Daily Archives: January 11, 2012

“Favorite jam back in the day was ‘Tim Tebow for President'”…

Brooke Jarvis at “Yes Magazine” defies you to “find a stupider op-ed than this one” written by Matthew Dowd, chief strategist for the George Bush re-election campaign in 2004. Journalist Jake Blumgart claims it’s the “stupidest thing” he’s read and possibly “will ever read.” Can it be that bad? Yes, yes it can.

Sunday night, watching Denver quarterback Tim Tebow’s post-game press appearance and President Obama’s interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes, I was struck by the fact that one man is offering his team (and the country actually) the leadership they need while the other is trapped in traditional discourse and scoring political points.

It’s amazing how the lineup on your TV can inspire you. I happened to be watching “Transformers: The Movie” (the only one, thank you very much) when President Obama was on “60 Minutes,” so I was struck by the fact that one sentient robot is offering his fellow Autobots (and the country actually) the leadership they need while the other is trapped in the real world with real problems that can’t be solved by scoring a touchdown. Also, Obama deals with less honorable and rational Decepticons.

Do I buy into some intervention by God because Tebow is a man of incredible religious faith? No.  I do believe there is a divine presence in every one of us and in every thing, and the power of that presence remains a mystery of the ages.  It can’t be proven or disproven by an intellectual conversation or scientific method, but it is hard not to accept if you are a person of faith and connection to something outside our mere humanity.  Yet that is not what this Denver rise and winning streak is about.

Actually, I suspect that Tim Tebow plays so well because of a deal he made with the Devil in order to prevent the Yankees from winning the World Series (yes, I know he’s not playing baseball, but you can’t really trust the Devil). I stand by my half-assed theory because it also can’t be disproven by “intellectual conversation or scientific method.”

Take a look at Obama’s latest interview.  It does not make you feel better about where we are heading.  You don’t feel like we are going to win under his leadership.  He points fingers and refuses to admit his own mistakes or weaknesses.  I often wonder where is the Barack Obama of the 2007 and 2008 campaign.  That Obama was much more like the leader we need at this time.  He offered hope, he had soaring rhetoric, he offered a change from the bitter politics in Washington, and he made us feel we could win.

Yes, whatever happened to that nice, sweet, innocent Carrie White after those girls dumped pig’s blood on her? Why do so many on the right expect Obama to remain some clueless Candide regardless of what happens? But hey, it’s not about who’s right or wrong. A real leader should “admit his own mistakes or weaknesses.”

Yep, Obama, the arrogant socialist, is a stark contrast to Dowd’s former boss George W. Bush.

Tebow is the kind of leader for his football team that our country needs at this crucial moment in history.  Yes, the Denver Broncos streak will probably end, and the odds are a team like the Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl.  But no matter the outcome, Tebow has shown what faith, and confidence and humility can do for a team of limited skills that was losing consistently before. This is exactly what President Franklin Roosevelt and President Reagan understood about leadership.

Roosevelt and Reagan understood… failure? Should that be Obama’s speech at the Democratic Convention this summer? “No matter the outcome, I will demonstrate what faith, and confidence and humility can do for a country of limited skills that was losing consistently before. Or I could just release poison gas into the atmosphere and we could all die in our sleep. Give it some thought. I know where I’m leaning but I don’t want to pressure you. Well, actually, you probably wanna go with the gas. I mean, really, life’s terrible.”

This economy, and our country, do not need more programs out of Washington, D.C., or legislation from Congress, or tax cuts for the wealthy, or more spending on government stimulus.  What citizens and businesses need is a leader who can raise us all up to a level we didn’t know we had in us, give us confidence in ourselves, give us a common goal to work toward, and make us believe in and have faith in ourselves again.

Yes, this country needs… the Music Man!

The President or Congress doesn’t need to actually do anything. Much like Superman, the President should not “interfere in human history” but rather his “leadership” will inspire us to fix everything. Clearly, all the country needs is the proper motivation to not go bankrupt. This doesn’t appear that time-consuming, so maybe Tebow could do this while maintaining his secret identity as a highly paid quarterback for a great not-so-metropolitan sports franchise.

The only potential kink is that Tebow is not Constitutionally eligible to run for president, as he’s not yet 35 years old. However, no one seemed to object to a head of lettuce from Minnesota running for the highest office in the land, so Tebow might be able to waive out of this requirement.


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Libertarianism’s finite definition of “liberty”…

Ron Paul’s presidential campaign has put his libertarianism philosophy in the spotlight and led to some healthy debate regarding its actual effectiveness as policy. By definition, it claims to hold individual liberty as the “basic moral principle in society” but yet Paul has expressed his repudiation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on the basis of preserving rights of property owners, which is arguably a version of the same reasoning that led to the Civil War

OK, Paul is pro-life, so presumably he’d oppose slavery because of the act of aggression against a living being.

