freedom

The Basic Act of Eternal Vigilance

Freedom and Responsibility, Ballot and Beer. 3 November 2016, Mill Creek, Washington. (Photo: bd)

Freedom and responsibility. Ballot and beer. Vote.

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The Beltway Way (Moneygoround Mix)

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL15). (Detail of photo by David Banks/Bloomberg)

We get a glimpse into the Beltway moneygoround; Curtis Tate looks into Congressional PAC spending:

The leadership political action committee affiliated with Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois has splurged on Napa Valley wine tours, Miami Beach luxury hotels and Washington Nationals baseball tickets worth tens of thousands of dollars over the past four years, federal campaign disclosures show.

The nine-term Republican represents a coal-producing region of southern Illinois and frequently speaks in defense of fossil fuels as a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. But earlier this year, his John S Fund PAC put down a deposit for a fundraising event at a California spa hotel that’s powered by solar panels.

PACs are lightly regulated entities that members of Congress typically use as fundraising tools for their party, but not for their own campaigns.

The McClatchy report notes Rep. Shimkus (R-IL15) is not uncommon: “Most senior lawmakers with PACs spend at least some of the money on perks their salaries don’t cover”, Tate explains. Viveca Novak of the Center for Responsive Politics calls the PACs “a nice little piggybank to have”, explaining, “There are so few restrictions on how you can use it.”

The thing is that the story really is just a glimpse; the whole thing sounds sordid but in this framework it is a matter of aesthetics versus law, and the question of how to make these things work just right is pretty much as complicated as any other question of freedom versus civilized society as a suicide pact. That is to say, good luck electing a Congress that will get rid of the things; the Supreme Court is pretty much a wildcard, though we can easily guess it would be something of a stretch to imagine the judiciary banning these practices outright. And, really, just how badly will society and its political institutions fail at not being undignified if we hold a big sit-down in the public discourse and parse out the details of what is or isn’t acceptable?

(more…)

A Note on Conscience and Freedom

Fight: Mikasa awakens ― Detail of frame from Attack on Titan episode 6, 'The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2'.

Look … there are … there are some things in this world ....

It began when Kallio found a lump on his breast just three months after a mammogram. He had a second mammogram, then a biopsy and, when weeks went by without receiving any test results, he just assumed everything was fine. That changed when he suddenly got a phone call from the doctor who performed his biopsy — and who was not his primary physician.

“She said to me, ‘Hi, I was just curious how you were doing with your diagnosis.’ And I said, ‘What diagnosis?’ She sort of spurted, ‘[Your doctor] hasn’t called you yet?'” Kallio remembered.

The biopsy confirmed that Kallio had “very aggressive” breast cancer, and Kallio knew he needed treatment immediately, especially as the pain in his breast intensified.

“It felt like getting shot slowly. It felt like it was heading right for my heart. So I was getting nervous. I still get nervous when I think about it,” he said.

Even after that, Kallio’s doctor still wouldn’t contact him, which came as a huge surprise considering his doctor was head of surgery at a major hospital in “great big blue Manhattan,” a liberal city where Kallio expected “embracing care” from “competent experts.” The physician eventually got in touch when Kallio made moves to have his case transferred, but the conversation did not go as he hoped.

“The first thing [the doctor] said was, ‘I have a real problem with your transgender status.’ And he said, ‘When I found out you were transgender, the first thing I wanted to do, my first impulse was to send you to psychiatry,'” Kallio said. “So this is what a breast surgeon wanted to do with my breast cancer, is first send me to psychiatry.”

(Buxton)

Conscience. Freedom. Equality.

This is what they’re asking for when demanding freedom to opt out of equality for the sake of conscience.

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Image note: “The world is a cruel place” ― Mikasa awakens, ready to fight. (Detail of frame from Attack on Titan, episode 6, “The World the Girl Saw: The Struggle for Trost, Part 2”.)

Buxton, Ryan. “This Trans Man’s Breast Cancer Nightmare Exemplifies The Problem With Transgender Health Care”. The Huffington Post. 15 June 2015.

A Twofer Temptation

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 15 April 2015.This is not exactly NRA territory, but still, thank heavens for guns and freedom and piss-poor excuses to make Hitler jokes, right?

Never mind, this isn’t actually about the politics.

But if you think that is a waste of ammoα, you should see the poor bugger in a knife fight.

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α “… more tardy than a speeding bullet at Hitler’s grave”.

Huber, Adam. “Dead Last Son of Krypton”. Bug Martini. 15 April 2015.

—————. “It’s Up For Stabs”. Bug Martini. 17 April 2015.