Tag: Heroes

The Dark Side of Hero Hagel

My new Special Forces friend had a problem.  The VA said the wars he fought in never happened.  His other Special Forces Indian buddies were growing marijuana he said and there would be a raid next week but not where the Special Forces that never fought wars were.  Even the drug warriors knew better than to take them on outside of spraying them from the air.

It was much the same with a childhood friend of my son.  The pains were all in his head as were his wars.  That he spent months in a wheelchair with doctors declaring he would never walk again was probably his own damn fault as was the conviction of convenience that cost him his freedom and loss of all pay for doing some real hurt to a South Korean officer who had put a pistol to his ear to enforce an illegal order.  The penalties in that case were shortly overturned and pay and rank were all restored after the diplomatic problem blew over but not before his lovely family declared they knew he was no good and would never amount to anything.  I finally understood the chip on Steve’s shoulder when he was young.

I didn’t really fight in one of those non-wars but I was blown up on a bus.  One buddy somehow made it to the Wall in D.C. though he was another peacetime veteran of a war that wasn’t happening then.  When I got out of the non-war, Jack F. Kennedy was promising a real non-war with assassination squads which would really fix those dang commies if he got elected. JFK also promised to close that horrid Eisenhower missile gap that was pure imagination.  I foolishly told a very large bar fighter that his hero JFK would get us deeper into a war that we would lose.  The sucker punch I never saw coming did more damage than the Viet Cong bomb had.

Some of us idiots never learn.

Oh yeah, Hagel.  At least he was in a recognized war and no doubt he was a hero.  And he has shown some ability to learn despite being a Republican.

The sickening effort to defame Chuck Hagel as anti-Semitic and anti-Israel has been comprehensively debunked, in detail, while its neoconservative authors – notably the convicted liar Eliot Abrams – have once more disgraced themselves…

http://www.nationalmemo.com/ha…

Ridiculous.  No neocon was ever even embarrassed, let alone disgraced, for being shown to be an unconscionable liar.  That is the definition of neocon.

I like Vietnam vets, official or non-official, because [blush] I am one.  And Hagel has some admirable qualities, like that strange rudimentary ability to learn despite being a Republican.  And maybe particularly because he is no general.

But his statements as a right-to-lifer are a match for those of Akins and Mourdock.  I am delighted to learn Rachel Maddow has caught on.  Bright lady though a bit late on that.

Do we really need such a hero as Defense Secretary?  Will women now love him, so to speak?

Beats me.

Best,  Terry

Exposing maggots, planting grass

A lot of people here are good at exposing maggots, and it’s scary to see what’s under the rocks.  Necessary, but scary. If we don’t know what’s under the rocks, we have no chance of defeating it.  And there are surely plenty of rocks to kick and maggots to expose.

But it’s not enough to expose maggots.  We must also plant grass.  Otherwise, our landscape will be just a lot of upturned rocks and dirt.

Most people aren’t devils or gods, they’re just ordinary shmoes trying to get along in the world, not thinking too much, just putting food on the table and themselves in a chair before a TV.  They listen to what their leaders say because it’s easy, and they don’t question because that’s hard.

Winning the hearts and minds of the leaders of the opposition may be impossible- the Koch brothers are not going to become liberals, Glenn Beck is not going to become sane; but winning the hearts and minds of these people – the ordinary people – is possible.  We just have to plant some grass.

I have some ideas.  But not nearly enough.  I need your help – this community’s help.  Together we do have the brains, the talent, and the wherewithal to plant a lot of grass. The seeds are there.

I have sometimes played a game with myself:

Suppose you had a fortune.  A Gates-like fortune.  What would you do?

One thing I’d like to do is start rewarding acts that promote a civil society.  What do I mean?  What acts would promote such a society?  It could be a lot of things.  Here are some examples


      NOT IN OUR TOWN is the inspiring documentary film about the residents of Billings, Montana who responded to an upsurge in hate violence by standing together for a hate-free community. In 1993, hate activities in Billings reached a crescendo. KKK fliers were distributed, the Jewish cemetery was desecrated, the home of a Native American family was painted with swastikas, and a brick was thrown through the window of a six-year-old boy who displayed a Menorah for Hanukkah.

      Rather than resigning itself to the growing climate of hate, the community took a stand. The police chief urged citizens to respond before the violence escalated any further. Religious groups from every denomination sponsored marches and candlelight vigils. The local labor council passed a resolution against racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia. Members of the local Painters Union pitched in to paint over racist graffiti. The local newspaper printed full-page Menorahs that were subsequently displayed in nearly 10,000 homes and businesses. The community made an unmistakable declaration: “Not in Our Town.” Since then, no serious acts of hate violence have been reported in Billings.

You can buy the film here

There are other people like that police chief.  People we don’t hear about.  Let’s find them.  Let’s reward them.  Let’s give them publicity.  

