Why I'm a Liberal

Monday, June 26, 2017

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the "why" of my politics. It's not enough to simply state "I'm a liberal" or "I'm a conservative." Since I live in a representative democracy, I have an obligation to understand thoroughly why I believe what I do, and which of my values drives my decision making process.

One of the reasons I believe this to be true is that politics are a very emotional business. People vote for who they like, or who's like them, or who shares their faith tradition. None of these reasons are good enough when the stakes are so high. There has to be some guiding principles that can help me make my decisions about candidates and issues with a rubric that isn't based on emotional response. And while I have always tried to be a very informed voter, and have attempted to reduce the amount of emotional influence I subject myself to, I have never actually analyzed my thoughts and values with the critical eye I apply to other issues.

And the answers I came up with? I believe in the categorical imperative, and I'm an adult.

For those not familiar with Immanuel Kant, the categorical imperative is defined as "act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law."

It's a lot more complicated than that, of course, but this definition will do for the purposes of this discussion.

When making my decisions about politics, I ask myself, "Is this the best option for everyone, or just for me? If everyone votes the way I do, what would happen to the world, the country, my state?" The answer to that question has led me to vote for tax increases, universal health care in Colorado (which will cost me far more than my current corporate coverage), and eliminating the requirement for Party registration in Primary Caucuses.

Different people will answer that question in different ways, of course, but for me, that's the guiding principle. And sometimes, the answer to that question is "neither choice is good for anyone," and that's when being an adult comes in.

One of the keystones of being an emotionally mature adult is understanding - really understanding - the concept that when you make a choice, you are also choosing the consequences of that choice. This has all sorts of ramifications in personal, public, and professional life, but the maxim is still the same.

So if I choose to support the Republican Health Care Bill, for example, I am also choosing the consequences if that Bill becomes law. Millions of people losing health coverage. Reducing health care for the poorest children. Approving of increasing seniors' premiums to an unmanageable rate. Do I want these consequences? I do not. The categorical imperative tells me that even though my own costs went up with the ACA, and my health care coverage didn't change, the country would be a far worse place if my support of this Bill was something everyone shared. So I oppose it.

The same applies when I vote for a candidate. If I had chosen to vote for 45, I would bear the responsibility of the consequences of that decision. Having my country's leader be a laughingstock on the world stage. The U.S. being considered no longer consequential in foreign affairs because our President acts like a narcissistic toddler. My country being categorized into the same bucket that contains Syria. All of those things are now true, indisputably so, and had I voted for 45, I would bear the burden of that consequence. Personally.

Because here's the thing about being an adult. Adults take responsibility for their choices, whether the outcome is good or bad. I chose action X, I am responsible for consequence Y. That responsibility doesn't evaporate because I have buyer's remorse, or I claim I "didn't know." With very few exceptions, I can reasonably be expected to understand the consequences of my choices.

So I voted for Hillary, because when I looked at the categorical imperative and the consequences of my decision, I analyzed the possible outcomes and I found that the consequences of this choice would be far less damaging to our country (and the world) than the alternative. Would she have been perfect? Of course not. Would I then have been personally responsible for whatever negative consequences resulted from her Presidency? You bet I would.

No one is perfect, and there's no such thing as a perfect decision in politics. All choices involve some level of compromise. But this system allows me to analyze my own choices in a way that I hope allows for the least amount of damage to the fewest people. When you add in a core value that dictates that people have an obligation to help one another, especially the least among us, that puts me squarely in the liberal camp. Not the Democrat's camp. The liberal camp.

Because to do otherwise would be to compromise the core of who I am. And I won't do that. Least of all for expediency's sake.

