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Archive for December, 2012

December 21st, 2012

The Morning-After Apocalypse Is Always The Worst…

Yes, the world ended, as does every night.  And the next morning a new one begins, as it always does.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Morning-After Apocalypse Is Always The Worst…


Obsessions

I’m reading Gary Wills Guns are Moloch post around the same time I’m reading the NRA claiming their membership rose by 8k a day since Sandy Hook.  But then this is the same group of people who endorsed a republican for president who supported the Brady bill while he was a governor, and also assault weapons bans, over a democrat who actually relaxed some gun restrictions while he was president. I wish people would pay attention to these things. If the NRA is a gun lobby it makes no sense some of what they do. But look at them as an operation for getting right wing extremists into office and they make perfect sense.

Anyway…I’m reading these things fly across my computer news pages.  Also that nobody seems to want to toll the funeral bell for Nancy Lanza, who was the first victim of the mass killing, shot four times in the head as she lay in bed. But she was a Moloch worshiper, more guilty than her deranged son, who would have actually looked those kids in the face as he shot them, so she had it coming.

Why this reflex to have a run on guns right after twenty school children are gunned down?  Because people are scared, probably.  The republicans have very successfully painted democrats as tofu totalitarians; on the one hand emasculated weaklings who want to put everyone on welfare, but on the other hand they’re jack booted thugs who will break down your door and confiscate your firearms.  It’s kinda like how because I am a gay man I’m not either a sissified limp-wristed faggot or I’m a dangerous psychopathic sexual predator…I’m both.  Or more specifically, whichever one I need to be to get republicans elected.  But democrats have been cheerfully helping the republicans paint them as relentless opponents of anyone’s right to own a gun, and that’s also a big part of why we can’t talk about this. A lot of people still remember, for example, how Washington D.C. managed to get a gun ban passed, first by passing a gun registry while assuring gun owners that the NRA was blowing smoke about how registration always leads to confiscation…then once the registry was in place, simply declaring that from then on, nobody would be allowed to register their guns.  Neat huh? 

Oh goodness no…we haven’t banned gun ownership…just gun registration. I’m sure a lot of people thought that was very clever, but it, and other clever maneuvers like it, had another effect and you’re seeing it now as the reliable reaction to every horrific act of violence in this country is that people rush out to buy guns. There is no trust.  Whenever anyone starts talking about “sensible gun regulation” in the aftermath of one of these events people hear it as “let’s ban gun ownership” and out to the nearest gun store they go.  Before we can stop having a culture war over guns and start talking about sensible gun regulation there must be trust.

I’m my imaginary world of perfect sanity, I would like to see the democratic party put something like this in their platform…

We acknowledge the right of individual citizens to own firearms for both recreation and self defense. However we insist that more can and must be done to prevent gun violence in our communities, and we call on all responsible gun owners to work together with their communities to develop sound, sensible restrictions on firearm capacity, and gun sales. We believe more can and must be done to keep firearms out of the hands of violent, and dangerous criminals. We believe the sale and ownership of certain kinds of firearms, such as military weapons, can be reasonably banned while not infringing on the second amendment rights of the common man and woman.

Democrats could easily play the same wedge politics the republicans have over the years on this issue, if they want to, if they can just wrap their heads around the idea that not everyone who owns a gun worships Moloch. Ted Nugent is representative of one kind of gun owner they will never reach. But there are others.  Others who are sickened by the likes of Nugent, and would very much like to talk all this over.

With someone who doesn’t think they sacrifice children in their churches on weekends.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Obsessions

December 20th, 2012

Our Molochs, Ourselves…

Fred Clark, one of the most completely decent people you will ever read online, posts a link to this column by Garry Wills that makes me want to throw up my hands and give up on any chance of reasoned discussion concerning guns, let alone violence, in the land of my birth and my heart…

Our Moloch

Few crimes are more harshly forbidden in the Old Testament than sacrifice to the god Moloch (for which see Leviticus 18.21, 20.1-5). The sacrifice referred to was of living children consumed in the fires of offering to Moloch. Ever since then, worship of Moloch has been the sign of a deeply degraded culture…

You just know where this is going…

The gun is our Moloch. We sacrifice children to him daily—sometimes, as at Sandy Hook, by directly throwing them into the fire-hose of bullets from our protected private killing machines, sometimes by blighting our children’s lives by the death of a parent, a schoolmate, a teacher, a protector. Sometimes this is done by mass killings (eight this year), sometimes by private offerings to the god (thousands this year).

