Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Religion - A Force for Good or Not...

So I am back "on the grid" again. I just spent the week communing with nature (trees, deer, bugs, spiders etc.) and, well, I learned that I am not really a nature girl and that the world of politics turns without my imput. How rude! But, with all my communing with nature and stuff, an interesting question was raised and I thought it might make for a good and, hopefully, thought-provoking discussion.

I was with a random (or not so random) group of people from around the world from varying backgrounds who very obviously had major "issues" with organized religion. Well, they had real problems with Christianity and specifically Catholicism. [As an aside, they had no problem making the leap that aliens control us from a space ship hovering over Earth, but that's a whole other story] So it got me contemplating the cosmos (real and/or imagined), and my question is really pretty simple:

Has religion had a net positive effect or net negative effect on human history?

Just so you understand, I am not asking about your religious beliefs or whether God exists. The question really is about the institution of "religion". I know what I think, but since we at CommentaramaPolitics are all thoughtful and intelligent people, let's discuss...

By the way, if you have never really looked at a spider web upclose and personal (and sans the big, giant, hairy spider), they really are amazing works of art...spider webs, not spiders. Spiders are scary.
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Monday, September 29, 2014

Eric Holder's Legacy Is What?

There was an interesting article at Politico the other day. The article was written by a liberal who tried to explain Eric Holder's legacy. Despite being an attempt to make Holder look good, and even claiming that Holder was leaving "on a successful note," what struck me was how poor the article was at actually finding a positive legacy. Observe...

The article begins by admitting that not everyone views Holder positively... talk about understatement. The Republicans treated him like "a punching bag" over the "gun-tracking operation" Fast and Furious. They held him in contempt for not turning over documents related to that too, which is something that "will never totally be erased from his record." Oh, and he wasn't tough enough on Wall Street. But beyond that, Holder did some great stuff. Here's the list:
(1) His primary legacy will be his commitment to equal justice for all Americans.

(2) He had a prominent place in Obama's administration and lasted longer than most of Obama's Cabinet secretaries.

(3) He's black.

(4) His handling of Ferguson solidified his civil rights record as someone who cares about equal justice for all Americans.
Hmm. Ok. Let's examine these "four" points.

First, points one and four are the same. You can't double count his support for equal justice for all Americans by separating out instances. Hence, there are only three points here. Further, this claim is utter horse poop. Holder is notorious for taking the position that the nation's civil rights laws do not protect whites. His Justice Department pursued no cases of abuses by minorities. So the only way to say this is true is if you assume that whites are excluded from his commitment to equal justice. In other words, praise for his commitment to justice for "all" requires and asterisk that says: "statement does not apply to 72% of the population".

Further, let me add that Holder wasn't pro-gay when it came to marriage or benefits until five years into Obama's term. I guess they don't count either. And this is the same man who tried to argue that the terrorists at Gitmo had no rights... a position Bush never came close to taking. Clearly, they don't count either.

I would say honestly that what characterized Holder's term was an unprincipled laziness and indifference combined with a knee-jerk pro-black impulse. That's about it. And let's take a look at Ferguson. How brave has Holder really been? From the sound of things, the Ferguson police force is an epic mess. They clearly have not learned any of the policing lessons other departments have learned over the past 50 years. So what did Holder do to change that? Gee, he said he would send in DOJ to examine the department and put them under a form of super secret probation. But here's the thing, for as long as I can recall, most state and local police departments have already been subject to this. So this is nothing new. And what has this new plan done? Well, to hear the locals whine about it, nothing has changed. The police don't seem to have changed either. Essentially, Holder showed up, lectured us that we're all racists, did what Justice always does, and went back to his office to play with himself. Nice legacy.

And speaking of race, Holder is the guy who bizarrely claimed that America wasn't brave enough to talk about race when that's almost all we've been talking about since the 1960s... if not the 1860s. What else did he do to bring the country together or fix the racial divide? Nada... zip... jacksh*t. Again, nice legacy: one stupid speech and doing what DOJ already does one time.

As for number two, what kind of legacy is that? He was a lackey. Gee, thanks. Seriously, outlasting other cabinet secretaries is not evidence of quality. To the contrary, it's more likely evidence of anti-quality, of a man who never raises his head to cause problems or draw attention. As for being prominent, Holder is no more prominent than most other recent Attorneys General, and he's far less prominent than the dozens who actually did their jobs. In fact, had Holder done his job, he would have had bunches of things to investigate within the administration, but he chose the lackey route over the integrity root... and being a lackey never scores you a positive legacy.

As for being black, give me a break. That's the kind of "accomplishment" losers hide behind. If Holder had real achievements, the last thing anyone would be saying is, "Gee, his big accomplishment is being black and holding the job," especially as he didn't really earn the job -- he was appointed by his friend.

So seriously, where is Holder's positive legacy? His race is irrelevant to his accomplishment, except among liberals. His time in office produced no real groundbreaking changes of any sort. To the contrary, his department seems to have presided over a period when the Supreme Court took great delight in bitch-slapping everything Holder and friends thought would be law forever, and Holder did squat to fix it. He turned a blind eye as incompetence and law breaking ran rampant in Obama's administration. His pronouncements on race were rare, awkward, wrong and racist. His pronouncements beyond race were even more rare. He did nothing to clean up Wall Street, something both left and right would have agreed needed to be done. In fact, despite the left claiming he scored "record settlements" from some of the bigger banks, the stock of each shot up when the dollar amounts were announced. He took the "human rights outrage" of Gitmo and basically punted to the next administration. The legal advice he gave Obama about the filling of appointments was so bad that everything Obama did ended up being overturned by the courts. And so on.

Beyond that, I'm simply not sure what else to say about the man? He's an arrogant turd with the record of a lazy fool who likes the smell of his own farts. I would tend to think that almost anyone would have been a more effective Attorney General in almost every way.

Am I missing something?
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Did Hillary Bump Uglies With Evil Genius Saul Alinsky?

The year is 1971. A young future Democratic presidential candidate pens a love letter to old Saul Alinsky. What's that? You know about Obama? I'm not talking about Obama. I’m talking about Hillary Clinton, and you gotta see this pathetic letter.

In 1971, 23-year-old law school student Hillary Clinton wrote a sycophantic letter to her then-crush, Saul Alinsky. Apparently, young Hillary wanted to be a community activist. She never did go that route however, because that’s for losers. Instead, she took the more accomplished path of marrying a man whose coattails she could ride.

Anyway, said letter was published last week by the Washington Free Bacon Beacon. Here are the highlights of her letter to old Saul (my comments in italics):
Dear Saul,

When is that new book [Rules for Radicals] coming out — or has it come and I somehow missed the fulfillment of Revelation? I have just had my one-thousandth conversation about [Reveille for Radicals] and need some new material to throw at people.

Does this sound like she’s mocking him? It does to me: “Gee you old fart, when’s your book finally coming out or did I somehow miss that you brought about the end of the world?” Sounds a bit like a taunt, like she's saying he can't finish his book or like he thinks way too much about the impact his book will have. In any event, is she really telling us that she gets all of her material from his one book from 1946? Doesn’t she read other books? Doesn’t she do independent thoughts? Apparently not.

[I] survived law school, slightly bruised, with my belief in and zest for organizing intact.

It is true that Hillary had a zest for organizing. In fact, she organized her closet before she sent the letter and later in the day, she would rearrange her silverware to be more efficiently dispensed by turning the forks against the spoons. ;-)

The more I’ve seen of places like Yale Law School and the people who haunt them, the more convinced I am that we have the serious business and joy of much work ahead, — if the commitment to a free and open society is ever going to mean more than eloquence and frustration.

