Friday, August 31, 2012

Interruption.. (brief)

"We interupt this long silence to bring you this special message":

Okay, I know my "shortly" has turned into a "longly" by now, but you have to note... I can't fuck this history up; it's too important to understand and I only get one shot at it. Plus, I was there! Hey, that's a lot of pressure, folks. I'm new at this blogging thing, too, so it's uber important I not screw it up. 

So, Gore Vidal (rip), be proud of me for acknowledging the above. But sometimes GV, I wonder about your own angst in challenging the status quo. And you, too, Emma Goldman, Molly Ivins, and even you, Norman Mailer. But, so far my patina is taking quite a nice tone.

A couple of the proposals that MLK, Jr. had was "victory by loving your enemy" and recognizing your "means to the end". I've got one down to a science and I'm working on the other. I bet you know which is which. Then again, maybe not? More to follow. I'm busy working out the details....

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Derailment, Co-opting and Mainstreaming of The Gay Rights Movement, Or: Why more gays aren't libertarians (Part I)

Lately, my head has been swimming. Between the holidays, campaigning for Ron Paul during the NH presidential primary, and a couple of anti-gay marriage bills coming to the floor of our statehouse, it has left me mentally exhausted and neglecting my blog.  Sometimes my friends, mostly the gay ones, have a hard time understanding my support for Ron Paul. It's really not rocket science. It's because, for me, the light bulb of individual liberty went on several years ago, but in order to understand how I got here, a little background is in order. As I see it, the gay rights movement lost it's way in the 1990's and has since become big government suck-ups as if they have Stockholm Syndrome. Instead of resisting the very entity that has been their biggest oppressor, the gay community has been reduced to begging for it's "rights" now. Gays and lesbians had a long, proud history of snubbing the government. Today, thanks in part to Rachel Maddow types and non-profit PAC's like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), it's just the opposite; this historical tidbit of the gay liberation effort has been relegated to the dustbins of history... and memory.

When I came out as a lesbian in 1988, I was fresh off the turnip truck. As a 21 year old and newly budding "baby dyke", I certainly had no clue about the history of gays and lesbians in the US. Like most Americans, I was completely unaware of the brutality inflicted upon gay people preceding Stonewall Riots, and after. From post-WWII until the late 70's, there was literally an institutionalized form of a gay Auschwitz. Back then gays were lobotomized, castrated, sterilized, subjected to electro-shock 'therapy', given pharmaceutical drugs which simulated drowning like waterboarding, or just 'put away' in mental institutions and forgotten about. Additionally, many other untold atrocities occurred.

Yeah, this really happened in America less than 40 years ago. This was a history lesson from which the gay community should have learned. Before my time in 1969, the Stonewall Riots happened in NYC. For three days, gays and lesbians said to no and fought back against the police harassment of gay establishments and its patrons. To have been caught and arrested in one of these raids meant the end of your career and the destruction of your character, or worse. Much worse. Being a homosexual was still listed as a mental disease by the American Psychiatric Association until 1973. For brevity, PBS has a remarkable documentary about this riot entitled Stonewall Uprising with footage and photos even I had never seen. The interviews are heart-wrenching. It's certainly worthwhile to see this film. Ironically, in the early days, it was called the Gay Liberation movement, not the "gay rights" movement. And let it be known that the first 'Gay Pride' was an actual riot.

I was fortunate to have come out of the closet in a metropolitan area, but living in the Bible-belt South, specifically the Land of Jesse Helms, it was still highly taboo to be an "out and proud" queer. Very "hush-hush". I didn't tell my family I was gay until the age of 26. Nonetheless, I found myself fascinated by this whole underground gay world of which I would soon become an integral part. From here on out, my entire existence took place in exclusively gay communities, employment, and social circles for the next two decades. I was now part of the gay ghetto.

I was a quick study and got up to speed with the help of my new co-workers. I took a job as head chef of a fine dining gay restaurant which had a small, but very popular upstairs bar with wrap-around porches overlooking the panorama of the city skyline, all neatly tucked away in an old and tastefully appointed Victorian house in the historic district. In fact, if you didn't know where this fabulous little spot was, you might not find it. At that time, we liked it that way. The violence from random gay bashings was no joke. If you were an out queer, you stood a good chance of being verbally accosted or even physically attacked. Homophobia was still quite prevalent and in cases, life-threatening. Setting ablaze a gay and lesbian bookstore just next door to my job was one way the local fag bashers showed their love. Boy, do I have stories. I knew people who were attacked and left for dead.

It was the height of the AIDS epidemic. Reagan had just left office and GHW Bush now had the reigns. Luckily, my gay history education was put on the fast track as one of my waiters began to tell me of his experiences in NYC with the activist group ACT-UP; the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power. It had only been two years since Reagan first uttered the word "AIDS"; a mere 7 years into his tenure. Even then, Reagan admonished us and made it into a morality issue. Basically, it boiled down to "you gays get what you deserve because of your immoral behavior". AIDS was, at the time, known as the 'gay disease' even though by this point thousands of straights, blacks, hispanics, whites, children, hemophiliacs, iv drug users, in addition to gay men had succumbed to it's deadly grip. The HIV/AIDS drug AZT was only in it's infancy and a prescription cost more than $10,000 annually, as if the people too sick to work could ever afford that. For those with insurance, AIDS patients had riders placed on their policies which limited coverage. A diagnosis of AIDS was a death sentence.

As we delve into this tragic history, it will shape my argument as to why there aren't more gays and lesbians who are libertarians. At this time, the activist group ACT-UP had arisen out of the anguish of helplessly watching our friends and acquaintances contract full-blown AIDS and in many cases dying within weeks or a few months of developing pneumonia. Some wasted away longer term. Not everyone affected could afford AZT. AIDS testing was still primitive and, in many cases, not anonymous. In my immediate circle, I knew eight co-workers and five of their significant others who had HIV or full blown AIDS. I cannot even begin to count the number of our clientele in my new gay world who got sick or died in that 4 year period. 200? 250? 300? It's almost impossible to know. I do remember how devastatingly horrible it was. Looking back, I feel like I experienced a war and the utter despair a war brings; a history, my history, that not too many people know about. It affected me greatly. Here today, gone tomorrow. I remember sobbing over the death of a friend as I prepped trays to be sent to his home. You just had to work through it.