…and with that I just want to say I’m Done! Done will the lot of you.  Hurl yourselves at each other with your lizard brains rattling at full throttle, I just don’t fucking care anymore.  There will be no rational discussion of guns Or violence in this country in my lifetime obviously.  Or as Wills says without any apparent irony…

The fact that the gun is a reverenced god can be seen in its manifold and apparently resistless powers. How do we worship it? Let us count the ways:

1. It has the power to destroy the reasoning process.

Sure did a number on yours didn’t it Gary.  You could wish those first and second commandments were a tad more exact.  There are no other Gods…Period!  Idolatry is a lie.

Also…I really meant what I said in number nine! But…no.  We always have to take this argument into culture war territory.  Always.

Here’s the thing about idolatry…when you worship an idol you are surrendering what makes you human to a piece of stone. But point your finger at the idol worshiper if you like, attacking that piece of stone as if it were a god-object is the same thing as worshiping it. By tearing it down you are acknowledging it has power.

No. The power is within. The power is always within. Actually Gary, guns Are mere tools, bits of technology, and a political issue we really need to discuss.  But that political issue exists in a context of a culture that is astonishingly violent and discussing the one without the other is as pointless an exercise in generating hot air as I can imagine.  If you could reach around that rattling lizard brain getting all offended at the other tribe’s god to the part that’s capable of reason and empathy you could see that.  But idolatry has made you weak.  You think that if you can just smash the idol it’s power will be gone, but unfortunately Gary it is not Moloch you are dealing with but human beings, and the fault dear Brutus is not in our guns, but in ourselves. Guns. Don’t. Matter.

I posted a wee rant on Facebook the other day, about Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin and his one last swing at gay people before leaving congress.  I wanted people having this argument about “the gun lobby” to please notice something.  Yes, they are part of the problem, but not because they defend the right of citizens to own guns. So long as people keep thinking of them as a gun lobby they are missing it. This man, Todd Akin has their lifetime ‘A’ rating and the NRA supported him in the 2012 elections Even After he began yap, yap yapping about “legitimate rape”.  So women can own guns, but not their own bodies?  No…just, no. That simply isn’t how people who are genuinely concerned about freedom, individual rights, and “big brother government” think.  They are not that.

Can we please stop the idol worship and look at this…really look at it.  They are not a gun lobby, they are a right wing political action committee that pushes people’s buttons about government taking their guns away to get right wing extremists elected.  Guns are to them, as the bible is to the Family Research Council. They are tools the right uses to drive people to the polls and vote against their own interests.  So is abortion.  So is The Homosexual Menace.  So is the Angry Black Man.  So is The Illegal Immigrant.  That is how idolatry works.  That is what it does to otherwise rational human beings.

Why are we such a violent society?  Well…the right certainly has its opinion about that:

Top Conservative Publication: Shooting Occurred Because Women Ran The School

National Review, whose in-house editorial suggested Newtown was the price of the Second Amendment, published a piece on Wednesday from anti-feminist Charlotte Allen suggesting the reason the shooter was able to kill so many students was because Newtown was a “feminized setting”…

Actually, if our culture wasn’t so out of balance when it comes to male verses female leadership it would probably be a whole lot less violent.  Which is almost certainly why the hard right (religious and secular) is so relentlessly against female leadership.  There’s the problem.  Or at least a big part of it.  Men must either dominate women or be emasculated by them. What does this right wing trope accomplish other than making males more aggressive?  Yes, we can and should talk about sensible restrictions on firearms and firearm ownership.  But can we talk about this too?  Because if we can’t nothing, Nothing we attempt to do regarding gun control will do any damn good whatsoever.  Nothing.  And it’ll just be wash-rinse-repeat every time another horrific crime of violence happens.

So long as we are busy fighting a culture war of the right wing’s making, that only the right wing benefits from, discussions about the roots of violence just aren’t going to happen.  It’s a win-win, not for the culture of guns but the culture of hate.  Please…just stop.  And…Think!

A lot of the people you see (I’ve seen and talked to myself) at gun shows are or were once blue collar union workers, who have been systematically cleaved from the democratic party over this one issue by the NRA.  A lot of them, not all of them certainly, but perhaps a critical mass of them, could be won back if democrats would bother talking to them, and not screaming at them that they’re responsible for the deaths of 20 children, let alone that they are Moloch Worshipers.  Those people have children too and they love them very much.

Also…I really meant what I said in number nine! The first person dragged down into the gutter when you lie about your neighbor, is you.

[Edited some for clarity…]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Our Molochs, Ourselves…

December 16th, 2012

The Common Welfare

Why I keep feeling so frustrated whenever another horrific act of violence gets my country all wrapped up in another shouting match over guns: this mother’s plight is everyone’s.  Everyone’s.

Thinking the Unthinkable

I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.

A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.

When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”

I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.

Her son is exceptionally intelligent, and could have probably been diverted into a gifted child school track were it not for his sudden violent fits.

