Tag Archives: The Daily Show

Women Can Fight Now, And That’s Bad, Apparently

If you haven’t heard, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lifted the military ban on women serving in combat.

And judging by people’s reactions, you’d think he started shooting people in the face for fun.

As you may know, in America, women have been allowed in the military for several years at this point, but there has been a ban on women being allowed in special forces units and front-line combat units. Of course, unlike in wars before Vietnam, “front-line” is now a bit of a more obscure idea than an actual thing you can point to. The theater of war has spread in a far more chaotic, guerrilla style. So there have been, for some time, women that have had to fight for various reasons, as well as women that have died in combat.

So, you start to wonder what the heck everyone’s going crazy over with this ban being lifted.

Allen West, the now civilian that gets the Sarah Palin “for some reason we think what you have to say means something” treatment, thinks that women serving in combat will destroy the military, basically. The irony there is that West is black. I recall people complaining about the dissolution of unit cohesion and disparaging the state of the military when it was desegregated, or so my history teachers informed me. Yet, our military still stands. Then there was that thing about how gays would destroy the military… which also hasn’t happened yet, oddly enough.

If you want to see just how idiotic and ridiculous the arguments against women serving in combat are, you can just take a look at this excellent “Daily Show” bit that covers it quite well.

Is it going to be a smooth transition? Probably not. Change doesn’t always go smoothly. Are there going to be problems? Possibly. Sexual assaults might increase. We’ll have to increase diligence in stopping and prosecuting any instances of sexual assault, something we should have been doing already. But the argument that suddenly men and women will be too overcome with lust to do their job is ridiculous. They tried the same argument with openly serving homosexuals… and yet no news of men randomly shagging in the desert mid-gunfire.

The argument that women won’t be able to perform physically as well as men is also stupid. Yes, statistics show that women are not, on average, as physically strong as men. However, in the military, they have these physical performance tests, minimum requirements soldiers have to meet. Physical requirements that I’m pretty certain women have been meeting for some time now. Being that there are women in the Marines, and the Marines are generally considered to be the toughest branch of the military, I should think these women can hold their own, and possibly someone else’s at the same time.

There’s the argument about men being embarrassed… Is it wrong of me to say get over it? When you’re in combat, is embarrassment really the thing you should be worrying about? And isn’t that something you can, you know, get used to and get over? I don’t know about you, but “dropping trou” in front of other men isn’t something I’m super keen on. It seems like soldiers manage to get over that eventually, though, so why not with women?

And then there’s all the severely sexist and ignorant arguments. One guy started yelling about how women were wives, sisters and daughters and who would want to put them in harm’s way and subject them to torture? At which point, my response has to be the same people that want to put husbands and brothers and sons into harm’s way and subject them to torture. So, in my opinion, I don’t want to put anyone in danger. But women in the military have always been in danger. Some have been captured and, I bet, tortured. The whole chivalrous thing is just insulting to the men that are in the same position, deeming them as expendable.

Women can fight in combat roles now, officially. Good for them. People that want to complain? Get over yourselves.

Tagged , , ,

On Aid Privatization And Disaster Politicization

So, this hurricane thing… it’s been happening, and it hasn’t been grand. Hurricane Sandy has wreaked quite a bit of havoc on both New Jersey and New York City, with power still out in many areas of both places.

It used to be, it seemed, that when a big disaster occurred, be it natural or man-made (I will include terrorist attacks in this category), Americans could pull together to figure out what to do to fix things, at least for a while. Pearl Harbor brought the nation’s furious wrath into World War II, a war it had no true intention of entering before. 9/11 brought Americans together to aid New York City as much as possible and, for a few months at least, it seemed, brought petty partisan politics and hate to a standstill… well, except for some unfortunate xenophobia and Islamaphobia. Truth be told, we did the same thing to the Japanese-American population after Pearl Harbor.