In the fight to cure or at least alleviate AIDS, gays quickly learned that the government wasn't going to help us, mainly for the fact that they simply didn't acknowledge our existence as human beings. In fact, the federal government, the CDC, the NIH, the FDA and the drug company Burroughs Wellcome were the biggest roadblocks. The government and it's agencies fostered an environment which allowed the drug company to have a monopoly not only on the drug AZT, but they also excluded gay men from the experimental drug testing. Gay men were shunned even though they were the number one group categorically who were affected. ACT-UP protestors in '88 surrounded and shut down the FDA for a day. Even now, this was the largest US protest since the Vietnam war. In 1989, ACT-UP also targeted Burroughs Wellcome on Wall St over their price gouging for AZT. Chained to the second floor balcony, the activists hurled themselves over the railing, unfurling a banner that read: SELL WELLCOME! Within the next few days, the company dropped the price by $3600.00/year. This small victory against a government-backed drug monopoly (among many other protests), was my introduction to direct, non-violent, civil disobedience. I learned that it worked.

From '90-'93, Act Up raged on in the big cities, but in the fairly-sequestered gay community down South I was preparing numerous banquets, caterings, and dinners for fundraisers or funerals. I watched helplessly at the bedsides of dying friends in hospitals and at their substandard treatment by supposed 'medical professionals'. Ignorance about this horrid disease, even especially among nurses and doctors, was rampant. For years, it was a time of great sorrow. I once prepared food for two funerals in one week. Friends sewed 3'x6' panels for the Aids Memorial Quilt to honor our dead. My guy friends, their emaciated bodies reminiscent of Holocaust victims, were dropping like flies. In gay circles, you couldn't say the words "skinny" or "sick" without the implication of AIDS. People whispered these things.

My work as a chef, being an aspect of fundraising, was my introduction to government-free mutual aid. If the government wasn't going to help us, we had to help ourselves. So we did. Government-free, mutual aid groups flourished and still do to this day. This was another lesson from which we should have taken a cue.

1991-92. Enter Bill Clinton. It is at this juncture where I feel the gay community's momentum was derailed. 


This blog will continue in Part II, shortly……


Saturday, September 17, 2011

One Can of Worms The NH State Legislature Might Not Want to Open

When I became a New Hampshire resident, I was fairly excited with an effort to reinforce the state’s 10th Amendment rights which put the overreach of the Federal government on notice. After reading this resolution, HCR6, I thought, “Awesome, these folks really get it!” At the time, I was sure that they believed in the state’s motto of “Live Free or Die”. But ultimately, they let me down. Much to my own disappointment, I suddenly realized after putting 2+2 together that many of the same people who advocated for the state’s rights resolution were also the pivotal forces behind NH’s anti-gay marriage legislation. How could it possibly be that the very lawmakers who were so keenly aware of the 10th Amendment could be so sadly oblivious to the intent of the 1st and 14th? I mean it seriously makes you wonder if the equal protection clause has ever had any solid meaning; that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws". 

But please don’t think me na├»ve; my entire adult life has unfolded under duress of being a congressional wedge issue hostage. Do they honestly believe they can claim something for themselves and deny it to others and still expect to be taken seriously? Friends had even suggested I take one of these representative’s Constitution classes. I now smirk and give a big eye roll because surely we have a case of two different hymnbooks here… because mine doesn’t have the foot note of: *Only applies if you’re straight. And the most laughable and contradictory part of these pro-state’s rights, anti-gay crusaders? Their initial claims of believing in “Jeffersonian principles”.

    “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” 

-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT. (1 January 1802) [boldface mine]

    “They believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: and enough, too, in their opinion.”

-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush regarding the Danbury Baptists

Besides understanding the historical context in which Jefferson wrote those words, the most gut-wrenching part is that this particular quote: “I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” is the very inscription in marble inside the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial.

After all the mental obstacles I removed from my own thought process over the years, even I had come to realize the enormous differences between collective group rights and individual rights. Today, I understand all too well that I get my rights as an individual, not because I’m gay or female. But here they were in living color, NH legislators willing to use the force of government to declare that Group A has more privileges than Group B. Well, guess which group I happen to fall into. 

Could it be argued that this anti-gay legislation is anything other than Collectivism 101? The entire argument on who can and cannot marry exposes the pitfalls of religious collectivism and the detriments of getting entangled in legislating issues of ethics in general. Nevertheless, the same legislative promulgators of religious theocracy will undoubtedly be the very first to step up and declare from the highest NH mountaintops that they truly “love liberty”. Yeah sure, ‘liberty’ on your terms

I’m sorry to inform them that this collectivist group-think which looks to punish other people as categories is the very antithesis of real liberty: it’s authoritarian on its face. You don’t get to pick and choose which parts you like; real liberty is an ‘all or nothing’ package deal. Legislation to this effect is nothing more than government-sponsored tyranny for those who happen to be on the receiving end of not agreeing with you. And to no surprise, they’re back and once again bringing forth new legislation to repeal the recently passed gay marriage law and prohibit same-sex marriages and a second bill which would install an amendment that the state of New Hampshire will only recognize marriage as being between one man and one woman. 

Ten of the 14 House sponsors of the two upcoming anti-gay bills either supported or penned the “Jeffersonian principled” HCR6. Go figure. Do they not even have the self-awareness to understand that they are the very religious ideologues that Jefferson was shooting down?

Here’s my wager. How much do you want to bet that most, if not all, of the anti-gay supporters claim to be religious? And that their support for this legislation is indeed based on their religious grounds (read: opinions)? I’d almost be willing to say it’s 100%. Surely, I must have been an idiot for moving to NH assuming that Jefferson had cleared all of that up for you guys. 

So here we go again…. 

[Insert facepalm and big sigh here.]

And this is what will transpire: There will literally be an insane and obscene amount of money that will be thrown at wasted spent on both sides of the gay marriage issue. We might as well pile these millions into a large pit and set it ablaze for all to see. It ultimately has the same effect. And all of this unfortunate destruction of wealth (which might have otherwise been used as capital for positive economic ventures) is the result of a small, but adamant group of legislators who staunchly believe that their collectivist religious beliefs are somehow superior to anyone who disagrees with them. They probably aren’t aware that this speaks volumes to the depth of their conviction in their faith. It is the legislative proof that their beliefs are so ultimately fragile and weak that they desperately need the state to reinforce them. It’s quite a sad display, really, this insecurity. It’s as remarkable as a man who refuses to wear pink because he is afraid it will somehow make him look effeminate and his buddies will tease him relentlessly. Only confident men wear pink and this crowd proves they’re not confident enough in their beliefs to wear it. 

To them I would ask: If marriage, as you claim, is such a sacred covenant between you, your spouse and your Creator, then who is the higher authority in this matter? Your Creator? Or the state? Because from where I’m watching this next three-ringed circus unload for the umpteenth time, your repeated attempts at this makes the answer way too obvious that it is indeed the state who is the higher authority in your eyes. You make the baby Jesus cry and put a whole new meaning into the term “hell bent”. 

