Thursday, January 21, 2010

Immoderate political rant

Alright. Usually I try to take a moderate approach to things, even though I'm generally left-leaning. My long earlier post about global warming for instance was about the science of it, not the politics. Be productive and understanding and such.

Today I will rant. I may even allow myself to curse.

Been a lousy few days for political and social issues. First up, thousands of people showed up at the Hawaii Legislature to protest a bill allowing same sex couples to form civil unions. Organized by one of these "family" organizations whose main purpose is to decide for others what families they are allowed to have. That family group is in turn composed mostly of various churches, catholic and evangelical. It's not even a damn marriage bill; it's a civil unions bill that allows people who love each other to get benefits and see each other in the hospital and such without carrying a lawyer with them. You know, to support and love one another. Apparently, this is evil and unacceptable. I literally flipped off the newspaper with the story.

I'm not really even Christian anymore, but I get the impression that these people have never really read the Gospels. Yes, I know you can find some comments from St. Paul and Leviticus against same sex relationships, but how much time did Jesus go around worrying about this issue? I love me some Leviticus, but if I'm going to be a Christian, I'm going to worry about what Christ said and did first. Priorities. I'm well aware that many churches do in fact do tons of stuff that relates to the life of Jesus. In high school, I worked in a soup kitchen in the basement of a Catholic Church. Catholic charities are everywhere and doing great things. Many evangelicals do the same thing.

But if you can only get thousands of people to show up for something one time in a year... Really? Same sex civil unions is it? Not the homeless. Not children on the street. Not abandoned seniors. You're going to set your foot down politically only one time and it's about keeping gay people from seeing each other in the hospital.

Supposedly, these thousands of people had signs saying "I vote" to show there would be political consequences. Well, you know what? I vote too. Not only will I vote against a politician who votes against this bill; I vote against churches who choose to use their political power to tell others what legal contracts they can sign. Jesus spent most of his time, as I recall, trying to bring others to God. Above all else, that's the most important thing. Well, you, idiotic "family" organization, are driving people like me away from God. I will never walk through your doors. If you think civil unions are bad, fine. But use your time and money on something that Christ would have spent his time on. Not on the three phrases you've latched onto in 800 pages of text.

Next up, Democrats lost a Senate seat. Whatever. I'm too angry to really worry about this one at the moment.

And then today the Supreme Court virtually declared that corporations are covered under the First Amendment. My understanding has always been that the First Amendment is about people. You know, American citizens, not pieces of paper. It's undoubtedly going to make the nation worse. No matter what political stance you have, well unless you are fascist, one of the greatest problems our government faces is corporate influence. Corporations and unions practically write the legislation already. The Dems were planning to give the unions an exemption on some health care taxes for no real reason, but only because they support the Democrats and so it's payback. The major 5 or so financial institutions largely control financial regulations. After all, the former head of Citibank is the one in the government handling these issues.

And for over 100 years, laws have been created to limit corporate influence on politics by banning them from political ads and campaigns and such, originating with Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican who mostly rocked, for the record). But today the Supreme Court threw out almost all of these restrictions. (Remember that the most recent round of restrictions was written by John McCain and Russ Feingold.) They still cannot directly fund a national party or a federal candidate, so that's good, but otherwise it appears they can say whatever they want whenever they want. Basically, the argument to strike the laws down is that they violate the First Amendment, but as I recall, the First Amendment guarantees rights to people, not pieces of legal paper.

This could be really, really bad. By giving free speech to major corporations, the potential effect is to render the free speech of actual physical people meaningless.

Remember that Goldman Sachs, for instance, gives out billions of dollars in bonuses in a single quarter. The entire Obama campaign for the Presidency, the richest in history, was like a billion or something. Chump change. McCain's was similar but a bit smaller as I recall. That's like one department's bonus at Goldman. Again, they can't directly fund the candidate, but they can do entire campaigns that just copy what the candidate they like says as long as they remain "independent".

Why in the world would a candidate give a damn about any random person's opinion, or even that of a billionaire like a Forbes or Soros who spends tens of millions, when they can get some company to make their campaign for them "independently"? It's a recipe for corruption.

But fine. Companies are people, too. If we ever shut one down, we should prosecute the culprits for murder. Whatever.

I think the only way to save ourselves is to make the participation of corporations in politics so damaging financially to them that few will want to. Therefore, a company can blow whatever money it wants to on an ad, but every 10 seconds a big title must appear in all caps saying,"


And then there's a warning label on every product. Above "lunch" at McDonald's it says,


Maybe we could end up with political restaurant chains. If you are Democrat, you go eat at TGI Friday's and fund climate change campaigns. If you are Republican, you eat at Applebee's and fund restrictions on abortions.

Sounds like a great world and I know I'll enjoy every product I buy more knowing that each one has a direct political consequence. It also sounds wonderful for corporations. They used to only have to worry about finding the best salespeople or computer programmers or financial analysts. Now each one of those employees gets to worry about the company's political stances before choosing to join.

Eat up!


Robin S. said...

The one I worry about is Google. Google is Big Brother. They hand out freebies (like blogs and gmail) to get you addicted, when all the while their entire business model is built on screwing you out of any privacy you ever thought you had. Without their invasion of our privacy, they'd go bust. And Obama has two ex-Google execs in the WH as part of his tech guru team. Makes me just so very happy. Check out the article - I think it was in the NYT, about Google's position on net neutrailty, and how it wouldn't be for 'neutrality' if that included 'search engine' neutrailty; because sites who pay Google rise to the top and stay there, and others die a withering death, even if they are better sites for education, truth, or information. And we all eat this shit up like so much happy snack.

pacatrue said...

robin s, I've actually started to stay away from Google as well. I still use their search engine, I confess, because it still seems to be one of the best. But Gogle seems to be headed right down the giant monopoly road that Microsoft tried to go down.

blogless troll said...

It's a mad mad mad mad world.

But what's the lesson here? All of these large groups, be they churches or corporations or unions or political parties or bloated government, are all made up of large numbers of people. And once you strip away all the superficial bullshit we use to slice and dice people into categories, we're all pretty much the same, which is why you see the same insanity running through all of these groups. It may be hard to admit, depending on your level of emotional attachment to one group or another, but it really IS only about money and power. At least for the shepherds.

Robin S. said...

Agree with BT, although I hadn't thought of it that clearly. It really is about power-hungry shepherds, from union bosses to Big Government nannies/shepherds who think they know more than we do, and this want to 'help' us sheep and bleed us dry with taxes and extending our debt ceiling so that we are all financially fucked, only it's hidden. And when you cut down to the bone, it's all about a group of thems wanting to control the usses that they really do consider their inferiors. Makes for a pleasant world.

Mother (Re)produces. said...

Whatever happened to the days when honesty and tolerance were rewarded instead of punished? Oh, forgot; those only ever existed inside my head. *sigh*

my word verification is 'grailt.' is this a combination of grail and guilt? :)

writtenwyrdd said...

My word veri is "multra" and I think that these stupid misplaced efforts and the supreme court decision are "multra" stupid.

How in hell can the Supreme Court define a CORPORATION as an INDIVIDUAL? WTF?