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The Brutal Truth About Poverty (and Other Thoughts)

The Brutal Truth About Poverty

At a recent RNC meeting, former (and soon to be?) presidential candidate, Mitt Romney said:

THE ONLY POLICIES THAT WILL REACH INTO THE HEARTS OF AMERICAN PEOPLE AND PULL PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY AND BREAK THE CYCLE OF POVERTY ARE REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES, CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES … AND WE’RE GONNA BRING THEM TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND FINALLY END THE SCOURGE OF POVERTY IN THIS GREAT LAND.

Pardon my French but, in a word, bullshit. It’s not that conservative principles can’t “end the scourge of poverty”. It’s that nothing can. You see, it’s all about the human condition.

On paper, socialism is the only economic model that wipes out poverty (and extreme wealth as well). The problem is that socialism is antithetical to human nature. Socialism makes no room for selfishness.

Capitalism, on the other hand, is perfectly suited to human nature. Unfortunately, like the balance sheets that document its progress, capitalism is a zero sum game. There are winners and losers, assets and liabilities, whole swaths (of people) that must be written off.

Anyone who tells you his ideology will wipe out poverty is lying to you. If you don’t want to be poor, the only way out is to work your ass off. No system is going to save you. And since there will always be those unwilling or unable to work their ass off, there will always be poor people. Poverty is here to stay.

Was She REALLY Raped – Part 1

Between yesterday and today the GOP-run House watered down an anti-abortion bill which originally allowed for rape exceptions if the rape had been reported to the police. Republican women objected and demanded the police report requirement be excised.

Folks, this is one area where the PC talk needs to end. In what fantasy land are women incapable of lying about being raped? If I don’t pay my bills with the reason that my bank account was hacked and emptied, my billers are going to want proof. Did I file a claim? Did I report the loss to any authority? Why is the charge of rape (a deadly serious crime) the only one that can be levied carte blanche with no proof whatsoever? Forget proof – with NO ATTEMPT to seek justice?

In the world of insults to humanity, abortion ranks right up there with rape. If we are going to use a crime (rape) as a reason for the drastic step of terminating a pregnancy, then there ought to be some evidence that the woman treated the crime like a crime and reported it.

Was She REALLY Raped – Part 2, the Cosby Edition

I have little doubt that in the course of a long marriage, Bill Cosby was unfaithful, probably more than once. Many men think with the wrong head and this applies double to famous men.

But the MORE women who come forth with drug-cum-rape charges against Cosby the LESS I believe it. It starts to go into Ripley’s Believe it or Not territory. A half dozen women? Yeah I could have bought that. But more than two dozen?

Why would there be a rush for the rape bandwagon? I have a theory. Bill Cosby was one of the few brave black men to pull the covers off the “black community” and tell young black men and women to get their act together. Blacks hate nothing more than one of our own airing our dirty laundry and calling us to task in public.

And in a community dominated by single mothers, who will take the most offense at failures in child rearing? On Larry Wilmore’s new Comedy Central show, “The Nightly Show”, an editor of Ebony magazine, Jamilah Lemieux, could not help but mention Cosby’s lecturing. Besides his former co-star Phylicia Rashad, you don’t see many black women (or women in general) coming to his defense.

Cosby broke the “rule” that you NEVER suggest black folk have any accountability for their own situation. Now he’s paying for it big time.

What do you think? The bar is open.

Abortion, Life and the Law (and a Snowden Postscript)

Abortion, Life and the Law

A few months ago the folks at Healthcare-administration-degree.net reached out to me to share an infographic on our attitudes about abortion. Too busy to pay proper attention I allowed the note to sink under a pile of other e-mail. As luck would have it, they gave me a poke this week at a very good time. The House just voted in support of a bill making abortion illegal after 20 weeks, in direct contradiction to current law and Supreme Court rulings. We won’t go into what a waste of time this vote was. The bill will never get through the Senate and if it did it would be vetoed by Obama. It was a symbolic gesture at a time when we need Congress to focus on doing what it can to improve a limping economy.