Anyone, like me, who has lived their entire adult life struggling in the minority margins for equality under the law can attest to endless dealings with this mentality. Where does it ever end? If you want the back-story, beyond the first ten minute re-cap of America’s “gay Auschwitz” history, the documentary film Stonewall Uprising will give an indication of how long this has been going on. But for those of us living in this oppressed skin daily, we constantly find ourselves asking at every legislative session at both the federal and state level, “What now? How are they trying to restrict my life now?” 

Having done this for the better part of 3 decades, I can tell you that they won’t relent and are as predictable as a good Swiss watch. I am so over my life being used as a wedge issue, folks, as I have yet to have one fellow NH citizen be disrespectful or admonish me on a personal level for being gay. I honestly believe that most folks here are kind and have a ‘live and let live’ attitude, but every other year these legislative forces insist on putting citizens through the emotional ringer when otherwise my gayness is pretty much a non-issue in everyday life. Why can’t they let it go?

As a nation, but moreover, as a republic, we have long lost the ideal that minority rights (in theory) are supposed to have the same weight and validity as majority rights. However, the vast appeal of collective group rights and the draw of privilege’s perks have succeeded in its place for much longer. We have unfortunately allowed the machinations of government to set up these inherently unconstitutional “laws” restricting equal treatment for everyone and thus giving those undeniable perks to one group legislated over another. 

After all of this time, have we not concluded that slavery was allowed to happen because of government ‘law’? That Jim Crow and segregation were both products of government ‘laws’? That restricting the right of women to hold property and denying them the right to vote was, in fact, due to government ‘laws’? This current issue, the attempt to deny equal treatment under law, is no different in principle. It has been exactly because of this forgotten understanding of the tenets of individual liberty which have resulted in the very legislative actions of ‘collectivist rights’ and majority rule. Lawyers and legislators have built entire careers out of marginalizing minorities. And in the end, they have traded the republic for a direct democracy. I cannot change what has happened during the course of our history, but I sincerely wish we could just evolve at some point. I’m tired.

Besides the obvious: peaceful gay people being unwittingly forced to face a religious faction who would use the strong arm of government to restrict our equal representation, this type of law makes everyone, regardless of your sexuality or religion, subservient to the collectivist religious ideals of this small group under the pretense of a ‘legal’ government decree. That in itself should make secular heterosexuals uncomfortable. Who is the real special interest group here? I frankly don’t want to live under theocratic ‘laws’ and sadly, I was under the impression that the 1st Amendment denotes my inalienable, creator-given right to this notion. 

Have we completely forgotten that our rights do not come from the government, or the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights and that these man-made documents are nothing more than mirrors to reflect the fact that “we hold these truths to be self-evident”? How is this religious-tempered “repeal and ban” legislation which restricts my equal treatment in any way different than those who rant hysterically about the impositions of theocratic Sharia law? In short, there is absolutely no difference. Religious law is religious law no matter who or what religion is pushing for it. Is that so difficult a concept to grasp? It seems that it is for the tunnel vision of the “My Way or The Highway” types. Alas and alack, already. Maybe if they were to add The Kids are Alright or The Birdcage to their Netflix cues, they might just see the abject silliness plus the sheer waste of time, money, and needless emotionality in all of this. As a bonus, a good movie may even illicit a healthy chuckle or two and lower your blood pressure some.

So this is the stage that is currently being set. As your smart gay friend and fellow lover of individual liberty, I’m raising the gale force wind flag as a visual precaution before you go and make a big national spectacle of yourselves because this will certainly be an issue on the nation’s radar. If the NH state legislature decides to pursue these bills and enact state-sanctioned discrimination, then expect that the state economy could potentially suffer as a direct reactionary consequence. There will be repercussions to consider deeply before you make your decisions. The gay community at large and its straight supporters, both across the nation and the globe, will undoubtedly react negatively if these bills were to pass. If so, NH will gain the title of the new Hate State for this discriminatory hostility. Actions have consequences and I would not be surprised to see the gay community react with an all-out financial boycott of All Things New Hampshire. It’s happened before. Our state legislators might take it upon themselves to explore just how well that worked economically for Colorado in 1992. It’s high time to look out the window and recognize that not everyone has a view as narrow as those who would seek to repeal gay marriage and more importantly: that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Gay people have learned that voting with their wallets actually works. So I’m here to be your smart friend to prepare you for the can of worms you could potentially unleash. You do not live in a vacuum, but your legislative actions might just create one. 

Shortly before the widespread advent of the internet, a national gay and gay-friendly boycott had serious ramifications on Colorado’s businesses and tourism after they foolishly decided to mandate state-sanctioned discrimination against the inalienable rights of individuals who happened to be gay. The Colorado majority might have won their fight, but they surely lost the battle. In 1993 alone, losses due to Boycott Colorado’s efforts were estimated at $40 million dollars. By 1995 when SCOTUS struck down the amendment as unconstitutional, the boycott losses had climbed to $120 million dollars. With inflation adjustments, those losses translate respectively to $63.5 and $190.5 million dollars in 2011 terms. Tell me that didn’t hurt, but this is what you might expect should you chose to go this route. Small NH businesses couldn’t afford that kind of additional hit in this ‘recession’.

Legalizing state-enforced discrimination will only serve to diminish your constituent’s businesses and tourism as gay people, their friends, families, and supporters will inevitably chose to spend their dollars elsewhere, like Vermont and Massachusetts. Ski resorts, bed-and-breakfasts, hotels, restaurants, lake and mountain activities, vacation home and cottage rentals, second home purchases, gasoline sales and shopping are but just a few areas that will feel the economic brunt of a national gay boycott of the Granite State. Industries will also not be immune as out-of-state city municipalities and companies stopped their purchase order contracts and groups canceled conventions during the Colorado boycott. Kiss all that gay wedding-related tourism revenue goodbye, too. And many of those Mass and Vermont license plates we’ve become accustomed to seeing in the Best Buy parking lot could wither as well.

The Boycott Colorado effort garnered national media attention on NBC News with Tom Brokaw, Time Magazine, The Boston Globe and Herald, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Seattle Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Sun-Sentinel, Knight-Ridder, The Advocate, The Village Voice, every national gay publication, and every local gay newspaper on the planet.… and most notably: all before the internet explosion had occurred. People are much more connected and word spreads incredibly fast these days. This very blog is read in a dozen countries around the globe. I do wonder how an effort to boycott NH will be amplified drastically across the nation and around the world in this modern information and social network setting. The economic fallout could reasonably be far worse than that which Colorado experienced. 