Yeah, the ghosts at Yale suck -- they're much more positive at Hogwarts. She should try talking to the living people instead. It might have changed her entire world view. Also, talk about a blowhard. She needs to learn that you can’t impress people with store-bought words: keep it simple stupid. And for the record, anyone who thinks “work” and “joy” are synonyms is a crazy person... and probably drinks her own urine.

If I never thanked you for the encouraging words of last spring in the midst of the Yale-Cambodia madness, I do so now.

Yeah, it was crazy when Cambodia invaded Yale! In any event, it’s really bad form to try to send a catchall “thank you” years after the fact. It’s a good thing for her that she and Saul are such good friends and he will forgive her ill manners, or he might be offended. It does make me wonder what those kind words were, though: “Hey you don’t look as chubby as Bill says!” ... “Nice spelling on your protest sign.” ... “You smell purty, comrade.”

I am living in Berkeley and working in Oakland for the summer and would love to see you. Let me know if there is any chance of our getting together.

Huh. I’ve never received an invite to Oakland, but I wouldn’t be happy about it if I did: “Gee, Andy, wanna come to inner city Baltimore and see how long you last?” More interestingly though, am I sensing a little romance here? Hillary just invited old Alinsky, who smelled of cabbage and Soviet toiletries, to come spend some time with her to “get together.” I believe that is known today as “hooking up.” Let’s see what kind of moves the old girl has, shall we?

Hopefully we can have a good argument sometime in the future.

Um, no. That's not a great sales pitch: “Wanna go to Oakland so we can fight?! Welcome to the Thunderdome, ese!” Besides, why would Saul want to argue with Hillary anyways, knowing that she gets all of her material from his one old book anyway:
Hillary: “Do you remember when you wrote that? Hahaha.”
Alinsky: “Kill me.”
Talk about boring.

Interestingly, Saul did respond. Or rather, his secretary did because she knew there was a little somethin’somethin’ going on between the old fruit and the new squeeze, and that means juice:
“Since I know his feelings about you [he’s into chubby girls who dig his book] I took the liberty of opening your letter because I didn’t want something urgent to wait for two weeks. And I’m glad I did. [Your pathetic come on letter made me laugh.]”

“Mr. Alinsky will be in San Francisco, staying at the Hilton Inn at the airport on Monday and Tuesday, July 26 and 27. I know he would like to have you call him so that if there is a chance in his schedule maybe you can get together. [Wear something sexy.]”
One can only imagine the freak these two got on in that hotel room; please God, tell me there's no 8 mm sex tape! Anyway, Hillary claimed in 2004 that Saul offered her a chance to work with him after graduating from Wellesley College (Lic Kum Lesbianus), but she turned him down so she could attend law school. Saul never got over his disappointment and he died in 1971... possibly from the grief, possibly from events that transpired in the Hilton Inn in San Francisco, possibly from something else.

Speaking of the Hilton, isn’t Saul supposed to be a commie? What’s he doing with a secretary and staying at the Hilton? Hypocrite.

Anyway, I may have been a bit cheeky in my article, but let me be the first to officially freak out that Hillary Clinton is clearly the chubby embodiment of Saul Alinsky's dream to convert the US into a communist paradise. If she is elected, Saul Alinsky will rise from his grave and destroy the country. Panic!!! Panic!!!

Thoughts? Pretty pathetic letter isn't it? Kind of makes Hillary sound like a groupie... a brainless groupie who got all of her ideas from one book and who put her own greed ahead of old Saul's desire that she become a community organizer. Sad.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Yet Another Open Thread

So, here's the deal. I have been whisked away on the spur of the moment for a little vacay to the crystal mines of Arkansas and am "off the grid". Yeah, I know...mining for crystals sounds more like work that play, but if nothing else I will learn a new skill and when I get back I will tell you all about it.

So, for today please feel free to discuss anything that strikes your fancy. Hey, I hear we are bombing Syria and that someone broke into the White House and actually got into the building. Oh, and if you've been following the great drama of the ages in regards to who called Senator Kirstin Gillibrand (D/NY) "chubby", well the culprit has finally been revealed. Thank goodness because I was losing sleep from the stress. [I realize none of those are not related, but it might get a conversation going] So do your stuff...



I would apologize for the inconvenience, but I am too busy having a hot stone massage and a long soak in the hot tub...oh, and digging, digging, digging...
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Monday, September 22, 2014

More Thoughts On The Attack On The NFL

I’m going back to the NFL’s domestic violence issue because this is a highly instructive incident that keeps getting more and more absurd. Indeed, it highlights exactly what is wrong with the feminist-left and it shows why you cannot ever play their game. Here are my thoughts on this.

Free Ride Self-Righteousness: As I’ve mentioned before, all this outrage about the domestic abuse scandal is a crock. How do we know? For one thing, these a-holes calling this the greatest outrage since the Holocaust said nothing about these events when they first hit the news. Their "moral outrage" didn't develop until it became popular to be outraged. Further, their outrage is selective. Notice that they happily attack the NFL, but they remain completely silent on US Soccer and Hope Solo, who abused her nephew and half-sister. They also claim to speak for the victims while specifically dismissing every victim who doesn't go with the program. Also, their outrage is wrongly aimed. They aren't upset at the abusers, instead, they are using this to attack the NFL. In effect, they are tarring 1,600 players because of the actions of four.

What makes this whole thing worse is that these moral hypocrites are acting self-righteously even while taking no consequences for their stances. In fact, let me reprint something disgusting for you. This was written by Peter King, a true liberal cocksucker. King earns $2 million a year writing about the NFL for Sports Illustrated. His entire career has involved leeching off the NFL. He sits on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. He gets regular access to anyone and anything in the NFL, and he has carried the NFL’s water on issue after issue for decades. If the NFL is dirty, then he is the guy who sold the dirt to the public. He also said nothing at all about the domestic abuse until the blowback occurred. Now he writes this:
So, should we still like football? I’ve asked myself that a few times over the past week. I think we all have. (typical liberal... "everyone thinks like me!") And what I’ve come to think is this: It’s a personal decision. I can’t tell you to feel better about the gutter the NFL has fallen into. . . If you’re revolted by Ray Rice cold-cocking his fiancée (which King initially wasn’t) and you just can’t watch one more game, don’t. It’s your call. No one can make it for you. . . . If you think the NFL is so full of greed and Roger Goodell so consumed with the bottom line that human decency is way down the league’s list of priorities, walk away. (Wait, what? Greed? Are we OWS now?). . . If you think the NFL is just too dangerous, and you read in The New York Times (the only source for news a good liberal accepts) last week that the league, by its own admission, acknowledged that one in three former players will have some sort of cognitive problem long before an average person in the general population would, stop watching. It’s your call. No one can make it for you. . . No one will blame you for walking away.

This past week has been the most ceaselessly miserable one I’ve see in my 31 seasons covering the league. I am disturbed for some of those reasons, particularly the greed I see (what does greed have to do with this?). And this one as well: As I watched the games Sunday in my viewing-room perch at NBC (King is a pathological name-dropper), I noted the brutality of the game. (So after 30 years of covering the game, he finally realizes it’s a violent game?) In a 15-minute span in the first quarter of the early games, I saw [lists some injuries, as if they were intentionally caused]. . . I’ll be troubled by the violence of the game, which may eventually drive me from it (BUT NOT YET).
This kind of self-righteous hypocrisy makes me want to punch the crap out of pathetic bastards like King. Nothing he mentions is new, only his outrage is new. And his outrage only exists because he thinks that makes him morally superior. More importantly, notice that after appearing to take this strong moral stand in which he lays out a case for how evil the NFL is, he then concludes that he will keep watching... for now. That makes his entire moral stance bullshit: "Oh yeah, Hitler's evil and everyone should quit supporting him, but I'm going to keep my job as Jew processor for now." Wanna bet he writes a book about how he should have quit the NFL decades ago the day after he retires?

