Strong Culture or Lack Thereof

Strong Culture or Lack Thereof

In light of the attack on Barcelona yesterday, I’m once again reminded of the problem of culture, or the lack of strong culture.

If I go to Thailand, I meet Thai people not Germans. Going to China means meeting Chinese people not Argentiens.  Traveling to Malaysia does not mean expecting to experience Ethiopian culture. Immigration and the cultural milieu of people adding and modifying the native culture enhances most countries. General Tso’s chicken, for instance, is wholly an Sino-American creation. I still enjoy General Tso’s chicken even though it didn’t originate in China. However, most countries do not have immigration as their bedrock principle. They may welcome immigrants but they remain … Chinese or Thai or Argentine. Take it or leave it.  Read more about Strong Culture or Lack Thereof

Purity Politics and Being All Things to All Peoples

Purity Politics and Being All Things to All Peoples

I am tired of purity politics. I’m tired of American political parties demanding homogeneity from their members. I’m tired of being only Democrat or Republican or liberal or conservative or moderate or progressive or neo-conservative or paleo-conservative or environmentalist or libertarian. I’m tired of activists demanding that ‘allies’ be all things to all causes andRead more about Purity Politics and Being All Things to All Peoples[…]

America’s Neoconservative & Liberal Hawkishness

America’s Neoconservative & Liberal Hawkishness

I come not to praise resurgent neoconservative power but to bury Donald Trump’s lurching approach to foreign policy. For many of us who had grown weary of both Republican and Democratic hawkishness, the last Presidential election represented a risky choice or a dismal choice. Hillary Clinton was a (liberal) hawk of such proportions that she had been endorsed by prominent neoconservatives. Donald Trump on the other hand…

Amidst the bombast and the braggadocio, there was a break with the Washington consensus on foreign policy. Trump criticized the Iraq war. He railed against NATO’s usefulness and America’s outsized role in it. He seemed perfectly fine with letting Russia deal with the Syria problem. Yes, he advocated a get-tough stance on ISIS. But it seemed that he really advocated disengagement in situations where America could not do any obvious good.

Though how to trust such an unprincipled man in the first place. If I had believed that candidate Trump would really disengage from the Middle East, I might have considered voting for him. But I didn’t believe him. And his other words on immigration and Islam were so toxic that I didn’t feel I had a choice. So, I held my nose and voted for the liberal hawk, Hillary Clinton. Something about the devil you know being better than the devil you don’t. Read more about America’s Neoconservative & Liberal Hawkishness

Supporting the New England Trumps

Supporting the New England Trumps

I think it’s safe to say that most of you know my political views. I’m fairly liberal on social issues, pro-2nd amendment, pro-free trade/capitalism, anti-neoconservative, anti-right-wing-nationalism. But today, I write to tell of you a position that will prove to be controversial in all but the most backward parts of this country. I will be supporting the New England Patriots in the Superbowl.

I do not come to this decision easily. Like other Americans did on November 8, 2016, I hold my nose while making this particular choice. I do not support the Patriots’ core philosophies. They are a morally bankrupt machine, having continually thumbed their nose at authority and been caught cheating multiple times. Read more about Supporting the New England Trumps

Political Parties aren’t Religions

Political Parties aren’t Religions

One of the issues I have with the political debates in this country is the misguided notion that political parties’ philosophies are monolithic. They just aren’t. Political parties aren’t religions. They have shifting alliances and priorities and philosophies throughout time. No matter that the parties themselves will try to tell us otherwise. Parties are private entities whose aim is to get into power. They will use whatever means necessary to get that and if it means shifting their constituencies from time to time, they’ll do that too. If you are a Democrat now, does not mean you would have been a Democrat 200 years or ago or even 40 years ago. Same with Republican. Parties will compromise internally with the greater goal of getting into power.

