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DirkGently

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 11,073

Journal Archives

Can we discuss mental illness while we're at it?

We get all tangled up in our shoes when someone does something terrible like this, and it sure happens a lot.

And we're weird about it. If it was sufficiently awful, no one wants to acknowledge mental illness could be a factor, because that's seen as wiping away responsibility. Which is ridiculous. Mentally ill people have jobs, drive cars, live in houses. Legally purchase firearms. They may be racist or religious or misogynistic, but whatever poisonous rationale they pick, it's one we've left lying about somewhere.

And we tangle race and religion up in that as well. Are Muslim terrorists ever regarded as mentally ill, or is that giving them a "pass?" If a child does something particularly heinous, do they become an adult, because we need proper vengeance?

Do we allow that black spree killers like Michael Dorner and Bryce Williams might be mentally ill, or do we only afford that label to white killers like James Holmes?

And is that really the point of anything? We ask a million questions and push a million agendas, but in the end do virtually nothing to make the world any safer.

Does it ever occur to us that mental illness and extreme ideologies and racial strife and the ongoing cult of empowerment via firearms are inextricably entwined?

No one picks up a gun and sets out to murder people without something wrong with them. It could momentary or ongoing or exacerbated by drugs or religious extremism or racial animus.

But we're all swimming around in a culture where the very first thing that occurs to anyone with any kind of extreme mental upset is to grab a weapon and get famous. I'm not a psychiatrist, but I'd be willing to be there is a spectrum of mental health along which people can have diagnosable problems or personality disorders which might find a better outlet than extreme violence, if we would afford it to them.

Maybe at some point we can stop arguing over whether our unending stream of disturbed mass murderers are evil when they're brown or crazy when they're white or adults when they appear to be children, and what any of that is supposed to prove, and decide to something about our toxic culture of violence and personal firepower and our complete nonchalance about mental health services.

That would be a discussion I'd like to see.

Because "god" is a voice inside their empty heads?


The convenient thing about appealing to the authority of an invisible deity is that it can be anything you want it to be. For Mike Huckabee, God is clearly a jowly Southern man who thinks women could only possibly need birth control because liberals are

making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing or them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government,


Rick Santorum's god is likewise obsessed with people's sex lives and doesn't want them being gay or using birth control.

Pat Robertson's god is a vengeful meteorologist, sending storms around the planet to punish everyone for not listening to Pat Robertson.

Ben Carson's god is okay with waging a war on "what's inside of" women.

I don't know what Sarah Palin's god wants. Probably more caribou meat and snow machine rides.

At bottom, though, it's always a pretty bizarre claim that people with really bad ideas are somehow simultaneously pious and good, because they say they are getting them from a magical being who is the boss of everyone. If they said they were taking these instructions from an invisible pink space monkey, or a hamster named Richard, we would laugh them off the national stage and perhaps suggest a sedative.

So why don't we?

THIS. And not "the terrible Zimmerman jury."

Our culture and our laws have been dragged in this direction for decades. What people are in denial about is that there was not a clear legal path to convict Zimmerman of anything. Feeling really strongly that he's asshole doesn't work in the jury room, and it's not supposed to.

1. He had a gun he was permitted to carry and conceal.

2. No one was present to say how the conflict began.

3. At some point Zimmerman was tackled and / or punched, which he said put him in fear of his life.

That's all that's needed for a "lawful" killing these days.

That's all the present law requires to give someone the right to shoot to kill. And it is precisely what the modern NRA gun fetish ideology is pushing for. Their mythology is that America is a teeming battleground, full of illegitimate sub-humans of various descriptions, and that a certain demographic of "law-abiding citizens" is all that stands between us and some fanciful version of The Walking Dead.

And it's not even the terrible "Stand Your Ground Laws" that are the problem. As it stands today, in nearly every state and municipality, people can carry a weapon, start a fight, and then simply kill with the flick of a trigger if it isn't going their way.

That's not going to work well for someone who isn't plugged into the system fairly well, of course, or for anyone not near the top of the cultural pecking order.

And make no mistake, Zimmerman is an unbalanced individual. But he's also the embodiment of a culture of personal power carefully nurtured and given free reign through a deliberate, malevolent twisting of the meaning and purpose of the Second Amendment.

This is the fantasy of a fearful, threatened segment of our population, and it dovetails with the species of rightwing politics we saw at the Bundy Ranch as well. "Piss off conservative men, and we'll just shoot you. Take the guns we're using to shoot you, and we'll shoot you. Look at us wrong, have the stereo up too loud, and we'll SHOOT YOU."

People are making a large mistake getting wound up about the outcome of Zimmerman's case, or even the idea that he is a particularly evil or racist person. He is living out a fantasy carefully cultivated and feverishly maintained, and if we don't do anything about that, his story will be one we hear every day.

Zimmerman is not the exception. He's the new rule.

Yes. Wall Street ties are an issue for Hillary.

This is to me the heart of good - faith worries about the Clintons, stretching back to Bill's administration.

The financial firms and banks want things. Things they should not have. Things like continuing freedom to create speculative bubbles that enrich a few at the expense of many. Things like our Social Security program.

The Clintons -- and they ARE the same in this area -- have long believed Wall Street has our best interests at heart, and that we all gain by deregulating and letting them run wild. I do not think this is evil on their part, but delusion. Delusion that comes with buckets of helpful cash and support.

It is wrong-headed thinking that at bottom is no different or better than "trickle down economics," and I see no signs Hillary has moved away from it.

His god sounds terrible.


If you're worshiping a being you believe wants people abused and punished for being themselves, either your god is not worth your support, or you're not understanding what she's saying.

