So… Sunday Night/Monday morning: My dream was a detailed political debate using real life examples from news and policy discussions.
Last night? My dream was a detailed Classics debate about the Aeneid, the Iliad, and The Odyssey and how they may have impacted Contemporary or Relevant Story Telling. Examples used were Romeo and Juliet, Clash of the Titans, and others.
I found that curious. And… can already speculate as to three possible reasons for these “Intellectually Focused” dreams.
(1) During the Mother’s Day events on Saturday (prior to Wife’s alcohol induced issues) my Dad and brother’s Father In Law were drinking by the fire. (BTW: When I say fire: we were outside… it wasn’t a camp fire, it was an open air fire being used to create this stew dish Brother learned in Iceland). So… super religious Dad and not-religious-at-all Father In Law Once Removed (is that a thing?) sitting around a fire… drinking. Then they want to know how my job is going. What have I always said? I’m good at diplomacy; but I’ve specialized in the three inappropriate dinner conversation topics. (1) Politics; (2) Religion; (3) Crimes Against Children. So… if you ask me how my job is going… you’re going to hear about Politics and Crimes Against Children. Leave it to my father to press the Religion. After discussing how my Rapes Against Minors case load has exploded Dad and (Bro)FIL had a mutual “what’s the world coming to” moment. Leading me to “It isn’t good. Everyone thinks that they are the exception to the rule and that everyone else should be held to the same standard except them.” Well… that did it. That comment led my father and my bro’s FIL into a debate about Relative Morality versus Absolute Truth. Me being me… with the experiences and education I’ve had… attempted to help both men see from the other’s perspective. Or as my brother told Mom, “poking both bears.” Of course, I would respond to the idea that Dad’s sense of “absolute truth” is weak and questionable… he believes “The Bible said it, so that is absolute!” except… he still believes that the Bible says some stuff that it most definitely doesn’t say because he’s completely removed the “translation, interpretation, and context” elements. Meanwhile, Bro’s FIL’s sense of “relative morality” is weak and questionable… he believes that there are things that all cultures abstain from but that it has less to do with morality than it does with community survival… which also isn’t true because there is NO taboo that all cultures abstain from… literally nothing on earth doesn’t exist… which is a funny way of saying it. The men debated murder. Murder is an absolute truth because all cultures are against it. To which I had to interject… they most certainly are not. The Death Penalty and Honor Killings would suggest otherwise. To which I was told I was using Relative Morality.
Anyway… that debate may have triggered my old Intellectual Ontological/Philosophical college debate brain cells.; or
(2) It could be the opposite. It could be that my mental stimulation has been so reduced that my subconscious wants to make sure I am still being challenged. Perhaps the weeks and weeks of not having conversations with my wife, not intellectually challenging myself at work, and not being truly mentally stimulated by my entertainment options have gotten me to a point where my brain is desperate for intellectual stimulation… so much so that it creates Debate Opportunities in my head in an effort to make sure I don’t rust.
(3) We are what we repeatedly do. My college career was entirely Religion/Philosophy/Mythology Debate based. Everything from the meaning of Hair Myths across Culture to the meaning of specific word choices in texts. Then, when I was at Best Buy… a lot of that fell by the wayside. Then geared right back up when I was at Law School; where everything is a logical debate as to meaning and interpretation. Maybe my brain is just gearing up again; looking for a good debate?
Those are the theories anyway.
Let’s Discuss MEMES
I was once anti-homosexuality in a big way. Note: I specifically don’t use the term “homophobic” because I think the term is misused. Homophobic can either mean paralyzing fear of homosexuality, in the same way that arachnophobia means paralyzing fear of arachnids. Or homophobic can mean tending to repel or fail to mix with homosexuality, in the same way that hydrophobic means tending to repel or fail to mix with water. I was neither. I simply thought that homosexuality was wrong and it angered me that people thought it was okay.
