Gays, Women, and the GOP – Rant Roundup

More and more I’ve been seeing posts about “The GOPs War on Women”. Which is sort of funny because gays have less rights than women at the moment and if you’re a gay woman, god help you. Generally it goes something like “Limbaugh said something, look at it!” and it’s a video of Rush or someone saying something inflammatory. I usually just post back the Bill Maher video.

But, something more recently dawned on me. People don’t get it. People, if they bother to respond at all to the Maher video, usually defend it with “oh but it’s humor”. On the face of it, Rush too hosts a program which is just humor, or just commentary. The issue goes a little bit deeper than this, it’s not that the GOP or the Republicans or the Democrats have a war on women, it’s that you wouldn’t say these things in the workplace. (I actually had someone yell at me for posting the Maher video to their page in response because they did watch it at work, with the volume up, completely ignoring the warning in the first 5 seconds). This isn’t particularly about a “war on women”, from any particular side, this is about the permissiveness and moral decrepitude of the average voter. I wouldn’t make a racist joke at work anymore than I would make a joke about a woman at work. If you wouldn’t make the joke at work, why is it then OK to make these jokes about women from either political party? Call misogyny as misogyny and realize these are two sides of the same coin. This means both parties engage in this sort of things.

On the issue of gay rights it actually is even more subtle. The Republicans are the traditional boogeymen of gay rights, but has a Democrat President actually made gay marriage legal? So much anger and noise is invested in making a boogeyman for people to direct their rage towards that no-one has noticed the Democrats have done absolutely nothing for the gay rights issue. The best we’ve come up with is moving it to a states rights issue. This is a band-aide at best because we’ve otherwise codified the idea of marriage at the federal level (tax code). Really the only politician who has carried the Gay Marriage idea to the logical conclusion as it stands today is Ron Paul. If we got rid of the tax code, it really would be a states rights issue. This is the point of the entire rant though – neither party has worked to actually affirm or deny gay rights at the federal level.

On the idea of religious freedom for those of us who roll our own theology, this is another great place to point out the Democrats doing nothing for us. The Democrats have taken the separation of church and state to the point where any showing of religion is treated poorly. By the same token, the Republicans have embraced religion, but it’s usually ascribed as “Christianity”. Funny thing is though, three decades ago it was Catholicism. Now it’s “Mainsteam Christianity”. Now they’re talking about running a Mormon, and the only people who seem to have noticed he’s a Mormon are the Democrats. In terms of progressive religion, the Republicans are more open about discussing theology than the Democrats. You would think the party who was offended by the G word (God) would have already helped out with the other G word (gays) but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is, it hasn’t happened. Instead they’re happy to accuse other people of being religiously motivated, but then they can’t execute when they’re supposedly “free” from such hangups.

The biggest problem here – a government which doesn’t want to acknowledge the divine – is that laws become inherently secular. What secular states have we seen in the past? The south before the civil war. World War 2 Germany. Can we cite any examples of states which allow for religion without being religious? Sweden comes to mind. It’s possible to find a middle ground here, but it’s also possible to be too far right or left. To be too far right subscribes to religious dogma and things would probably look like the Middle East, and to be too liberal results in comments from politicians comparing women to animals. Of course they’re animals – if you work from a worldview that there’s nothing particularly special about humans then we’re just particularly bald apes. The middle ground is to acknowledge that people are religious without espousing a religion. We can’t do that if we vote for the party that doesn’t talk about religion at all. (Actually this is the paintbrush of the Democrat Smear Machine. Don’t talk about religion so that anyone who even listens to Dishwalla’s “Counting Blue Cars” can be questioned).

On that theme of acknowledging things for what they are, we must also seek to understand things completely. A frightening number of people simply didn’t read the recent Georgia abortion law proposal about transvaginal ultrasounds. Instead, they reacted to a soundbite or the hilariously bad Huffington Post op ed on an op ed. “This person said women are animals!” isn’t thinking about the path this person took to get there, it’s simply an animal reaction to a comment without realizing that the apex of subscribing to evolution and denying the divine is that people are ultimately just very clever animals. This is where we know where people are married with kids, or pregnant. The unmarried, reactionist people operating on an animal level say “I wouldn’t want that in me!” But this is really the point. This medical tool didn’t spring gestalt from the pages of the proposed bill, whirring and throbbing veins intact. This medical tool (a transvaginal ultrasound device) has a legitimate purpose in pregnancy and it’s used by doctors all the time for pregnancy situations which might require surgery. What is abortion if not surgery? Do you really want the doctor grabbing around in there blind?

