We Are All Americans

A friend of mine told me last night, “Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.” If you hear someone saying Muslims are prone to violence, don’t believe it. If you see a Muslim who walks and talks and bleeds just like you, believe it. Stop the hate.

Back to the Pipe and the Pole

Here is a letter I received a few days ago from the President of my University.

Last summer, I formed an advisory task force to assist the University in developing a plan to prepare for probable reductions in state funding for higher education and to assist the University in developing a new instructional resource model. The task force consists of faculty, academic deans, administrators, and staff.

On December 18, 2010, the task force held an open forum. At that forum, Provost Mearns, who is co-chair of the task force, discussed the status of the task force’s efforts to assist in developing a contingency plan for next year’s budget. I attended the forum.

Since then, the task force has continued to provide me with additional recommendations. Those recommendations are detailed in a written report that is now available on the task force’s webpage.

This report recommends overall budget target ranges for each of the University’s major sectors: academic colleges, academic support units, and university administrative units. I have accepted these sector recommendations. In December, I provided differentiated budget targets to each of the vice presidents who manage university administrative units, and I directed them to prepare a contingency plan to meet their unit’s respective target. They have submitted their plans to me, which I am currently reviewing.

The task force’s report also provided specific recommendations about differentiated targets for each of the academic colleges. After developing a list of strategic factors and applying those factors to readily available data, the task force assigned each academic college to one of three groups, or bands. As discussed in the report, a college or an administrative unit can meet its proposed budget target through both permanent expense reductions and reliable revenue enhancements.

After reviewing an initial draft of the report, I met at length with Provost Mearns, Vice President George Walker and Tim Long, the University’s Budget Director, to review the strategic factors and the data relied upon by the task force to develop its differentiated recommendations for each of the academic colleges. In making my decisions, I relied upon the same strategic factors developed by the task force, including: how a college’s programs aligned with the University’s primary strategic goals; a college’s financial performance relative to the other colleges at the University; the extent to which a college has programs, including doctoral programs, with relatively few students; an assessment of the productivity and impact of the college’s research faculty; the success of a college’s students as measured by undergraduate retention and graduation rates and post-graduate licensing exams; and the ability of a college to develop differential tuition plans or increase enrollment above existing limits.

After this review, I accepted all of the task force’s recommendations with respect to the colleges’ budget targets, with one exception. I have delegated to Provost Mearns the responsibility of establishing differentiated targets for the various academic support units that report to him.

Provost Mearns has communicated the college targets to the deans, and he has asked them to provide him with their college’s plan by February 22, 2011. He has also directed the deans to consult with their respective faculties and staff in developing their college’s plan.

By early March, I anticipate that our collective strategy for meeting this financial challenge will begin to become more clear. Governor Kasich will present his proposed budget to the legislature on or before March 15. I anticipate that, when his budget is released, we will know much more about two of the most important factors that are driving this process: the approximate amount of any reduction in the state subsidy for higher education, and the limit on any possible increase in undergraduate tuition. By that time, we will also have had an opportunity to evaluate the various college and administrative plans that have been submitted.

When we have more information from the Governor, I will hold an open forum in March to discuss our University plan.

I know that this process is difficult and that it is causing some anxiety and uncertainty. I believe, however, that we have established a collaborative and transparent process that will enable the University to overcome this challenge. Indeed, I am encouraged by the constructive contributions that so many of you have already made to our contingency planning process. Therefore, I am confident that we will emerge from this process as a stronger institution — which is our goal.

Thank you for your service to our students, our University, and our community.

Indeed. To those of you who still believe in the American Dream, let me explain how it really works for you. Say Jane wants to grow up and become a Doctor. But Jane and her family live piss poor, so she works hard in High School, gets good grades in accelerated courses and takes part in track and cheerleading or  some such other extracurricular nonsense that will look good on college applications. She gets accepted into a good school and manages to keep from getting pregnant. What a stand up gal Jane is, don’t you think? She gets some scholarships. Good for her! She gets Pell Grants and subsidized and unsubsidized loans through FAFSA. That’s our girl.