…so, America doesn’t have the best track record on FULL unity and cooperation and support after massive attacks from a foreign entity… but when the tornadoes ripped through Alabama, severely damaging Tuscaloosa in particular, the nation turned to help. Same for Joplin, Mo. Neighboring states took in refugees after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. When the federal government failed to mobilize responsibly, local and private interest groups stepped in to pick up the slack.

But, apparently, that togetherness disappears a week before elections.

See, when the tornado hit Tuscaloosa, President Barack Obama came into town to view the damage. Obama walked with Mayor Walt Maddox, Republican Governor Robert Bentley and several Congresspeople, many who were also Republicans. During that event, in April 2011 before the real meaty parts of the reelection process began, no one thought anything of it. It was the president doing his job, surveying damage with local government officials, discussing strategies for aid and pledging support. Didn’t matter who was what political party.

But, now, here we are with Hurricane Sandy. Obama has done the same thing he did with Tuscaloosa. He left the campaign trail to focus fully on his duties as president and try to preserve as much life and livelihood as possible. He mobilized FEMA. He called New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie the night of the storm hitting the coast. He came to New Jersey and surveyed the damage. Pledged support. Discussed strategies for aid. Gov. Christie has praised Obama for his speedy and efficient support in the matter, and it can be noted that Christie, a Mitt Romney supporter, has had some less than glowing words about Obama even within the past week or so. When “Fox and Friends” tried to ask Christie about whether he thought Romney would do the same thing, Christie said, “If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.” You can see it here on this “Daily Show” clip about the hurricane.

Of course, Republicans are crying foul over Christie’s words. Human waste pile Rush Limbaugh thinks Christie’s gay for Obama. The Daily Caller columnist Matt Lewis is wondering if Christie could find a way to not look like a prop for Obama’s reelection. And President George W. Bush’s FEMA director during the Hurricane Katrina debacle Michael Brown decided to criticize Obama for reacting to the destruction too quickly.

Yes, there is some political discussion that could be had. For example, what is the benefit of government-assisted disaster relief? Should FEMA be cut or privatized? Those are the conversations that can be had. After we focus on helping those in need, those affected by the disaster.

Yes, Romney suggested cutting FEMA, letting the states handle it entirely. Yes, that would likely leave New Jersey in trouble right now with how it’s been affected. And, yes, Romney has now changed his position on FEMA, saying it plays a key role in disaster relief. So, yeah, we’ve got another flip-flop from Romney, and yeah, the conversation about federal disaster relief v. state disaster relief v. privatized disaster relief is one that we can have, and perhaps should have. I plan to go into it myself at a later time when discussing the desire to have states with more government power than the federal government.

But can we not, for this moment now, just stop playing politics and just help people? Seriously.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Failed Math Of The Romney/Ryan Budget

Now, fair warning before I get started: I’ve not seen this budget that these two have worked out. As far as I can tell, almost no one has. See, the two of them are nearly adamant in refusing to actually tell anyone how their budget would work. In an interview with Fox News, Paul Ryan nearly said that he didn’t have the time to give Chris Wallace the numbers and said, “It would take me too long to go through all of the math.”

Which might be true. It’s an interview. But maybe Ryan and Mitt Romney could supply some of those numbers, considering Ryan is claiming that the budget is “revenue neutral.” Which, from my understanding, means that their budget plan won’t earn America any money, but it will certainly stop America from losing money.

That means, numbers wise, that they have to cut $1.1 trillion (the current deficit, as I recall) from the current budget, or add it to the government’s income. Generally speaking, the government’s income comes from taxes. So, the solution is to cut spending and to raise taxes.

Now, Romney’s been having a bit of a problem on the road of telling anyone what he’s going to actually do in any specifics whatsoever. He’s said, specifically, he’ll cut funding to PBS and NPR. Okay. That’s specific. He’s said he’d slash funding to education. …a bit less specific, but alright. He’s said he’ll close tax loopholes… though, apparently, we have to wait until he’s elected to find out which ones.

“The Daily Show,” my go to source for a collection of clips of candidates and others saying things that don’t seem to add up with one another, had a rather excellent segment on Romney’s odd mathematics, or lack thereof.