And King's hypocrisy is common. Notice that everyone has shifted the blame from the players to a nebulous NFL. The reason they have done this is that it lets them take strong moral stands without having to worry about the effects of their moral stances on the players, i.e. it's a lot harder to say "Ray Rice should be banned for life" than it is to say "the NFL needs to ban abusers for life." It also lets them escape the consequences of what they advocate when they change their minds later and decide that "zero tolerance" isn't a fair idea. You can rest assured that, at that point, they will attack the NFL for being too rigid and uncaring about the players and they will dismiss their own advocacy of "zero tolerance" as never really meaning zero tolerance... just like "life in prison" to a liberal means "in jail until they look old and harmless and it feels unfair to keep them there anymore."

You Can’t Satisfy The Politically Motivated: The one lesson the NFL has so far failed to grasp in all of this is that they can't please the people who are using this as a political issue. Those people see this as an opportunity and there is no level to which the NFL can hike the penalties that these “critics” won’t claim “still isn’t enough.” There are no policies the NFL can put into place that these critics can’t dismiss as a PR move designed to deflect attention. Even if the NFL gives these critics every single thing they demand, these critics still will say that the NFL waited too long or that their needing to be told only shows they don’t care. This is gotcha, pure and simple. Who is doing this? People with grievances against the NFL and feminists.

Grievances?: Yep. A lot of the people attacking the NFL, and Roger Goodell in particular, are union types who are dissatisfied with Goodell smacking the union around in their contract negotiations. Some are people who remain upset about his treatment of agents, his handling of drug suspensions, or people interested in the concussion litigation. These people see this as their chance to bring down a man who has protected the NFL against their predatory attacks.

Why Feminists Care: So feminists huh? Yep. Why are feminists out to get Roger Goodell fired. Basically, it’s a Hail Mary pass.

Feminism is dead. Its influence on the culture has all but disappeared. No one follows its doctrines. No one gives in to its demands. It has become nothing more than a cult peopled by a handful of lesbian professors, journalist chickies who got famous in the 1990s, and public policy (read: lobbyist) groups. No one else subscribes. Even the young college women who claim to be feminists tend to see it as little more than a label, like wearing a Che Guevarra t-shirt.

Ordinarily, feminists disdain football and athletes and men. They have zero interest in the NFL. So why do they care now? Do they really care about these 3 to 4 women who have been the most recent victims of domestic violence by NFL players? Hardly. The reason feminists care is that they see this as an opportunity to regain their relevance. If they can bring down Goodell, supposedly for not acting strongly enough against domestic violence, then they can send a shockwave of fear throughout the corporate world and every weak CEO out there will impose their ideas as a precautionary matter. Naturally, those same CEOs will then lobby Congress to pass laws that impose the same rules on their competitors. In effect, in one big sweep, feminists will get things they have been wet-dreaming over for decades. But to do that, they need to defeat Goodell. Evidence that they understand this is that they keep rejecting his attempts to install their policies; they need his head, not his agreement. Goodell doesn't seem to understand this yet, that feminists need to bring him down to win and they will never accept his olive branches.

You Can't Please Liberals: In addition to the raw politics I just discussed, there is another factor the NFL needs to consider. You can't please liberals with liberal solutions.

Liberals are short term thinkers. Right now they are outraged at these big meanies who beat these poor women... actually, they are outraged that the NFL didn't stop these big meanies. Hence, they want a zero tolerance policy to make sure this never happens again. But wait a few months until 60 Minutes does a story on how Ray Rice is broke and how his wife feels abused by "the system" for killing their family’s income to punish Rice for something she didn't think needed to be punished. Or wait until they report on all the young guys who got banned based on false evidence from angry ex's or from blackmailers or "racist cops." Just wait as our liberal friends all tear up and start to scream about the NFL and it's unfair, indiscriminate policy which is ruining the lives of so many young black men without total proof they actually did anything! Damn you, NFL! And it won't ever occur to them that this is the consequence of their demands for zero tolerance. Instead, they will shift the blame to the cold-hearted NFL for implementing their own ideas.

This is the problem with trying to please liberals. Some are politically motivated and aren't looking for solutions, they are looking for political victories. The proof of this is how disinterested they are in the NFL's efforts to implement changes to their policies, by their grievances suddenly all being tied together no matter how unrelated (e.g. "greed" and "domestic abuse") and by their focus on the wrong people as the bad actors. And even if you give them what they want, they will be back with a grievance based on the problems their own solutions caused without a shred of acknowledgement that they are at fault for what happened.

The NFL really has mishandled this. What they should have done is immediately appoint a committee to investigate this and to "effect changes." Then you tell the committee to wait a year or so before reporting. That is how you pull the energy out of an issue and kill it. The one thing you don't do is try to piecemeal a solution as liberals try to use your efforts to score points.
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

International Talk Like A Pirate Day!!!

It is finally here almost. The anticipation is killing me. Yes, folks, tomorrow. September 19 is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. If you don't know what that is then you are just....well, that's just...AAAARRRRGH.

Since technically, ITLPD does not really kick off until tomorrow, now it the time to study up on the ways and means of proper pirate phrases. But first you must have a proper pirate name - Pirate Name Generator

After that you are all set. Now, I will be in and out for the next few days, but I expect you to be the very best pirates you can be. However, if real pirates strike, please feel free in interrupt the fun with news or comments...Aaaaargh, you scalliwags and scurvy dogs, hoist the jib and it's time to set sail...
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Obama Rated A Failure

The Washington Post seems to be getting a real dose of reality lately. First, they put out an article admitting that the reason the Democrats are likely to lose the Senate - something the Post hasn’t admitted before - is Obama’s unpopularity dragging down their candidates. Now they put out an article admitting that a majority of the public sees Obama’s presidency as a failure. Yep.

The article in question addresses the results of a poll taken by The Washington Post and ABC News. It found that 52% of Americans believe Obama’s presidency is on balance “a failure.” Only 42% think his presidency has been “a success.” That’s horrible!

And it gets worse when you dig down into the numbers.
● 54% disapprove of his handling of the economy
● 56% disapprove of his handling of foreign affairs
● 65% say the country is on the wrong track
● 59% disapprove of his handling of immigration
● 56% disapprove of Obamacare
● 55% think Obama has done more to divide the country than to unite it
Yeah, that reeks of failure. And truthfully, I don’t think there is anything Obama can do to change any of this. He was counting on Obamacare becoming popular once people were forced into it, but it’s only gotten less popular over time. Beyond that, his legacy is bare.

Even one time sycophant Michael Moore said this of Obama's legacy: "When the history is written of this era, this is how you’ll be remembered: 'He was the first black president.' Okay, not a bad accomplishment, but that's it. That's it, Mr. Obama." Ouch.

As an interesting aside, the Democrats are mentally relying on polling showing that the GOP is way more unpopular than the Democrats as a way to tell themselves this isn't a problem. In that regard, this poll showed that Obama’s disapproval was at 54% and the Democratic Party’s disapproval is 61%, but the GOP’s disapproval is 72%. So they are somewhat correct. Nevertheless, their reliance on this is misleading. For one thing, when asked if people will change their vote to prevent a GOP senate, only 25% said that they were scared of a GOP senate. More people, 32%, actually say a GOP senate would be a good thing. Thus, people are more likely to vote for their local candidates than they are to worry about their approval of the GOP. Said differently, the 72% disapproval number is meaningless.