Or not:

Sure, Paul is opposed to slavery but is cavalier — in the libertarian style — regarding ending it. He bemoans the loss of 600,000 Americans during the war. According to the 1860 census, there were 3,950,528 slaves. Slavery is a living death — in the sense that you work for free until you die and with minimum coffee breaks.

The proposal of the U.S. “buying out” slaves from the South would violate Paul’s respect for property ownership by compelling slaveowners to sell their property. That would be a terrible precedent unless it’s based in the logic that slaves aren’t property. If that’s the case, then why are you paying slaveowners for them? The slaves would still receive nothing for their years of free labor, but their owners would essentially get ransom money. Lincoln could have dropped off the briefcase containing the unmarked bills in a deserted alley in Montgomery, Alabama.

Paul seems to forget that the entire Southern economy was based on slave labor. If I paid you $1 million for your entire labor force, which worked for free, you would still need to replace them and with people who’d expect wages. It wouldn’t take long for you to go bankrupt. The South would never agree to this. Though maybe they would be forward thinking and accept the terms, as the freed slaves would have nowhere to go and would conceivably wind up working for them for ridiculously low pay. The plantation owners might even be so kind as to rent them their old quarters back at ridiculously high rates. So, essentially, slaves in all but name. Everyone’s happy!

Come on, Paul, your philosophy can’t be this awful.

Let’s go back to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Segregation and racial discrimination in this country made life almost unbearable for blacks. Surely, Paul recognized this and believed the government needed to resolve it to protect individual rights?

Or not:

Chris Matthews and Ron Paul together are hard to understand but here’s what I gather: Paul believes it’s fine for private businesses to racially discriminate — even though such behavior is an expression of collectivism, which he claims to reject. He seems to live in an alternate reality where the racial discrimination Matthews describes (“whites only” at a laundromat and at a local bar) wasn’t effective. The “free market” would not have ended segregation and racial discrimination in the U.S.

For good or for ill, people are greatly influenced by social and legal convention. If racial discrimination is unlawful, then only a few fanatics would risk their own liberty by violating the law. The illegality of racial discrimination then makes it socially unacceptable, which results in significant alteration of behavior among the mainstream.

It’s one thing if we were talking about how to maintain individual rights in a country without racist, sexist, homophobic baggage. It’s quite another if we’re talking about the United States, which has so much of this baggage, even the largest plane would have trouble taking off with it all. It’s not enough to stop beating someone with a tire iron. You can’t just shake hands, suggest a game of touch football, and then expect a fair result.

I’ve only been to 1955 briefly after an incident in which I was escaping Libyans but Paul lived through it. He is either fooling himself or us if he does not acknowledge that not only was segregation the law of the land, it was a social norm. Businesses in the south that did not serve blacks would not have “gone out of business,” as he speculated. Quite the reverse: It would have been the businesses that dared serve blacks that would have faced financial repercussions.

Oh well, my father might have been sober and dirty in Paul’s libertarian utopia of the 1960s, but at least the rights of property owners are upheld. Those with power (“property”) can wield it however they choose over those without power (“property”). In essence, there are no individual rights because you only have the freedom that comes from the property you own.

When Dr. Paul prescribes the “free market” as a cure, he is promoting collectivism, which he claims to reject. If a restaurant won’t serve blacks, then they should have the right to do so and the individual has the right to go someplace else. Your “right” to eat in a restaurant or rent a hotel room regardless of your race is now based on the “free market” and whether the collective agrees. The individual is now Blanche Dubois dependent on the kindness of strangers who are willing to sacrifice their own meals or accomodations on her behalf.

Let’s see how Paul does with women’s rights. If he’s for individual rights, he certainly would oppose businesses treating women in a less than professsional manner based solely on their gender.

Or not:

Paul’s statements on sexual harassment are more of the same: Women are free to choose to leave an “environment” they don’t like. He doesn’t recognize that this is a burden that would fall on women more often than men, which would limit their careers greatly. No, he seems to think a woman not wanting to work in some “Mad Men” office where her male colleagues make offensive comments is about as frivolous a decision as her not wanting to work someplace that didn’t have Flavia coffee machines. He is at least against the workplace turning into the bar from “The Accused,” which is generous of him, I suppose.

Racial discrimination and sexual harassment are both crimes of collectivism — treating a person as an extension of a group rather than an individual. If Paul supports “individual rights,” then he would support laws that prevent this type of collectivist behavior. However, he always supports “property” rights — the rights of the powerful — first. If the government does not exist to protect individual rights, then it serves no viable function. The powerful don’t need help unless the actual goal is to make it easier for them to score a touchdown after beating you with a tire iron.


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The End of Discourse…

Our clips of today — not that I really do clips of the day — are appearances in the late ’70s by Ayn Rand on the Phil Donahue and Tom Snyder shows. Phil is still with us. Tom is not, unfortunately. Both were good conversationalists, as they actually listened to what their guests had to say and asked challenging but not contentious questions. I don’t agree with most of what Rand or even Donahue believe, but it’s fascinating to see people with such divergent perspectives have a cordial and engaging discussion. Those days are behind us, and we are the worst for it.



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