See, it’s hard to find the specifics of what Romney wants to give up. We could look at Ryan’s budget, but Romney has said, very firmly, that his budget is different. Things changed. So it wouldn’t really do us much good. There are, however, some specifics on Romney’s website here. With the numbers provided there, it tallies up to a total of:

$219.6 billion slashed from the deficit. With a potential extra $100 billion from “empowering states to innovate.”

That’s a chunk, but it’s not deficit eliminating chunk. So, is he going to do something else?

Well, apparently, Romney is going to cut taxes across the board by 20 percent, and then he’s going to restore the defense budget to pre-Obama spending and increase it by building a lot more boats and three subs a year.

…which is where things start to get wonky for me. See, the way I understand it, if taxes, the federal government’s biggest revenue, go down, then the deficit goes up. For taxes to lower, things have to be slashed en mass to get the deficit lowered. But Romney wants to increase defense spending. All of this seems to almost eliminate the (let’s say) $319.6 billion cut from the budget.

“But it takes time! You can’t eliminate a deficit this big in one night!”

I find that argument intensely ironic, as that’s what supporters of President Barack Obama have been saying for a while now. And he still had to drive through the storm for a couple years before coming out on the other side. Romney would be starting his presidency, if elected, with unemployment rates lower than Obama started with and a stronger stock market than Obama started with. It’d seem that the sluggish removal of the deficit would have almost no excuse.

“If you lower taxes, the economy improves!”

Now, this gets into big economic theories I’m not personally familiar with. However, using logic, I can determine a few things. First, that likely isn’t true as a rule. If lower taxes improved the economy, then why tax at all? There is likely a point after which to lower taxes any more would be detrimental. Second, I feel like if that were a fact, the economy would have been doing nothing but improving since Ronald Reagan. In fact, it should have seen a strong hey day during Bush’s presidency. And it was strong for a while. Then it crashed. Which reminds me of the 1920s in America. The economy was going swell… and then it shattered. Could it be that there were not enough regulations and policies were passed that saw brief economic booms traded in for lengthy depressions?

But whether the economy improves or not isn’t what I’m discussing. I’m talking the federal budget. Simple as that. An improved economy would help, certainly, as it would potentially increase tax revenue, but I don’t think the economy will improve that much during a Romney presidency. It would be slow. Which sounds like his recovery plan.

And that’s the thing. Romney’s specific slashes and changes to the budget (which are, in my opinion, quite irresponsible) would move the deficit down some, while our debt continued to increase. Then he’d put policies in place he thinks will improve the economy (and let’s hope it won’t crash it), which would slowly move the deficit down some more. And if no one touches anything, maybe, in 10, 15, 20 years, the deficit will be gone. Tada!

But that’s not enough. There need to be some harsh realities. Taxes need to be raised. Loopholes need to be closed, particularly for corporations that get to keep their money overseas for free. We need to make it more expensive for companies to give their jobs to other countries, and make sure no corporation goes without paying taxes. The defense budget needs trimming, as does the rest of the budget. If you eliminate charitable donations tax deductions, close off tax deductions and loopholes that tend to only apply to the extremely wealthy and the big corporations, and bring corporations and companies back to the US with their jobs, you might start seeing a flow of money both in the economy and in the government’s pocketbook. THAT is what needs to happen.

Dunno if Romney will do that or not.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

So, Why Kill Big Bird, Exactly?

And by “kill Big Bird,” I am of course referring to Mitt Romney’s comments in the presidential debate stating that he would cut federal funding to PBS.

Now, I’ve talked about this before. I’ve made a generally philosophical and cultural plea to continue funding the arts. I could make a plea to education, or a plea to emotions about education…

…but the more I think about trying to convince people to not take federal funds away from PBS and company, the more I realize that I have no idea WHY people want to take those funds away.

