Moments of Permanence

About Recent Entries

Shut up, Scalia, and meanwhile, Borderlands Jun. 27th, 2015 @ 01:21 pm
The Supreme Court rules 5-4 in favour of marriage equality. Scalia calls it a "judicial Putsch" and claims it threatens democracy because: "They are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution..."

Please, explain to me how that argument doesn't also work for literally anything else. At some point, if something is wrong, there must be a point where people recognise that it is wrong.

As far as I can tell, not one argumeent Scalia has wouldn't also apply to a dissent in Loving vs Virginia, in which the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favour of inter-racial marriage.

Meanwhile: I've been playing Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

I'd just like to note that this is a modern shoot-em-up video game in which:

- The main protagonist is female, and modestly dressed.

- The surrounding narrative is framed as a discussion primarily between two women, to which male characters make only occasional contributions.

- There are four base playable characters, and two additional available as DLC. Of the four base, two are female, one male but with a disability, and one a robot; the two DLC are one male, one female. The robot, inasmuch as a box on a wheel is gendered, is gendered male, but that still makes a fifty-fifty split. One of the DLC characters has medium-brown skin, but I'm not sure how she counts from a diversity perspective, since she's the sister of an existing NPC.

- It had previously been established that that particular NPC appears to draw his romantic partners exclusively from the pool of other ruggedly manly men. (Sir Hammerlock is extremely rugged and manly, despite his refined, English-accented elocution.) This information was available if you did side missions which included him mentioning, in passing, his ex-boyfriend, and suchlike comments.

- Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel ups the ante with some gentle flirtation between Athena, the primary protagonist, and Janey Springs, the "black marketeer with a heart of gold" who, it is mentioned, is "not into dudes". It is confirmed, later in the story, that subsequent to the events that the story actually follows, Springs and Athena totally got together, and were even living together.

- Extra bonus: Mister Torgue!

So, Mister Torgue is... an odd chap. He's the super-muscular head of the Torgue Corporation, which specialises in guns that do bonus explosive damage. He's a huuuge fan of explosions. He talks in a non-stop scream that gets captioned in allcaps.

A side-mission has you collecting parts for building lasers on behalf of Janey Springs. Mister Torgue, however, wants you to destroy it, because he's very sad about laser guns.

When Janey asks you to bring the component back, Torgue suggests: "OR, YOU COULD DESTROY IT FOR ME AND GET A COOL TORGUE GUN. WHY? BECAUSE I RESENT LASERS AND I'M SUPER GOOD AT HOLDING GRUDGES. IT'S A SERIOUS PERSONALITY PROBLEM."

Springs observes that she "kinda feel[s] sorry for the big bag of muscles" and assures you that if you do as he asks, she'll still like you - it's up to you.

If you choose to return it to Springs nonetheless, Torgue sobs: "AW, EVERYONE'S ENJOYING THEIR LASER WEAPONS AND I'M JUST SITTING AROUND MAKING THINGS EXPLODE. MY LIFE SUCKS!"

Because she's kind of awesome, Springs comforts him, assuring him that people still like explosions, including her, and he's great.

Torgue: REALLY? I LIKE YOU NOW! DO YOU WANT TO GO OUT?
Springs: Sorry. I'm not into guys.
Torgue: FRIENDZOOOONED!

However, this whole thing is framed as Athena recounting the events at a later date, so at this point, Mister Torgue cuts in again: "HEY, IS ATHENA TELLING THE STORY ABOUT THE LIGHT REACTOR THINGY? I'D LIKE TO JUST POINT OUT THAT I WAS IN A DARK PLACE BACK THEN, AND I KNOW THAT "FRIENDZONING" IS AN IMAGINARY MISOGYNISTIC WAY OF LOOKING AT RELATIONSHIPS!"

Badass.

How America dodged a fascist uprising, part two: America's stable, non-functional government Feb. 16th, 2013 @ 11:02 am
It's taken me a little extra time to get started on writing this part out. I think this is because I honestly, still, can't decide whether I think the American system is a net positive or a net negative.

