Upworthy – My kind of lefties

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I spend a lot of time bashing the left here, and wherever else.  Even in the classroom I have a more academic, objective approach to critiquing the mainstream left.  With that said, most of my harshest criticisms of the mainstream left (intolerance, suppressive of religious freedom, inconsistent on free speech, race-bating, etc.) are simply inapplicable to this group called “Upworthy”.  I am connected to them through facebook, and they have their own website (www.upworthy.com ).

They usually upload short videos, emails, or social media posts, and comment on them.  Their perspective is best described as liberal, left of center, etc.  They focus heavily on gay’s rights (or should I go with the more pc “LGBT”?).  The last few videos I’ve read have impressed me particularly and convinced me that these lefties are alright.  One was of a lesbian, I think comedian, telling a story of when she was confronted by a little girl with the question “are you a boy or a girl?”  She responded on that little girl’s level, with reason and civility.  I then read a facebook post by a Christian lady who explained how she as a Christian can celebrate all love…you get the idea.  Your typical militant lefty would use that as an opportunity to agitate with comments like, “but yer a Christian, and yer Bible says gays are supposed to be stoned to death.  So you have to believe that or yer a hypocrite!”  Upworthy, on the other hand, was happy to listen to this Christian’s perspective with an open mind, free of judgment.

The last one I saw really won me over.  ABC has a series apparently called “What would you do?”, where they have actors engage in social experiments.  In this segment, there was an Islamic deli employee, and an Islamaphobic customer.  The customer was making horrible slurs and accusing the deli employee of being a terrorist.  Multiple regular customers (the test subjects) stood up for the deli worker.  Thank you Upworthy for having the courage and moral consistency to stand up for Muslims in this country!  I sadly see many on the left selling out their principles to fit in with the Faux News crowd, with comments like, “Muslims oppress women”, and “Well I admit that Muslims are much worse than other religious groups…at least Christians don’t blow up buildings.”  Bill Mayer, one of the most disgusting individuals in mainstream media, has gone this route, and he has the audacity to call himself “libertarian”!  Fortunately, Upworthy is better than that.  In America today, Muslims have become the group for whom it is “OK” to be bigoted against.  Anyone can stand up for gay’s rights – that’s cool now.  But to stand up for Muslims in America, that takes courage.  Just as it took courage to stand up for gays in say, the 1950s, or women’s voting rights in the 19th century.

Even though I’m singing their praises right now, I certainly don’t agree with them all the time, and that’s fine.  They are more PC than I would like, but hey, I did state that they’re left of center didn’t I?  What’s important is having a rational dialogue on these issues between those of us who are past the paradigm (no longer defined so easily by “left” or “right”).  I wish there were more left of center groups that don’t mirror the pseudo-liberal bigotry from their ministry of truth headquarters (AKA MSNBC).  Well, this is one I can recommend.  Check them out!

The lesbian and the 4 year old:

https://www.upworthy.com/a-4-year-old-girl-asked-a-lesbian-if-shes-a-boy-she-responded-the-awesomest-way-possible?c=ufb2

The open-minded Christian, and open-minded libs at Upworthy:

http://www.upworthy.com/a-christian-girl-stood-up-to-anti-gay-church-goers-with-a-sharp-comment-on-facebook-2?c=ufb1

The social experiment with Islam and prejudice:

http://www.upworthy.com/a-boy-makes-anti-muslim-comments-in-front-of-an-american-soldier-the-soldiers-reply-priceless

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This is a Martini!

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Why is it that when I order a martini, the question that inevitably follows is – “What kind?”  I remember watching a sitcom and hearing a bartender character say “I invented a new martini!”  NO!  You don’t invent a new martini!  This is not a daiquiri that can be enjoyed in many flavors.  This is a martini!

For those who don’t know what a martini is anymore, I will explain it.  A martini is a drink of mostly gin, a little vermouth, and green olives.  The gin and vermouth are poured into a very cold bar shaker, maybe with an ice cube (no more, you don’t want to water it down).  It is shaken, not stirred (as the old saying goes) and poured into a martini glass.  Then 1 or more green olives are added either on a toothpick or a rosemary sprig (or one of those little plastic swords).  Some people like a little more vermouth.  Some like it dry, with just the tiniest drop.  Some like it “dirty”, which includes a little olive juice.  If someone orders a martini, with no other details requested, that means a classic mostly gin, a little vermouth, and 2 green olives.  If someone wants any of the slight variations I’ve mentioned, they can specify that.  Otherwise, stick with the classic.

