Uncommon Sense

March 30, 2023

The Red State-Blue State Divorce Settlement

Ever since Marge Green (R-Georgia) said it was time for a divorce between the red states and the blues states we haven’t heard much from her about that topic. Maybe the divorce settlement talks weren’t going her way.

One of the key facts (Yes, Repubs, there are these things called facts; look up the term.) was that by and large the red states pay more in taxes than they get back from the Federal government in subsidies, services, etc.

A case in point: On a 7-4 party-line vote, a Florida Republican-dominated State Senate panel Monday rejected outright expansion of Medicaid under so-called Obamacare. So, instead of Floridians getting some of their federal taxes back, they get a dose of Republican ideology instead.

Of course, the Repubs offered an alternative, consisting of federal subsidies for private health insurance, so some of the Republican party donors can make a buck off of them. And, also of course, only 500,000 Floridians would get this deal instead of the 1,100,000 Floridians getting healthcare through a Medicare expansion. But then, all of this is to support poor people and we know what Republicans think of poor people, so I guess their attitude is “Fuck’em, they’re just the poor and they usually don’t vote anyway.”

March 28, 2023

Another Mass Shooting . . .

Three adults and three children died as the result of a mass shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. The school was a private Christian school and the shooter, unusually, was a woman.

So as ye sew, so shall ye reap. The woman was armed with two assault-style rifles, probably AR-15s, the preferred assault weapon of Christian fundamentalists. And I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the woman was a member of the church sponsoring the school.

Maybe support for unfettered gun ownership will begin to sag in these circles, now that problems with such guns have come home to roost.

March 26, 2023

Big Bad Dragon

Filed under: Culture,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:17 am
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Republicans are all up in arms over . . . mass killings? Inflation? Climate Change? The Banking System? No, it is TikTok. As I understand it TikTok is a very popular  (with the younger set) social media site which publishes videos of young people dancing, puppies and kittens playing, you know the stuff.

The Republicans have their knickers in a twist because the Chinese are data mining TikTok! Imagine, data mining a social media site! Who do they think they are, Facebook?

Well, the Repubs are seeing this site as a dagger aimed at American Democracy! The Chinese could institute an insidious campaign to turn our young against their elders, against . . .gasp . . . democracy! (As if Donald Trump weren’t doing a good enough job of that!)

I am assuming this is just another round in the Republicans distraction campaign. If they were serious, they would look at how China controls TikTok in China.

China is actually loosening its restrictions on young people TikToking (is that a word?). On March 1, TikTok announced that it’s setting a 60-minute default time limit per day for users under 18. Those under 13 would need a code entered by their parents to have an additional 30 minutes, while those between 13 and 18 can make that decision for themselves. This is less stringent than they had before. The Chinese aren’t worried that the site will undermine Chinese ideology, they are concerned that it is a GWOT (giant waste of time) keeping their youths away from tasks more important: household chores, homework, you know, important things.

The Republicans aren’t interested in TikTok wasting youth’s time excessively. They don’t mind that kids don’t study. The less well educated the youth of this country are, the better they like it. (And going to college is the Highway to Atheism!) Ignorant people are easier to manipulate and make more passive employees.

No, the Republicans need something to do . . . instead of work on the real problems facing this country. When do the Hunter Biden hearings start? And I want to see what the Repubs will do about TikTok before the Chinese find out our youth likes videos of puppies playing more than of kittens playing. Think of the leverage they will have then.

Postscript There was an episode of The Twilight Zone (original series) in which aliens created a family game that was very, very popular and their intent was that the game would affect human psyches. You see, the game was designed so that if you lost you won. They were teaching humans to lose! They were softening us up for their invasion. Maybe the Republicans saw this episode when they were young.

March 20, 2023

Why Some People Believe There Are Aliens Living On Earth

Filed under: Politics,Social Commentary — Steve Ruis @ 8:43 am
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I ran across a post with the above title and my immediate reaction was, “Sure, you can’t look at the modern Republican Party and not wonder.”

March 16, 2023

What Do Conservatives Want to Conserve?