Allow me to explain.

Another one of the historical prerequisites for a fascist takeover of government is an unstable democratic government preceding it. When democracy falls apart and clearly isn't working, people start wanting an authoritarian system that can actually get something done.

The German Weimar Republic already had the odds stacked against it. It was a democratic republic in a country where most people hadn't been particularly unhappy about the authoritarian monarchy, and hardly anyone had wanted a republic or a democracy before suddenly they had one. It came into being when the nation was in a state of shock and trauma, having just fought a gruelling, painful war - one most people had thought they would win, until suddenly they had already lost.

And it was hobbled at the outset by the punishing terms of the Treaty of Versailles.

Small wonder, then, that the average lifespan of a government in the Weimar Republic was a matter of months.

In Italy - and in France's Third Republic - the reasons were different, but the problem was the same. Governments formed and fell apart within months, over and over. Political chaos means nothing is ever really achieved; it's rare that government policy lasts long enough to have an effect on anything. The country runs on bureaucratic inertia.

In some cases, this doesn't actually require fresh elections to be held. It can result from shifting political alliances, if the parliamentary body is filled with minority parties who form government in coalition. In other cases, it will require new general elections, because in most parliamentary-type systems, if the government becomes deadlocked, then it is dissolved.

This isn't always a result of a total and irreversible breakdown, mind you. Famously (at least in this country), it happened in Australia in 1975. (Controversially, but constitutionally.) The Government became deadlocked; the Labor Party held the Lower House, but the Opposition controlled the Senate, and refused to pass any of the appropriations (generally referred to as supply) bills that fund the operation of government.

This resulted in a Double Dismissal election, where every seat, in both Houses, was up for re-election at once.

How This Applies To America

America's House of Representatives is not functioning very well, but it's functioning. The American Senate, however, is a trainwreck that would be comical if it didn't have such comprehensive ramifications for the country and the entire freakin' world.

The Senate can't pass a budget, nor can it get through a number of truly vital confirmation hearings for presidential appointments. The Senate can't get through just about anything, because the Senate allows for so-called filibustering that doesn't require actual effort. Essentially, any single Senator can block pretty much anything until further notice.

In most systems, this would result in new elections being called, on the grounds that the knuckleheads currently there are clearly incompetent.

However, it's debatable how much this would actually bring about change. Especially when the House is falling apart, too; so many of the worst offenders would probably be re-elected, because most seats in Congress are terrifyingly safe.

So on the one hand, America's system of scheduled-for-always elections means that government is stable, even when it's broken. On the other hand, it means that, well, government is stable, even when it's broken.

I can't decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing overall, but at least in the context of the last decade, it's one of the reasons why America couldn't be given over to fascist dictatorship; democracy maintains the appearance of functionality, even if the democratic government doesn't.

How America dodged a fascist uprising, part one: the Alien Other, and its absence Feb. 7th, 2013 @ 11:23 am
Despite the histrionic claims in right-wing tantrums, now, or left-wing tantrums, circa the Bush era, the United States of America is not now, and has not yet ever been, a fascist state, and it's not becoming one.

But, in the last few years, it's come amazingly close to following the historical precedents for one. Actual fascist states have only happened a few times, and while no two fascisms are identical (being that fascism is characterised by ultra-nationalism, and no two nations are identical), there are general categories of circumstances that make them a possibility.

In no particular order (seriously, this is not in order of importance at all, because I'm basically thinking into a DW update window), I shall endeavour to go through them, starting with:

The Alien Within (Usually Jews)
In which I explain anti-Jewish sentiment as part of fascism. )

In summary: a people who are not like us, but are among us, and they are harmful to society, zomg!



[1] Fascism, as a term, was coined by Mussolini. However, the Alliance Francaise, despite predating Mussolini's rise by decades, qualifies as a fascist movement if anything does, not least because a lot of Mussolini's philosophy was inspired or taken directly from the writings of the idealogue behind the AF.