Before you know it she is accepted into Harvard Medical School and graduates with honors. Bravo! The problem is, now Jane has upwards of $200,000 worth of student loans to pay back. She gets married and begins practice as a pediatrician, her lifelong dream. But it will be a while before she begins to really rake in the dough and there are medical malpractice lawsuits on the horizon. Nonetheless, she and her husband, a college professor, are living well, having babies and attending church on Sundays. Everything seems fine until disaster strikes. Her mother is still piss poor and has just suffered from a stroke. A neighbor finds her laying face down in her apartment surrounded by urine and her own feces. Jane’s mother is admitted to the hospital and is soon discharged. Incontinent, paralyzed from the waist down and unable to take care of herself, Jane’s mother is just above the income threshold for medicaid and there are limited funds. She has no Health Insurance and therefore cannot afford to live in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility, so Jane has to quit her job to take care of her mother, as her husband is unwilling to quit his. The financial problems caused by the fact that Jane can no longer supplement the family income as well as the demands of taking care of a sick elderly woman takes a toll on their marriage, and Jane’s husband starts banging his secretary. They get a divorce and the children are heartbroken. Jane is now a single mother with no job. She still has student loans and legal fees to pay back, no home because she can’t afford a mortgage, and three kids to put through college. Her oldest daughter Sarah is devastated by the break up of her family and commits suicide.  Three months later, Jane’s mother dies due to inadequate medical care. Jane’s American Dream has turned into an American Nightmare.

Sounds extreme, right? Wrong. Things like this are happening everywhere. I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to pay for college, and I will explain why. Most people have an idea of the average college student’s financial situation. A freshman will have mom and dad foot most of the bill and private loans will take care of the rest, right?

Wrong.

Take me for example. I graduated from that Shithole High School a semester early with decent grades and community service. Go me, right? I figured I might as well try to go to college, so I briefly (and by briefly, I mean for about two seconds) thought about going into the military and even told the Hell Hole High School that those were my plans so they would let me graduate early. I took the ASVAB tests and got excellent scores, fielding calls from every military branch recruiter known to man telling me to join so I could become an officer. Of course, I am not going to go into the Military. I am a pacifist. So I changed my phone number to get rid of the recruiters and enrolled at the local junior college, with plans to save money on Gen Eds in mind. Problem was, my Dad makes too much money for me to get FAFSA and we are somewhat estranged. I had to work my tail off and go to School part time so I could get taken off of his tax returns, as a student has to be enrolled in school full time to be on their parents tax returns after they’re eighteen and to still be on their parents health insurance plan.

In any case, I no longer have Health Insurance but now that I’m off his taxes I go to School overtime, supplemented by a hefty financial aid award. But get this!

President Obama and his aides have spent a good bit of time over the last several weeks talking about the importance of education. Now they announce that they plan to cut spending on Pell grants, the big student-aid program that helps students in (roughly) the bottom half of the income distribution. As Jackie Calmes explains:

Pell grants for needy college students would be eliminated for summer classes, and graduate students would start accruing interest immediately on federal loans, though they would not have to pay until after they graduate; both changes are intended to help save $100 billion over 10 years to offset the costs of maintaining Pell grants for nine million students, according to administration officials.

Oh, fantastic! Keep in mind that my situation is not unique. Many students are like me, with families either too poor or too unwilling to help pay for school. I have a friend, for example, who had to run away from home when she was in Hell High School because her Step Father was beating her mother. She supported herself with two jobs and help from family and friends until she graduated, and now she has classes with me. I don’t know how she does it, because she is forced by FAFSA to file as a dependent even though she receives no help from her family and supports herself completely. She is awarded funds based on the assumption that her parents help her when in reality she has to pay for full time school as well as everything else.

And why is it that school is so expensive? Gods only know. The cost of living has increased exponentially since my parents were in college. It is easy for some stuck-in-the past 1950’s holdover to lecture one of us stupid delinquent teenagers about how THEY did it when they were our age so why can’t we? Well, I feel like saying to these idiots, you’re the ignorant fools who elected conservative Presidents and congresses for the past several decades and caused the inflation and budget cuts that led to all of these problems. Get over yourself.

Not only that, but tuition is obscenely expensive since now colleges are run more like businesses instead of academic institutions that shape young minds and prepare the leaders of tomorrow. I have to pay thousands of dollars for Professors to teach me the same bull shit I’ve been learning since the sixth grade (which is not to say I don’t learn a lot in College these days from certain professors, but I digress) and then once I and many students have paid several more thousands to complete an undergraduate degree two thirds of us STILL won’t be able to get a job. And people wonder why our education system is so behind.

Well, one might say, you may not be achieving all of your fancy starry eyed dreams but at least you are bettering yourself for the real world. Maybe you’ll be a hospital administrator instead of a chemical engineer but at least you have the right to a comfortable lifestyle and a reasonable retirement, right? Wrong.

So far, Obama has had the following “bright ideas” and has proposed them to Congress:

(1) Obama proposed (and Congress passed) a $112 Billion REDUCTION in revenues coming into the Social Security trust fund for this year; that is a cut of 30% in workers’ contributions to the Fund.  I think we can be pretty sure this $112 Billion annual cut in Social Security taxes will be made permanent with the full agreement of Obama. It won’t take long, at that rate, for Social Security to drain its fund (and current surplus) and go out of business.

