Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ms.Warren Goes to Washington

So Elizabeth Warren, champion of the middle class and consumer advocacy in finance goes to work for the Obama administration and we get:

"Instead of layering on regulations that don't fully protect consumers, a better approach would focus on how to give consumers the power to make the right choices for their families -- and, at the same time, to ease the regulatory burden for the lenders."

Look, I have the right to choose between 75 flavors of corn syrup laden breakfast cereal, with full knowledge that they are corn syrup laden breakfast cereals. What I don't get is an affordable choice of non-toxic breakfast foods. Information is only the beginning of reform, not the answer to calls for it.

But Warren's softening is not a surprise. You cannot work from within to fix a structure this decrepit. If try to go inside, you will be corrupted. Plain and simple. You cannot be a part of the broken system and attempt to change a broken system. You cannot consistently choose the lesser of two evils without becoming a little bit evil.

There is no one in government who represents the bottom 80% because once you get into to government, you are part of/ or working for the top 20%. That's all there is to it. It's not a massive secret conspiracy. There is no dark cabal meeting in secret to figure out how to take away our resources and rights. It is just good old fashioned class warfare. And our class is losing, despite the overwhelming numbers on our side, because we keep trying to play the game war by their rules. And the rules are fixed. House always wins.

(If this fucking post doesn't have more analogies than the fucking breakfast cereal isle at your local grocery store, then your store sucks at the false choices of consumerism.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My 2 cents on the TSA

First lemme explain something. I am a freak of nature. I love flying. I have little games I play with myself on airplanes, trying to guess the exact moment the wheels leave the ground and then touchdown somewhere else. I love the smush you back in your seat feeling of takeoff where your stomach goes a little wobbly. And I love love love the idea that you get in this metal tube and several hours later end up in a completely different place from where you started.

So it takes a lot to make me mad about flying.

But since 2001, 9 times out 10 I get my checked baggage "randomly" searched. (Happened again on our recent flight here. I wish I had collected all the TSA letters I've received over the years. They'd make a poignant collage).

And every time I go through the fucking Denver airport and am wearing a skirt, I (and every other woman wearing a skirt) get singled out to go through the chemical sniffer machine, that damn machine that manages to blow puffs of air in a manner that seems specifically designed to blow your damn skirt up.

And I know from stories that people in wheelchairs get subjected to extra crappy security measures.

And while I couldn't care less about the full body scans, I understand why someone would and am fully behind those that complain.

And bad-touching little kids with enhanced pat downs. No.Fucking.Way. This mom would have you arrested if you tried to touch my kid. But if you complain, not threaten violence but threaten to use the legal resources generally known to be available to all (well not all) citizens, you're treated as if you just threatened to blow up the airport.

And I am pretty sure that by writing this, the next time I try to fly will be a nightmare.

But it's not okay.

I remember when I was a kid and the big scary commies in the USSR were the boogy man of the day. I remember being told that part of the reason why they were so awful was because people in the USSR weren't allowed to travel freely. You had to get government permission to go from one town to another. And now I can't help but think that we're doing the same damn thing to people. Can't travel freely if you don't support government intrusion. If you complain it's off to the TSA gulag for you.

All this from a country that claims to value freedom above everything else. If that ain't fucking Orwellian I don't know what is.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What we need is a system for exit counseling, like they have for cults

I keep hearing the same shit from those enveloped by the "fear". Same sad old arguments. Same major disconnect from what is staring them straight in the face. And I can't help but think about how culty they are, both dems and republicans. Both legacy parties give their members specific groups to hate, to think of as a threat. Not unlike that horrid scene in A Handmaid's Tale where all the handmaids tear a man to shreds for raping a pregnant handmaid and killing the child (when in reality he was part of the resistance). Sure, you've got it bad, but here's a fresh body to eviscerate. Both legacy parties give their followers specific talking points to repeat ad nauseum (I actually just got the OLD standard "communism fell because commies were unmotivated to work because the government took care of them line- for real). You know the modern lines- Obama is a socialist from the right, Progressives are a bunch of whiny titty babies who ruin everything from the left.

So how do we wake them up? How do we shake off all the bullshit beliefs they are buried under without wanting to swallow a bullet ourselves in frustration and tedium (because dayyyuuuum, it's tedious and good lord they can be vicious little twits.)

What I do know is that when I remove the left/right rhetoric and just tell people what I want from my government, they almost universally agree, regardless of party. I want work to pay a wage people can live on. I want people to be able to get healthcare because they need it and not because they are wealthy enough to deserve it. I want everyone to have enough healthy food to eat. I want kids to have good schools to go to and for college to really be accessible for everyone. I want the unpaid contributions to society to count for something, like mothers and pwd who can't work at a traditional job but still are a contributing part of society.

What I keep hearing from people is the same line "Yeah of course those things would be awesome, but we'll never get that". And that is a problem. Small, boxed in thinking courtesy of your traditional legacy parties. 80 percent of us need the same things, those 4 old freedoms that Roosevelt wanted, but specifically we need freedom from want and freedom from fear. And our current system is putting the screws to us hard on both accounts (thank you pervy TSA workers for adding to the fear levels with your government approved sexual assaults).

What little bit of googling I did about exit counseling for cultists involved being respectful of the cultist's beliefs, while gently countering them with facts. I admit, I often get tangled on this part. I'm just tired of having the same argument, and those legacy party cultists sure aren't respectful back.

But..... Once upon a time there was a world where the idea of a democratic government was something that only existed in ancient times. And once upon a time there was a world where women voting was seen as something that "would be awesome, but we'll never get that". Same is true for a 40 hour work week, overtime pay and OSHA regulations. Same is true for free public education. You don't get anything if you don't know what you want. And for the cultists, all they know to want is that the other side doesn't win. We've got to give them bigger, better things to fight for than fight with each other (and us).