But I know that when the bartender asks – “What kind?” – he/she is not merely asking how much vermouth.  I see menus with “apple martinis”, “chocolate martinis”, and I see vodka in place of gin.  These are NOT martinis.  If you want to call it that, then I guess I can’t stop you.  But I shouldn’t have to specify that I want a real martini just because bars and restaurants have decided to corrupt this wonderful classic.  Sadly, we live in a world of “appletinis”, “encheritos”, brand new jeans with holes and tears in them to look ragged, and tee-shirts in church.  (And don’t get me started on the obnoxious music.)  So I must accept that when I order a martini, I’ll have to explain each time exactly what is a martini.

Kruman’s Old Time Straw Man

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Paul Krugman, that Keynesian dinosaur whose reassembled fossils can be viewed at the New York Times, delivers a plethora of straw men against the tea party and Paul Ryan.  Sure, he had some solid points about GOP hypocrisy on Medicare, but Krugman has plenty of contradictions of his own.

Early in, he subtly suggests that Paul Ryan may have stricken a racial nerve with his comment “culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working”.  At no point did Ryan mention race, but that didn’t stop Krugman from slowly drawing the race card.  Unlike the shameless race baters on MSNBC, Krugman held back and started to remove the race card with this statement – “Just to be clear, there’s no evidence that Mr. Ryan is personally a racist, and his dog-whistle may not even have been deliberate.”  But that was simply part of Krugman’s deception.  He wants the reader, including me, to let his guard down.  I certainly did.  I thought, “Well, I’m glad Krugman has the decency not to turn every statement from the GOP into a race slur.”

Boy was I wrong!  Krugman was just getting me right where he wanted me – at ease, with a little respect for a column from one I generally disagree with.  Well, civil disagreement is not Krugman’s style.  Civil disagreement is for those who have a position that can stand on its own merits, not for a tired Keynesian race-bater stuck in the 1970s.  Just when I thought Krugman was being reasonable, he had this to say – “And Mr. Ryan’s black-men-don’t-want-to-work theory of poverty is decades out of date.”  Oh, so despite admitting that there is no evidence that Ryan is a racist, and despite admitting that he may have had no idea that what he said could be interpreted as racist, Krugman went on to accuse him of a racist position anyway.  Seriously Krugman?!

If that’s not bad enough, he horribly misrepresented the Tea Party movement.

“The Tea Party in particular, oppose handouts because they believe in personal responsibility, in a society in which people must bear the consequences of their actions. Yet it’s hard to find angry Tea Party denunciations of huge Wall Street bailouts, of huge bonuses paid to executives who were saved from disaster by government backing and guarantees.”

I have seen some corporate stooge versions of the Tea Party, but the proper Tea Party is more opposed to corporate welfare than they are to welfare for the poor and middle class.  The early Tea Party demonstrations, pre-dating the Santelli rant of 2009, were in opposition to Bush’s bailouts of the big banks, which led to TARP.  I’ll post a link below to one off the early Tea Party demonstrations.  It was a Ron Paul rally, and you’ll be able to see several crates, labelled with policies they oppose.  Included in these are the bailouts.  Either Krugman has been watching too much MSNBC, or he is just being dishonest.

News coverage of some of the early Tea Party rallies:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bNiDx7qTjA

Krugman’s Oped:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/opinion/krugman-that-old-time-whistle.html?hp&rref=opinion

What’s the deal with clubbing?

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What’s the deal with clubbing?  Crowded, dark places with loud music, dingy atmospheres, overpriced drinks, and rude bouncers…why would anyone want to go through that?  Why would anyone want to go anywhere where they aren’t wanted?  Yet so many people clearly do.  There are lines of people desperate to get into these hell holes and find themselves barely able to move as they are packed like sardines in a can.  Maybe part of the problem is that I don’t dance.  But I don’t’ understand how anyone can dance in that environment.  There’s no room!  I just don’t get it.

In my early twenties, as an undergrad in Florida, I never did the “club scene”.  Then I moved to London to earn my Master’s.  I had no interest in the club scene there either, but I did want to make friends.  The new friends I was making loved to go clubbing, so I tagged along.  I don’t think I ever went to a club with them and thought, “Gee, I’d sure like to go there again”.  Don’t get me wrong, they were good company, and I have happy memories of them.  But unless they were going, I saw no reason why I should subject myself to that.  I actually had a lot more fun with our little “after-parties” back in the student hall, where we’d all just hang around sharing drinks and joking around.  I also enjoyed our breakfasts at lunchtime the next day.