Why This Didn't Happen In America

Well, the Jews wouldn't work, because for a bunch of reasons, some of them sensible, some of them kind of insane (e.g. "Israel is a prerequisite for the Rapture"), the American far-right is hard-line Zionist. And you can't really make a coherent anti-Semitic narrative without also going anti-Zionist, so even the most ardent anti-Semites on the American right have to be kind of covert about it.

Communists lost their power as a serious threat with the collapse of the USSR. Some American right-wingers have picked up a narrative that places "the gays" in that category, but the problem with gay people as an ideological hate fixture is that people will, inevitably, have gay family members, or meet people who are "one of us" and then find out that they're also gay, and basically, gay isn't an ethnic group.

A number of right-wing groups and politicians have made something of an attempt with Latinos, and, in localised areas, have succeeded to a terrifying degree. (See: Sheriff Arpaio, who I had a piece about posted on Shakesville before I broke up with Shakesville hard enough that it just took me ten minutes of going through my tags for old posts to remember what the site was even called.)

However, while localised fascism has absolutely taken hold in parts of America, this hasn't worked on a widespread basis. I think the reason is basically geography. America is huge, and immigration is a progression. You can't make the anti-immigrant fervour take hold in the same way in Ohio or Wyoming, because the immigrants aren't a presence there, certainly not sufficient to make people flip out. At the same time, in states like Texas, there are too many *legal* Mexican and Central American immigrants for an overwhelming consensus of hate. There are too many people for whom they *aren't* Other.

Mostly. You still have, you know, Arizona.

FBI monitored Occupy Wall Street movement, nefariously and underhandedly "doing their jobs" Jan. 3rd, 2013 @ 05:27 pm
So, the New York Times reports that the FBI was monitoring the Occupy Wall Street movement.

I happen to think, based on the article, that getting outraged about this is kind of a reach.

It's worth noting that they did not infiltrate the movement, or wiretap people, or anything like that; they did discuss information on Occupy movement web discussions and the like, but you know, they're allowed to do that. If it's on the internet, publically viewable, there is no special restriction that says it counts as illegal or invasive surveillance if law enforcement read it too.

The article mentions that the FBI documents record that an internet thread discussed when it's okay to shoot a police officer. This, too, is something that I really don't have a problem with law enforcement taking special note of, because a) seriously, your viewable-by-anyone web forum is not a private conversation b) your not-private conversation is about shooting law enforcement officers, which means you are thinking about shooting law enforcement officers, which is something law enforcement officers both want and need to know about.

But the thing is?

This:

The F.B.I. was concerned that the movement would provide “an outlet for a lone offender exploiting the movement for reasons associated with general government dissatisfaction.”


That is, seriously, exactly what the FBI should be doing when a mass protest movement is under way. Not stopping it or interfering with it at all, not infiltrating it, not anything that jeopardises the rights of the protesters, but monitoring it because if some psycho brings one of the millions of guns knocking around America and starts setting up a body count, it would be kind of a plus if the FBI were ready for that, instead of just looking pointedly the other way.

Sometimes it's not oppression for law enforcement to monitor activist groups. Sometimes, it's just law enforcement.

Some notes on the gun control debate Dec. 19th, 2012 @ 12:44 pm
1) I see it noted in some reports that the White House isn't giving details on President Obama's plan for new gun control legislation.

Why should they? Why should he even have one? That's not his job, and it's not even within his remit. Writing legislation is Congress's job. President Obama's job is to lead, sure, but he's done that by saying that something needs to be done. After that it's pretty much his job to sign or not sign, because he's a president, not an absolute monarch.

2) I have also noted gun advocates pointing out that it was apparently the killer's mother, not the killer, who bought the assault rifle in question.

Setting aside the issue of you're still making assault rifles readily available to the public, weapons that have no legitimate actual use, that's still a failure in your gun legislation.

