This isn’t about being politically correct or less of a man. #DearDaddy

Everyone needs to watch this video so that the next time someone – almost invariably a man – tells “a harmless joke” or makes even a vaguely derisive comment “only in jest” about women and girls, perhaps you’ll remember this video and muster the courage to tell that guy that that’s not acceptable. Not to you. Not to half the human population.

I don’t know how, but some people might watch this video and not be moved. Others may watch it (and read these words) as just more liberal bullshit about being politically correct.

They’ll be wrong.

The issue of violence against women isn’t about being liberal or conservative. It’s not about political correctness. It’s about how we raise our boys into men, and how we men then think about and treat girls and women. It’s about the example we men set for our boys and the rest of society. It’s about whom we choose to be our political leaders, and whom we choose to follow as cultural and spiritual leaders.

It’s about how we men want to influence and to help shape a world in which our daughters, our sisters, our wives, and all women must also live.

I don’t know how anyone can deny that violence has at least some of its roots in the morals, values, and ethics we as adults use in raising our children. If that’s true, then violence against women, therefore, must also be rooted to some degree in how we adults – again and in particular, we men – teach our boys right from wrong.

Given that, doesn’t it seem reasonable to conclude then that what our society ultimately values comes from adults who once were children, and that what those adults come to value has its roots in some significant way from what was learned as a child? After all, that is the influence we as adults hope to have on our kids, is it not?

That’s why I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s not just what we try to teach our boys when it comes to their thinking and attitudes about girls. It also is about the actual examples we men set in our day-to-day lives.

I say with complete confidence that we men want to believe that we’re doing our best. We teach what we think and believe to be right; however, we need to be even more cognizant of the fact that what we *show* our boys everyday through our words and our deeds has a huge influence in what they learn as acceptable and admirable traits and behaviors.

Now, some men may complain (as certain kinds of men all too often seem to do these days) that they are being put upon yet again by society and by liberal ideals of political correctness. They may complain that they’re being told what to do and what to say and what to think.

They may even watch the video and think, “That isn’t me.” They’ll say to themselves. “I wasn’t that boy growing up, and I’m not that guy now.”

That may, in fact, be true on varying levels, but the experience of 50-plus years tells me that all of us men have at least some measure of responsibility, at the very barest of minimums, for giving cover to misogyny by staying silent in its presence.

I don’t personally know any men who have physically abused a woman. What experience tells me, though, is that it would be the rare male indeed who hasn’t made a joke or used an ugly pejorative like whore or cunt when referring to a girl or woman. Sadly, that includes me, and so to all of the girls and women I’ve hurt with my words, I am sorry for the pain I caused.

To any men chuckling at the idea of issuing this kind of public apology, let me say this. It can’t possibly make up for the harm caused, and it doesn’t make me any less of a man. In fact, I believe that what it does is to make me more human. To those men who may still be snickering, I hope you’ll rethink your reaction. I don’t care if you laugh at me. I just hope you’ll think more about changing your attitudes and behavior going forward toward women.

I truly think that we men need to abandon our antiquated notions of “manhood.” We need to reconcile how we deal with human emotions that cultures the world over have been intent on breeding out of us over millennia; emotions like kindness, empathy, compassion, tenderness.

Young men like my son give me hope. His recognition and understanding of problems like violence against women is proof that men of the 21st century are looking at things differently. That’s good news because, honestly, I don’t have nearly as much hope for my fellow Baby Boomers. Not enough of us seem willing to acknowledge our faults, our responsibilities, and the need to evolve and grow in our thinking about so many things.

And, I hate to say it like this, but the other good news is that we Baby Boomers won’t be around and in charge much longer. I say that because I see it with my own eyes on a daily basis. Say what you will about the Millennials, but they didn’t fuck things up. We Baby Boomers have done that.

When it comes to questions about violence against women – and so many other issues that affect women, like a woman’s right to have an abortion and that laws should require women to be paid the same as men – the men of the Millennial Generation are showing that they have a far greater and stronger grasp on the source of our problems and what to do about them than we Baby Boomers. They have the courage to acknowledge the reality of cultural misogyny that previous generations have created. To their great credit, they aren’t willing to accept it as the norm.

Look, it’s simple reality. Women don’t attack themselves. Women don’t rape themselves. Women don’t brutalize or ridicule themselves. Men do that to them.

Yes, and to be sure, it’s not all men. I’m not saying that it is. I’d like to think that it’s the tiniest percentage of men, but it’s men nonetheless, and any percentage above zero is too many men.

What the rest of us men must do is stop giving them cover.

