Shutdown Reality Check from China

Dear Americans:

Today, in quite a rational and well-reasoned statement China argued that other nations would be wise to “de-Americanize” their investments … that is (at least in part) the US dollar is held as a reserve currency for many nations around the world and many nations invest in the US financial system because of its stability.

Why did China urge this? Because our embarrassing internal politics is costing them and all of the other countries that we do business with money, the politics of “no”, the childish bullshit surrounding a MINORITY in the government holding up Obamacare 43 times, and frankly citizens lack of intelligent and thoughtful discourse/demanding better from our politicians suggests we’re no longer responsible enough to be a financial grounding for the world. We’re basically the petulant 13 year old who’s too big to spank but not yet too old to kick out of the house.

I know a lot of you are not comfortable with controversy and politics on social media nor in person, but guess what? It’s time to put on your big boy/girl underwear, learn something about what’s really going on, and be a part of the political process. Bitching and moaning no longer suffices, choosing to surround yourselves with like-minded people (from both ends of the political spectrum) is a cop out, and engage each other, read some real news (and not news entertainment), and start being responsible citizens. That… or just don’t vote and let everyone else who does actually pay attention discuss it and vote.

Folks — we get the government we deserve. The buck stops with the citizens and not with Congress. And now back to living in a country where the social good outweighs selfish individual concern… you all can return to your regularly scheduled reality TV show.

Signed,
A very cranky and embarrassed me.

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Women are people too, Andy Murray IS the 1st in 77 years….

Dear overzealous feminists (male and female) whose knickers have been in a wad for DAYS now about Virginia Wade’s 1977 Wimbledon win being somehow irrelevant in the promotion of the Andy Murray winning Wimbledon story: VirginiaWadeWomenPplToo

Perhaps American coverage has forgotten the qualifier “of winning the Men’s Championship at Wimbledon” (I don’t know for sure since I don’t live there), I can assure you is what the British have been explicitly talking about for weeks because they also had the English women’s player to promote — Laura Robson.

However, the qualifier itself is completely UNNECESSARY to anyone who knows ANYTHING about the tournament. The qualifier of “Men’s” is implied for one simple reason — the tournament’s actual name is the “Wimbledon Championships(as in plural) because there are multiple events occurring at the same time. That means that to refer to Andy Murray as being the first Wimbledon Champion in 77 years MEANS EXACTLY for the Men’s event. Since Virginia Wade doesn’t have dangly bits, she was never entered in the same event tournament as Murray competes in; therefore, it’s actually impossible for anyone to be forgetting her and talking about Murray’s win.

It is just as silly as being worked up into righteous indignation and passing stupid memes throughout social media because everyone is ignoring poor Jamie Murray — the last Brit to win the Mixed Doubles event in 2007, Virginia Wade who also won the Women’s Doubles event in 1970, or even Jonathon Murray (wow… Murray = a British tennis name 🙂 ) the 2012 British winner of the Men’s Doublesevent. Oh the tragedy… no one is talking about these Wimbledon championships yet these are championships all won by British tennis players more recently than 1936. Why? Oh yeah — because they’re different events.

So, before you post another meme or bitch and complain some more, please understand the definition of terms and quit being so damn fast to jump to conclusions — it’s annoying because it’s just an incorrect argument.  Let me reiterate your argument/ complaint is just WRONG since Wimbledon has multiple tournaments EVERY YEAR????? (I thought I would repeat for those who are a little slow on the uptake).

Here’s the bigger picture — if you actually care about issues of gender equality there are plenty of things to be upset about all around the world with issues related to gender equity for men and women alike. Yet, what seems clear in the social media world’s indignation of the Murray coverage (aside from it being from a bunch of people who clearly don’t know anything about professional tennis), is that people have rushed to judgment without actually understanding the issue. Shockingly, this is largely the source of legitimate complaint about gender inequality — that others judge people based on gender identity. Ironic that … almost as ironic as the people who don’t believe the government should make stricter gun control laws, yet who would force a woman to have an invasive ultrasound before an abortion. Yes, I am comparing your hypocrisy to the very people you SHOULD be railing against because it’s the same stupid logic.

Maybe you’re not forcing women to undergo unnecessary medical procedures, but aside from misplacing your indignation you also make it harder for people to credibly argue about gender equity issues (especially in sports) because the more you cry wolf, the less likely people are to actually listen when it matters. In the end, this means your advocacy is not only likely to fail on this, but to have knock on effects of derailing many important gender equity conversations.

So, by all means rant and rave, just do it about issues that are #1 real issues and #2 actually matter.

