Friday, August 31, 2012

Rachel Corrie

Three days ago, an Israeli court ruled that the death of American Rachel Corrie was accidental; that the soldier who hit her with his bulldozer was not liable.  Rachel's parents called this "A bad day for human rights."  A UN spokesman called it a "defeat for justice".

Less than a hundred miles away, in Damascus, the dictator of Syria and his army have killed nearly 25,000 of his own people, plus another 265 foreign civilians (including 207 Palestinians).  There will be no court date for any of the soldiers who perpetrated these acts of murder.  There will be no investigations.  The dictator will probably eventually be deposed and killed, but everything else will get swept under the rug, much like it did when the dictator's father murdered 10,000-40,000 of his own people in 1982.

We all know justice isn't perfect.  Cold blooded killers sometimes go free.  Innocent people are sometimes wrongly convicted.  But in Israel there was a process of justice.  In Syria there is none. In Lebanon there is none. In Gaza there is none.  The verdict was disappointing to Rachel's parents. Of course.  But global condemnation for the process is stupid and fake.  Only the willfully blind refuse to see the double standard.  Thank God there is one country in the Middle East with independent institutions that can dispense a process ruled by laws.  But have some perspective please.  I can't recall the UN telling the world that it was a defeat for justice when the glove didn't fit. And in that case twice as many innocent people were killed.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

If Obamacare is Struck Down

First of all, isn't it amazing that "Obamacare" is a term that both progressives and reactionaries can learn to love? I mean, obviously the right-wing noise machine meant it as a slur, the same as when they coined HillaryCare. But why not? As Tyrion Lannister says, "Let me give you some advice bastard. Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you."
Anyway, as it seems that the Republican wing of the Supreme Court is trying to find a way to strike down the entire law (although we won't know until June), I was wondering if it may not be for the best. Yeah, it will probably mean a lot of people will die, including an unthinkable number of children who either can't afford insurance or can't get it because of pre-existing conditions. And obviously trying to alleviate that ongoing tragedy is why the Democratic Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, a shambling mess of pandering and caving to tea party demands. And I believe that the very act of trying to compromise is what doomed the ACA. I mean, the insurance mandate penalty is levied by the IRS. Clearly it's a tax, or at least it *could be* a tax, except Congress didn't mention the word "tax" once, apparently, in deference to Grover Norquist's delicate anti-tax sensibilities. So the Supreme Court will probably rule that the penalty is not, in fact a tax, and therefore unconstitutional. Way to commit hara-kiri, Dems.
Of course what everyone wants is a single-payer health care system, like Medicare. Even Tea Partiers love Medicare. Since the ACA was destined to cost money without paying for itself and probably not really reigning in the cost of medicine and generally not making life a lot better for most people, who would still have to deal with co-pays and PCPs and referrals, it would never have become truly popular. Now when people who think their increased insurance premiums are Obama's fault see their premiums continue to increase, and when more and more people, even those who could afford it if they had the opportunity to buy, are uninsured, and when people have had enough, we can pass real health reform and create a true solution.
Maybe it will teach the American people that elections have consequences, and that in order to have a sane judiciary, they need to keep electing Democrats to the White House and to Congress. It's a tragedy that people will die so the country can learn a lesson, so America, if you're listening, learn it quick!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trayvon's Killing Wasn't Racism

It was murder inspired by racism. What's the freakin' difference, you might ask. Well, racism has never killed people. Let's be clear on this, because I think it matters. Just as guns don't kill people, racism merely provides motive. Trayvon Martin most likely wouldn't be dead if he were white, but I have no absolute proof of that. It's also a damaging argument to make. Was George Zimmerman racist? Of course! But nobody would have cared about some racist failure to thrive case if he hadn't shot someone. I don't think it comes as a surprise to anyone that there are racists in this country. I also don't think it would come as a surprise to people that I think racism is declining in the United States. Unfortunately I can't find and polls to back me up here. I'm just saying that every day thousands of old racists die and thousands of more liberal, open minded children are born. We've obviously tipped the balance to where it's no longer acceptable for racists to be open about their hate. So things get a little better very slowly.

What I find really scary about Trayvon Martin's murder is the implicit racism of the Sanford police and of the Florida Republicans who authored the "Stand Your Ground" law. They take "conservative" to a whole new level and want to bring us back to an ungoverned wild west anarchy where disputes are settled by the gun. Don't wait for the government (police) to come help you - carry a gun and fix it yourself. Isn't this how the Hatfields and McCoys got started? Out in the Appalachian backwoods, there's no justice system to sort things out when someone hurts someone else. The only justice in that situation is revenge.

If George Zimmerman is immune for murdering a child walking in his own neighborhood, then our society is dead. Did you haters read that? A child was walking in his own neighborhood and was murdered because a sick man with a gun felt threatened and entitled. Did you walk around your neighborhood as a child? Do your children? Are any of your neighbors crazy paranoid freakbags like Zimmerman? Will you only find out when your son is murdered?

Georgia has one of those stupid "stand your ground" laws too. If my sons ever get in a fight (although of course I'm sure that will never happen since boys never fight), will someone pull out a gun and kill them, knowing the police won't even investigate? Will the police say that my boys deserved to be killed because one time a year prior they were suspended for school for (smoking/cheating/being tardy)? Will they say that it was OK because when they were attacked they fought back? I don't want my kids growing up in the Wild West. Actually, I'm pretty sure in the actual wild west murdering children was frowned on. Welcome to the Tea Party Wild West. Strike 1 if you live there. Strike 2 if you happen to be of controversial heritage - that is, if you're Black or Jewish or Mexican or even some uppity woman.