Or what happened to the people in a small town in Tennessee where one person decided they didn’t know enough about differences: I wrote about the great film that came out of this.  I really hope you’ll click on that story, but, briefly, a school principal in a small, all-white, all Christian town in TN decided that she, and the teachers and student in her school, didn’t know enough about differences.  They decided to collect a paper clip for every person who died in the concentration camps.  What happened next…..well….read the diary and see the film.

Let’s distribute those films. Buy a copy or two.  Send them off to someone somewhere.  

Sometimes the acts are mind-blowingly heroic – like those of Irena Sendler (don’t know who she is?  The answer is a click away).  But sometimes they are the simple acts of random kindness that go on each day, that we see, here and there. Good acts.  Acts that promote tolerance.  Acts that promote a civil society.

These people are rare, but they aren’t unknown.  Even if only 1 in 1,000 Americans are like that – well that’s 300,000 people.  We can find them.  We can publicize them.

It’s necessary, of course, to expose the maggots.  I applaud the work that many kossacks do to expose them.  But, while it is necessary to expose the maggots, it is our own act of bigotry to assume that everything that lives under the rock is and always will be a maggot.  Some are just people who have never seen light.  

Another is the simple acts of random kindness that go on each day, that we see, here and there.  Good acts.  Acts that promote tolerance.  Acts that promote a civil society.

Thanks for reading

Super Hero Fail



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Well, it looks like the National Enquirer who brought us the live burial of John Edwards has finally got the goods on Barack Obama. It’s not enough Obama is an African Nationalist, Muslim Communist and Political Promise Breaker. Not enough he is a shiny-happy war criminal and smooth talking flim-flam man. Not enough Obama swings both ways while he lectures black daddies to take care of their birthing and babies.

President Obama is a philanderer. Our Tiger Woods President.

Lady Gaga and Emergent Feminism

In these days of musical famine, where the industry responsible for bringing new talent to the forefront is very much still hemorrhaging money left and right, the latest buzz frequently focuses on Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, better known by her stage name, Lady Gaga.  But, as often is the case, Lady Gaga’s politics and provocative behavior frequently overshadow the songcraft and the melody.  Her videos and stage act are sexually subversive and highly controversial affairs, focusing in particular on willfully flipping gender roles and gendered assumptions upside down.  She has spoken out vocally on behalf of LGBT rights and is herself openly bisexual, though she has since expressed regret at the admission, stating that she recognizes that the confession might have been perceived purely as a means of attaining cheap attention.  When the stigma of being out for much of the community is still a liability rather than an asset, Lady Gaga did not want to be seen as another bisexual-for-headlines celebrity.  

Meanwhile, young Feminists are often lumped together into a catch-all umbrella term known as the Third Wave, a construct that satisfies no one and yet has to suffice since no one can think of anything better.  It’s an unsatisfying qualifier at best, but does nonetheless capture the general sympathies of Generation X and Generation Y women’s rights activists.  Though its mere existence remains frustratingly lodged under the radar of many people, just as invisible and unknown as the broad extent of its stated agenda, it lives and thrives for those who have tapped into it.  Those committed deeply to its continued health recognize the challenges at play, the sort that keep it in line with a niche interest group rather than a fully integrated part of the discussion.  So this is why that a movement desperate to find a point-to spokesperson for its causes has adopted Lady Gaga, even when the woman in question has bristled and hedged a bit at adopting the label for herself.  Any organization or movement looking for increased visibility and instant identification in the wider world often seeks a celebrity or highly public figure to call its own and so it is with the Third Wave’s courting of Gaga.

Feministing and Feministe, two of the largest, most established, and longest running feminist blogs routinely feature the output of or miscellaneous content pertaining to Lady Gaga.  One can be sure that the instant the latest video is posted, Gaga’s most recent interview is published, or some snippet of criticism finds its way into the public consciousness that it will quickly appear on the front page of the bigger sites.  After being posted, the participation and interest level among readers and regular contributors will very noticeably spike.  The purely sensationalist aspect of Lady Gaga’s public persona is, of course, to be attributed to much of this massive fascination, but to reduce her to merely a provocateur would be an unfair characterization.  She does have quite a bit to say, though how she says it can easily be confused with or sometimes even muted by her means of presentation.