What jumps out from the infographic is the difference between what people think about life vs what they think about the law. Most folks consider themselves pro-life. Most folks think abortion should be legal in at least some cases. I think these findings illustrate something the most strident  “pro-life” people tend to distort about those who differ with them. Precious few people are “pro-abortion”. The most opinionated pro-life folks call pro-choice folks “baby killers”. The truth I think, is that 99% of folks think the ideal world is a world where every couple greets the news of an impending birth with great anticipation and joy. We don’t live in an ideal world so what do we do about those couples who, for whatever reason, do not welcome a pregnancy? The graphic below shows that most of us want pregnancies to go to term but we are at best ambivalent about the legal remedy when they don’t.

Clearly there is a difference in asking “do you support life” as opposed to “do you want to put women who get abortions in jail”.  Examine the graphic below and tell me what you glean from it.

What We Think About Abortion
Image source: www.healthcare-administration-degree.net

I should note that from my general perusal of the Healthcare Administration Degree web site, they do not appear to have a political axe to grind. The graphic, as far as I can see, simply tries to illustrate a truth about semantics and our attitudes toward abortion.

Random Thoughts about Edward Snowden

Hero or Traitor

I tend to agree with those who say Snowden is neither hero nor traitor. He clearly did us a service by putting a spotlight on a government technically capable of invading our privacy on a grand scale. For that we owe him some thanks. On the other hand, he is acting like a fugitive fleeing first to Hong Kong and now to Moscow. It’s a bit hard to admire the man when he is unwilling to “face the music”.

Oh, How Thick the Irony

A week or so ago I heard an NBC correspondent guessing at a psychological profile of Snowden from … wait for it … his old Twitter and Facebook feeds. The correspondent seemed oblivious to the fact she was using his Internet trail to report on his whistle blowing a government who uses OUR Internet trail to create profiles of us. In fact, the very same media stoking the outrage at NSA overreach has been using Twitter feeds to analyze folks from Trayvon Martin to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Methinks the media doth protest too much.

Espionage, Really?

In “sealed” papers, we have charged Snowden with espionage. I asked my readers in the comment thread of my last article what kind of sense this could make. Who was Snowden spying for? One of my readers hit it on the head, quite sadly, when he replied “He was spying for the American people.” We are at a point where we need our own spies to keep an eye on the Obama administration which has turned out to be anything but transparent.

Just cos You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean the Bastards Aren’t Out to Get You

Obama’s abysmal record in prosecuting and intimidating whistle blowers made what should have been a sad story of a fatal car accident into fodder for conspiracy theorists. Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed writer Michael Hastings died last week in a fiery automobile crash. Hastings was instrumental in getting General Stanley McChrystal fired from his post as Commander of our forces in Afghanistan. As recently as a few weeks ago he appeared on MSNBC calling Obama a liar regarding our drone program. I’m not a tin foil hat wearing kinda guy but when I heard about Hastings’ death I immediately wondered aloud if he had been killed.

Michael Hastings may have died driving recklessly in the middle of the Los Angeles night but I’d bet dollars to donuts that Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill are looking over their shoulders right now.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

The Worst Pro-Choice Argument Ever

A couple of weeks ago I was watching “The Cycle” on MSNBC when co-host and qualifiied-to-talk-about-I-don’t-know-what co-host Toure launched into his “personal” take on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. By the time he was finished I wanted to jump through the TV screen and punch him right in the face.

Let’s deconstruct some of Toure’s argument.

1. Many years ago Toure was in a “committed relationship with a woman who I knew was just not the one”. The tone of his voice as he says this is so la-dee-da that my immediate instinct was to slap him. It’s an oxymoron. Committed means you’re planning to work at the relationship. From my perspective, this was just Toure’s way of saying “I got tired of f*cking her.”

