True Blue DoorTrue Blue Door's Journal
It occurs to me that abortion rights lose ground in America in part because the pro-choice community adopts a defensive posture.
Where do abortion protests, both for and against, take place with the greatest frequency? In front of abortion clinics.
This happens because Forced Birthers want to intimidate patients going into them, and the response of the pro-choice community is largely reactive - show up at the clinic to defend the patients, right?
Well, in addition to that, why not be more proactive: Since anti-abortion protesters overwhelmingly come from religious organizations, why not protest their churches?
Not all of them come from churches that specifically organize clinic intimidation, but a lot of them do - a lot of them go to the same set of churches, hear the same demented sermons, and seem to feel there are no consequences to their actions. Their lives are undisturbed while they seek to make life difficult for abortion providers and patients.
So, why not protest their churches instead of always letting them decide the ground of dispute? And not just hand out pro-choice literature, but specifically criticize the violence and hypocrisy of their movement. Go to them and make it about them, so that they are on the defensive.
We know what "backfire" means in the sense that Donald Trump is currently demonstrating: To do something with the intention of realizing a benefit, but instead the consequences smack you in the face. That much is good for Democrats, and a lot of fun to watch.
But there's another sense of "backfire" Trump is illustrating, and one that is a problem for us: The sort of backfire that firefighters set around valuable property to get rid of fuel so that a much larger, less easily controlled wildfire can't get to it.
Trump is also this kind of backfire for his Party: He is dispensing so much crazed, bigoted nincompoopery - and so many of us are taking the bait, reacting to his trolling - that we are consuming nontrivial amounts of energy and mindspace dealing with it rather than focusing on people far more likely to be the GOP nominee.
And meanwhile the other bigoted nutjobs running for the Republican nomination are given constant opportunities to look sane and reasonable, engaging in reverse-straw-men about themselves by holding up a crazy person and saying "Look at that! I'm not that! I'm normal!"
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am effectively certain (in fact, willing to bet money) that Jeb Bush will be the Republican nominee, for all the reasons stated in that earlier post. And Bush is certainly reaping plenty of firebreak benefits from Trump's buffoonery already.
In fact, Trump's act is so fine-tuned to the exact type of benefit Bush is receiving, it causes me to raise an eyebrow: Jeb Bush's most profound demographic advantage is his marriage to a Latina. Who does Donald Trump - native of the Northeast - go after? He goes after a group he's never had any historical problems with, energizing the right-wing base and drawing media attention to the Republican primary while making all the other psychos look rational by comparison.
Meanwhile he sends some liberal activists into apoplexy because they actually think he has a chance in hell of being nominated, or because his antics entertain some of us who just enjoy reveling in how completely fucked up Republicans are. And while we're doing that, guess what we're not doing? Every moment focused on that bellowing turd is a moment not focused on our own campaigns or on the likely GOP candidate.
Here's another thing worth thinking about: Because of Trump, Latinos are paying close attention to the Republican primaries. If not for him, that would be far, far less the case. And when Jeb Bush wins them, they will be far more likely to notice - exactly as he would have it.
Donald Trump is not stupid or insane. He knows there is zero chance he could become President, and if he actually wanted political power, he would have bought himself a Senate seat or a Governorship a long time ago to make himself a credible candidate. Instead he launches this clown show where he's calling John McCain a coward and saying Mexicans are rapists. I'm shocked that anyone at all buys into it.
Keep your eye on Bush, that slippery fucking Borgia.
Let's be very clear about something: Culture does not belong to anyone, because human beings are individuals that can do what they like, listen to or create whatever kind of music pleases them, put their hair however they please, etc. Just as one person is not required to dress a certain way based on their race, so another person is not prohibited from dressing that way based on not being a member of that group. As long as they're not mocking the other group, there is nothing morally questionable in liking a style and participating in it.
The entire concept of "cultural appropriation" is insanely racist, internet hivemind nonsense that has no connection to liberal-progressive values, and I'm very disturbed seeing it leeching into the mainstream of left-wing discourse. Pigeonholing people and telling them what their tastes are supposed to be based on their race is literally racist. Not figuratively "literally," literally literally. Racist.
This isn't much of a priority problem on the subject of racism, but it is annoying how openly it's being preached, and how bizarrely the people engaging in it think they're speaking out against racism by being hugely racist. An idiotic idea bothers me the most when it believes itself to be progressive and is the opposite.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who notices that Republicans keep cutting taxes and creating revenue shortfalls that they then cite as a reason to cut budgets.