Note—Yes, I know George Will has asked and answered this question but he got it wrong, so . . . S

U.S. politics has changed dramatically during my adulthood. When I was in my political infancy, for example, both major parties had conservative and liberal wings. In the current Republican party, you’d be hard pressed to find even one moderate, let alone a liberal.

The two parties broke down fairly simply, back then. The Republicans were, by and large, the party of conservatives. Conservatives wanted to conserve the status quo in that Republicans were largely people who had it made already: bankers, lawyers, successful businessmen. That they tended to be old, white, and male was not at all surprising. Tradition was important in so far as it represented the way we have always done things, and things were good for that group of people.

The Democratic party was the liberal/progressive party. While the Repubs wanted no change to the status quo, the Dems wanted “progress,” which meant positive changes. And while each party had its token liberals or conservatives, the two parties were quite distinct, but they weren’t that far apart that they couldn’t cooperate. Both believed that a stable society was all for the good and so favored sound institutions: public schools, courts of law, colleges and universities, sound businesses. Businesses were different back then, most had goals involving being a good member of their communities, instead of just increasing shareholder value.

Today’s political parties look nothing like those parties of old. The Democrats have abandoned labor unions, which used to be a pillar of strength for them, as well as working class people as a whole. Their support of people of color is a pale ghost of what it was in my youth. The Republicans have thrown any social institution under the bus if it is in the way of some business making profits, pfft, public schools, who needs them? The Postal service? There’s money to be made there. Prisons? Better run by private interests.

So, what happened? It seems that the ideologies of the parties of Eisenhower and Kennedy have disappeared, to be replaced by . . . what?

It seems that the leadership of both parties are now conservatives, focused solely on the ability to get things done or preventing them from getting done. They seem solely focused upon conserving their own political power. The ideology of the parties has become the ideologies of their leadership groups.

For example, a Republican candidate for the House of Representatives was exposed as to having lied about, well, every part of his background: his education, his military service, his accomplishments; they were all lies. And he got elected. In my political youth, the fellow would have been drawn and quartered in public, ousted from his position and replaced post haste. Now? His congressional seat is a needed token of power and the Republicans are apparently fine with his lying since it meets their goal of preserving their power in the federal government. In the last session, the Dems controlled the House, now the Repubs do and if they lose this guy and a Dem gets appointed to replace him, their power slips a notch, so he stays.

Conservatives now, both Republican and Corporate Democrats, want to conserve their own political power, nothing else.

March 10, 2023

Oh, You Gotta Read This!

Filed under: Culture,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:39 am
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The brilliant Cory Doctorow has hit the nail on its head!

The Right accuses their critics of the conspiracy they themselves engage in

March 9, 2023

Systemic Racism? Never Heard of It

Right-wing Republicans (Are there any other kinds any more?) are fond of denying that there are no after affects of black slavery in this country and pooh-pooh that claim that systemic racism even exists.

An article in The Guardian yesterday stated:

“When Paul Austin and Tenisha Tate-Austin had their home assessed by an appraiser in 2020, they learned it was worth $995,000. So the Black couple, who purchased their home in December 2016 and spent thousands in renovation costs over the years, decided to get a second opinion. They “white-washed” their property and had a white friend pose as the homeowner. Weeks later, a different appraiser assessed the house’s value at $1,482,500.

“The couple sued for discrimination.”

We certainly wouldn’t want those black folks to have enough money to buy into another white neighborhood and we want to make it easier for a white couple to replace this black couple . . . wait, WTF?

Anyone doubting the existence of systemic racism is exposing willful ignorance. The federal government has admitted to creating a red-lining program that prevented black and brown people from even securing federal or even private loans on houses in white neighborhoods, for Pete’s sake.

And I assume every denial of systemic racism begins with a prologue starting with “I am not a racist, but . . . “ This should be a clear sign the speaker is a racist, because if you feel you have to deny it, you are about to utter some racist bullshit.

Oh, and the Austins won their case.

And, if you still have doubts The Guardian article went on to state that a pair of researchers “analyzed more than 47m appraisal reports collected from licensed appraisers between 2013 and 2022. The data had been made public for the first time, a decade after Howell and Korver-Glenn (the two researchers SR) first pursued it.

