Enter The Fragile Ego – No Bubble!

Since when did we lose our ability to hold complex discussions without acting like children? No really. It’s near impossible to have a real conversation anymore. When did that happen? There has developed a barrage of rules about when certain topics are forbidden conversation:

  1. Don’t discuss sex or politics at dinner parties.
  2. Don’t discuss politics or religion at the bar.
  3. Don’t discuss diet at the dinner table.
  4. Never discuss personal matters at work.
  5. No sex or race or politics or religion on Facebook, please. (Cat pictures only!)

With all these rules, when can we ever really, seriously talk about anything at all?

It seems one cannot bring up thought provoking topics anymore without someone else becoming offended or throwing around accusations. Dare you state the obvious, and you are just being mean. Dare to infuse racial-sociological context, and you are being a troll. “You’re talking publicly about your disbelief in my god – that’s RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION!” “How dare you analyze my personal experiences in a political context you contentious bitch!” We’ve become so afraid of rocking the boat that even calling oneself a feminist has suddenly become controversial.

It’s hard to pin down from whence this fragile egotism originated. Is this a product of the white, fluffy cloud concept of political correctness? Are we so motivated by etiquette that we feel the need to censor face-to-face, written, scholarly and even web speech? Or is this inane treading on the shallow end of conversation pool manifest of a collective need not to pop our own comfortable bubbles of correctness?

The dumbing down rampant in our education system (along with a host of other problems) could be partially to blame. When education funding is razed, the first education programs to disappear with that funding tend to be the courses that facilitate independent scholarly reflection: literature, art, sociology or current events. When people do not get the well rounded education needed to autonomously think outside the box, how can we expect people to approach complex social or political issues in a constructive way?

Where do we land at the end of this tryst with superficiality? The result is a bedazzled populace more concerned with who Miley Cyrus is twerking on than whether extending unemployment benefits is beneficial to our economy. Such is a populace that also avoids discussing the influence of racism on our social-economic institutions, or how the exaltation of female virginity degrades and hurts women.

A culture of avoidance facilitates ignorance. Ignorance breeds isolation. Isolation breeds extremism. And goodness knows we’ve already too much of that. It’s high time to take off the rose glasses, pop the comfy bubble, and commence with the discourse of our lives.

Should a Grand Prix be Political

Protesters see the arrival of F1 to Bahrain as an endorsement of the government by Formula 1, while Bernie Ecclestone and F1 organizers see it as a business decision dependent on safety of the teams.

Should the podium be an award for good politics?

In spring 2011, the Arab Spring reached the country of Bahrain. For more than a year, citizens of Bahrain have waged a protracted campaign of civil resistance in the name of political freedom and equality. Even under imminent threat of government retaliation and violence, crowds of protesters have grown as large as 200,000. The brutal police response has led to the arrest of almost 3,000 people to face torture in Bahraini jails. A commission established by King Hamad of Bahrain confirmed the use of torture in Bahraini jails and rampant human rights violations. Many people died.

Amidst all this unrest, the Grand Prix of Bahrain was to take place. Debate about whether the Grand Prix should go on as planned waged behind closed doors and in the media, the safety of the teams being of paramount concern. In March, King Hamad declared a state of emergency in the country, giving Formula 1 organizers an out. The Grand Prix of Bahrain was cancelled.

This year, while civil resistance continues in Bahrain – a protest on March 9th drew a crowd of 100,000 – 250,000 according to various sources – the violent police repression has subsided. But depending on whom you talk to, things are as bad as ever.

But this year, the Grand Prix of Bahrain went on as planned. One the first practice day, three Bahrainis were killed by security forces at a protest outside the track. On April 18th, the Force India team had a close encounter with a petrol bombing. Protesters see the arrival of F1 to Bahrain as an endorsement of the government by Formula 1, while Bernie Ecclestone and F1 organizers see it as a business decision dependent on safety of the teams.

