Tag Archives: society

HBO’s “The Newsroom” Video Clip… Evokes My Own Rants & Received Stares

Why America is NOT the greatest country in the world, anymore — A Provocative Rant

In fact, waking up this morning with the weight of last evening’s intellectual joust at a dinner with friends still pressing on me, I found this video rant to be like looking into a mirror. So much so that I forwarded the clip to one of my best friends (who’s often witness to my passionate defense of how I see the world — our reality — and this nation’s place in it) with the subject: “Oh, My GAWD! This Is Me Going On My Rants & Receiving The Same Stares.”

When I encounter the too-often-experienced-and-reflexive pushback to any criticism-observation of our nation’s current reality or my past experience within that reality, my passions take hold. I stake my position and launch into an energized and confident diatribe citing the same statistics and facts and interspersing the same colorful metaphors and F-bombs dropped throughout this video. And I usually receive the same stunned stares from those uninitiated to my opining, as well as the slanted smiles from experienced ones thinking, “Well, now it begins.”

Such was the experience last evening in a Japanese restaurant, around a low slung table with eight extremely intelligent and educated friends seated on thin mats on wooden benches near the floor. As always the discussion evolved from casual and superficial fare to more high-brow and intellectual pursuits. So, toward the end of the several-hour-long meal — and after much sake, wine, and drink — three of us began to discuss the recent Supreme Court decisions. Ah, nothing unusual here…this would be expected of us.

What was unexpected was one friend’s reaction to my assertions: 1) That I thought the court’s and Scalia’s decisions in the cases concerning the Voting Rights Act and the cases regarding gay marriage were inconsistent and conflicting and thus indicative of decisions based upon ideological grounds rather than point-of-law; and 2) That the decisions involving gay marriage moved me to tears because it was the first time I felt at least partly validated by my nation as a full citizen worthy of the rights that should be mine simply by definition. By implication, I asserted that ethnic minorities like my husband might rightly feel more ostracized and invalidated by their nation because of the SCOTUS decisions on voting rights.

I was informed by my friend seated directly next to me that I was being extreme in my tearful reaction and unreasonable in my attitude toward both the nation and these court decisions…that this was a great nation, that the courts were basing decisions on points-of-law, and that I could not possibly know what was in the mind of someone like Supreme Court Justice Scalia (Well, of course, no one knows his mind except Scalia but I can have a perspective of his mindset and an opinion about it…damn it!).

As a gay man married (in Europe) for several decades to a gentleman of mixed ethnicities (African-American, American-Indian, and White Anglo-Saxon), I’ve personally experienced, heard personal recounts, and witnessed a few of the discriminations that expose me to the raw realities of modern American life. I’ve thoughtfully considered those events and experiences to better know and understand that reality, why it exists as it does, and what must change to make us a “More Perfect Union.”

On what are clearly very personal and emotional issues to me, I was informed in a coldly intellectual and dismissive manner that I was being extreme in both my judgement and my reactions to the decisions.

So, when I received further criticism that I was being extreme and unreasonable in my tearful reaction to the gay marriage ruling and resentment to the voting rights decision, I launched into a typical Faustian urGe to explain my positions. Namely, I went into the America-is-not-as-great-as-you-think rant (ala, the above video), nor does it offer the constitutionally mandated protections this person, my counterpart, takes for granted (assumed from my perspective).

After attempting to keep the discussion confined to intellectual reasoning, I finally just had to blurt out loudly , “You only feel this way and don’t understand how important these rulings are to real lives, to real people, to people you know like me…because you didn’t experience working a decade for a major corporation for which you helped to earn tens-of-million-of-dollars in profits and then get tossed out with no recourse because you were a ‘faggot’ too high up in the ranks! But I have. And you don’t know what it feels like to have state constitutional amendments banning you as a person from ever receiving your rights as a citizen! But I do!” Silence, and then, “I didn’t know that.”

The point is that one shouldn’t have to “know that,” to know a person viciously discriminated against simply because of who they are, simply because of their very existence as a person. Everyone’s rights are worth protecting and enforcing. That’s why they are called “Rights” and not “privileges.”

The third person in this troika discussing the courts, the national reality, and experience then interjected and said to me, “I think you’re being very reasonable. In fact, it amazes me that people like yourself and especially african-americans like your husband have any love or respect for their country at all. Always amazes me. That you work to improve this country on many levels is a great testament.”

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Faustian urGe Manifesto

Ensuring That Serving “Capital” Interests Must Also Serve To Broadly Improve The Lives Of “We The People”

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CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST often bemoans ethical failures while he also attempts to mitigate, in some minuscule way, the social damages he and too many other citizens suffer from “Traditional” American Values (social and business). Inappropriate personal agendas and indifference toward obligation and ethics are significant annoyances that he addresses by trying to learn more — what wags the world and why.