They found the gap between the home values of white homeowners and homeowners of color widened over the last decade. When unpacked by race, the results were staggering: appraisers valued homes in white neighborhoods two and half times more than homes in Black neighborhoods. For homes in Latino neighborhoods, the gap is larger, despite the fact that the value of the Latino residents’ homes were bigger than Black residents’.

Systemic racism doesn’t exist my ass.

Shame, What’s That?

Fox (sic) News, caught red-handed lying about Donald Trump’s Big Lie (The election was stolen, the election was stolen!), apparently has been skillfully editing the footage from the Capitol’s security cameras provided it by Speaker McCarthy (indicating a New McCarthyism?) showing the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. capitol to be just a few tourists getting rambunctious.

When asked if they had no shame about continuing their program of lies, Fox (sic) News leaders said, “Shame, what’s that?”

March 6, 2023

The Origins of Cancel Culture Panic

It seems as if the GOP has lost what little mind it has left over things like Drag Queen library readings and the “cancel culture.”

These distractions are in a stream of idiocies including trigger warnings and blasphemy laws. It seems that college students get as far as they have without growing a spine. They seem to want to be warned whenever a topic might disturb them emotionally or relate to personal experiences they have had, or . . . God forbid, ideas that challenge their religious beliefs because, well, I guess, God forbids.

Back when I was in college, students were a fairly passive group. But then the Student Movements began: initially, college students protested against social injustices like poverty, the unfair treatment of African Americans, and freedom of speech on college campuses. They later shifted their focus to opposing the Vietnam War, aka the anti-war movement, which greatly offended “conservations” (so much so they got revenge by preventing student loans from being discharged in bankruptcy).

So, now when a speaker is invited to a campus and holds beliefs opposed to what many students hold, students will protest and speakers engagements get “cancelled,” hence the “cancel culture.” This has expanded to hiring and firing job scenarios, political campaigns, entertainer performances, and whatnot.

Republicans especially object to “Woke cancel cultures” because they are focused upon racial and social justice issues. Republican Governor Ron DeSantis (FL) has declared his state as the place where “woke goes to die.” This is a strange position for a party which has based many nationwide political campaigns on what are called the culture wars, in which the GOP is the Russians invading everyone’s else calm states.

So, the cancel culture panic? Fostered by the egregious Fox (sic) News, this is an elevation of a trivial movement to Armageddon-like status. At the most recent CPAC meeting, Nikki Haley, a GOP presidential candidate, stated “Wokeness is a virus more dangerous than any pandemic, hands down.” (Quick, shoot it! And I will bet their “cure” will involve neither masks nor vaccines.))

Apparently, the Republicans are following in the steps of precious college students who cannot handle the emotional or intellectual stress of having their ideas challenged. And like those students, who are ignoring a major reason for going to college is to have your ideas challenged, the GOP does not want any opposition to its politics, worldview, or actions. The truly alarming thing is that they are using fascistic tools to enforce their way by canceling whole swaths of our culture. In Florida, you had better not be caught teaching Black History, of with the book “Jennifer has Two Daddies” in your school library. And whole groups of people are being denied official acknowledgement of their existence; Florida is even considering banning Democrats!

The students adopted a culture of canceling activities they didn’t agree with. The GOP has moved the dial up to 11 by cancelling whole swaths of their culture they don’t agree with.

Ah, how terms evolve.

March 5, 2023

Who Are You and What Have You Done with the Real Republicans?

An article in The Guardian (online) came with this title: “Rightwing Republicans rail against US aid for Ukraine: ‘We’ve done enough’” As The Guardian put it “Marge Greene, an influential far-right Republican in Congress, has called for the U.S. to stop aid to Ukraine, giving added voice to a grassroots revolt in the party that threatens bipartisan support for the war against Russia’s Vladimir Putin.”

Wait, are these the same “right-wing Republicans” who were arguing that 20 years of war in Afghanistan weren’t nearly enough, that we should double down and continue to fight the good fight?

I think the Real Republicans™ have been replaced by space aliens masquerading as Republicans. All Republicans need to be immediately examined for reptilian characteristics. Those aliens couldn’t be reproducing them perfectly. I suspect they selected Republicans to replace, rather than Democrats, because bizarre behavior is not unexpected for Republicans, but this is going just too far.

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