Friday, April 29, 2011

Donald Trump cannot be allowed to trump the Executive Office

(Previously published by Blogcritics)

Note: This piece was written and submitted to the queue on Blogcritcs two days before President Obama released his birth certificate, its eventual publication occurring a day after the event. Talk about irony.

It made for intriguing conversation at first, but now I'm getting thoroughly tired of all this talk about Donald Trump.
We must give Trump credit where credit is due: he is a shrewd businessman and success story. Even after nearly going bankrupt after his disastrous financing of the Taj Mahal casino, he picked himself up, dusted himself off and rebounded to greater heights in the business world.
But can we ignore the fact that other people paid the price and got screwed when Trump filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy? The creditors he messed with during his fluctuations in wealth accrual—how'd that work out for them?
It amazes me that there are members of the American electorate who are prepared to support Trump. It proves that if you strike a chord on just one issue —in Trump's case, it's the Obama birth certificate controversy—you will attract a salivating crowd of lapdogs.
Now it's cool that Trump has been hounding Obama on the subject of the whereabouts of his birth and what his certificate really says about him. I do not understand why the President won't simply put the issue to rest, unless he's just incredibly stubborn (gee, do you think?) or there's real cause for concern on his part about the information his birth certificate contains.
But does this issue alone justify Trump's persual of the Oval Office? Hardly. Think about it: Is Trump the sort of man who can compromise? Trump will find that he cannot bully and bluster his way through the Executive branch. When it comes to the Congress, Trump will meet his match. He cannot just yell "You're fired!" at John Boehner. (Though, if he did, it would be worth sticking around to see if Boehner started crying.)
Trump has ignored all concerns from the locals of Menie, Scotland with regard to his construction of a golf course there. Though Trump did testify at a Scottish Government planning inquiry, the issue of family evictions remains a threat, yet Trump won't back down. God only knows what deals he struck with Scotland's Government, but the release of Libyan bomber Ali al-Megrahi proves they are easily manipulated. So there you have it: Trump, who doesn't need any more cash or can look elsewhere for it, has railroaded his project through a small community in a foreign country. What a hero. This alone speaks volumes about his penchant for foreign policy.
Grab all the oil in Iraq? Launch a trade war with China? Dude, seriously?
Trump has a capricious history with regard to what politicians he has supported and whose campaigns he has contributed large sums of cash to. If Trump is anti-foreign aid and checks the conservative box for most social issues, then why did he contribute to the likes of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Anthony Weiner and Tom Daschle?
If Obama was the product of dissatisfaction with Bush, then how does Trump justify his own condemnations of Dubya? He wants to call Obama the worst president ever, but he previously reserved that moniker for Bush. What gives? Is this man capable of making his mind up about about anything in politics?
Furthermore, how do we know this isn't all one huge ego-trip and promotion for his show The Apprentice? If Sarah Palin has discredited herself with her own reality show, can the same thing not be said for Trump? We don't need celebrities such that Palin and Trump have become. I know the argument about looking outside the system for Presidential material, but this is ridiculous. We need level-headed people who know the system like Chris Christie, Alan West, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, et al.
Please, Donald, just go back to your show and WWE and leave politics to the players.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The sexploitation of men on public transportation reveals gender hypocrisy