Even more to the point, however, the GOP’s low approval rating comes from Republicans, who won’t vote for the Democrats. Indeed, whereas 63% of Democrats approve of their party, only 34% of Republicans do. So this 72% number is entirely unreliable. Most importantly, though, Obama can’t really base his legacy on the opposition being less popular... life doesn't work that way.

Thoughts?
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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New York Election Cycle Hijinks.

Oh, those crazy, wacky New York Democrats. As we go into the final weeks of our state election that includes the Governor, the Dems in our legislature have just doubled down on stupid. Well, I guess that's just my opinion. To their credit they have managed to marginalize the Republican party in New York even though the Republicans hold the majority in the state Senate by one vote. In what these knuckleheads think will win them lots of votes, the senate Dems have introduced a bill in the Senate called "New York Is Home".

This bill proposed in June would create a state-level amnesty that would effectively make all illegal immigrants, and pretty much anyone who happens to cross the state line, a citizen of the State of New York. It would bar police from releasing any citizenship status information to the feds unless it involves "a criminal warrant unrelated to their immigration status", allow non-citizens to obtain professional licenses and permits, drivers' licenses, serving on juries, and bestows voting rights in local and state elections including running for local and state office, though federal law would still prohibit non-citizens legal or illegal from voting in our federal elections. As reported in the NY Post, the key sponsor are Brooklyn Assemblyman Karim Camara said that taking back the Senate is the key to getting this passed. The Senate sponsor Bronx Sen. Gustavo Rivera likens the proposed measure to the campaigns to legalize same-sex marriage and medical marijuana", both which passed and have been signed into law by Gov. Cuomo in the last few years.

If this gains local media traction, it might just backfire on the Dems. The two legislators who sponsored the bill represent "downstate" districts in NYC and those who represent "downstate" forget that "upstate" voters are not quite so liberal. Already the few competitive Republicans have been using this against their Dem opponents. It will only get louder and more ugly.

To be honest, my head nearly exploded when I first read this in the Post. But on second-sight, I am thrilled that the Dems have done this. It may just make this otherwise boring election cycle in New York more interesting.

Any thoughts or feelings?
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Monday, September 15, 2014

Sometimes You Get What You Deserve

This may surprise people, but I’m all in favor of Scotland breaking away from England. Why you ask? Is it my love of Scotland and its vast open soggy spaces? Nope. Perhaps it’s my love of freedom. Indirectly. More to the point, I’m a lover of irony and I think Scotland breaking away would be a great lesson for the world. Here’s how I see things...

First, I doubt Scotland will vote to break away. I know that some polls show the YES vote with a slight lead, but polls require no commitment. When it comes time to actually vote, people tend to get a little less fanciful.

That said, I can see a YES vote winning in a squeaker. If that happens, then Scotland will break away and chaos will ensue. In fact, the first thing I see happening is Scotland issuing a new currency (the “Duhmhass”) which they will discover offers the average Scott a good deal less buying power than the pound. Why? Well, here’s the thing.

A country’s currency is based on the economic potential of that country, and Scotland’s economic potential is about the same as if West Virginia broke away from the US. Scotland is a high tax country which relies on steady cash infusions from productive England to keep their sorry economy limping along. More than 55% of Scotts work for the state, putting them around East German levels. Their unemployment rate sits around 19%. They have no natural industries except sheep molesting. In fact, the majority of their largest companies are actually English companies who have opened branches in Scotland.

The one industry they do have is North Sea oil, but there are several problems with that. First, oil economies are notoriously fragile. Secondly, the commodity price of oil is falling at the moment and isn’t likely to recover for quite some time. Third, the Scottish National Party (SNP) has already made noises about nationalizing the industry. Not only will these statements alone chill further investment, but if they actually do it, then you can write off their oil industry for decades. And fourth, they are running out of oil in any event.

The issue of nationalization brings up another interesting point. Every single company of any size has warned against a YES vote. Many have threatened to close stores or hike their prices dramatically. Several Scottish banks have promised to flee to England. The SNP has responded by talking about getting even with these companies through nationalizations, heavy taxes or regulation, or other means not addressed. That’s a sure fire way to kill an economy. Indeed, that is the Hugo Chavez plan... the one that ended up with shortages of toilet paper and food and everything except shortages.

As I see it, here is what will happen if the Scott’s vote YES.

(1) Their currency will crash and they will be shocked to find themselves the poor man of Europe.

(2) The lack of English subsidies will crush their tax revenue base, which will lead to layoffs of government employees and hard choices when it comes to spending.

(3) They will push far left into quasi-socialism with the obvious result of following Venezuela into the toilet. This will be a great lesson for the rest of Europe in what not to do.

(4) England will shift solidly right. Indeed, the only thing making Labor competitive now is that Scotland votes overwhelming for them. With them gone, the Tories should dominate. The effect in England will be similar to the effect here if the Northeast stopped voting in our elections. This too will be good for the world as England, freed from its freeloading cousins, should undergo an economic renaissance.

(5) Other similar groups will follow Scotland’s lead. Specifically, I would expect Spain to break into three or more incompetent countries. Then Belgium will break into two. Italy might follow shortly afterwards, breaking into rich Northern Italy and dirt poor Southern Italy.

This will result in a serious shakeup in Europe, which may well inject a good deal of localized power into a system designed to trample the locals in favor of unification. The result should be an increase in competition of the kind we have here, where the states act as laboratories for ideas, which then drift upward. This could honestly revive European competitiveness to a large degree, and that’s a good thing. So let’s give the Scotts what they want and then let their suffering be a beacon of sanity for the rest of Europe.

Thoughts?
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11/2001 - Upclose and Personal...

A day that will live in infamy. I was going to give you my recollection of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and a day that I will not soon forget. If only I could. Though my PTSD has long since subsided, I still remember the day where I believed everything changed for me. My outlook on many things change forever at 9:00am on that Tuesday in lower Manhattan. I would retell my story, but why. You've heard it all before in so many way and, to be honest, I have moved on. Truly, it has long since past the time to move on.

Today, lower Manhattan will once again be a subdued scene of mourning with the families as it has been for 13 years. Perhaps the names of the 2,606 people who died that day will be read. Pardon me for being harsh, but there comes a time where one has to move on. I would imagine that there are very few family members who lost loved ones in the attacks at the World Trade Center who have not move on. For those who still need the yearly memorial, I can sympathize. I really do. But the site has long since shifted from a place of unimaginable devastation to a construction site.

I have witnessed that transformation from my office window almost every day since November 2001 when we were finally allowed back into our building across the street from the World Trade Center. Until just recently, all access to that area has been cut off. A few month's ago, the security wall were taken down around the Memorial Park Plaza and it was opened up with no barriers. And only few weeks ago, pedestrian traffic was allowed to cross Church Street at Cortlandt Street. This may mean nothing to you, but it a major event to me. You see, no one has been allowed to cross at that intersection north of the building where I work since September 11, 2001.

It was a beautiful day for me when I was allowed to cross. I took the time to cross with a sense of great ceremony and victory. Once I crossed, I stood there looking from a perspective that I have not seen for so many years and said a prayer. A prayer to all the innocent people who lost their lives that day and to the brighter future when one day I will again be able to walk across that area with no hindrance like I used to. To maybe go to a Barnes & Noble to look for books or to that Krispy Kreme to buy a donut like I used to or to just catch some rays at lunchtime.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Ray Rice Issue... Oy

For those who don’t know, Ray Rice was a Baltimore Raven until Monday, when he was cut (fired) after a video surfaced showing him punching his then-fiancée (now wife) Janay in the face. This issue raises several issues that bother me. Let’s discuss.