Link Me Up, Scotty - "Don't Bluff" Edition

Sunday, June 25, 2017

David Frum - who is not exactly a bastion of liberal thought - examines how 45 has damaged his credibility to the extent that other counties have no reason whatsoever to take him - or the United States - seriously. Great job, Chump.
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A Canadian Special Forces sniper has hit a target that was 2.2 miles away. Technology meets extreme marksmanship.
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A truly epic rant about the hypocrisy of the Red South.
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From Random Michelle, check out Mighty Girl Eqbal Dauqan, a Yemeni professor of biochemistry at the University Kebangsaan Malaysia. She's had more than her share of troubles, and kept on keeping on through it all. True grit.
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From the ZOMGWTFBBQ you're so stupid and so is your employer files: CenturyLink, a telecommunications provider headquartered in Monroe, Louisiana, used to have a Chief Diversity Officer named Odell Riley. Mr. Riley is homophobic douche whose LinkedIn profile states his major interests include:
-Growing and developing people (as long as you're not LGBTQ)
-Building high performing team by leveraging a variety of diverse individual experiences to build a strong effective culture (as long as you're not LGBTQ)
Odell Riley, the homophobic douche, is still employed at CenturyLink, and still has his title of "VP of Human Resources" on his Linked In profile from 2010-2012. One wonders how stupid this motherfucker has to be to allow this type of "opinion" to be filmed and published to the Internet when he clearly has corporate ambitions beyond being a homophobic douche. And one also has to wonder just how incredibly tone-deaf and stupid CenturyLink's senior leadership has to be for them not to have paid this guy off to make him go away. Inquiring minds want to know.
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The definitive list of 45's lies since taking the oath of office. This is going to be somebody's full time job for the duration of this administration.
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A U.S. led coalition kills nearly 500 civilians in one month in Syria in record high. Charming. Every day I wake up, living in the United States becomes more and more like living in a banana republic. This is not why I served.
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And in case you live under a rock, the once estimable Bill Cosby plans to spend some time teaching other men how to avoid sexual assault charges as they make their way through the world behaving badly. You can't make this shit up.
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My platonic semi-celebrity girlfriend Sally Yates has a few words to say about criminal justice reform and Confederate Apologist Jeff Sessions. This woman is a national treasure, I swear.
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Today's sources:
  • The Atlantic: Mainstream media source with a left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • NPR: Mainstream media source with a left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • The Stranger: Online repository for LGBT news and opinion.
  • The Oregonian: Local mainstream media source with a right-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • New York Times: Mainstream media source with a left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • The Telegraph: UK based mainstream media source with a right-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • The Washington Post: Mainstream media source with a left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 

Link Me Up, Scotty - Make Them Hear You Edition

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How 45 has become the unreliable narrator of his Presidency, and what that means.
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Guess who doesn't have a clue about what is included in the Republican's health care bill? The Republicans that are drafting it, that's who. GRAIN OF SALT WARNING: Vox is a left biased news source, but the questions and responses are direct quotes, which leaves us free to draw our own conclusions.
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Turns out 45 has hundreds of millions of dollars in financial liability. The new financial disclosure also outlines where his money is coming from in a general sense, and the fact that 45's promises to "donate" money to the US Treasury that was earned from foreign governments is basically lip service. Can you say "emoluments clause?" I knew you could.
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The GOP is still crafting their Health Care Bill in secret and behind closed doors. I have daily missives going to my Republican Senator on this issue, with calls for transparency and PUBLIC hearings. I'm not holding my breath, however - the Coward Cory Gardner has never disobeyed his Party Masters, and as my divorce attorney used to say, "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior."
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"Two-and-a-half miles below the ocean near Australia, there is crushing pressure, total darkness and a collection of some of the strangest creatures on the planet — if you're willing to go find them." And scientists are, with the help of a grant. All of time and space, and the wonders and horrors therein.
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Another fine example of how 45's Presidency is the Presidency of bigotry, apathy, and ignorance. This administration is so lacking in basic human kindness and compassion, every day they remain in the once-proud White House is another day where I'm further embarrassed to be a voting member of a Republic that would make such a miscreant our President.
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Check out this performance of Three Mo' Tenors recorded in 2001 at (of all places) Troy High School in Troy, OH. A wide variety of music sung by three STUNNING tenor voices who are obviously having a great time.
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I loved this story of former NFL player Ryan O'Calloghan's journey to self-acceptance and purpose. Too many young people don't get the support they need, when they need it, and I'm happier than I can say that our culture is slowly making strides to accept people in the LGBT community.
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My favorite Christian Pastor with observations on Carrie Fisher's unrelenting battle with mental illness and substance abuse. Addicts are weak my ass. Carrie Fisher is one of the bravest human beings I've ever heard of, and her passing only re-emphasizes for me how much grit it took for her to live as long as she did. An amazing woman.
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And speaking of awesome music, the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington chose to respond to the protesters at the Knoxville Pride event with song. You know, like you do. I love this response so very much. It clearly emphasizes the hate and vitriol of the so-called Christians while the chorus sings about love and courage. Way to go, gents!