I have come a LONG way. I hope that people see that. While you certainly won’t see me leading the Pride Parade; you will see me joining debates for LGBTQA rights on the side of LGBTQA. And a part of that? IS the religious perspective. Consider sin from a Biblical Viewpoint. Is murder a sin? Yes. Is homosexuality a sin? Yes. Is sex before marriage a sin? Yes. Is stealing a sin? Yes. Is lying a sin? Yes. Does God tell us to treat each sin with a specific weight so that we spiritually can use “Which sin is which” as a moral measuring stick? Fuck no. In fact, there is a lot of Biblical Evidence for suggesting that God doesn’t weigh each sin as separate. “You have sinned” and that’s about it. So what spiritual purpose does violent hatred against homosexuals serve?! Do you attack lying with the same venom? Do you attack adultery with the same venom? Do you even attack murder with the same venom?! Let me tell you right now: The most anti-LGBTQA people in this country are the loudest supporters of Donald Trump. Trump.... lying, stealing, adultery, slander, gluttony, greed… Trump essentially has a 10 Commandments Broken/7 Deadly Sins Bingo Card in his bedroom!! So… no. Hating homosexuals isn’t a CHRISTIAN thing. It would be downright unchristian to be hateful to LGBT people (as the two Greatest Commandments are love God and love thy neighbour). A good Christian, rather than being hateful, is loving and welcoming, as loving thy neighbour and loving God are one in the same.
As for God and LGBT people, God loves everybody; that is why he sent His only begotten Son to become man, to be crucified, and to die for our sins. If God did not love mankind in general, and either didn’t want or didn’t care about people getting into Heaven, He wouldn’t have even bothered.
And let’s dig a little into this Mental Illness bullshit. Because there are people in this world who genuinely believe that God condemns the Mentally Ill to hell for being mentally ill. Where is your Biblical Support for that?! Are you then claiming that every “demon” that Jesus or his followers drove out was actually a “mental illness” so if Jesus doesn’t miraculously cure you of “The Demons of Down Syndrome” or “The Demons of Schizophrenia” than you are just doomed to Hell? Or does Jesus, the Christ that said to a dying convict, “Surely this day you will be with me in paradise,” have compassion for those who love him?
Truly I say to you the following: If you believe Gender Dysphoria, Body Dysmorphia, or Sexual Preference are mental illness and you believe that those will prevent a person who loves God and otherwise obeys God from entering into His Kingdom? That’s a fucked up perspective.
This is one of those “Hoora-wait, what? Dammit!” kind of memes that exist in this world.
Tim Curry is an awesome guy. Great talent, great person. He is currently 73 but in July 2012, Curry suffered a major stroke. As a result of the stroke, he uses a wheelchair. His condition has reportedly continued to improve in the years following the stroke but he remains fully dependent upon a motorized wheelchair in order to have any amount of mobility. News of his either healing or deteriorating is not easily come by and he has not made many public appearances in recent years.
THUS when I saw the above Meme… I thought, “AWESOME! At least he still has community, a sense of humor, and isn’t just rolling over!” Until… duh… it is a fake profile. The name itself is a dead flipping giveaway as it states “NotTheTimCurry” a parody page in loving tribute of Tim Curry (who, as of this writing, has not been listed as deceased anywhere).
Now… Mr. Curry did give some interviews and made an appearance or two in 2018 and by all accounts he IS healing and tackling life with a sense of humor. BUT Mr. Curry was an excellent voice actor and, should he want to work… I imagine he could still get VO roles. His silence professionally and publicly does make me worry for the man, hoping he is doing okay.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While abortion ethics is a universal discussion; abortion laws are a Geo-Political Discussion. I appreciate any and all dissenting opinions as to whether Abortion is morally or religiously acceptable. However, when discussing specific laws and specific bills, it is important to understand that how the United States does something (including make decisions) is going to be different from how Ireland, Britain, France, Spain, China, and Australia make those decisions.