(2) Obama has proposed a 50% REDUCTION in federal aid to the program that helps poor people pay heating bills for their homes

(3) Obama is proposing that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac go out of business, which will make it harder — if not impossible — for lower-income and middle-income people to buy their homes instead of paying endless rents

(4) Obama is proposing that the interest homeowners pay for their mortgages NO longer be fully deductible on their income taxes. In the early years of any mortgage, the bulk of the monthly mortgage payment goes to pay the interest on the mortgage; having that great sum be deductible has made it possible for people to buy homes and not default on their mortgages when finances are tight (as they often are when new homeowners are just starting out).

The result of Obama’s “bright” ideas, numbers (3) and (4), will be to make it harder for current homeowners to SELL their homes, will DEFLATE the value of their homes, will cause more people to default on their mortgages, and will create a situation where communities will take in LESS in the way of property taxes because of the number of vacant, abandoned homes that will become liabilities.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
And Obama is doing all of this cutting less than two months after signing into law tax CUTS for the wealthiest Americans.

The Republicans have the EXACT right Democrat in the White House for their evil purposes. Obama is: (1)  helping the Republicans realize their decades-long goal of destroying the Social Security program, (2) proposing policies that will create an even wider division between the “haves” and “have-nots” in America, and (3)proposing policies that will create a sub-class of Americans that the top one percent of Americans will be able to reduce to economic slavery.

That’s right. So long house in the ‘burbs. Bye bye white picket fence, 2.4 children and Labrador Retriever. S’later retirement fund, pensions, IRA. Hi poverty, what it do destitution? We’re the leaders of tomorrow. Nice to meetcha!

It just won’t do. Obama is a Republican Dream, not an American Dream. Why, just look at the cover of one of his famous “books.”

The Audacity of Nope

To Obama, this is the American Dream. Jane’s life would be everyone’s life with the policies he is currently championing. Can you believe this is happening? Well, I can. I’ve been saying who Obama is from the get-go. All it took was reading his idea of the American Dream in the pages of this book, where he talked about cutting Social Security and used Reagan as an example of a President to emulate. He’s stuck to his word, too. And has managed to unite this divided nation of ours- against him. On the 100the anniversary of Reagan’s whatever it was I was subjected to fawning book covers and pages about Obama’s hero for days. And now he is cutting Social Security with his bipartisan Republican pals, just like he promised.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t jive with the Obama the fauxgressives were selling us. This whole thing just isn’t going to work for me. I’m sure it won’t work for a lot of you, either, so run for office instead of electing more morons who will continue to pull this crap on us and expect to get reelected. My plan is to go to Law School and try to change these problems from within instead of sitting here and bitching about it.

But Isis, I can hear some people saying. Law School is expensive. You depend on those Pell Grants Obama and the Tea Party losers are cutting left and right and spending on unnecessary wars, a shitty Health Care Law and Michelle’s vacations in Spain to pay for your tuition, books and other fees. What are you going to do?

Well, shit. Whatever FAFSA doesn’t cover anymore I’ll supplement with scholarships. I just got a job that will pay for my Master’s Degree in Social Work so long as I get a good GPA. And certain agencies and non profits in my field of study will pay back all of my tuition if I end up working for them. As for the rest, it’s back to the pole and the pipe. And don’t think I’ll be the only one.

Credo

Tamerlane’s True Liberal Nation is my Credo. Make it yours too!

True Liberal Nation™

Because They’re All Blue States™

Despite the spew of lies and distortions from the Right, true liberal values are actually shared by a majority of Americans.  From universal healthcare, taxes, to renewable energy and avoiding needless wars, liberal values are American values.   As the traditional standard-bearer of liberal ideals, The Democratic Party — the largest political party in the free world — has failed.  Failed both to promote liberal ideals and to adhere to them.   That’s where True Liberal Nation™ steps in.

True Liberal Nation is a nationwide political advocacy group devoted to three goals

  1. Combat the defamation of the true liberal principles that most Americans believe in;
  2. Persuade the Democratic Party to adhere to liberal principals, and to nominate only true liberal candidates;
  3. Support third party candidates, or run candidates of our own, when required.

TLN will launch multiple initiatives to further these goals.  On our agenda for 2011 are the first set of these initiatives:


1. BO Must GO

Our first priority is to send an unmistakable message to the leadership of the Democratic Party:  under no circumstances will true liberals vote for barack obama in 2012.  Nor will we vote for any Democrats who endorse obama in 2012.