This previous paragraph is mostly for naught. If anyone had actually read the proposal, they would have seen the text included an opt out for this particular part of the procedure provided there was not a medical necessity to use the device for the protection of the mother during the course of the procedure. You can read HB 954 here. Also included was the objection that anesthesia drove the cost of the abortion up out of reach of “low income unprivileged women”. Lets think about that for a moment – why anesthesia? Because doctors who perform fetal surgery during and after the 2nd trimester know the fetus feels pain and that it will abort if it’s not anesthetized. So think about that, we’re performing abortions on fetuses, who we know from the medical establishment feel pain. Just because you can’t hear or see the pain doesn’t make it any more right than it wouldn’t be murder if I taped your mouth shut and dumped gasoline all over you. Why didn’t anyone bring this up? Because to acknowledge that the fetus feels pain and should be anesthetized because it’s the decent thing to do also acknowledges that the fetus is a person who has rights and we should be decent to our fellow people. But you can’t say that. We would rather call it a child in surgery and a fetus in an abortion setting so we can save a few dollars.

How do we fix this?

The average American voter won’t read the bills. Why anyone would participate in the political process without actually reading the results of the process is beyond me. How do we assess the performance of the governance of the state without reading the laws and proposals? To fix this situation, people need to actually start reading house bills and proposals rather than reading Fox News and Huffington Post. It’s fine to use them as a jumping off point, but half the things posted to Huffpo, for instance, wouldn’t pass muster on Wikipedia. If your source is an “anonymous doctor” and the blog “deletes stupid comments”, not only are you not getting a balanced discussion, but you’re not getting an article anyone would take seriously. Why would you base your political opinions on that?

Read the house bills. Read the proposals. Finally, remember that politicians should be judged both on what they are doing but also on what they’re not doing.

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Kagan and the Supreme Court

NY Times has a piece on Kagan. Grain of salt warning – they make her come off as really centrist, but lets also recall she was a holdover from the Clinton administration. The tobacco laws, the whole wine shipping issue, the “assault weapons” ban and such – she was a part of all that.

Things I do not like:

  • Don’t ask don’t tell – she wants to do away with it. Frankly the military is a lifestyle, and to quote R Lee Ermey, “I don’t think they would like it very much if they let me into the woman’s [housing], isn’t that the same thing?” Now I tend to think that relationships among a soldier and a civilian are different things, I feel the spirit of the law is to keep your sex and relationships to people who aren’t soldiers. Would it be appropriate to sleep with your boss? Now imagine that, for your job, not only did you sleep with your coworkers, but you had to bathe with them and spend endless amounts of time with them – literally years at a time. I’ve had shorter relationships than people I know on deployment. It’s not an issue about being straight or gay so much as it’s an issue about what is and is not appropriate in the workplace.
  • Same sex marriage versus constitutional theory – This is one thing a lot of people do which pisses me off. They swear to god they’ll uphold the spirit of the constitution, but then they say gay marriage is OK. I’m personally in the camp that if you want to marry a horse, and that horse is a guy, and you’re a guy, this is A-OK! Marry that horse and have a same sex marriage while you’re at it. Now she also wrote “there is no federal constitutional right to same sex marriage”. Now, here’s the problem for my military friends and family – she wants to do away with “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” but then she says “There’s no federal [issue] with same sex marriage”. Actually, there is a federal issue with same sex relationships and “states rights” only works when you’re not really interested in supporting someone’s rights. So either she doesn’t really believe in bullet #1 or she doesn’t believe in bullet #2. I personally don’t see the middle ground.

Things I do like:

  • The second amendment is an individual right.
  • Financing for Faith Based Groups – I don’t see what the problem is which people have here. People’s religion is very personal to them. If the Muslims got their own TV station paid for by the government, I wouldn’t watch it. But that’s just me. Point being you’re not likely to up and walk into a mosque one day just because the government is giving out greenbacks. That being said, I tend to think the government should fund things a whole lot less, including foreign aid.
  • Warrantless Wiretaps and Enemy Combatants – she’s sticking to the Bush interpretation of this which says if you’re donating money to Al Quaeda, you’re now a combatant and don’t have civil rights.

