Saturday, October 13, 2012

Political News: Myths of Right-Wing Noise Machine, Arkansas Crazies, "Pro-Life" Contradictions, Russian Anti-Gay Violence, Election and Cyber Friendships

And since I've been talking politics today, a few more articles in that vein which catch my eye as this week draws to a close:

1. At his Hightower Lowdown, straight-talking Texan Jim Hightower succinctly summarizes the three big lies that the Koch brothers and other members of the 1% have succeeded in planting in the brains of voters whose economic best interest is not served by voting for the party of the 1%, but who will do so in the 2012 elections:

  • The "self-made" myth. 
  • The "government can't do anything" myth.  
  • And "the government punishes success" myth.

As Hightower notes, these myths are peddled to ordinary voters like you and me by the super-rich as beliefs we're expected dutifully to swallow simply because they come to us from gilded heights.  As he also notes, the word "belief" has the word "lie" planted right in its center. 

2. And talking about crazy lies planted right down the middle of a culture: at Truthdig, Tracy Bloom asks how many retrograde, insane, because-God-told-me-so ideas Arkansas Republicans can manufacture in one week.  This single week has brought news that GOP state representative Jon Hubbard has published a book arguing that slavery was a "blessing in disguise"; that GOP state representative Loy Mauch continues to defend slavery because, after all, Jesus never condemned it (and, oh, criticism of the CSA battle flag is criticism of Christianity itself); and GOP legislative candidate Charlie Fuqua wants us to follow Leviticus and stone disobedient children to death.

As Max Brantley notes at Arkansas Times, Mauch belongs to a neo-Confederate group under surveillance by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its hate rhetoric and hate agenda.  And as John Celock indicates at Huffington Post, Hubbard and Mauch are being actively promoted by the Koch brothers--by those very same Koch brothers who, as Hightower reminds us, have spent millions trying to get struggling Americans in poor, uneducated states like Arkansas to vote against our own economic well-being by believing the myths the 1% spoonfeed us through their right-wing talk machines.

3. At Common Dreams, Christopher Brauchli looks at the bizarre contradictions built into the "pro-life" agenda of Americans who simultaneously want to deny women access to contraception and diminish abortions.  And to make economic conditions even harder for struggling women who would be less inclined to have abortions if they could attain economic security and have affordable healthcare.  

When these arguments fall from the lips of Catholic bishops, Brauchli is, shall we say, less than sympathetic.  His essay contains the following zinger of a line about those gentlemen:

The Catholic Church makes its wishes known through men who can enjoy sex whenever they want, even with children, without fear of any consequences.

And given their performance in the abuse crisis, who can argue with Brauchli's summary of the bishops' way of thinking and behaving? 

4. At Box Turtle Bulletin, Jim Burroway reports on a savage attack that occurred on National Coming Out Day this past week at 7Freedays, a gay-friendly bar in Moscow.  Without warning, about 20 young men wearing hoods and with medical masks over their faces pulled a gun on the club's bouncers, entered the club, and began to beat those in the bar, most of whom were women, with fists and bottles.  

I find the final paragraph of Burroway's report especially interesting.  It states that earlier this week,  the People’s Council, a nationalist Russian Orthodox group, issued a statement demanding that all gay bars in Moscow be closed ant that the city government adopt a law aimed at the gay community similar to the "anti-propaganda" law St. Petersburg has adopted.

And so I have to ask if some members of Russia's established church, the Russian Orthodox church, judge that it's legitimate to encourage criminal thuggery against the LGBT community, while criminalizing young women who sing "sacrilegious" protest hymns to the Virgin Mary in cathedrals.  Savagely beating gays and gay-friendly people, good; singing hymns to the Virgin Mary with political messages, bad. 

5. And at CNN, Chelsea Carter notes that this election cycle is seriously straining people's Facebook and Twitter friendships, as folks unfriend each other right and left due to political disagreements.  I'll come right out and admit it: I've dropped three Facebook friends just this week, when it became plain to me what these folks stood for politically.  And when I decided I'd had enough.

I've had enough of

  • The badly educated young priest who one day praised the recent statement of 120 theologians calling for us to remember Catholic social teaching, and the very next day, after the debate, circulates a picture of Paul Ryan with the statement, "A Catholic v-p of whom we can finally be proud!" and "I vote GOP, I mean pro-life."  Enough.
  • The distant cousin who decided to circulate a picture of a fetus as Biden-Ryan debated this week, with an inscription about how real Christians don't believe in killing babies like Biden does, and with a thread accompanying it in which someone says, "Obama's mother should have aborted him."  Enough.
  • The lady I don't know how I ever connected with who sends hundreds of pictures of cats in every pose imaginable every day, and who decided during the debates to remind us she's a cat-loving Republican who wants everyone to pray that God and God's people take back control of this God-fearing nation in the coming election.  Enough.

Sorry.  I don't mean to be intolerant.  I had, after all, accepted friendship requests from all these folks having some inkling of their political inclinations, because I tell myself I need always to push against my barriers and mix with (and learn from) people of all stripes.

But right now, as the Constitution of my democratic republic hangs by a thread and as the super-rich and those they control plot to sever that thread, I've had enough.  I'm too old and too tired to deal with toxic nonsense from callow young priests who don't know up from down but imagine they're religio-political authority figures because hands have been laid on them, with abysmally educated relatives for whom abortion was never an issue until someone told their evangelical pastors to push that hot button and make them vote GOP, and with cat ladies who think that Obama is the Muslim anti-Christ.


(Later: Kathy's good comment below makes me realize I wasn't especially nice in what I said above about cat ladies, and for that I apologize.  I actually do love cats, to such an extent that I've had a number of them in my adult life though I'm horribly allergic to cats.  And there's a slighting way of speaking of cat ladies in our culture that's ultimately sexist; I surely do not intend to promote that kind of discourse.

I do have to say, though, that my GOP cat-lady acquaintance seemed to specialize in a kind of cat picture that I'd classify as the porn of the cat-picture world: beribboned and bonneted cats reclining in fetching poses, with arch sayings across their tummies.  But it was her equally reality-challenged anti-Obama statements that ultimately sent me 'round the bend in her case.

My sincere apologies to cat lovers and cat ladies, though.  I'm honored to count a number of cat ladies among my very best friends.  And I'd be one of them, if I didn't wheeze, itch, and break into welts when I'm around the cats I love.)

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