck, they'll be able to find jobs at the competing shops that are getting more business. And better benefits.
Posted by TygrBright | Mon Jun 30, 2014, 03:12 PM (20 replies)
I thought long and hard about the title for this post.
The "money shot" is really the last two words: "Marriage Equality."
First, let me confess to a couple of dirty little secrets about myself:
One: (Of this, I am not ashamed.) I'm a cis-woman, but my sexuality/orientation is "bonobo." I don't 'get' how the shape of an individual's naughty bits is supposed to influence whether I think a person is hot, whether I'd like to have sex with them, or whether I could have a long-term intimate partnership with them. I never have. I find it utterly mystifying that it matters to others, but a lifetime of cultural conditioning has taught me the norms and expectations, even if only from a purely intellectual standpoint.
Two: (Of this, I am deeply ashamed.) That same cultural conditioning led me to regard the institution of marriage as something relevant only from the standpoint of the specific legal and economic benefits appertaining thereunto. Thus, for a number of years, I supported "civil union equality" but wrote off marriage equality as not worth offending potential allies who might have religious issues over. (I SAID I was deeply ashamed, and yes, I've learned better, and am working to make amends.)
So the marriage equality fight is mine, now, in a very visceral way, based partly on that shame and need to make amends (which is the only positive thing you can do with shame) but also from another reason that I hadn't really grasped until very recently.
Let's put it out there first and foremost that the REAL driver behind the anti-marriage-equality effort is the same culprit behind most of what's wrong in our society today: The need of Our Beloved Oligarchs to keep us at each others' throats so that they can keep emptying our pockets into their offshore accounts.
Our Beloved Oligarchs have no real moral convictions about whether homosexuality is right or wrong because, let's face it, they have no moral convictions. Period. They have only the utterly pragmatic need to maintain and increase their own power and wealth.
That being the case, they work through their paid shills and grifters (some of whom have genuine, if revolting, moral convictions, and some who merely cynically exploit the demand) to find highly divisive issues that are broadly congruent with their real goals of maintaining control.
Marriage equality is a made-to-order banquet for them, from that standpoint.
Yes, the opposition to marriage equality deeply rooted in homophobia and the whole ignorant, "ick factor" fear of Teh Gayitude among the flocks shepherded by those shills and grifters.
But the other, less-obvious roots go just as deep, and focus in on the "E" word: "Equality."
We can see it in the escalating volume and venom of the misogynistic attempts to keep women fearful, keep our bodies under their control, keep us in our second-class status in a whole array of social and economic areas.
You know how they've been saying that letting gay people marry will "destroy marriage?"
They are absolutely, one-thousand-percent spot-on accurate with that.
Because the institution of marriage has never been notable for equality.
One side of the heterosexual marriage equation has ALWAYS gotten the fuzzy side of the lollipop. (Oh, and-- MRA trolls? Fuck off with your 'women have had it easy because they didn't have to go out and win bread' crap, okay? Just fuck off with that.)
So, what happens when we can no longer identify the "less equal" partner in a two-party marriage, by the shape of their naughty bits?
Marriage becomes a different institution. A mutual arrangement between two equal parties, for the support of themselves and their offspring, bolstered by a social infrastructure. (Yeah, SURE it always was that. Say "hi" to your pet unicorn for me, too.)
So, which reason ("icky gayness" or "uppity wimmin") is the most fundamental, important core of the anti-marriage equality effort?
That's where the chicken/egg part of the title comes in.
This is the fight of every human being who cares about equality.
It is my fight.
I have a LOT of skin in this game.
There will be no compromise, and no stopping, short of total victory.
No church, no sensible woodchucks, no pragmatic temporizing will deter me.
I see the possibility, I see the future. I see equality on the horizon, and marriage equality is a shining road to get us there.
No way am I gonna let anything run me off this road.
Posted by TygrBright | Tue Jun 17, 2014, 02:55 PM (7 replies)
Let's start with the assumption, I think widely agreed with (but often for reasons that are individually divisive, alas...):
Our culture is at best dysfunctional, and more accurately pathological, when it comes to gender, gender expression, sexuality, and sexual expression (Which, by the way, are all different things. Not dealing with that is part of the dysfunction/pathology.)
We've made progress. Great progress, amazingly fast in historical terms, but agonizingly slowly in terms of individual lives.
Speaking of "in historical terms," perhaps one of the oldest and strongest tools that retards progress, is also one of the most indispensable elements of human life and culture: language.