In 2008, some true liberals saw BO for the fraud he really was, some believed his glittering promises, while others of us voted for him simply because the was the Democratic candidate.  But BO has let down every liberal principle, renege on his campaign primaries, promoting a  corporatist agenda.  So now, BO must GO.  You can take part by helping us implement these action items:

BO Must GO Action Items

  • “Balls For Barry”  — send golf balls to DNC headquarters, a small hint of how we’d like BO to be spending all his time come January 2013;
  • “Promise Breaker”  — the MSM has glossed over BO’s long trail of broken campaign promises while gussying up his few lame achievements.  TLN will compile an accurate list of BO’s broken promises and his ditching of liberal principles for a corporatist agenda.
  • An online petition to the Democratic leadership advising them of our firm commitment not to vote for BO ever again;
  • Swag — bumper stickers, buttons, signs & t-shirts declaring BO Must GO;
  • Video Ad announcing our conviction that BO Must GO.


2. Draft Hillary

In 2008, the most qualified candidate in the Democratic primaries, the one with the most experience, and the broadest appeal among the general public, receive d the most votes.  But she was denied a chance to claim the nomination via a series of despicable chicanery and rule-breaking by Party leaders.  And the beneficiary of all these shenanigans has turned out to be the worst betrayer of liberal ideals ever.

We still believe that Hillary Clinton is by far the best choice for President.  Following her display of clarity, grace, tenacity during the 2008 campaign, Clinton has further proven her excellence while Secretary of State.

TLN’s task is two-fold: 1) Urge Secretary Clinton to run again; 2) Let the Democratic leadership know that the candidate most of us wanted in 2008 is still the candidate we want now.  You can take part by helping us implement these action items:

Draft Hillary Action Items

  • Send Hillary a Valentine on February 14th — Let Hillary know how much we appreciate all she’s done, and beg her for just one more thing — a run in 2012!
  • Hillary ’12 Swag
  • Video ad — Let Hillary and the Democratic Party know we need her;
  • Online Petition — declaring our enthusiastic support for Hillary in 2012!


3.  The True Liberal Nation Platform

TLN will draft a clear yet comprehensive platform, stating our positions in all areas of domestic & foreign policy.  The TLN platform will serve as a guide to all our decision-making, initiatives and messaging.

You can help us by sending us the issues that you feel most strongly about, or by joining the Platform committee.


4. Candidate Rankings

For many of us, it was a painful lesson to learn in recent years that politics is not all black and white — or straight red & blue.  Blind party loyalty no more! –  we will only support candidates who promote true liberal objectives.   To that end, we will develop a ranking of candidates.

Residing on an online database, the TLN Candidate Ranking will serve as  a voters guide.  A feature will allow TLN members will also be able to submit their own “reviews” of candidates.

You can help us by researching candidates in your district and state, or by helping us build & maintain the database.


5. Endorsements & “Undorsements”

Based on candidates’ records and positions, TLN will issue endorsements for every major office.  Unlike other interest groups, however,  TLN will also issue “Undorsements” in each race, specifically identifying the candidates who do not share TLN’s goals.

You can help us by researching candidates in your district and state.


6. The “No Less Than Liberal” Initiative

When the field offered by the established parties offers no true liberals, we will run our own candidates, either in primaries or as independents in the general elections.  Make no mistake — we don’t expect to win.  But the mere presence of TLN candidates on the ballot will underscore  our refusal to accept anything “less than liberal”.

You can help us by running letting us know you’ll run for office.


7.  Local Committees

Ideas are nothing without action.  We need you to form a local TLN committee to help us accomplish our common goals.  Your committee will discuss ideas & issues, work together on initiatives & actions, and give us feedback to help us formulate positions and strategy.

Let us know if you are interested in forming a local TLN Committee.


8. Leadership Council

We are currently forming an steering committee to determine how to best implement these goals and infinitives.  To facilitate our efforts, one of the first steps will be to register as a political action committee.  A leadership council will then be formed to supervise the many TLN efforts.

Let us know if you are interested in participating in the national TLN Committees.


A Grass Seed Movement

As the old adage says, if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself. True Liberal Nation is a nationwide political advocacy movement, but it is nothing without you.  Not astroturfed, not grassroots, TLN is more a “grass seed” movement — we provided the germs of ideas and actions, and you provide the watering and cultivation.

In addition to your participation in our public action items, TLN will need your input, your involvement, and eventually your financial support.  Let us know how you can help by contacting us today at mailto:trueliberalnexus@yahoo.com.

You can also help by spreading the word:  The True Liberal Nation has awoken, and we demand better!

(c) 2011 by True Liberal Nexus.  All rights reserved.

First action items here and here.

When Fear Is All Around You

Kevin Drum has a new article up at Mother Jones that is, in my opinion, worth reading. Actually, I’m not 100% sure it’s worth reading because I was too lazy to do anything but skim through it, but I got the general idea. Basically, the National Park Service wants to bring a higher level of security to the Washington Monument and Bruce Schneier thinks we should just shut it down.

