Anxiety

Anxiety is like a fungus of the mind. It grows swiftly, infecting and wrapping itself around all my thoughts. Especially the good ones. I like to let them grow, but so often I look at them and find anxiety growing on the underside.

 
I have no choice but to destroy those thoughts, removing them as one would remove a sick flower, regardless of how beautiful it might be. My headspace is a massive place, but most of it is unsafe; much of it is utterly rife with the fungus of anxiety, and worse yet the cancer of depression. I have a bunker to hide in, but just outside I’ve cleaned myself a space. And I need to keep that space clean.

Anxiety must be destroyed. Any thoughts that it has grown on must be completely removed; if not torn from the ground they grow in, then dissolved in a wave of cleansing sodium hydroxide. To destroy them, though, is awful, horrible, painful. It leaves a cold, burning emptiness in memory of what once was there, a thought that could have been greater.

I have to protect myself. But sometimes the pain is too great to bear, even as I see the flowers at the edge of my garden fading and turning black, crumbling under the weight of anxiety. And I cannot stop it; merely attempt to contain it within my mind, so that it does not cause me to hurt anyone else.

But it’s so lonely in here, and reaching out means stepping out of my garden and into the infected wastelands…

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Bipartisanship isn’t

So this article from TPM came across my news feed today. Allow me to take a moment to deconstruct:

 

Wisconsin state Sen. Tim Cullen quit the Democratic caucus Tuesday — throwing a cloud of uncertainty over the party’s narrow 17-16 majority, their biggest victory from the waves of state recall elections.

Cullen announced his decision Tuesday after Majority Leader Mark Miller unveiled a list of committee chairmanships in which Cullen was the lone Democrat missing.

Sounds like someone is mad that there weren’t enough trucks at the store and they just happened to be the last one to the shelf. If anyone isn’t getting the image of an infant in a suit yet, please explain why in the comments.

Cullen’s statement leaves some ambiguity as to his new intentions:

Not really…but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself…

As of the sending of this email, I am no longer a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus. I will decide over the next few days or weeks whether to become an Independent. I will not become a Republican.

This entire episode makes clear to me that Sen. Miller has no time for my independent ideas and my support of bipartisan solutions to the state’s problems.

So, not only is Sen. Cullen mad about not having a shiny position, he also is completely ignorant of, oh I don’t know, the fact that governor Scott Walker was recently -almost- successfully recalled because his Republican administration, which had control of both houses until recalls and resignations rendered it 17-16 for the Dems (now 16-1-16 (you’ll see why I arrange it like this rather than 16-16-1 later) due to Cullen’s leaving the Democratic caucus) was destroying the ability of public sector employees to collectively bargain for pay and benefits. Or that he’s a closet Republican. He certainly is helping the Republicans by bleating on about ‘bipartisanship’ in an attempt to cover his whining.

Again, if anyone has an alternative explanation, feel free to leave it in the comments.

We’ll cut down to the update from Cullen:

“I’m a Democrat — I’m not a member of the caucus,” said Cullen. He said he will speak to people over the coming weeks to decide whether to become an independent.

“If I become an independent, the freedom that gives you is to decide issue by issue, case by case, what you’re going to do, and you’re not bound by your party or your caucus,” he said. “So that’s conjecture as to what may or may not happen in the future. But I’ll be free to do what I believe is right for my district, and what I believe in.”

Cullen said he still supports President Obama for re-election, and Rep. Tammy Baldwin for U.S. Senate.

Er, wow. Cullen is vastly exploiting the public’s ignorance of the separation between state and federal parties. State parties, contrary to popular belief, don’t have to be the same as federal parties. This is the case in BC, where the BC Liberals are the conservative party, and have not been affiliated with the federal Liberals (our ‘centre’ party in relative terms, even though they’re really centre-right) since 1980.
Senator Cullen, you are an “independent Democrat” — you are not in the caucus, but you pledge your support to them on some level. And since you’re bleating on about bipartisanship, it’s really more accurate to say that you’re a federal Democrat and a state independent if you support Democratic candidates at the federal level but waffle at the state level when you didn’t get something shiny.

And hell, the way you ignore what’s gone on in favor of bleating on about “bipartisan solutions”, I’d say that the reason you didn’t get anything shiny is because you’re a DINO. Grow the fuck up, Senator, and act like you deserve the damn position rather than pandering to the local elite.

