Sunday, April 12, 2009

Schrodinger's Mo’s Redux

No, you get in the fucking box.

In furtherance of the Glorious Cause and in honor of its flag,

"Ol' Fabulous"
(image boosted from Tengrain while he slept)
this reprise
("Seriously, dude, recycling past glory on new media? Again?
I mean, what are you, The Beatles' back catalog?"
"Shut up!Shut up!Shut up!")
of "Schrodinger's Mo’s" from 2006.

Now fortified with

22% more Tom Waits!

Schrodinger's Mo’s

Let’s lead off with this bit of Constitutional Horseshit hacky-sack from the Dear Leader via the NYT:
June 5, 2006
Gay Marriage Ban Is Short of Votes in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush rallied support Monday for a ban on gay marriage as the Senate opened a volatile, election-year debate on a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex weddings.

''Changing the definition of marriage would undermine the structure of the family,'' said Bush, who raised the issue's profile with an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Bush criticized judges who have overturned state laws similar in intent to the proposed legislation. ''Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges,'' he said.

Traditional marriage, Bush said, is the cornerstone of a healthy society and the issue should be put ''back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people.''

There was little chance of that in the near future. Neither chamber is likely to pass the amendment by the two-thirds majority required to send it to the states -- three quarters of which would then have to approve it.

''A vote for this amendment is a vote for bigotry pure and simple,'' said Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, where the state Supreme Court legalized gay marriages in 2003.

''The reason for this debate is to divide our society, to pit one against another,'' [Senate Democratic Leader Harry] Reid said in remarks prepared for delivery on the Senate floor. ''This is another one of the presidents efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract, and to confuse America. It is this administration's way of avoiding the tough, real problems that American citizens are confronted with each and every day.''

Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco, which in 2004 began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, on Monday denounced Bush's move as predictable and ''stale rhetoric'' aimed at rallying conservatives for this year's midterm elections.
''It's politics. It's pandering and it's placating a core constituency, the evangelicals,'' Newsom said on ABC's ''Good Morning America.''

I have neighbors I do not know and who in no way affect me except if their garbage piles up too high, or they play that devil’s music too loud on a Sunday morning when I’m trying to listen to “Lords of Acid” at 120 decibels in peace.

They do not disturb some invisible, trembling pellucid neighborhood ether with their peccadilloes.

They probably self-selected themselves into the area based on some combination of criteria that probably includes a degree of tolerance for people who are not like them, but frankly if they compulsively vacuum in nothing but pearls and heels, or nickname their pet potbelly pig “Mor-ton” and re-enact old episodes of the McLaughlin Group for kicks, what the fuck do I care?

I also have family I see once every few years at reunions.

They are a boisterous bunch, shot through with a lot of hardcore Rightwing Evangelicals. For a couple of days we tell marvelous, funny, poignant stories about relatives long gone, visit the old cemetery, and auction off family knick-knacks and heirlooms to defray the cost of meals and soda. Their bizarre cult beliefs roll off of me like water off a heathen duck’s ass, and I’m sure my vile humanist ravings never so much as raise a welt on their dense, Blood-O’-Christ ablative shielding.

I also have friends and family a few miles away and a half a continent away I can visit or call and talk to when I’m broken and sad: Those are my intimacies of choice.

And while I disagree with Rick Blaine [Casablanca] when he say's “The problems of the world are not in my department”, (yes, he eventually comes around) I profoundly agree with the idea that the personal choices and habits of the rest of the world are absolutely none of my god damned business so long as they keep their garbage off my lawn and don’t frighten the horses in the street.

Which is comical, because I am apparently soooo old that I actually remember sepia-toned days of $0.40/gallon gasoline, commercial-free public teevee and when keeping one’s snout the fuck out of other people’s business used to be touted as a granite pillar of the Conservative movement.

But that was before they sold their souls to Jerry Falwell in exchange for millions of obedient Christopath voters.

So this one is for my new physics pals from the Shakespeare’s Sister meet-up, wherein the estimable Mrs. Shakes consented to rope-and-ride a buncha Liberals to a movie (“An Inconvenient Truth” -- massively recommended) and dinner.
(“Trying to herd cats,” she opined.