It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee because the perfect storm of economic backlash is brewing. Neither the “My Way or The Highway” bunch, nor the rest of the NH state legislature in general, have yet to realize that they couldn’t have chosen a worse time for their constituents to face the social and economic recoil of the very narrow-minded and self-serving choices of a few. After coming this far, if the marriage issue continues to get pressed, then the gay community certainly has both the disposable incomes and the deep personal experiences to show NH what it’s like to be marginalized and left out of the crowd.

To add insult to injury, if these measures pass and there were to be a national/international gay boycott of NH in this cyber age, you can bet your bottom dollar that disgruntled local folks will participate in it as well. Smart advocates know that instead of putting gas in their cars and visiting local retailers that it’s now become rather easy to make out-of-state purchases online and have them home delivered since the UPS driver will be coming by anyway. In other words, unlike the events in Colorado, you can count on in-state boycott resistance too, as well as the external pressure. So with the emergence of the internet plus the fact that 7% of the NH population are your gay neighbors*, an all-out gay and gay-friendly economic boycott could make Colorado’s woes in ’92-‘95 seem like a drop in the bucket today, were it to happen in NH. (<--This.) You could not have picked a worse time in history to suffer the wrath of an economic boycott. Something that bears some in-depth consideration, I’d say, for both legislators and citizens. Colorado sure didn’t see it coming. 

*(according to 2000 Census data, but actual numbers are likely to be closer to 9%.)

Besides the wastefulness of the millions of dollars that will be engulfed yet again into the monetary black hole of no return in another attempt at theocratic ‘law’, people of whatever persuasion are growing rather tired of it. Instead, what NH state legislators should be working on is how to get government out of everyone’s marriage and give it a rest. But what I would suggest in the interim is leaving well enough alone by not allowing this upcoming legislative effort see the light of day. Let it go away and die a nice quiet death. Once government is out of the marriage business, then all of this animosity will fade out of the limelight. The prigs and ethical busybodies will have to focus their attention elsewhere.

And for those NH legislators who would sit on their hands and abstain from voting were these bills to come to the floor, I will kindly remind you of your oath to uphold the constitutions. You swore that, as the people’s representative, you would be the checks and balances and to be faithful in your duties to do so. Although very admirable in principle, if you abstain from voting for the reason that you do not believe it is the proper role of government to be involved in the marriage debate, then exactly who is going to be that very ‘check and balance’ representative for me in my minority position? The argument that the government plays no role is not what you’re voting on here; it isn’t the issue at hand. Your abstinence for an entirely different set of reasons will in no way protect me nor the inhabitants of this state from would-be theocratic “law” pushers. That’s what you’re voting on. Abstaining would be allowing the others, de jure, who hope to legislate that Group A has more privileges than Group B while you decided to watch quietly from the sidelines. Until we can do better, the reality of these discriminatory bills is what you’re faced with for the moment. Do not forget that history will forever mark where you stood (or sat silently) in this regard.

As a lesbian, it’s okay if you don’t agree with my life. I’m not asking you to. It’s fine if your church chooses to discriminate against me. I’m okay with that. It’s perfectly acceptable if in your world you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. I frankly have no problem with what you believe. However, where I will sit up and take notice is when you want to use government as a tool to enforce your beliefs on everyone else and designate collective privileges in lieu of individual liberty equally for all people. The fact that I am gay causes no one any harm or fraud. As Jefferson said, “…it neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.” Having a personal opinion is one thing, not understanding the role of government and trying to legislate your opinion is quite another. The time has long since arrived that if we honestly believe in this concept of “liberty and justice for all” and the state motto of “Live Free or Die”, well then it’s certainly time to start showing it. I choose not to tread on you. Is it too much to ask for the same in return?


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel… Deconstructing The Rachel Maddow Show (and Paul Krugman, just for fun)

I’ve found that the best way to get through an entire episode of the Rachel Maddow Show is by washing down a Dramamine with a hefty snort of Jameson about 10 minutes before it begins. Otherwise, I might just blow a brain gasket if I haven’t pre-prepared. Certainly there are no doubts that Rachel Maddow is intelligent as few would ever deny this. She’s quite personable, charming, good-looking to boot, and I do like her wit as well, which makes it understandable why so many admire her. She pleasantly engages her guests, frames the issues well and sometimes asks heady questions. What can I say; she’s brainy and has a natural gift of the gab.

For my friends on the left (and those cute, impressionable, single lesbians on the dating websites) who are so enamored with squishy love for Rachel, and in most cases simply for the fact she’s gay, I wish there were a way I could debrief and deprogram viewers after an episode of The Rachel Maddow Show. If it’s not glaringly apparent already, there’s a reason it’s called a “show”, but peel away the sleek set, the competent and snappy a/v edits and the casual “just one of the girls” atmosphere and the “news” content presented isn’t specifically news more so than a giant editorial of selective, heavily-massaged, partisan opinion peppered with a few facts here and there. Her real role is keeping The Rift of the Great Partisan Divide between the left and the right going, but I have no doubts she truly believes what she is saying. I take issue with what she’s serving her audience which is either subtly misguided, horribly askew and listing with partisanship, or flat out wrong. Frankly, I grimace in seeing her ardent followers being led astray, or worse, being lied to either by omission or topic ignorance. No offense, but smart doesn’t necessarily make you correct no matter how well-educated you or your staff happens to be.

In the same time slot as Rachel’s show, pitted on the right, is FOX’s Sean Hannity and there certainly is a reason for that as well. Now, I don’t watch Hannity because I find him particularly vile and an insult to my own intelligence, but here’s the gist of the game: Maddow and Hannity are a Max Headroom-esque tag team of good cop/bad cop, depending on which side of the fence you sit. In current mainstream American political discourse, you’re expected to choose one of two sides and most folks willingly play along. However, the error in choosing a side of the fence is that there really is no fence. The fence is an illusion and Maddow and Hannity’s real job requirement is to make you believe in that barricade. To prove my point, some night during Rachel’s show (and preferably on an evening when you don’t have to work the next day), try playing the drinking game. Every time Rachel says “Republican”, “GOP” or something to that effect, take a drink. I’ll even give you a major break and allow the exemption of the words “tea party”. Chances are you’ll still be shit faced long before the second commercial break. Having tried this one evening with the aforementioned bottle of Jameson, let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. Beer is the better alternative for this game.

“In our media-dominated age, news personalities such as Bill O'Reilly, Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, and Rachel Maddow, among others, dispense the news with power and certainty like preachers used to dispense religion and boast vast viewerships that hang on their every word. Yet these talking heads are little more than Wizard of Oz-like front men for the powers-that-be, the mega corporations whose sphere of influence extends from the newsroom to the nexus of political power, Washington, DC.”