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Politics Is Warfare, or How I Learned The Meaning Of False Balance

Let me tell you something about liberals: we really are decent people.

The problem is that regressives aren’t. Not only that, but regressives are so indecent as to hide their own indecency, or apologize for it by making up claims of liberals somehow being just as bad. In any case, they’re trying to get people to ignore their massive misdeeds somehow, usually by bringing up liberal misdeeds that are somehow equal. This often has the effect of regressives and their defenders focusing entirely on squishing a mouse when there is a Tyrannosaurus rex standing right behind them.

Well, let me tell you a story about false balance. Or, rather, two stories that are part of a narrative.

(Note: The rest of this post assumes you’ve read the relevant links I’ve posted. Any questions involving stuff explained in the links will be disemvowelled and mocked.)
The first has to do with the skeptical community, specifically the continuing fallout from the event known as Elevatorgate manifested in the form of the debacle involving harassment policies and TAM. Specifically, it involves a part I hadn’t linked in my original TAM post, involving a song performed at TAM.

The song is a prime example of false balance. The actions of the rabid anti-feminists are well-documented. Their tactics have been identified and deconstructed. They have proven themselves to be despicable human beings.

And yet, in the comments for the aforementioned song, someone piped up and quote mined out four lines, mumbling about the “overall message” of “can’t we all just get along”. By this time I was obviously getting fed up with the false balance (having seen more than enough over the past year) and thus deconstructed it harshly, calling out the quote mining.

What sent me over the edge was when someone else chimed in saying that the quote mining was somehow a minor point. I flew into a rage, launching with all barrels and a cruise missile marked ‘Gabby Giffords shooting’ — that bit, I will admit, may have been excessive. I did not get a very favorable response and tore into it as tone-trolling, but at the end of it all I was unsure of whether I’d been right in ripping into the false balance that hard. What I did know was that it gave the regressives an out, and I was sick of that.

Rightfully so, it turned out:

Handwringing over “fairness” in the most picayune matters hamstrings the left. Politics is warfare, not a self-improvement exercise. You will simply never get some people on your side and the best you can do is marginalize their ability to do others harm. Other people who unwittingly abet them need to be brought up short, because they are causing harm indirectly.

Politics is warfare.

We’re not discussing as equals. We liberals think we’re correct, but we’re willing to change our minds in the face of new evidence or rational arguments, and we recognize that we must be bounded by those rules (which also govern ethics) in order to be right.

Regressives don’t merely think they’re correct. They think they’re right — period. Anything and everything they do is right. Anything done to forward their conclusions is right. Evidence and logic are just tools to be manipulated to the cause of that which is right. Hell, they even call themselves “the right” (except for the libertarians who don’t want you to know they’re just as regressive as the other privileged righties). And if evidence and logic fail? Bah, that’s just one tool; the next step is to just make stuff up, and if that fails then just pound the  opponent into silence with words.

Or threats. Or bombs. Or gunshots.

Which brings me to my second story. Yesterday, I was counter-demonstrating with some fellow pro-choicers in Vancouver. I was standing a bit away from the group, holding a sign that on one side said “Trust Women” and on the other said “End Rape Culture Now”, when a man came up and started to gaslight me, playing with plausible deniability by being indirect: “you’re not impressing women”. I did not have much of this before I told him to go away, and then moved away myself, turning my back, but he kept it up, to the point of calling me a faggot.

You can read the rest at the link, because at that point I began to have an anxiety attack and was just focused on defiantly staying there until the asshole went and got the bus he said he was waiting for. I tuned out most of the rest of what he was saying, and afterwards I had to leave to calm down. As of this writing, I’m still not fully back from it (which is bad, because it’s making me act highly irrationally), and I’m hoping that work this week is slow enough to allow me to recover. At any rate, it severely impaired my functioning for the rest of the day; when I returned, I felt extremely out of it and could barely hold another sign; it wasn’t until after we left that I was mostly able to function again.

