Let us explore our dark and twisted collective psyches.
(Check as many as apply to you.)
Let us explore our dark and twisted collective psyches.
(Check as many as apply to you.)
This is what happens when Obama ventures outside his Potemkin bubble of sycophants:
President Barack Obama faced a tough crowd on Tuesday – American military veterans – and fell flat on his applause lines as he failed to win over the American Legion’s convention-goers.
His 35-minute speech seemed to have reminded the audience of the stark divide between the White House’s policy choices and the feelings of the men and women often called on to carry them out.
A Virginia legionnaire who served in the U.S. Marine Corps told MailOnline that ‘a small group of Obama’s admirers – and there are some here – sat near the front and tried to generate applause for him about 10 times.’
‘They didn’t get much pickup,’ the retired lieutenant colonel said of the ‘instigators’ gathered at the Charlotte, North Carolina event, but ‘they were persistent. You could tell when the applause was genuine and when it wasn’t. It was obvious to everyone here.’
Most of the veterans sat on their hands, leaving awkward silences where White House speechwriters expected ovations.
‘Some of these guys – well, most of them – remember that Obama sent Biden to speak to us last year in Houston, and blew us off entirely during his 2012 campaign.’
That year, the president sent a 3-minute video message instead of coming to Indianapolis. Mitt Romney, his Republican rival, flew 1,000 miles to speak in person.
The veteran asked MailOnline to conceal his identity. ‘I don’t need that kind of trouble,’ he said. ‘I work for a government contractor.’
After the customary introductions and thank-yous to dignitaries, Obama spoke for nearly eight full minutes on Tuesday without a single clap.
He touted his foreign policy bona fides, boasting that ‘even countries that criticize us – when the chips are down and they need help, they know who to call. They call us. That’s what American leadership looks like.’
‘Sustaining our leadership, keeping America strong and secure, means we have to use our power wisely,’ Obama cautioned, in keeping with his slow approach to battling ISIS and other terror groups overseas.
‘History teaches us of the dangers of overreaching and spreading ourselves too thin, and trying to go it alone without international support, or rushing into military adventures without thinking through the consequences.’
If I was one of the White House spin doctors I would probably point out that the American Legion is older, whiter and more conservative than average, and it is a male-dominated organization. I’m surprised that Obama didn’t just blow them off completely.
Poor Barry, he has never done well outside of his comfort zone. Without of crowd of people cheering and chanting his name he seems lost and confused.
Yesterday’s speech was a far cry from this:
Obama’s finest speeches do not excite. They do not inform. They don’t even really inspire. They elevate. They enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.
That was Ezra Klein back on January 4th, 2008. I never saw what Ezra saw.
Apparently, neither did the American Legion.
This wasn’t the post I was gonna write.
Tara Culp-Ressler at ThinkProgress:
A group of four college students is taking the media by storm with the development of an innovative nail polish that can detect date rape drugs that have been slipped into young women’s drinks. While the new product has captured its fair share of headlines over the past week, sexual assault prevention advocates warn that it’s not necessarily the best way to approach the sexual assault epidemic on college campuses.
Four male students at North Carolina State University have created a nail polish that changes color when it comes into contact with several common drugs intended to incapacitate victims. According to the undergrads, their goal is to “invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime.” Although the product isn’t available yet, their Facebook page has already been flooded with positive responses from people who can’t wait to give it a try.
“I think that anything that can help reduce sexual violence from happening is, in some ways, a really good thing,” Tracey Vitchers, the board chair for Students Active For Ending Rape (SAFER), told ThinkProgress. “But I think we need to think critically about why we keep placing the responsibility for preventing sexual assault on young women.”
Women are already expected to work hard to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of sexual assault. They’re told to avoid wearing revealing clothing, travel in groups, make sure they don’t get too drunk, and always keep a close eye on their drink. Now, remembering to put on anti-rape nail polish and discretely slip a finger into each drink might be added to that ever-growing checklist — something that actually reinforces a pervasive rape culture in our society.
