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Thursday: Things that shouldn’t need to be said but…

1.) Susie Madrak found this post by George Lakoff that I think everyone in the left blogosphere should read and commit to heart.  It’s about the Santorum Strategy and what is really going on with the Republican primary.

Liberals tend to underestimate the importance of public discourse and its effect on the brains of our citizens. All thought is physical. You think with your brain. You have no alternative. Brain circuitry strengthens with repeated activation. And language, far from being neutral, activates complex brain circuitry that is rooted in conservative and liberal moral systems. Conservative language, even when argued against, activates and strengthens conservative brain circuitry. This is extremely important for so-called “independents,” who actually have both conservative and liberal moral systems in their brains and can shift back and forth. The more they hear conservative language over the next eight months, the more their conservative brain circuitry will be strengthened.

This point is being missed by Democrats and by the media, and yet it is the most vital issue for our future in what is now being discussed. No matter who gets the Republican nomination for president, the Santorum Strategy will have succeeded unless Democrats dramatically change their communication strategy as soon as possible. Even if President Obama is re-elected, he will have very little power if the Republicans keep the House, and a great deal less if they take the Senate. And if they keep and take more state houses and local offices around the country, there will be less and less possibility of a liberal future.

I think I’ve said this before (I’ll see if I can find the links to my posts about it) but it bears repeating because the A list bloggers don’t seem to be getting it: the reason why the Republican primary is dragging on is because it works in the Republicans favor.  It changes the national dialog and keeps the issues that Republicans want to talk about out there in the media all the way to August.  Don’t be surprised if there is a brokered convention.  They *want* the whole nation sitting on the edge of its seat waiting to see who the Republicans crown.  That means they can talk about deficit reduction, entitlement reform and women’s reproductive rights for a long, long time. By the time they are done, the general public will believe that reducing the deficit at all costs is the most important thing in the world and that no one should pay for anyone’s health insurance, much less birth control.  If you made the stupid lifestyle decision to be born human and indulged in living, putting your body at risk, that’s YOUR problem. Romney and Santorum are in this together for this tag team event and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Republicans have already issued primary voters their votes in advance.  It only looks like chaos to the lefty bloggers sitting smugly at the top of Maslow’s pyramid.  But come August, the Democrats, who should have been championing Occupy Wall Street without trying to co-opt it (see more on this below) are going to be scrambling to control the message.  Never underestimate the Republicans’ desire to win.

PS: I need a job, George.  Call me.

2.) Lefty bloggers are wasting their time talking about Sarah Palin.  If Democrats need independent women’s votes, maybe they should stop assuming that Palin is the cause of their defection from the Democratic party.  She’s not.  There are just as many of us out here who are independent liberals who are Democrats in Exile, who do not give a flying fuck about what comes out of Sarah Palin’s mouth.  Frankly, we’re turned off by the Palin bashing, not because she’s a viable politician (she’s not) but because she’s a human being and we’re just tired of the left using Palin as the dumping ground for their current round of misogyny.

Can we move on from Palin already?  She disgraced herself last year during the  Gabby Giffords shooting episode and before that when she teamed up with her chum, Glenn Beck.  Palin had a choice after 2008.  She could have become a legitimate politician on the right, and still not to our tastes, or she could have become a hack.  She chose the latter.  Let’s move on.

Palin is not relevant in this election season.  OBAMA is relevant this election season.  Nothing Palin tells women who have flocked to her, and this woman is not one of them, is going to persuade them to vote for a Republican.  What might persuade them is the persistently lagging economy and anger at Obama for doing such a lousy job as president.  We could have had a V8 but we got watered down tomato juice instead.

The rest of us independent liberals are shopping around for a third party.  I would advise the Democrats to stop touting Lilly Ledbetter as the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Not only is this stupidly deceptive, women are not fooled.  It’s an insult to our intelligence.  Even we can figure out that there is still no fairness in our paychecks, if we are lucky enough to still have them.  And instead of being proactive about reproductive rights, the Democrats are not making a full throated defense of them against the Republican juggernaut.  We are going to remember who took down Rush.  It wasn’t president Obama.

By the way, if some of this diatribe about Palin sounds like something the Republican right wing nut cases are saying, it’s because even those vile mouths of Sauron have a point.  Stop being dicks, Democrats.  You’re playing right into their hands.

I’m still hopeful for a third party candidate.  The two major parties are busy talking amongst themselves and leaving the voters out of it.  They are leaving the American electorate on the table.  Some decent politician could see this as an opportunity of a lifetime and consider running as an Independent New Deal Democrat.  Think about it.

3.) When they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.  The reason why the Republicans are pulling out all of the stops over paying for women to have sex is because they are working for insurance companies.  Insurance companies do not want to have to pay for this.  They are going to pass the costs onto someone.  Are you kidding?! Did you think the CEO of United Healthcare is going to take a cut to his bonus just because some broad in Washington wants to have sex?  Please.

The argument that Democrats are making that this will actually save insurance companies money doesn’t ring true to me.  Right now, all of the women who aren’t covered by the birth control mandate are bearing the costs by themselves.  That is saving the insurance companies money.  The vast majority are already preventing unwanted pregnancy related expenses for the insurance companies.  But let’s say that the companies end up paying for some unexpected surprises.  The cost of a pregnancy is already factored into the negotiations the insurance company has made with doctors and hospitals.  There’s a flat fee for an uncomplicated delivery.  That could easily be eclipsed by 10 years of oral contraceptives.  And now, they are going to be covering millions of women that they previously didn’t have to cover.  Of course it’s a hit to their bottom line.

If the Democrats were smart, they would have adopted the message of Occupy Wall Street and associated the insurance companies with the 1%, which they are.  They are trying to make a profit at the expense of your health.  They are collecting much more in premiums than they will ever pay out to you.  It’s immoral.  They’re making money hand over fist and giving themselves huge bonuses at your expense.  It’s immoral.  They’re greedy bastards and they’re making you feel dirty for asking for something that should be your right as a premium paying individual.  It’s immoral.

But Democrats are not smart.

3.) Speaking of the morality of Occupy Wall Street, the way that Democrats participated in muting the occupy movement (temporarily) may come back to bite them in the ass.  As I have noted before, the Republicans have a moral worldview and the Democrats do not (will try to find link to my post on this.  Must make better tags.  Sigh.).  You may not like the Republicans’ worldview but there’s no question that any American you ask can explain what it is.