Herding fireflies with a firehose is more like it. I should know; I’m one of the worst of the bunch.)

So let us imagine there’s a box in, oh, say, Massachusetts or Oregon or Iowa.

A big box, and in that box are the following items:
1. A Bible.
2. A preacher.
3. A gay couple.
4. A straight friend.
5. Enough consumables and comforts to last a lifetime.

Sort of a Biosphere II, but with vastly better feng shui.

And you’re living la vida no-neck in some high-toned, melanin-poor gated exurb, or in some scruffier digs where the “gate” is a gaunt, three-legged pit-bull named Bobby Lee tied the rusted hulk of an El Camino up on ancient blocks.

Now at some point over the course of years, the gay couple may ask the preacher to pick up the bible and, with their straight friend standing witness, get hitched.

Or they may not.

In fact, they exist only in a cloud of quantum connubial possibilities until you bust the box open and demand to know just what in the fuck they’re doing in there. And how can they have amassed such a formidable stockpile of really spiffy antiques without ever having left the box!

It is only when you kick the door down and intrude on their private business that the haze of potential outcomes collapses into a single, nuptial certainty.

So the question is, when exactly -- over the course of, say, forty years of leaving the box intact and letting them be -- did their status inside the box destroy your marriage outside the box?

When was it -- precisely -- during those four decades that this single detail of the lives of strangers who live so immensely far away from you in every meaningful way managed to intrude into your life so violently that it ruined your relationship with your spouse and debased the value of the love and mutual commitment you share?

So much so that the only possible solution is to amend the foundational documents of our democracy?

Because if you cannot identify the specific, quantifiable harm that such a union would have on you and yours, then shut your fucking hole.

And if the only rationale you can conjure is the oldest and most despicable of the “pellucid ether” arguments -- that it would be an affront to God [or his Divine Beard, “Traditional Values”] by asserting, as the Dear Leader just did, that “Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges” -- then I commend to your attention the opening lines of the June 12, 1967, Loving v. Virginia decision, which gets referred to a lot in Left Bloggylvania, but not cited verbatim nearly often enough for my tastes, because here is how it begins (Emphasis added):
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

The law in Virginia as it read provided...

"Punishment for marriage. -- If any white person intermarry with a colored person, or any colored person intermarry with a white person, he shall be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by confinement in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years."

And the penalty for leaving the State to evade the law was...

...If any white person and colored person shall go out of this State, for the purpose of being married, and with the intention of returning, and be married out of it, and afterwards return to and reside in it, cohabiting as man and wife, they shall be punished as provided in § 20-59, and the marriage shall be governed by the same law as if it had been solemnized in this State. The fact of their cohabitation here as man and wife shall be evidence of their marriage."

What more needs be said?

When the cultural Gladys Kravitzes on the Right stomp into the public square dragging Gay Marriage along behind them, this is what’s really on the menu: Their insatiable appetite to impose their witchbag of hate, squeamishness and childish idiocy on everyone else in the Universe for no reason other than they are hateful, squeamish, childish idiots.

And since there is absolutely no quantifiable harm they can point to (In Loving, the “harm” cited was found in the language of Naim v. Naim which “concluded that the State's legitimate purposes were "to preserve the racial integrity of its citizens," and to prevent "the corruption of blood," "a mongrel breed of citizens," and "the obliteration of racial pride”…), time and again -- from slavery, through Jim Crow, through “Loving” and now with Gay Marriage -- you see the same democracy-loathing Red Statists thumping the same Bible, from the same pulpit, to the same squealing mob of culturally malnourished knuckleheads.

Generation after debased generation the disease is passed on, because regardless of where this moral cancer has geographically metastasized over the years, the continuous line of divinely-sanctioned White Male Christian Supremacy that runs from “God, Nooses and Negroes” to “God, Guns and Gays” comes straight out of the spiritual heart of the old Confederacy.

And because there are no tangible, measurable negative consequences, when you take it upon yourself to tell two consenting adults who and how they may marry you will always end up playing the “Almighty God”-card. Either explicitly, or by cowering behind such hollow, bigot-coded and patently ridiculous threats as, "Changing the definition of marriage would undermine the structure of the family."

