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Society And Society

Another day, another mass shooting in the good old US of A.

Except this one last night was 2.5 miles from me, in a place I know well. I’ve eaten there with friends and colleagues. I’ve played music there. I know some of the staff there. It’s a place I like. And now it’s a place where someone brought in a gun, killed two people and wounded two more.

I am so sick of the sanctimonious justifications, the ‘thoughts and prayers’, and every other layer of complete bullshit which will no doubt be troweled onto this.

And guess what? It’s ten hours old, and already not even the most recent gun-related death in this town – and I don’t live in a particularly dangerous town. I just live in America. The land of the supposedly free.

So here’s the thing about that. If the price of that freedom is measured in corpses, I DON’T WANT IT.

I don’t care how much you love your guns.
I don’t care about your flawed analogies to spoons and cars and hammers.
I don’t care that your father and his father and his father had guns and it’s a proud tradition in your family.
I don’t care about the flawed reasoning that a ‘good guy with a gun’ could have somehow put a stop to this.
I don’t care that you have a constitutional right to own a gun.

I just don’t care.

When 33,000 people are being killed with guns every year, none of that other shit is important enough to make it okay.

Next year, one of those 33,000 could be your child or mine.

Where is the tipping point? How many more people have to die before America, with one voice, says ‘enough’? Whose children have to die for us to take real action?

Constitutional amendments have been overturned before. It’s long past time for us to do it again.

KavEnough!

I don’t give a damn that Brett Kavanaugh was a rowdy teenager. He liked to put away a lot of beer back in high school, so what? So did I. But I do very much give a damn that he sexually assaulted someone (multiple someones!) and had every expectation of getting away with it, I do give a damn that he lied to the Senate Judiciary committee about several things during his testimony, I do give a damn that he was blatantly partisan in the things he said, and I do give a damn that in no way has he shown himself fit to be a supreme court justice. And the mob of morons who for some ungodly reason have been entrusted with the running of this country seem to be absolutely fine with all of it.

To Kaep It All

To everyone on either side of the whole Kaepernick thing, I invite you to read this. Not my words, but very much my feeling on it all.

“I stand to honor the promise the flag represents.
You kneel because that promise has been broken.
I stand to affirm my belief that all are created equal, and to fight alongside you for that promise.
You kneel because too few stand with you.
I stand because we can be better.
You kneel to remind us to be better.
I stand to honor all that have fought and died so that we may be free.
You kneel because not all of us are.
I stand because I can.
You kneel for those who can’t.
I stand to defend your right to kneel.
You kneel to defend my right to stand.
I stand because I love this country.
You kneel because you love it too.”

— Andrew Freborg

Work Worth Doing

A note to our “leaders” on foreign policy and counter-terrorism:

Dear almost-exclusively-sirs,

Across the world, children are encouraged to fulfill their potential. In any country in the world, a child may grow up to be an artist, a doctor, a baker, a lawyer, all manner of professions.

Nobody grows up wanting to be a terrorist.

But when you bomb his village and he grows up seeing the bodies of his family members every night when he closes his eyes….. when you tear him from his family at the border during a time when his family are his greatest developmental need….. when you escalate the bloody conflict in his homeland and pretend to call it freedom and democracy, and then after he makes a long, hard trek and spends every penny he can find to try to seek shelter here, you slam the door in his face…..

You are the reason that child grows up to have hatred in his heart. He doesn’t ‘hate freedom’, he’s not driven to it by his religion… it’s you.

You made him a terrorist. You created that hate, and you act surprised when it comes home to bite you.

If you truly want a world free of terrorism and war, then let America lead by example.

Show the world that a nation is made great not by the size of its arsenal by by the size of its heart.

But… you don’t want that world, do you? If there were no terrorism or war, there would be no more juicy deals for defense contractors who make large campaign contributions. And that would obviously be awful. Especially since at that point you might actually have to focus on things like jobs and healthcare and the environment.

But unlike war, that is work worth doing.

Show us that you can do it.

I dare you.

Knee Deep In Sugar

My part of Florida is under a declared state of emergency over water quality. By-products from sugar production are being pumped into Lake Okeechobee, and released down our rivers toward the ocean.

Many of the beaches on which our economy depends are covered every morning with the stench of thousands of dead. Fish, turtles, whales, manatees. All dead in the name of corporate profit.