What the Democrats currently have is everything on the table on a slippery slope and no backstop.  Not a winning formula.  They could have let the Occupy movement build momentum and then coasted to a win on its slipstream.  They could have said, “Hey, those dirty fucking hippies have a point!  The 1% *are* greedy fucks who are destroying the American middle class.  Maybe we should redefine what it means to be successful.  Maybe we should make the system more fair and help everyone achieve their goals so that America is number one again in innovation and prosperity.  Maybe we need to treat hard working Americans with more respect and champion their free speech rights.  Maybe we should stand up with them and labor against the soul destroying corporate class. Maybe we should force bankers to be good American citizens.”

But the Democrats did none of these things.  In fact, the Democrats were ultimately behind the DHS riot police interventions and the FBI surveillance and the infiltrations.  Oh, no, you say?  Well, who the hell else is in charge of the executive branch these days?

So, you gotta ask yourself, why is it that the Democrats would be more willing to engage in a strategy to enforce learned helplessness in anyone who wants to change the conversation and redirect it away from the ubiquitous Republican austerity message machine?

Who are the Democrats working for?  Hint: it’s not for you.

4.) Greg Smith, formerly of Goldman Sachs, now joins the ranks of the unemployed, possibly forever, after he immolated himself on the Op/Ed page of the NYTimes.  I hope he has a stash to fall back on.

I believe Smith.  I think he was what he says he was and do not question his descriptions of business as usual in the hallways of Goldman Sachs.  Let’s not forget that Jon Corzine was once a top executive at Goldman Sachs and look what wonders he did for the muppet investors of M. F. Global.  Or the Democratic base for that matter.  He has a habit of taking what is not his and giving it away to the undeserving.

Anyway, lest any of us in the pharma research forget, it was Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan who coordinated the merger mania that lead to Pharmageddon and all of the jobs we have lost in the past several years.  They do not care that what they are doing to the research industry is destroying it and is going to result in a vastly reduced portfolio of new drug therapies in the future.  All that is important is extracting the last bits of wealth from these ailing industries for the big shareholders and gigantic bonuses for themselves.  The ruined lives and careers that are left in the wake of these restructurings and mergers do not matter to them at all.  We’re losers, muppets and carrion.

This is not going to stop as long as executives are rewarded for short term planning.  It’s really not their fault that they behave the way they do.  It’s what they get paid for.  When we stop rewarding them for it, they’ll stop destroying us and not a second before.  It is stupid and foolish to expect them to act like decent human beings when they don’t have to.

So, what are Democrats planning to do to make sure the incentives are directed towards long term investment and prudent risk and financial stability?  Fuck if I know.

5.) Last but not least, I was looking at the lineup for the Reason Rally and while I am impressed by the great speakers who are going to be big draws for the Humanist, Freethought, Skeptics and Atheist movement, I was a little disappointed to see that many of them are not American.  If the Reason Rally organizers are trying to get attention for their voting bloc, it would be a good idea to ask Dawkins to serve more as MC, rather than headliner and let the American superstars take center stage (Dan Barker, Greta Cristina, Adam Savage etc.).  Otherwise, this rally is going to backfire.  You can already see the spin the Republicans are conjuring up.  Don’t fall into their trap.  I know that the rally attendees are going to be good, hard working, patriotic Americans who want reason to prevail over superstition.  That is what you need to work with.  The last thing you want is an international lineup of eggheads, much as I like Dawkins.  You need to have speakers who can connect with their audience, who come from a genuine place in the American experience and who lead Americans to a better way.  Sort of like this guy, Jerry Dewitt, former Pentacostal-Dominionist pastor and current executive director of Recovering from Religion, who in the span of 12 minutes manages to honor Tim Tebow, Christopher Hitchens, Thanksgiving and Christmas in a genuine, uplifting, positive  and non-theistic way:

Can I get an “Amen!”?

Recovering from Religion is an organization that is helping clergy and other believers make a transition away from more oppressive religious sects.  Dewitt says he gets a lot of inquiries from conservative Christians, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses because these communities tend to isolate their members so when a believer tries to get out, they lose much more than their religions.  They lose their families, community, sometimes their jobs, and they lose their identities.  Dewitt calls it “identity suicide”.  It’s a hard transition to make but people of good conscience who can no longer bear living a lie need a place to go where they will find acceptance and help.  Imagine Jinger Duggar trying to escape her captors and looking for a safe mental haven.  That’s what Dewitt is trying to provide.  So, if you are looking for a place to make a charitable contribution this year, consider donating to Recovering from Religion.  For every person who comes out of the spell, there is one more American who can help set the country back on the right track.  I think this is a mission that is worthy of our support and may even cough up a few bucks myself from income tax return.

By the way, I am astonished by the number of freethought meetings and organizations there are in the reddest states of the union.  I’m talking about Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Nebraska.  These people are very active and they are posting their meetings and media podcasts all over youtube.  Here in NJ?  Ehhhhh, not so much.  I guess that’s because New Jerseyans already feel comfortable as godless heathens and don’t feel the need to organize. I think they’re wrong.  The suburbs of central Jersey are sometimes indistinguishable from the bible belt.

Breitbart insults people

I don’t know who Breitbart is referring to in the video below.  The occupiers I’ve hung out with, including myself, are well spoken, compassionate, nice and clean people who are concerned about income inequality and justice enough to petition the government for the redress of grievances.  I have to give the occupiers he is yelling at some credit for not taking him to the nearest toilet and administering a swirlie.  And a wedgie.  And maybe some noogies.

But Occupiers are militantly non-violent for the most part so we will miss all of that.

{{Oo, embarrassing.}}

If there were any freaks at an occupy event, I’m still convinced that it was Fox, Rush, Glenn and Breitbart types who paid them to show up.  I noticed some of these aberrations at the entrance to Zuccotti Park during the fall.  But once you got past them, it was just a big open air salon with very ordinary people.  That fact just freaks people like Breitbart right out.

Saturday: Banging

The siding guys arrived a little before 9am.  They’re banging on the house right now.  The walls are vibrating.  The side of the house that needs to be replaced is right outside Brooke’s bedroom so I warned her there would be some noise.  But teenagers are like chrysallises.  She’s sleeping right through it and will probably emerge at the crack of noon to go foraging.