“The Daily Show” has a bit discussing the ridiculousness of it all and supplying some reasoning for why people might want to cut it: Propaganda. …which I honestly can’t recall ever seeing on any show on PBS. Seriously. It seems like, more and more lately, the right is wanting to condemn education and facts as propaganda and warp them to fit their own narrative. Intelligent design, make history exclude certain people, et cetera. Which, really, is a frightening prospect. It’s like a war against reality. Considering Mr. “Pack of Lies from Hell” from yesterday’s post, I feel that might be accurate, sadly.

There’s another argument to keep funding PBS going around lately, from the Twitter account of fictional “The West Wing” President Josiah Bartlet. The tweet read: “TLC was founded in 1972 by NASA and the Health Department as an educational channel. It was privatized. Now it shows Honey Boo Boo.#SavePBS”

And that’s a really disturbing thought. I have heard counter-arguments, saying if PBS were defunded, it would pay for thousands of Pell Grants… Which sounds great, until you remember that the guy that wants to defund PBS wants to cut Pell Grants, too.

So, why defund PBS? There are SO MANY OTHER items in the budget that could be dropped, items which would return SO MUCH MORE money. “The Daily Show” has clip after clip after clip of Republicans dismissing the president’s attempts to cut amounts from the budget that are “insignificant” and “too small to matter” before they turn around and support cutting PBS and company, which gets a far lesser amount.

Before I can really form an argument to defend PBS and NPR and the like, defend their spread of education and facts to everyone, people who might not be able to access other methods of education or somesuch, I need to know why this is Romney’s big slash to the budget. As far as I recall, it’s one of the only things he’s flat out said he’d cut from the budget. For everything else, apparently he’ll tell us after he’s elected? I dunno. But he has said, unequivocally, he will cut funding to PBS. I would just like to hear why, exactly.

So, conservatives: Your turn. Tell me why.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Bill O’Reilly/Jon Stewart Debate

So, today was another debate (quasi-political, quasi-comedic) that I managed to miss. I very nearly missed it because I had forgotten about it. It was on the internet, viewable with a donation of $4.95 to charity, at TheRumble2012.com. But I saw people talking about it on Twitter, so I remembered and went to watch it. Which means that the actual reason I missed it is because the servers were apparently all down nearly the entire time. I didn’t even bother trying to watch it after all the Twitter complaints and my one attempt that led to a “This page ain’t loading” page.

Fortunately, I did manage to find some live updates for this “Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium.” For those unaware of what that is, it was a debate, moderated by CNN anchor ED Hill, between liberal host of “The Daily Show” Jon Stewart and conservative host of “The O’Reilly Factor” Bill O’Reilly. Huffington Post fortunately had a live update of the debate going, though it’s obviously not even close to actually watching the thing. Hopefully, the internet will eventually pull through and either post a free version, or a taped version you can still pay the $4.95 to watch.

Anyway, there were a few things I wanted to say about the debate. If my readings of the updates are right, Stewart probably “won” the debate because it seems like O’Reilly was randomly not taking things seriously at strange points and by doing strange things. Granted, it was supposed to be humorous as well, but… Apparently he started talking in an odd Southern-esque accent at one point? No idea why.

But, being that I’m a liberal, you’d probably figure I’d side with the diminutive Jewish funny guy anyway. Fine. Still, there were some rather interesting points raised throughout the debate. For example:

On defunding PBS and NPR, as Mitt Romney wants to do, what’s the point? O’Reilly… didn’t really seem to have anything but complaints. “Why should I be paying for this stuff? It’s gross! I don’t like it!” Not that he said any of that, but it comes off as that type of tone. Stewart’s reply, asking for a refund of the $800 billion used to fund the Iraq War, points out a pretty good secondary argument over this question of defunding these programs. First is the argument that defunding these programs is like trying to kiss better a lopped off limb. Ultimately, it’s a rather worthless gesture. But secondly is, if you want to defund things because you disagree with them, then the government is going to have to take back the money for a whole mess of things.