Here is the background: Ray Rice was a popular player for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s a running back. Several months back, Rice found himself in serious trouble when a video surfaced of him dragging his unconscious fiancée (now wife) out of an elevator in an Atlantic City casino. He had knocked her unconscious during an argument.

A New Jersey prosecutor examined the case and let Rice enter a pre-trial diversionary program. Those programs require counseling and erase the crime provided the suspect stays out of trouble for some period of time. This is a very common approach to a first offense.

At the same time, the NFL examined the case and Commissioner Roger Goodell decided to suspend Rice for two games as punishment for domestic violence. The end, right? No. Before the ink was even dry on the suspension, people began to ask how a guy who knocked his fiancée unconscious could get only a two game suspension when players who commit lesser crimes (like using pot) can get as much as a lifetime ban. This did not sit well with many people. However, way more people supported Rice than wanted to see him punished further, as evidenced by massive amounts of player and sportswriter support and by the fans in Baltimore cheering him loudly during preseason.

Despite the support for Rice, the NFL realized it had made a serious PR mistake. To cover its rear end, the NFL created a new policy for domestic violence which includes an automatic six game suspension with the possibility of more. In issuing that policy, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to the owners (for media consumption) in which he actually “admits” that he got the Rice suspension wrong, he apologizes to them for that mistake, and he announced he was issuing a new policy to give him greater powers to deal with these issues in the future. He couldn’t change Rice’s punishment, however, because of due process rights Rice has under their collective bargaining agreement.

As an aside, even while admitting this mistake, the NFL simultaneously tried to justify its initial two-game suspension by stating that Rice’s now-wife supported him and specifically asked that he not be punished. This is a position she continues to take today.

Monday, a new video surfaced showing Rice knocking out his fiancée in the elevator. The actual punch is missing because of the frame rate of the video, but it’s clear he rings her bell and she collapses.

The response was immediate... and wrong.

The Public: When this issue first arose, the public actually supported Rice. They cheered him and they opposed further punishment. The twitterverse and news shows were full of players, writers and fans saying that Rice had been punished enough, that the NFL should not punish him when his fiancée supported him, and that this was between them.

Personally, I think that’s faulty reasoning. One thing we know about domestic violence is that victims typically refuse to seek punishment out of fear or a misplaced sense of loyalty. Moreover, if something is a crime, then the system should punish it, whether the victim wants the crime punished or not. Anyway, that’s not what bothered me.

What bothered me is when the second video came out. Suddenly, every single one of these idiots who excused Rice before started calling for his head. But what is the justification? It’s not like the video tells us anything new. We knew he punched her. All the video does is add a visceral feel to it. And that is the troubling aspect of this change of heart: criminal decisions should be made on the basis of facts, not visceral response. Indeed, it is bad for society if we judge guilt or innocence on the basis of how viscerally we respond to evidence.

Moreover, if we are to accept the logic that we should not punish Rice because his fiancée has absolved him of guilt, as these people originally accepted, then how does having a video of the punch suddenly change that? What exactly changes just because we can now see the punch that makes us decide to suddenly disregard her views? It strikes me that both positions are emotional conclusions looking for justifications.

Even worse, these hypocrites are now attacking the NFL for botching this situation from the get go. Basically, they blame the NFL for letting this situation get to this point, when the reality is that they happily went along with the decision. This is nothing more than an attempt to shift the blame for their own lack of principle onto the NFL, and that is pathetic.

The NFL: The NFL responded to the new video by suspending Rice indefinitely. The Ravens cut him. I don’t condone Rice by any means, but this too strikes me as wrong. The NFL had all the evidence it needed to reach this decision when it first made its decision to suspend him two games. They gave him a two game suspension. To go back and add to that punishment because of a public backlash is wrong. Is the NFL policy an attempt to dole out justice or to garner public approval? If they are reacting to the public then it’s the latter, and if that’s the case, then it’s a crock.

Moreover, Americans are firm believers in the idea of double jeopardy, even in a non-legal context, and for the NFL to add to a punishment without new evidence of something not previously known violates our sense of fair play, and it certainly makes a mockery of the idea of due process if that process can be disregarded without evidence of previously unknown misbehavior.

As an aside, the NFL is now being attacked for its claim that it never saw this video before because the people who want to excuse their own lack of principle are demanding perfection in hindsight.

The Politicians: Ug. Obama, naturally, had to open his mouth to condemn Rice. This is a man who doesn’t do the things his job requires, yet he can’t seem to stop himself from delving into tabloid issues. Pathetic. Biden spent Tuesday trying to tie this to date rape and the Violence Against Women Act. Talk about exploitive. Why exploitive? Because neither Obama nor Biden said squat until the second video surfaced and this became a public topic. Essentially, they are bandwagoning a lynching.

On the other side, Ben Carson stupidly cautioned us not to “demonize” Ray Rice. Why would he say this? Even if he was right, and I don’t think he is, why open your mouth and imply that conservatives think wife-beaters deserve sympathy? This just plays into the idea that the GOP doesn’t like women, and worst of all, there was zero reason for any conservative to get involved in this.

On Rice Himself: Finally, let me say that it’s pathetic that Rice struck his fiancée and even worse that he punched her. No man should ever do that and he should be beyond ashamed.

Thoughts?

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

If You Can Read This Then...

If you can read this, chances are you did not get your education in the NYC public school system in the last decade. Frankly, I don't understand it. There is a war going on in the NYC school system. Those who want our children to be able to learn the basic skills of being able to read and write proficiently against those who want to use learning to read, write, and basic math skills as a political "mind" field.

In anticipation of the new school year that started today, the NYC Department of Education released the 2013/2014 test scored from the New York State public school system. They were by all account appalling!

Math scores passed grades 3-8 -
Asians - 66.6%
Caucasian - 55%
Black - 18.6%
Hispanic - 23.1%

English scores - passed grades 3-8 -
Asians - 49.5%
Caucasian - 49.4%
Black - 18.1%
Hispanic - 18.3%

These are up from past scores...what??? Am I the only one who sees a huge problem? Now, I don't know what the new Common Core curriculum is suppose to be or what it is supposed to achieve, but what the hell does this mean? And this was supposed to be an improvement!

Here are some other statistics. By the way, these are the scores that our Mayor DiBlasio and the UFT (United Federation of Teachers Union) are fighting their hardest to stop. Success Charter schools founded by Mayor Diblasio's nemesis Eva Moskowitz. I am guessing that they must make the public school system in NYC look bad. You see, poor Black and Hispanic students are not supposed to be able to learn because of their background - poor, minority, deprived etc. But please explain to me how they can do this?

Now, I admit, I am cherry picking*, but...

Success Charter Schools in New York City - same poor, minority demographics; chosen by lottery, not by test scores or any other means other than a parent or guardian took the time to fill out a form to enter the student's name in a lottery:

Math - 93.1% passed
English - 64.5% passed

Demographics -
Black - 59%
Hispanic - 39%
Asians & Caucasian - 2%

Oh, Success Charter schools have a non-Union teaching staff. Explain how any school system would want to hide this. Please explain why any public school system would not want to pick the brains of the founders of this charter school system for how and why they are so successful?