In the meantime, I’m emptying my instapaper queue again this morning.  Let’s see, what do we have here:

1.) I LOVE apartmenttherapy.  If you’ve never visited the site you really need to.  Apartmenttherapy is inspiration for decorators on a budget, a place to check out new gadgets, a resource for greener living and growing kids, and kitchen/cooking site.  They also appear to have a social conscience.  I’ve seen more than one post hinting at sympathies to the Occupy movement.  Here’s another.  An apartmenttherapy editor, Sara Gillingham-Ryan, who lives close to Zuccotti park documents the kitchen and food of Occupy Wall Street.  Her piece reaffirms my own impression of Zuccotti during the fall.  It was a vibrant, welcoming place that attracted visitors off the street to come in, find community and talk about what was going on.  Therefore, it was radical, dangerous and had to end.  But don’t worry, Spring is Coming.

2.) I hear they have snow in Davos this year.  If you have the time and money, you might want to check out the “luxury” igloo hotel at Davos.  The concept is interesting.  I just don’t think I would refer to temperatures lower than 68° F as a luxury.  Your mileage may vary.  I think that Occupy has a remote outpost at Davos as well and that Jeff Jarvis was going to go visit.  Check his twitter stream to see if he made it.

3.) Or not.  Twitter just announced that it would abide by the laws in countries where there are proscriptions on certain kinds of twitters.  You mean the effective kind?  Just askin’.  Which is what Jeff Jarvis is getting at in his tweet this morning on Twitter’s announcement:

@jeffjarvisJeff Jarvis
My problem w/#Twitter’s new national capability is that it is a slippery slope of censorship. We need to know its principles.

It’s all part of a pattern.  SOPA, PIPA, Twitter.  Someone has it in for the internet and wants to stomp it dead, dead, dead.  Oh sure, it wouldn’t go away.  But it would devolve into a place where companies sell you stuff on every corner of every page.  You could use it as a reference tool, maybe.  Or as a media consumption device.  Sort of like a giant TV with a zillion channels, all carefully regulated for your protection.  God help you if you try to incite a little insurrection and accidentally reference a bit of copyrighted material.

I think the powers that be suddenly realized that the internet gave people the opportunity to communicate without a filter and circumvent billions of dollars of thought shaping ads and screed.  Well, we can’t have that.  Here comes the crackdown.  This could be the end of a brilliant 20 year experiment that many of us cut our grown up teeth on.  Or it could mean a new opportunity for creativity.  If all that copyrighted material is suddenly off limits, we may see a boom in new, creative content that is royalty free, er, except to anyone in the media.  I’d love to see that kind of intellectual property agreement.

But sooner or later, the bastards will get what they want by buying the right lawmakers.  It goes without saying that we need to get rid of them and it starts at the top with Obama.  No, no, don’t try to scare me with Newt Gingrich.  There are times when you have to stop being afraid that you will not succeed.  There are third party candidates out there.  Pick one, everyone get behind that person and pull.

4.) Jay Rosen says that Republican voters are living in a different reality:

So I’m not saying that the Democrats and progressives are the ones who are in touch with reality, while conservatives and Republicans are not. (But I guarantee you some will read it that way.) I’m saying that the tendency toward wish fulfillment, selective memory, ideological blindness, truth-busting demagoguery and denial of the inconvenient fact remains within normal trouble-making bounds for the Democratic coalition. But it has broken through the normal limits on the Republican side, an historical development that we don’t understand very well. That is, we don’t know the reasons for it, why it happened when it did, or what might reverse it. (We also need to know the degree to which it is a global phenomenon among conservative parties in mature democracies, or an American thing.) Political scientists: help!

I think wish fulfillment is at the core of the religious Republicans’ worldview.  If you are wishing soooooo hard that the Rapture is going to come and destroy all of your enemies and family members who wouldn’t listen to you, then what does it matter how crazy your politics get?  Any thought that leads you closer to that eventuality is permissible.

One of my Dad’s favorite sayings was “Wishing doesn’t make it so.” He must have driven social conservatives nuts with that kind of clear thinking. {{snicker}}

***************************

Argghhhh!  It’s always something.  The siding looks like a perfect match, even though it’s vinyl and the rest of the house is aluminum.  But the trim was ordered in the wrong color.  They delivered white, I need Navajo White.  It’s in the covenant.  And even if it were the right color, we’re a box short.  So, it’s not going to get finished today.  It’s on the side of the house that is not visible to the street but *is* visible to my neighbor, the cul-de-sac busy body and general itch with a B.  She’s got me fined before when I left cabinets on the sidewalk from my kitchen demo.  Most of them got taken by Craigslist foragers but there were two that were not and I pulled my back last summer so I couldn’t lift them to the dumpster, which I am not allowed to leave them in anyway.  $25.00/day until I could get someone to help me get rid of them.  You would think that someone so obsessed with the condition of the neighborhood would lend a helping hand.  No, not this one.  It’s much more fun to leave nasty anonymous notes on your neighbors door and sic the association on them.   I can just picture the fine that will be in my mailbox if the siding is left unfinished one second longer than Mrs. NebbyNose can tolerate. I can not *WAIT* to get out of NJ and the damn townhouse association strike force.

Thursday Morning Vamp and the Research Work Act Atrocity

Some interesting stuff to read while I get my s%^& together.

Happy Anniversary to us!  Yesterday, The Confluence turned 4.  This blog began as a refuge in the Oort belt of the blogosphere from the rampant Obamaism on DailyKos in mid-January 2008.  I was thrown out of DailyKos for being insufficiently programmable, wrote a polite note of thanks to Kos for all the good times and found my way to WordPress.  Never regretted it.  We would like to thank you for all for your friendship through the last four turbulent years.  We’ve had our ups, downs, layoffs and controversies but we’re still here.  And some of you are still reading, which either makes you dedicated friends or seriously nutz.  Or both.  During this election year, let’s try to break the 12,000,000 unique page hits milestone and not back down for a moment.  Consider this one of the few places on the web where you can feel safe to be unpopular.  Resistance is not useless.  You will not be assimilated.