The award of a Formula 1 race has historically remained an apolitical business decision – in terms of national sovereignty, that is. (The Grand Prix of South Africa was staged even in the shadow of Apartheid.) So it is no surprise that the racing resumed in Bahrain this year.

Predicating the staging of a Grand Prix on whether the host country aligns with a political view could spell disaster for the sport. The organizers could decide to cancel the Chinese Grand Prix for China’s censorship and denial of free speech. The French Grand Prix could be cancelled since the French government has outlawed wearing the hiqab in public – another violation of free speech and exercise of religion.

In my opinion, if the staging of a Forumula 1 Grand Prix depended on the political positions of the host country, the reliability of the brand would be ruined and eventually, the prestige of the sport would decline. What do you think?

Initialize Romney Self Destruct Sequence

Mitt Romney cares about female voters’ concerns; but cannot condescend to talk to us himself.

I am beginning to think that Mitt Romney is just stupid. He has run for the GOP presidential nomination so many times I have lost count. It’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that he’s a job-killing, shape-shifting, money hungry, power-seeking oligarch. And his obvious disregard for women’s opinions concerning issues important to them is undeniable. When asked about his growing approval deficit among women, Romney insisted he is in touch with what women want since his wife Ann talks to women and reports back to him. (!!!)

Mitt Romney once donated to Planned Parenthood. And in the 2002 Massachusetts governor race, Mitt Romney sought the endorsement of Planned Parenthood. But now…


So Mitt Romney cares about female voters’ concerns; but cannot condescend to talk to us himself. And he changes his stance on women’s reproductive rights to suit whatever political base he is trying to coerce into voting for him at the moment. Not to mention he wants to take our Title X money (which helps 5 million people a year) and give it to a few of his oligarch buddies.

So, I must ask, why are we even listening to this chameleon?

Purple Haze: Black and Brainwashed

I am NOT brainwashed. I just don’t agree with you, Herman Cain!!!

So, Herman Cain thinks I’m brainwashed. As you would expect from a brainwashed black zombie voter, hearing this peculiar news was news to me. Cain says I’m brainwashed because I’m not open minded, and because I “won’t even consider a conservative point of view.” Wow, Herman! Thank you for opening my eyes!!! I am SO closed-minded. And I NEVER listen or even consider what conservatives think. So let me take this opportunity to turn my life around, and really consider exactly what conservativism is all about. So I visited Herman Cain’s website. He has a page where he publicizes his position on “The Issues”, so I’ll start with that.

On National Security, Herman Cain says:

While diplomacy is a critical tool in solving the complex security issues we face, it must never compromise military might.

The rest of his statements on national security are, though not automatically appealing to me, mainstream enough. From this statement, I gather that, as President of the Unites States of America, Herman Cain would not hesitate to march America to war when diplomacy, in his opinion, became futile. Or maybe I am to gather that president Cain would strike first, and negotiate later. Would a president Cain hesitate to send more and more of my brothers and sisters to sacrifice their lives, even if the American people didn’t want it, even if the diplomatic world clamored against it, even if it continued to bankrupt our country and spoil future security for our children?

On Spending, Herman Cain says:

It is no secret that federal government spending is out of control. They view the American taxpayers as a bottomless piggybank for their wasteful programs and expansion of power.

I wonder, who is “they”? And to what wasteful programs is he referring? Is Title X a wasteful program? In other words, is preventing premature births, birth defects, and cancer a waste of taxpayer money? There are some programs that can be considered wasteful, Cain should be more specific. Cain also thinks we should eliminate some of our entitlement programs “with a keen eye and a red pen”. I take that to mean Herman Cain would see the end of Social Security. Many of our senior citizens already live on tight, fixed budgets; and depend on social security (which they paid for) to keep them healthy. I don’t want to see our elder generation impoverished!

On to Immigration! Herman Cain says:

Americans have embraced their role as the world’s premier “melting pot,” welcoming immigrants from every corner of the planet. We readily learn about other cultures, customs and beliefs. We appreciate those who are willing to come to this country and make America a more vibrant and enriched place.