What is TRULY significant about this is not simply that “women will die.” Nor is it ever a good argument that “If something is outlawed, it won’t stop the thing, it just makes it illegal.” What we should truly do is look at things practically from a rational and honest approach:
Anti-Abortion Bills in the United States are far less religious protection and FAR LESS protection of the child than people think. Because ultimately, the abortion bills that are being signed (like Georgia and Alabama and Mississippi and Iowa) will effect the different Wealth Brackets significantly differently in a way that is a clearly designed additional punishment to the Poor and further separating the Classes.
Consider the following: I went to an affluent school where most of the children came from families earning enough to be considered High Middle Class or above. Teen Pregnancy was NEVER EVEN AN ISSUE WE DISCUSSED. There was a rumor that one girl had gotten pregnant and had the baby, gave it up for adoption, and came back to school… but that was never confirmed. There was a very likely rumor that one of the Teen Models in our grade got pregnant at a shoot in Europe, got the abortion there, and came back. However I also had friends that went to the Alternative School. The school was built, officially, so that students with behavior problems could still attend class. For our purposes? It was mostly where “the poor kids” were sent… the Lower Middle Class and Below. And… yeah, I was in theater, dammit… I had a lot of friends that went to that school for at least a semester because Drugs and Sex and Bad Choices from their parents and themselves. And THAT school… Teen Pregnancies were discussed. And several of them were aborted. Most of them, legally and at a facility where the Mother wasn’t likely to die. TWO of them were not. Two of them were far more dangerous. One was an intentional OD of narcotics. Tragic. Basically “attempted suicide” that we could never be sure if it was genuine attempted suicide or a circuitous abortion. The other was the more classic wire hanger, baby dad punching the belly, falling down stairs horror.
I mean, consider the College Recruitment Scandal going on right now. RICH PEOPLE will break the law TO HELP THEIR CHILDREN. And, as we all know, Rich People often get away with far less punishment (if any) when they break the law since they can hire better attorneys. So.... criminalizing abortion. Is that more likely to hurt Olivia whose mother Lori can pay to send her to Paris for an abortion and a vacation? Or is it more likely to hurt Keisha who, at 16, is already working two jobs to help her family pay bills? I get the moral arguments. I DO. But look at how these bills are being written, look at how the party trying to push these bills respond to Birth Control Access and Women’s Health Care.
The GOP is the party pushing to remove the Affordable Care Act. The GOP is the party pushing to remove Government Funding for Healthcare Initiatives. The GOP is the party constantly pushing to make it so that insurance doesn’t cover Female Contraception (despite the fact that it covers Viagra). So syllogize a little! If Bob makes it more difficult for a woman to receive information about sex and reproduction.... and Bob makes it more difficult for a woman to receive birth control… and Bob makes it a crime to terminate a pregnancy.... what is Bob really doing? He’s NOT protecting women. He’s NOT protecting babies! So either one of three things is going on:
(1) By continually making it difficult for women to be educated about their bodies or make decisions about their bodies; Bob is continuing to push/reinforce a narrative that a woman’s body BELONGS to a man; or
(2) By continually making it difficult for women to be educated about their bodies or make decisions about their bodies; Bob is continuing to push/reinforce a system that increases Native Reproduction. This has been studied lately (especially as a response to White Nationalism) that anti-immigration advocates are genuinely worried about the possibility that newer generations aren’t having enough babies to create “In Country Replacement Reproduction.” In a country with an economic model like ours, if we don’t have replacement reproduction, then we need more immigration. Therefore, requiring that all women be treated as expecting baby factories is an Anti-Immigration Replacement Reproduction Policy. OR
(3) As stated previously, by continually making it difficult for women to be educated about their bodies or make decisions about their bodies; Bob is continuing to push/reinforce a system that disproportionately hurts the underprivileged. This becomes another salvo in class warfare. Just like the Tax Cuts for the Rich which are being subsidized by cuts to Housing, Health Care, and Education. The repeating drone of the current GOP is, apparently, “HURT THE POOR AT ALL COSTS LEST THEY RISE UP AGAINST THE RICH!”
