Friday, July 3, 2015

Oh, lets have fun with it... practical facetious comment.



In Why I Support 'No Gays Allowed' , the head of NJ Pride () takes a rather practical approach to Jeff Amyx, owner of Amyx Hardware and Baptist minister(, who taped a "No Gays Allowed" sign to
his storefront window.

I particularly liked Prince's comments:

"The real problem I have is with all those underground haters. The ones who don't have a sign out front ... have the guts to come out...Then I'll exercise my capitalist right to shop from your competitor--and to proudly put my money where my allies are."
Which, was what so many businesses indicated they would do in Indiana.

As a matter of legal principal, and as a matter of keeping uniform public access to public accommodation, the state should intervene if this person actually tried to enforce such a sign.

The owner, chickened out and put up a new sign, not as much fun, as it represents zero change from current commerce is:
"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion."

---------
*Please note, due to scourge  political correctness, I did not refer to him as a red neck, inbred, putative cousin humping, bible thumper. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Crab Bucket

My niece posted a link to a facebook rant, reacting in hostile way to the recent events in LGTBQ(.....) history: Darkmatter - This whole "Trans rights is the new priority" fiasco...

I pass on as an excellent example of 'crab bucket' behavior.


In case you are wondering, it is the behavior of crabs in an open bucket.  If one crab tries to get out, the others will pull it down.


That's very useful if you are selling crabs.  They can be kept in open buckets.


They also don't have to be fed.  A saves to the person who actually owns the bucket.

I have noticed this before, particularly in association with identity politics, and amongst 'progressives'.

It's a tribal attitude -- what might be called "amoral familism" (see The Moral Basis of a Backward Society -- Edward Banfield).

It implies a hierarchy of success of:
  1. I win, you lose
  2. We both lose
  3. We both win.

It makes me somewhat home sick for my alma mater/pater.
From Darkmatter:

This
whole "Trans rights is the new priority" fiasco needs to stop. This
framing of the trans struggle as a "new" priority absolves Gay INC of
its complicity in literally stealing from us, pathologizing us, harming
us and erasing us. Trans people have been here lying under your bus
forever. We were actually the old struggle of this movement -- we just
got kicked out of it.


Let's get a few things straight:

1. The separation of "gay" from "trans" and "sexuality" from "gender
identity" has a political history. This distinction was a conscious
strategy to make the gay movement more palatable to straight cis white
middle class society.


2. "Love" became separated from "Gender"
because Gay INC knew that a politics of love would be much more
palatable than a politics of gender. "Love" allowed gay activists to
say, "We're just like you!" instead of "We look different from you."
Trans become the repository for difference, for otherness, for
transgression.


3. In order for "homosexuality" to become
de-pathologized, gender nonconformity had to become re-pathologized.
Gayness had to distinguish itself from trans: "We are not freaks like
them." The modern gay subject only emerged in distinguishing him/herself
from gender nonconformity.


4. The history of the gay movement
is a history of (re)producing the gender binary and gender conformity.
It is a history of institutionalized transphobia. The gay movement is
foundationally trans violence. It would not exist without trans
violence.


5. Now transphobia is discussed with no history or
origin story. It's only discussed as individual episodes of harm and not
a structure of violence. This de-historicization of trans violence
means that individual trans people are blamed for both their violence
and their outrage. People ask, "Why are you so angry?" instead of, "How
am I complicit in your oppression?"


6. There is no gay celebration without trans violence. Love won because gender didn't.










Monday, June 29, 2015

Sunday, June 28, 2015

And if...


At Least 5 Predominately Black Churches Have Been Destroyed By Fire In The Past Week





Ah yes, forgiveness is working.

One wonders:
  1. if theses churches are in "stand your ground states"
    And
  2. if they posted armed guards (you know second amendment rights),
    And 
  3. if these guards were black,
    And 
  4. if they shot and killed an arsonist, 
    And 
  5. if the arsonist was white
the guards would be acquitted.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Be aware of celebrations


There was a brilliant, unsentimental discussion of the reasons to support same sex marriage published after its passage by the Washington State Legislature, and prior the defeat of an initiative that sought to repeal it Two Cheers for Gay Marriage:
The debate about same-sex marriage, on both sides, misses the main point: marriage is not about "love" or "sex".  It is about the creation and accounting of economic units which can accumulate property (which historically includes children), and the maintenance of kinship organization (which is also about property).