Conservatives readily learn from other cultures? What about conservative Michele Bachmann’s opinion that, “not all cultures are equal, not all values are equal,” implying that immigrants should assimilate to her culture. That doesn’t seem very welcoming to me. Herman Cain himself said he would not hire a Muslim to his cabinet, and that towns should be able to ban mosques from being built within their borders. He also thinks we should “promote the existing path to citizenship”. Well I argue that the existing path to citizenship is broken. It is filled with bureaucratic red tape and financial barriers that ensure that only very rich, patient, educated foreigners are allowed in.

For Herman Cains stance on energy policy, all I can say is, “WOW!” He mentions that corn-based ethanol producers are subsidized; but fails to mention that so too are oil producers, nuclear operators, and renewable energy producers. In fact, there is no sector of energy in the United States that is NOT subsidized in some way by federal funds. Now I mistrust Cain. His attempt to spin the energy story to promote his campaign has just turned me off. He also says, “liberals have forced excessive environmental regulations that have stifled our domestic energy production.” Cain thinks that the regulation of energy producers to protect the public from unmitigated pollution of our skies, rivers and ground water puts undue burden on energy producers who, might I add, are in no way struggling to turn profits. I think some oversight of energy producers is warranted.

Then I get to Herman Cain’s Health Care page. I cannot continue. This is some of the language I read here:

  • liberals in Congress have dismantled the free market health care system
  • compromise the sacred patient-doctor relationship
  • eliminate patient choice
  • stick a bureaucrat in the examining room
  • ration care

Time after time, this same inflammatory language Cain insists on using to describe the PPACA has been proven misleading, lying at best. It’s not a government takeover. It’s not interfering with patient-doctor relationships (although, with the latest attempts by Congress and the states to eliminate insurance coverage for abortion from the health care system, that is debatable). The PPACA increases patient choice. Patients will now be able to choose from a wider selection of insurance providers than they had before. And health care is already rationed by health care providers and insurance companies. For instance, hospitals will not put someone on the list for a lung transplant if the person is a smoker. And with Herman Cain’s views on abortion rights, I am sure that, under a Cain presidency, my rights to make medical choices without the interference of government would only suffer more.

And Cain promotes “tort reform” as the solution to lowering health care costs and increasing patient choice. Tort reform is code word for eliminating a patients ability to seek damages from a doctor when he or she is harmed. Tort reform is not the answer. Increasing the availability and affordability of primary care in order to reduce the number of patients seeking such care in hospitals, thus decreasing the work load of doctors and nurses such that they can better focus on their patients is the solution to medical malpractice suits. Scaring the ‘have-nots’ from taking the ‘haves’ to court in order to reduce the number of malpractice suits serves only to deter an individual from seeking reparation when he or she has actually been wronged. And believe me, it’s an individual against a huge insurance company, not patient versus doctor.

Let me end this useless attempt to consider Cain’s conservative ideas on their merit. In almost every instance, Cain provides a half story in an attempt to brainwash his own readers! And on his “Faith & Family” page, he basically makes his point that the U.S. is a Christian nation (especially noting the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance), and should remain that way. I argue that the U.S. Republic is seated by a secular government whose job is to administer a country in which Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Witches, Pagans, Hari Krishnas and Atheists alike can live their lives in the way they see fit. The words “under god” are an addition made in fear; and don’t belong in the Pledge of Allegiance. And I decry any attempt to force me or my future children to say such words. That is the opposite of freedom of religion.

It’s possible that Herman Cain seriously believes that African American voters are living in a purple haze that makes liberalism show up in rosy hues. But, I don’t think so. I think he is just desperate. I am a highly educated, worldly, open-minded, faceted and (and if I can say so myself) fascinating individual. And I am NOT brainwashed. I just don’t agree with you, Herman Cain!!!

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