On entitlements, Stewart has actually brought up this point before on his show in one of his more serious, poignant and pointed moments. As Stewart said in the debate, “Why is it that if you take advantage of a corporate tax break you’re a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something so you don’t go hungry, you’re a moocher?” There has been, as I’ve talked about before, a strange and unfortunate trend to paint those that need government help to stay on their feet, however permanent or temporary, as somehow less deserving of American life than people that survive without any help from the government, outside of tax breaks and roads and education and so on. Specifically, people that ever take welfare or use food stamps are deemed as lesser beings. It’s stupid and demeans all their potential eventual success.

But my favorite little nugget of the night, besides O’Reilly admitting America shouldn’t have gone to Iraq, is something Stewart said that I’d never really thought of. He suggested, via a single-payer system as it’s the only way he thinks it would work, that health care should be removed from work.

That’s a point I’d never really thought about. And, frankly, it should. People that dislike Obamacare gripe all the time about how it eliminates choice and destroys a person’s ability to choose their own health care. Well, even if that were true, unless you’ve got a good amount of money set aside for health care and, y’know, don’t have a big family, you don’t have much of a choice. You get the health care your job offers, or you don’t get anything. And if you don’t have a job or don’t have a job that offers you health care (like me, as I’m not hired on for enough hours to apply for health care through my job), then you’re just screwed. You don’t get health care. Unless you’re independently wealthy. It would be much nicer if health care were more readily available to the unemployed and the part-time workers that are strewn throughout the country.

Based on what I read, this debate was likely far more entertaining and exciting than the first presidential debate, sadly. But I’ve said my piece on that a couple times now. Hopefully, I’ll manage to catch the next presidential debate… and, looking for the schedule, I’ve discovered that the next debate will be the vice presidential debate on foreign and domestic policy on Oct. 11, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. Then will be a town meeting style debate on foreign and domestic policy on Oct. 16, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, which in theory will be where Barack Obama can shine. And the final debate, in the style of the first debate, will be on foreign policy on Oct. 22, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. That one could be anyone’s game.

Anyway, here’s hoping I can actually watch these debates as they happen next time.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Reaction To The Reaction To The Debate

Okay. So, I still haven’t seen the presidential debate. I haven’t had time. I feel badly about this. But I swear, I will watch it tomorrow and report on what I find.

However, despite not having seen the debate, I’ve been reading quite a bit about the reactions to the debate… And those reactions go something like this:

President Barack Obama looked timid and acted without much fire behind him. Mitt Romney charged in with both fists swinging. And, despite Romney’s repetitive lack of facts (post-debate fact checkers seem to show Romney being less honest about things than Obama) and desire to cut both Big Bird and the debate’s moderator from the federal budget (to save America’s deficit that well-worn penny on our $100 tab), Romney still is generally considered to have won the debate, making the race slightly less of a struggle for him. Also, Jim Lehrer, the moderator, apparently wasn’t that good.

You can see a humorous summary of those points from “The Daily Show” here. It covers the points pretty well.

Now, what clips I have seen make me agree. Obama was dull and a lot like Romney on the campaign trail, outlining the boring, awkward parts of policy, displaying facts in an unexciting fashion and just generally being awkward. Romney had more fire under him. He looked and sounded passionate. Like Obama on the campaign trail. It was weird.

I still have to watch the entire debate, but I feel like my reactions won’t change too much. Neither will my desire to see a live fact checking device, something that could, say, show live fact check ratings from several fact checking organizations on a screen behind the candidates while they make points. Wouldn’t that be great? You’d get to see fact checkers call candidates liars or truth tellers WHEN THEY SAY IT? Instead of waiting until later and finding it for yourself? It would certainly influence more people, I think, and perhaps even keep the politicians more honest.

Ultimately, I don’t know what Obama’s problem was. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s four years out of the debating game, while Romney had some 1000 debates to practice with. Okay, only 20-plus or something. Still, a lot of practice. It could also be that Obama thrives on the energy of the crowd. I don’t remember all of the 2008 debates that well, but I think I remember Obama doing much better in town hall debates than one-on-one podium debates.

