Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What is the point of government?

I had another conversation with my conservative friend today. He was saying that "class warfare" isn't the answer to our economic problems. Which is apparently his opinion on asking the people with all the money to quit hogging all the money.  I don't mind if people have more money than I do. I don't mind if people have a whole ton of money and I don't.  But I do mind that 1% of the people have ALL the money.  So I have been thinking today, if the government isn't here to provide the services that We The People need, then what is that point of it?  So I Googled. And I got this answer from Yahoo Answers (which wasn't even chosen as the best answer, but I think it should have been).

For the United States, the Constitution gives certain goals for the government in the preamble:

To form a more perfect union - Make it so the people of different states can conduct business, make contracts, have compatible laws.

Establish Justice - Criminals get punished. No running between states to avoid prosecution.

insure Domestic Tranquility - Enact such laws that allow people to live peacefully with each other. Provide institutions that enforce laws (Police, Courts, etc)

Provide for a Common Defense - Establish diplomatic capabilities for the whole of the union, establishment of a military.

Promote the General Welfare - See to the needs of the people. This includes making health care available to enabling charitable causes.

secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity - The government is intended to provide freedom. In essence, this is a 'do no evil' kind of statement. (Posterity - Those who come after us... eg. Children, Grandchildren, etc)

They're right. That is the point of (the US) government. I don't see "provide tax breaks to the wealthy" or "corporations play for free" in there anywhere. Hell, I don't even see "protect unregulated capitalism." Unregulated capitalism is evil, greedy, and wrong. But I suppose when you support a fascist theocracy, evil, greedy and wrong are small potatoes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Damn, I'm on a roll.

I've been thinking a lot lately about Republican and Libertarian political stances. Most of these people, AFAICT, call themselves Christians. OK. But what I'm wondering is, if they're Christians, then why do their beliefs sound more like LaVeyan Satanism than like the things Jesus supposedly said?

Example: Christianity teaches that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. I think none of them read that page. Another thing they don't appear to have read is when Jesus tell his people that they need to give all their stuff to the poor if they want to follow him.

OTOH, "LaVey felt that intelligent and strong people spent too much time caring for psychic vampires — weak individuals who always demanded attention and care, yet would never give any back. He taught that Satanists should strive to remove themselves as much as possible from such people in order to live in accordance to their instincts and individual wills." (This is from wikipedia.) This sounds a lot more like dog eat dog Republicans to me.

Going for a Record

OK, it's not technically the same day, but I'm still within 24 hours.

I've been thinking today about how, when you tell Christians that there's no historical evidence for Jesus, they say things like "well how do we know" x person/place/thing from history is real? My favorite one was when someone asked how we know the Mayflower was a real boat. LOL. You're asking a girl from Massachusetts, honey.

The Mayflower is still a real boat. It's still anchored in Plymouth, and I've been aboard it. That's how I know. Also, my father is a direct descendant of Gov. William Bradford. I'm pretty sure my father is real, and he bears an unmistakable family resemblance to some of the pictures in histories of the Bradford family.

So yeah. Some things you can actually prove with evidence and stuff. Imagine that!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Two in One Day!

I had a conversation on Facebook with an old friend the other day. He had posted some cutesy Dr. Seuss poem about how much he doesn't like President Obama and his progressive policies. I responded that apparently the rest of the country does, since the GOP favorability rating is at an all-time low. He went on to tell me how he's not actually a Republican, because he votes "independent." Well I'm not actually a Democrat then, because I'm not enrolled in the Democratic party. I vote "unenrolled." But I am against pretty much everything the Republican party stands for.

Anyway, I was on FB today, and I saw on this sidebar that he had "liked" Michele Bachmann. That turned my stomach. How can anyone support her? Especially someone I consider a friend. I am still very upset about it. She LIES and makes up crap about the Constitution. She is ALWAYS wrong. She is dumber than Sarah Palin, and that's saying a lot. She wants a Constitutional BAN on same sex marriage. That's right. She actually wants to use the Constitution to TAKE AWAY PEOPLE'S RIGHTS! Why? Because her husband is gay, and hates himself for it because of people JUST LIKE HIM.  She wants to get rid of the minimum wage, because then, she says, companies could hire more people.  Seriously.  Oh, yeah, so instead of hiring someone for $8/hr., they can hire 12 people for $8/hr.! Hooray! Guess what, bitch? Having a job that pays you $.66/hr. is a lot like being a slave. She's basically the personification of everything that's wrong with this country. Her values and beliefs are not reconcilable with mine, and I don't see how, as a country, we can solve this problem.

I saw quite a few people over at today who were commenting on Romney's "Corporations are people" thing. The Republi-trolls were all "you people are supporting the EUROPEAN way, rather than the AMERICAN way." Fuck off. Has it occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, since the people of Europe have been doing this "having a country" thing longer than we have, they might just know WTF they're doing?

Stepping into the Twilight Zone

So I've been re-watching The Twilight Zone on Netflix. I loved that show when I was a teenager. It was on Channel 11 from New York (11N on my cable system at the time) right after Star Trek. So I watched it a lot, because, insomnia. Anyway, I've only watched up to episode 4 of Season 2, but I've had some interesting observations.