Obviously America isn't going to get anywhere near Australia's wonderfully, eminently sane gun laws, but here's one they could and should pick up: If you have a gun, that thing should be secured, where no-one who isn't the registered, licensed owner is going to be able to grab it for a murder spree.

Legal ownership of assault rifles in Australia is more-or-less restricted to "the Army", but if you have any gun at all, you're required to keep that locked up in an approved gun safe.

Because it's true, background checks and mental health provisions won't help if the crazy person can just pick up someone else's gun. That's why they shouldn't be able to do that.

It's much easier to keep guns out of murderous psychos' hands if the guns are a) much, much rarer anyway and b) all kept locked up.

Be less partisan, guys Nov. 9th, 2012 @ 11:56 am
So, something called The Atlantic Wire has a piece up, with screenshots and videos, glorying in the bit on Fox News when Karl Rove was trying to insist that it was too soon to call Ohio and Megyn Kelly was sent to the stats guys to ask them about the reasoning.

The thing is, some of their summaries go like this:

"They seem very confident," Kelly says, not entirely confident in the nerds.

See, I've watched the footage, and I disagree; I think Megyn Kelly's demeanour throughout is a mixture of the following factors:

1) She thinks this is kind of stupid. If the numbers desk has made the call, then they're going to have reasons, and Karl Rove is being a whiny idiot.

2) She a bit nervous about it, because she mentions that they tried this in rehearsal, and they lost audio (which did happen again), and is, I suspect, worried that this is going to turn into an embarrassing debacle of miscommunication and technical errors.

3) She is politely asking of the stats dudes/nerds (if you're going to be unnecessarily bitchy about it) that they explain their reasoning, for informational purposes, so that the viewers and hosts can understand. She is, in this scene, being a journalist. You can tell, in part, by the way she asks them to explain Karl Rove's theory (and why they disagree with it).

In less diplomatic, journalistic terms, I think her question translates to: "I think what Karl Rove said sounded like bullshit, but I'm not discounting the possibility I didn't understand it correctly, because he also expressed himself badly. Can you explain what he said in a smart way that makes sense, and then explain clearly why he's wrong?" She's not siding with Karl Rove, she's asking the requisite questions for clear information to be conveyed, leaving no ambiguity or confusion.

Seriously. I'm not a fan of Megyn Kelly. In fact, overall, I kind of sincerely dislike her, or at least her public persona.

But in this instance, she was completely unobjectionable, even decent. That piece on the Atlantic Wire is a spectacular example of how people can let their biases overwhelm them to the point where they only look at their ideological opponents as caricatures, rather than people, and it just gets actively unhelpful.

After all, if you can't even see that you're finding common ground with someone on the point of Karl Rove Is A Douchebag, where *can* you ever find it? And if you can't find common ground, how is there any resolution to America's political divides before the Second Civil War?

Oh, my. (Say it like George Takei.) Nov. 9th, 2012 @ 06:54 am
Apparently some American Republicans were talking about moving to Australia after Obama's victory.

Because we're exactly what they're looking for. A nation with strict gun control laws, universal health care, entrenched social welfare programs, and an established tradition of paying for government expenses via tax revenue, and an unmarried woman atheist head of government. (Not to mention a monarchy-based head of state.)

Pro tip: If Hurricane Sandy had been Cyclone Sandy and hit Australia, the costs of dealing with the disaster would likely be met by an additional levy on the wealthy via the tax system, because that's how we generally handle government expenses that the existing tax code doesn't cover.

Seriously, though. Show up to a political rally with an assault rifle here, and you are, I assure you, guaranteed to be arrested as soon as the tactical response group get there to arrest you at the point of about twenty assault rifles of their own, in full body armour, possibly with air support. Because, Republicans, I can assure you, you are not going to get legal access to an assault rifle in this country, and you sure as shit are not going to get away without prison time for taking one to a crowded location.