In fairness, all charter schools including union and non-union charter schools -
Citywide Charter School scores with the same demographic:
Math - 43.9%
English - 28.1%

On a related note - The top high school in New York City and the state (and one of the top in the country) - Stuyvesant High School - is on the block. Traditionally, those who are allowed to attend this specialized math/science High School are chosen by test scores. The demographics of this specialized school skew mostly Asian and Caucasian. Not because they are Asian and Caucasian, but because they score the highest on a specialized test. The problem is that very few Black and Hispanics pass this test, so the demographics skew too heavily to Asian and Caucasian students (mostly Asian). Being that we have a new progressive Mayor and new progressive School Chancellor, they see a problem...a demographic problem. The answer - lower the standards to improve the demographics. So, they propose to lower the standards to improve the demographics...at the expense of that other unsung poor, deprived minority demographic that always seems to be left out of the "minority" demographic category - Asian students.

*I admit that I have skewed the statistics to make a point. The overall scores for charters are marginally better than the public school scores. However Success charters schools have 7 of the top 15 schools in all of New York state and have a majority of poor, minority students. My point is why are they being targeted by the Mayor and the school chancellor as bad for NYC and why aren't they working with the founders to find what they are doing right?

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Monday, September 8, 2014

A Cruel Summer for Feminists

by tryanmax
As Andrew noted in a recent article, the Democrats are continuing to push the idea of a Republican War on Women in the midterm elections. Unfortunately for them, feminism has proven to be its own worst enemy over the summer, overplaying its hand at almost every opportunity. In case you missed some of the happenings, here is a rundown:

First, they overplayed the victim card in the wake of the Elliot Rodger killings with the #YesAllWomen hashtag. It was meant as a response Rodger’s rambling manifesto, but the formulation was also a preemptive refutation of the “not all men” argument—as in “not all men are murderous psychopaths”—an argument only a feminist could find fault with. Suddenly, every woman on Twitter was a-feared that any man on the street could be her rapist/murderer. A leer or a catcall became enough to send delicate ladies into hyperventilating panic. But the Twitterverse called bullship on such exaggerated paranoia, forcing #YesAllWomen to grudgingly admit that #NotAllMen are lecherous predators, and outing those who refused for the stubborn man-haters they are.

Shortly after that, the Hobby Lobby decision failed to generate backlash despite the best efforts of HuffPo ,Mother Jones, Ms., Jezebel, Salon, etc. etc. etc. I don't know if it's because the ruling just doesn’t affect that many people, or if folks actually figured out that the decision doesn't actually do what its critics claimed. Far from letting Hobby Lobby off the hook for birth control entirely, the decision only exempts Plan-B type emergency contraceptives and some types of IUDs. Either way, feminists were left making judicial activism claims normally associated with conservatives. They were also boo-hooing that gays have more rights than women now, which seems strangely adversarial toward a group that's never been against them.

The same month, a rather small men’s rights conference was held in Detroit that also failed to catalyze a gender war. In the weeks leading up to the event, feminists predicted a writhing nest of white, straight, Christian and, of course, male bigotry. What actually materialized was a racially, orientationally, religiously, and even gender diverse group that discussed subjects like male joblessness, the education gap, and inequities in family law. Mainstream outlets including TIME that sent reporters to confirm their own expectations were instead forced to report that, even though they don’t like it, the MRAs raise some valid points. Darn it!

Next, Women Against Feminism seized the national spotlight. One could not imagine a more grassroots meme. It began on Tumblr and quickly spread to Facebook and Twitter before being highlighted in the press and on TV. The meme features women who post selfies while holding up notebook pages stating why they don't need feminism. Of course, with any grassroots movement, some of the arguments are trite and provide easy fodder for feminist attacks. However, most of the contributors are quite cogent. A common theme among these women is that they don’t need feminism because of its hostility toward any who disagree with it, an argument which immediately spays feminist attacks by confirming them. Women Against Feminism also puts feminism on its heels by forcing it to run to the dictionary to defend its definition, and standing on semantics is never good footing.

Throughout the summer, the left continued to ignore the DNR order on the debunked wage gap myth by rehashing tired arguments. Reports that millennial women earn at near parity to millennial men suggest that this might not be an issue for younger voters. Meanwhile, recent studies showing that the wage gap widens with age serve to underscore what conservatives have been arguing about lifestyle choices all along.

The end of summer means the start of the new school year. Normally, the walls of academia provide a safe haven for feminist ideology to flourish. But this year is a little different. For years, colleges and universities have been on crackdown mode against men accused of sexual misconduct, thanks in no small part to a media-generated crisis of campus rape. But now outlets such as NPR, LA Times and The Boston Globe are reporting a backlash.

Several men accused of and, in some cases, found responsible for sexual misconduct are suing and winning under Title IX, the same law used against them by their schools, claiming their due process rights were violated by low preponderance-of-the-evidence standards and presumptions of guilt. Numbers are hard to come by, but the sudden frequency of these cases has compelled the media to take notice. The coverage wasn’t able to help but expose flaws in feminist reasoning. One prominent activist in the area, Annie Clark, has been cited describing due process as an obstacle to justice in sexual assault cases. This is not a sentiment that most Americans share.

Meanwhile, some enterprising young women decided to confront college sexual assaults head-on by inventing a date rape drug detecting nail polish. Feminists everywhere rushed to praise the empowering innovation. Just kidding. They were livid, attacking the invention as promoting "rape culture" by putting the onus for rape on women. In other words, they'd rather see more women raped than take steps to protect themselves. But this is nothing new. Feminists always attack suggestions that women display any agency over their own well being.

Correction: The date rape drug detecting nail polish, called Undercover Colors, was actually invented by a group of men at NCSU. Still, this may help explain why the criticism was an order of magnitude above some of the other inventions linked to. After all, how dare a man do anything to help a woman. How patronizing!

The interesting thing about feminism’s bad summer is that it looks a lot like in-fighting. On social media, women have taken on women. On Hobby Lobby, the feminists positioned themselves against gays. In academia, Title IX is pitted against itself. Even the MRA’s keynote speaker was former NOW-NYC board member Warren Farrell whose liberal, if not feminist, credentials remain solidly intact. Conservatives and Republicans have been remarkably absent from gender politics this season. On this day, the War on Women looks like a war from within.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Another Week of Chaos Open Thread

Hmmm, much hasn't really changed since last week. ISIS beheaded another journalist, the Ebola outbreak has spread to another country in Africa (that makes six, so far), and Russia is dabbling in nuclear war games with Ukraine as its test target. Yeah, Putin has been bragging that he could take Kiev in two weeks if he wanted to. The UN would have threatened Russia with more sanctions, but they were just too busy investigating the human-rights abuses in Ferguson, Missouri to see how they could use it against Israel.

Oh, here's something new! We droned a terrorist with great prejudice in Somalia and the Libyan terrorists were having a frat party at our abandoned Embassy compound swimming pool. Oh, did you hear the one about the 10 jetliners that have "disappeared" from the Libyan airport? Yeah, I am guessing someone may "find" them sometime around Thursday, September 11, 2014. Hey, I didn't say "Benghazi" once!

But hey, here's some good news! Obama has not been reported to have played one round of golf this week! That's a new record, right? Well, maybe he should have played a few rounds since his approval rating has now dipped to 39%. Actually it has been reported that there are big signs outside every campaign office of every Democrat running for the federal office that reads "Dear Obama, Please Stay Away". He has been doing a lot of private fund-raising for the DNC in general, but no one is particularly interested in any photo ops with him.

Any comments or reports of more chaos in your area?