“One of the ways that rape is used as a tool to control people is by limiting their behavior,” Rebecca Nagle, one of the co-directors of an activist group called FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture that challenges the societal norms around sexual assault, explained. “As a woman, I’m told not to go out alone at night, to watch my drink, to do all of these things. That way, rape isn’t just controlling me while I’m actually being assaulted — it controls me 24/7 because it limits my behavior. Solutions like these actually just recreate that. I don’t want to fucking test my drink when I’m at the bar. That’s not the world I want to live in.”
“The problem isn’t that women don’t know when there are roofies in their drink; the problem is people putting roofies in their drink in the first place,” Nagle pointed out.
“I think a lot of the time we get focused on these new products because they’re innovative and they’re interesting, and it’s really cool that they figured out how to create nail polish that does this. But at the end of the day, are you having those tough conversations with students, and particularly men, who are at risk for committing sexual assault?” Vitchers added. “Are you talking to young men about the importance of respecting other people’s boundaries and understanding what it means to obtain consent?”
People shouldn’t steal, but nobody says that padlocks reinforce a pervasive theft culture.
But wait! there’s more!
Melissa McEwen at Shakesville:
Being able to detect roofies in your drink only protects you; the person who put them there can move on to someone who isn’t wearing nail polish.
How can you argue with logic like that?
I don’t want to be the victim of ANY crime. I keep my valuables locked up. I don’t flash large wads of cash in public. I avoid sketchy neighborhoods. I take reasonable precautions to protect myself and my possessions.
If I didn’t take precautions and someone robbed me, they would still be wrong. Somebody might say I was “asking for it” but nobody would treat that as a “get out of jail free” card.
Rape is a bad thing. In prison, murderers have high status but the only thing lower than rapists is child molesters, which is basically child rape.
Unfortunately for the rest of us there are some predators out there who look like human beings. The best way to protect yourself against predators is to avoid them. If you can’t avoid them a gun comes in handy because talking to a pack of hungry wolves is a waste of time.
It has been over two weeks since Michael Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson. Almost from the first day the racial narrative has been in place.
This is the racial narrative:
One day, for no particular reason, a racist white cop murdered an unarmed black teen in cold blood in broad daylight in front of witnesses. The unarmed black teen was doing nothing except walking down the street when the racist white cop stopped him for no reason and started harassing him. The unarmed black teen tried to run and the racist white cop began shooting him in the back. The unarmed black teen stopped and turned around with his hands in the air, trying to surrender. The racist white cop then shot the unarmed black teen several more times, including a final shot in the head as he lay wounded on the street.
This type of cold blooded murder of unarmed black men and boys by racist white cops is epidemic in this racist nation.
Sometimes instead of a racist white cop it is a racist white vigilante/cop wannabe who does the shooting. Sometimes there is more than one racist white cop involved. The unarmed black teen/man is always blameless and innocent, at least at the beginning of the narrative.
The amazing thing about the racial narrative is that it is basically impervious to contradictory facts, no matter how indisputable they may be.
Meanwhile, Michael Brown was buried today. It was a media circus.
I picked a bad week to quit drinking.
When Jimmy Fallon announced Miley Cyrus’ name as winner of Video of the Year for “Wrecking Ball,” the singer stood and directed a young man with long, blonde hair to the stage. “Thank you, all,” he said, as Cyrus looked on. “My name is Jesse.” He explained that there were more than 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the U.S. – “I’m one of these people,” he said. It was the beginning of a touching speech that put an emotional Cyrus into tears.
“I’ve survived in shelters all over the city,” Jesse said. “I’ve been an extra in your movies, I’ve been an extra in your life…. Outside these doors are 54,000 human beings that have no place to call home.”
The speech was a call-to-action to visit Cyrus’ Facebook page, where she spoke in a video about a campaign to bring awareness and raise funds to stop youth homelessness via My Friend’s Place, a homeless center for young people in Hollywood. Part of the campaign includes a contest to see Cyrus live in Brazil. Jesse closed the acceptance speech by saying, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream we dream together is reality.”
