Saturday, December 28, 2013

we should boycott Starbucks and drink a coffee at Toby Keith's new restaurant chain

So the CEO of Starbucks "asks" patrons to leave their guns at home and gets pandering-pundit-patter about what a brave man he is. His workers are directed by company policy to serve the gun crowd politely. Screw him. Toby Keith, the United States Uber Alles Nashville-type country star bans guns in his restaurants, totally playing against type. God Bless him. Here's a link to the story.
My parents, conservative Reagan-loving Southern Baptists, would have called Starbucks "a rough place" and warned against going there because, in their world, decent eating and drinking establishments don't have guns or threatening feelings in the air.
This, to me, provides a parable, but parables must have endings that teach a lesson. And must not this parable end with the "good son" (prissy Starbucks) getting the short end of the stick while the "prodigal son" (Toby Keith) wins all the kudos?
Really, people. In every city I see a Starbucks I also see local coffee bars. You don't have to give up your lattes to take a stand! BOYCOTT STARBUCKS, specifically over the issue of guns. Send the message. Let Starbucks become havens for the type of person who wants more guns in our society, people who will sacrifice children for a poorly-conceived conception of the 1st Amendment's place in our Constitution.
Pass it on.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

about Social Security Lies and the Lying Liars who rob us.

Go Elizabeth Warren! This article in Salon documents how just one powerful voice can change an argument into a debate.
I am one of those who believe that the lack of a "locked box" to hold our Social Security monies is the cause of all our Social Security financing problems. Remember how Al Gore was ridiculed for his "locked box" statement in his Presidential campaign? It wasn't just the simplistic term that was ridiculed;  it was the entire idea that Social Security was being robbed. After all, went the argument, all the money taken from the Social Security Trust Fund was guaranteed by "IOUs" (bonds) and those bonds are backed by "the full faith and credit of the United States government." (We've seen how little that can be trusted). And the pundits declared that - Even if all the money were repaid today there is still not enough to meet the demand of the Baby Boom generation.
That money was borrowed at the worth of a dollar at the time. Years and years later when some money is printed to pay it back, it's highly inflated money and the interest earned has only been around 1%. So the Federal government gets far more value for the money borrowed than the taxpayer will ever see. And the money borrowed is not being used to stimulate the economy at any level that is likely to benefit the common taxpayer.
This link to a Wall Street Journal blog spells out the sophistry pretty well. You should read it. It's from the Wall Street Journal so you can be sure it's not tailored to my Socialist mindset. To my mind, the argument boils down to this:  as long as the U.S. economy keeps expanding at a rapid rate Social Security will be fine. But the economy is not and has not expanded enough to relieve the pressure on Social Security. So either it's a false argument or else we are being robbed. Are you happy with either?
Isn't this the ultimate lie that we see playing out before us? The Earth's environment is telling us quite clearly that there are limits; there is a price to pay for pushing those limits. The world's economy continually moves away from dependence upon the United States.  Rather than a "rising tide which lifts all boats" (no global warming pun intended), the world is really more like a pie - there is only so much to go around. There are those who argue that pie is bad for you so we will take it away. There are those who whine that the 99% don't really use pie correctly. We need politicians with the guts to say - Whoa! You 1% can not longer have most of the pie. You stole it anyway. Now, more taxes for you!
Republicans and way too many Democrats want to destroy Social Security as we know it. No pie for you! But don't worry. As the right-wing Christians tell you, your reward is in heaven. And thank God, the end is near. Heaven help you if it's not, because your Social Security was robbed.
"There will be pie in the sky by and by. That's a lie." Joe Hill

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

the ruling in the Colorado anti-gay baker ruling ain't a piece of cake - it's a red herring

The much-publicized story of the Denver baker ordered to serve same-sex couples by Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer is the kind of news story that has "legs" - spider legs. At first blush to some it is a tale of a changing, more inclusive America embracing change. To others it is a perfect example of the moral decay of America.
I think it's a pile of - you know what. Hear me out now. I grew up as a hippie in Texas noticing signs that said, "No shirt, no shoes, no service," and "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." I did not then, or now, think those signs should be illegal. If I opened a business and a bunch of gun-toting Ted Nugget - types walked in I want the right to say, "Get out of my store. I will not serve you even if you remove your guns." Why? Because it's my fuckin' store and this is America. (Starbucks - you made the the wrong economic decision, not only the wrong moral one. My parents would have been disgusted!)
Now, if the story were about a pharmacy picking and choosing which prescriptions to fill it would be a different story, but this is just a damn cake. If it were a government-subsidized bakery, it would be a different story, but it's not.
Just begin a boycott against that bakery. I'd join in. Many people gay and straight would happily boycott the Masterpiece Cakeshop. I bet other bakeries would jump up to say, We will serve your needs without judgement. We don't need laws about goddamn cakes!
This is the type of ruling that so easily plays into the hands of Fox News and Sarah Palin, et al, I truly wonder if it's not cooked up by Republicans. It will be a gift that keeps on giving. It quite likely is a ruling that follows logically from law, but it can be used by canny Republicans! I can't say whether or not this judge deliberately served up a red herring, I'm saying it's distressing that some "liberals"  are going to cheer such a petty example of gay "rights" yet which runs so much counter to the American tradition of freedom.
Meanwhile in Kiev the Ukrainian people are massed against huge and dangerous powers of state - and winning. Would that we had flooded the streets against the U.S. Supreme Court Bush v Gore decision, but no we rolled over. We want our cake and we'll eat it, too, even if we choke on it.