It's so strange how the world changes. S1 Ep7 is called "Lonely." It's about a prisoner sent into solitary on some asteroid (in the 1950s, all asteroids are exactly like earth). He's so lonely that one supply guy smuggles him in a girl-bot. Girl-bot, who is called Alicia, is supposedly identical to a human woman. Which, well, they pretty much treat women like girl-bots on the show, so I guess maybe she is. But then Supply Guy comes back years later, to tell Prisoner Guy that solitary on asteroids has been outlawed as cruel and unusual. They're taking him back to Earth. But oops. Supply guy forgot about Alicia. They can't fit that much extra weight on the rocket ship home! Prisoner Guy gets mad. Alicia cries. Supply guy also gets mad, and shoots Alicia. Problem solved. Um, what?? Prisoner Guy is upset, but he just sort of shrugs it off and goes home. WTF is the "moral" of this story??

The next episode (S1 Ep8), "Time Enough at Last," is one I really liked when I first saw it. You know, the one where Burgess Meredith is reading in a bank vault when "the bombs" go off. He's the last guy on Earth, and he's finally going to have a chance to get some reading done, but he breaks his glasses. First off, his wife is some kind of Sadist. They don't bother to make her seem a person with human motivations. She just wants to go over and play cards with the neighbors, so she viciously, gleefully scribbles out the text in his book with a fat black marker. The hell? She couldn't just throw it away. Oh, no. She even put it back in his hiding place under the chair cushion so she could see the horror on his face when he found it defaced. Because that's how a person would act, right? My biggest question with this episode, though, was might there not be a drug store or optician somewhere that has an undamaged pair of glasses he could use? Or a magnifying glass. That would have been an "oh hell, that figures" moment for me, rather than "this is even worse than the end of civilization!"

Re-watching S1 Ep15, "I Shot an Arrow into the Air," was so much different than watching it for the first time. As a kid, I just took it on face value and nodded. But now, it has me going WTF? So 8 guys take off in a rocket (they're always rockets in the 1950s), and they have a malfunction. They crash land somewhere, and half of them are dead. A fifth guy is dying. One of the other three guys gets mad when the Captain keeps giving Dying Guy water. They've landed in a desert, and the non-dying people are going to need the water, Mad Guy insists. Dying Guy dies while they're arguing about it. So now the three still alive are looking around, assessing their situation. They have no idea where they are. All they can see is rocky-hill type desert in every direction. One of them helpfully suggests that the sun is the same size as it is on Earth, and the Captain says that oh, that must mean we're on an asteroid in the same orbit as Earth. Seriously?? The same orbit? With the same atmosphere and gravity? And you come up with asteroid?  Oh yeah. All asteroids are exactly like earth. I forgot. Anyway, the Captain sends out Third Guy and Mad Guy to look for anything that isn't rocky desert. Mad Guy comes back alone with Third Guy's water. Captain wrings it out of Mad Guy that Third Guy died "while they were separated." Captain doesn't believe him, and insists on seeing Third Guy's body. So they trek over to where it was, but Third Guy is gone. They find him a little way up a nearby slope. Third Guy is dying, but points uphill and draws ╪ in the dust before he dies. Captain starts walking up the hill, and Mad Guy kills him. Mad Guy climbs up the hill and see a road with telephone poles. Because oh, wait, asteroids are NOT just like earth. You're on Earth you stupid assholes! WTF are these people even doing in space?

This show is bizarre to me in a way it was not meant to be. I still like it, but damn. Women are evil shrews like Burgess Meredith's wife, plastic airheads who needed to be patted on the back, and generally non-persons. And people most definitely do not think they are living in The Good Old Days, much as the Religious Reich would like us to believe they were. The Old Days are so un-good, that people in the Twilight Zone are desperate to escape them. These people think their lives are over complicated, and too "modern" with too much technology. They live in fear of another war. They long to escape modern life for "The Good Old Days," which to them was back in the 18-somethings when every boy was Huck Finn. (See S1 Ep.30 "A Stop at Willoughby.) Technology is out to get them (See S1 Ep.17, "The Fever" where a man falls victim to a possessed slot machine, and S2 Ep. 4 "The Thing About Machines" where every piece of tech in a guy's house is trying to kill him and/or drive him insane.)

Women as non-persons is best demonstrated by S1 Ep. 36, "World of His Own." Playwright Guy is snuggling in his writing room with a woman who calls him "Master" (no, really), and seems to exist to serve him drinks and cuddles. His wife comes home early and sees them through the front window. When she comes in to confront them, Playwright Guy is alone. They argue, and eventually he tells her that Cuddle Woman (Mary) is not real. He wrote her into existence by dictating into his tape machine thing. Wife (Victoria) tries to leave, so he dictates an angry elephant in the front hall, trapping her there. Finally he badgers Victoria into staying so she can meet Mary. Mary gushes, sniffles, and asks him not to bring her back again if they can't be together. He sends Mary away, because Victoria is his wife, after all. He explains to Victoria that she was just too perfect, and made him feel inadequate. So he created Mary, who didn't. (Apparently Victoria reminded him too much of a human being.) Victoria is still mad (shock!), so Playwright Guy waggles an admonishing finger and goes to the safe. He shows Victoria an envelope with her name on it and says that he invented her, too. Vic doesn't believe him, and throws her envelope into the fireplace. And then disappears. So he starts to write her back, and then decides, oh wait, never mind. And writes in Mary as his new wife. WTF?! And no one is going to notice that suddenly he has a fawning blonde wife called Mary, or wonder where dark-haired Victoria went? Apparently not. Women are perfectly interchangeable, after all. It's not like they're people. That whole episode was just sickening. But it has great reviews on IMDb, so I guess someone likes the idea of writing away your horrible selfish wife and writing in a worshipful airhead who calls you Master.