Here in the US our primary languages are mostly Indo-European derived. Let's stick with English since it's the basic language of this message board. Modern English carries no grammatical gender; that is, we do not assign gender-based construction elements to nouns or other parts of speech.
Old English, which split off from Germanic/Saxon centuries ago, carried grammatical gender and the remains of this are visible in our pronouns: We have pronouns for three genders; masculine, feminine, and neuter. Or, "he," "she," "it."
Straightforward enough on that level, but then layer in the baggage of our confusion around gender, gender expression, sexuality, and sexual expression-- the fruit of myriad cultural elements including religion, economics, and various sociopolitical constructs. All of which essentially devolve to "norms."
Norming is a tool we use to build and reinforce communities. Language is a key element of norming.
As we try to work our way out of the dysfunction, we smack our noses against language-related social norms. This thread illustrates some of the issues.
The first practical issue raised in the thread brought me up short. I'll paraphrase: "But I work in customer service, and we are required to address people politely, using 'Sir' or 'Ma'am,' and adding 'Mister' or 'Ms.' If it's insensitive and rude to ask someone about their gender, I can't do my job."
Setting aside, for the moment (it DOES matter and should be part of a larger discussion) the cultural norms around adding honorifics as a signifier of politesse, the thing that occurred to me was this:
First, we bump up against the deeply-engrained contemporary prejudice that dictates "neutral" pronouns are so hostile and dismissive that they completely dehumanize the object thereof: ("OMG, check out what just walked in the door! Is it alive?") We also smack into the reality that we're backed into a lose/lose corner that only gets worse as we attempt to expand the language artificially to reflect the reality of the gender/expression spectrum.
That is, while it may be practical to develop new pronouns (hir, shim, etc.) not only is norming their use a formidable challenge, it represents an ephemeral response to a rapidly-evolving reality, and one that presents powerful backlash issues.
(Yes, I know we can't allow backlash to discourage us. It will always be there. We overcome it, again and again. But it slows progress, in some cases significantly.)
As our understanding of the gender/expression spectrum evolves, we are realizing that there is a growing number of general classifications we identify with.
Because that, at the root, is the issue: Identity.
I have it, I want you to recognize it and respect it.
I want how you interact with me to demonstrate that.
Language is part of how you interact with me.
Making language into a flexible tool that allows us to do this freely, without placing each other in difficult/uncomfortable states, is essential. Whether it's the chicken, or the egg, it's an important strategy that will ultimately be critical to progress in human relations and human rights.
In the mean time, we're in this awkward space where we want to recognize each others' humanity and respect each others' identities, even when we're in unfamiliar territory as regards gender/expression, and sexuality/expression.
To complicate matters further, we're also up against those who are strenuously opposing social and cultural evolution, and who will push to subvert, invert, and pervert any efforts to achieve useful consensus.
I don't know any answers.
But sometimes it helps to think about and discuss the questions.
Posted by TygrBright | Tue Jun 10, 2014, 01:12 PM (0 replies)
First-- The facts I as I know them:
At some point in mid-2009, Army Private Bergdahl went missing from his unit in Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, units of the Taliban claimed to have captured him, and the Army verified that he was a prisoner.
Between 2009 and 2011, while he was still prisoner, the Army promoted him. Twice. Once to Specialist, and then to Sergeant.
Sometime in 2012, official US Government channels confirmed that they had engaged in negotiations with the Taliban to free Bergdahl.
In February of this year, the government again confirmed that negotiations were underway "via intermediaries" to obtain Bergdahl's release.
A few days ago, President Obama announced that Bergdahl would be released, and that five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay would be released to Qatar.
Are those facts substantially correct?
May I ask one question, please, particularly aimed at the active-duty and veteran military service members on Democratic Underground?
How would you feel about the next time you have to head out into enemy territory, if the consensus of opinion generally resolves to "We should have let the crazy bastard rot there, and kept the terrorists in Gitmo"?
I'm just wondering.
Because, as far as I can tell, once again this Administration has been making difficult choices in a delicate situation, attempting to balance security and transparency, keeping options open and an over-riding priority in view, and has achieved that priority.
Who is most likely to regard that as a Worst Case Scenario? And why? And what are the implications for our active duty military in hostile territory?
Posted by TygrBright | Tue Jun 3, 2014, 10:12 PM (26 replies)
This Op-Ed in the New York Times makes the points better than I ever could, about why fixating on "mental illness" in the case of horrific mass killings is pointless.