Wait . . . what? Am I missing something here?
First of all, why is Jesse homeless? I realize that it is politically incorrect to ask a question like that. I smacks of the “worthy poor” concept that liberals disdain. Everyone is presumed to be “there but for the grace of God (who doesn’t exist) go I”. But I’m asking it anyway.
After searching news stories for a bit, this is what I learned about Jesse:
22 years old
Originally from Oregon
Met Miley Cyrus last Tuesday when she visited the homeless shelter where he was staying.
Claims to have spent “most of his youth homeless in Los Angels.
Here are some of the things I want to know:
1. Where is Jesse’s family?
2. Why did he leave home?
3. Why did he come to L.A.?
4. Does he have a high school diploma?
5. Does he have a criminal record, and if so, what is it?
6. Does he have a substance abuse problem?
7. What jobs has he worked in the past four years?
8. What efforts has he made to be self-sufficient?
9. Has he considered military service?
Give me time and I’ll think of some more.
The dirty little secret of homelessness is that most homeless people are homeless for a reason that has to do with choices they have made. Those bad choices usually include drugs and crime, which explains why their own families want nothing to do with them. Even the mentally ill that are homeless are usually that way because they refuse treatment.
According to liberal theology, the homeless are all innocent victims of capitalism or some other societal evil. If you want a reality check go down to a homeless shelter and meet the residents. Better yet, visit a local homeless encampment.
Remember Zuccotti Park? The Occupy movement started off as a bunch of spoiled middle class brats having an outdoor sleepover but things turned ugly when the real homeless moved in.
So I ask again, why is Jesse homeless?
I don’t get it. I really don’t. How did feminism turn into this?
Several hundred people rallied and marched in downtown Chicago Saturday during an annual event called Slut Walk Chicago.
Some of the mostly women in the crowd went topless with some well-placed x’s on their breasts made of duct tape.
The event is part of an international “Slut Walk” movement.
It started several years ago after a police officer in Canada told some college students that woman should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized. His words sparked outrage.
The women who organized the local event say they’re fighting what they call rape culture and supporting victims of sexual assault.
“The idea that acts of violence can be excused due to a victim’s dress, state of intoxication, location and sexual history is absolutely ridiculous and feeds into a cultural view of sexual assault as not a real crime,” said organizer Liz Sheridan.
After the rally, they marched through the streets chanting, “Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes, no means no.”
My 80 year old mom is one of those second-wave feminists from the Sixties and Seventies, so I called her and asked her to explain slutwalking to me. She said:
“I don’t have a clue. I told you not to bother me with this stupid stuff when I’m watching my shows.“
Can any of you explain this slutwalk thing to me?
I do understand one thing. Any guy who participates in a slutwalk is hoping to get laid, or at least wants to see some boobs.
Apparently the highlight of the event was when they busted open a “rape culture” pinata filled with condoms. That’s another silly idea I will continue to heap scorn upon.
Victor Davis Hanson:
William Tecumseh Sherman 150 years ago took Atlanta before heading out on his infamous March to the Sea to make Georgia “howl.” He remains one of the most controversial and misunderstood figures in American military history. Sherman was an attritionist, not an annihilationist — a strategist who believed in attacking the sources that fuel and field an army rather than butting heads against the army itself. To review his career is to shed light on why the Israeli Defense Forces were both effective in Gaza and hated even more for being so effective.
Much of the South has hated William Tecumseh Sherman for over a century and a half, but not because his huge army killed thousands of young Confederate soldiers (it did not). Grant did that well enough in the horrific summer of 1864 outside Richmond. Rather, Sherman humiliated the plantationist class by staging three long marches during the last twelve months of the Civil War — from Tennessee to Atlanta, from Atlanta to Savannah, and from Savannah up through the Carolinas. In each of these brilliantly conducted invasions, Sherman, with a few notable exceptions, sought to avoid direct fighting with Confederate forces, either outflanking opposing armies that popped up in his way, or entrenching and letting aggressors wear themselves out against his fortified lines. He did enormous material damage, as he boasted that his enemies could do nothing to impede his progress — humiliation being central to his mission.