Mostly. The tirade could hurt anyone by trying to make them feel alone (which is a soft spot for any of us, since we humans are social animals), but it hit me particularly hard because for all intents and purposes I am alone. The best friends I have are all online; the best people I’ve met in real-life are all the pro-choicers that I’ve only met this week or last at the demonstrations. If you want to know what my social life is like, just listen to How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths. Hearing that invective threw me completely out of balance and made me lose my carefully-patched comfort, so that the rest of the day I was simply floundering and wondering if I wasn’t making some sort of misstep here or there, or focusing too much on my problems, or boring other people, or doing any of the other things I do that people don’t like but I can’t seem to help.

All because I was trying to say that people should trust women. Because of that, someone else felt that it was okay to render me unable to function. I did their best to make them not see it — but that’s all I could do.

Politics is warfare.

And remember what I said about him trying to stretch plausible deniability? The “pro-life” protesters do it too. Take a look at this picture I got (before the anxiety attack):

Yeah. That’s totally not telling men that they have some sort of right to hold their wives or girlfriends hostage, or anything like that, in order to “save them from abortion”. Not at fucking all. Nope. Totally fair.

Politics is warfare.

And the reason that regressives want to conceal this so badly is because they need to scramble and bully, while we liberals are just asserting our rights and the cold, hard facts.

Whose side are you on? The bullies, or the bullied?

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WTF, TAM?

TAM happened. Because I can’t afford to go to Vegas, can’t afford TAM, don’t particularly like lots of people and heat, and don’t find Vegas particularly fun, I didn’t go.

And I’m damn glad I didn’t.

First Harriet Hall showed up wearing a T-shirt that effectively took a very cheap shot at the Skepchicks. When Skepchick Surly Amy took issue, she found herself accosted by some anti-harassment con staff who could far more accurately be described as the thought police from Oceania even though Amy was treated rather tamely.
Then we find out that she wasn’t the only one, and regular attendees didn’t get the Good Cops.
This all comes after the debacle where DJ Grothe said that the problem was complaints of harassment, not harassment itself.
Chew on it. Personally, I think this reeks.

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Spot the difference

This bit of libertarian disingenuity brought to you by Micheal Shermer.
And the Republicans use red, too!

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Open letter to people who wonder why us feminists are so angry

Hi. It appears that you’ve walked into a discussion about feminism on the internet, asked some questions and now are looking on in consternation at what appear to be some fairly hostile responses telling you to do some fucking research before jumping into a discussion, or calling you a sexist for making statements you thought were innocuous.

If so, the first thing I have to say is: welcome to the club. Most of us social justice fighters — the closer to “white, straight, Christian, rich, cisgendered, conservative male” you get, the higher the probability that it’s happened — have found ourselves in the same position at one point or another, being seemingly piled on by a bunch of fellow fighters for what we thought was a perfectly harmless question or statement. Moreover, most of us have likely initially objected, only to be told the same thing: we’re ignorant on a basic level and should really just shut up and listen to what is being said.

Which brings me to the second thing. You see, there are things called ‘points refuted a thousand times’ (PRATTs) that have been brought up and debunked so many times that it is acceptable to post a standard response and then move on because the point has been conclusively shown to be wrong.

Bringing up PRATTs indicates a fairly basic level of ignorance. This isn’t bad, because ignorance will always exceed knowledge. The problem is constantly bringing up and re-hashing the same PRATTs, because that stifles the discussion by restricting it to a 101-level discussion where the educated folks have to start anew every time re-educating people who don’t get it. This gets old fast, and at some point the discussion has to get past the 101 level of just educating people about the issue and actually, y’know, deal with the issue.

It is, furthermore, arrogant to simply waltz into a discussion complaining about how you know nothing and no one in the discussion will teach you anything. This is the Internet. If you don’t know what’s being talked about, it’s not hard to plug it into Wikipedia and spend some time poking around LEARNING SOMETHING before diving in headfirst. You don’t have the right to demand that others spend their time educating you if they would prefer to spend their time discussing the issues you want to be educated on. If you want to sit at the adult table and discuss those issues, then do the research first. Otherwise, you’re free to make your own thread where discussion can be tailored to your level of understanding.

In short, stop acting like you’re The Most Important Person In The World and people will stop telling you to get off your high horse. We are not your Feminism 101 professors, and if we do not have the time and/or energy to teach you then you are just going to have to make use of the resources at your fingertips.

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Ron Paul Bingo

I got bored and made this. Feel free to have fun with it.

Let's talk about Ron Paul!

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