Unless we start when our sons are young; unless we set good examples for them to follow as they grow; unless all the rest of us men who aren’t physically abusive and violent to women are willing to speak up against written and spoken words that are misogynistic and the first possible steps toward violent behavior, then we’re really not doing enough to reduce the risks that some men represent to our daughters, our wives, our sisters, and to all women.

This isn’t about being politically correct or less of a man.

It’s about us being real men in ways that make women safer and which help to make us a more modern and peaceful society.

The Case for #SinglePayer

Here’s the question I have for those who oppose the PPACA and, more to the point, who oppose single payer health care.

How are our poor and uninsured fellow Americans supposed to pay $170.00 for a 20-minute office visit when they’re sick?

That’s the gross charge on the bill I just received from my doctor. I had flu-like symptoms last month. 20 minutes. $170.00. That doesn’t include the over-the-counter and prescription meds he prescribed. Add another $51.67. Even with insurance, my out of pocket for the office visit is $97.56. Add in the meds, and I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t have 150 bucks just lying around.

With the nation’s economy in recovery, the report said, more than 70 percent of low-income families and half of all poor families were working by 2011. The problem is they did not earn enough to cover their basic living expenses. (http://presstv.com/usdetail/283876.html)
With the nation’s economy in recovery, the report said, more than 70 percent of low-income families and half of all poor families were working by 2011. The problem is they did not earn enough to cover their basic living expenses. (http://presstv.com/usdetail/283876.html)

Now put yourself in the shoes of the 46.5million Americans living in poverty.

Not Americans with ok jobs but struggling to get by (like me); not Americans scratching and clawing and maybe starting to see the light in the long tunnel they’ve been in, hoping they are on their way into something approaching a middle-class life.

No, not them.

Put yourself in the shoes of 46.5million human beings living in poverty in the world’s richest nation.

What is poverty?

Poverty is defined as 23grand a year for a family of 4. It’s just under 12grand for an individual.

Now do some basic math.

If you could find a minimum wage job (or jobs) at $7.25 an hour and actually get 40 hours per week of paid work, you’d earn $15,080.00 a year. As an individual, you’d be $3,590 above the poverty threshold, or about 300 buck a month above poverty.

If you got sick, had insurance like mine, and did what I did, you just spent half of that “luxurious excess of 300 bucks above the poverty line” on one doctor’s visit and meds. That’s IF YOU EVEN HAD HEALTH INSURANCE AS GOOD AS MINE which, by the way, is the highest deductible and lowest cost insurance I can get from my employer. It is no Cadillac plan by any measure.

What if you’re the head of a household of 4? I can’t imagine what or how you get through your day if you’re making 15grand a year, let alone what you do when you or your kids get sick.

Think about this. 46.5million Americans is 15% of the population, or about 1 in 7 Americans.

Look around you right now. Are there seven or more people in your field of vision? No? Ok, then think about your close friends or family members. Now picture one out of seven of them living in poverty. Poverty. Not can’t-go-to-Disney-this-year or have-to-trade-steak-for-hamburger kind of “struggling.” No. Picture 1 in 7 of them in grinding, unrelenting, spirit-killing poverty.

Does this help at all to make the case for why health care in the greatest country in history should be a basic human right and not a for-profit industry? (Please save the not-for-profit rebuttal for people who don’t understand what that actually is, which would include you if you’re thinking of making it.)

Our society would find a way to survive – hell, I postulate it would thrive and prosper like never before! – if we stopped putting greed above all else and did things like make health care a basic human right provided to every man, woman, and child in America; health care that truly was universal and paid for out of taxes collected from EVERY American fortunate enough to have a job.

Call it the Christian thing to do.

Call it the humanist thing to do.

Call it whatever you like, but if you’re opposed to the idea of universal health care I don’t know how you call it anything but selfish.

Let’s be clear on this point, too. The only way to pay for universal health care from a single payer is through the government as that single payer. If you’re going to try and make the argument that health insurance is somehow a value-added step to the delivery of health care services then, again, make that argument to someone like yourself who doesn’t understand how the health care delivery or the health insurance industries actually work.

jimmy-carterWould it really kill us if health care was paid for out of our taxes instead of out of payroll deductions? Not everyone can afford health insurance even with PPACA subsidies – our taxes, don’t you know – that get sent as premiums to private health insurance companies who are now responsible for 30% of our total health care costs in the United States.

30%! That’s 30 cents out of every dollar spent on health care in America going to overhead needed to process and pay claims through a sea of private insurers. Know what drops our health care costs by 30% immediately? That’s right. Single-payer. Medicare for all.

Let’s wrap up with a moral question. Don’t the “haves” have some sense of moral obligation on some level to help those among us who don’t have anything?