I don't know who Dan Juan is, not even if that's his real name or just a clever play on "Don Juan," but his recent on-line column in the Yahoo! UK & Ireland Lifestyle section was very frank and courageous in its admissions.
Women riding the London subway system have been taking photos of their travelling male counterparts that they consider hunky and posting them on a "sexy Tube" website for other rapacious females (or male homosexuals) to ogle over. Here's the catch: the men in question have no idea they're being shot. The photos on Tubecrush are all of guys whose privacy and right to be anonymous have been violated, as Juan points out.
As it's only men who are being secretly photographed, Juan alleges that it's sexist. I agree. Can you imagine a website on which women's photos were posted without their consent and treating their images as mere fodder for silly, lustful, and/or dirty minds? The howls of outrage from the so-called fairer sex would be eardrum-splitting. So why should we guys accept the same treatment?
Juan writes: "It's brazen objectification of men, with photos accompanied by demeaning innuendos like, 'this guy has a package that won't fit in a normal letterbox.'" Again, just imagine a man writing in a thread underneath a picture of a woman whose right to privacy has just been gang-raped: "Oh, I could smother myself in those jugs!"
One of the replies to Juan's objections, I thought, nailed the bewildering difference in attitude that has made Tubecrush so successful: "[M]ost of the men in TV and magazine adverts are also impossibly good looking—the difference is men aren't allowed to moan and complain about it without being ridiculed and told to grow a pair, whereas a woman has carte blanche to complain all she wants."
It's been obvious to me for years now that most men are willing to be bullied by feminism-crazed (note: I didn't say all) women, swallowing their pride and conforming to all their expectations simply in the hope of "getting some."
Let's face facts: many guys are just plain stupid, mindless sheep to molded and manipulated as desired. They are ruled by their crotches, not their craniums, and couldn't care less about being treated like a poor man's Adonis.
Even worse, Dan Juan and I might just qualify as "poofs" (or the plural of that repugnant "f"-word) due to our objections to this rank sexualization of our gender. To which I would reply, "So, it would be alright if you found yourselves the object of adoration on a gay version of this website?" The sound of their backtracking would sound positively cartoonish.
Gay, bi or straight, no-one has the right to be doing this, to either gender. Even if you classified this as porn and subjected the site to the same regulations (namely, pay-per-view), you would still have the right-to-privacy issue. But Juan doesn't care about the sexuality of the photographer by acknowledging that not only women are enjoying Tubecrush.
Now here's where you think Juan might have just stepped in the doggie-doo of hypocrisy. He dressed up to the nines one day in the hope of soliciting Tubecrush-worthy attention. Here's what he wrote after the experiment: "I logged on to Tubecrush, eager to see how I looked. Nothing. Not a single one of those girls or possible gay men had taken my photo on the tube. Or if they had, I had been rejected by the website's elitist proprietors for being deemed lower than a 6 out of 10 (this is the site's attractiveness cut-off point)."
Poor Dan Juan. He's not being hypocritical; he just gave in to human nature. Other men are no doubt looking for and not finding themselves on Tubecrush. It has to be, as Juan would say, a "crushing" experience. Honestly, if you want to encourage a man to cease his personal grooming habits and exercise routine because he thinks it's obviously doing him no good, a phenomenon like Tubecrush is the way to go about it.
What Juan writes next is heartbreaking: "Some Tube crushes are actually photographed while sitting right beside other men, who are completely ignored! Imagine being one of those poor sods. Seeing half of your face cropped out in the corner, unacknowledged." He's right: How demeaning and sexist can this possibly get?
It used to be, in the days of yore, you might hop onto the subway looking smart and dashing and imagine that someone, or perhaps several people, were secretly admiring you. It was fun to imagine and even if you had no concrete evidence to back up your flight of fancy, it helped to boost your confidence. You liked what your mind was telling you. Now you've got the proof that your fantasy was just that—a fantasy. No-one cares about you. Just go home. You're in the way of someone I want to take a photo of.
Dan Juan, I can't say I ever previously thought too much about this issue, but I can imagine what it's like to feel your pain. Thankfully, I hardly ever take the London subway system anymore and I certainly have no reason now to reconsider it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is the North Star a warmonger?

