Let’s Talk Birther

Let me start by saying I am not nor have ever been a birther. With that said there’s a good deal of intellectual dishonesty surrounding coverage of this issue. 

Who Started It

The only TV pundit who has hit the origins of birtherism head on has been MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough. Not only did he acknowledge that the movement started in 2008 among Clinton supporters, he went so far as to say this weakens Hillary’s ability to attack Trump on the subject. 

The protests that the Clinton “campaign” did not start birtherism is a distinction without a difference. A low level staffer in Iowa pushed it (and was fired), Clinton strategist Mark Penn toyed with it, and Clinton best bud Sid Blumenthal outright said Obama was born in Kenya. I found no record of Hillary herself actively denouncing it. Furthermore, Hillary famously hinted in a “60 Minutes” interview that Obama might be Muslim – he’s a Christian “as far as I know”. 

Hillary needs to let the media fight this on her behalf and just shut up. Her hands are not clean. 

Chris Matthews Nutty Argument Against Birtherism 

Of all the pundits outraged by Donald’s birther nonsense, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews makes the nuttiest argument by putting preposterous logic behind birtherism that was never there in the first place.  According to Matthews, birthers propose that Ann Dunham gave birth to Barack in Kenya and then conspired to have his birthplace changed to Hawaii so that he could one day run for President some 4 decades later. He goes on to note how utterly ludicrous this is. He’s right. It is ludicrous but it’s ludicrous on HIS part. The central premise of birtherism places no guilt on Ann Dunham, nor does it suggest she had Presidential aspirations for her son way back in 1961.  This is made up out of whole cloth by Matthews himself. 

Birtherism is Racist

This assertion is debatable and I’d like to suggest an alternative. If Jesse Jackson or Jim Clyburn had become President, I seriously doubt anyone would have questioned their birthplace. They have the slave-ancestry identity of many blacks in America. Popular wisdom says that Obama got targeted as the first black President. But Obama was also the first Hawaiian President, born there only shortly after Hawaii’s admission to the US. He was also the first President who spent a lot of his youth outside the US (Indonesia, specifically). So to claim the only thing “different” about Obama was his race is just plain dishonest. 

None of this gets The Donald off the hook for perpetuating this foolishness. I don’t think he’s racist. I think he’s an opportinistic attention whore and birtherism would get him clicks and retweets. I actually found his “backwards extortion” of Obama a few years ago far more offensive. In that incident, Trump offered to donate to the charity of Obama’s choice if Obama produced his college records. Essentially he set up a ransom scenario where the kidnapped baby was a charitable donation. Shame this wasn’t illegal cos I’d have thrown Trumps orange ass right in jail for it. 

Bottom line: birtherism was an ugly mess where no one has clean hands. Drop it and move onto the more pressing issue – our choice between a corrupt liar and a reality TV star. Reject both and VOTE JOHNSON! 

What do you think?  The bar is open. 

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Let’s Stop Dicking Around About Weiner

twitter-pixelAs I watch the coverage of Anthony Weiner’s bid for nomination as candidate for New York City Mayor I am frankly fed up with the politically correct nonsense that just about everyone is spewing. Let’s engage in some straight talk.

The Hypocrisy of Liberals

What do we hear about Anthony Weiner now from liberals? He was never all that much. He only introduced legislation that helped one of his constituents. To listen to the current chatter, you’d think they always thought of him as a total loser. Let’s take a trip in the way-back machine to 2009 when one of Weiner’s loudest current critics treated him like an intellectual genius on MSNBC’s “Hardball”.

Chris Matthews wasn’t alone in his admiration for Weiner back then. The fact is in 2009 to 2011 Weiner was the liberal media darling. He was outspoken, brash and more intellectually sharp than his fellow loudmouth Congressman Alan Grayson. Liberals like me delighted in Weiner taking on Joe Scarborough on “Morning Joe”. He was the go-to guy on health care reform for every political talk show. When his penis got the better of him in 2011 I wasn’t angry with him. I was horribly disappointed and mournful that a passionate articulate voice from the left had been silenced by his own foolishness. Many liberals felt the same way I did. But today they are fair-weather friends and hypocrites and honestly, that disgusts me far more than a bunch of dick-pics.