Since coming back from London, I have not gone clubbing, and don’t miss it at all.  I don’t regret it, because at least I experienced it and learned something about myself – I hate crowds.  When I first met my wife, one of our first dates included the Jacksonville Landing.  We sat on the balcony, looking down at most of the people.  We had our own little spot there, virtually undisturbed.  We talked about the people below, predicted their conversations, and just relaxed.  To me, that is a good time.  It’s a much better time than being cramp with people I barely know.  More importantly, she and I were able to start getting to know each other.  How is that possible in a crowded club so loud that you have to scream your drink order into the bartender’s ear just so that she can barely hear you?

The only thing I can figure, and I know this should be obvious, is that people go clubbing looking for a hookup.  Why not?  You can see their bodies, see them dancing, there’s alcohol, and no opportunity for anything more than a raw physical attraction.  Personally I don’t get in the mood by being in a loud crowded place, and likely sweating from all the body heat, but that’s just me.  If you like clubbing and want to make your case, by all means leave a comment.  I’m just speaking for myself.

Feminism for Conservatives

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CPAC’s panel “Why Conservatism is Right for Women: How Conservatives Should Talk About Life, Prosperity & National Security” was onto something.  They discussed the disgusting tactics of the Democratic Party, and how they as conservatives could better empower women.  I didn’t care for their partisan rhetoric, i.e. “we Republicans” and “those Democrats”, as most Republicans are not genuine conservatives.  Nonetheless, they are moving in the right direction, but currently fall short.  Leah Libresco in “The American Conservative” noticed this, and did a decent job of critiquing the shortcomings of this panel.  The conclusion in Libresco’s article was so very close, but even Libresco is missing something.

There was a time when feminists were level-headed, enlightened, and erudite.  They eloquently stated their positions and reasoned them well.  First it was education equality, then the right to own property, vote, and run for office.  Then they continued to push for the right to work, and then pursue careers on the level playing field with men.  Much like the civil rights advocates of the 50s and 60s, justice was on their side and slowly but surely they won the respect of society and in so doing transformed it.

Not so of today’s “feminists”.  During the 1960s, the Democratic Party was making a radical shift leftward and they quickly realized that they could lock in large pockets of voters by victimizing them.  For women, they appeal to them largely by promising more healthcare, more laws and regulations to ensure “equal pay”, more abortions, and then rail against the idea that men should make laws affecting women’s bodies.  This rhetoric has become increasingly hyperbolic, partisan, and hypocritical.  (I will post a link to an Anderson Cooper interview below where he exposes some of this hypocrisy).  But in short, an increasingly small and radical wing of “feminists” vote Democrat like their lady parts depend on it.  It has become condescending.  Women are treated like their pretty little heads can’t understand taxes, welfare, foreign policy, infrastructure, and other major political issues.

I have this misogynist, chauvinist, caveman view that woman are rational, thinking, complex human beings.  I do not view women as sex objects to be exploited for votes, nor would I ever think to demean them by treating them as though all they care about is abortion, birth control, and some big bad government to give them stuff like a good cave man provider.  Women are just as capable as men of making decisions, forming opinions about a wide range of topics, and carefully considering the choices of candidates in an election.  The only victims I see are the ones who allow the left to convince them that they are, indeed victims.  There is a small portion of women who will not be convinced.  This small portion loves their version of “liberation”.  They are liberated from self-control.  They are liberated from personal responsibility.  And they are liberated from having to think for themselves.  They have a collectivist “feminist” machine to tell them how to think.

Fortunately, most women know that they are capable of more than being the subsidized sex objects of men who demean them, thanks to those early feminist pioneers.  They have access to education, the right to pursue careers, vote, run for office, and own property.  Furthermore, as this country largely allows guns, they have the right to protect themselves.  They are empowered.  If conservatives want to win women over, this is what must be emphasized.  Conservatives win when they learn to be positive – it worked for Reagan.  Simply bashing the left for victimizing women will not be enough.  Conservatives need to show that they value the early feminist principles espoused by the likes of Mary Wollstonecraft and Susan B. Anthony.  Conservatives should actually embrace the label “feminist”, and show how the left has wrecked the name of feminism.  When conservatives emphasize that they empower women, and truly value them for more than sex and votes, they will make a convincing case for their new found feminist credentials, and they will win over a large portion of self respecting, empowered women.

Original Article:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/gop-needs-a-better-story-for-women/comment-page-1/#comment-4618188

Anderson Cooper’s interview, exposing leftist hypocrisy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFRNXBADEl0

Julie Borowski’s satire of Lena Dunham:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAkdHzpXXo0

Lindsey Graham’s Syria deception on Crossfire

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Either Lindsey Graham is deceiving the American people, or he is an idiot.  I don’t think Graham is an idiot.  Today on CNN’s Crossfire, as he spoke of the need to remove the Assad regime in Syria, he also warned about the growing number of Al Qaeda.  He said there are “26,000 Al Qaeda” combatants in Syria now, there were “500 three years ago”.  Then he added that “there will be 40,000 a year from now”*.