I hope we get to see a town hall debate or two for the next couple of debates. I like that format. It keeps candidates on their toes, forces them to face Americans and their questions. And maybe Obama will perform better at those. I don’t know. But he’ll have to smack the crap out of his previous performance, and decisively beat Romney at this next debate to regain his standing as definitive top dog. Already on the campaign trail, Obama’s snark and fire is there responding to Romney’s debate statements, particularly his Big Bird statement. Obama just needs to harness that and bring it to the next debate. If he can’t prove to America he still believes and is passionate, America may not vote for him.

When the questions hit social issues, Obama may find stronger success there as well. That’s where Romney has floundered pretty constantly, though he’ll likely know how to play to his base.

Tagged , , , , ,

The Daily Show’s Best Clip Yet

So, as promised, a post not (completely) about me being sick! Which I still am. I think it’s getting better. Eating my Mexican jambalaya earlier might not have helped things, but pain seems to have abated quite a bit. And it was really tasty. Now I just wish my neck weren’t so sore.


As I mentioned Tuesday in my only other not-about-being-sick post, Mitt Romney made a really massive gaffe wherein he basically says anyone that doesn’t pay federal income tax is irresponsible and dependent on the government to function, asking for things like food and healthcare and shelter. I ended up talking more about what I thought was his more-damning-to-his-so-called-experience statement, the immediate flip-flop on him knowing how the markets work. The big takeaway for everyone, however, has been the 47 percent comment. Because that segregates the nation. Bad idea for Romney.

I would love to talk more about the 47 percent comment and the problems I have with a lot of the ideologies behind it, and behind the people supporting it, but for today, I have a better idea.

I’ll let Jon Stewart do it.

In “The Daily Show”s segment “Chaos on Bulls**t Mountain,” Stewart hammers Romney, Romney apologetics (i.e., Fox News) and the Republican, neo-conservative ideologies that give rise to the sort of idea that people on welfare are useless, unworthy wastes of space in America. I would love to expound on this more, really, but that will have to wait for another day.

Honestly, though, that clip is one of Stewart’s best. Ever. President Barack Obama could just play that, add the tag “I approve this message” and get votes, I think. It’s not necessarily the funniest clip, but it’s one of the most powerful and condemning.

Oh, and as a bonus, here’s a really good SNL clip from a special Thursday edition of SNL’s “Weekend Update.” They also target the 47 percent comment, and make fun of “Fox and Friends.” Easy pickings, but still a lot of fun.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Daily Show Has Nailed It This Week

Dunno if you heard, but this week was the week of the Republican National Convention. Four days (Or, well, three and a tad days.) of GOP fanfare and froufrou. All to say, “Yes. We’re definitely picking Mitt Romney. Unless there’s someone else. Someone? Anyone? No? …Okay, Romney it is.”

The entire convention was filled with a lot of bashing of President Barack Obama, bad jokes, a couple racist dudes (well, two that got caught and thankfully thrown out), a lot of stretched truths, half truths and, well, lies… I guess it’s just your typical politics? Well, typical politics plus Clint Eastwood arguing with an empty chair. Best tweet in response: This is a perfect representation of the campaign: an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama.

Anyway, we’ll see how Obama responds during the DNC. He has a chance to really rip into the missteps of the RNC speeches and lay out his policy plans, something that didn’t really happen at the RNC. And having seen Romney’s performances in debates… Well.

During the whole RNC event, though (which I never watched… I didn’t hate myself that much), “The Daily Show” was filming in Tampa, Fla., where the RNC was held. And they had some pretty amazing, spot on criticisms of the event and the Republican Party. I’m hoping they do similar for the DNC… but I don’t know if their stuff will be as good as it was in Tampa.

Night one, a look at the political imagery of a natural disaster, Hurricane Isaac versus GOP.

Night two, a criticism of the theme of the night, “We Built It,” and how it’s based on a misquote.

Night three, fact checking GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s address to the RNC.

And night four, a Leonard Nimoy-narrated spoof of the Romney biographical short film. It’s pretty fantastic.