If I’m worried about 150 bucks out of pocket for a doctor’s visit and some cold medicine, how are the 1 in 7 fellow Americans living at or below the poverty line supposed to have 150 bucks just lying around for health care?

What are they supposed to do, not eat that week; not pay the rent; not pay their utilities; not cloth their kids?

What exactly do we want them to do when they get sick?

I’d like some answer from you opponents of universal and single payer health care. What do you want them to do?

 

31 Charts That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity

See on Scoop.itDidYouCheckFirst

Some good news in data form.

Lately, it feels like the news has been dominated by tragedies: natural disasters, evil people, and sometimes just carelessness.

But it would be a mistake to become cynical.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/charts-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity-2013-5#ixzz2UD8h5FZM

See on www.businessinsider.com

Obama, Drones, and the 11th Commandment

Double standards are anathema to most Americans. This ought to be especially true when it comes to civil liberties, executive powers, and justice.

So where is the outrage from the Left and Democrats about drones and the executive powers born of Bush and being wielded still by Obama? We may no longer torture people, but Gitmo remains open and the President is choosing targets and authorizing the killing of American and non-American civilians.

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This video frame grab provided by Senate Television shows Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, March 6, 2013. Photograph: AP

To Liberals, Progressives, Democrats, and supporters of the president everywhere, Glenn Greenwald’s piece in The Guardian last week, “Three Democratic myths used to demean the Paul filibuster”, is especially for you. It will probably make you uncomfortable. It should.

If you identify yourself as a Conservative, Libertarian, Republican or some combination thereof, then I suspect that you’ll enjoy and embrace Greenwald’s article. On some level, you should. It has all the talking points you could want for calling out the Left’s hypocrisy and double standards, at least on the issues of civil liberties and executive power. That is, of course, provided that you remain comfortable defending Bush and his administration for their atrocities and their violations of power and of the civil liberties conveyed on us by the Constitution. It was, after all, W and his administration who laid the foundation for your sworn mortal enemy, President Obama, now to be the one using – and even expanding – those executive powers.

Greenwald sheds truthful light on well-accepted Democratic values. He reveals the truths of a Democratic “empathy gap”, liberal authoritarianism, and the distortions of AG Eric Holder’s letter. He makes clear the case for why the attacks from the Left on Rand Paul for his criticisms of the president and his drone policy are partisan, disingenuous, and a glaring double standard by Democrats.

It comes down to this. One’s outrage over the abuses of power is almost always a matter of convenience and political persuasion.

It seems reasonable to ask where Rand Paul was between October of 2001 and March of 2013 when it comes to his filibustering strategy as a means for making any points about civil liberties and executive power. Late is better than never.

His 13-hour talk-a-thon has opened a door of opportunity for every American to be more aware of the abuses of executive power and the fact that those abuses continue today under Obama. Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, and everyone on the Left should not squander this opportunity. They should unite to press for the kind of changes in DC and from this president that are supposed to be at the core of Democratic and democratic values.

Late is better than never.

If Americans truly believe in our Constitution and in a way of life in which laws and justice are applied equally and to all, then we should be outraged with Obama and how he is wielding his executive power.

Late is better than never.

Our civil liberties have been under threat since 2001. The threat is not foreign, it is domestic. It’s the result of our willingness to accept that an extremely small number of very powerful people – the very same people presumably elected by us to represent us and our values – have been granted and are now abusing that power. Obama’s actions don’t seem all that different from W’s. They seem to be getting ever more dangerous and unilateral.

I still want to believe that one of the things that make Democrats more appealing than and different from Republicans is that Democrats reject Reagan’s 11th Commandment as utterly and completely wrong-headed and wrong for America. It is the epitome of partisan politics. Every thinking person knows that it’s only through the courage to speak truth to power, and to challenge that power and its self-perpetuating and self-serving conventional wisdom, that progress can be made.

So I ask again, where’s the outrage? Where are the Democrats in DC standing up to challenge the Executive Branch? Why does it take a Libertarian to shed light on the dangers of unchecked executive power which defines ‘war’ and ‘battlefield’ and ‘enemy combatant’ to now encompass the entire planet and even an American citizen on American soil?

I marched in DC twice during the Bush years.

Where are the marches now?

Late is better than never.

Physicians group accuses CIA of testing torture techniques on detainees – latimes.com

Physicians group accuses CIA of testing torture techniques on detainees – latimes.com

I only wish I could be surprised by this….. There’s only one way to determine the truth and that’s to pursue these findings for what they are – evidence of the possibility of a crime. Only then will we know if there is, in fact, anything even remotely resembling real courage or justice left in our government, our country, and our society. Only a tyrant tortures, and only an amoral culture condones it no matter the supposed reasons or justification.