Plots and Thoughts

ACORN Pimp Video a Deliberate Fake

Posted in Analysis, Observations, Strategy by Captain Optimistic on February 18, 2010

Just in case you all missed this, have a read:

While O’Keefe is a whackjob and should be in jail, the greater absurdity here is how the media pushed and then defended this story, which anyone who has shame now has to accept was a carefully-edited YouTube propaganda piece reported by every single network as “investigative journalism.”

Anyone who tells you “but ACORN was going to give money to a PIMP” is a fucking idiot, and ought to be corrected right then and there.  The video was a fake:

Harshbarger also shed light on the controversial videos, noting that portions had been “substantially” edited, including some voice overdubbing.

A seriously fucked up fake:

The lying, the media complicity, the vicious racism of O’Keefe and his buddies have been covered elsewhere.  I just want to point out what vicious misogynists they are, too.  They went out of their way to turn people’s kindness towards marginalized women into a bad thing. When they encountered decent human beings who take responsibility when asked for help to stop violence against women, they brimmed over with hate for those people, and they set out to destroy them.  And while they think kindness towards prostitutes is a weakness, and violence against women is a joke, they exploited the public’s horror at sex trafficking and violence against women to slur people who were the only people in the room who actually had a problem with violence against women.

That is some fucked-up, woman-hating shit.

It is indeed.  Don’t doubt that conservatives will continue to use it as a weapon.  That is their mistake.  It is a weakness, and the second you see it exposed pounce and use it to give them a merciless ethical thrashing.

On Crying in Public

Posted in Observations by Captain Optimistic on January 18, 2010

A rather good post over at Pandagon regarding women crying in public.  I think Spencer Morgan is a misogynistic prat:

I’m sure he thinks women go home and just power down like a computer deprived of its electricity, except in this case our electricity is attention.  And since sadness, like all female behavior, is a ploy for attention, it pisses Morgan off because it’s not the performance he wants from women.  So he’s going to make fun of the sad women and bully them into performing behaviors he finds sexier, presumably non-stop grinning.

However I have to disagree here:

Why is it that he sees people—okay, women—occasionally crying in public?  And when people see this, why don’t they stop to talk to the crying women, to offer help?The answer to thess questions, from a non-misogynist perspective, in order: Probably because they’re sad.  And because others realize that the crying woman probably would like not to be crying in public, and would like to be accorded the respect and privacy her sadness deserves.

I actually think when you see anyone who is sad, its a good thing to check and see if they are ok if it seems appropriate.  If they want to be left alone, they’ll let you know and you can respect that.  In some instances a person crying in public isn’t approachable, in others, they are.  That’s a judgment call that is very much based on the particular situation.

I am the type of person who tries to help people who are feeling down.  I’ve battled with depression, and I come from a family where its rife.  Expressing sadness in public can be a private moment that tumbled out unexpectedly, or it can be a cry for help.  And its ok to listen to that cry should you hear it.

I was walking home late one night and I noticed a girl sitting by herself outside a hotel.  Her head was in her hands, and you could feel something was wrong.  So I walked over and asked if everything was allright.  It wasn’t.  I ended up sitting down and talking for hours.  This woman had served in the war, and had found out a few hours before that her former CO had been killed in Iraq.  She needed someone to talk to.  I was there, so we talked.

If you see someone who seems down, take a chance on looking like an idiot or intruding, and ask if they are ok.  If they want to be left alone by all means respect that.  But if its someone in need of a shoulder or an ear, don’t hesitate to lend it.

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Why Be Tolerant? Fun With Religion!

Posted in Musings, Observations by Captain Optimistic on December 2, 2009

Pastor Dan advises us to beware of tolerance!

But tolerance means something completely different today.  Most of the time you hear the tolerance doctrine taught in the world today, whether in schools or in the media, it means that we are to accept all values, beliefs, lifestyles and truth-claims as equal.

I agree!  This of course, leaves the good Pastor’s own beliefs in a vulnerable position.  There is no non-circular reason to believe in the Bible, and plenty of reasons to reject the anti-gay anti-women bigotry it espouses. Especially, and above all else, there is reason to reject the notion of an arbitrary, jealous and violent micro-manager vision of God.

Here’s the catch:  when it comes to people, we are indeed to be loving and gracious toward others, bearing with things we don’t like.  But when it comes to truth and holiness, we dare not tolerate sin or compromise God’s holy standards.  God’s Word is our standard.  It is absolute truth!

Loving? – ALWAYS!   Tolerant of sin and unbiblical values? – NO!  It’s time for Christians today to stand up for truth and righteousness in America!

Let’s give Pastor Dan credit and join with him in committing ourselves to being loving and gracious towards others.  It is a wonderful sentiment and a powerful  act of social responsibility and compassion.  Yet this very call, to be loving and gracious, urges us to stand up to the Christians who are stamping their boots down on the throat of religious liberty in this country.  When a Christian cites biblical reasons for attacking women’s health care, gay rights we need not and should not worry about being tolerant.  We should be direct.  The problem is with their backwards religious text.