Kevin Drum, like me, could really care less what happens to the Washington Monument. I didn’t even know people visited it. Like most Americans, I just see it in movies and I think, “Oh… the Washington Monument.” That sums up my opinion on the whole thing. But Drum sums up my opinion on something else very clearly: the intellectual laziness of Bruce’s attitude.

Maybe we should just shut it down. But that particular issue aside, I think Bruce’s attitude needs some major pushback.

There’s a certain class of people to whom his prescription sounds great. Refuse to be terrorized! Stop being such babies! I’m a member of that class. I would happily accept a slightly increased risk of terrorist attack in return for a less intrusive security regime. I think we’re way too willing to let fear rule our culture. On a purely personal level, this stuff infuriates me.

But those of us who feel that way really have an obligation to understand just how out of the mainstream we are. I’m willing to bet that most of us are a bit nerdy, sort of hyperanalytical, maybe even slightly Aspergers-ish. We’re comfortable — too comfortable, probably — viewing the ebb and flow of human lives as an accounting exercise. We’re also very sure of ourselves, generally pretty verbal, and we have soapboxes to shout from.

And, at a guess, we represent maybe 10% of the population. At most.

I have a friend who does not represent this 10% of the population. Like most people my age, she pretends to be non conformist and unique… but really isn’t. At least on this particular issue, her non conformism is purely commercial. If I go out in the middle of the night to take a walk or stop by the 24 hour drug store to grab some eggs, I get a tut and a shake of the head from her. “Oh… that’s smart. You’ll get raped and killed.”

Neither of us have spent much of our lives in particularly bad neighborhoods. We have been comfortably safe in suburbia and have never had our lives threatened in any way. But like most Americans we watch the nightly news and stories about murder and general destruction are plastered across the screen. Yes, I do run the risk of danger if I go out at night. I try to let this frighten me or deter me but… it just doesn’t. I don’t care.

Maybe I’m just a reckless young person who believes in her own invincibility. My answer to that is: well, I’ve been reckless for a while now and I’m still here, right? Or maybe I’m just an idiot. Actually, I’m probably just an idiot, but I think I’m losing my point here.

The point is, I have a certain attitude about the things I do, and it’s a simple one: I do what I want. I run the risk of dying when I get in a car to drive. Hell, I could drop dead or be struck down at any moment. My attitude is the exact opposite of reckless belief in my own invincibility. I know the grim reaper could pay a visit at any time, unannounced, and I wouldn’t be able to do a damn thing about it. That’s why I don’t care about death. It’s inevitable. I accept her dark embrace. And I’m not going to sit around and be so worried about death that I forget to live. As far as I’m concerned, she can call me anytime, because frankly I would rather die young knowing I stood up for something than die old and realize I threw my life away.

Our modern society is deathly afraid of death. Go figure. And violence. And since I was a child, terrorism was thrown into the mix. When you can’t even go through a scanner at the airport without having your private business groped, you have to stop and take a look  around you and wonder, “why?”

I am growing up in an age of fear and it is getting old fast.

We’re afraid of Cancer. “Watermelons cause Cancer!” a Woman’s Health article screams at at us when we’re in the Grocery Line. Jesus Christ. EVERYTHING causes Cancer! Who cares??? Eat a god damned watermelon! They’re friggin’ delicious!

We’re afraid of teen pregnancy and sexual activity. Oh my goodness. It’s not that hard. Teenagers want to have sex because they’re HORNY. Just teach them about sex education, give them some condoms and birth control pills and send them on there way. Everyone gets sex and everyone wins. Simple.

But then, what about morals? Our culture of sex and drugs is degrading our preciously valued beliefs and traditions! The sky is falling! No, it’s not. Who cares about morals? Morals are boring. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone else do what you want. I have low moral fiber and I am proud of it.

But… Terrorism kills people! Yeah, it does. But Terrorism isn’t just about violence. It’s about using violence… to make people SCARED. I’m sorry, but groping my hoo ha when I’m at an airport is not the way to fight Terrorism. Closing the Washington Monument would just tell our enemies just how afraid of them we really are. I’d rather we stood up to them.

And most importantly, people are scared for America. Or of America. Which one? I don’t know, probably both. China is gaining influence, the media tells us ominously. And we are declining. Our standard of living is declining, our government is imploding from the inside out. The economy is down and won’t get back up for a while, if ever. What are we going to do? We won’t be the world’s biggest superpower anymore! By 2040 white people will be a minority! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?

It’s all mass hysteria and it’s all silly. Stop giving into fear. That’s what you do. Don’t sit there and complain and let it happen. Don’t say, “America is doomed” and then go to Wal Mart to buy cups.  Do something. Vote. Get your shit together and get yourself organized. Protest. Raise Hell. It’s what the Founding Fathers would have wanted. They cared a lot more about that than “Family Values” and “American Security.”