Given the circus of extremes on display in society and within the political realm since President Obama’s re-election, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST is currently working through the conundrum of how so many intelligent, educated people manage to place their feet in their mouths while their heads are so firmly up their arses.

He’s frustrated, and believes the nation is threatened, by libertarianism — knowing the objectivist/libertarian belief system is inappropriate to a fruitful, functional society. Libertarians disregard a profound reality: We are responsible for the decisions we make, yes, but we’re not responsible for the options we’re given. Thus, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST believes that we should create that “society we would want if we didn’t know in advance who we’d be.”

He sees that another libertarian delusion is establishment of the fanciful “self-made” individual. The laughable concept discounts external influence or inspiration and exhibits a blatant disregard for the interconnectedness that is the human condition.

He remains convinced that we humans do not have to destroy each other to survive (as in two wars extinguishing 100,000+ lives as revenge for the prior killing of 3000) but that we choose to do so… not the nonsense propounded that genetics or patriotism demands it. CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST knows we have the ability to reason and that too many simply choose the easier way of reactive non-thought.

Though imbued with a simmering cauldron of rage just below his deceptively pleasant (and not altogether unpleasant looking) exterior, he’s always willing to self-examine and learn — yearning for family, friends, community members to take the same ride.

The hope… the desire… the craving… for forward movement and betterment on cultural, political, and individual levels are woven into his personal fabric, with key objectives toward equality/equitability*, liberty, fraternity, justice-for-all, empathy, self-awareness, growth, momentum, compassion, and humor.

(*EQUALITY of advancement opportunity and treatment under the law and social memes — EQUITABILITY of rewards and outcomes [economic and social])

On EQUALITY:

It appears that a large number of citizens seeking minimalist government from the Right are for strong government, though, when it favors their perceived social interests, such as interfering with the reproductive rights of women, the marriage rights of non-heterosexuals, and the civil rights of non-whites.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST relishes challenging the authority of political, religious, and societal priests, as he liberally supports marriage for everyone, equal rights for everyone, less poison for the environment, progressive taxation, removal of corporate personhood, financial regulation enforcement up to and including criminal incarceration, the elimination of all “consensual crimes,” and many other positions that lead conservatives to squirm uncomfortably in their seats.

On EQUITABILITY:

The Right will argue that allowing the free market to function will fix our problems. But, the free market doesn’t guarantee social outcomes, merely economic ones. Yes, it may provide more efficiency on the whole and grow the economy faster as a whole, but by itself doesn’t guarantee how wealth is distributed. The Right cannot be indifferent to the consequences of a middle-class life undermined, nor can it be indifferent to half the population’s inability to buy the products and services that businesses sell.

The Left would argue that the solution is for laws to transfer wealth from the rich to the middle class. But, while that would increase consumption, depending on the scope, it could threaten the amount of capital available to investment by the transfer itself and by eliminating incentives to invest. The Left cannot be indifferent to the fact that one can’t invest what they don’t have, and that no one will accept the risk of investment if the payoff is transferred completely away.

CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST understands the take away to be that “reasonableness” must prevail as to the extent, but transfers of some wealth should ensue as a part of the solution. So, let’s avoid extreme redistribution and focus on finding the correct amount that ameliorates the problems at hand (which will improve sales and garner more aggregate profit for firms, shareholders, and stakeholders… alike) while retaining enough incentives to invest and risk take.

As a Social-Capitalist/Social-Democrat**, CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST favors smart government — a government as big or as small as needed to achieve progressive social and capital ends, ensuring that serving “capital” interests must also serve to improve the lives of “We the people” broadly (hence, “Social”).

“Our” government’s job is best done when it benefits all of the people, and not just capital interests — as he interpretes the right favors.

(**Social Democracy is exhibited as an economic precept of Social Capitalism. The contemporary social democratic movement seeks to reform capitalism to align it with the ethical ideals of social justice while maintaining the efficient and wealth-building capitalist mode of production, as opposed to creating an alternative socialist economic system. Practical modern social democratic policies include the promotion of the commonweal, and the creation of economic democracy as a means to secure stakeholders’ rights.)

“This vast number of worlds, the enormous scale of the universe, in my view, has been taken into account, even superficially, in virtually no religion, and especially no Western religions.” – Carl Sagan

Taking exception with the very concept of “American Exceptionalism,” CORONARE MODESTUS FAUST feels compelled to explore these issues in rambling-though-coherent thoughts and an adventurous assortment of arbitrary amusements.

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Liberalism is “Life.”