I don’t care about down-the-line party politics much anymore. I have voted Democrat because I’m mostly a social liberal. Sortuv. But there was a time when the Republican party had liberals in its midst. There was a time when the Democratic Party had segregationists in its midst. Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Jefferson Davis, a Democrat, was President of the Confederate States of America. The segregationist Dixiecrats moved from the Democratic party to the Republican party. Richard Nixon launched the Southern Strategy. I don’t care. Read more about Political Parties aren’t Religions

Reconciling Drumpf with President Donald Trump

Reconciling Drumpf with President Donald Trump

I want to give Donald Trump a chance. I don’t want to turn back the clock or rejigger the electoral college or somehow throw the nation into chaos because I didn’t vote for him. I think it’s important to try to differentiate the need to give President-elect Trump a chance to confound expectations, so to speak, while still continuing to oppose any divisiveness which results from this election.

To wit, Dave Chappelle had a very powerful monologue on last week’s Saturday Night Live where he talked about the Trump Presidency. His concluding passage echoed a lot of what I feel:

“So in that spirit, I’m wishing Donald Trump luck. And I’m going to give him a chance. And we, the historically disenfranchised, demand that he give us a chance too.”

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Can we talk foreign policy now?

Can we talk foreign policy now?

… Or Ya know, Governatoring! Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States of America. Yesterday, I wrote that I disagreed with Hillary Clinton’s neoconservative foreign policy but did not trust (now) President Trump’s temperament:

Whatever negative views I may hold about Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy views, I at least trust her with the nuclear launch codes. I trust her not go on flights of fancy about her ability to railroad and rearrange the world to her liking through sheer force of personality. I trust her to have a plan and to seek sober counsel about the global challenges she will inevitably face; unlike Trump who once claimed that he knows more about ISIS and other issues than the America’s Generals.

I trust Hillary Clinton not to unilaterally end Muslim immigration or denounce Latino immigrants or call to register Muslims SS-style. I trust her not to pick fights with SNL over how she’s parodied. I trust her to respect women.

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Mike Vick and the Agency of Dogs

Mike Vick and the Agency of Dogs

Michael-Vick-Humane-Society

Personalamente, the difficulty of the Mike Vick case is isn’t as simple as my love for animals. The reason is agency, which is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices.

Dogs do not possess agency in the same way that humans do. A dog doesn’t get a choice of his or her master. A dog doesn’t have or even truly understand the choices it makes. It simply makes them. Often out of conditioned loyalty to its master. A fighting dog is still a pet. It still depends on its master, its owner, for every single thing in its life.

Human beings have a separate moral responsibility to the so-called lesser life forms of this world. To be good stewards of our environs. To guarantee the intrinsic dignity of animals and to ensure whenever possible that we do not inflict excessive torture on them. Read more about Mike Vick and the Agency of Dogs

Putting Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy on Blast

Putting Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy on Blast

Or… Chafee’ing at the Bit

Last week, former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination to the Presidency. I think most of us would predictably yawn. Chafee intends to press Hillary Clinton on her foreign policy record which I think is all good and well seeing as how Clinton has functioned as the war-mongering foreign policy hawk that I had hoped her former-rival-turned-boss, President Obama, would not become. He did. Very disappointingly. Clinton had a chance to be a steadying hand as Secretary of State but she fell right in lock-step with El Presidente.

Chafee has almost no chance whatsoever in preventing Clinton from winning the Democratic nomination. Barack Obama had a magnetic presence that Chafee does not; Clinton will not be denied again and definitely not by an old white boy. Given current Republican alternatives, I have a hard time picturing myself voting for the eventual Republican nominee.

So why should we care about Chafee’s predictably doomed campaign. Because predictably, Congress is full of lily-livered jagoffs who care more about being able to complain about the occupant of the White House than actually fulfilling their constitutional duties. Witness:

In 2011, President Obama announced that he could go to war against Libya without congressional approval. Congress hemmed and hawed, but in the end was unable to agree to do anything about it. Two years later members of Congress were vocal about Obama’s lack of action against Syria when it was revealed that the Assad regime had been using chemical weapons. Obama eventually responded and asked Congress for approval to take military action. Congress did nothing. Now we have yet another war, this time against ISIS, and Obama asked for congressional approval months ago. Result: nothing. Members of Congress would rather be free to lambaste Obama on the campaign trail than to actually commit themselves to a strategy. [Kevin Drum: Yet Again, Congress Is Too Scared to Assert Its Warmaking Powers]

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