For decades, they have been speaking about "times of tight budgets" as if it were some environmental circumstance imposed on them by fate rather than a situation they keep deliberately creating, and then with mock-paternalism talking about how we need to "tighten our belts" because of it. Invariably in every area of government that isn't violent, oppressive, or in some other way destructive to American society.
Thinking about this fact, it occurred to me what that's like: Munchausen-by-proxy. They want to "drown government in the bathtub," but short of that ultimate fantasy of theirs, they will instead repeatedly starve/poison it with tax cuts and then take it to the hospital for "treatment" (i.e., budget cuts).
So whenever you hear someone speak of a "time of tight budgets" or a "tight budget environment," as if it were some external circumstance, just remind them that nothing of the sort exists. We are in a time of Republicans deliberately starving the public sector of funds and then demanding budget cuts as a cure for their own criminality.
This is just some brainstorming for campaign slogan ideas, so pick among the options in the poll below.
Or suggest your own in comments.
The City of New York has settled with the family of Eric Garner for $5.9 million after initially seeking $75 million in damages for his death at the hands of police. An award of $5.9 million may sound a lot to most people, but the yearly budget of the NYPD is about $4.8 BILLION, so to put that in context, $5.9 million is about 0.1% of a single year's operating expenses for the NYPD. And that's only assuming the city pays the entire sum up front, rather than in installments - in which case the percentage becomes increasingly trivial.
What would this kind of settlement look like if some random person had killed Garner and reached a proportional arrangement? The median household income in the United States is about $52,000 a year, which is actually way above the typical income associated with high murder rates, so our example is actually quite generous if we start with this premise. If someone making this income choked someone to death on the street and then, rather than being charged with murder, simply settled a wrongful death lawsuit at the exact same percentage as the Garner settlement, how much would they be paying?
Exactly $63.92. Yup: Sixty-three dollars and ninety-two cents. Even if it were the NYPD itself paying the bill rather than the entire City of New York, the result would be equivalent to an average person having to pay sixty three bucks and change for killing a man. And if the payment is spread out over several years, it could be even lower, divided out over the total number of years. If it were divided over three years, you could just drop a twenty in the dead man's family's mailbox every year.
But in actual fact, the NYPD isn't paying a single cent. The whole City of New York pays, so let's look at that budget: This year the budget of NYC was about $75 billion. So since NYC is paying the Garners, what does that look like proportionally? Their $5.9 million settlement is about 0.008% from one year of the city's yearly budget.
Going back to our ordinary person killer with a $52k income, that amounts to a one-time payment of $4.09. That's almost enough to buy a soda in a movie theater. So if you were a city, you could murder someone and then drop a $5-spot to their family and everything would be fine. Though, of course, even then cities only do this if absolutely forced to by massive political pressure and an overwhelming case on the part of the plaintiffs.
I say it's time for victims' attorneys to stop accepting deals like this, and start genuinely holding cities accountable on a level commensurate with their crimes. If they refuse or are unable to bring killer police to justice, then make them pay financially on a level that makes any kind of moral sense. The sought awards should be a billion dollars, and the settlements should be $50-$100 million.
Someone had requested that I repost a thread from earlier because it kind of got lost in a big news day. Is it cool to do that?
A thought occurs to me sometimes: That throughout history, there must have been countless people who - despite living in cultures without explicit concepts of freedom - chose to behave freely and openly, and speak truth to power at the cost of their lives. While there are a few examples in ancient history that survive in modern awareness, the vast majority of these people are lost to memory.
But I have what you might call a spiritual belief that, regardless of their memory as individuals being lost, that the value of their sacrifice cannot be. That regardless of there being no objective evidence their actions had any effect, that an inherently good and brave action invariably marks itself in humanity somehow.
So I wonder why there is no Tomb of the Unknown Dissident. Why there is no monument to the countless people who have made this sacrifice for the entire world, regardless of their motives, and yet been forgotten?
It's something that I hope will exist some day. If so, it could perhaps depict something similar to the Norman Rockwell image of an earnest-looking man standing to speak amid his neighbors, but starker: A small, innocent looking figure speaking fearlessly to looming, menacing figures, and yet appearing more powerful. Just a thought about what the inscription should read:
To all throughout history who have spoken truth to power and paid with their lives: Your names have been lost, but your deeds are forever inscribed in the fabric of the human heart.
Profile InformationName: Brian
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: Mon Oct 28, 2013, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 2,969