It is an unrelenting pursuit of freedom from physical dangers that can kill or disable us.

  • The Liberal believes it is a nation’s job to protect its citizens from physical harm, whether from external sources, such as hostile nations, or internal ones, like crime, disease, or hunger. Without the solid ground of physical wellbeing, our nation and its citizens cannot enjoy the benefits of being free.
  • Liberals believe in a strong military, well suited to defend the nation.
  • Liberals believe in good laws, hard-working police, and a just legal system to protect its citizens from crime.
  • Liberals believe in affordable health care for everyone, to keep our people strong.
  • And Liberals believe in the availability of food and shelter for its needy, not as a hand out but as a reasonable step in moving all Americans toward self-reliance and the freedom that comes with it.

Liberalism is “Liberty.”

It is the freedom to do as your conscience dictates without impeding another’s rights. Liberalism established a nation where personal belief and self-determination are protected, not persecuted; where hard work is rewarded, not demanded; and where each person is bestowed with the ability to better his or her life because of citizenship, not class.

  • Liberals believe in freedom of speech to protect us from political oppression.
  • Liberals believe in sound regulations to protect us from economic oppression.
  • Liberals believe in just laws to protect us from social oppression.
  • And Liberals believe in quality education to protect us from the oppression of ignorance.

Liberalism is “The Pursuit of Happiness.”

It is the freedom to create an environment where the individual can excel. What is freedom if it cannot be used to better our lives? A truly free society must be one where its members can rise above their limitations and expand their futures — it is “The American Dream,” and it’s alive and well in the heart of the Liberal.

  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities for all to rise above our means.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our education levels.
  • Liberals believe in equal opportunities to rise above our social status.
  • And Liberals believe each and every family should have an equal opportunity to make this world better for their children.

Based on these tenets, Liberalism is not the monster it’s made out to be by the opposition.

  • It is pro individual and pro family.
  • It is pro community and pro country.
  • Liberalism is, by its very definition, the heart and soul of what it means to be an American.
  • It stands against tyranny of any kind, whether international or domestic.
  • It works to remove abuse and fight crime.
  • And it strives to eliminate the idea of a wasted life by not wasting resources and opportunities.

Gun Slingers Overreact To Proper Presidential Executive Orders. Really?

Rand Paul Vows Gun Challenge… State Rep. Proposes Bill Targeting Federal Agents… Mississippi Gov: I’ll Block… Second Congressman Floats Impeachment… Wyoming Lawmaker: Make Assault Weapons Enforcement A Felony… LONE STAR LOON: Rep. Tries To Ban Gun Laws… LAWLESS SHERIFFS: We Won’t Enforce Gun Laws… NRA UNHINGED: Ad Targets Obama Children… ‘Fight Of The Century’

Wow. The president sets out to use his executive powers to enforce laws already on the books and gun slingers across the US react as only the uncontrolled, unbalanced and obsessed are able.

Truly, when YOU say that, “Guns aren’t the problem… People with guns are the problem”… I agree, and I now know it’s you with whom we must be concerned and must fear. You are the threat to my freedoms. You have proven yourselves incapable of restraint and clear thinking under pressure.

Time to send in the jack-booted thugs to confiscate your guns and make the nation safe for civilized citizens. (Oh, that’s right, we don’t have jack-booted thugs you fear nor an effort to collect your weapons you don’t deserve and can’t responsibly handle… crap!)

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The PROPER Part Of The Second Amendment That Gun Slingers Ignore:

A WELL REGULATED MILITIA being necessary to the security of a free State…

Not A Well Regulated Militia

Nope, not this either…

Nope, Not This

Oh, God no!

Oh God, No

And… well, this is the point, isn’t it?

And… well, this is the point, isn't it?

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See a past Faustian urGe — The Art of Guns, God, and Country — for another interpretation.


Post-Election Republicanism… “I Don’t Recognize My Country Anymore”

The post-election rant of some of my conservative, Republican family, friends, and associates continues.

They just simply do not comprehend how they could have mis-read the election outcome and absolutely can’t fathom that so many Americans see the world differently than they… as “everyone [they] knew felt exactly the way [they] felt about Obama and our fast decent into ‘socialism.'”

Perhaps they should develop friendships and interaction outside of their gated suburban communities, isolated corporate halls, and self-selecting church sanctuaries.

To listen to our congresspersons speak from “the other side of the aisle,” it’s clear they haven’t stuck their heads outside the window either.

To be fair, my closest personal conservative, Republican friends [meaning that they are a different sort, as they live in the urban residential heart of a major city within a highrise community of shared living], have issued forth no rants… just casual and respectful thoughts of, “Well, my guy didn’t win, but that’s democracy in action and how it goes.”