The welfare state isn’t about handing out free money to freeloaders.  It is about Americans recognizing we have a common stake in each other’s welfare.  That includes this child.  That includes his mother and his siblings.  That includes anyone who might become the victim of one of his violent fits, and also everyone who would ever have benefited from his intelligence, and his love, were he given adequate mental health care.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on The Common Welfare

December 14th, 2012

Cold Hearts, Bloody Streets

For a technologically advanced country as wealthy and capable as this one is, we are an astonishingly violent country. Whenever one of these mass killings happens I keep finding myself forlornly wishing we could have an honest national conversation about why. But we won’t. Already it’s instantly turning into yet another argument about guns and then it’s all just flag waving and static and nobody is listening anymore, except to themselves.

I wish we could have a conversation about violence. And in particular, about male violence. I honestly don’t think the image of the sex driven violence prone human male is accurate. I think it’s a careless stereotype. I think, like the way it can be with certain dogs, you beat it into males one way or another. You annihilate their capacity for sympathy, kill their ability to trust and love, and what is left, that all too human capacity for aggression and hate, well you just let it take root and grow, uninhibited. You beat the heart out of a boy, one way or another, and then you fill the void with hate…and it doesn’t matter who they hate, just that they hate, and that they are afraid not to hate.

From the bully culture in grade schools, to the pulpit thumpers who preach male supremacy over women, to the militaristic warrior culture that reaches from the pentagon to Wall Street, teaching a kind of human law of the jungle, dominate or be dominated, we systematically dehumanize our male citizens. Some days I look at what school kids have to go through, at the casual acceptance by our courts of male domestic violence, at the routine business-as-usual culture of predatory capitalism, at a conservative politics that claims letting working citizens to perish of sickness and disease is the highest kind of social morality, and I wonder that we aren’t even more violent than we already are.

I wish we could have this conversation. But no. We will have another bitter pointless argument about guns, and wash, rinse, repeat, until the next time some walking time bomb goes off and kills. And then we’ll do it all over again. And the bullies will still rule the school hallways, young men will still be fed the idea that their manhood depends on dominating women, predators in business suits will still raid and loot the life savings of working people and be exalted as job creators, preachers will still preach that god hates atheists, liberals and homosexuals and that god made man to rule over women, and politicians will win votes by promising to take food out of the mouths of poor people and be regarded as statesmen in their hometown newspapers. And we will go to bed some nights when the news is horrifying, wondering why oh why can’t Americans look at one another and see a neighbor whose life is worth cherishing too.

by Bruce | Link | React! (3)

December 11th, 2012

B20 (and E15…continued)

Triple-A is warning drivers in Oklahoma to beware of E15…

New E15 gasoline may damage vehicles

Only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the roads today – less than five percent – are approved by manufacturers to use E15 gasoline, based on a survey conducted by AAA of auto manufacturers.

Yet the biofuel industry continues pushing this mixture (and B20) onto automobile and truck owners as if there is absolutely no problem with it at all.

The “Renewable Fuels Association” points to the EPA’s approval of E15 for use in vehicles made after 2001 and says the AAA’s “anti-ethanol stance is well known and tired” and that the organization’s call for further testing “reflects a pathetic ignorance of EPA’s unprecedented test program before approving E15 for commercial use.”

Notice meanwhile they say nothing about the fact that…

Five manufacturers (BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen) are on record saying their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by the use of E15. Seven additional automakers (Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo) have stated that the use of E15 does not comply with the fuel requirements specified in their owner’s manuals and may void warranty coverage.

Here’s what both striking and appalling to this baby boomer, who bought his first car in 1973 and witnessed the first gasoline shortages and then the ever increasing emissions control requirements placed onto motor vehicles: When unleaded fuel was rolled out in the 1970s to deal with a form of air pollution, fuel nozzles were changed to prevent leaded from going into the tanks of cars made specifically for unleaded, because leaded fuel could damage the engines and emissions control systems of those cars. I remember this well. Why is that strategy not being advocated now? Simple. Biofuel makers and big Agra don’t give a damn about damages their products cause so long as they don’t have to pay for it. They have precisely zero economic interest in preventing that damage, and plenty of economic incentive to make everyone buy their product whether we want to or not and then pay for the damage it does to our cars out of our own pockets.

So what needs to happen in a saner world is the feds step in and at minimum mandate that pumps serving high concentration biofuels have nozzles on them preventing that fuel from going into automobiles that aren’t engineered to burn it, and that cars that are have fuel inlets that accept those nozzles, just as it was when unleaded gasoline was rolled out.

