Thursday, July 14, 2011

Well, That Explains It

Finally, proof positive:  The Republicans are full of crap.

For years they’ve galloped around ringing those bells and shooting those guns and hollering about the deficits! The deficits! The deficits! They demanded government cuts, cut ‘er to the bone because the deficits were too high and we’re all gonna die in the streets like dawgs!

So, they go into negotiations with the Dems, demanding more and more cuts and the President keeps seeing them and raising them (including tossing Social Security and Medicare into the “cut” pile) until they had on the table four trillion in cuts versus one trillion in higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans, as well as closed tax loopholes that aren’t helping the economy and certainly aren’t “creating any jobs.”

And the Republicans walked away. Four to one. Four to one! And they walked, willing to let the country go into default in order to further their own political careers and to protect their wealthy clients (what George Bush called “my base”).

Of course, the American people put all these extremist Tea Partiers and Republicans into office so they could drive America off the financial cliff rather than remove a tax break on rich folks’ second, vacation homes. This in a country where a good many people’s first and only homes are under water and another good chunk of people don’t have any homes any more.

Conservative columnist David Brooks, in a recent NY Times column, said he is beginning to believe that Republicans are not fit to rule.

He’s right.

Speaking of Unfit

Dan DeVaul is once again facing jail time for running a “sober living” Sunny Acres facility for homeless people by housing them in buildings that aren’t up to code and that the County feels are unsafe. And they aren’t up to code because, at this point, bringing them up to code would cost about $25,000 for the various building fees required to begin work.

And who could waive the fees so getting the upgrades done so the people living there now wouldn’t have to return to living in the creek? The Planning Commission. And have they done so? Not to my knowledge.

So, DeVaul may go to the hoosegow and the judge will decide on August 5th whether the people now living there must vacate the place entirely and go live in the creek (which everyone agrees is MORE unsafe, unsanitary, and illegal than Sunny Acres, but there you are) and the situation goes once more into an unsolved mess.

True, true, for the years this mess has gone on, both De Vaul and the County repeatedly had a chance to ask themselves: Do you want to be right or do you want to get something done? And they repeatedly wanted to be right, so here we are again at Stupid.

Let’s hope the County Planning Commission waives the fees. Then, perhaps a separate Board can be formed that would be co-administered by the Board and whatever County bureau oversees homeless issues, and subject to full audits. (I add that caveat because I think this has been a sick game for De Vaul and before anyone sends him or Sunny Acres a dime, I’d want a serious check on those donations.) Then a campaign to raise building and fix ‘er up money could be started so Sunny Acres can continue offering the homeless a sober-living place that may help solve some of their problems.

But I won’t hold my breath. In the game of rights fighting, sick, homeless people just become pawns. So, I’m betting on the creek at this point.

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do.

The New York Times reports that Kody Brown, a polygamist from Utah (and who’s starring in the TV show, “Sister Wives,”) is planning on filing a lawsuit to challenge the polygamy law based on “the 2003 United States Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state sodomy laws as unconstitutional intrusions on the ‘intimate conduct’ of consenting adults. It will ask the federal courts to tell states that they cannot punish polygamists for their own “intimate conduct” so long as they are not breaking other laws, like those regarding child abuse, incest or seeking multiple marriage licenses. . . . Making polygamous unions illegal, they argue, violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment, as well as the free exercise, establishment, free speech and freedom of association clauses of the First Amendment.”

Well, bring it on, I say. If you support gay marriage, then can polygamy be far behind? Or polyandry? (Having spent Sunday shoveling out the garage and cleaning out all the gutters, soaking wet and scampering up and down ladders, the thought of having several husbands with their long Honey-Do lists began to look positively lovely along about 3 p.m. let me tell you!)

Mr. Brown, his four wives and 16 children and stepchildren are in for a battle, but the question remains: Why not? Adults are fee to live together now in whatever grouping they want to, providing they don’t violate zoning laws (too many people under one roof) and men and women regularly make babies all willy-nilly and all minus a marriage certificate. And blended families and so-called “serial marriages” result in some pretty confusing hers/his/ours homes.

So why not legitimize the ad-hoc arrangement, thereby allowing baby daddies to legally sign on to their offspring and legally give wives the civil protections of “marriage/civil unions,” rather than continue the muddled mess we have now?