One business associate said he started an online conversation that has run into the hundreds of responses agreeing with him… His piece is titled, ” I Don’t Recognize My Country Anymore.” Oy Vey! It’s NOT YOUR country; it’s OUR country. This is exactly what YOU don’t understand.

In post-election commentary, too, Republican leaders have made no mention of the changing electorate, the expanded voter base despite the obstacles deliberately placed in the way, and the need to repair relations with different ethnic voters.

I think this cartoon sums up things well…


Look Of Loss (White) – Look Of Victory (All Shades)

The Look Of Loss: White (Purity)

The Look Of Victory: All Shades (Diversity)

For The Fact-Driven Statistically Minded… This Is What It Looks Like: 88% of Romney Voters Were White!


Marriage Equality & Fairness Win The Day!

Thank you to everyone who helped defeat the same-sex marriage ban in Minnesota and who contributed to passing marriage-equality legislation in Maryland and Maine and Washington.

The statement is clear: America is tired of division. America is tired of discrimination, of exclusion… of unthinking oppression.

Today’s children will grow up in a nation one step closer to tolerance, love, and equality.

Together, we made historic progress to enshrine the guiding principles of freedom and happiness for everyone.

Together, we can support the continuous fight for equality — to living your own life vs. someone else forcing their choices upon you.

Together, we can treat others the way we want to be treated, with dignity and respect.

There is work yet to be done, but we passed an important milestone today.

Enough with the hate. Enough with the bigotry. Enough with the discrimination.

We are all Americans, and we are all in this together. We all have equal rights.


Gay Marriage Rights: Love American Style

Recognition of Gay Marriage is a hot topic lately — election time and all.

It’s either no big deal… your mom and dad will instantly feel their relationship is tainted and trade in for a new arrangement (probably with a sexier or wealthier partner!)… or the Almighty will smite the United States with horrible wrath (throw a hurricane, tornado, or drought our way… because those never otherwise happen).

The question being answered is, “Should gays be allowed to marry?”

That’s the wrong question.

The proper question to answer is this

“Should it be legal for any two adult U.S. citizens to have the ‘self-evident’ and ‘unalienable Rights’ already guaranteed to ALL citizens?”

Marriage… If something’s “self-evident” and “unalienable” and all citizens are equally protected under the law, then what’s the holdup?

Gay Marriage. Marriage. One and the same.

Well, the sanctity of traditional marriages will be violated, and you know what that means… Nothing.

It’s against God’s law, some say, and you know what happens when we break those Nothing.

Your God, maybe… Not mine. Not the God of many, not the God of the godless. America is not a theocracy. Worship your God. Follow his laws for you.

Conferring legal status on a committed couple should have no impact on your faith and marriage, nor your parents’. If same-sex marriage is against your personal moral code, don’t marry someone of the same sex.

Quoting Scripture and citing the “abomination” of homosexuality is an attempt to assert the Christian Bible as the authority establishing U.S. laws… over the Constitution. Both documents, though, require an evolved understanding over time.

The “Good Book” abounds with passages endorsing polygamy, concubines, slavery, and the subjugation of women.

  • In addition to the death warrant in Leviticus 20:13, the God of the Holy Bible wants dead those who plant different crops side by side or wear garments sewn with different threads. Should U.S. law align itself with these precepts?
  • Leviticus 11: 9-10 forbids eating shellfish. Shouldn’t the opponents of same-sex marriage also seek to prohibit the consumption of lobster, crabs, oysters, clams, mussels, and shrimp?

Let’s just state the uncomfortable truth: whatever your Bible (of any faith) says doesn’t matter. Not one bit. Secular law is dominated by the terms of the U.S. Constitution. Period. And even that needs a high court to modernize our understanding of its protections as we evolve and progress.

Our Declaration of Independence declares “All men are created equal.” But the “men” referred to were only white male property owners. We evolved.

Others suggest it is a slippery slope which might lead to marriage rights for children, turtles or toasters. These arguments are specious and insulting.

Felons can marry. Illegal aliens can marry. The developmentally challenged can marry. Those with genetic diseases can marry. Heck, in some states, cousins can marry.

The mission of America — as made clear in our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution — is freedom. As we hear often… freedom isn’t free. The cost isn’t just that paid by our loyal armed service members. The price of freedom is, also, putting aside the prejudices that we hold against our fellow men and women.

Getting back to our original, proper question, the answer is…

It is anti-American and unconstitutional to deny marriage equality rights to gay and lesbian couples.

This country has said out loud and on paper: Equal Rights For All. Not just some. Not just those who worship a certain way. Not only those who love a certain way.

Marriage equality is for ALL. Guaranteed!