2. “And then she got pregnant.” This reminds me of a battle I got into on another blog when a commenter said she “found herself pregnant”. What? She just woke up one day and there was a new life growing in her womb? So mysterious! How about “we had high risk sexual intercourse that resulted in my girlfriend getting pregnant”. Isn’t that what really happened? What’s this “she got” or “she found herself” business? Why the passive voice? Couples DO something to become pregnant. It doesn’t just happen.

3. “We got an abortion.” No Toure, sorry dude, she got an abortion. And aren’t you lucky she did, as we move onto point 4:

4. Toure says he “would only have contributed to making a mess of three lives” had the abortion not happened. So the better alternative was to make a mess of one life by denying it the right to proceed to natural birth. No Toure, the truth is that putting aside all the melodrama, one of two things would have happened. Either you would have placed the child for adoption or you would have grown a pair and lived up to your responsibility to help raise the baby you helped create. This sanctimonious excuse for making one of the most devastating decisions a couple can make, made me want to puke. Is “making a mess” a nice euphemism for an inconvenience?

5. Just so we know Toure has a conscience, he shares with us that the sonogram of the baby he felt deserved life, made him reflect on abortion. How DEEP of him!

6. Toure then quotes Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course.” Why does that autonomy kick in only after she gets knocked up? How about the autonomy involved in using contraception that with the benefits of today’s science has a 99% pregnancy prevention rate? What happened to that autonomy? What happened to that sense of responsibility?

7. “”I want abortion to be legal safe and rare”. So says Toure. I guess his inability to keep his pecker in his pants unless he has protection falls in that “rare” category.

8.  “”We are hurting our nation by making family planning harder.” Let’s get something straight. Abstinence is family planning. Birth control is family planning. You see, planning involves preparing for the future. That’s the definition of planning. Abortion is “cleanup in aisle five”. It’s NOT planning. It is the consequence of NOT planning.

9. “Abortion kept me on a path to building the strong family i have now”. What a smug bastard. Preventing a life from coming to fruition made it possible for Toure to get on with his. Bravo for Toure!

Gang, Toure’s little “personal journey” is exactly what gets the blood boiling in pro-life folks. The problem we have in talking about abortion is we sugar coat what is going on. We act like pregnancy happened to us. We act like we’re doing the kid a favor (when we’re really only doing ourselves a favor). And on top of it all, the only thing more sickening than a man lecturing about how a woman MUST go to term, is a man arguing against her doing so. Call me old fashioned but the man’s contribution to the situation is often selfish at best. The pregnancy is often the result of his carelessly getting his rocks off. He is the last person on Earth to be weighing in on any of this.

So, after hearing Toure’s self indulgent piece of garbage, I think I need to change the label I apply to myself. I am no longer “pro-choice”. I am “anti-legislation”. The t that I still cannot cross and the i that I still cannot dot, is the government choosing sides between a woman’s body and the body growing inside her. It isn’t about the woman’s “autonomy”. It is simply a matter of personal boundaries and I think a government that crosses the very personal boundary of a woman’s body has gone too far. I’m comfortable with the current approach of judging the situation by how far along the pregnancy is.

But let us be clear. I have a dilemma with the intersection of morality and legality on this issue.  However Toure made it crystal clear for me what abortion should and should not be about. Abortion should save the life of the mother and perhaps allow her to terminate a pregnancy that was forced upon her (i.e. rape). In every other case, grown people should take responsibility for having sexual intercourse. That means either placement of the child or pointing your own life in a different direction to take care of the precious life you have created. I’ve got zero tolerance for the story of a grown-ass man opting for abortion so that he can wait until he is ready to “build a strong family”.

If I were Toure’s child, I’d tell him “damn Daddy, I sure am glad I was conceived at a time when it was convenient for you to be my father.”

What a damn fool.

Respectfully,
Rutherford