And most importantly, stop being afraid for America. Fight for her if you love her. Don’t just let her go.

 

Cross Post: Affirmative Inaction

– by ‘tamerlane’

From Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post, the latest excuse for our Fraud-in-Chief’s ineptitude:

African American men are taught at very young ages (or learn the hard way) to keep our emotions in check, to not lose our cool, lest we be perceived as dangerous or menacing or give someone a reason to doubt our ability to handle our jobs.

Poor obama — he daren’t show his emotions.  Like some stoic hero from an Alan Paton novel, Barack the Silent must fight his lonely crusade while hiding his true pathos behind an inscrutable mask.  A burden imposed on every black male in America whenever a Boston Police responds to a disturbance, a Lunch Lady breaks up a school fight, or an NFL ref calls a penalty for flagrant end-zone celebration.

The mystery is now solved. BO’s curious detachment, his seeming insensitivity to the suffering of others, is actually a noble trait.

That’s a relief!  Cuz it would totally suck if in actuality we’d elected someone who is utterly incompetent, has zero leadership qualities, and is saddled with some serious attachment issues & other psychological flaws, stemming from his fucked-up childhood, to boot.

Jonathan, step away from the kool-aid!  You voted for him simply because he was part black.  That was the only qualification you needed, and that was the only one you got. Not only are you a racist, you’re too big of a fool to realize that once you’ve dug yourself into a hole, you need to stop digging.  STFU already.

(c) 2010 by ‘tamerlane.’  All rights reserved.


Women’s History is Human History

“Women’s rights are human rights.”

-Hillary Rodham Clinton

I wanted to write this post last month, but I got caught up in Health Insurance Reform and afterwards I couldn’t write about anything other than singing sparrows and cars that honk orgasms for weeks–I was that depressed. But now I’m back and ready to get my hands dirty once again.

As any reader of this blog knows, my respected friend Tamerlane and I have butted heads over the subject of feminist prehistory on several occasions now, albeit of course in a friendly way.  Tamerlane wrote of my last post on the subject (oh yeah, the one that Roseanne Barr linked to on her blog. Mmmhhhmm, that one. Can I get a WHAT WHAT?):

Littleisis, our fellow true liberal and bearer of the Liberal Rapturestandard, writes about an exhibit of prehistoric artifacts which have been interpreted by some to indicate the existence of ancient matriarchal societies.  These goddess-worshipping cultures were supposedly peaceful and egalitarian, until being obliterated by invasions of patriarchal, hunter-warrior dudes.  Most experts dismiss these theories as fanciful and unsupported by the evidence.Littleisis, our fellow true liberal and bearer of the Liberal Rapturestandard, writes about an exhibit of prehistoric artifacts which have been interpreted by some to indicate the existence of ancient matriarchal societies.  These goddess-worshipping cultures were supposedly peaceful and egalitarian, until being obliterated by invasions of patriarchal, hunter-warrior dudes.  Most experts dismiss these theories as fanciful and unsupported by the evidence.Pop on over to Liberal Rapture and decide for yourself.  Littleisis is a witty writer & an astute observer of politics and culture, and always worth a visit.

Witty though I am, I would like to take a second to remind everyone of who I am: a nineteen-year-old school girl who frankly does not know her ass hole from her belly button about a lot of things. I’m no scholar. In time, I’d like to say I have enough life and academic experience to say I’m half the woman some of the people I blog alongside are. But for now I’m just a hyper little ball of estrogen on legs, and you should keep that in mind when I take enough time out of my life filled with text messaging, shopping, research papers,  facebooking, running from the cops and chasing boys (and girls) to rifle through the all the sex, vampires, sparkly penises and make up tips filling up my brian to write down something remotely intelligent or thoughtful.

This however, does not excuse me from the fact that I have yet to fully articulate just what the hell I’m talking about when I write posts about feminist prehistory. I first mentioned it in an article about honor killings and then it just spiraled and got really out of hand. Specifically, I want to quote one of Tamerlane’s commenters Sima, because I agree with her point:

It’s so easy to look at an object and dream about what that object meant to a culture. It’s easy to take mythologies about mythology and assume they represent some sort of ancient, unobtainable being. Historically, goddesses were worshipped, sometimes as heads of pantheons. That doesn’t mean women were well-regarded. The Virgin Mary is one of the most important female icons of the Western World. Her portrait appears everywhere. Her life and deeds are celebrated by many strains of Christianity. She is especially revered by Catholics. And… she exists in the middle of patriarchy. We have little to no idea if pre-historic goddesses reflected women’s power in and over society, or women’s place in society, or both.