**************************************

Back to the topic of scientific literature.  If you read my last post on the subject and the potentially negative impact SOPA would have on access to scientific literature, you will have learned that the bozos at ACS charge $30.00 a pop for a single paper.  By the way, I just have to take a moment here and point out that scientists get the shaft when it comes to earning money from their own discoveries.  No, companies and governmental entities that hand out grant money act like they’re doing you a favor by giving you money to live on.  Scientists who work for corporations sell their patents to that corporation for a token amount, typically $1.  If the company can successfully navigate the FDA to get approval, that patent could be worth billions.  And, ya’ know, for many years, I thought this was a fair arrangement.  Research is expensive and it’s great to work for a company that foots the bills in terms of lab space, reagents and software licences.  But then they started laying us off when the drugs couldn’t meet the FDA’s increasingly high standards or navigate the political and legal landscapes.  Suddenly, it’s OUR fault that the drugs aren’t perfect as if we have any control over every rebellious cell in the human body.  But whatever.  When scientists who have made a company billions on patents that we sold them for a buck are laid off, we’re going to start to wonder what’s in it for us in future negotiations.  And that, my friends, is a bad development.  But we have to eat too and now that so many of us are unemployed, our overhead costs for staying in science are exponentially increased.  Someone has to pay for that.  Why should we live in poverty while the MBAs live off the products of our creativity?

Anyway, the latest shameful maneuver is from scientific literature publishers like the Wiley and Elsevier.  They want the passage of a bill called, Research Works Act.  Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline sums up what is starting to feel very much like righteous indignation:

Back in December, a short bill was introduced in the House called the “Research Works Act“. Its backers, Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), describe it as something that will maintain the US’s standing in scientific publishing. After looking over its language and reading a number of commentaries on it, I have to disagree: this looks to me like shameless rent-seeking by the commercial scientific publishers.

And it pains me to say that, because I know several people in that business. But it’s a business whose long-term model has problems. (See the Addendum below if you’re not in the field and want a brief summary of how scientific publishing works). The problem is, the work of the editorial staff has changed a good deal over the years. Back when everyone sent in hard copies of papers, in who knows what sort of format, there was a good deal of work to do just turning the good ones into a consistent journal. Electronic submission has ironed a lot of the grunt work out – it’s still work, but it’s not what it used to be.

That leaves the higher editorial functions themselves, and here’s where the arguing starts. Most, and in some cases all editing of content is done by unpaid peer reviewers. There are journals whose editors exist mainly to keep the flow of submissions moving to the reviewers, and from them back into the official journal, while hardly ever laying a finger on the copy itself. They function as Peer Review Mailroom Managers. And while that’s a necessary job, it’s the center of the argument about scientific publishing today. How much, exactly, is it worth?

Scientific journal are expensive. I mean, really, really expensive to subscribe to. And if you’re not a subscriber, access to individual papers is pretty steep, too – typically in the $15 to $50 range. This is the business model for commercial scientific publishing: create a space with value (reputation, name recognition) and charge the maximum that that traffic will bear. And that’s fine; there are a lot of businesses that work the same way – if they can.

The problem is, the information-sharing capabilities of the Internet blow a large hole in some of the traditional publishing model. And another problem is that a large number of papers that come into the journals from US academic researchers have had some (or all) of that work paid for by government grants (NIH, NSF, DOE and so on). As it stands, articles funded by the NIH are available in PubMed Central for free access, no later (by law) than 12 months from the initial journal publication. Researchers can also submit their work to “open access” journals (such as those from the Public Library of Science), which charge a fee to authors to defray editorial costs, but then allow immediate unlimited access to all comers once a paper is accepted. (I should note that some commercial journals get away with “page charges” as well, and some have a model where the authors can pay extra to bring their paper out from behind the paywall).

And here’s where we have the Research Works Act. It would forbid any publication in an open access journal for anything funded in academia by US government grants, and it would forbid any public-access repository for such work. That’s its purpose. Well, to be more accurate, its purpose, as described by the head of the Association of American Publishers, is that it “ensures the sustainability of the industry”. Yep, make my business model part of statutory law, and beggar my competition: what else is a government for, anyway?

Read Derek’s update on this subject too.  He reports that the journal Nature, has come out against RWA.  Nature is one of the most prestigious journals and I am really happy to hear this.  In short, Derek thinks that like the major media conglomerates who are pushing for SOPA and PIPA, the science journal giants are stubbornly refusing to evolve and change their business model, forcing us to pay high rates for content that they get for free.  Without access to papers at a reasonable price, these journal giants will fail and for the scientific community, that’s probably a good thing.  Liberate the discoveries!  We don’t need no stinkin’ RWA to prop the greedy journal companies if they won’t accomodate us.

So, to recap: Corporations are actively destroying their research units, leaving about a hundred thousand scientists without careers and fending for themselves in little startup companies with extremely high overhead costs.  They need to have access to scientific literature in order to just stay alive.  You can’t do science without them.  And along come the big science journal publishers who want to keep their current business model, charging high licensing and subscription fees or $30 a paper on average for papers that were sent to them at no charge.  Yes, friends, you could be charged $30 for the privilege of downloading your own paper.  But wait!  There’s more.  It’s not good enough that they have exclusive access to the papers in their own journals that they can charge outrageous fees for.  NOW they want the government to stop providing free public access to scientific papers that were the result of NIH research grants.  Yes, Wiley, Elsivier and the ACS want to make sure that no one gets access to the science that you the taxpayer have already paid for unless they pay an exorbitant download fees.

I’m really shocked to find that Carolyn Maloney is co-sponsor to this atrocity.  If she doesn’t know what she is doing to the poor (and I mean that literally) scientists out there, someone should tell her.  She may be one of the persons who is going to set American research, what little is left of it, back even further.  We simply can not afford to keep paying through the nose for literature, especially for information we have already paid for.

She should be ashamed.  And this topic deserves as much attention as SOPA, PIPA and NDAA.  It’s outrageous that science that you have already paid for is going to be held hostage behind a paywall.  We may need an Occupy Science working group to look into this.

Happy New Year!

I heard that OWS retook Liberty Park (Zuccotti Park) last night.

Looks like fun!  Wish I had been there.  But I’m going to the January 17 Occupy Congress event so there’s plenty of fun coming up.

In fact, I see signs that many people are starting to feel their Cheerios this year.  The VastApostateArmy of former Jehovah’s Witnesses have an event planned in February that I will tell you more about later because it deserves it’s own post.  If you are a former JW, you won’t want to miss this one.  The thing that set it off is an upcoming lesson in the February 2012 Watchtower and it will make your blood boil. Heads up New Agenda, The Feminist Majority and Freedom from Religion Foundation, this is a protest worthy of publicity.