Case and point (at the 1:30 mark, it’s four minutes of economic comedy): Maddow espouses this belief that the lack of economic growth is all the Republican’s fault and that ‘good government’, like Glenda the Good Witch, can’t get anything done because of resistance from the right, therefore she says the only alternative is to have the Federal Reserve print and inject money into the system to pull us out of the recession, et Voila! Mission accomplished! Excuse me, Rachel, let me help a sister out here to avoid any further embarrassment; you might want to take a look at this chart from the Fed because the policy you just described is exactly the policy the Fed has had in place since August of 2007. All that Fed money you were hoping for? Yeah, I think the technical term for what the Fed has done is known as the Fiat Leg-Up of Biblical Proportions Plan. And the result: It hasn’t worked. It has only served to weaken the dollar’s value and prop up massive failure. So as a return favor, Rachel, please try not to bore yourself or the audience with the devilish details of monetary policy since you’re more than four years behind the learning curve on this. Save that stuff for those of us who have ventured into the deep end of the pool. I mean, even a basic working knowledge gets you into the game, but I’m afraid that since you showed your hand on monetary policy, you inadvertently told us everything we needed to know about your economic policy creds. In other words, ignorance of the topic destroyed your argument. I would suggest having an Austrian economist on to roughly lay out the Cliff Notes version of events which, by the way, they correctly predicted long before the housing debacle and economic fallout happened. (Don’t act surprised. It only gives you away.) But since they can’t even get Paul Krugman to accept a challenge to debate an Austrian economist, I won’t bother checking my coat in expectation of seeing one on the program anytime soon.

It’s no wonder Maddow thinks monetary policy is such a snoozer as she proved on national television to have no clue about it. I just pray she won’t take up a career in economics or investment advice. Really, I mean how embarrassing was that? Somehow I suspect that The Creature from Jekyll Island or Wall Street, Banks and American Foreign Policy were never high up on her reading list priorities. If a topic like Fed policy which is easily verifiable and right under your nose, then having to witness someone as smart as Maddow self-admitting to being so fundamentally wrong about it, what else is she wrong about? Well, how much time do you have? I’ll pour another shot….

More than likely Rachel has bought into NYT’s columnist Paul Krugman’s song and dance with her endless droning on about “more government stimulus”. Sure sounds like they’re singing in the same choir. And oh, do note that just because Krugman is labeled an ‘economist’ doesn’t mean he is good at it. Seriously, Krugman is so out of ideas he’s now calling for space aliens to invade planet Earth to help the US out of economic slump. I’m not kidding. Anyone with two critical thinking brain cells left to rub together could replace the words “space aliens” with “terrorists” in Krugman’s argument and easily see how well that has worked out over the last decade. Stimulus, indeed. This is hardly surprising ‘logic’ coming from those firmly entrenched in the “FDR was the greatest thing since sliced bread and World War II pulled us out of the Great Depression” camp. But just try your hand explaining that anyone can magically ‘solve’ bad unemployment numbers by disappearing 10 million men off to war. Or by saying stuff like: post-war congresses cut federal spending by 40% / 38% / 14% between 1946-48… because if you do you’re certainly going to get the deer in the headlights look and a room full of crickets from that crowd. Then there is the unpleasant moral issue of Krugman’s icky nonchalance of war being good for the economy although he looks the type to wet his pants by merely placing a loaded rifle and a hot grenade in his hands. He doesn’t seem concerned about the death, destruction and havoc created by his ‘economically good wars’ just as long as people are busy digging holes and filling them back up again, usually as graves these days. War as a mere economic tool is pretty grotesque, Paul. Keep in mind this advice is coming from the same guy who said in ‘02 that the housing bubble was a good idea.

Now Rachel does love her some big government, honey. She is the dream team captain of the MSNBC BigGov cheerleading squad. If you’ve seen her commercials, one is shot (by Spike Lee, I’m told) under an expansion bridge traversing a ravine where she points and basically proclaims that "This couldn't happen without the government". Right there it becomes obvious she didn't watch, or at least absorb the first ten minutes of the film, The Corporation. You know, that sticky, historical fine print that clearly denotes that it was because of government-granted privileges to corporations that corporatism came about in the first place? Anyway, she erroneously insinuates that no one but government would want to build a bridge and that, in her opinion; we need government to make bridges happen. If you listen carefully, you begin to hear how she’s conflating government and society as being one in the same. The two are hardly synonymous and what she’s lobbying for surely isn’t something new under the sun. History is full of bad re-runs.

"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all." --Frederic Bastiat, The Law, 1850

And Maddow, like Krugman, is certainly out of innovative ideas. So just where is all that fine American ingenuity, Rachel? Well, why bother when it’s just much, much easier to defer your problems to the government, right?

“In the U.S.A., for example, government has a monopoly of mail delivery. Ask citizens if government should do this and most of them will reply in the affirmative. Why? Simply because government has pre-empted this activity for so many decades that all enterprisers have ceased to think how mail could be delivered were it a private enterprise opportunity. Indeed, most of them have come to believe that private enterprise would be wholly incapable of effective mail service. Yet, I note that each day we deliver more pounds of milk than mail. Further, milk is more perishable than a love letter, a catalogue, or an appeal for funds. We also note that the delivery of milk is more prompt and less costly to us than is the delivery of mail.
I ask myself, then, why shouldn't private enterprise deliver mail? Private enterprise delivers freight. That's heavier. But, no; my countrymen have lost faith in man's ability, acting freely, to deliver letters. These people who get gas out of the earth in Texas and pipe it to my range hundreds of miles away; these men who bring each four pounds of oil halfway around the world for less cost than· government charges to deliver a one ounce
letter to the other side of the street in my home town; these men who build planes that will fly 150 people across the North American continent in less than four hours; these men who do such fantastic things have lost faith in themselves to do the simple chore of letter delivery.”
-Leonard E. Read, Why Not Try Freedom, 1958 [emphasis mine]

…just ask Lysander Spooner how his ingenuity worked out for him.