[…]

Gimbutas work is important as a possible interpretation of pre-history. It is not the only interpretation, or even the most valid one, at this point. Her work does need to be re-examined periodically as new knowledge and techniques come into being because who knows, she might be right.

I would never make the leap, for example, that just because a society has female diety it is not patriarchal. The Romans had female goddesses as part of their pantheons, and no one would call them egalitarian. Nor would I make a leap that a society has to be peaceful in order to have any kind of gender equality. All though I do believe gender equality, especially in government, permeates peace, because it encourages equality rather than dominance.

I don’t disagree with Tamerlane and others that there is not sufficient, solid proof that egalitarian cultures like that of the Minoans existed and that theories of feminist prehistory put forward by archeologists like Gimbatus and Eislier are just that: theories.  I do however, disagree with the notion that this makes it entirely impobable that such things might possibly be true.

The most recent book I’ve read about this was written in 2007, by Craig Barnes. (Highly recommended. Everyone on Amazon gives it five stars.) Regarding the theory of “hunter warrior dudes” as Tamerlane puts it, he explains:

…among these scholars, including Joseph Campbell, a tradition that war-like nomads had swept down from the steps of Asia bringing patriarchy and oppression and that the origins of misogyny were from these nomads. A furious intellectual debate then raged through the 1990s over the issue of who these nomads were, why they had not left more evidence, what language they spoke, where their pots and houses were. In the end, many modern scholars, including many women, turned to critique Campbell and Gimbatus and the so-called nomad theory. In addition, when the evidence was insufficient to establish these nomadic invasions in a certain time and place or to establish whether they were outsiders or insiders, the critics began to disparage not only the Campbell-Gimbatus theory of invasions but also the whole of the “goddess movement.” Critics disparaged the idea that there ever had been a universal Mother Earth Goddess or that there had ever been a peaceful society or that there had ever been anything like nomadic invasions that caused a change to patriarchy. They argued, with substantial justification, that there had never had never been proof of matriarchy or a universal goddess in western European history. With less justification, however, they went beyond these reasonable questions about nomads and a universal Earth Mother goddess to dispute whether women had ever been more prominent in Western culture and whether some pre-greek societies were women centered, or egalitarian, or peaceful. As a result, scholarship has since settled back into a comfort zone with it’s time honored patriarchal conclusions.

Barnes doesn’t make the case that society became patriarchal and war like because of hunter warrior nomad types from Asia that invaded and raped, killed and took over Goddess-centered societies, regardless of whether that theory is true or not. He does make the case that people are not war-like by nature. I believe that also but my personal belief that human beings are basically good, personally responsible and fully in charge of their own destinies rather than hopelessly condemned and entrenched in original sin–totally controlled by the whims of of an evil satan monster who lives underground  and makes them do bad things is just that. Personal.

What Barnes does say is that while war can be effective in changing society, it is consciousness that moves it to change the most. The American Revolution, for example, started way before the battle of Lexington and Concord. It started with an idea that turned into a shot heard ’round the world. And the same can be said of any time in human history.

A few thousand years ago, Homer wrote the Odyssey and The Iliad around the same time the Hebrews wrote the Old Testament, both of which are highly patriarchal and violent and both of which are taught to young children as guidelines to having upstanding moral values, for some reason.

There is strong evidence that society was not originally patriarchal, but that is not what is important. What is important is what is right in front of us, right now. As I said before, one needs to merely pick up a history book and they’ll know that Patriarchy is simply not beneficial to human evolution. Whenever, as SOD calls it, social dominance takes a back seat to some kind of equality, we as human beings improve.

Hunter warrior dudes or not, we can assume that society was at one time egalitarian and is capable of being egalitarian because history tells us so. Women have been involved in every single positive change in modern history. Civil rights, gay rights, abolition, et cetera. Countries like Finland and Iceland, whose governments are fairly gender equal have better health care, better economies and do not constantly involve themselves in the conflicts of other nations. As flawed and ridiculous as we human beings can often be, facts just show that we can’t have come as far as we have by doing the same thing over and over again. That is the definition of insanity and insanity destroys itself from the inside out.

And when I say human beings, I mean all human beings,  male or female. Tamerlane and I are in agreement that some people who do appear to believe in the nomad theory do try to use it as evidence that men are by nature inferior and predispositioned to violence, stupidity and war while women are docile and motherly and rely on right brain thinking rather than logic.  That is not only bull shit, it is frankly sexist. Equality is acknowledgement that the only differences between men and women are biological. Like in Sally Potter’s Orlando. “Same person, just a different sex.” And I do feel sorry for Tamerlane, seeing as how he was attacked by women who apparently had that ridiculous attitude.