Instead of fighting pitched battles, Sherman was interested in three larger strategic agendas. War in his mind was not a struggle between militaries so much as between the willpower of entire peoples, distant though they be from the battlefield. One chief aim was iconic. Sherman sought to capture cities or traverse holy ground that might offer his forces symbolic lessons that transcended even strategic considerations. He wanted to capture the important rail center of Atlanta before the November 1864 election and thereby ensure that the war would continue under a reelected Lincoln rather than be negotiated into a meaningless armistice by George McClellan. By taking the South’s second-most-important city, Sherman reminded the Union that the northern strategy was working and that Lincoln, as the architect of it, deserved support.
Marching through the heart of Georgia to Savannah also reminded the Confederacy that it could not stop a Union army from going pretty much where it pleased — even into the heretofore untouched southern heartlands. The much-hyped March to the Sea took on an almost messianic character in dissecting the Confederacy, as Sherman torched plantations and freed slaves. His so-called bummers praised their “Uncle Billy” and sang “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as they tramped through Georgia. Sherman was interested in such theatrics as part of a larger moral lesson that “War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.” He was particularly keen on reminding those who start wars that they must bear the consequences of their ideologies.
Accordingly, Sherman was most eager to go into the Carolinas, despite the forbidding terrain and the ordeal of winter, in part to pull up behind Robert E. Lee’s army in Virginia, but also in part to humiliate the Confederacy by brazenly marching into the very birthplace of secession.
The Sherman way of war had another important symbolic aspect. Sherman often derided the mythography of the southern “Cavalier” class, by which he meant the notion that southern aristocratic manhood might offer such displays of martial prowess that the Confederacy’s disadvantages in matériel and manpower would be rendered irrelevant. As an antidote to the Rebel yell and the luster of a Wade Hampton or a Bobby Lee, Sherman formed the core of his forces not from high-born Yankees but from hardscrabble Midwestern farmboys. The latter enjoyed camping out and had the skills to live off the land far more than did southern cavalrymen. By entering the southern heartland with such rural regiments, Sherman was also signaling to the Confederacy that its pride in the martial supremacy of a rural South was a myth.
His point was to show them that farmboys from Illinois or Ohio were just as tough fighters as Tidewater horsemen or the impoverished rural folk of northern Georgia. Sherman felt that part of the appeal of the Confederacy had been the mythology about its landed gentry, and he felt it essential to expose this as hollow and superficial; after all, he was in Georgia, while Georgian units were not in Ohio: “My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
There is a bunch more and you should probably go read it. Victor Davis Hanson really knows his shit:
Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.
Hamas is Israel’s problem. I want to talk about our problem – ISIS, aka Islamic State and/or The Caliphate.
Basically what we are facing is a bunch of radical Muslims who are coalescing/congealing into a rapidly growing movement. Part of the reason for that growth has been a string of military victories. Another part of the reason for that growth is the actual/perceived weakness of Barack Obama.
ISIS needs to be squished like a cockroach. But we need to do more than just defeat them militarily. If we send our tanks and planes back to the desert they will scatter like roaches always do. We’ll kill a bunch of them and degrade their ability to wage war, but that won’t be the end of it.
The reason why the Middle East has been trouble spot since before I was born is that we just keep killing roaches every so often. But the people who give the orders and provide the financial support for radical groups aren’t out on the battlefields.
This is not about making friends and winning hearts and minds. It is not about nation building and spreading democracy. Those are worthy goals, but this is something much more basic – it’s about teaching our enemies not to fuck with us.
Of course none of this would matter if the region didn’t have oil, the lifeblood of industrial civilization.