UPDATE - I just read that the Democratic candidate just dropped out of the race for US Senate in Kansas against incumbant, three-term Senator Pat Roberts. Kansas is not a real "toss up" state, but it now looks like it may be solidly red.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Good Luck With That!

There are times I shake my head at the Republican Party’s inability to get its act together. But then the Democrats come along and prove that incompetence is a trait both parties share in abundance. What got my attention this weekend was that the Democrats finally put their “strategy” for 2014 on full display, and it’s a laugher. I can't imagine any of it working.

Rather than coming up with a platform that could win over a broad swath of the public, the Democratic plan involves agitating their supporters in the hopes of raising voter turn out among the faithful. That's a legitimate strategy for a low-turnout election like an off-year election. But the Democrats' supporters are demoralized by broken promises and six years of Democratic failure, so they need something rather dramatic to energize them, and this strategy just offers more of the same. Observe:

Attacking the Koch Brothers: The first part of the Democratic strategy involves attacking the Koch Brothers as invading Huns determined to force something unexplained upon the good people of America. Washington Democrats have been attacking the Kochs for a couple years now and ads have been running for months in places like Colorado. These ads accuse the Koch Brothers of trying to steal democracy but never really say how. Unfortunately for the Democrats, outside of pure wonks, no one knows who the Koch Brothers are. So this won't motivate anyone to turn out who wasn't already coming. What's more, Koch Industries has been fighting back by running some nice ads explaining what they’ve done for the state in terms of jobs and progress. This makes the attacks on the Koch brothers sound like paranoia. Further, the one billionaire whose name does seem to be sitting poorly on the public's lips is Michael Bloomberg, who has openly spent tens of millions to push things the public doesn't like, i.e. gun control. All told, this strategy is a failure.

War on Women Redux: As with every other recent election, the Democrats are pushing the idea that the Republicans are trying to turn women into sex slaves by banning abortion and contraception. Essentially, they are running ads accusing every Republican of being far-right religious right, with Debbie Wasserman-Schulz leading the charge on this. Sadly for them, the GOP doesn’t seem to have any Todd Akins this time who will lend credence to this idea. To the contrary, most of the candidates were smeared as mushy moderates in the primaries. In fact, the Colorado candidate is even taking the position that birth control pills should be available without a prescription to reduce the chance of unwanted pregnancy. I doubt the Democratic push will motivate many women, even liberal women.

Race Anger: The Democrats are hoping to push whatever outrage exists about the events in Ferguson to turn out black voters. This is the same strategy they tried with Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012. Unfortunately for them, Obama’s black vote actually fell in 2012 because the Martin thing didn’t resonate, and Ferguson hasn’t resonated either nor will it be remembered by election time. Moreover, Team Obama and the rest have put more effort into whining about the Washington Redskins name than they have in turning Ferguson into an election issue. I doubt this will motivate blacks to turn out in November.

Immigration: The Democrats accuse the Republicans of standing in the way of immigration reform and of racism. The problem here is that they have done nothing themselves to push immigration reform. And having Obama say he was going to do something by executive order, and then letting it be known that he would wait another year (after waiting several years already) sure sounds like a politician playing politics rather than carrying out his promises. With the Republicans shutting up about this issue, there is no open racism to agitate Hispanics to turn out either. All in all, I would be surprised if this turned out any Hispanic voters.

Poor Michael Sam: There doesn’t seem to be a gay strategy this cycle except to talk about Michael Sam. Even the gay marriage stuff seems to have stopped being discussed publicly as the courts have taken over and the advocates have run out of easy states.

Minimum Wage: The Democrats are still pushing the minimum wage issue, even though it has yet to gain any traction anywhere outside of Seattle. Nader and Biden are pushing this one. The problem here, of course, is that only a million or so people would be helped by a raise in the minimum wage (assuming they keep their jobs), whereas tens of millions of working poor will be hurt when prices at places like McDonalds and WalMart go up.

Interestingly, Obama and Biden are both pushing this using the phrase "take back the country." The problem with this is that (1) they have been in charge for six years, and incumbents can't really complain about the country having lost its way, (2) this is a decent populist phrase, except that there is zero substance behind it except the minimum wage stuff, which hardly defines the state of upset-ed-ness with the state of America, and (3) this sounds like a political slogan without anything else behind it.

The “Do Nothing” Congress: Finally, the Democrats (Obama himself actually) continue to push the idea that the GOP has run a “do nothing” Congress. The problem here is that (1) the Senate has done even less and that is run by Democrats, (2) there was no shutdown or implosion that can be pointed to as being caused by the Republicans, and (3) the Democrats haven’t enunciated a platform that was stopped by the Republicans. So the do nothing charge rings hollow. And given that Democratic supporters had a long list of demands and expected those to be pushed hard, which the Democrats did not do, it will be hard to motivate their supporters with this claim.

All in all, this election strategy sounds played out to me. They tried all of this before, but none of it had any traction in 2010 or 2012, so I don't see why it would work in 2014... especially with the Republicans being less stupidly confrontational. And ultimately, I just don't see anything exciting or outrageous enough to bring out their base here.

Thoughts?
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back To Reality...

We at CommentaramaPolitics and our many affiliates hope everyone had a festive and restful Labor Day weekend. Now, it's back to school and back to reality. We have 62 days left before the 2014 Midterm elections. As far as the daily poll numbers are going, it is possible that the Republicans can take over the Senate, but it is just too close to call. Is anything happening in your district that could be earth shattering? Let us know.
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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Film Guide

I've decided to release the film guide. It's called "The Conservative Guide To Films" and it contains a ton of information that will absolutely surprise you, as well as some hopefully insightful discussions of liberal and conservative films. You can buy it at Amazon here: LINK! (Paperback to come.) Enjoy!


***
Hollywood defines modern American culture, and culture defines "normal." It is through our culture that we pass our values and our beliefs from one generation to the next. By shaping our culture, Hollywood influences the way people see the world, how they solve their problems and to whom they look for solutions. It tells people how they should live, how they should act, and what they should believe. It is the parent so many parents are not, and unless conservatives want Hollywood raising a generation of reflexive liberals with no sense of personal responsibility, conservatives need to depoliticize the film industry to re-establish a cultural balance. That's where this book comes in.

"The Conservative Guide To Films" will help you understand what makes a film conservative or liberal. It will help you understand how the two ideologies present themselves and how to spot them. It will debunk a great many liberal boogeymen and it exposes Hollywood liberal hypocrisies. This is a book for anyone with an interest in films, culture, and politics.