Privatization??? Oh, the horror! That’s a dirty word! Um, yeah. A little competition is a good thing. Why? Because a business has an incentive to perform well or else the penalty is to go bankrupt and out of business. This is how real innovation forms. And imagine this: all businesses aren’t predatory corporate villains, especially the ones who don’t receive government subsidies and privileges. The computer with which you’re reading this, your cell phone, flat screen TV, your espresso machine, lawn mower, and every other amenity you use were made mostly by an honest-to-goodness company who just wanted to make money to sustain and benefit their own sustenance and improvement while providing a good product or service in return. (That’s called being mutually beneficial.) These folks get up and go to work just like you do every day. (That’s called jobs.) And because of competition, they do their jobs in the most efficient and waste-free way possible because they know that there are 10 other companies out there in the same business, doing the same exact thing that will take a greater percentage of their customer share if they fail at being efficient and innovative. None of those consumer necessities and luxuries could be manufactured on our own and certainly the government can’t do it because government doesn’t possess the means to make x-Boxes or for that matter, bridges or roads. And poor Rachel sincerely believes that the government creates jobs.

Good grief. Governments don’t have the capacity to ‘create’ anything. The best they can do is take money from citizens by threat of coercion and become the bureaucratic middle man and then contract out the work. And sadly, in the end, government projects usually costs two to five times the initial budget expectations. So there goes Rachel, trying to get you to believe that if the government doesn’t do it, it can’t be done. How innovative and thought provoking. If you want to waste the most money possible on a project, then get the government involved. And if there is such an animal as a BigGov project that came in ‘at or below’ budget, I’d love to see it. I’m confident thinking that it’s a really short list, if existent at all. As a monopoly, in the absence of competition keeping them on their fiscal toes, government has no incentive whatsoever to be careful with other people’s money. The next time a major piece of legislation comes up, see how many pages are devoted to “waste, fraud, and abuse”. It’s quite telling.

Now if the corporations are your pet peeve, lest we not forget that Rachel Maddow’s paycheck is signed by one of the largest multi-national, mega-conglomerate corporations on the planet who just happens to be a top-tier beneficiary in the US government’s military contractor roster. Swooning queers and those still preoccupied with the fence haven't realized that Maddow is a front man for a megalithic corporation that has an agenda: General Electric, the parent company of NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. (The words “parent company” have quite the paternalistic effect, don’t they?) GE enjoys a fat contract being one of the USGov’s biggest go-to guys for war toys, not to mention that GE pumps both the Dem and GOP campaign coffers equally to ensure their bread continues to get buttered. Sure, no conflict of interest there. No big whoop that Jeffery Immelt, GE’s CEO, is on Obama’s economic recovery team. And as much as I hear folks of all stripes complaining that “the corporate media is bought and paid for”, then really people, why the hell are you still listening? Even more incredible is that Rachel’s own education as a Rhodes Scholar is the product of wealth acquired by imperialism, colonialism and human exploitation… or does no one remember who Cecil Rhodes was? Oh, the irony here of the Rhodes scholarship being such a prestigious honor.

Now back to our show….

Rachel’s segment on nullification had to be the most blatantly dishonest piece I have ever witnessed to date. Wow. Just wow. It set such a new low that FOX News was jealous. What it lacked in journalistic integrity and honest assessment, it sure made up for it in the propaganda and sensationalism departments. The selective bias of Rachel’s nullification bit is the stuff that a thinking person’s aneurysms are made of. The 10th Amendment Center was so uncharacteristically portrayed; I really don’t even know where to begin. Her attempts to shape this topic into both a partisan issue and a racism issue were so off the mark. When Monsanto was the behind-the-scenes driving force of a federal Food Safety Act that raised a lot of red flags. The 10th Amendment Center was there. Most of Rachel’s viewers would probably be horrified with the reality of GMO Frankenfoods and the fact Obama has appointed Monsanto execs and lobbyists to the FDA and Dept. of Agriculture. They might even be aghast to learn about the new food safety ‘laws’ restricting their rights to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Or about the SWAT team raids on organic food co-ops at gunpoint. Even the peaceful Amish aren’t immune to the gun-toting federal harassment. But there she was – defending the Monsanto-backed Food “Safety” bill under the guise of her distorted version of nullification. (Did the Patriot Act not teach us anything about congressional bill misnomers?) Besides reading the 10th Amendment right out of the Bill of Rights as if it were a bad thing, a few examples of nullification that Maddow conveniently left out were medical marijuana, immigrant sanctuary cities, librarians protecting your records from the Feds – you know, all those wonderful nullification issues that left liberals are so good at. It’s no wonder that historian authors like Anthony Gregory aren’t invited on her show because he would have absolutely shred any remaining delusions on this topic which would have undoubtedly destroyed the Maddow Show’s credibility on nullification as being anything other than whack. Why would The Rachel Maddow Show choose to present nullification with this hysterical racist slant a la Refer Maddness redux and smear anyone who dares mention the word as a redneck, Confederate-loving, racist. Republican? It’s all about perception, isn’t it? If you wanted to make it a currency issue, Rachel, again I’ll refer you to the above Federal Reserve monetary chart. (I know how you love some charts, girl.) Maybe for fun you could try the Fed’s “What’s a dollar worth?” Game to gain some insight on what all the fuss is about. Again, topic ignorance destroyed your own arguments.

Now this is where the Dramamine kicks in. I will give Rachel credit for calling out Bush and she did the same initially when Obama charged out of the gate, but we haven’t heard much of that poignant effect from her since the Afghan troop surge in early ‘09. (And no matter how smart you may think she is, Rach, having Susan Rice on the show to regurgitate war talking points and lie about Pakistan does not count as poignant.) It seems Rachel has much more pressing issues building that psychological fence and trying to score Brownie points for Team Blue these days. Then again, I’m an idiot for confusing real journalism with a “show”.

Rachel Maddow does not want to grasp that a 'humanitarian war' is every bit as much of a war as a war-war. Or do I need to trot out Dick Cheney to explain that support for US military intervention in Libya is indeed a pro-war stance? For Maddow to ignore and omit Congressman Denis Kucinich’s recent calls of human rights violations committed by NATO forces in Libya – only to have Rachel cart out Juan Cole, a Libyan intervention supporter, it tends to firmly cement where the Maddow Show’s loyalties lie. Nevermind that this interventionist war was illegal to begin with, but why bother with those pesky little Rule of Law details anymore? Would her viewers get upset if the truth were to come out about NATO’s civilian ‘collateral damage’ and the US’s covert involvement in Libya? Nonetheless, I do understand that pictures of blown up, bloody, burned up body parts are just so bad for ratings. Why, what if someone of delicate sensibilities happens to see it? Its better we just block it out of our minds altogether. Even though the US & NATO ‘liberation efforts’ are killing and maiming thousands of innocent people, you were just doing them a favor by being such good humanitarians, right?

