Friday, December 11, 2009

w00t w00t!

You darling peeps and your vote clicking got me the 3rd highest number o'votes in the 3 Quarks Daily best political writing contest.

And fan girl me is all "OMG- Tariq Ali is gonna read my post!" (Well maybe- 3Quarks Daily is picking 6 to 9 posts of the top 20 to forward to him, but I gotta hope that the voting influences it a wee bit.)

You peeps rock the casbah. Many many many thanks.

The Spectacle Buries The Lead

So here in the land of no internet I have had to resort to such old fashioned methods as newspaper reading and talking head watching to get the news.

In the local paper the there were 2 stories recently.

Story 1: (not local) a man lies in an emergency room waiting room for 90 minutes. During that time 3 homeless people steal his watch. The man dies.

Story 2: (local) A police car pulls up to a a car wash late one night to find 3 kids (a 15 year old boy, a 13 year old boy, and a 12 year old girl) trying to rip off a vending machine. The police officer chases them, and tries to TASER the 15 year old and the girl runs to where her mom is parked.

The mom is single.

The family is black.

They are poor and the mom is unemployed.

The entire family is arrested and charged with grand larceny, including the mother. Yes, they are charging a 12 year old with grand larceny.

What is the purpose of these stories? It is to reinforce the idea that stealing is bad. Common sense right- stealing bad, not stealing good.

Common sense for who though?

For the 3 homeless people who stole the watch, common sense is finding a way to eat that night. A dying man's watch might provide it.

For the family? I can think of several reasons those kids might have been out trying to steal from a vending machine, one not terribly noble but common one. I was a kid once, what kid hasn't tried to rip off a vending machine or tried to shoplift a lipstick. Kids are kids because they don't have the fully functional brains of adults.

The other reason is tragic.They are poor. Their mother isn't working. They are hungry, or the lights have been shut off, or the rent is due, and the easy money from a vending machine seems like temporary relief.

But the spectacle says "Stealing is bad".

What is stealing? Stealing is about property rights, ownership, control of resources. If you steal a little, common sense says you are bad, not deserving of human rights. You are a scared black teenager who deserves to be tasered for committing a horrible crime on an inanimate object.

Nature disagrees. Nature tells us to survive. However you can, you must survive.

We ignore the human issues. We ignore that a man lay dying in an emergency room for 90 minutes while havering a heart attack and being ignored by the doctors and nurses. We ignore that because his property rights are more important than his life. Should we ask him? Would you trade that watch sir, in exchange for life?

We ignore the poor hungry family, the violence of an officer of the state against a child committing a crime so small that most of us did something similar. A crime that hurt not a single living being. We ignore that those kids whose lives were awful before the vending machine incident have now lost each other, and their mother, and their freedom.

This is common sense. Stealing is bad. Well stealing small things like a watch, change from a vending machine, a couple hundred bucks from a convenience store is bad. Steal big, extort a couple hundred billion from the federal government or a pension plan, or electricity customers and you get bonuses. Property rights before human rights. Property rights for only those who own enough property.

This is the spectacle. This is not real.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

We have always been at war with East Asia

The thing about Afghanistan is that it's damn near impossible for an outside force to take it. India gave up on it long ago. You know what the name of the mountain range Hindu Kush means? Killer of Hinuds. The Brits couldn't do it at the height of empire. The Soviets failed.

Now I may be skipping the Roman empire- I don't know that they even tried for it, but the only successful occupation of Afghanistan that I know of was Persia under Cyrus, Darius and Xerxes and that was because of the fundy Zoroastrians in Bactria.

So forgive me if I am just a wee bit skeptical that this whole increase troops to decrease troops strategy will work, or the idea that to save Pakistan we have to conquer Afghanistan I mean the Taliban.

History is on my side, after all.

What I would do, if I was queen for a day- would be to pay for every girl between the ages of 8 and 18 to go to boarding schools where they would learn practical skills like medicine, engineering, etc. I would pay their families for the loss of their manual labor. I would send the boys to school too, but I wouldn't send them to a boarding school(boys don't need to worry about acid attacks to the face just for learning how to read).

Within a generation you would have educated women with earning power and the ability to choose a husband with liberal ideas or support herself and her family without a husband. Those men who hold dear to ideas of honor killings and child brides will find themselves without anyone to marry, and without anyone to marry they have no sons and no power.

That's how you kill the Taliban and other fundy, extremest religions (works for the polygamists in Utah too). Not with guns, but with school.

And if you want to save Pakistan- I suggest the same methods there.


Did that sound bitchy and demanding-oops.

Being off the intertubes- I couldn't tell you all to GO VOTE FOR ME at 3 Quarks Daily. Voting ends tomorrow December 9th. I could so use the 1000 bucks, see post below.

See the list of nominees here and go vote- vote early, vote often. Baby needs new shoes and all that.

It's that most bleggiful time of the year

You may (or may not) have noticed my recent disappearance from the intertubes (again).

My lovely family has been footing the entire cost of housing and feeding us for the last 3 months. We are not a cost neutral addition to an already pinched household.And the internet is an expense they didn't have before we got here. They've already got a house they are trying to save from foreclosure (think predatory lending + one of the few homes that isn't upside in a mortgage in the state of Florida and you can understand why a bank might be keen to get it from them)and more out of pocket medial expenses than you can shake a stick at. It's bad, but they took us in anyways.

I need help, to buy groceries, to pay the internet bill and get it turned back on, to play Santa Claus for the kid and for these people who took us when we had no where else to go. I also need the internet back on so I can find work. There isn't a lot of it out there, but what I am qualified for requires me to apply online.

So if you've got some spare kibble- please throw it in the donation box.