For those of you who don’t already see it, let me spell it out for you.  In Syria, the Assad regime IS NOT Al Qaeda, IS NOT supporting Al Qaeda, but is actually fighting Al Qaeda.  So if Al Qaeda’s growth in Syria is the problem, why should our solution be to take out Assad, who is an opponent of Al Qaeda?!  That would be like if we had tried to win WWII by attacking the Soviet Union!  Graham is not an idiot, but the people who vote for him?  You know the type.  “Why do you hate Uh’mer’ca?!”  Yeah, that type.  To them, all brown people look alike.  They can’t tell Al Qaeda from Assad, from a Hindu!  Graham is counting on that.  He knows that the average neoconned viewer from his constituency will hear this and think, “Well we gotta do somethin’!  We can’t let Al Qaeda keep growin’.  So let’s go blow us up some Moslems!”

Let me set the record straight.  If we take out Assad, we’re doing Al Qaeda a favor.  So my last question, and I’m going to leave this open, is why does Lindsey Graham want to take action that will help Al Qaeda?

*I was careful to only put in quotes what I am sure are Graham’s exact words.  Feel free to look up the Crossfire for 3/6/2014 if you want to double check and ensure that I didn’t quote him out of context.  I forgot the DVR it, so I wasn’t able to rewind and get the full quote.

Do unto Putin…

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Putin has clearly over-extended into the Ukraine, and if he doesn’t realize it yet, he will soon enough.  Russia remains powerful, but they are not the super power they once were.  I’ve argued with many a neocon that Russia is no significant threat to us today.   My argument does not rest on an assumption of Russian weakness, however, as I know they are still powerful.  My argument rests on a realistic understanding of self-interest and power politics.  Russia has nothing to gain from conflict with US, and if anything, they could be a valuable ally against a rising China (assuming China recovers from recent financial woes).  But at the moment, they are flexing their military might in neighboring Ukraine, an important western ally in balancing out Russia’s power.  We can’t stand by and let this happen, because a Russian dominated Ukraine would shift the balance of power unfavorably for US.

Recent threats of sanctions and possibly removing Russia from the G8 summit are probably our best bet.  I am not a fan of long term sanctions against third world dictators, as such sanctions normally oppress the people of those countries while only cementing the power of the dictator.  Putin, however, is not a third world dictator.  He is a powerful president, clearly, but he has abided by Russia’s constitution.  Putin is also wise enough to know the mistake he has made here, and he will probably want a face-saving way out soon enough.  This brings me to my main point of this entry.

Not too long ago, pushed by the cacophony of neocons, Obama nearly over-extended us into Syria.  We nearly made a terrible mistake, as we were close to aiding the “Free Syrian Army” against the government of Syria (which is backed by Putin).  This “Free Syrian Army” is not the only force standing against the government – Al Qaeda is also.  By helping the “Free Syrian Army”, we would have indirectly aided Al Qaeda as well.  Neocons love to shoot first and aim later, however.  Once Obama took enough time to aim, he realized the big mistake we were about to make.  Of course, he never admitted to how close we were to actually helping Al Qaeda.  Instead, he wanted to pretend that we had accomplished something.  Our official reason for being involved was to stop the Syrian government from using chemical weapons, and if we were to stand down without egg on our face, something had to be done about those weapons.  Fortunately, Putin came in and made an agreement with the Syrian government that they would follow a schedule to decommission their chemical weapons.  We then stood down, and Obama was able to give one of his empty “victory” speeches.  The neocons still want conflict with Syria, and are so desperate to get their war fix that they attempted to pass new sanctions on Syria, which would have violated our end of the agreement.  Fortunately, the neocons are no longer powerful enough to fear-monger and red-bate us into more pointless wars, and their efforts have failed.

No matter how Obama spins it, the truth is that Putin saved our butts, and we should return the favor when the time comes.  I’d recommend that Obama be prepared to meet with Putin, and discuss how Russia can stand down from the Ukraine without public embarrassment.  Russia’s official interest in the Ukraine is the well-being of Russian nationals who live there, so any agreement must ensure their protection.  It will be good for US, good for Russia, and good for our western European allies.  The big loser?  Why the neocons of course!  This is why the neocons will loudly beat their war drums over the next few weeks.  I think, however, that Putin will see his error, and Obama will be happy to return the favor from Syria (mostly to spite the neocons and other chicken-hawks in Congress).