Today's Sources:
  • NPR: Mainstream Media source with left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • Vox: Internet Media source with left bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • NBC News: Broadcast Media source with left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • New York Times: Mainstream Media source with left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • The YourTube Channel of Jazz Music Vault 
  • Outsports: An online source for LGBT athletes.  
  • Things That Need to be Said: The personal blog of Pastor John Pavlovitz
  • The YouTube Channel of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington.

Link Me Up, Scotty - We Heart Uncle Joe Edition

Monday, June 19, 2017

Terry Gross interviewed Vice President Joe Biden, and the resulting recording is insightful, interesting, and moving. I do loves me some Uncle Joe.
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Nikos Giannopoulos, Rhode Island's Teacher of the Year, is FABULOUS, and I love him.
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It looks as though a number of sailors have been killed in the collision of the USS FITZGERALD and a Japanese container ship. I have many feelings about this news, but foremost is the always present knowledge that the profession of arms is dangerous, in more ways than one. This could have just as easily been me, or my son, or any of hundreds of sailors I've known over the years. Fair winds and following seas, my shipmates.
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Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman takes a look at Congressional Republican's handling of the Health Care Bill and determines that the Party basically consists of Vampires and Zombies.
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People suck so much, I can't even.
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My favorite Christian Pastor takes on those who would conflate disagreement and resistance to our current administration to a failure of patriotism. I will put up my service and dedication to our nation and its people against anyone's, thank you very much. I haven't served as much, sacrificed as much as some, but it's a safe bet that I've served and sacrificed more than most, and the fact of my liberalism doesn't mean conservatives get to question my patriotism or my dedication to the well-being of the Republic.
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Smart Man and all-around good egg David with his latest observations on the State of the Union. I especially like #16, although I myself frame the observation in this way: When someone says they're tired of being "politically correct," what they really mean is that they're tired of having to treat others with respect or face the social consequences.
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ExtraNewsFeed give us...18 reasons 45 is a better President than President Obama.
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Star Trek: Discovery has announced its premiere dates. BEGIN GEEKERY.
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Oh, look - our allies aren't taking 45 seriously, and are now going so far as to publicly mock him. While I can't really blame them - after all, 45 has to be one of the most unserious political figures in history - this does not bode well for our position on the world stage.
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Today's Sources:
  • NPR: A mainstream media source with a left-center bias and highly factual reporting. 
  • The Washington Post: A mainstream media source with a left-center bias and highly factual reporting. 
  • The New York Times: A mainstream media source with a left-center bias a highly factual reporting. 
  • Stuff That Needs to be Said: The personal blog of Pastor John Pavlovitz. 
  • 4 Quarters, 10 Dimes: The personal blog of professional historian David. 
  • ExtraNewsFeed: Satire and humor. Their tagline: "The same political rants you see on Facebook, but they’re well written."
  • StarTrek.com: All things Star Trek
  • Vox: On-line media source with a left bias and highly factual reporting. 

Link Me Up, Scotty - Short Form Edition

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Libby Bakalar of One Hot Mess takes on Disney's Beauty and the Beast with the help of her 6 year old son, with hilarious results.
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Oh, look! Evidence that the Russians tried to hack into election data in ways that would directly affect the outcomes of elections. This is my shocked face.
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Because I know you need more Trump/MAGA jokes in your life.
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What the hell is wrong with people? No, seriously - what? I dislike 45 and the morally bankrupt Republican Party as much as the next tax-and-spend liberal, but shooting them down like rabid dogs is wrong on every level. We still have some investment in the rule of law around here, regardless of 45's efforts, and such events only hurt the liberal cause. And then there was a workplace shooting in San Francisco. I don't understand people at all. 
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An interesting look at how when it comes to living in harmony with our fellow creatures, humans are looking at the problem in the wrong way. In other words, hive collapse isn't the problem, it's the symptom. 
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June 12th was the 40th anniversary of the verdict in the case that struck down miscegenation laws nation-wide. Like most people in this country, they just wanted people to leave them alone.
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Sources: 
  • One Hot Mess: The personal blog of Libby Bakalar.
  • Bloomberg: Mainstream Media source with a left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • The Nib: A web comic.
  • The Washington Post: Mainstream Media source with a left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • NPR: Mainstream Media source with a left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 

The Unforgivable Sin

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I'm a big believer in forgiveness. It's good for me, as it allows me to move along smartly with my life without allowing those I perceive to have wronged me taking up permanent residence in my head. Sometimes it takes me a long time to forgive someone who has done me particularly grievous harm, but eventually I'll come around, forgive the person in question, and move on with my life. Typically the person in question is no longer welcome in my life after that, but hey, I'm okay with that.