For shame, Rachel. You disappoint me more than my friends on the left did when they disappeared after Obama was elected. Just like Keith Olbermann, you were never anti-war, you were only anti-Bush. Maybe you don’t realize that Dick Cheney loves Obama, so perhaps you should be asking: Does that make me a neo-con now? Is it so hard to conceive that when armies lob missiles, send drones with bombs, and generally blow shit up that there are real people dying on the receiving end of your shit? And yet you still wonder where ‘terrorists’ come from? The only way to stop ‘terrorism’ is to cease being a terrorist yourself in the first place. War is war whether you want to pathetically label it a ‘humanitarian intervention’ or otherwise. This incredulous American desensitization to the real effects of war and who we’ve sadly become during the last decade disturbs me tremendously, especially in this age of instantaneous information outside the mainstream media ranks. So save the “I care about poor people/the economy/the environment” yammer. No. You don’t. You only care about the blue team winning.

A friend wrote:
I used to like Maddow when Bush was in office. While I haven't listened to her or pretty much any of the other talking heads on a regular basis recently, I rarely agree with pretty much anything I hear from her these days. The problem is that her opposition to war, governmental abuse, and corruption, etc. is contingent upon who is in office. Mine isn’t.”

And in a nutshell, that’s the way the Team Red/Team Blue game is played and I’ll kindly remind Rachel that giving Obama the ol’ Partisan Pass is morally, philosophically, and intellectually dishonest. A few of us hold those in elected office to the same standards of accountability across the board, regardless of the R or D following their names. Here’s a hint: That’s called consistency. And just because ‘your guy’ is in office, it doesn’t make his crimes and usurpations any less criminal when he does it. This is why I despise the divisive nature of party line partisanship promoted by the mainstream mouthpieces and backed by the agendas of a corporate-owned media machine. As a vigilant lesbian, Rachel Maddow does not speak for me and she is hereby put on notice that The Duchess of Dykedom has got her number

Don’t worry, sweetie. I won’t be calling.

Monday, August 22, 2011

REASON to stay on target: Opportunity of a lifetime

With this past week's brouhaha over Reason Magazine editor Katherine Mangu-Ward's patently false comments on Fox News, this incident reveals a valuable lesson for Ron Paul's supporters: Stay on target! You had better get used to the bumpy ride. And for those familiar with libertarian circles, this televised slight by a Reason editor comes as no great surprise.  Dubbed the ‘Beltway libertarians”, it is well known and documented that neither Reason Magazine nor many of its online audience have ever been friends or allies of Ron Paul, even in the last election. And regardless of what they may claim, to the casual observer this condescending hostility towards him goes well beyond passive indifference and “honest” assessment.

As for Katherine Mangu-Ward, her unfortunate comments do a tremendous disservice to her own supposed “libertarian” publication whether she realizes it or not. Maybe her mouth was running faster than her brain, but I highly suspect that this is not the case considering her journalistic roots. It should be clear to supporters that her sad Asperger moment says more about Katherine Mangu-Ward than it does about Ron Paul and his prospects.  It's fairly safe to guess that as a representative of Reason, they knew prior to the Fox interview exactly what Mangu-Ward would say on the air. If not, this firebrand only served to shoot Reason in its proverbial foot. Senior editor Nick Gillespie's attempts at damage control, as he pushes a few poll statistics around, only serves as more weak sauce and he acts as if all of those "disagreeing free minds" at the editor's desk were drawing straws to see who would be sent out for interviews that day. We're not buying it and Reason’s commenters seal the deal here. Spare me the “Free Minds and Free Markets”, Nick. This isn’t an isolated incident. 

Here’s a free piece of advice: Solid libertarians who consistently and steadfastly adhere to their principles and who actually have integrity will not continue to give Reason Magazine the pass if you habitually straddle the ideological fence with this schizophrenic inconsistency. You can’t have it both ways. We see the pattern: professing the “free markets, free minds” rhetoric on one hand and then hiding behind this tag line when it is transgressed. Repeatedly. In admonishing the most libertarian presidential candidate running in this election, were you expecting a different public reaction than the one you received? Surely, you jest. You reap what you sow.

Glad I got this screenshot before it disappeared... I had to chuckle.

So at this juncture, Ron Paul's supporters should pause and take a deep breath. Please place you tray tables in their upright and locked position, and fasten your seatbelts. This is politics. And as much as you and I know how unfair it is that Ron Paul is indeed getting the mainstream media shaft, don't let it get under your skin. The last thing we want to do is give this mainstream media machine a reason to label Dr. Paul's supporters as anything other than courteous and polite. And to that effect, I defer to Dr. Paul's own shining example. Don't allow the MSM to push your buttons and send you off hurling insults. Doing so only embarrasses Dr. Paul. Remember that your actions and words reflect on him.

Let's gain a better perspective with a little Politics 101 so we can learn the lessons here and put this event to bed. Writer Justin Raimondo comments: 

"Let's see: Reason collaborates with the neocons over at The New Republic to smear Ron with charges of "racism" -- and then they send out Mangu-whatever, a former Weekly Standard staffer, to declare that he can't win... What's really disgusting is that the non-libertarian lady [in the Fox interview], I'd never heard of her, is the one defending Ron against the Mangu! This should tell us all we need to know about not only the Mangu but Reason magazine as a supposedly "libertarian" institution. It isn't anymore: it's a Beltway institution."

That pretty much nails it, but the one sure thing Ron Paul's supporters can count on during the next 14 months is that more of the Mangu-Ward type drivel will be in the pipeline from the establishment. Don't get caught flat-footed... you should expect it. A lot more of it with Ron Paul gaining more ground.

When Mangu-Ward says that Ron Paul is getting oh-so-much media attention, anyone with a lick of sense knows she is wrong. The media watchdogs can easily verify that. Then she blurts out that "Ron Paul knows he can't win, his staffers know he can't win." Again, she's wrong unless she is some sort of psychic with extraordinary powers that I am unaware of. No one, not her, not the MSM, not Reason magazine, not anyone knows what the end result of the 2012 election will be. Don't ever forget that.

What is important is that you don’t end up being the one to feed the media trolls the ammunition they need to discredit Dr. Paul. As frustrating and angering as this is, don't react to the politics-as-usual game in a negative way that would embarrass him. Rise above it. Your conduct and character as supporters will reflect on him. With Ron Paul's traction increasing, the establishment media are beginning to panic, realizing that they're losing control and are grasping at straws now, any straw, so they are trying to get a rise out of you. Smear attempts cannot be countered with reactionary negativity. Grin and bear it and set a good example, especially in online forums. Once you say something in an emotional reaction that's not in particularly good taste, it's out there on the internet forever and you can't take that back. Negativity repels people and makes you lose credibility in the eyes of those who might have otherwise been receptive to hearing his message. Numerous times Dr. Paul has pointed out that if you live by positive principles, others will want to follow your example and emulate it. He's right. My mother, in her own sage wisdom, has always taught me to "Whip 'em with kindness."