On this issue -- however icky you might personally find the whole idea of boys kissing boys or girls canoodling with girls -- you can either be a Good Republican or a Good American, but you cannot be both.

Because when you insist that your perverse view of the Bible gives you the right to smash open Schrodinger's box and dictate who and how two consenting adults may marry, you will always end up standing on the gibbet, slipping the “Loving” rope around Liberty’s throat.


And that is no place that any decent American would ever want to be.


Cyranetta said...

Quantum physics and human rights well-blended -- a thing of beauty!

jeg43 said...

I wish you'd write a book - just so I could spend more time enjoying reading what you write, pumping my fist in the air saying "Right ON!" and grinning like a possum eating briars.

HelloDollyLlama said...

So now is a good time to ask...

Will the rightwing loons really try to overthrow the government?

More and more each day, we hear people like Michelle Bachman inciting conservatives to stock up on guns and ammo and launch the revolution against Obama. Will they really do it?

It wouldn’t be the first time. The first rightwing attempt to overthrow the government was driven by an alliance of big business and army veterans. The Liberty League consisted of very rich men in the 1930s who loathed FDR. They included leaders from DuPont, GM, EF Hutton, General Foods, GM, Montgomery Ward, JP Morgan, the Hearst newspapers, Lehigh University, Princeton, Yale, U.S. Steel, Standard Oil (Exxon), Chase National Bank, Goodyear, Birdseye Foods, Colgate, Heinz, Mutual Life...and Prescott Bush. Some Democratic leaders belonged. The group was so powerful that even New York Times gave them dozens of positive front-page stories. Prefiguring today’s rightwingers, they screeched that FDR’s policies betokened "a trend toward Fascist control," and “the end of democracy." Their aim was to use WWI veterans to overthrow FDR so the fatcats could put their own man in. Their first choice to lead the charge was Douglas MacArthur, but the veterans hated him because he had crushed the Bonus Army march a year or two earlier, so they turned instead to another general, Smedley Butler, who (luckily for us all) had the good sense to blow the whistle on these loons in Congress.

The dilemma for any “revolutionary” terror group (or any other criminal enterprise) is how big the group gets. Too small, and they have no chance of setting up a national organization and taking over the country. Too big, and the law can infiltrate it, recruit its members as informants, and track its members to figure out who is connected to whom. Once the FBI has your group on a big wall chart with pictures and lines, you’re toast. Even before Oklahoma and 911, the FBI was watching these people. The Klan was successfully infiltrated under COINTELPRO, and eventually lost the Michael Donald case and the Jordan Gruver case. The Order, modeled on The Turner Diaries (the Bible of the loony right), was broken up under RICO. The neo-Nazis were blocked, in court, from marching in Skokie. Aryan Nations lost the Keenan suit and split up. The White Aryan Resistance lost the Mulugeta Shaw case. The Michigan Militia simply fell apart after Oklahoma, while the Indiana Militia hung on by distancing itself from the real kooks. Some of these guys actually had to get help from the hated ACLU to defend them.

If they want to go small, the ultimate is the group of one, the lone wolf. Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph and the Unabomber fit the profile. This model is difficult for law enforcement to crack for obvious reasons.

One model for solving this problem is found in The Turner Diaries, a novel which tells of governmental gun confiscation leading to rightwing guerrilla attacks, the overthrow of the government, attacks on the media (presumably Lou Dobbs would get a free pass), and the extermination of nonwhites. Reportedly it has sold more than half a million copies. The guy who dragged a black man to death behind his truck was a fan of the book, and so was Timothy McVeigh, who may have modelled the Oklahoma attack on an attack on FBI headquarters depicted in the book. The key is that the book depicts a large national organization, managed by a secret inner cadre – a small secure group inside a large national group.

Another enabler which makes both small groups and large groups dangerous is the internet. The net can help lone wolves set up their own operations and acquire materials, and it can help larger groups organize without as much external scrutiny. A site to watch is Stormfront, owned by a former Klan leader. Stormfront encouraged their followers to join the army to learn military skills, and set up stories for kids, and computer games allowing kids to “kill” blacks and Jews. They skilfully use texts from the U.S. Founding Fathers, the Bible, and even Darwin for their survival-of-the-fittest philosophy. They are a better fit for the new century that the Liberty-League model or the Klan model would have been. In April 2009 one of its members killed three Pittsburgh cops and tried to kill nine more. Even if Stormfront is not the vanguard for an outbreak of violence, it might be the model for whoever does launch the Crazy Season.