While it is true that most mass killers have a psychiatric illness, the vast majority of violent people are not mentally ill and most mentally ill people are not violent. Indeed, only about 4 percent of overall violence in the United States can be attributed to those with mental illness. Most homicides in the United States are committed by people without mental illness who use guns.
Emphasizing the point:
...we have to acknowledge that our current ability to predict who is likely to be violent is no better than chance.
And then the author begins to point out the real issues:
...drug and alcohol abuse are far more powerful risk factors for violence than other psychiatric illnesses. Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol but have no other psychiatric disorder are almost seven times more likely than those without substance abuse to act violently.
If we canít reliably identify people who are at risk of committing violent acts, then how can we possibly prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who are likely to kill?
I think, too, that it's important to note that the author himself, a professor of clinical psychiatry, acknowldges that "As a psychiatrist, I welcome calls from our politicians to improve our mental health care system. But even the best mental health care is unlikely to prevent these tragedies."
If you factor in all of the things that contributed to this tragedy, in other words, what factors is it even possible, much less feasible or simple, to affect and control? I'll leave off here with the author's words, again:
We have always had ó and always will have ó Adam Lanzas and Elliot Rodgers. The sobering fact is that there is little we can do to predict or change human behavior, particularly violence; it is a lot easier to control its expression, and to limit deadly means of self-expression.
If pusillanimous pols, wholly cowed by the oligarchs getting rich from selling us the means to efficiently slaughter ourselves, are too blinkered to connect these dots, we must expect an endless and escalating stream of said slaughter.
To me, it's that simple.
Posted by TygrBright | Wed May 28, 2014, 10:37 AM (16 replies)
Because obviously "currency" and all the vocabulary attached thereunto is no longer fully descriptive.
Therefore, I propose we rename the dollar, the "word."
As in, "I went to the store today... yanno, a bag of groceries that used to cost me twenty-five words is close to fifty these days?"
Now, we do have some other references that need to be revamped, too.
For instance, I used to call one of those pieces of paper that had Abe Lincoln on it a "fin." Nowadays I guess it's a "remark."
"If you don't loan me a remark for gas, we're not gonna make it home."
And what used to be known as a "sawbuck" should probably be called a "comment."
It has Andy Jackson on it: Must be a "statement."
"I gotta statement. Let's go get a pizza and a 6-pack for dinner tonight!"
We used to call it a "Benjamin," but I think nowadays it's more like a "discourse."
Put up a thousand words and you gotta "harangue."
Anyway, just makes more sense to me.
But then, I guess I'm finally part of the Silent Majority.
Posted by TygrBright | Wed Apr 9, 2014, 02:42 PM (4 replies)
...or a Red Bull. Or a beer. Or... whatever.
It hurts just to LOOK at them!
They've tried EVERYTHING.
They tried voting against it (I've lost count of how many times...)
They refused to cooperate, in droves-- refusing Medicaid expansion, declining to set up state-based exchanges, anything-- ANYTHING they could do to monkey-wrench the mechanisms, regardless of how many of their own voters they denied security, freedom, peace of mind, health, even LIFE, in the process.
They spent vast sums (Again, I've lost count) on propaganda to convince everyone How Awful It Is.
They've spun, shaded, and outright LIED until they're blue in the face and sweating buckets with the effort.
They've willingly made asses of themselves, on every form of public stage, with frantic antics to stop it.
My god, it's been painful to watch.
And for all that-- all the effort, all the money, all the lies...
"Obamacare" still met its projected enrollment goals.
Can you imagine how many people would be enrolled right now, entitled to health care regardless of pre-existing conditions, with no lifetime maximums, and no risk of being dropped if something awful happens to their health, and even subsidies to help them afford it-- without all that painful effort from the GOP?
If EVERYTHING they've thrown at it over the past couple of years has STILL not sufficed to keep it from meeting enrollment goals-- (seriously, it's made me tired just watching the poor barstids) what would things be like now had they simply shrugged and said, "hey, let's see how it works?"
Oh, yeah... and the beauty part now?
The cherry on the Sundae?
I love this part: The only thing they can do now is point out the parts that don't work very well. Which means they themselves will be ginning up the momentum for fixing the bits that don't work very well. Which means they'll have only themselves to thank, when those bits get tweaked, and it works even better.
So... geeez, give 'em a coffee. Or a hot chocolate. Or a glass of red wine, or SOMETHING.