This is a critical issue for Hillary Clinton

I realize this is not a "primaries" thread, but the implicit premise in this spate of "Repealing Glass-Steagall was fine totally fine" appears to be an attempt to shield Hillary on her position that she would not reinstate it.

This is, to me, a huge, real issue for her. I voted for Bill Clinton as enthusiastically as everyone else, but to me a real failing of his approach was a belief -- which I'm sure was in good faith -- that helping Wall Street helps everyone, because everyone can invest in the stock market. The convenient corollary to this conceit is that Wall Street will rain money on you for thinking this way.

That was a mistake, and one I'd like to see Hillary recognize and correct. De-regulating the financial industry in hopes of spreading the wealth to everyone turned out to be a high-tech version of "trickle down" economics. Turns out that the rich run Wall Street in order to enrich Wall Street. The money comes, oddly enough, from the rest of us.

This is a big deal, and it encapsulates an important distinction between Clinton and other Democrats. It's not going to go away with this conceit that Bill Clinton's de-regulation binge really didn't hurt anything. It did. And we can't afford more of the same.

The backlash is already in motion.


Trump is part of it. Out of one side of his mouth, he gives voice to the ugliest views of the conservative base (immigration). Out of the other, he supports Planned Parenthood and protectionism for union workers.

They are in chaos. The wholesale purchase of politics by the donor class CU enabled is not going as planned. Billionaires are competing to purchase candidates, but the result is Republicans are hamstrung on policy. They have to check with their sponsors before opening their mouths.

They have lowered the bar so far that what it "means to be a Republican" has been rendered meaningless. Trump walked in without sponsors or strings, giving the base the attitude they love, and mucking up the feeding trough for the rest of them.

If no one screws this up, there will be nothing left of the modern American "GOP" but ashes.

Politifact lies continually. They are known for this.

Are people not aware of the fact "Politifact" is on a mission to lie about Democrats and liberals?

It's been this way for a while now.


In January 2012, commentators such as Maddow and Daily Kos criticized PolitiFact for rating a statement in President Obama's State of the Union Address about private sector job growth as "Half True" despite acknowledging that the statement was factually correct. PolitiFact initially rated it this way because his statement appeared to imply that his policies were responsible for the job growth, but after further review, PolitiFact upgraded the rating to "Mostly True" after concluding that Obama wasn't crediting his own policies as strongly as first thought.


In February 2010, PolitiFact.com rated President Obama's statement that the Recovery Act had saved or created 2 million jobs in the United States as "half true", stating that the real figure was 1 million according to several independent studies. Economist Brian Riedl of the conservative Heritage Foundation responded that such a statement "belongs in an opinion editorial – not a fact check", since "there is no way to determine how the economy would have performed without a stimulus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PolitiFact.com

Politifact's 2011 "Lie of the Year" was the Democratic characterization of a Republican plan to replace Medicare with private vouchers as "the end of Medicare as we know it."

Because a private voucher system would totally be just like "Medicare," if you are insane.

One version of the claim came from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: "Instead of improving Medicare, they would end Medicare as we know it."

Liberals reacted in anger against PolitiFact, including writers from Talking Points Memo and Slate, as well as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who wrote a blog post titled "Politifact, R.I.P." MSNBC's Rachel Maddow also criticized the announcement Tuesday night.

"The self-proclaimed but quickly-becoming-irrelevant website PolitiFact declared the idea that Republicans voted to end Medicare their 'Lie of the Year' for 2011," she said.

She argued PolitiFact had its own facts wrong.

"But make no mistake — what the Republicans have proposed is actually ending Medicare," Maddow said.


http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2011/12/22/144136535/with-lie-of-the-year-controversy-fact-checking-comes-under-scrutiny

In 2013, Politifact attacked Martina Navratilova's entirely true statement that "in 29 states in this country you can still get fired for not just being gay but if your employer thinks you are gay," speciously reasoning that federal workers and some municipalities have some protections in those states.

They called Navratilova's entirely true statement "half true" based on this nonsense.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2013/05/08/rachel-maddow-pans-politifact-again/

http://wonkette.com/515444/politifact-why-is-martina-navratilova-lying-by-saying-all-these-true-things

Politifact is full of shit.

And repealing Glass-Steagall, along with a raft of other de-regulation, contributed signficantly to the Wall Street mortgage-backed securities scam that drained $4 trillion in middle-class wealth out of people's homes and into their pockets.

MLK supported Planned Parenthood and Socialism.

RWers always seem to skip over those parts, too.

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2014/01/20/3177871/martin-luther-king-radicalism/

King was a strident critic of capitalism and materialistic society, and urged Americans to “move toward a democratic socialism.” Referring to the now iconic Greensboro Lunch Counter sit-ins, he asked, “What good is having the right to sit at a lunch counter if you can’t afford to buy a hamburger?”


“I have always been deeply interested in and sympathetic with the total work of the Planned Parenthood Federation,” he said in 1960. He connected reproductive justice with racial justice, noting that the impoverished African American community had “a special and urgent concern” in family planning. Because of these views, he believed access to contraception and family planning programs should be funded by the government.

Anyone and everyone doing that should STOP.

All the Democratic candidates have been affirmatively pro-civil rights, as Dems tend to be, from the start, and have also shown themselves open to hearing and meeting and working with activists. I would say Sanders has been the best, but then I give weight to his decades of civil rights activism, which no one else is under any obligation to agree with.

Not all activists are going to like all Dems. That's fine. No one is entitled to anyone's support. There may be yelling. Also fine.

But if we allow conservatives of any stripe to gin up racial strife among Democrats, based on "reactions on the Internet," and the underlying bullshit notion that liberals are the "real problem" somehow, we are all idiots.

And we're not. I think.

We'll see.
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