There are a number of key stressors that set these people off, mostly based on fear. First, fear of non-whites: years ago they went bonkers over the bussing issue, and now it’s immigration, affirmative action, urban crime, the growing non-white population in big states like California, and the notion that blacks and aliens are somehow to blame for the subprime meltdown. The day after Obama was elected, so many loons tried to hook up to Stormfront that they crashed the website. Second, fear that they will lose their guns: the Brady bill, the assault weapons ban. Third, fear of government: Waco, Ruby Ridge, government surveillance, the phantasm of the New World Order (and no one even knows what that means), some bizarre vision of a world government involving the UN, the Federal Reserve, a global currency, IMF SDR’s etc (they don’t even understand what Special Drawing Rights are, but somehow they know they’re evil). And lastly, moral issues – abortion and gay marriage, although in that case the hate groups may simply be having sympathy pains for their fellow loons in the evangelical movement.

There are some groups which do not seem to be linked to all this, but could potentially link up later on: criminal groups (particularly the rural meth-lab crowd), survivalists, the Minuteman Project (due to the immigration issue), and even biker gangs. The spring 2009 “tea party” effort doesn’t really fit into this pattern for a number of reasons: it is a tax revolt, not one of the far right’s usual scare issues (and it came right after an Obama tax cut anyway); it is very open and public; and they seemed to be refusing to use the tea parties as recruiting tools for extremists, for fear of infiltration. One thing which the tax revolt nonsense does do for the really dangerous extremists, is lay the groundwork for recruiting later on, by spinning up as much mindless anger as they can.

Also, secessionists: last year 22 percent of Americans believed that a state has a right to secede from the United States. In 2006 and 2007 secession groups from across the country held two national conventions. Sarah Palin supported an Alaskan secession group, and Mike Huckabee’s most valued supporters include secessionists as well. Some militia groups have been involved.

Watch the northwest in particular: when white separatists start mooning about setting up their own all-white utopia somewhere, separate from the United States, the talk usually revolves around any state within shouting distance of Montana. Also, obviously, watch the South, particularly the We-Hate-Obama Belt running from West Virginia through Tennessee and down toward Texas. For a while there, some New England liberals were talking secession, but a lot of that was a reaction to Bush and Iraq, and now that the Iraq issue is resolving itself, such tree-hugging folk are unlikely to get in bed with the Obama-haters of the loony right.

One thing to watch on the map: spikes in unemployment. When you have a small army of poor white trash sitting at home with no jobs and lots of guns, the recruiters for the nut-fudge groups roar into action. Look for one-factory towns that are losing their factories, and obvious places like the Auto Belt in Michigan and throughout the Midwest.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a map showing where the crazy groups are, which would also be a good indicator of where to look for trouble.

Also, watch the gun shows. They are not known (yet) as hotbeds of extremist activity but they have been known to sell the Turner Diaries and they are linked to criminal activity as well. Easy networking tool.

The key thing to watch for, is the potential convergence of many or all of these elements: the rich, army veterans, lone wolves (who by definition are hard to monitor), existing extremist groups or survivors thereof, the websites, seemingly innocuous public protests, secessionists, gun shows, and outliers like the survivalists and Minutemen. The internet would be found near the center of the whole thing. When you see these groups starting to bump into each other in the news or on the net, stock up on canned goods.

Normally I would also watch for stressor events, but right now Obama himself is the stressor, like FDR before him: essentially the entire Obama administration is clearly going to set off gongs at Tin Foil HQ until the day he leaves office. He’s a black guy who is being forced by economic circumstances to expand the scope of government, and he’s pro-choice and sympathetic to gays; although Obama (and his AG, also black) have repeatedly affirmed his support for the Second Amendment, and have tiptoed away from Obama’s earlier rhetoric on assault weapons, the loons simply don’t believe them, and are already collapsing into hysterics and stocking up on guns and ammo.