Either way, I am moving forward. As I said before, this information is relevant and no, it does not embarrass feminists. As our shero said,

There cannot be true democracy unless women’s voices are heard. There cannot be true democracy unless women are given the opportunity to take responsibility for their own lives. There cannot be true democracy unless all citizens are able to participate fully in the lives of their country.

You tell ’em, Hillary.

Dish: Health Insurance Reform

WHHHOOOOOOOOOO! Health Care Reform for white men has passed! The most historical event evah in the history of historicalness has occurred! A Democratic Congress and a Democratic President has made a Republican Healthcare Bill Law!  Insurance companies will be able to not provide helpless children with adequate care at last!

All this change! All this hope! I can’t take it! I’m going to spontaneously combust!

The world is going insane, and while normally I like insanity, this is not the good kind. Obama has just passed national RomneyObamacare–a Nixon wet dream originating from the Heritage Foundation in the 1990s in opposition to Hillarycare, and yet lunatic “Tea Partiers” are running around vandalizing the houses of Congressidiots who voted for the heaping pile of shit, screaming that they are “socialists?”

Obama signs an executive order restricting women’s access to abortion, and so called “progressives” and “feminists” are having kool aid induced orgasms as they compare the passage of a Health Insurance Reform Bill that would be better served as toilet paper to the Civil Rights Act? What the fuck?

Well, maybe I’m being unfair. The Bill IS Historic. Historically shitty.

I find myself–and we all must admit that I am normally so cheerful and chipper, yes, you know you all love me– I find myself feeling gloomy. I’m walking around campus with my hands shoved in the pockets of my fake leather jacket with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth–and I don’t even smoke! Security officers are mistaking me for troubled youth and are performing random searches on me.

Well, I am troubled. I’m troubled about a lot of things, but in terms of politics and current events, I am troubled about the fact that, as MYIQ said a few weeks ago, there appears to be no end in sight.

But what really has me bummed out right now is the realization that there is no end in sight for the mess this country is in. The single biggest problem facing our nation is the illness in our political system. When I say “illness” I mean the equivalent of an inoperable cancer that has metastasized. If we fixed our political system then we would actually be able to do something about those other problems.

For most of my adult life I believed that the Democrats were the good guys so even when they were getting slapped around by the Republicans I could support them and hope that after the next election they would grow a pair and start standing up for the liberal ideals they campaigned on.

I finally realized that the majority of the Democrats who hold elected office are not only corrupt but they have the same agenda as the Republicans. Oh, the say they’re on our side, and when it’s time for them to represent us they might make some speeches andr play some parliamentary tricks but when the nitty meets the gritty they lose on purpose. Lots of times they don’t even bother to put on a dog and pony show anymore, they just vote to bail out Wall Street or take away our civil rights as if that’s what we wanted them to do.

Now as far back as I can remember the Republicans were corrupt and they tended to be pricks or assholes, and sometimes both, but they weren’t insane. Nowadays there’s a lot of GOPers that are crazy as shithouse rats. That not only includes the elected ones but the voters too. Then you got the tea baggers who don’t think the Republicans are crazy enough.

I can’t believe that I am living in a country–I country I have grown up loving with every fiber of my being despite its flaws–where this is happening. The passage of a bill that bails out the Health Care Industry is historic! And in honor of Women’s History Month we passed it on the backs of women and their reproductive rights! Cats bark! Fish have tails! Catholic Priests are ethical in their treatment of young children!

The whole world is going mad I tell you! MAAAADDDDD!

Of course, intellectually I understand, there is always hope. Democrats are going to lose a lot of seats in November and while the Republicans that come into office will be even worse, the door will open for real liberals, not phony “progressives,” to show Donna Brazile and Howard Dean’s “New Coalition” to be ineffective and thus we will be able to take our party back.

But sometimes, in this Golden Era of Hope and Change, politics just isn’t enough. For once in our lives, we needed policy. Good policy that would actually have given broke-ass students like me real Health Insurance. Just a few weeks ago, before my spring break, I came down with the flu and missed a week of classes I’m still making up. If I had insurance, I might have been able to get antibiotics and missed only one day, maybe two. This bill does nothing to help me. For one thing, I’ll be done with my undergraduates and possibly even my graduates by 2014. At this rate I’m going to have to start stripping for my ‘scrips, just like a number of poor senior citizens who will shortly be facing cuts in medicare due to this lame-assed bill.


Sometimes, I get tired. Sometimes, I don’t want to live life day to day anymore. Sometimes I think things will never get better. Trying to get something to eat, trying to fill up my gas tank–always being hungry, worrying about my mom, worrying about my friends, worrying about all the people around me at my school who are going through the same thing.

Sometimes, honestly, I’m just tired. And today, forgive me, but I have to lament over the fact that politics took precedence over policy. Sorry.