For mercy's sake...
Posted by TygrBright | Tue Apr 1, 2014, 01:27 PM (4 replies)
Once upon a time, I shared information about myself quite willingly.
I completed forms with honest answers.
I gave out contact information that actually enabled people to contact me, directly-- as in, I picked up the phone, or answered the door, or opened the letter.
I even responded to "marketing surveys"-- hell, I participated (for free!) in some "focus groups."
So, how then did I become the reclusive, paranoid, suspicious individual I am now-- with layers of email spam buckets and tertiary addresses routed through secondary addresses for pickup and forwarding to a primary address? With Google Voice numbers, and a cell phone I rarely answer, and more than one Post Office box?
The person who declines all kinds of "free" offers and services and conveniences, offered to me merely for the price of providing "harmless" information about myself?
The person who tells survey-takers, researchers, etc. of all types, "No, thank you, I don't do that?"
The person who "masks" information on necessary forms as much as possible, and puts "N/A" in any data field not absolutely required to get what I need-- which is the only reason I'm filling up the form at all?
How did I get that way?
Look... I always knew that a certain percentage of the information I shared was of benefit to someone who wanted to make money from me or people like me. A certain amount of that didn't bother me. Because for the most part, I trusted that
Although my socio-politico-economic views would likely be characterized by today's standards as "extreme left," yanno what? I'm seriously NOT opposed to a certain amount of regulated, monitored capitalism, a little make-a-buck incentive there, in the market, to lubricate creativity, etc. I didn't mind enabling small amounts of that, once.
Simple: I lost trust.
I can no longer believe that any of the demands for information about myself from any source-- government, big corporations, websites, marketers, doctors, insurance agents, bankers, etc.-- are motivated primarily by a desire to complete transactions of mutual benefit.
Some likely are.
But I still respond with my now-conditioned paranoia, under the assumption that what they're after will be used for their sole benefit, and-- more often than not-- at my expense. To my detriment.
I'm sorry about this, I really am. I'm probably blowing off a fair number of legitimate opportunities to make positive connections for real mutual benefit. Which is sad. I don't like that. But there it is. The cost/benefit ratio has flipped, and my confidence interval that such requests are made with the intent of eventually screwing me somehow has exceeded 98%.
Here's an example:
I have a nice primary care physician. A competent, caring woman. But, like many physicians, she has been increasingly squeezed between the demands of payers, the costs of suppliers, and the weirdness of the whole health care system. Like a lot of docs, she reached a point where it came down to either becoming part of a corporate machine, or making some incredibly difficult trade-offs to maintain her independent private practice. She wouldn't get rich either way, and she's not interested in being rich. She's interested in helping her patients and playing with her dogs.
Nevertheless, I can't completely trust her anymore, no matter how much I like her. Why? Here's what happened when I went in for my annual physical a couple of months ago, something I've been doing every year for the past seven years I've been her patient:
I signed in at the desk, got a smile from the office manager. I said "I guess there's no co-pay for an annual, now, with the Affordable Care Act, and all..."
She looked concerned. "Well, no... technically there's no co-pay, not for the annual visit. But we still advise you to make a co-pay at this time, because if you discuss anything with the doctor-- anything at all other than the annual visit basics-- the insurance company requires us to bill that separately, and collect a co-pay-- or else we'll have to bill you separately."
Is your bullshit detector going off yet? Mine was, but then I have some slight sophistication in the health care system. Oh. The insurance company required her to note separately, and bill them for additional services, if we talked about anything-- like management of my chronic illnesses, or the cold I was just getting over, or whether the spots on my back should be followed up for a screening-- separately! They're not part of an annual checkup any more, apparently. Although, they always used to be, included in the single annual visit co-pay I'd made for the past seven years.
BAD insurance company! They require poor doctor to tell them everything and bill everything! Because bad insurance company apparently wants to pay extra for other codes on the billing form?
Sure enough, during that annual visit, doc found something worth following up on-- with TESTS! and then another office visit (with another-- yes! co-pay! and yes! insurance claim!) to discuss the results, and then MORE tests, to determine that, well, nope, nothing wrong, really. But don't I feel better now, knowing for sure?
Not really. I knew what was going on.
I went along with it, because I DO like my doctor, and I DO want her to stay in practice. There was nothing unethical or immoral in what she was doing, but the actual benefit to me?