I’m really enjoying the VastApostateArmy direct action videos.  For years, apostates and disfellowshipped members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been told they’re mentally diseased because their consciences choked on false dogma and coercive compliance techniques.  They recently have taken to youtube after years of shame as if to say, “Hey, wait a minute.  We’re not insane.  The Watchtower really is a greedy cult pretending to be a religion” (More on that angle later as well)  They have banded together on a rescue mission and seem to have taken inspiration from the Occupy Movement.  So, good job, OWS, it’s working.

As the 1% seem determined to keep a stranglehold on our money and our lives, the 99% are pushing back.  Jane Caro, Australian writer and former advertising creative said recently, what we are seeing is “a struggle between authoritarianism and small “l” liberalism”.  I find it very interesting that both Caro and the guy who started the Occupy movement, Kalle Lasn of AdBusters, were formerly in the ad business.  But this makes perfect sense because they recognize the campaign against us.  The ad business is all about persuasion and emotion and the authoritarians have the money to conduct a massive ad campaign to make us eat a high control culture.  They’ve been at it for decades now and they are pretty close to achieving their goal.  This may be the pivotal year where we either band together and push back hard to reassert the principles of the Enlightenment or we submit to authority once and for all and the opportunity never comes up again.

Maybe the Mayans were right.  But if they are, let’s not go down quietly.

Are you with me?  All right, Let’s fight.

Imagine if the US Media had covered the Occupy Movement like this…

It looks like Hillary has been provoking the Russians again.  They’ve taken to the streets in protests of the recent fraudulent elections that put Vladimir Putin’s United Russia ahead going into the general election in March.

MOSCOW — Tens of thousands of protesters gathered here on Saturday afternoon for a second large antigovernment demonstration, as a wave of new activists struggle to convert an inchoate burst of energy into a durable political force.

Demonstrators massed in Moscow on Saturday, sustaining their protests of Russia’s legislative election results.

Organizers hope to build on the success of the Dec. 10 protests, which mobilized a broad collection of previously apolitical middle-class Russians angry over parliamentary elections earlier this month that many rejected as fraudulent and slanted in favor of the ruling party, United Russia. If the movement can sustain its intensity, it could alter the course of presidential elections in March, when Vladimir V. Putin plans to extend his status as the country’s dominant figure to 18 years.

The crowd began forming more than an hour before the beginning of the protest, for which city authorities granted a permit for up to 50,000 people. Organizers estimated the crowd at 120,000; the police offered a lower estimate of about 29,000.

The NYTimes is supportive of these protestors, who are portrayed as generally apolitical middle class Russians, compared to the dirty hippy types in Zuccotti park and they’re union sympathizers.  (Oh, they’re only *union* people.  Well, let’s just undercount them then.)

But here’s a curious thing, some of these protestors previously engaged in electoral fraud. Imagine if the Obot contingent had grown consciences over the disaster they helped create when they f%^&ed with the caucus system in Iowa, Texas, Nevada and other states.

Pavel Morozov, 23, said he had come as an act of penitence: two years ago, he had stuffed a ballot box to bolster the results of United Russia, while working at a polling station. Mr. Morozov said that he realized his quality of life would suffer if Mr. Putin was dislodged, but that he was prepared for that.

“I can say for sure life will be worse for those of us who are now well off, but we need some kind of change, because what we have now is stagnation,” he said. “Anyone now but Putin. It will at least be different and for the youth, this is better than stagnation.”

This is what we need.  We need the remaining Obot Democratic party loyalist lackies, like Thereisnospoon, to tell the party to go Cheney itself and walk away.  By the way, did you notice that Romney and Ron Paul are the only Republican candidates who actually have the organization to get their names on the primary ballots?  Organization counts.  If Gingrich and Perry are hoping for a miracle in Iowa that would force them onto the ballots in other states by public demand, well, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.  Once the ball starts rolling on the R side of the ballot, frontrunner status solidifies itself pretty quickly so they can concentrate on the general election.  The Republican voters will fall into line behind their nominee by January, while the Democrats will still be pretty pissed off about theirs.  Just sayin…

The holiday atmosphere of the first gathering has hardened into something more urgent in the two-week lull. The crime novelist Boris Akunin, who returned to Moscow this month from his home in France to participate in the demonstrations, told the crowd to gird itself for a long haul.

“We will have a difficult year,” Mr. Akunin said. “But it will be an interesting year. It will be our year.”

When I was in my 20s, a demonstration like this in Russia was unheard of.  Russians lead lives of gray dreariness and oppression under the Soviet system where the KGB followed dissidents and sent them to Gulags and Siberia for stepping out of line.  Now, it’s the United States that is slipping into gray dreariness for the vast majority of people whose cell phones are bugged and can be indefinitely detained for stepping out of line.  Here in the US, it is now the average middle class voter such as myself who is villified by the press for being occupiers who inconvenience others.  Here in the US, public *camping* is a major crime necessitating the use of riot police, pepperspray, sound cannons and pain.  Funny how we aren’t having this reaction to the anti-choice demonstrators who aren’t even nice about the way they viciously inconvenience and harrass young women who have enough to worry about.  We haven’t broken up and evicted their permanent encampments even when they have been known to fire bomb clinics and shoot doctors.  That’s ok as long as they didn’t bring a water proof shelter with them.

Well, let’s see if the protests in Russia have any effect on the way that Occupy Congress is covered on January 17.  I’ve made my reservation on the Trenton, NJ bus and am planning to meet up with Marsha and Katiebird (if we can nudge her out of Kansas.  See our donate button if you want to help dislodge her.  $10.17 is the recommended donation.).  Are you planning to go?

“We will have a difficult year, but it will be an interesting year. It will be our year.”

This is personal:  I look at those images of protestors holding up flags and getting dragged to the ground by police and my blood boils.

I’m sure we all have vague fuzzy memories from when our consciences started to flicker to life.  I have some that stand out in my mind: my mother walking into a room and leaving in disgust, Christmas lights, the long icicles hanging from the strata of shale and earth as I looked out the window of a car, of  holding onto my dad’s two fingers as I toddled beside him in the snow, the image of accidentally pushing some little girl down a flight of stairs, my mother’s baptism into the Jehovah’s Witnesses in a natatorium in Cleveland, Ohio, giving my days old sister a piece of candy.  But they’re flashes, catching a signal from an old antenna between the static.