The Alabama Bill makes it a crime to get an abortion… even in cases of rape. The only even somewhat acceptable moral argument for that is “The child didn’t choose to be the result of a rape, don’t punish the child.” Okay… but do a little more homework here. Do you know that States are now giving rapists increasing access to their victims if that victim is pregnant with the rapist’s child. So… yeah. Even as a passionate Christian… I put myself in a woman’s situation and my options are: (1) Carry my rapist’s child to birth, birth the child and either give it up for adoption or raise it; all the while my rapist gets to SEE ME and KNOW WHERE I AM and gets updated as to the health of the baby AND GETS PARENTAL RIGHTS AT BIRTH; or (2) Make the very hard choice to get an abortion. I’ll tell you right now… there is no power on this earth that would stop me from picking Option 2. I would throw myself off the Golden Gate Bridge before I allowed Option 1. And that’s the reality of what we’re discussing. This isn’t “The welfare queen getting four abortion a year”… at least not exclusively. This is the Honor Roll Student who was raped at a Campus Event and has to deal with her virginity to her rapist and the struggle of a child decision. AND EVERYONE IN BETWEEN. If you are Pro-Life… create a world where Abortion ISN’T the best option for some people. Granted, it may never happen. But the exact opposite? Eliminating abortion and punishing people for having it without doing a damn thing to make life easier for these women or their children? Yeah, I call that pretty barbaric.
Small pivot but not much of one. Because I think we SHOULD discuss this issue. The political party that keeps saying “Fuck the government” that keeps saying “We want less government”… the party that says, “Government only exists to interfere with my rights” are the same assholes touting this nonsense.
If you believe you have MORE OF A RIGHT to own a gun as compared to a WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CONTROL HER BODY… you are very disgusting to me. If you think “It don’t matter if it’s rape, or incest, or the mother might die… no abortions ever, that baby needs to get born.” while at the same time you’re saying, “Nobody better make any laws about guns because that is unconstitutional!” then go fuck yourself.
But fundamentally… the meme makes a broader point as well.
Abortions get criminalized. Okay, that may encourage more women to get Tubal Ligation. Some places still require an interview and discussion as to Tubal Ligation to review things like age, marital status, number of pre-existing children, etc. Allowing someone ELSE to make the decision for if the Tubal Ligation is allowed. Okay, so how about Birth Control Pills? Let’s just give those away like candy so that any woman that doesn’t want to get pregnant has the ability to NOT GET PREGNANT. NOPE. Constantly attacked provision of the Affordable Care Act; plus the courts ruled a Private Business can refuse to allow their employee sponsored health care to cover birth control, so now pretty much all insurance companies (if they want) can refuse birth control coverage. Okay… so women have to buy birth control out of pocket. How expensive is it? According to U.S. News: Birth Control Pills without insurance can have an annual cost of up to $800! Okay… so don’t many Family Planning Facilities have deals that make birth control pills cheaper? YES so the same political party/movement is going after them to de-fund ALL Family Planning Facilities in the US. WOW. So, it is a crime to get an abortion, many women aren’t allowed a tubal ligation, we’re going out of our way to make birth control difficult to acquire.... it is almost like we’re stating a woman doesn’t have a right to NOT have a kid… women only have a right TO HAVE a kid.
Okay… so that is terrible and exhausting. But if we’re all but requiring women to have kids… are we at least making it easier for women who have kids? NOPE!!! Current GOP Federal and State government are slashing any and every program that would feed kids, house kids, or educate kids.