The Victimization of Women Part 1

Sydney Leathers is some kind of victim? Are we serious? She exchanged, let me repeat, exchanged lewd content with Weiner. Again, I have to point to the idiocy of Chris Matthews who asks “do women do this stuff on the Internet?” Yeah, Chris they do. Women can be every bit as horny and twisted as men and it’s wild to me that Ms. Leathers is seen as some sort of innocent victim by some in the media. She’s a female perv. End of story.

The Victimization of Women Part 2

Oh poor Huma Abedin, the put upon wife of Anthony Weiner. Sorry folks I’m not buying it. I’ve watched the face of the “good wife” as she stands by her sleaze bag husband (roll the tape of David Vitter please) and the face screams “get me out of here — my husband is a jerk”. Some wives like Jenny Sanford tell their cheating husbands to go to hell quite publicly. Huma has done neither of these. She took to the microphone to defend her husband and promote his candidacy for Mayor. And while she may be right that her recent press conference was her first, she has hardly been in the background in this campaign. She has been front and center trying to repair her husband’s reputation. Huma, in my opinion, is not much different from her mentor Hillary Clinton. Both of these women know they are married to kinky men and it’s a price they are willing to pay for the political spotlight. I’m not suggesting that Huma and Hillary don’t genuinely love their husbands. Marriages are complicated. But I don’t sign on to this notion that either woman is a victim. They both have made choices that I think make them far more calculating than their foolish impulsive husbands.

Let She Who is Without Sin Throw the First Stone

What I am about to say is going to get me in trouble with a lot of people so let me preface my comments with two facts. First, I believe gay people should be left the hell alone to live as they please and to marry who they love. Second, I have a real problem when traditional victims of oppression get all judgmental about other people. I cannot abide it when blacks and Jews don’t support each other because they should have a visceral understanding of the other person’s pain.

With that out of the way — where the hell does Anthony Weiner’s opponent Christine Quinn get off being high and mighty about him? Christine Quinn is the first openly gay City Council Speaker in the history of New York. Please let me remind Ms. Quinn that if we rewind only five or six years, she would not have a Popsicle’s chance in hell of running for Mayor of New York. The fact is a sizable silent minority of folks consider Ms. Quinn a deviant. She knows that or at least she should if she’s not stupid. So maybe the sexual practices of others should be off-limits to Ms. Quinn? Most sexual behavior is driven by deep-rooted urges. No one sends pictures of his penis over the Internet on a whim. No, I am not drawing a complete equivalency between being gay and being an exhibitionist but of all aspects of human behavior, I would think sexual behavior would be the one area that gay folks are most empathetic about.

To put it bluntly, we know we have reached a new civil rights plateau when gay folks go on TV and call the other guy a pervert.

The Last Bastion of Civil Rights

And that brings me to my final observation regarding Weiner’s own behavior. Just as gay has become the new black, I predict that pervert will become the new gay. Weiner’s latest tactic on the campaign trail is to say that if he can withstand the scrutiny and criticism he is currently undergoing, just think what a strong Mayor he will make. He is essentially saying “I was a pervert and if you don’t like that, don’t vote for me but I’m much more than that”. You have got to give him credit for chutzpah. The only thing really getting in his way right now are the clearly insincere apologies for his past (?) behavior. Once he declares his sexting a life style choice and tells folks that if his wife can live with it then everyone else should mind their own business, he will truly be liberated. He can emerge as the persecuted pervert, declare his position as another victimized minority and forge a new civil rights path.