I was pleased to see that, via a poll question, 50.2 percent of respondents on the EU Politics Today website think that choas/civil war will be the result in Libya. Well, not exactly pleased, but the strength of my conviction received an amount of satisfaction and justification.
This war is a total farce. I do understand that because Britain and France are involved, we have an obligation to help out our fellow NATO members. If Obama wants to provide a few drones, fine. But for our involvement to stretch any further than that, which it has and which it will continue to do, is preposterous. Remember, "no boots on the ground." US military personnel must be wearing tennis sneakers.
How come we're not in Syria? How come we haven't intervened in the Ivory Coast?
During his war-justification address at the National Defense University in Washington, DC on March 28, Obama said: "I know that at a time of upheaval overseas, when the news is filled with conflict and change, it can be tempting to turn away from the world. And as I've said before, our strength abroad is anchored in our strength here at home. That must always be our North Star, the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources—to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a well-spring for our power, and to live the values we hold so dear."
Looks like in addition to his logic-defying Nobel Peace Prize, Obama's attempting to win the Nobel Prize for Literature as well for a flourish of poetry worthy of the Harvard elite.
Looks like the North Star doesn't shine for the Syrians or the civilians of the Ivory Coast.
Not that I want to be in either of those places, but how can our intervention in Libya not be seen as selective?
It could be argued that Libyans have had the courage to do what the Iraqis would not by challenging their autocratic leader. But Saddam Hussein was a much fiercer ruler. And for all the terror that Gaddafi sponsored, we had him contained. The war in Iraq indirectly knocked Gaddafi off his pedestal.
The world is not fair. We should pay Gaddafi back for his past crimes against us, but who are the rebels? Some of them are genuine and they have launched a pursuit for freedom; I can't fault them for that. But they made a choice and they rolled the dice. When you consider that the insurgency in Iraq was backed by eastern Libyans who are the main source of rebellion against Gaddafi, and taking into account the Al-Qaeda infltration into their camp, you are left with a scenario that does not qualify as "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
And why are the Arab nations sitting on the sidelines? After all, they told the West that they had to help to topple Gaddafi who, I'm inclined to think, is not as unpopular in Libya as we are being led to believe.
And there you have it: The nation of Libya, where the people either love Gaddafi and hate the West, or hate Gaddafi and hate the West. And we willingly walked into their civil war. Golly gee. Mission creep: 1, common sense: 0.
It's "kinetic military action," folks. That's all it is. No boots on the ground, we're simply enforcing a no-fly zone. Think of those comforting words and expressions whenever you feel the bile of anxiety rising in your throat. Just overlook the fact that KMA can also stand for "kiss my ass."
The British wanted drones and we provided them. It was the least we could do for an ally who had our backs in Iraq. I just want this President to acknowledge that this is a war, not "kinetic military action," and that selective interests, not the North Star, are guiding our involvement in this "free Libya" operation.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another moment of clarity from a public-sector union

For once, I agree with Bob Crow, General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).
Crow is one of these elitist, thuggish union types who believes in a privileged class of public-sector employee who should be free of the pains that the private sector is experiencing. The already lavishly paid Tube—that is, London subway system—employees he represents are forever calling strikes at inconvenient times of the year to demand the sort of pay raises that much-harder working bus drivers are lucky to receive. The RMT did not organize the recent "March for the Alternative"—that was the Trades Union Congress. But, along with Unison and Unite, they marched in tandem with the "gimme gimme" crowd to let the Con-Dems in Parliament know of the pain and sacrifice they'd suffer if a few arts grants met the cost-cutting knife.
But Mr. Crow, to his credit, nailed down the issue of public relations-sponsored national days and weeks. You know, the never-ending litany of days and weeks that we never knew existed: World Pinhole Camera Day, National Coffee Week, National Karaoke Week, British Pie Week, etc.
Prince William and Kate Middleton even have to share their wedding ceremony with—get this—World Dance Day.
Crow slammed these special events for the public relations stunts that they are, calling them "a sick joke," and alleging that they steal attention away from worthy causes such as World Malaria Day.
"Maybe we should have a special Ignore PR Puff Day to remind journalists to swerve the kind of garbage that the PR and ad agencies make a fortune out of inflicting on the rest of us," Crow opined.
I couldn't agree more.
I have nothing against capitalism, but these "special" days and weeks are ridiculous.
I wonder, when is the National Institute of Proctology day? The thing is, I'll bet it's a much more worthy cause than "Shake Your Ass" day.
Maybe they should team up with National Coffee Week and we can all receive caffeine-rich enemas at discounted prices. w00t!