Letter to the PLCB

Declaring war on the state…

To whom it may concern at the PLCB,

WRT: http://www.philly.com/dailynews/local/20100308_Troopers_raid_popular_bars_for_unlicensed_beers__Dozens_of_gallons_seized_after__citizen_complaint_.html

No-one in their right mind believes this was a “citizen complaint”. PA has long since had possibly the worst licensing and distribution system of any state I’d have the pleasure of visiting, and the PLCB is anything but a monopoly. As such no-one believes that any citizen would have both the insight and understanding of how this draconian establishment works enough to report “improperly licensed” beer. More on the point I sincerely doubt given the quality of the average state trooper or PLCB employees language skills that anyone in either of those two establishments would be able to read the barrels or beer names, most of which would be labeled in Belgian German or Flemish.

Even more on the point – it’s been legal for tobacconists to have “house blends” of tobacco, but in reality these tobacconists are selling tobacco purchased under another name. Yet no-one walks into Grandpa’s tobacco shop with state troopers armed to the teeth and says “OH YOUR TOBACCO IS MISLABELED”.

I will also submit a CONTACT THE GOVERNOR form and CC him.

As a result of this action, I’ve created a sign up sheet in my neighborhood to hold a workshop this weekend. This weekend I will teach approximately 17 people to make their own beer.

Sincerely,
Joshua Knarr

Anyone Remember Conflict: Middle East Political Simulator?

Conflict MEPS gave me many hours of enjoyment simply because it’s something familiar – the middle east – and the politics were pseudorandom. Plus you play as the underdog (Israel) for real fun.

There’s a remake, which is fairly true to the spirit of David Eastman. Barring that there’s hosts of the original title, free and legal. The original keeps the bugs. It was written in C, so there’s overflows, what but I find amusing now that it’s almost 20 years after it was made is that these bugs and overflows actually contribute to the fact that the middle east is insane and unpredictable – JUST LIKE STACK OVERFLOWS.

GM Closes Hummer, Greenfags Rejoice

I’ve been watching GM wind down with some passive interest. I’m into cars and I have fond memories of the Chevy Corsica I used to own. Buicks are generally junk and the Lumina my wife (then girlfriend) owned was beat, but GM (like most automakers) was doing The Right Thing back in the early 1990s.

GM was trying to sell it’s brands around. Koenigsegg was going to buy SAAB (fell through) and Spyker was going to buy Saturn (fell through). Some company in China was going to buy Hummer. Now, the problem with China is that they copy everything. GM (and others) had to sue Lifan (and others) over literally stealing the look and feel of GM products and making them out of crap parts. The copies are so good that motorcycle forums were discussing buying lifan knockoffs and putting actual parts on them for Yamahas, etc.

Anyway, GM brands do badly so they shut them down. This isn’t any great loss to GM because Pontiac parts fit Saturns and Chevies just alike. They build one engine and frame and electrical system and dress it up 100 different ways to sell it to you. Toyota does this to the extreme with scion. The part I find lolzy is that green groups are lauding the demise of hummer. A few finer points for readers not buying the hype. Hummers, as sold to the military, are HMMVs and entirely different than the hummer you’re buying in the store. The military hummer needs to work with the stockpile of military parts. The hummer you’re buying from the hummer lot is actually a GM pickup with different trim. I guess if your goal is to save the planet by making it look better, getting big boxy trucks off the road is a win. In terms of actually changing anything – nothings really been accomplished. That engine in the H1/2/3 is the same engine in every junkyard GM truck out there.

Politics From the Bayside and Whale Wars

I really like the band RISE AGAINST. However, I hate their support of PETA, and since they’ve enjoined their music, and their profits to PETA, I’m glad I have the ability to not pay for their music via the magic of the internet while still enjoying it.

PROTIP to punk bands out there – also METALLICA – don’t make political statements and then cry foul when people download your music instead of supporting your politics with your money. LOL, CAPITOLISMS!

Speaking of PETA, I at least respect the guy on WHALE WARS. First time he runs across a Russian whaling ship though, expect him to catch an RPG with his face. The fact that he only attacks the Japanese speaks volumes. The worst part about it is he’s taking food off the Japs plates. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sympathetic to responsible management of wildlife, but they fail it quite badly. It’s not like you go to Black Market McDonalds over in Japland and buy a whale burger. This is a land where fishing is like farming to Americans, and the Sea Sheppards really are taking food off the plates of the Japanese.

Now, I do believe they have a point where they accuse the Japanese of writing “RESEARCH” on the side of their boats instead of WHALING. However, I take this as the Japanese meme of avoiding confrontation. On that note, the captain getting shot isn’t nearly as likely as one of their “stink grenades” going off and tagging him. The fact that he’s like “OH MAH BADGE SAVED ME” just lends credence to the idea.