This past week on the very day it all blew up, I saw Ron Paul at an event in NH. I am friends with several of his staffers and when we spoke I told them it was pretty amazing at how much larger exponentially the crowd turnout was now compared to '08. They all agreed and were ecstatic with how this same event just four years ago might have garnered a couple hundred supporters showing up. And just like Dr. Paul's Iowa straw poll vote count had quadrupled since 2008, a staffer told me that last week's NH rally turnout was more than double the 400 people they had initially anticipated showing. So rest a little easier, people, and grin in knowing that the Mangu-Ward's or any other detractors aren't psychics. It's fairly obvious to anyone involved in the last election how the dynamics have changed. The most ironic part the staffers and I discussed was that Dr. Paul's MSM invisible man treatment had exactly backfired on them. Petards away! Ignoring him has had the equal and opposite reaction that the establishment was hoping for, and not just media-wise either.

Folks on the left who are admitted non-supporters of Paul have been calling out the MSM, from Jon Stewart to Glenn Greenwald. And in my perusing about the internet, I see a shift happening that desperately needs some attention: Obama's base is leaving him. In droves, it seems. People on the left are fed up with the lies and the wars. So at this very moment we are presented with a unique opportunity (more on that below). However, it's time to stop fretting with the media hit jobs like Reason's Mangu-Ward and mentally prepare for the inevitable character and credibility attacks that are surely destined to follow because that's just the nature of political mudslinging and cheap shots. Your opponents will do just about anything in their desperation. But we don't have to follow their lead. Chasing the tail of the negative stuff isn't going to help or advance our cause. Stooping to their level and gracing their smears with retaliatory and reactionary remarks is entirely the point of their tactics: To throw you off your game and stop your momentum. To make you reactionary. We're on the offense now and by merely projecting the positive, the numbers will continue to grow.

I've seen Ron Paul several times, but at last week's rally, there was this pervasive sense of "we have much more in common than that which divides us". Here I was, a former left-leaning, independent-now-libertarian lesbian, chatting and laughing with all sorts of strangers in common cause; veterans, Republicans, former Obama Democrats, libertarians, former Tea-o-cons, Independents, conservative Christians, atheists, Jews, a Muslim lady, many of my fellow gays. All those of voting age were represented; college kids, middle-agers, retirees. We came from all backgrounds; social, economic, religious and non. It was a genuine portrait of American diversity. What struck me in particular was that in this groundswell of energy, you could really feel the love. Everyone was smiling. No one seemed bitter or angry and yet there I was, talking to people that even just a few years ago I would have never bothered to speak to because of the partisan left/right divide. I am convinced that this is the beauty of the word LOVE in the R3VOLUTION logo. It was certainly there and love is definitely more attractive to me than the bitterness of party line politics. An atmosphere of negativity is necessary for “divide and conquer” to work and noticeably, there was no negativity present.

So back to that opportunity. The more time that goes by, the more I'm reading articles, blogs, and tons of reader comments from those on the left of whatever persuasion who are figuring out that Ron Paul is the only viable anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-corporatism, anti-drug war candidate running in 2012. Facebook pages for new groups like "Democrats for Ron Paul", "Blue Republicans" and "Registering Republican Just to Vote for Ron Paul" are springing up. Many of them are now willing to cross that divide because they realize the left doesn't have an honest candidate in this race that represents their values. These folks have decided to register as Republicans and vote in the primaries to help Ron Paul take the GOP nomination. The Primary vote is the key.

Even though many on the left are not completely on board with all of Dr. Paul's views other than war and corporatism, they realize voting for him is the best and only option in this election cycle, as mind-boggling as that is to them. Having become so completely disgusted with Obama, they see no viable alternative other than to nominate an anti-war, anti-establishment Republican in the primary to pit against him in the general election. Politics makes strange bedfellows. Still, some are only doing this as a protest vote and we should positively respect that and thus wooing them over to Dr. Paul's message will not be ideologically possible, so do proceed gently and don't press them on issues where we disagree. Nonetheless, this is fantastic news and they need to be warmly welcomed despite obvious differences on social policy. This quite possibly could be the alliance so desperately needed to begin the end of empire, war and corporatism. And although it will have taken 12 years of the BushObama tag team fiasco, this definitely reveals that the veneer of the false left/right paradigm is beginning to peel away to expose the real divide: "you vs. the establishment".

Another saying my mother always had was, "If you're not going to help me, don't hinder me." Ron Paul can hold his own with the contenders, but expect the powers that be, and therefore the media, to double down their efforts. Expect more slander and misinformation, more shills, provocateurs, and agents of disinformation to appear. Simply, don't fall for it and let the establishment/media pull you out of your own element. Counter their hate and fear with love and reason and everything else will fall into place.

Steady as she goes, folks... but the next pressing question is this: just who or what exactly will be counting the votes?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Team sports

It would be a mistake to think that because I removed myself from the ideological left that I automatically 'went over' to the ideological right. Just the opposite. I freed myself from the 'collective rights' mindset and moved towards individual liberty. I reject this notion of a "one-side-or-the-other" dichotomy altogether. I recognize it as the divisive tool that it is. I claim no party loyalty. It took me a while to figure this out for myself, so I don't expect you to get it in one post. Us/them, left/right, coffee/tea, red/blue liberal/conservative.... I knew of no other alternative to either "this or that". Then I turned off the TV and started reading. And reading. Thank gawd the internet really took off - but only if you know how to sift through all the shit. It has been interesting to observe from the outside - watching the left and right bicker. The partisanship of team loyalty is glaring, almost blinding at times when you don't actively play a role in either side's fray.

What's funny, that because I am fiscally conservative but radically socially liberal, I get to argue/dialogue daily with both those on the conservative right and those on the liberal (and progressive) left. I find it hilarious that almost immediately the left call me a "right-winger" and the right call me a "liberal" when I step outside the perceived ideological lines. LOL! Joke's on you both... I'm neither. What either side hasn't figured out is that I'm not willing to use the force of government to impose my will on others to get what I want. That is the antithesis of liberty, but somehow they can't see it when their side does it. No one ever thinks they're doing anything wrong. The 'means to the ends' of the modern day left and right repel me...that's what you haven't wrapped your heads around. I reject you both. It is just that repugnant. But keep playing the game. Keep the two sides bickering and the real owners of this country are taking you all to the cleaners every day of the week. If George Carlin could see you all now, he'd be mixing another drink, making popcorn and settling in for the show. Just like me...

Settle in. The fun's just beginning.