I'm not sure Republicans could handle our gun control laws alone, let alone living with all our socialism. In Australia, air rifles and paintball guns are Category A weapons, requiring a license, for which you must have a "Genuine Reason".

Overheard in my living room Nov. 7th, 2012 @ 09:55 pm
"It looks like Obama got over the line in places like Ohio because of high black voter turnout. I gather that four years of racism-based politics has kind of annoyed people. They're a bit shirty about it, so they all went and voted."

"Gosh. Who ever would have expected that?"

"Not the Republicans, apparently."

America's (legislative branch) political problems fixed at a stroke Mar. 2nd, 2012 @ 12:49 pm
So, it looks like the Blund amendment on contraception stuff was being attached to a transportation bill.

What the hell does contraception have to do with transportation?

And all sorts of stupid earmarks and political point-scoring is attached to things like defence appropriations bills and no-really-this-is-obviously-needed bills.

I think a lot of the ways in which the Houses of Congress achieve their most ridiculous failures and wastes of money could perhaps be easily repaired if it was made a hard and fast rule that any amendment to legislation must pertain directly to the legislation in question. If it's not an amendment to the text of the proposal, adjusting the precise details of the legislation, then it's ruled invalid and dismissed outright.

Otherwise everything Congress does will become a messy, random wall of bullshit, and the laws passed will be completely inane.

BBC on the different kinds of culture wars Aug. 13th, 2011 @ 01:08 pm
Penny Wong: Australia's Non-Story of the Week, on BBC news.

Our Finance Minister, the really-quite-awesome Penny Wong, and her girlfriend are going to have a baby.

Australia's national reaction more-or-less amounts to: "Hey, congrats." The only public figure to make negative comments is the odious Fred Nile, who's more-or-less a punchline to the vast majority of the country.

And yet, gay marriage is legal exactly nowhere in this country, and IVF for same-sex couples is illegal in South Australia, so Penny Wong and her beloved had to go out-of-state to get it done. Australia is an odd paradox that way; on the kind of social issues that are a really big deal in America, for the most part, we just don't get that worked up about them. You'd struggle to rouse the kind of protest and opposition to gay marriage that America often features, but you'd also struggle to rouse the kind of support America gets.

(Oh, and serving in the Australian army while being openly homosexual has been allowed since 1992. I had to look that up, because it's a non-issue here.)

In Australia, we just sort of talk about these issues, in a general sense, until the tide of General Opinion has shifted, at which point we quietly amend the law, or until it becomes a serious argument, at which point we vote on it. This is why we never had a Revolutionary War - we didn't make a fuss, until a few years ago the question of whether we wanted to abandon the monarchy in favour of a republic became a sufficiently major argument that we had a referendum on it, and we decided against.

This is one of the things I love about Australia, though. We, as a nation, do care about things, but it's just sort of un-Australian to get so violently exercised about it as Americans do.

It has its benefits, too. Our Prime Ministerial assassination tally still sits at zero, and my one close encounter with a Prime Minister is one you couldn't imagine having with an American president: while leaving an event John Howard had also been at, I was standing by the road near the War Memorial, waiting to cross, when a car stopped right in front of me. The man standing a couple of feet away from me got in it, and I realised, with some surprise, that it was in fact John Howard himself.

I can't imagine someone being three feet from Barack Obama in the midst of a dispersing crowd without being aware of his presence, somehow.

My Obama birth certificate/Osama bin Laden's death conspiracy theory: Let me show you it. May. 15th, 2011 @ 01:52 pm
So, the other week, being interviewed on the Daily Show, Rachel Maddow rightly laughed at the idea that killing Osama bin Laden was somehow a distraction ploy from Obama's birth certificate.

She was right because that's a silly idea.

However, I have this suspicion, that just won't go away, that the release of the President's long form birth certificate and the killing of Osama bin Laden were nonetheless connected events.

My theory goes like this.

