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True Blue Door

True Blue Door's Journal
True Blue Door's Journal
December 10, 2014

Forgive me if I roll my eyes at your precious outrage about torture.

My anger about this has been a long-smoldering thing, from the moment I could see from the attitude and language of the Bush regime after 9/11 that the "War on Terror" was a 2-front war with the Republican Party being one of the two implacable enemies this country faced. That came into perfect focus with the Iraq War propaganda/ domestic terror campaign, but had been a long time coming - Bush and his kind made no secret of their intentions. Watching those events unfold, the Big Lies and horrific atrocities under the flag and in the institutions of the United States was like watching a bunch of spiders be born from the corpse of your own mother.

While this was happening, what were we doing? What was anyone doing? We acted as if expressing our opinions was an act of courage, thus excusing the complete lack of follow-through on any of it. We held no one accountable, least of all ourselves. Maybe if the GOP had lived up to their constant threats to start rounding up political prisoners and crushing those who spoke against them, we would have done something. But they didn't really have to, did they: We didn't stand in their way at all. There was always some excuse, some ego-salvaging rationalization for why it was impossible, or why America was a conservative country and didn't deserve our sacred interference in its supposedly chosen course of destruction.

And the cycle repeats every time the subject comes up again: Always someone has to bash America to excuse their own refusal to sacrifice anything to change it, like a negligent parent who degrades their children as worthless to excuse never doing anything for them. Always it's someone else's fault that you've spent 95% of the last decade of political activism talking about other issues, and treat this one as if it were just like any other - torture and net neutrality, what's the difference? I'm angry when I think about torture, and angry when I think about cable companies screwing me out of my money, so I guess I'll just split the difference. Oh, but then there's fracking, and that makes me angry too. Say, what's the new flavor special at The Coffee Bean tonight? Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, I was talking about how much Obama really failed us when it comes to alpaca breeding regulations.

It's the media's fault for not supplementing your attention span with consistent coverage; politicians' fault for caring as little in principle as you do in practice; it's Obama's fault for not doing whatever hare-brained scheme you think is in a President's legal or even practical power because you were asleep the day they talked about that in Civics; it's Democratic Senators and Congressmen's fault that you failed to sustain their legislative majorities, meaning that we've been denied reports like this from the House since 2011, and will get no more whatsoever when the GOP takes the Senate in 2015.

And since we never do anything about any of it, we have to act perpetually shocked, shocked to find that there is gambling in this establishment! Every time the issue comes up, we pretend to have not known before. Either this is a case of Memento-like anterograde mass-amnesia, or a lot of people just have to rationalize to themselves why they never do anything about it.

I know why I don't do anything about it: Because I don't trust the rest of you to help me (or myself to help you, for that matter). And that's why politicians won't do anything about it either. Because you'll forget about the subject five minutes from now, along with both the contributions and disgraces of political figures. Every liberal who truly dedicates themselves to anything is constantly betrayed by your shallowness, and then you ask in surreal bafflement why these issues fail to advance.

But no one who's actually in government has this problem - they don't forget their friends and enemies. The CIA doesn't, the Pentagon doesn't, the GOP doesn't, and even the Democratic Party leadership doesn't, which is why they ignore you - because you are deliberately inconsequential. Because being consequential is too much responsibility. So many of them seem to pal around with Republicans because a consistent enemy is easier to work with than a fickle friend with amnesia obsessed with fault-finding in everyone who tries to serve them.

The contractors who profit from crimes like these don't forget their friends or their enemies. Nor do the Middle Eastern authoritarian states complicit in these crimes, the "allies" who participated or enabled them, or the bureaucratic trolls burrowed into federal and international institutions from the Bush regime. None of these people forget, but you do. They reward their friends, you punish your friends with moving goalposts and selective amnesia. They punish enemies, you reward your enemies with feeble opposition that makes them look strong and lets them claim you are not a viable alternative to them.

This is what you do - what we do. We grow our own villains like garden vegetables, and then take a big bite to savor the taste of outrage. Because just being rational and responsible enough to simply defeat them wouldn't be fun enough, we have to die on the cross every six months in our own imaginations.

Talk about your plans to obtain justice. Talk about ideas that might work where others have failed. Talk about how you intend to mobilize the amoral and corrupt to achieve this, because nothing ever happens unless they find it advantageous. But if you plan to belittle the American people, the President, or Democrats, or piss and moan about fate, save it for the Rand Paul rally. And if you just want to talk about how shocked and angry you are that the Bush regime was evil, email those sentiments to yourself in 2001-2005 when they might have mattered and just focus now on the practicalities of achieving justice in a meaningful timeframe.