People are getting sick from the very air. Beachside restaurants are unable to bring in enough customers. Property values are dropping rapidly.

Mr. Putnam, candidate for governor, has been the beneficiary of over NINE MILLION DOLLARS from the sugar industry whose sole interest is profit.

Senator Marco Rubio and Governor (and Senate candidate) Rick Scott have likewise been heavily bankrolled by the sugar industry.

The only way we reverse this is through action.

I’m calling on each and every one of us to cut down our sugar intake, starting today. We can skip that one treat a day.

I’m calling on each and every one of us to vote down these politicians and their literally poisonous acts.

I’m calling on each and every one of us to save Florida’s wildlife, its beaches and its economy.

And, if they truly believe it’s not a problem, I’m calling on Messrs. Putnam, Rubio and Scott to come down here for a swim.

Dear friends,

By now, you are no doubt aware of the growing schism between your progressive and moderate wings; it is rare that a day goes by without my seeing mention of it in the news. The Republican Party must be loving that.

Allow me, if you will, to make a suggestion.

The party platform has, for a long time now, been a very centrist one, especially when viewed through a global lens rather than an American one. In and of itself, when properly managed, that can be a good thing. But it has not been properly managed, not by a long shot. Frankly, if you were unable to defeat the present occupant of the White House with a centrist strategy, despite his obvious flaws both as a politician and as a human being, perhaps it is time to consider that a centrist strategy may not be as effective as you seem to believe.

Look back to the last time you won the White House. President Obama ran on a bold vision of hope and courage. And in so doing, for every vote he lost in the center, he picked up two on the left. Secretary Clinton was unable to strike the same balance in 2016, just as Vice-President Gore and Secretary Kerry were unable to strike it in 2000 and 2004.

Today’s left needs visionary leadership. FDR’s ‘Second Bill Of Rights’, 74 years ago, has yet to come true. The right to a living wage, the right of every family to a decent home, the right to a good education, the right to adequate medical care, the right to a useful and remunerative job… these are not radical notions born of leftist quackery. They are the bedrock of an economically secure nation, an investment in the future of every American child and the long-term security of every American family. Surely this should be a good starting point, one which both the progressive and moderate flanks of the Party could support.

At a time when the nation was crying out for change, you nominated a standard-bearer who represented the status quo in almost every respect other than her gender, and while I eagerly await the day I see a female President of these United States, I do not believe that Secretary Clinton was the right candidate at the right time. You may point the finger at Russia, you may point it at any other influence you choose to, but the core of it was that you lacked vision. While I do not by any means support President Trump, he represented change at a time when change was what America demanded, and that above all was the deciding factor in his victory.

I am now asking you to put forward candidates who can embrace the need for change, and strike back at the growing inequities which plague today’s America.

We can no longer settle for occupying a comfortable middle ground in which we don’t offend anyone; we are in need of strong, visionary ideas, and those are frequently uncomfortable and unsettling to a Party which is set in its ways, but they are absolutely necessary to America.

I am asking you to do some deep soul-searching today. There are many ways in which you can act. This country has a religious left, but it has gone uncultivated. This country has immense potential for mobilization, but so much of it has gone untapped, even despite the best efforts of Senator Sanders. This country has millions of people who would love to get involved in making positive change, and they have been reached by ineffectual messaging at best.

Democrats, it’s time to get off the sidelines and stake out some bold positions. Inspire us. Look to your base ahead of your donors. Look to your nation instead of your fears. Look to the stars, and aim high.

We can take back the House. We can take back the Senate. We can take back the White House.

You are public servants. This is your opportunity to serve the public. Take it with both hands, and do not look back.

Things

Just so that we’re all still aware… yes, the separation of families at the border is a Thing, and a horrible one.

But while we are justifiably outraged at this, let’s not forget, as I’m sure certain parties would like us to, that repeated violations of the Emoluments Clause are also still a Thing. Condoning Nazis in Charlottesville was a Thing. Destructive tax ‘reforms’ became a Thing. The fallout from Stormy Daniels is still a Thing. Alienation of allies in pursuit of relations with dictatorial regimes is still a Thing. Improper contact, and quite possibly outright collusion, with the Russians, is still a Thing.

And there are plenty more Things, feel free to add some in the comments.

Let’s remember all of this, and make the midterms a Thing.