Chapter 1: Why Political Messages In Films Matter

Chapter 2: Defining Conservatism & Liberalism

Chapter 3: How To Spot A Film's Ideology

Chapter 4: Conservative Myths: It's Not As Political As You Think
Is The Evil Corporate Villain Really Anti-Capitalist?
Are Missing Parents Anti-Marriage/Anti-Family?
Why Are There No Islamic Terrorists?
Is Gun Violence Anti-Gun?
Is Anti-War Always Anti-Military or Unpatriotic?
Chapter 5: Debunking Liberal Boogeymen
The Bloodthirsty Military
The Evil Businessman
The Republican Lobbyist
The Unreality of Guns
The European/Christian/Military Terrorist
Fascist Capitalists
Japanese Internment
Domestic Violence Demographics
The Southern Death Penalty
Chapter 6: Discussing Liberal Films
In Time (2011)
John Q (2002)
Norma Rae (1979)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
The China Syndrome (1979)
Erin Brockovich (2000)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Battle for Terra (2007)
Avatar (2009)
The Abyss (1989)
The Golden Compass (2007)
Do The Right Thing (1989)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
The Green Mile (1999)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Chapter 7: A Note On Liberal Sucker Punches
Paul (2011)
The Invention of Lying (2009)
Machete (2010)
The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)
Happy Feet (2006) & Happy Feet Two (2011)
The Other Guys (2010)
Source Code (2011) & Flightplan (2005)
Punisher: War Zone (2008)
Chapter 8: A Note On Backfiring Messages
The Guns of Navarone (1961)
Wall Street (1987)
Chapter 9: Discussing Conservative Films
Brazil (1985)
WALL-E (2008)
Rollerball (1975)
The Incredibles (2004)
Gladiator (2000)
Dirty Harry (1971) & Magnum Force (1973)
Blade Runner (1982)
Drumline (2002)
The Blind Side (2009)
Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
Smokey And The Bandit (1977)
Adventures In Babysitting (1987)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Harry Potter (1997-2011)
Chapter 10: Compare And Contrast: Conservative vs. Liberal Films
Dirty Harry (1971) vs. The Star Chamber (1983)
High Noon (1952) vs. Outland (1981)
Platoon (1986) vs. We Were Soldiers (2002)
Apocalypse Now (1979) vs. Apocalypse Now (Redux) (1979/2001)
Star Trek (1966-1969) vs. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
Chapter 11: Hollywood's Liberal Hypocrisy
Anti-Gun Hollywood Promotes Gun Violence
Feminist Hollywood Is Sexist
Hollywood Environmentalism Isn't So Green
Hollywood Racism
Political Correctness Goes Awry
Chapter 12: What Do We Do Now?
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Labor Day...Why?

Monday is Labor Day! A day where we sit by the pool one last time, grill burgers one last time, and take advantage of one more holiday sale. But what is Labor Day all about? No, really what IS it all about?

How is it that no one has demanded that Labor Day be repealed as a national holiday? I mean, liberals should hate it because it makes the unemployed, poor people, and stay-at-home Moms feel bad about themselves. And conservatives should hate it because it is counterproductive to NOT labor and well, it's a Union/Socialist/Communist holiday brought to you by Union/Socialist/Communists in Europe mainly French...GET BACK TO WORK, YOU LAZY SLUGS!

Okay, maybe we can come to a compromise. Let's call it "End of Summer Day". That way we can all be equally sad, but still no Communists! Win-win - Yey!

All kidding aside, have a great Labor Day weekend! Please feel free to rant at will...
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SNL: Obama Is Unparodyable

From the continuing category of how delusional liberals can be, we had a series of articles about Saturday Night Live last week in which they openly spoke about how they hoped to hurt Sarah Palin, how they hated the idea they helped George Bush, how they struggled with parodying Obama, and how they are just comics without bias.

The one that really got me, of all of this, was their discussion of Obama. In particular, check out this quote from SNL producer/writer James Downey:
“If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, 'Degree of difficulty, 10-point-10. It's like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled. . . There's not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature.
This is why Downey wrote his Obama “jokes” as being “about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior.”

Uh. No flaw to hook onto. Really?

Ok, how about this... even when Obama was still a phenomena, the joke about him (a MUCH repeated joke) was about him needing a teleprompter to sound erudite. That’s a HUGE treasure trove of caricature. In fact, when he spoke away from the teleprompter, his speech patterns became dangerously close to being a classic speech impediment. At the very least, he did things they poked fun at Bush and Palin and Clinton and Bush for.

Within weeks of taking office, you had Obama getting flipped the bird by tiny Honduras. How is that not ironic and funny? That’s the mouse that roared. In fact, it’s the mouse that told the Messiah to f-off.

Then suddenly you had Obama moving the Oval Office to local golf courses. He became so out of touch that he even found himself having to ask “whose ass to kick”... a classic “Read my lips” parodyable moment. At the least, his golfing deserved(s) a running skit where he would strip off his suit to reveal golf clothes beneath or hiding golfing gear around the office.

What else? You had him insulting the British by returning gifts and by not telling them he had dumped terrorists in their territory. He gave the queen an iPod with his own speeches on it... talk about arrogant and tacky. His wife went on insanely expensive vacations (I still remember them attacking Nancy Reagan for having expensive tastes). He got ignored at Copenhagen. He sent a ludicrous plastic-prop reset button to Russia. He told a nasty and inappropriate joke about Hillary drunk texting him.

And most importantly, none of this is political. None of this is aimed at his ideology or could be considered a political attack on him. In other words, all of this could be done safely without them having to poke fun at their own beliefs... not that a true “political satirist” as SNL often likes to consider itself would have a problem poking fun at their own beliefs. In fact, if you add that to the mix, you get these things too:
● His frosty relationship with Congressional and Senate Democrats, including his refusal to help them shape Obamacare.

● His failure to close Gitmo or stop torture or stop droning.

● The courts throwing out almost every executive decision he’s made.

● The surge in inequality and poverty.

● The lack of jobs and their attempt to pretend otherwise: “created or saved.”

● More debt than every other president combined.

● Cronyism, zero oversight over Wall Street, “too big to fail” becoming “too even bigger to fail.”
There is a wealth of material here, material that would have been easy fodder had the President been Bush or Bush or Reagan or Romney. Yet, somehow Downey and the others weren’t able to see any of this. Imagine that.

Not coincidentally, Jay Pharaoh, who does the Obama impression now for SNL stated in the article that he wanted to be sure that Obama wasn’t offended by his portrayal (they even dropped a skit that Obama felt was inappropriate). It’s funny how that was never a concern with Republicans. To the contrary, check out this pretty stunning quote from cast member Horatio Sanz...
I always kind of felt bad when Will Ferrell did his Bush impression because he was such a good old boy that you really didn't think, ‘Oh, this evil little rich prick whose dad and his friends got him in office.’ You thought, ‘Oh, he's just a good old guy I'd like to drink beer with.’ As funny as Will's impression was, the audience as a whole, the whole country, would probably see that as, ‘Oh, I like Bush. Because he's Will.’ You know, if Will hadn't done that impression, or at least made him likable, it may have tipped it the other way. I honestly think so. We made up for it. I think Tina's impression basically killed Sarah Palin.”
Bias much?
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Help Me Understand Something...

I just couldn't talk about Al Sharpton and NYC again. It's making me crazy, so please help me understand something. So one of my Facebook "friends" posted this graph from that great bastion of rational thought, Motherjones.com:


So being the curious person that I am, I went to the source thinking that I would find an article that would explain the context of this chart. Uh, no. What I found was just a series of out-of-context charts and graphs that prove pretty much nothing other than the top 1% of income earners are educated professionals (doctors, lawyer, MBA's etc) and earn a lot more than I do. And one category as "not working or deceased" that I really can't explain at all...what?

I digress. So the graph that he published on Facebook was the one above and this is our comment stream:

Me: "All it looks like to me is that by taking more from the top 20%, it just creates more in the bottom 20%..."

Friend's "Friend": "No thats not how that graph works. It's a distribution graph"

Me: Okay, so by distributing the wealth, as is indicated by the bottom graph, it pretty much visually represents that it would create a much larger bottom 20% (aka "poor people") How does that make it better?

Friend's "Friend": [no response]*

What am I missing? My mind is boggled. Frankly, this is a great example of taking something on political faith. We see what we want to see because there is no explanation or context.**

*I get that alot. Or in the alternative, I get "that was a stupid comment. You obviously watch Faux News" for which I respond "Uh, but you didn't tell me WHY it was stupid. Please elaborate." and their retort: [radio silence] - or something along those lines...

**I will be at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament today watching tennis players hit tennis balls and stuff, so I will join in as I can. As always, please feel free to change the subject.
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