True, there are serious issues in the minority of isolated Mormon fundamentalist groups of illegal child marriages and the stultifying fundamentalist culture of keeping the women subservient, pregnant and uneducated and tossing the excess young boys out of the fold, but those issues can be found in other wacky religious cults and other weird fundamentalist religions groups, all of which are protected under the first amendment. Plus, those issues don’t seem to be what Mr. Brown and his TV family are dealing with – being all well educated, modern and wealthy. And likely those issues wouldn’t be what a larger group of polygamists would be dealing with.

So, I say, bring it on. Time to have that public discussion: Just what is “marriage” anyway, and just what connection should the state have in deciding how we create (and un-create) our “families?” If the state’s reason for getting involved is based on protection of the young and vulnerable and in seeing to administering a set of laws can deal with property issues and financial responsibilities and rights of inheritance & etc, then all of those issues surely would aid a polygamous household even more than a monogamous one.

It’s About Time

President Obama is now sending condolence letters to the families of members of the military who have committed suicide. Good on him. It’s about time. And may be a sign that finally – FINALLY – the military is beginning to understand just how lethal PTSD and acute stress reactions can be to soldiers. (Or anybody else for that matter.)

Stress and trauma are killers – literally. The toll they take on the physical body is as deadly as cancer or heart disease. This isn’t a matter of some “psychology,” it’s biological and totally beyond the control of the victims. Fight, flight, freeze are governed by the amygdala and operate without volition. And those biochemical actions constantly bathe the person in a bath of adrenaline and other chemicals that, if repeated and repeated, have serious physical consequences.

The term Wounded Warrior fits any soldier who has served in any capacity in any theatre of war, anywhere. And untreated PSTD is a combat wound as lethal as any other.

And I’m glad the President and the military are finally getting around to understanding that. Now I can only hope the military’s resources can be brought to bear on the problem. Great strides have been made in treating the horrible wounds our new wars are inflicting on our soldiers. Now we need great strides to be made in effectively treating the insidious and too-often ignored dangers of pre, ongoing and post-traumatic stress, because it’s a killer.


Sewertoons said...

Thanks Ann, this was a very good read and food for thought!

Churadogs said...

Interesting NYT opinion col by Krugman, saying that Ronald Reagan (whom the Republicans worship like a God) once said, when you can get 80% of a deal, take it. But as Krugman observes, the Republicans have slipped off into crazy so even their God's sage advice is no longer being heard. Off the Crasy Cliff. I can only hope the voters are paying attention to what's really going on: Republicans are willing to see this country fall off a cliff so they personally can keep their jobs and keep their power -- the hell with everyone else.

Plus, as Krugman accurately notes, the party has gone to the Crazy of no longer believing in our two- party system. For them now there is only ONE legitimate party and path. Not two or three. Not many ways to skin cats, not a variety of ways to get things done, not politics being the art of the possible, the art of the deal, the art of compromise in a complex, pluralistic society, the way the founders intended. Nope. NOTHING that isn't 100% Republican is legitimate and so must be destroyed. It's Norquistian/Rovian/CorporateKochism run amok, which means it's totally un-American and a-historical and profoundly dangerous if we hope to keep our democracy.

And, once again, I hope the voters are finally paying attention to see what they hath wrought.

Spectator said...

The debt problem cannot be denied.

Last week there were 406,000 filing for unemployment, slightly less than previous weeks. That comes to better than 1,600,000 filing for unemployment a month. It will get worse folks and Obama owns the problem. Today he stated that 80% of the people want to raise taxes. That must be the 50% who pay no taxes, and 30% more on food stamps and government dole. He certainly is not talking about taxpayers.

Realistic1 said...

Speaking as a slightly above middle income tax payer (who has worked fulltime my entire adult life - you're full of crap, Spectator. 50% of the US population do not avoid paying taxes and the other 30% are not all on welfare.

What is true is that the top 1% pay nothing and profit greatly from tax loopholes. And don't come at me with "the top 1% create jobs". That's a load of crap as well. Following George Bush's election in 2000 job growth dropped from 21% the year he was elected to 4% the year Obama was elected. Job growth dropped almost 9% in four years - the years in which the Bush tax cuts for the rich were passed. Job growth has steadily declined ever since. Look at the US Dept of Labor stats. It's all there.

The top 1% aren't creating jobs due to their precious tax cuts, they're just getting richer - and sending more of our jobs overseas.

Reduce or eliminate social security & medicare benefits for the generation about to retire and see what happens next. Add that to eliminating the interest deduction on mortgages without raising taxes on the top 1% and all hell will break loose.

The Repubs better watch out. Middle income, moderate America is starting to get pissed off and the only way they have to express themselves is at the ballot box...