Tyranny of the minority – geez it’s embarrassing

Yesterday in on of the most ridiculous Senate votes, the US Senate rejected background checks for gun sales by a vote of 54-46 — no, 54 Senators did not vote against the bill only 46 did. Let that sink in — because Harry Reid, Democratic Majority leader did not push to get rid of the ridiculous “super majority” required to do anything in the US Senate (which, he could have done) a MINORITY of US Senators rejected the most mild form of gun control legislation possible — a background check — despite around 90% of the American public supporting it.

When was the last time 90% of Americans agreed on anything in the first place? And in the second place, democracy is supposed to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority, but also supposed to protect everyone from the tyranny of the minority. Yet, the American Congress fails in both respects. How does this happen? Well, a solid campaign of misinformation from gun control opponents using one of several logical fallacies to support their fear campaign. You’d think that Senators would be ‘above’ campaigns of misinformation, but it feeds the GOP objectives of being obstructionist, even to the detriment of the American public. It’s not like this is the first time they’ve placed politics above people. We need only look at how many peoples’ jobs, program funding, and the most vulnerable have been/would be negatively affected by silliness of the fiscal cliff political wranglings as a recent example, but the list is long of how the GOP/Tea Party obstruction approach to governance has hurt Americans in the last four years.

The disinformation campaign worked though — the poorly informed in the US (i.e., a sad majority on both sides) really thought that the background check was more restricting on gun rights than it actually was. So, from the blindly GOP we see little gems like this popping up today throughout social media. SecondAmendmentBSFlag I hate to tell you all, but law abiding citizens were never at risk of losing much with this particular piece of legislation.  We already have background checks that have been in place since 1993 with the passage of the Brady Bill. It denies the privilege of owning a gun to the following people:

  • People convicted of a felony with a sentence of 1 or more years in prison
  • People convicted of a misdemeanor with a sentence of 2 or more years in prison
  • Being indicted by a crime that would carry a sentence of 1 or more years.
  • Being a fugitive from justice
  • A user of illegal drugs or ‘known’ addict
  • Being involuntarily committed to a mental institution
  • Being an illegal alien
  • Being dishonorably discharged from the military
  • Renouncing your US citizenship
  • Being subject to a restraining order for threatening a family member
  • Being convicted of domestic violence

Here’s the problem with the Brady Bill — it doesn’t cover guns sold over the Internet (because in 1993 the Internet didn’t exist as it does today… hell, we were using DOS-based email) nor does it cover gun shows. So, if you go from the most conservative estimates of 15-20% or use the figures from a 1997 white paper pointing to a figure of closer to 40% of all gun sales are not subject to background checks.

We probably shouldn’t get so hung up on the specific percentages, so let’s break the information down another way.  The ATF estimates that in 2005 (as the ‘sample’ year) it was estimated that were around 5000 gun shows in the United States with varying amounts of gun sales… but at big shows moving likely 1000 guns in a weekend. If I whip out my calculator here, that makes 5 MILLION guns (give or take a million or two) moved in the United States that require no background check at all!

Let’s also offer a couple of quick responses to slippery slope fallacy that background checks will lead to a national registry and some kind of Orwellian control over guns (yes, you people sound just that silly). Response 1: we’ve had a damn gun registry since 1993 and we haven’t seen the emergence of a national registry. That 20 years of data seems to suggest you’re just wrong. Response 2: and by far the better response… had the background check bill actually been passed, it would have literally outlawed the emergence of any kind of a gun registry and anyone attempting to start one would have faced a 15 year jail sentence for it.

Alright — all of that was for the ill-informed knee jerks who thought their world would have ended. For supporters of any kind of gun control legislation — you also don’t help when you’re misinformed either. IF the opposition gets to debate whether a national registry is a good or bad idea, then guess what we’ve already lost the conversation because we’re spending time and energy offering good arguments to a point that’s utterly irrelevant. Of course we have registries in this country associated with things like our driver’s license and change of address forms. Hell — we just passed tax day and if you filed your taxes, the government has a registry of where you live and how much money you have. Not only that, but we have background checks in an increasing number of our jobs, to get a house/apartment, credit card, or any number of things. But those don’t help to refute a well-crafted and disciplined misinformation campaign. We can’t have 50 arguments all over the place.

So, let’s come back to the point — it’s embarrassing to be an American sometimes — like days when our world education and health care figures come out pointing that the United States is falling behind developing nations. It’s embarrassing to be an American when our elections are corrupted by corporatism under the guise of the freedom of speech. It’s embarrassing to be an American when I’m trying to explain Fox News and their viewers to anyone outside of the United States. And it’s embarrassing when an old guy on the train asked where I was from and I responded and in broken English and German he jokes, “oh yeah, George W. Bush — thanks for that”. But, it’s not just embarrassing but fundamentally soul wrenching when the most basic and watered down effort at sensible gun control at a national level is defeated by a minority vote even though it’s so benign that 90% of Americans agree with it AND some people actually think it was a “win” for freedom.

<face in palm>