The Obama Administration knew they had a lock on bin Laden's location, and they knew they were looking to make a move. However, it was vital that not a hint of this escape, for at least two significant reasons:

1) So that no-one who might possibly risk conveying that information to bin Laden get any kind of tip-off.

This includes the American news media, who are, at present, not necessarily particularly responsible about what sort of information they broadcast, or speculate about, or, well, anything at all.

2) So that if something went wrong, they might have some hope of burying the whole thing, or at least limiting the damage it would do.

No-one there wants Obama to be the next Carter, with the monumental cockup that was made of an attempted operation in the Middle East in the last year of his presidency.

Which means they would have wanted to distract the White House press corps and the rest of the political media and punditry as comprehensively as possible. The upcoming major operation was going to see quite a few high-level Administration figures being preoccupied in ways that might otherwise seem abnormal, which could, if noticed, trigger wild speculation that the Administration was Up To Something - particularly if the operation went badly.

However, they had this thing, where for several years, a lot of people had been clamouring, for no actual worthwhile reason, for Mr Obama's original, long-form birth certificate. It was an issue the President clearly felt, even at the release press conference, was patently stupid. But it was one which would, without doubt, make one hell of a splash.

In many ways, I'd argue, it was not politically advantageous to release the certificate then. I think it would actually be in the Democrats' interest to have let Donald Trump continue clowning around for a while longer, keeping the Republican primary contenders disordered - there's no way to build towards any kind of coherent political message while he's there, America's own answer to Berlusconi, the centre of all the coverage.

But Trump's sideshow wasn't going to take everyone's attention off the actual Administration completely - if nothing else, they were getting watched for reactions, for anything that made for new stories.

The birth certificate did. For a few days, the media were all over it, centred on a complete non-issue that couldn't actually make Obama look bad. It was a circus that could have buried an awful lot, including a Navy SEAL mission in Pakistan that, say, raided a suspected Al-Qaida compound but didn't go that well - had that happened.

And nobody was paying attention to the senior Administration figures.

I'm not sure if they wouldn't have done it anyway, but Obama's performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in some ways doubled down on that tactic - briefly putting the spotlight back on Donald Trump and giving everyone some more birth certificate-related footage and quotables to spin that story out some more.

If I'm right, I'm also in awe. I think it's brilliant statecraft - a way of controlling the media without, in any way, shape or form, constraining its freedom, using the chattering punditry against itself.

As an act of political sleight-of-hand, it's without parallel that I can recall.

Because sometimes funny isn't right Dec. 17th, 2010 @ 08:15 pm
9/11 First Responders react to the Senate filibuster. Jon Stewart of the Daily Show brings some 9/11 first responders to talk about the issue.

I cried. And Chas, Dean and I all agreed that someone needs to make everyone in the Senate watch that segment. (Optional: "... and then punch all the Republicans in the face.")

Barack Obama, a man out of time (see edits) Sep. 25th, 2009 @ 10:03 am
Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, is living in the wrong century.

As far as can be seen as yet, his greatest flaw as a President is the strength that got him elected: he's a statesman, not a politician.

He placed his faith in his people, in the strength of rightness over expediency, in the promise that the degeneration of governance could be arrested and repaired.

But the reason our campaign has always been different is because it's not just about what I will do as President, it's also about what you, the people who love this country, can do to change it.

That's why tonight belongs to you. It belongs to the organizers and the volunteers and the staff who believed in our improbable journey and rallied so many others to join.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.

Yes we can.


It was three words that swept him to the Presidency. Yes, we can. Thousands, tens of thousands of people, chanting together. Yes, we can.

A campaign promise, to end the power of lobbyists, to bring the American government back into the service of the American people.

A promise that the American people have not kept.

Obama pledged to end the bitter partisanship that is tearing Washington apart, and he has tried, desperately, to the point where his quest to bridge that divide risks destroying everything else he seeks to accomplish, even as he took office in a country that was in crisis in too many areas already.