But there is one thing that falls under "unforgivable sin" in my forgiveness rubric. And that thing is causing grievous harm to those I care deeply about.

I don't know why I'm willing to forgive those who do me harm, but not those who do harm to people I love, although I'm sure there's some deep psychological reason for it. Maybe it's because I know I have the skills and the practice to be able to manage such things, and I'm not sure if my loved ones do, as well. Maybe it's because when something like this happens, I want to fix it, and relieve the pain of the person I love, but I can't. So I'm not only railing against the perpetrator for causing harm to the person I love, but also for making me feel powerless. Maybe it's because Karma just doesn't work fast enough for my tastes, and really I'm just a vengeful bitch.

But one thing's for sure. There are two people on this list, and I wouldn't spit on them if they were on fire. Sometimes I feel bad about that, and think I need to work harder at being kinder and more forgiving. And sometimes I'm just grateful the list isn't longer.

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NOTE: I'm not going to write about the example that precipitated this blog post, as it's not my story to tell. But believe you me, if there was ever someone who fell into "unforgivable" category, it's the individual who caused this pain.

Reasons I Think MRAs Hate Wonder Woman - A Noncomprehensive List

Friday, June 9, 2017

Now that I've actually seen the Wonder Woman movie - which was fucking awesome, by the way - I think I'm informed enough to speculate on why Men's Rights Advocates (MRAs) hate this movie with the fire of a thousand burning suns. Here we go:

1. MRAs have a problem with Copernicus. It is their belief that the entire universe revolves around them, or at least it should, and they truly can't understand why this movie doesn't. To make matters worse, when they try to make it about them, the ladiez (and a great number of men) are rolling their eyes, laughing in their faces, and merrily flooding the box office with ticket sales to this fabulous movie.

2. The Wonder Woman character refuses to apologize for being a woman. Her attitude is more like, "Why does anyone care that I'm a woman?" Historically, strong female characters had to justify their strength to their male compatriots, ensuring they don't bruise the tender egos of the menfolk. Wonder Woman doesn't do that, and doesn't understand why she should. Fuckin' A, Diana of Themyscira.

3. The Wonder Woman character was not written as "broken." She's an amazing warrior because she came of age in a warrior culture, and worked hard to become amazing. There's no hidden motivation regarding a man, her desire to get revenge, her overwhelming desire to have a child of her womb, or whatever. She's just a badass. And we all know that being a fully whole badass is a state solely reserved for the menfolk.

4. Gal Gadot is not be trifled with. She was an Israeli Defense Force Combat Instructor. In preparation for this role she took swordsmanship, Kung Fu kickboxing, capoeira, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu training. She did all her own stunts for the Fast and the Furious franchise. She did the reshoots for Wonder Woman while five months pregnant with her second child. She's been happily married for almost nine years. She and her husband are richy, rich, rich. AND she was 2004's Miss Israel. So she's smart, stable, accomplished, gifted, strong, rich, beautiful, and she doesn't give a good goddamn when MRAs think about her or her movie. Intimidating much, Ms. Gadot? YES YOU ARE, SISTER, AND GOOD FOR YOU.

5. Wonder Woman is a morally and physically superior being. This should not be a surprise, after all - she's a demigod, for fuck's sake. But apparently only male demigods (like Thor, for example) are allowed to be superior to men. Not uppity Amazons with a penchant for love and justice.

6. Many MRAs believe this movie was made solely to make the DC Universe politically correct. Apparently that domestic opening weekend haul of over $103M - exceeding Dr. Strange, Iron Man, and Thor - is just a coincidence. Because really, what studios are REALLY interested in is being politically correct and inclusive, not making money. Amirite, ladiez?

7. Wonder Woman is getting great reviews, both from the masses (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and from professional movie critics. That there is a hard pill to swallow, I imagine, after all the vitriol expended on its irrelevance and accusations of kowtowing to the femi-nazis.

SUCK IT, MRAs. Wonder Woman is the feminist icon of our time, and she is AMAZING.