December 9, 2014

A Cancervatives' Guide to Problem-solving

Problem: I'm cold.
Solution: Light yourself on fire.

Problem: I have two hungry kids.
Solution: Feed one to the other.

Problem: My car uses twice as much gas as others.
Solution: Make your wife push it half way. Mush! Mush!

Problem: I lost my job.
Solution: Get good at giving them. It's a recession-proof industry.

Problem: My house got robbed.
Solution: Rob your neighbors and call it a crime wave.

Problem: Someone ran over my dog.
Solution: Keep them forever in your heart, in the form of cholesterol. Don't skimp on the paprika.

Problem: Global warming.
Solution: Deny that Earth is a globe.

Problem: Human rights abuses.
Solution: Demand that all species be treated equally bad.

Problem: I'm fat.
Solution: Call women fat so they think you're in their league.

Problem: Racism.
Solution: Only allow one race in America so it never comes up.

December 3, 2014

Can't have "law and order" if the Police continually violate them.

While I'm sure the vast majority of police work is a mystery to me, no apologist can hide from a simple bit of common sense:

The first thing a police officer must do is obey the law, and what we see across America - while not actually a new thing - is that people are realizing more and more how little the law means to so-called "law-enforcement officers."

They behave as if the authority vested in them as a public trust to enforce the law were akin to a personal title to arbitrary power. Clearly that is not the case.

When you wield powerful weapons against a peaceful group of citizens expressing their views, you are the criminal and disorderly element that needs to be arrested.

When you physically attack people are not engaging in violence, going so far as to injure or even kill them, you are a rioter, and assaulter, if it goes far enough, a murderer.

The law is not on the side of the police when they behave this way. If the police will not act with authority, then the public must restore order against out-of-control rogue police.

December 2, 2014

A lame joke about Republican contrarianism.

The President makes a speech proposing enhanced federal funding for bridge repair.

Congressional Republicans, who had expressed support for the move under the President's Republican predecessor, meet and decide they must change course and stand against it.

The President issues a press release opposing a particular military base closure because of the economic impact.

Congressional Republicans who had earlier opposed the closure for militaristic reasons, meet and decide they must change course and support the closure to in order to oppose the President.

So then the President makes an anti-drug speech against smoking PCP.

Asked by a reporter for the GOP reaction, John Boehner says "We...rrraaaaaddddd......gggddadfasdfjadf.....we got...we got it coverrrreeeeeeddddd...adffdfdffdfd...agggg..."

December 1, 2014

Too early to advocate for Presidential primary candidates: Instead, say what you need from them.

I've noticed some threads that are clearly advocating for specific presidential primary candidates. It's too early for that. Stop it.

Hold back and instead tell the potentials what you need to see from them.

For my part, I need to see at least one of the following:

1. A piece of legislation opposed by most Republicans passed in one federal legislative body, even if it doesn't pass the other.
2. A major Republican leader sunk to well-deserved disgrace due to the prospect's efforts.
3. A significant Obama nominee passed by the Senate despite Republican obstruction due to the prospect's efforts.

This is not a comprehensive list of possible things a candidate could do, but in the absence of any, we lack either basis or confidence.

If you would be President, fly your flag over a major accomplishment or the wreckage of a Republican's political career. Make your bones, not just your arguments. This is real, not a high school debate class.

December 1, 2014

"Wanderers": A beautiful short film set to a Carl Sagan monologue

http://vimeo.com/108650530

From what I know of the various worlds of our solar system, the conceptual views in the short are completely realistic - and some of them are directly based on actual probe photographs.

This isn't fantasy, folks. Your descendents will live in these places, know them as home, fight for them against each other, discover others as refuges and new opportunities, as resorts and prisons, as job sites and places of exile, cities and suburbs (and backwaters). They will arbitrarily decide that some areas in these places are holy and others cursed. They will pillage and mar the faces of their worlds, then regret it and try to restore them in limited preserves. They will bring light to the dark, water to the desert, air to the void, and the whole life of Earth will give birth to world-children in kaleidoscopic fragments across the solar system...and beyond.
November 21, 2014

I can't help it, I'm a beer snob. Anyone else have this problem?

It started innocently enough - trying a nice craft beer here and there - but I could still easily hang with tap stuff, Guinness etc.

But then I ran into a brew so damn good it ruined me. I just can't drink normal beer now. It tastes like piss now. So now I'm doomed to only being able to stomach beer that costs twice as much as normal beer.

Anyone else have this particular First World Problem?

November 21, 2014

Overview of President Obama's historic accomplishments.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, even of the most historic achievements:

First black President of the United States.