But in my mind, the best clip, the most politically poignant and, coincidentally, frightening segment that “The Daily Show” did is this one, where Samantha Bee talks to RNC attendees about Romney’s right to choose whether a woman has a right to choose abortion or not.

You might be able to guess where that one heads. Funny… but mostly upsetting.

Anyway. I didn’t watch the convention, as I said. I did read some of the speeches, and some of the fact checks on those speeches… But I’m not really in the mood to rant and rail politics. I’ve done too much of that as of late. And I ate a lot and want to go hibernate for a while. Hopefully, “The Daily Show” will tide you over. I’m going back to watch more “Once Upon a Time.” …I really like that show.

Which reminds me! TV starts back up this month! Excited!

Okay, now hibernation.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Honesty Gaffe

This political season has been rife with those wonderful things we call gaffes. Gaffes are errors in speech that tend to cause political negativity. Some gaffes can be utterly ruinous, like Howard Dean’s “Byaaaah!” Some gaffes don’t seem to make sense as gaffes, like Howard Dean’s “Byaaaah!” Some gaffes come from ignorance and misinformation, like Michele Bachmann’s claim that HPV vaccines caused mental retardation. Some gaffes are meant as harmless by the socially unaware person making the gaffe, like Mitt Romney’s $10k bet or his talking about how many cars he owns.

And then some gaffes are the truth.

These are, really, a subset of the gaffes that don’t seem to make sense as gaffes. These “gaffes” often come from a singular sentence taken grossly out of context due to that sentence by itself not being quite specific enough. The most recent case of this “gaffe” is President Barack Obama’s “You didn’t build that” speech.

While I can’t, for some reason, find the entirety of the speech at the moment, “The Daily Show” actually has a pretty good coverage of the speech, as well as the accusatory coverage and fallout from the speech.

Basically, for those unaware, in a speech about business and individual efforts in America and the like, Obama, in the middle, used the sentence “You didn’t build that.” Jon Stewart makes the argument that, clearly, Obama was referring to the roads and other infrastructure used to benefit businesses. I interpret it a little more broadly. To me, he was saying that business owners, large and small, have benefited from the entire American machine one way or another. Somehow, other people have helped. Teachers giving you the information, roads to drive on, loans to start your business, tax breaks, maybe a public library, use of the internet… It goes on and on. These days, so much infrastructure has been laid out that it is pretty much entirely impossible not to have a business that benefits from it in one way or another. Some ways are clearly far more directly benefited. Others are a bit more fringe. But the benefits are there nonetheless.

Opponents and critics of Obama, however, have been taking that singular sentence, “You didn’t build that,” to attempt to paint Obama as anti-business, particularly anti-small business. Their argument is that Obama is besmirching the great individuality and personal drive of American entrepreneurs by daring to suggest that they can’t pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. If those are even still a thing.

However, I would like to counter such arguments, as dishonest as they may be. To argue so vehemently against Obama’s speech is to besmirch and spit upon the American nation. It is to laugh at the ideas of unity, of working together to accomplish great things. It mocks the possibility of American greatness. Instead, they head for the ego, telling Americans they can all be part of the 1% if they try. Telling Americans that greatness is achievable for everyone, and apart from anyone else.

It laughs at the very idea of “these UNITED states.”

The GOP has worked very hard to make the government look like the big bad in this election. A tactic I don’t quite understand, as they’re hoping you’ll pick them to run the big bad, but it seems to work alright. The problem I have with this is, while the government can in fact be a big bad, they’re part of America. The government, like Soylent Green, is people. And if that spoiled anything for you, I refuse to apologize. The American people work in both the private and public sectors. Teachers, police, even government officials are just as important to the country as investors, business owners and the average minimum wage worker.

America is all of us. All of us work together. Can’t we just agree on that simple fact?

