political discourse

Nothing Brings Out the Self-Righteous Like a Terrorist Attack

by Bill Brenner November 16, 2015 Communication skills for the crazy

Whenever we see terrible things like the ISIS attacks in Paris, something happens on Facebook: Many people become experts on religion and politics, and still more people get anal when people don’t observe a tragedy exactly as they would. Terror attacks bring out the best in some people. In others, it brings out self-righteous tomfoolery. Mood music: Whatever your political and religious beliefs, the attacks prove that your agenda is the correct one. One guy posted…  [Read More]

Hope and Happiness Amid a Government Shutdown

by Bill Brenner October 1, 2013 Fear and anxiety

Forget about the effect the government shutdown has on mental health services; government mental health services suck anyway. Instead, let’s focus on keeping ours head on straight when political horror stories send our fear and anxiety into orbit. Mood music: http://youtu.be/lpRzYEHwnUo I mentioned last week how I used to latch onto world events as if my life depended on it. TV media reports political squabbles as it would report about war: loud graphics, chilling music….  [Read More]

Why This Catholic Supports Marriage Equality

by Bill Brenner March 27, 2013 Love

Yesterday many friends changed their Facebook profile pics to a red box with two horizontal lines in the center in support of marriage equality. I did as well, though I was more punk rock about it, selecting a red box with four vertical lines (the logo for the band Black Flag). Mood music: [spotify:track:4kFfFe38CRVnTsakUTL4E4] I doubt all this online activism will influence the US Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. The justices march to their…  [Read More]

The Boy Scouts of America Acted Cowardly

by Bill Brenner February 7, 2013 For misfits

Yesterday I opined that the Boy Scouts of America should allow gays into the organization. I suggested that the organization was being cowardly by leaving it up to individual chapters to do the right thing, but a friend disagreed. Mood music: [spotify:track:3SHPJOuQ357m5S1AjyNpKU] Wrote my friend: At a local level, the scouts are heavily supported by churches and religious groups. An all-out and immediate change would result in a mass exodus of sponsoring organizations, which would…  [Read More]

When Conspiracy Theorists Become Bullies

by Bill Brenner January 16, 2013 Political discourse

Conspiracy theorists usually don’t bother me. Hell, I even subscribe to the notion that Lee Harvey Oswald had help assassinating JFK. But a new breed of conspiracy theorist has emerged in recent years. They make threats and act like the schoolyard bully, and they make my skin crawl. Mood music: [spotify:track:0JhAglbb3Ca9Cp2OflPKPi] The clowns who argued that 9/11 was an inside job are one example, though to my knowledge they never actually threatened anyone. Now there’s…  [Read More]

Comparing Politicians to Hitler Is Stupid

by Bill Brenner January 10, 2013 Political discourse

The debate over firearms is bringing out extreme levels of stupidity in people. Right-wingers who think gun control means taking away everyone’s right to bear arms are comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler. Left-wingers did the same to President Bush over his war policies. It’s the lowest common denominator; the dumbest of the dumb. Mood music: [spotify:track:4AlIvHv7kHmhi8aDvn2ctK] On the Drudge Report, Obama’s picture was lumped in with images of Hitler and Soviet dictator Josef Stalin…  [Read More]

Defending Joe Biden (Updated June 1, 2015)

by Bill Brenner January 4, 2013 Political discourse

Updated June 1, 2015: The Vice President, who has suffered a lot of loss in his life, has more character and depth beneath his outward image of buffoonery than most people know. With news that his son Beau has died of brain cancer, I’m remembering the post below, originally written in 2013. I also recommend this column from Ezra Klein on Biden’s grief perspective. I’ll surely get a boatload of criticism for what I’m about to do: defend Vice President…  [Read More]

Partisan Politics Is a Mental Health Threat

by Bill Brenner January 3, 2013 Political discourse

Like everyone else, I’ve watched the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff with a combination of disgust and anxiety. I can’t remember a time when the nation’s economic health was so threatened by political partisanship. Mood music: [spotify:track:309o3PJag8FugLJTRTZa77] It threatens our jobs and our ability to feed our families. And it’s a threat to our mental health. I feel fortunate that this shit is happening now. Up until a few years ago, this type of…  [Read More]

Politics, Facebook Friends and the Damage Done

by Bill Brenner November 20, 2012 Political discourse

After all my blogging this past election season about how friends and family shouldn’t become enemies over politics and how we all need to knock off the conspiracy theories and name-calling, I’m reviewing my Facebook friends list in search of damage. Here’s my final analysis. It turns out one person unfriended me. I considered her a solid Facebook friend. We went to high school together and shared many musical tastes. We both post a lot…  [Read More]

My Name Is Bill, and I’m with the Religious Left

by Bill Brenner November 19, 2012 Faith

I’ve been on a spiritual high for the last several years. I became a Catholic in 2006 and since then have tried to live my faith to the fullest. I’ve been on three Catholic retreats, one as a team leader, and have spoken up about my beliefs regularly in this blog. I’ve worked hard to become a more peaceful person instead of the Bill who would flip people off on the highway and throw rocks…  [Read More]