My absolute clearest memory, the one that stands out for me as the moment the signal to my conscience came online and began its linear narrative that leads me to this day is of a clear winter day in Norfolk, Virginia where my dad was stationed during the Kennedy presidency.  We were on the front lines of the cold war, Norfolk is *the* east coast port of the United States Navy.  We were going to be vaporized first.  Somehow, I think I knew that.

There was a large field between the rows of houses.  There was a playground in that field surrounded by clotheslines.  There was a sandbox in that playground.  I was wearing a round wool hat that had ear flaps and tied underneath my chin, long pants, and a bulky jacket combination with too many layers beneath it but no gloves.  I can see the shadows of the monkey bars cast on the ground by a cold sun and I am staring at Bobby Harris, my best friend who just told me to shut up.  I raised my fist in the air and shouted,

“This is a free country.  I can say anything I want.  You can’t make me shut up.”

True story.  The first words I ever remember hearing myself say were a protest.

It was a dark and stormy night…

…and I had just finished my night cap of eggnog and rum.  Yum.

We just had a thunderstorm pass through.  Lots of high winds and driven rainfall, a little thunder.  Very noisy.  Spooooooky.

Time for something more cheerful!  I found this at the OccupyWallSt.org site.  Too good to keep to myself.  Enjoy.

Monday: Hungary, Occupy Congress and other stuff

This morning, Paul Krugman had a guest poster, Kim Lane Scheppele, to explain what is going on in Hungary.  Remember how excited we were 20 years ago when Hungary escaped the tyrannical clutches of Communism?  Unfortunately, they have fallen into the hands of what looks like fascism:

In a free and fair election last spring in Hungary, the center-right political party, Fidesz, got 53% of the vote. This translated into 68% of the seats in the parliament under Hungary’s current disproportionate election law. With this supermajority, Fidesz won the power to change the constitution. They have used this power in the most extreme way at every turn, amending the constitution ten times in their first year in office and then enacting a wholly new constitution that will take effect on January 1, 2012.

[...]

In the new constitutional system, the legal supervision of elections has also been changed. Before the last election, the norm was for the five-member Election Commission to be politically diverse and for the government of the day to consult the opposition before nominating candidates. But the rules were changed last year so that each new national election is now accompanied by a new choice of election commissioners. As a result, the existing commissioners were removed from their offices without allowing them to finish their terms and now the Election Commission consists of five members of the governing party.

The new election law specifies the precise boundaries of the new electoral districts that will send representatives to the parliament. But the new districts are drawn in such a way that no other party on the political horizon besides Fidesz is likely to win elections. A respected Hungarian think tank ran the numbers from the last three elections using the new district boundaries. Fidesz would have won all three elections, including the two they actually lost.

 Read the whole thing.  These people are like Republicans on Red Bull.  The only reason I can’t say they’re significantly worse than our Republicans is that if Republicans take power in 2012, I wouldn’t put it passed them to start emulating the Hungarians.  Their plan is almost in place as it is, what with The Big Squeeze eroding everyone’s livelihoods and ruining lives and families with crushing debt.  And if I were Republicans in 2013, the first thing I would do after indefinitely detaining the Occupiers is make damn sure that no other party ever won another election or had sufficient representation in Congress to knock them out.  In fact, they’ve pretty much adopted the Hungarian model when it comes to the 60 vote threshhold in the Senate.  Filibusters used to mean something.  Now, no piece of legislation can get past Republicans (and some Democrats) without a supermajority.  The only way to get around the Republicans in the Senate is to reduce their numbers to insignificance and they know it.  Which is why we should expect them to try to reduce ours to insignificance preemptively and forever.
And then there’s this tasty nugget:

The new constitution also accepts conservative Christian social doctrine as state policy, in a country where only 21% of the population attends any religious services at all. The fetus is protected from the moment of conception. Marriage is only legal if between a man and a woman. The constitution “recognize(s) the role of Christianity in preserving nationhood” and holds that “the family and the nation constitute the principal framework of our coexistence.” While these religious beliefs are hard-wired into the constitution, a new law on the status of religion cut the number of state-recognized churches to only fourteen, deregistering 348 other churches.

 You know, Richard Dawkins might come off as a bit of a belligerent, but he’s absolutely right about the damage that is caused by the sanctity of the religious point of view.  You can’t touch the religious without all Hell breaking loose around you.  It’s about time that the non-religious stood up and fought back.  In Hungary, 79% are secular and they are going to have to live under this regime. (That could happen here, although no one can deprive women of their right to abortion.  The state can only deprive them of a *safe* abortion.)  We need to put religion back in its place.
After I read this piece, it struck me that we don’t have much time.  The forces of authoritarianism are already upon us.  And contrary to the Democratic party’s point of view, Obama is probably the WORST person to run for the presidency next year.  If there is a Hungarian style regime in the works, the people who vote for it are definitely motivated to vote against Obama and there are more and more of them everyday as this sorry state of an economy drags on and on.  Wasn’t the Republican plan always to make life about as bad as it could get for the Democratic president and sit on all of the money until we begged for mercy and blamed the Democratic president?  And didn’t the Democratic party take the bait,  thinking Americans were stupid an proposed an inexperienced schmoozer for president?  It looks like all Republican dreams are about to come true.  What we need is to think out of the box, to pull a surprise move, to introduce a little chaos and metaphorically monkeywrench their plans.  Otherwise, we’re all going to Budapest.
******************
Speaking of going somewhere, Partition Function put up a link to the Occupy Bus for the Occupation of Congress Rally in Washington, DC on January 17, 2012.  I made a reservation for the bus and will leave from Trenton, but I think it would be really cool if we Conflucians could have our own caravan.  And it would be even cooler if Katiebird could go, provided her health holds up.  As you know, she lives in Kansas so it’s a flight for her.  We have a little bit of money in the kitty but to pay all of our expenses, we could probably use a little more.  I’d like to thank everyone for throwing in a bit for my trips to NYC to cover the Occupation of Zuccotti park.  It has taken a load of worry off of my mind.  So, if you would like to help keep us warm and fed, please consider a modest donation of $10.17.  The donate button is to the upper left of this page.
And if you’re planning to attend yourself, check out this page for details about where the Occupy Bus will be departing from a city near you.
*****************

About Occupy: On Saturday, as the Bishop was scaling a fence in his magenta cassock, someone with the system password put up a greeting from Mumia Abu-Jamal on the OccupyWallSt.org page.  At first, I was pretty pissed off.  It seems that no matter how hard ordinary people who are not authoritarian religious nutcases try to defend a different point of view, they are always brought to a screeching halt by naive defenders of Mumia Abu-Jamal.  I have seen it so many times in the past couple of decades that I feel a deep sense of despair when this kind of crap shows up again.  Suddenly, no matter if you are against a stupid war or against indefinite detentions or rigged elections or any other important thing, you are conscripted to defend this convicted murderer.  It’s at that point that the people whose support you need the most decide that your cause is just another crazy radical fling that will go the way of the other fling.