Furthermore the show isn’t forthright with what munitions the Steve Irwin has on board. The crew has tried to create RPGs on their own (photo gallery of expended munitions) and failed. Which is more likely: The Japanese, who are forbidden from owning firearms, shot the captain and somehow missed, or the crew of the Steve Irwin, which is a revolving door of idiots, screwed up an improvised rocket?

More on the point – which is an inappropriate show of force? The Japanese use a “sound gun” against the Steve Irwin (also embarrassing Engrish) or the Steve Irwin uses rockets and hazardous material (acid) against the Japs?

So the next bit to consider is why doesn’t the program show the whales being processed? Why doesn’t it show the rockets? The program wants to perpetuate this myth that somehow “stink bombs” are going to foul up Japanese whaling. (I would speculate if this worked, there would be footage of the Japs dumping the fouled whale meat into the sea). However, you never see the rockets, nor do you ever see whales being processed. Why? Because whales are processed below deck. While it might be unpleasant to work on a whale that stinks, any episode of Dirty Jobs is going to convince you that all dead animals stink, and there’s not much more to be done about it. Since the skin of a whale is pressure cooked to get the oil out, it’s probably thoroughly washed in seawater. A stink bomb might slow them down, but it doesn’t really hurt the Japanese. Hence the rockets.

If you wanted to make the environmental protection argument, ask the crew of the Steve Irwin why they blew the engines (and all the fuel, and all the oil and killed a sailor) into the ocean back in 1997 when they attacked the Nisshin Maru.

Hunters and Shooters Club: Crazy Bullshit

I have a weird relationship with the NRA. They occasionally offer the life membership option at a discount for $300. I would give $300 for a life membership to the NRA. The price used to be $700ish for a long time, now it’s up to $1000. My parents gave my brother the discounted membership option, then wrote them a letter asking for another one for me. What I got was a subscription to American Rifleman, which isn’t bad, but they billed me for the $1000. I wrote CANCEL on the bill and sent it back and in typical giant company fashion, they kept sending me magazines and eventually a nastygram for not paying the bill. The magazines have since stopped, so obviously someone is paying attention, but I don’t understand the psychological imperative behind sending someone magazines who is wholly delinquent on their bills. Or a nastygram, it’s just not worth the effort, especially when their billing department is obviously not paying attention.

I was curious about the North American Hunting Club, but their magazine is more like a series of advertisements rather than any particular critical review. To their credit – their reviews of things like whitetail feed were spot on and thorough, but they follow the industry trends of “muzzleloaders are awesome, check out this inline” (not impressed), “check out this new camo pattern!” (illegal in PA), “Check out this scent blocker!” (go roll around in the mud). I don’t know, it’s hard to get excited about “ADVANCES IN HUNTING” when they don’t seem to know the basics. More to the point, when I did try their “trial membership” they were supposed to send me a game cookbook and spices packet. The spices packet was something from a ramen soup factory which didn’t differentiate between white and red meat, and the cookbook was a general How To Cook a Steak manual I could have found on the internet. Certainly it could have nodded towards the essential The Bounty of the Earth, but there’s not even a nod towards this classic of required reading for any hunter. When I canceled they also sent me a nastygram, I don’t get this trend.

While reading up on if Obama (voted “most liberal senator”) was supported by any conservative groups at all after his “vans handing out guns” statement – not to mention saying rural Pennsylvanians cling to “guns, religion, xenophobia” (notice he won’t use the word “racism”) – and the answer is that none of the legitimate ones do. He supports renewing the Assault Weapons Ban, thinks that gun dealers are “dumping guns” (I suppose as a socialist he doesn’t worry about people making a living by selling things), and hasn’t made a single positive statement towards gun ownership. So who does support him and is armed? Why, the American Hunters and Shooters Association!

WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE GUYS?

Talking points on their site:

  • Keep Military Style Weapons in the military
  • We support Obama
  • Outlaw cop killer bullets (not even in quotes, not even used colloquially)
  • We support Obama
  • We dove hunt in Maryland
  • Oh god please don’t notice we have a lot more than 12 birds in that photo per person
  • We support Obama

Who wrote this crap and obviously doesn’t understand that there hasn’t been a rifle built which doesn’t borrow from military design? Ray Schoenke. World class idiot and meat-puppet. Once I figured this out I fired up my Google-fu and found a Michelle Malkin post rounding up the AHSA club and realized, Oh God, Obama is funding shill groups and taking us all as fools…