None. I paid extra co-pays, and endured a few weeks of anxiety (because, hey-- she IS a doctor. It MIGHT have been something, even though I suspected it wasn't.) And in the end, my benefit was confirmation that, yes, I enjoy my normal state of health.
It's one example, but a grievous one, because the physician/patient trust is one of the last barriers, and now it's been breached. I stopped trusting banks decades ago. Stopped trusting the government agency by agency, function by function, as it underwent the long, slow, takeover by our beloved Oligarchs.
As regulation after regulation, designed to provide the guard rails and promote the positive "win/win" nature of economic transactions, toppled, so did my trust.
Look, I DO trust human nature, in the individual, face to face, when we are functioning AS individuals. But when we're acting as agents of employers, corporations, our beloved Oligarchs? Even if that agency is second- or third-hand?
Gone, people. Sorry.
You want my personal information?
I'll give it to you.
But you probably shouldn't trust it.
Posted by TygrBright | Thu Mar 6, 2014, 01:41 PM (0 replies)
It's pervasive, not just on DU but everywhere.
It's damaging, not just to those stigmatized, but to the success of the society that stigmatizes us.
It's insidious, I even catch myself doing it.
It's amorphous and easily disclaimed, which doesn't make it any less real.
I have a chronic brain disease. I am "mentally ill."
I am not a criminal, I am not crippled (other than occasional, private, temporary incapacity that causes me way more pain than it does anyone else.) I am not thoughtless, I am not dangerous.
I am not a Republican, a Libertarian, a Wingnut, a <anyone else whose beliefs offend you so much that you can't think of anything worse to attribute them to than the action of a chronic brain disorder.>
Chronic brain disorders affect nearly one in three people, at some time in their lives, at some degree of acuity. Some of us experience one temporarily, some of us live with one (or more) for life.
Mental illness, chronic brain disorders, distort our thinking by their very nature. It's our brain that is disordered, and that's where we think.
Some of us act on distorted thinking in ways that harm ourselves. A smaller percentage of us act on distorted thinking in ways that harm others. A much smaller percentage. The majority of people who deliberately act to harm others do not have chronic brain disorders, they are not mentally ill.
Many, even most of us, get treatment for our brain disorders. We are in recovery. We understand the effects our disorder has on our thinking and work to overcome them. We deal, on a regular basis, with pain, shame, feelings of inferiority, self-doubt, and self-hatred. We do not need to have those feeling reinforced, they are our familiar companions.
Mental illness is not equivalent to stupidity. It is not equivalent to moral turpitude. It is not equivalent to inferiority. It is not equivalent to criminality. It is not equivalent to evil, thoughtlessness, mental incapacity, etc.
When we here on DU post articles about " is a form of mental illness" those articles are rarely making a legitimate point about symptoms of a chronic brain disorder, and how people who suffer from chronic brain disorders experience our illness in the context of our larger humanity.
More often, such articles are an explicit or thinly-veiled way of linking "bad" to "mental illness."
If you look back in history (and not too damn' far,) you can find similar articles about the inferiority and moral turpitude of melanin-advantaged humans. You can find articles equating having two "X" chromosomes to all kinds of inferior and socially undesirable characteristics. You can find articles about the dreadful, unavoidable, social and behavioral sequelae of being sexually-oriented to same-sex or other socially-disapproved gender partners.
And of course, very often, you can find those stigmatized groups stigmatized further by being presumed to suffer from mental illness.
You know what? I'm damn' proud of the fact that every group an oppressive, dysfunctional social system feels the need to marginalize has been presumed to be like me. We are the ones who are different. We are the ones who challenge. We are the ones who provide humanity with the incentive to evolve.
If you look at the roster of humanity's greatest artists, inventors, humanitarians, and idealists, you will find a very high percentage of them with chronic brain disorders.
By assuming that a disease is all we are, you marginalize us. You dehumanize us. By dismissing anything you disapprove of as "a symptom of mental illness," you perpetuate stigma.
If all you know about me is that I'm mentally ill, you don't know me. You are then free to make assumptions about me. Most of them will be wrong, but that won't matter, because after all, the most important thing about me is that I'm mentally ill, right? If you know that, you don't need to know more.
So, fair warning: From now on, when I stumble onto an OP or a subthread that equates "mental illness" with evil, stupidity, etc., either apparently with intent, or thoughtlessly, I WILL challenge that equation. I will do so politely.
But I will do so.
Posted by TygrBright | Tue Feb 25, 2014, 02:03 PM (52 replies)