Then compare that to GUNS. Did you know (frustratingly true) that some colleges are trying to get Gun Safety Classes on campus so that students will know what to do if/when they see a gun, a gunman, or encounter a weapon? You’d think that would be a good thing. Fuck, elementary schools are doing active shooter drills these days! THE NRA IS TRYING TO SUE. Apparently, teaching Gun Safety without requiring the purchase of a gun is offensive to them and “leads to advocating anti-gun rhetoric.” Yet, I can take a Hunting Safety Class in almost any state… because the NRA wants to “celebrate outdoorsmen.” I’ve spoken with a colleague who is terrifyingly pro-NRA and when I mention things like, “What about background checks at a gun show? Can we at least make sure that known threats to themselves and others aren’t being armed with explosive targets, semi-automatic rifles, and flak jackets?” He lost his shit!! He flew into a rage how I was part of the leftist attempt to incrementally remove constitutional rights bestowed by God to every American Citizen!
So if nothing else… as a country… can we look at some of these extremist Right Wing Policies with the same lens? Apparently, restricting the use or sale of a lethal firearm violates rights; whereas making it a crime for a rape victim to get an abortion doesn’t violate any rights?!?!?!?!?!?!
NOTE: I do wish to make the following clear: I have dear friends that are pro-life. I have dear friends that are pro-choice. I don’t think you are a MONSTER if you pick one side or the other. BUT… if you pick pro-life and support bills that put the mother’s health in jeopardy…if you pick pro-life and think that rape victims shouldn’t have access to abortions… than I’m not sure we have similar enough perspectives to talk. Because wanting a woman to die because a baby will be born? Sounds barbaric. Removing a woman’s choice to have sex and then forcing that woman to deal with the repercussions of her attacker’s decision by bringing the child to term? Sounds immeasurably cruel.
I’m mixed on this one. The child who saves a life IS a hero. Whether in an Active Shooter situation, or a Domestic Abuse situation, or any situation where the child saves lives. That child SHOULD be seen as a hero. BUT it is very important to note the narrative in these scenarios. Every reference to the child is “as a brave, heroic hero who did what he had to do.” And that… that should be what shocks us out of the hero talk. who did what he had to do? He’s a child. A child should have to do their chores, go to school, listen to their parents. A child should NEVER have to take a bullet to save others.
If our School Shooting Narratives are going to be “Awesome how this kid did a brave thing” then.... we’re in trouble. Because it IS awesome about the kid doing a brave thing. But we genuinely need to start discussing What are we doing or what are we GOING to do about these school shootings? That’s the question we need to answer. Arming teachers? REALLY bad idea. Even most intelligent law enforcement officers will tell you that is a SHITTY idea. Because the good guy with a gun? Impossible to tell apart from the bad guy with a gun in most scenarios!! And that isn’t a “hypothetical, liberal theory” that comes from PRACTICAL USE IN THE FIELD.
In 2016, following the mass shooting committed by Micah Xavier Johnson, Dallas Police Chief David Brown said that the presence of armed-and-ready civilians in the vicinity made identifying the gunman even harder: “We’re trying as best we can as a law enforcement community to make it work so that citizens can express their second amendment rights … but it’s increasingly challenging when people have AR-15s slung over their shoulder and they’re in a crowd. We don’t know who the good guy is versus the bad guy when everyone starts shooting.”
Or do you want another Real Life Version of why arming everyone is NOT the way to go. How about Jemel Roberson! This is the security guard who was shot and killed after police officers confused him with the gunman whom Roberson had just heroically taken down and was holding at gunpoint on the floor. So… yeah. Arm the teachers so that they can take down the school shooter right before the police shoot the teacher to death.
So… other than strongly pushing the “Arm Teachers” solution which is really only the “Buy more guns” marketing scheme for the NRA… what solution does the NRA have for school shootings? And remember… they’re upset over schools teaching anything to do with GUN SAFETY for fear that dealing with the very real possibility of being shot to death in school might make them anti-gun...... the NRA suggests turning schools into, essentially, prison compounds. No trees, no parking lots, no places for anyone to hide from a direct line-of-sight from anyone in the building. Fences with barbed wire surrounding the school, possibly electrified if needed. Requiring that there is only one entry point and that upon entering, the individual is immediately faced with an “entrapment zone” of bulletproof glass, automatic double-locking doors, and a welcome desk reinforced with “ballistic steel plating.” In fact, any and all windows of the school should have bulletproof glass and ballistic plating.