And, maybe, just maybe, can we just pick something honest to complain about? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: We need to stop the political deceit. If you want to complain about someone, pick their actual stances. Don’t make stuff up.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Bain: The Bane Of Romney

First, let me be clear… Yes, “The Dark Knight Rises” comes out on Friday. Yes, the villain is the rather terrifying Bane, the man who broke Batman’s back. Or, if you don’t know anything about the comics and had the “pleasure” of watching “Batman & Robin,” the brain-dead overly muscular luchador/chauffeur for Poison Ivy. …I suggest you at least get some knowledge of the comics if that’s all you know of Bane.

My point is, unlike some people (yes, you, Rush Limbaugh, and even if you didn’t mention a conspiracy you definitely left the insinuation there, so stop trying to cover your tracks), I don’t believe there is any sort of dastardly connection between the villain of this film and Mitt Romney’s connections with Bain Capital. Especially since no one really even wanted Romney to get this far, as you may recall.

Okay. That now being out of the way, time to talk about the actual matter at hand.

Romney’s associations with Bain have become a huge problem for him. President Barack Obama’s campaign has hit him hard and heavy over this issue, especially after a report in The Boston Globe suggested Romney’s not-quite truthfulness concerning his involvement at Bain.

I don’t know if it’s all true. Is it possible Romney committed perjury? Sure. Is it possible he remained involved in Bain after he claims? Certainly. Is it possible he oversaw the creation of businesses in countries other than America? Definitely. But whether he did or did not doesn’t much matter. It’s how terribly he’s handling this entire thing that’s causing his nightmares.

First off, this “retroactive retirement” thing… That’s just… I don’t know what that’s supposed to be. I mean, you’re working at a place, you take a leave of absence, like being gone, so you say, “Hey. Instead of ‘leave of absence,’ let’s just say I retired back then, okay? But I’ll totally keep the money and the benefits I had during that time. Thanks.” That’s just… stupid and disingenuous. Not to mention, it really doesn’t make much sense. The New Yorker has a pretty decent humor article lambasting the entire procedure.

Second off, there’s this whole tax returns thing… Pretty much everyone that has tried to be president has released years and years of their tax returns. Lets Americans know what you’re doing with your money. Romney swears he’s got nothing to hide… but then proceeds to hide all but two years of tax returns. The two most recent ones. Y’know, during his actual presidential run.

…sigh. No, Romney, that doesn’t show people anything. That shows us that you only want people seeing what you’ve done with your money during the time you’re trying your best to look good.

I don’t know if he’s got something to hide, really. And I don’t much care. I’m not going to vote for the guy, if you haven’t caught onto that. The problem is that, unless you’ve shown yourself to be an utterly honest person, people won’t trust you when you say “I have nothing to hide” while you openly hide things. It arouses suspicions, makes people raise questions and the like.

So, with all of this, Bain is really weighing Romney down. Badly. The more he goes on about the entire issue, the less in control and trustworthy he seems.

Take, for example, this clip from “The Daily Show” wherein Jon Stewart meticulously breaks down the issue and lays out all the problems Bain and Romney’s responses are causing Romney. Meticulous in this case also means humorous. (I will argue that Bane is not the most frightening Batman villain… That’s totally Joker.)

Stewart raises some excellent points. Romney is attempting to distance himself from his finances and business creation, the two things he’s been counting on to put him ahead of Obama in the race. The clip of him in 1994 talking about how blind trusts are ruses is extremely damaging to his credibility as well… and then there’s Stewart’s last argument.

I really have to applaud “The Daily Show” for this bit. Somehow, it wasn’t even a connection I had made. Romney, and the GOP at large, have condemned the lower classes and their attempts at “class warfare,” asking the rich to give a little. They have scoffed at government programs and people being given things for free. They have declared the system broken.

Yet Romney, and so many other affluent people, use that system to dodge taxes. To retain and regain money that they should be paying to the government. The system IS broken, but they don’t offer to fix the parts that get them more money. Instead, the offer to correct the parts that help some people do things such as survive.

Until Romney comes clean with his finances and admits that the rich benefit disproportionately from a broken system, his clout will likely continue to dwindle rapidly. And he will ultimately fail.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,