He said, from the start, that he would need the help of the American people, that it was the American people who could overcome the lobbyists and special interests who are destroying America.

Barack Obama appears to be in a uniquely ironic position, for an elected politician: he believed what he said during the campaign, and the voters treated his campaign promises like a convenient, pretty fiction to get him elected.

And now he's trying like hell to fix this, and coming under attack for not succeeding even from the same people who last year chanted, "Yes we can."

Maybe they could, but they're not.

America desperately needs health care reform. They spend enough of their GDP on health care to cause serious damage to the economy, and yet, so many people receive inadequate care, or no health care at all, that the indirect cost is greater than the direct cost. Even for those Americans who do have access to health care now, that access is too fragile, and too risky, except for the rich minority.

And yet, the voice of opposition is strong, frenzied, and millions upon millions of people are silent or even complicit in the ploys of the lobbyists to destroy this chance at reform.

"Yes, we can. But we won't bother."

It goes like this.

If you went to a rally for Obama, if you chanted that slogan, but you haven't contacted your congressman since the election - to voice your support, to speak in opposition to the lobbyists - then you lied.

If you voted for Obama, you signed on to the implicit contract of an election - that you are signing on for the promises of the campaign.

And if you voted for Obama, the odds are pretty strong that you've broken your promise, because millions of Americans cast their ballots for Obama and have done nothing since then to help him.

In a democracy, it is said, the people get the government you deserve. In America's case it rings fairly true - America has almost no democracy at all, because for all that there are elections, Congress is bought and sold by lobbyists who control the government for their own benefit, and the American people just keep letting that be true.

Obama can't change that. Obama adheres to the Constitution, and the representatives of the United States, in Congress assembled, are a co-equal branch of government; he can try to persuade, but he can not and should not control Congress.

And when he's struggling to persuade even Democrats to support his attempts at health care reform, Congress is working against him in ways he can't constitutionally overcome.

The only people who can fix this nightmare are the American people, speaking up, speaking as loud as the teabaggers and FOX followers.

They're not doing it. They're letting him down, they're letting their country down, they're letting themselves down - the American people need to take a long, hard look at themselves and decide: Do they want a better America? Do they want reform of health care, reform of Wall Street, a future less desperate and uncertain?

Or do they want to sit back and wait for someone else to negotiate, somehow, through genuinely impossible obstacles without a fraction of the support he was promised?

Sadly, it seems that question is already answered.

ETA: This entry was, briefly, switched to private; the reasons why this was are not actually germane to anything in the content. It's certainly not because I don't stand behind my words; I do, especially since the criticisms so far appear to amount to: "... YOU'RE NOT AMERICAN SO YOU DON'T GET TO SAY STUFF THAT'S SO MEAN."

To which I answer: Truth hurts, apparently. Suck it up.

There's a separate discourse on the hypocrisy of accusing me of cowardice for "not standing behind my words" in a private message - with return messages blocked. That's freaking hilarious. There's an eye-rolling aggravation in the same anonymous cowards returning, apparently unaware that I can trace a goddamn IP address.

What there isn't is anyone actually showing any signs of anything better than the exact same problem I'm talking about: it's easier to whine, and complain, and get angry at the very idea that someone might expect more than this. It's easier to make believe that "you're not American" is a valid counter-argument to a statement about America; if nothing else, have you ever encountered the phrase "the onlooker sees most of the game"?

Not that I'm saying I, personally, do; it's more that the argument is fallacious to the point of being asinine.

Grow up. I have more important things to deal with than this, or you, and ultimately, a big part of the reason why I decided not to bother with this post any more is that it's clear that the subset of American people who actually do need to sack up and try to do their part has a strong correlation with the subset of American people who are fuckwitted douchebags with entitlement complexes, and they're just not my problem.

Current Music: Queen - Football Fight (Flash Gordon soundtrack)

Top of Page Powered by Dreamwidth Studios