Most of the world thinks Mumia is just where he is supposed to be right now.  There was plenty of evidence to convict him. But whatever.  Just when you think a movement is about to go mainstream, some nitwit has to start emoting over Mumia, as if there weren’t other disadvantaged and poorly represented African-American men and women wrongly imprisoned and innocent.  It’s been thirty years and Mumia, the celebrity prisoner, is still attracting a cadre of followers who cannot see that just because a person was a Black Panther at some point in his life does not mean that the world is out to pin murders on him and put him away for life.  Sometimes, a cold-blooded murder of a police officer is just a cold-blooded murder of a police officer.  We don’t attack the police even if they’re complete thuggish assholes sometimes (no offense).  When you need them, they’re usually there for you.  That doesn’t make them our best friends but it does mean that we need to treat each other with respect even if we have to be civilly disobedient.

So, Mumia represents everything the Occupiers are against and I was really worried that the support for Mumia was going to be the downfall of OWS.  In fact, I wrote emails begging them to take Mumia’s greeting down.

But, you know what?  That was the wrong thing to do.  Because I checked the thread on that greeting yesterday and the vast majority of people thought like I did.  Here’s the top comment on that thread with plenty of mojo:

I have been working at Occupy Wall Street since week 2. I am involved heavily in several working groups. I attend meetings and actions every day of the week. But this? This is bullshit. Here’s the thing y’all. Yes, the criminal justice system is brutally unfair. It is racist. It is classist. It is broken beyond all repair. The prison industrial complex has swallowed any hopes that a poor black man ever had to a right to a fair trial in this country. HOWEVER, Mumia? Mumia is guilty as hell. Guilty, guilty, guilty. He stood over Officer Daniel Faulkner with a gun registered in his own name and shot him point blank in the face in front of multiple witnesses. Because of Mumia’s involvement with The Black Panthers, because of his background as a guerilla journalist, and because of the undoubtedly racist climate of Frank Rizzo’s police department in the 1980’s, Mumia’s conviction became a cause celibre. I do not believe in the death penalty. I think that our justice system is a sham. But slapping Mumia’s face on the front of the OWS website is insulting and offensive to all of us who have worked so hard these past few months. This movement is about socio-economic inequality and corporate corruption. It is not about promoting the latest Free Mumia rally on campus. Please show some respect for the legions of us who have put in so much time, and do not glorify the convicted murderer of a police officer. No matter how many college kids wear his face on their shirts.

They are occupiers and have dedicated time and their presence to the occupation.  They are just average folks and they do not want the occupation to be associated with Mumia.  It’s pretty definitive.  Yes, there are a few vocal and persistent supporters but their obsession is not that of the vast majority of occupiers.  The occupation is to save America, not to give Mumia Abu-Jamal a platform to proclaim his innocence and unfair incarceration due to his political beliefs from 30 years ago.

I’m really rather encouraged.  This is the way the system is supposed to work.  Give everyone a voice and let the conversation and arguments carry the day.  It is regrettable that Mumia was convicted of being in the wrong place at the time when a police officer was gunned down and that Mumia was seen shooting the cop, and that he owned the gun that was used to shoot the cop, and that he was in turn shot by the cop, and that he pretty much confessed to shooting the cop to other cops and medical technicians before he was taken in for surgery, or that he tried to represent himself in court and did such a lousy job of it that he had to be replaced as his own defense attorney before he did real damage to his case.  He’s had his day in court and his appeals and many opportunities to change public opinion and he’s still in jail.  There’s a reason for that.

All these things are regrettable, but they are not our problem. If Mumia was such a good guy, such a saint who shared our concerns for economic and social justice, he would refrain from ruining every attempt to get something off the ground by inserting his “greetings” and attempting to co-opt a movement to work in his defense.  To me, he sounds like a narcissist.

Our problem is finding a place to occupy, to protest and to voice our grievances about economic injustice and the rigging of the rules in favor of the rich and powerful to the detriment of everyone else no matter how hard working. Our task is to invite others to join us.  Our task is to become a force to be reckoned with. Once we have solved our own problems, which affect millions of people in this country, those who are concerned with the plight of Mumia can turn their attention to it.  But leave the rest of us out of it.

The community seems to be pretty much agreed on that.

And here’s a little video of the activities of December 17.  I’m sorry to have missed this one.  Bishop Packard’s attire was lovely.

Occupy Wall Street: A bishop scales the fence into Duarte Park

Update5: The GA will be held in Times Square.  The occupiers were headed to the Red Steps except that the police are listening into OWS communications now and they decided to head it off by ejecting tourists.

Update4: The #OWS hashtag says that Plan B has been activated and that all marchers are to head to PERSEUS.  I assume you know what that means.  Another batsignal?  Something seasonal?  Sounds like fun.

This tweet sounds official:


NYC General Assembly

@NYC_GANYC General Assembly
Tonight’s #GeneralAssembly will be at 60 Wall St. at 7:30. Come one, come all. #d17 #OWS
This was the original plan but it was adjusted on the fly.
 Soooooo, get out of Times Square, guys.  People are getting thrown off the Red Stairs.  It looks like the tourists are getting the boot,  not the protestors.  The protestors were not on the Red Stairs.  So, the cops have just pissed off a bunch of tourists and shoppers.  So, NOW the tourists are walking away saying, “Police State!”.  Great way to welcome people to the city.  Nice going, Bloomberg.

Update3: Police are moving into Times Square.  The march has broken up but this isn’t significant.  The occupiers are dispersed but the occupation movement tends to move in mysterious ways.  They’re at the Red Steps in Times Square.  There is a people’s march going on somewhere ahead.

OK, what are they up to??

