Plan B

I keep hearing how Trump is torpedoing his own campaign, and how President Hillary is looking more and more inevitable. Assuming voters are reasonable, rational people anyway.


So I was thinking: what about this as a Republican strategy: spend the next few months in damage-control mode, and then, if Trump gets elected, immediately impeach him—which shouldn’t be too hard—and let Pence take over.

I’m just putting this here so that, if it does happen, I can say I called it.

The impact of religion

I forget what it was, but the other day I was reminded of an experience I had as a Christian, many years ago. I was listening to a preacher talk about the creation and Adam and Eve, and he mentioned almost in passing that, “God created Eve from one of Adam’s ribs, and that’s why to this day women have one more rib than men.”

Do you know, I believed that for years before it occurred to me that it might not be true. I simply never questioned it. I heard it from an authority I trusted, and I never imagined that it might not be true. Plus it reinforced my religious faith, so I had even less reason to question it at the time.

I’m not sure there’s any really profound lesson to be gleaned from my experience, but it does go to show religion’s power to misinform and keep people misled long after they’re old enough to really know better.

News Flash

I happened to get a quick bite of lunch at our local McDonald’s this afternoon, and the lady at the drive thru window handed me my bag and wished me a Merry Christmas. And do you know what I, a secular, liberal, godless heathen said? I wished her a Merry Christmas right back, just like I always do.

I’m still waiting for the crack investigative reporting team from Fox News to show up and investigate this mysterious cultural anomaly.

Homeopathic government

I usually struggle to understand conservative politics, but this morning I had a thought that might explain a lot. What if conservatives are trying to apply homeopathy as a societal/political remedy as well as a “medical” one? Homeopathy tries to treat diseases by applying doses of the original pathogen causing the problem, so why not try to solve other problems the same way? Too much gun violence in America? Just add more guns! Budget deficit? Make it harder to collect revenue! Refugee problem? Make more refugees!

It’s all part of the same mind-set that thinks the answer to abortion is to deny women access to birth control and reproductive health services. If you want to solve a problem, just take steps to make the problem worse. Homeopath all the things!

Hey, it probably works just as well in government as it does in medicine, right?

You first

Panicked politicos, in Washington and elsewhere, are using the Paris attacks to push for even greater and more invasive government surveillance of individuals. They’re blaming encryption and other privacy measures for “allowing” ISIS terrorists to coordinate their attacks undetected. They want to end the technology that makes privacy possible, and leave everyone effectively naked to Big Brother’s all-seeing eye.

So I tell you what. You say it’s dangerous to let people have secrets, Mr. Politico? Let’s start with yours then. You want to put an end to dangerous secrets, let’s start by ending this ridiculous notion of “state secrets.” A corrupt government has far more power to do harm than any individual. If you’re not doing anything wrong, then you shouldn’t have anything to hide, amirite? What are you not telling us about your own contributions to the rise of ISIS? What flaws and faults are you hiding that will continue to endanger us because you prevent us from knowing you have them? What crimes are you committing, in the dark, that are going to come back to bite us?

Your secrets are far more dangerous than ours, and our privacy is far more vital to liberty than the government’s. You want to howl for an end to secrets, knock yourself out. But if it comes time to surrender someone’s privacy, you go first.

That was then

This Starbucks “tempest in a red cup” has me thinking. When I was a kid, I remember Christians being saddened and upset by the commercialization of Christmas and the increasing tendency of merchants and manufacturers to appropriate Christmas messages as a way of promoting their products for materialistic profits. Today’s Christians howl and threaten boycotts against vendors who fail to commercialize Christmas enough. And when I look at the gap between then and now, I see Rupert Murdock buying a network, and using it to spread pro-business propaganda dressed up as traditional conservatism, or conservative traditionalism, or whatever you want to call it.



The other anti-Semitism

Just a quick reminder: the term “Semitic” refers to an ethnic group of Middle Eastern peoples that includes Jews, Arabs, and a number of others. It is just as anti-Semitic to be prejudiced against Palestinians as it is to be prejudiced against Jews. This puts Israel in the ironic position of being one of the most violently anti-Semitic nations on earth.

Free markets

The term “free market” is misleading. It sounds like good old American liberty, but what it really means is a market without any rules, regulations, or consumer protections. It’s like a highway system with no speed limits, no lane markings, and no laws against running over pedestrians and bicyclists. Hey, it’s a free highway: if you got run over, it’s your own fault for being in the wrong place.

“Free,” in this context, means the biggest, most heavily-armored vehicles can drive however they like without regard for how much damage they do to everyone else. Kind of like how the too-big-to-fail banks caused a catastrophic economic crisis under George W. Bush, and were “punished” by having to haul away billions of taxpayer dollars in bailout money. But it’s not a perfect analogy. For the free highway to be more like the free market, the really big road monsters would have to get free armor and fuel at taxpayer expense, so they could continue to dominate the highways (and any territory in between the highways, if it happened to be a convenient shortcut).

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Calling it what it is

It bugs me when I hear the right-wing propaganda engine refer to the wealthy as “job creators,” as though our economic well-being depended on appeasing them and encouraging them and generally admiring them. I think that whenever you pay your employees less-than-poverty-level wages, you deserve to be known for what you are: a poverty creator. You’re creating poverty, and thus, you’re creating a burden on society. It is you, and not the people you are impoverishing, who are the true parasite. Noble titles, like “job creator,” should be reserved for those who actually benefit society, and don’t just enrich themselves at society’s expense.