Yes, yes…I can hear the complaints about Big Brother Government or The Nanny State or both, and just beneath it as always, the angry babbling about the oh-so heavy burden of added government regulation from biofuel makers, gas station owners, and big agra…all of whom have an interest in selling you something and then immediately wash wash washing their hands of whatever it did to your car. The cost to consumers from engine and emissions system damage do not come out of their pockets so they just don’t fucking care. But it’s worse then just casual indifference, they’re telling people that it’s okay to ignore their own car maker’s warnings and the AAA’s warnings because the EPA said it was all good.

…the Renewable Fuels Association says AAA’s anti-ethanol stance is “well-known and tired.” He says the organization’s call for further testing of E15 “reflects a pathetic ignorance of EPA’s unprecedented test program before approving E15 for commercial use.” As for consumer education, Dineen says “the RFA is working with the petroleum industry, gas retailers, automakers and consumers to ensure E15 is used properly.”

Oh really?

…An overwhelming 95 percent of consumers surveyed have not heard of E15…

I got a letter back from Mercedes-Benz USA in reply to the letter I sent them a couple weeks ago about B20, which I’ll post later, but which says in part their warnings have been going unheeded and they are just as frustrated as I am.  So as far as I’m concerned the biofuels industry should be on the hook for any and all damages to automobiles too, then maybe they’d support at least making the pump nozzles different.

As it is now, those tanks of E15 (or B20) that ruined your engine was money in their pockets so it’s all good to them. Responsibility for what their product does to the people they sell it to costs money so they’re completely against that.  But that’s how business is conducted now, since Reagan freed them from the chains of government regulation.  The chains are on us now, and it’s big business holding the other ends.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on B20 (and E15…continued)

December 5th, 2012

I Take Orders From The Brainwaves of Karl Marx’s Corpse…

Via Equality Matters…

NOM: Same-Sex Marriage, Feminism Are Part Of A Socialist Plot To Destroy Capitalism

NOM is proudly advertising the release of its newest educational pamphlet, titled “The Socialist Attack On The Family”:

In it, Ruth Institute President Jennifer Morse argues that those seeking to legalize same-sex marriage are actually hoping to undermine the institution of marriage altogether, in an attempt to disrupt capitalism and allow for a government takeover of the family unit…

Yes, yes…it’s very difficult for communists to hide under America’s beds when heterosexuals are busy making babies in them…therefore The Family Must Die!!!!

Can the news media stop pretending now that NOM is anything but a bunch of babbling crackpots?

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on I Take Orders From The Brainwaves of Karl Marx’s Corpse…


Fifty-Nine And Within Sight Of It…

“I think you’re allowed to be in love three times in your life.”
-Kurt Vonnegut.

Just what I needed to hear.  Seems about right though.  I had my three chances.  Thank you for playing…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Fifty-Nine And Within Sight Of It…

December 3rd, 2012

Warten auf die wütend Deutsche…Or Someone Like Him…

You can sit here in the waiting room, or you can wait there in the sitting room…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Warten auf die wütend Deutsche…Or Someone Like Him…

December 2nd, 2012

Yes It Was A Tragedy. More Specifically Though, It Was A Murder.

I saw the story of that Kansas City Chiefs murder/suicide fly across my Google news page, and reading the coverage I kept thinking, over and over I am not kidding, what about his girlfriend…?

The way that story is being covered, that taken-for-granted focus on the football player and the invisibility of the woman he killed, disgusts me. I read three news stories and I don’t even know the name of the woman he killed. But I know about the man who killed her in detail. Oh, such a tragedy, he was such a tremendous athlete, he had followed his dreams to the NFL…one of the stories I read ended on that note…and so on. But…wait a minute…he killed his lover and his child’s mother. Whatever his dreams were, honor and decency didn’t seem to be a part of them. And what of the woman he killed…what of her dreams?

I’m not saying the people close to this aren’t thinking of her…his team members, his coaches…they probably knew her personally. But…what of the news media? The way they’re reporting this so far as I’ve seen it is pretty disgusting.

That particular kind of crime completely sickens me, and I don’t understand the reflex I see sometimes to feel sorry for the killer too.  How on earth do you lay a hand in anger on the body of the one you have laid down with?  Yes, yes…I know lovers quarrel all the time and that’s just human nature.  And I know what it is to be dumped, and there is nothing in the world that hurts like it. Nothing. But to strike…let alone murder…it just boggles my mind how you cross that threshold.

If love is gone within you, never mind the other, then walk away from it man.  It can’t hurt so much because you’re still in love, if you’re swinging at them too. If you still loved them the hands that once caressed that body simply would not strike that body.  You just couldn’t do it.  So just walk away from it man, because that isn’t a broken heart it’s a wounded ego you’ve got, and if that’s all it takes to make you kill then what did you let yourself become.  Go away and think about that while you’ve still got a soul worth having.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Yes It Was A Tragedy. More Specifically Though, It Was A Murder.

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