There is a proposal to go back to Zuccotti.  But someone (is that Dwayne? *swoon*) says that they should stay in Times Square and have a general assembly there.

Update2: The occupiers are headed towards Times Square.  They were kettled briefly at 29th street and 7th avenue.  But the kettling nets were trampled by occupiers who sprinted away.  So, the cops let everyone go.  Now, the occupiers are marching more or less quietly to Times Square by walking in the street.  The cops are also walking in the street.  Tim the cameraman at The Other 99 livestream reports that the cops are targeting media, roughing them up and arresting them.  They are also monitoring the livestreams.  By walking to Times Square, the protestors are going to blend in with the theatre crowd.

There are people being tased!!

They are being forced out of the Times Square area.  Hey, that doesn’t seem right.  What if you have tickets?

The police are also looking for people who they think may be functioning in an organizational capacity.  One of the march “pacers” has been arrested.

Update:  The Occupiers have taken to the street.  They were headed towards Rev. Cooper’s house.  He has been representing Trinity Church.  But they were diverted by police.  So, they took to the streets, running the wrong way down one way streets.  The police don’t have good tactics to handle that.  There are now arrests in progress.  You can find some of the livecoverage at Wearetheother99.  Here is their livestream.  http://occupystreams.org/item/occupy-nyc-the-other-99

New chant: “Move like water, burn like fire”

The street is now kettled.  Police are moving in saying that no one is getting off this block.

Looks like the cameraman may be about to be arrested.

Damn, I’m sorry to have missed this one. You have to check out this video if you haven’t seen it yet. The occupiers built a ladder and went over the fence into Duarte Park at 6th and Canal. And who was the first one over? It was a bishop and several other clergy. They dropped down to the other side but this whole idea was planned in advance because a second ladder was dropped into the park and connected to the first ladder so that occupiers didn’t have to jump down.

Check out the video here http://llcdn8.twitvid.com/twitvidvideosv2/Y/F/H/YFHNZ.tmp.mp4?e=1324163520&h=ebbd237fc47d56fa5ed80697e39a8821

Sorry, I’m blogging on my iPad so I can’t embed without major headaches.

This is absolutely the right thing to do. We are seeing a replay of the demonstration at the Temple with Trinity Church playing the role of Caiphas, cooperating with the Romans to keep the riff-raff in check. I know the church has been generous with their hospitality and hot chocolate. But what the occupiers need is a space. Now is the time to make a commitment. Otherwise, the Trinity has lost sight of what it means to be Christian. You do not want to be the ones who threw out the people protesting the money changers and the jackbooted thugs they support.

We’ve replaced crucifixion with indefinite detention but the obliteration of the protestor will happen just the same. Where is Obama in all of this? Will he allow the scenes of oppression and thuggery spread from Cairo and Syria to NYC?

Is this a free country? And where are the rest of the Christians? Shouldn’t they be down there, helping each other over the fence?

OccupyWallStreet D17: Where is that space?

Today is the 3 month birthday for Occupy Wall Street and there’s going to be another party, this time in an effort to RE-Occupy NYC.  I went to the N17 party and was surprised and delighted by the batsignal on the side of the Verizon building.  Who knows what they’re planning for today?  I hope it’s spectacular.

This party will start at Duarte Square at the corner of 6th Avenue and Canal St.  The birthday announcement hints at another sleepover.     Hmmmm, what does it mean?  Here’s the poster:

So, it looks like you can tune into the festivities on WBAI at 99.5 on your fm dial (as we used to say in the 70s).  WBAI is the NYC station for Pacifica Radio.  The station announcement says that the event will feature appearances by Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Cornell West, Michael Moore and others.  I think using the radio station is a good idea.  The people’s mic is pretty effective when you’re standing there and it has a peculiar way of focussing your attention but it’s harder to convey a lot of information since everything has to be parsed into short phrases with long delays between each one.  This should help occupiers coordinate  messages.  There is a live stream available for those of you following along at home.

There also seems to be some interesting movement around the concept of occupying the space at 6th and Canal that is owned by Trinity Church.  I don’t think this is Duarte Square (or is that the name for it?) but it’s at the same intersection.  Trinity Church is holding out on giving this space to the occupiers for some reason.  Who knows, maybe Bloomberg called the Church’s insurance company and suggested that the church might be held responsible for cracked heads.  Or maybe he told them they would have to pick up the tab for security.  Or maybe the problem is that Trinity Church owns so much acreage in Lower Manhattan that they are sort of like the Temple in Jerusalem where the moneychangers go to do business and pray.  Sure, they’ve been kind by offering their bathrooms and hot chocolate and everything but hosting the occupation on their own property is a bit more of a commitment than they want to make.  We musn’t upset  the benefactors in a season of charitable giving, right?  Whatever the reason, the eviction from Zuccotti park leaves the occupiers with no outside visible place to hold their open air salon.  I loved the fall days in Zuccotti park when there were so many people  stopping in to participate.  The smear job on the occupiers was outrageous and highly inaccurate.  And without a physical space, it is impossible for ordinary Americans who are curious about Occupy Wall Street to check it out and find that the occupiers are – ordinary Americans.  From the letter from the National Council of Elders to Trinity Church, the importance of occupying a physical space is spelled out:

We know that some question the need for Occupy to continue to occupy physical space but we have witnessed the impact of communal, inspirational, face-to-face contact in which people can be visible to the world and to one another. We have also been challenged to respond to the question from Occupy, Where can you go if you don’t own something? Does a public even exist if it has no space? And finally, like visionaries before them, many Occupiers have chosen to give up everything to invest in a future that does not exist except in their dreams and visions. In a world where the majority of our nation is oppressed by economic and racial inequality, experiencing isolation and dehumanization at every turn, the Occupy movement in its public presence has provided hope and purpose and a pressing challenge to us all.

So, I hope that Trinity Church relents and realizes that this is the right thing to do and that NOT doing it would be more than a little like collaborating with the Romans to keep the peasants from speaking out during passover, if you get my drift.  If the occupiers are willing to freeze their asses off for justice in America, how can Trinity Church not want to assist in this courageous act?

Anyway, ’tis the season.  I don’t think I can go today.  Brook is having a Solstice party this week and she’s offering to help clean.  How could I pass up an offer like that?  Besides, I’ll only go if she goes.  Hmmm….

Can this be topped?:

Wouldn’t you like to find out? ;-)

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