The Bible sanctions murder and rape.  It views women as second class citizens, and offers up the death sentence for a range of “infractions” that are decidedly non criminal.  Its barbaric and out of date.  So why be silent?  If Christians can calmly observe they have the truth and we are going to burn, let us just as calmly respond that they have nothing but lies and willful ignorance.

When Schools Bully Suicide Victims

Posted in Observations by Captain Optimistic on December 2, 2009

Our national paranoia about sex causes suffering.  Suffering can lead to suicide.  TampaBay via Feministing:  A girl sends a nude picture of herself to a boy she likes.  A girl who felt threatened gets the boy’s phone and shares the text.  Soon her classmates are bullying her.  How does her school respond?

School authorities learned of the nude photo around the end of the school year and suspended Hope for the first week of eighth grade, which started in August. About two weeks after she returned to school, a counselor observed cuts on Hope’s legs and had her sign a “no-harm” contract, in which Hope agreed to tell an adult if she felt inclined to hurt herself, her family says. The next day, Hope hanged herself in her bedroom. She was 13.

Part of the pain of bullying comes from the feelings of isolation, guilt, and worthlessness it engenders.  How would you feel if your school, the very people there to nourish and teach you, punish you?  This was a girl who may have been feeling guilt for having sent the text, pain for being punished by her peers, and instead of stepping in and helping the school chose to further punish and isolate her.

The school bears direct responsibility for her death.  We all bear a responsibility to speak up, always and with strength, against turning sexuality into a thing of shame.  The obsession with slut-shaming and punishing girls for their sexuality has dire consequences.

Sao Paulo – This is What Theocracy Looks Like

Posted in Musings, Observations by Captain Optimistic on November 17, 2009

Roman Catholic Sao Paulo, Brazil, has decided to give us Americans a jolly preview of theocracy in action:

Outrage over female sexuality?  Check:

A video showed Arruda sitting in a classroom in a mid-thigh length red dress, then six military police officers protecting her as she left the campus wearing a white jacket. A line of students stood by chanting “whore.”

Another video showed a mob stopping and kicking her car and blocking her when she tried to escape on foot.

In fact, violence over female sexuality.

Uniban said it had also suspended a number of students identified by video footage and witness accounts of taking part in the violence last month. The university’s legal advisor said Arruda had been expelled for “gestures” and “attitudes” she had manifested rather than because of her short outfits. He would not give details.

Of course he wouldn’t give details.  He’s full of shit.

There’s something deeply wrong with people who get angry and violent over the sexuality of others.  There is also something deeply wrong with a belief system that encourages the transformation of the natural into the hated and feared.

So much of religious conservatism is about denying the aspects of human sexuality that go against painstakingly constructed myths – the same myths used as social livestock fencing for centuries.

When we go beyond rules of civilization and morality to deny who we are and what we allow our neighbors to be we provide the kindling the hate and violence.  These kinds of beliefs are fundamentally at odds with equality and justice.

How could anyone believe they were born of a divine source?

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Stupak’s God in Our Government

Posted in Analysis, Strategy by Captain Optimistic on November 16, 2009

The problem with unifying Church and State is it becomes the unification not of some abstract Church, but specifically the Church of the ruling class.  In this case Bart Stupak’s efforts to hijack health care reform to push an anti-women agenda is part of a larger effort to put God into Government.

The health care bill is a series of very small steps towards meaningful reform.  We should be able to take those steps without them falling on the neck of women’s rights.

Mr Stupak’s threat is a serious one and it deserves a vicious rhetorical response.  His efforts cannot be seen as anything less than anti-reform, and anyone who is against reform at this point isn’t a Democrat.  This goes deeper than party loyalty however.  This battle is a real struggle between those who are truly pro-life and those who are pro-insurance-company-profits.  Theocratic forces have seen an opening and are standing with the paid-for anti-reformers to try and maneuver for power.

Given the weight of this battle we ought let fly without reserve.  From a rhetorical perspective we should hold nothing back and purposefully include the Stupak crowd in with the anti-reformers.  The tendencies towards binding US law to a strict interpretation of conservative Christianity is fundamentally incompatible with the separation of Church and State, the 1st amendment, and inclusion within the Democratic party.  Any elected official taking such a position needs to feel the heat directly under their feet if we are to drive home our position:

Health Care reform is vital.

Theocratic laws are never acceptable.

We will never sacrifice women’s rights to advance the “greater” progressive agenda.  Women’s rights are an irremovable part of the progressive agenda.

We are nowhere near victory but the very act of lifting up our heads to speak as we lay in the mud has conservatives frothing at the mouth and banging their spears against their shields.  If we are to survive much less win, we absolutely must stand united, tall and firm and let loose one hell of a roar.