Google, Haiti, and Taxachusetts

Saturday, January 23, 2010

There have been so many juicy topics to cover, it’s been difficult to keep away. Every time I’m moved to write, though, I really have something else to do or simply don’t want to devote the time to it. That said, here is, in summary, how to think about the following issues:

Google/China: Yes, if Google was #1 in China this wouldn’t have happened, but they’re not and it did. As a result, this is one of the great humanitarian corporate moves of all time. Perhaps the greatest (there’s not a lot of competition, I’m guessing). Google should follow through and close their business there. As arguably the most important corporation in the world, the move will properly shame China and the many companies that remain in that authoritarian country. Here’s a question that any one doing business there should ask: Would I want to live here?

Haiti: Nothing to do in the aftermath but help. In the long term, I’m with David Brooks and Bret Stephenson. Let’s stop giving money to countries “in need.” It does nothing, and may actively do harm. It’s difficult, because it is human nature to try to help fellow humans in need, but it’s also the right thing to do. Certainly, what the first world has been doing for decades has not worked.

Taxachusetts: I would have voted for Scott Brown too. Seriously. I would have voted for a cardboard cutout against Coakley. Although she was inept, I would have done it to send the message. I have said, many times, that if Obama and this Congress can’t get it done, then there is no hope for us. Year one has been an epic, unmitigated failure. Iraq, Afghanistan, secrecy, deficit spending, bank coddling, and worst of all, the healthcare nightmare. I blame Obama for not using his robust post-election strength to strong arm Pelosi (failure) and Reid (failure) immediately. Weak, poorly managed, pathetic. Obama, where are your balls? It’s time to lead.

And, btw, why do you need the 60 votes? Make an exceptional bill and let the GOP filibuster. Call their bluff. If they do it, and the bill dies, you hang it around their neck. Now, the bill dies, and it’s a Dem failure. Disgraceful.

(But then there would be no healthcare bill, someone wails. So fucking what? Paul Krugman can cry to his cats. This is not the most pressing issue in America. Budget restraint, financial reform, and confiscatory, punitive taxes on very wealth bankers, should be the priority. Followed by a 10% spending cut across the entire government, no exceptions.

We are going to have to suffer, period. Let us start suffering already so we have a shot at not fucking our children.)

The bottom line for me, in all this, is that I have really given up hope. I don’t believe our Congress (and the state legislatures) are capable of introducing the change (ethics, responsible spending) that is necessary.

Something very, very bad is going to happen in the next ten or twenty years. War with China, epic depression/inflation/default, or, in the best case scenario, a benevolent military coup (and a draft) that reforms the government in a way that makes it possible for America to function properly.

David Petraeus, are you out there? Rome needs you. Cross the Rubicon. Cast the die!

P.S. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Nevertheless, letting it stand.


Paternity Rights: Losing Fatherhood

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I can’t believe how angry I am over this. Just finished an article in the NY Times magazine about cuckolded men raising children who are not their own. The article, Who Knew I Was Not the Father?, written by an adjunct professor at Columbia, is almost completely unsympathetic to the plight of men who have raised children to whom that have no genetic tie.

I am incensed. Livid. Apoplectic. The article cites several men who have sought to stop child support upon finding out only to be shot down by the courts in the interest of the child.

In the main case, the biological father is married (years later) to the mother and has no legal support obligations for his child. The cuckolded man does. It’s a bloody outrage.

Not once, in the entire article, does this hack take issue with the duplicity of the mother, the person solely responsible for the fraud, and the person (w/ the biological father) who should be entirely responsible for the financial support of the child. Where is that article? What kind of person does this to a man and, more importantly, to a child? Does this reflect upon her qualifications to be a parent? Shouldn’t these women be stripped of their children?

The answer, it seems, is no. Because it will upset the child. The author cites a lobbyist (now fighting against these women), who abandoned his child and won the right to have no financial obligations. She makes him sound like a monster. She quotes his young adult “daughter” as confused and damaged and mentions the suffering she endured because her “father” abandoned her.