All joking aside, we live in a strange country where Silvio Berlusconi’s “bunga-bunga” parties brought a smile to our faces but Anthony Weiner’s brand of kink gives us the willies. I’m annoyed Weiner resigned back in 2011 and I’m actually glad he’s sticking around this time. If you don’t want a kinky guy who behaves like an adolescent on the Internet as your Mayor then don’t vote for him. But please, stop all the politically correct posturing, revisionist history and hypocrisy.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

Image: Pixelated Twitter by XanderGC

You Cannot Fill a Leaky Bucket

It’s one thing to argue about politics but things have gone completely awry when we cannot agree on basic mathematics. Such was the case late last week on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when the two co-hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski got into a heated discussion about raising taxes on the very rich.

This was not your typical argument with the liberal (Mika) saying the current tax system was unfair and the conservative (Joe) saying that the rich pay more than their fair share. No, this argument was about a much more fundamental concept that for reasons that evade me, Mika just couldn’t grok. Joe Scarborough said that before you raise the taxes of the rich one dime you first have to close loopholes. Mika saw this as some distraction from getting that extra ounce of blood out of the “1%”.

Look folks, this ain’t rocket science. If for every tax hike you have a corresponding effort by creative attorneys and accountants to evade the tax hike, then you’ve wasted your effort. The simple truth is  that by closing loopholes, you automatically bring in more revenue without ever raising taxes one cent. The problem, as evidenced in the Mika/Joe debate is that closing loopholes doesn’t provide that catharsis that “punishing the rich” with a tax hike provides. But what good is catharsis for the sake of catharsis? It might make you feel good but it doesn’t solve the problem. On this one, Joe is absolutely right. You simplify the tax code first by closing loopholes. Then and only then do you consider which rates need to be raised.

If the bucket has a hole in it, it doesn’t matter how much water you pour in.

Distribution of Wealth

There has been much talk lately about the unfair distribution of wealth in the United States of America. It is the fundamental lament of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The other day I was looking at some graphs illustrating this “unfair distribution” and it occurred to me that one area of dispute may revolve around definitions. Distribution as it applies to our current problem is a statistical concept. It’s a phenomenon mapped out on an x and y-axis. Yet when we get into a political discussion about it I think another strange perspective kicks in. It is almost as though we view that there is some huge pot of money and some grand poobah decides who gets what share of the pot. This evil overlord “distributes” the money in such a way that 1% get most of it and 99% see very little of it. Our current national dialogue centers around everybody getting “their fair share”, again as though there is some central fund from which to divvy out the riches.

That definition of distribution not only leads to class warfare, it makes it impossible to diagnose the problem. The distribution problem comes down to two factors, lack of employment and skewed valuation of the jobs that do exist. Since those who hire typically make more than those who are hired, high unemployment immediately funnels wealth to a small minority. Yet even if we had 4% unemployment (probably a best case scenario) we would see skewed distribution due to the way jobs are valued. Is Madonna really more important in your life than your child’s teacher or your gardener? Yet neither of those folks could ever hope to attain Madonna’s wealth. Is a hedge fund manager really more valuable to society than a fireman?

So the first step to leveling wealth distribution is getting as many folks employed as possible. Quite frankly, if you don’t work you don’t deserve remuneration. There isn’t some central pot from which you get to have your fair share. Income is a trade of money for services. As a liberal I do believe it is society’s obligation to provide training opportunities so all those willing to work can do so.

The second step to leveling wealth distribution is to reconsider how we compensate for various jobs. This does not mean taking money away from the very rich. It simply means paying teachers, firemen, policemen, and yes even the gardener, a little bit more. This second step is actually the harder nut to crack because it cuts to the value system each of us applies to various forms of work. One of the reasons we have such a problem with illegal immigration is that illegal immigrants are willing to do work the average American considers “beneath” him. The current distribution of wealth is more  a reflection of our collective value system than it is any segment “stealing” more than their fair share.

There is no doubt that the behavior of the financial sector in recent years has been reprehensible. But we are kidding ourselves when we lay all the blame at their doorstep. By perpetuating our value system, the 99% play a large role in keeping the 1% where they are.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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