One thing working against the extremists, is that they may have waited too long. The popularity of Reagan’s mix of snake oil – tax cuts for the fatcats, holy wars for the anti-abortion and anti-gay forces, brain-dead militarism and gun worship, contempt for the government – began its arc across the sky in 1980 and crashed to earth in 2008. The exact mid-point – the high-point – of that parabolic arc was 1994, when they conquered Congress. At that point they should have launched the revolution. Instead, they launched Oklahoma, which backfired badly, and ensured Clinton’s landslide reelection. Now it’s a bit late in the day. The paradox of revolution is that when your ideas are in the ascendant, whipping up the anger among your hard-core adherents is difficult, but once your ideas are exposed as fallacious, everyone but the hard-core abandons you – and the revolution won’t go anywhere unless a million Joe Blows buy into it.

pwapvt said...

I live in that hotbed of radicalism known as VT, and I was speaking to one of the local state reps about the gay marriage bill and I told him to watch this clip,, of Jon Stewart schooling Mike Hucklberry, on the gay marriage issue. I don't know if the rep ever did, but he changed his vote and voted to override the Guv.

As always DG, you put it so, maybe to, simply. It is really quite simple, What consenting adults do in the privacy of their own homes is none of your fucking business. You always add that special touch to the phrasing that makes me keep coming back and reading you, and I thank you for that.

Caoimhin Laochdha said...


I've spent many an off-hour lobbying here in Vermont and supporting the legislative leaders who bravely took on our culturally-coward Governor.

I am so proud this week to be in Vermont.

I am so proud of our volunteer citizen Legislature. Two thirds of our House of Representatives overrode the Governor's veto of the marriage recognition law. Even a majority of the GOP in the State Senate voted to override the GOP Governor's veto.

And I really appreciate you calling it so well. The marriage opponents showed such outward cowardice with their hate and prejudice, primarily by hiding behind their religious swords. In Vermont for the past two years the only argument that rang out consistently, on the anti-marriage side of the debate, was that those of us supporting marriage rights were "anti-Christian bigots." Amazing.

Beautiful writing well said. Thank you DG. Thanks, it just feels good to read what you write.


StringonaStick said...

Hey HelloDollyLlama, thanks for the history lesson and the Cliff notes version of what-is-scaring-me-right-now; you've made an excellent point about the potential convergence of all this crazy. I initially watched the growing Beck/Insannity/etc crazy increase with a thought that surely these people would back off when they see the danger they are creating; rather childish, I know. The Liberty League is a bit of history I did not know, and more people need to hear it just to give them a hint that indeed the current right-wing screeching can go seriously bad with very negative outcomes for us all.

Also, Drifty hits it out of the park again; how anyone else's marriage, gay or straight, has any impact on mine is moronic, Christopathic pecksniffing on their part. Though I do have a fundy/righty sister who looks upon my marriage to a Jewish man as an evil mixing of races. Stupid bitch.

Angel Of Mercy said...

That was an extremely serious comment there, HelloDollyLlama; well-reasoned and highly informative. Thanks for sharing.

If you don't blog at the moment, you might consider giving it a try.

As usual, Driftmaster, you make it look easy...

WereBear said...

Sing it!

I am constantly astonished at the number of people who try to cover up their lack of familiarity with actual thinking by parrotting some idiotic catchphrase. But it's understandable.

However, getting all upset and ranting over something you don't understand... now that's just nuts.

Hef said...

As a long-time reader...That Cat kicks ass! That should be the flag for every wilting, compromising, enabling, blue dog piece of shit democrat that caves in to every bat shit crazy republican push back that inevitably comes down the pike. Time to rip your lungs out for some justice pie. Deeeelicious! Mee-fuckin-eow!

HelloDollyLlama said...

I'd love to start a blog but I have no idea how to do it.

I do have a hundred of these articles but I wouldn't want to dump it all in here.

Imaginista said...


Follow the above link and it will talk you through the whole process. Blogger is the same platform Drifty uses, although he has customized this joint quite a bit. They have nice templates for the early start-up. Get writing and posting!

Bill said...

Ah, drifty... master of the metaphor... paraphrasing the Righteous Brothers (in "Unhinged" Melodies): I hunger for your thoughts. Thank you for sharing.

HelloDollyLlama said...

Soon I will be running series on religion, China, the GOP and other topics.