WHAT ABOUT THE FUCKING MOTHER?

She’s not even mentioned. And, one presumes, the daughter doesn’t blame her.

Some advocates now suggest that there be mandatory paternity tests for all fathers at birth to avoid this problem. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. The entire tone of the article suggests a kind of mystification as to why these men would be so upset about this.

Really?

I mean, really?

P.S. On a related note, as I have written before, men should have the right to opt out of financial support for a child during the same time period that a woman can choose to abort the fetus. Figure out for yourself why this is fair and just.


Eric Holder: Waterboarding is Torture

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Leahy’s first question about waterboarding.

Holder was very clear. Yes, waterboarding is torture.

It’s going to be interesting to hear his take on prosecutions against the Bush administration.

CNN and CSpan have it.


Leon Panetta at CIA

Monday, January 5, 2009

I’m trusting that there is some reasonable underlying motivation for this pick, but on the surface it’s just…weird.

Then again, maybe not. If Panetta really is a strong manager, an outsider may be just what the CIA needs to get it’s shit straight after the embarrassment of the Tenet years. Those guys should withhold judgment until Panetta gets the job.

Nevertheless, he has no experience going into, what seems to be, a job that strongly resists outsiders.

Right now, just have to give Obama the benefit of the doubt.


Pastor Rick Hearts Homosexuals

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Of course this is an unfortunate choice. The man in question, Rick Warren, is a charlatan and liar who trades in snake oil. Why gays would be upset that he has anti-homosexual views is beyond me. What would you expect?

His business is based on a mythology that is thousands of years old and reflects the primitive culture and beliefs of that time. Instead of worrying about changing an archaic system of lies, a better bet would be to ignore the system altogether. Jesus doesn’t love you because Jesus doesn’t exist.

Neither does the Hebrew God. Or the Virgin birth. Or literally anything of putative divinity found in the Bible. These are primitive beliefs and rituals for primitive people.

The bigger question for me is when will we have an inauguration that doesn’t require an invocation of sacred lies. On that day, it’s likely that homosexuals – along with everyone else – will have advanced beyond a level of atavism that will be worthy of admiration.

That is the day all of us should fight for.


Bush in China

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Beijing Olympics have been a human rights disaster in China. There has been a nationwide crackdown on dissidents and a marked uptick in surveillance and propaganda. Ellen Bork from Freedom House writes about it today in the Wall Street Journal.

China’s diligent focus on censoring anything unsavory to its Communist rulers as the Olympics approaches has had an unintended ironic effect. The world is watching as this crackdown unfolds. Everyday in the paper, on blogs, and on websites, we see new stories of China’s trampling on the rights of its people. This shining of light, Bush’s remarks in Thailand

America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists. We press for openness and justice not to impose our beliefs, but to allow the Chinese people to express theirs.

…and the unavoidable context that must complement any story about the Olympics under this repressive regime, can only help. So, perhaps, the silver lining to the cloud that hovers over Beijing (no pun intended), is that we are all paying attention, and the Chinese know that we do not approve. A cultural meme is setting in. And, in time, ideas give flower to change. I quote Bush again:

Change in China will arrive on its own terms and in keeping with its own history and its own traditions. Yet change will arrive. And it will be clear for all to see that those who aspire to speak their conscience and worship their God are no threat to the future of China. They’re the people who will make China a great nation in the 21st century.

Let us hope that Bush will continue to press this issue. Write him here to let him know you want him to.

P.S. Here’s a harrowing report from Amnesty International on China’s human rights situation.


Charting Bush’s Crimes

Friday, July 25, 2008

Check out this great interactive graphic on Slate. You can rollover the crimes or the names of the officials involved for a snapshot look at the illegal activities of the Bush administration. This is a basic dossier for understanding how our criminal justice system has failed America to date.

These are real crimes by real criminals. Real laws were broken. Contact your representatives and let them know you care.