Societies and the state need to track such units so as a resolve problems of ownership.  Marriage law, even and especially religious marriage law ,is dominantly about property -- who has access to it, how it is inherited, how it can be separated.  That is, it is contractual.  Definitions of marriage, and its legal status, have always reflected this, for example the reason that monogamous marriage is the norm in west, and now the world, that it simplifies property issues. 

Gay individuals are forming kinship units, accumulating property, having offspring in significant numbers.

It is in the interest of the the state and society that such units be allowed to be regularized, as it would  to facilitate the management of property, assign responsibility the care of children, and clarify kinship relations (for example next of kin in medical cases).
This argument is secular, and does not appeal to abstract values -- so it is not, shall we say attractive.

I still contend, that it is the strongest argument to use, however, with those who will oppose the change.

And the opposition will continue, it is too juicy to be ignored by those whose real agenda lie in economic privilege and political control.  The strategy to rally the base and suppress others will continue.

The sympathetic long term lover stories that could perhaps counter sway will not be in the media in 2016.

Similarly, the ruling on health care faces the same possible negative result.  Though I believe it to be the correct result -- for formal legal and judicial argument reasoning -- it is just as likely to be a God send to those same forces. 

Again, stories about health care disasters won't be in the media in 2016.

For a similar reason, the killings and Confederate Flag debate now provide similar breathing space for reactionary forces.

There is no plan to counter this inevitable reaction.  I predict it will win.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Charleston and Amalek

The survivors of those killed in Charleston have expressed a forgiveness for the attacker.

I cannot criticize this on their part, and would not deny them the right to do this.

This forgiveness by the survivors may be very helpful to them, in an existential way. It can help them to choose to continue on with their lives as real people, and not as victims and exemplars.

For them, as they bear the direct consequences of the act, this is a supportable moral choice.  I will say that to me rage would also be a supportable moral choice.  Whatever helps them.

Much as has been made  of calls forgiveness issued by many and varied outsiders to the event (see
Forgiveness, Tolerance: Sunday Themes After Deadly Church Shooting).

But it is arrogant for the rest of us to speak about forgiveness.  Who are we to forgive, who have not ourselves been injured.

I am not, here speaking about the terrorist*.  He is an irrelevant detail.  Forgive him, if it makes you feel good.

Consider instead, Amalek.

In Torah, Amalek is a nation related to the Israelites, but an implacable enemy -- see D'varim (Deuteronomy) 25:17-19.  In later rabbinic writing, the term is used to describe all implacable evil.

The greatest of the crimes was
he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, all that were enfeebled in thy rear, when thou wast faint and weary
This passage is one of those sections of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) that makes 'modern Jews', itchy, as it goes on to say:
thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget
as it doesn't seem speak about how we would like the world to work.


However, I will suggest that this message of non-forgiveness is applicable and to the world today.

I submit that it is wrong to forget the actions of those who
  • Profit from an environment of 'coded' messages
  • Want the votes of racists -- without seeming racists themselves.  
  • Seek to shift the blame for their policies to another people's inferiority
I cannot do better than quoting an exponent of this school, Lee Atwater
You start out in 1954 by saying, “Nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can’t say “nigger”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “Nigger, nigger.”
I know that forgiveness is viewed as a form of love, divinely sanctioned, and is the cornerstone of their faith.

So, at the risk of sounding like Koleth (Ecclesiastes), there is a time not to forgive.

And when is the time to forgive?

Consider Claudius (Hamlet III:iii 52-54):
'Forgive me my foul murder'?
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder
 ---
* Which I define here (thanks to Treebyleaf McCurdy for the inspiration of a workable definition) as a violent crime committed against non-combatents with the intent of creating pressure to change laws, policy, or social norms.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Who needs truth if truth is dull



The quote is from Mason Williams' The Exciting Accident, but it applies here.

Take a look at the Washington Post's Obamacare repeal could add $353 billion to the deficit and the Huffington Post's Obamacare Repeal Would Swell The Deficit Even Using GOP's New Math, Budget Office Says.

Specifically:
The economist that Republicans handpicked to run the Congressional
Budget Office just told Republicans that one of their favorite arguments
about Obamacare is wrong.


According to a report the CBO released Friday, repealing the Affordable Care Act wouldn't reduce the deficit, as Republicans have long claimed.
It would increase the deficit, by at least $137 billion over 10 years
and maybe a lot more than that -- with the effects getting bigger over
time.
Not that this will matter.