So… the NRA’s response is to turn schools into Prison Compounds that would work very poorly as schools and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars per building in a department where we can’t even pay TEACHERS enough to stay… let alone afford MILLIONS OF DOLLARS of ballistic improvements.
This is the insanity. We can’t trust women to do what is in their best interest; but we can sure as hell trust gun owners to make sure no more schools get shot up!
Now let’s move from the very high emotional concepts of Abortion and Guns to the not as emotional but still being heavily fucked up world of Trade Tariffs. We’ve known that the Toddler in Chief doesn’t know how tariffs work for a long time. He continues to say, “We raised tariffs on China, we’ll be getting a lot of Chinese money from this!” Which… is not how that works in any way, shape or form. And you know it is bad because even Fox News was going after Corey Lewandowski for not being realistic about how Tariffs work! Fox News kept saying, “Now these are essentially taxes that company’s pay that almost always get passed on to costs by the consumers, right? So isn’t it the American Consumer paying for these tariffs?” The best Lewandowski could muster was, “Both sides will hurt from this.” That is the PRO TRUMP rhetoric of the current tariff situation. “Both sides will hurt.” In other words, Trump’s foreign trade concept is like shooting yourself in the foot and telling your mom that your sister did it. Your mom may blame your sister… your sister may face punishment for it. But you’ve shot yourself in the damned foot!
Now even Goldman Sachs is weighing in on this. And we know Trump loves those guys because so many people in his original cabinet had connections to them!
Goldman Sachs said the cost of tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump last year against Chinese goods has fallen “entirely” on American businesses and households, with a greater impact on consumer prices than previously expected.
The bank said in a note that the trade war’s impact on U.S. consumer prices is now higher than previously expected, partly because Chinese exporters have not lowered their prices to better compete in the US market
And do you know what industry is being just murdered by this bullshit? Farmers.
When the tariffs first hit, farmers took a bath. They saw their soybean market DRY UP. So Trump said he’d give them billions in bail outs. The farm community said that was “not a desired outcome, but acceptable for now.” The truth is that the farmers knew the longer the tariffs went, the smaller their market would become. That’s how farming works.
HYPOTHETICAL: Let’s say Iowa is THE CORN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. We make the best corn, for the cheapest prices, and export to every country on earth. Let’s say Brazil is the SECOND BEST for Corn. Their corn is 10% more expensive, not as good and exports to 50% of the countries on earth. THEN TARIFF. It now costs 15% more for Iowa Farmers to grow corn. THE FIRST YEAR OF THAT TARIFF, we can afford to take a little bath. We’re now selling for a 10% increase which lost us some countries to Brazil, but Trump promised to make that loss up to us. THE SECOND YEAR, we’re boned. Tariffs doubled. So now it costs 30% over original to produce. We can either keep prices the same, in an effort to not lose even MORE market, which is expensive and super damaging to the farms.... or we can increase prices some more, lose even more of the market, STILL SELL FOR A LOSS, and hope that Trump will send us more money and that these Tariff Wars don’t continue or get worse. Because at the end of the day… when the Tariff Wars are over… not all of the countries we lost will come back. Iowa will never again have 100% of the market. The damage will be… in essence… permanent in some ways.
And we’re in the second year. Trump promised another Farmer Bailout. And every farmer is saying, “Thanks. I need it. But I’d rather be able to sell my damned crop!”
I’ll leave you with this MediaMatters Research Report on Fox News. I doubt many of you will read it and it isn’t formatted the best. But… honestly… when you wonder how the United States has gotten so batshit crazy?? This is a BIG part of it. Even in Iowa, more businesses have Fox News running than any other channel. Fox News is the number one news source for people over 60. If you want to change the world, get your hands in the dirt. If you want to burn the world down, go work for Rupert Murdoch.