Survey Third Wave communities and one descriptive phrase keeps coming up over and over again regarding Lady Gaga—badass.  In such spaces, no higher compliment could ever be paid than that.  When so many women feel that their voices are routinely stifled or that they’ve been conditioned to stay silent while men talk first and act first, young feminists understandably find something courageous and enviable about women, particularly women their own age, who force the world to accept them on their own terms.  Furthermore, Lady Gaga’s music videos in particular have directly, though a bit clumsily at times, taken on questions of same-sex attraction between women and done so in terms that are far closer to the way it actually exists in reality.  The pure fantasy and grotesque parody of lesbianism, itself a construct clearly adopted by men, is at least pushed to the background of her work rather than set forth as the truth.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lady Gaga has recently been the subject of wild, unsubstantiated, often internet-driven speculation as to whether or not she is really a hermaphrodite.  In her latest video, entitled “Telephone”, she has seemingly put that rumor to rest, so to speak, though I would be shocked if others just as bizarre and scurrilous were not to follow.  Feminist communities in the Third Wave have deliberately made room to incorporate queer voices into the discussion, so Gaga’s let-it-all-hang-out style resonates well with a group eager to dissect and deconstruct homophobic and sexist attitudes as a means of properly dispensing with the bigotry in an attempt to get at the truth underneath.

Still, Lady Gaga’s output, be it as a recording artist or as an activist isn’t a complete, satisfying fit with Feminism.  Her entire shtick, be it her music or her music videos, traverse the same basic ground as many others who have come before her.  I find what she stands for much more interesting and original than the music itself, which is rather derivative to these ears.  I suppose as well that I have a different attitude regarding the objectification of the female form.  Far from a prude, I still believe that while it might seem empowering for a woman to make a conscious decision to show off skin for whatever reason, rather than have that decision be forced upon her, the ultimate end is the same.  

Gaga’s latest video finds her in some version or another of undress, and regardless of the intentions, only a very few will be in on the gag.  The average viewer is bound to notice the titillation and miss the commentary.  While the obvious statement set forth does speak to the idea that women ought not be subject to nearly constant scrutiny regarding their own sexuality in ways that a man never would be, I’m not sure a brash response, one in effect throwing the sexist assumption back in the faces of those who hold it is the best strategy ever devised.    

Still, like my fellow feminists, I can’t fault her for her intentions.  Rather than lower the boom, I’d rather state that I appreciate anyone who is willing to risk being misunderstood.  As I age I find myself increasingly disinclined to split hairs.  After all, we come to a greater understanding in our own time, and each of us rests somewhere along that great continuum.  Learning continues forever, as does development.  Few of us fit neatly into the exacting parameters of any movement, and our unique humanity may be the reason why.  Though we ourselves would never appreciate anyone who put us in a confining and vastly limiting box, we are often frustrated when our heroes can’t manage the same trick.  We may need to understand that there’s a certain fluidity with labels just as surely as there is with human sexuality and gender.  The same goes with feminists, Lady Gaga, as well as you and me.

Hero

And they say that a hero could save us.

I’m not gonna stand here and wait.

I’ll hold on to the wings of the eagles.

Watch as we all fly away.

Someone told me change would all save us

But how can that be, look at what change gave us?

A world full of killing and blood spilling

A world that never came

8 yrs and a day later, protest the Gov who pays the 9/11 heroes

I still have my NYPD/FDNY NY Yankees hat.

I grew up in the state of New York. On 9/11/01 I was in New Jersey, and I could see the smoke from there.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com     On that tragic day more brave Police Officers and Fire Fighters lost their lives trying to help and save others then I care to count, though each life lost that day should never be forgotten. The war that was launched in Afghanistan to bring justice to al Qaeda and the Taliban, and the false war based on lies in Iraq that prevented the job of catching Osama bin Laden from being brought to justice has claimed thousands of more lives. All of these men and women are heroes. This is true not only of the innocent victims of 9/11, but also of those who ran into those buildings in order to save the lives of their fellow citizens. The brave fallen soldiers of those wars and the emergency workers of NYC were and are true heroes.

   And today, the Corporate media, the Republican party and their Right Wing base, in order to remember that day and recall the national unity we Americans felt afterwards, are going to protest that same Government who employed, fed and buried the heroes who gave their lives on 9/11 and the wars that were launched in the days and years after..

    And that is truly pathetic.

Maxine Waters, class act, on GOP racism: “Let them define themselves, let them reveal who they are.

Crossposted at Daily Kos

    Last night on Countdown, Keith Olbermann and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA35) discussed overt Republican racism {specifically her colleauge Rep Lynn Jenkins (Racist-KS2) call for a Republican Great White Hope to thwart the obviosly not white President Obama.}

    As Keith Olbermann so eloquently put it regarding Rep. Jenkins half assed, half apology.

KO:     “The old conditional apology. It’s your fault if you’re offended that an active politician in 2009 should use the most demeaning of racist phrases, vintage 1909.”

    Following that nail on the head statement, Keith defers to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, whom I deeply respect, and can only imagine what it must feel like to be in her shoes, or any other member of the African American caucus in the Democratic party. I would say the same of African American republicans in congress if there actually were any African American republicans in congress, but I digress.

    More, and a transcript of Representative Waters’s response below the fold.

Pony Party: Heroes



Heroes – David Bowie

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