Averted total Soviet-style economic collapse due to 2008 mortgage-backed securities failure.

Saved the American auto industry from total annihilation.

Largest expansion in healthcare access in half a century.

Largest nationwide reconstruction program since Roosevelt administration.

Largest investments in green technology in US history.

Got Osama Bin Laden.

Diplomacy with Iran.

Reversed Bush tax cuts for the rich.

First US administration to regulate CO2 emissions.

Opened the military to gays.

Ended the Iraq War.

Reduced the federal budget deficit year after year.

Increased the minimum wage for federal contractors.

Created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Created ARPA-E (the Energy Department equivalent of DARPA to pursue green energy)

Rebuilt America's relationship with Europe.

"New START" nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, signed and ratified.

Helped the Libyan people end the rule of Moammar Gaddafi.

Appointed most diverse Cabinets in history.

Yielded marijuana regulation authority to the states.

And we will see what comes of the recent climate change deal with China, and the immigration order potentially affecting the fate of millions.

---

Anyone who denies this President is a Great President, a Great American, a liberal, a progressive, and a Democrat among Democrats, is either a liar or a fool. Or both.

November 21, 2014

The Three Dimensions of Liberalism, and the Three Dementias of Conservatism

Given the vast number of liberal ideas, and the wide range of opinions among us, it's kind of surprising to realize that basically all of it can be boiled down to three independent and coequal values: Liberty, Equality, and Opportunity.

Another word for Liberty in a liberal context is autonomy: The practical ability of individuals to make free choices with all forms of coercion (legal, social, economic, etc.) minimized.

Equality can also be stated as fairness, and refers to systemic guarantees that nobody's exercise of Liberty is permitted to limit anyone else's, and especially not across generations. In other words, you do not have the freedom to enslave someone - that is not a free choice on your part that can be permitted, because it violates the independent value of Equality. Nor do you have the right to create rigid social classes perpetuated by inheritance: People don't choose their parents, so public services are a matter of both Liberty and Equality, as well as Opportunity.

Opportunity is the "progressive" in liberalism - not merely the neutral permission of science, philosophy, free thought, social diversity, and political experimentation, but boldly pursuing them as ends in themselves and collectively committing to that pursuit. Not to seek advantage over others, and not to serve the vanity of an identity group, but as a fundamental expression of life and consciousness. Not to escape anything, but to forever seek the new and open new roads to those who follow.

Not only are these values fundamental to liberal thought, but the presence and interconnectedness of all three distinguish liberalism from other moral systems.

For instance, libertarianism rejects Equality entirely and sees Opportunity as a dependent variable on Liberty (defined by libertarians as lack of government involvement - a preposterous corruption of the value), rather than being an independent political dimension. In other words, they only acknowledge one of the three as a fundamental value, and corrupt the meaning of that one to suit irrelevant fetishes.

Conservatism rejects all three and serves a totally separate pseudo-moral system whose only values are Power, Primacy, and Proximity. I refer to these as the Three Dementias of Conservatism, since they result from developmental failure rather than from philosophical or moral reflection.

Power just means "might makes right" - 'I have the right to do something because I have the power to do it and you don't have the power to stop me', and they're totally satisfied with such justifications (at least of their own behavior), so long as there's not much conflict with the other two conservative values. They can respect the power of liberals when we hold it, but they see our having it as a profanation because we don't worship the power we hold as they do, so we're "unworthy" of it.

Primacy means that things which come before and are already established are inherently preferable to new ideas, ergo their belief in a fantasy Golden Age that the present has degenerated from, and their love of imposing authoritarian cultural orthodoxies. They can respect the primacy and orthodoxy of liberal ideas they inherit as established, but they again see them as profane because those ideas are inherently anti-dogmatic. So they try their best to ignore them while whittling away at the philosophical foundations that maintain them.

Proximity means how closely someone or something resembles them or flatters their vanity. This is why they're racist, xenophobic, sexist, and religious bigots, despite the damage it does to their prospects for Power and the level of deviation from Primacy that might be involved. The reflection in the mirror is their North Star for moral perfection.

November 20, 2014

How to instantly prove conservatives are liars about economics.

Conservative: I stand for people earning their way through hard work, not handouts!

Liberal: So, how do you feel about inheritance taxes?

Conservative: Shut up.

Profile Information

Name: Brian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: Mon Oct 28, 2013, 05:48 PM
Number of posts: 2,969

About True Blue Door

Primary issue interests: Science, technology, history, infrastructure, restoring the public sector, and promoting a fair, honorable, optimistic, and inquisitive society. Personal interests: Science fiction (mainly literature, but also films and TV), pop culture, and humor.
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