The Obama Inquisition
If you want to infuriate a liberal, question his patriotism. He’ll sneer, mock and ridicule the question. And then when he is up against the wall, he will mumble that the real patriots don’t need to wear flag pins because they covertly perform their patriotism in the dead of night when no one is looking.
He may even trot out that fake Jefferson quote about dissent being the highest form of patriotism. No, Teddy Roosevelt didn’t say it either. He did however say that “Patriotism means to stand by the country… It does not mean to stand by the president… save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.”
And he meant it, ruthlessly attacking Woodrow Wilson until Democratic Senator William J. Stone called the former president “the most seditious man of consequence in America”.
Dissent stopped being patriotic the very second that Obama entered the Oval Office. Suddenly it became unspeakable treason and racist sedition.
Patriotism could be questioned again, but not for the love of country, only for the love of a president.
The patriotism practiced by Republicans was the patriotism of Teddy Roosevelt, standing by the country rather than by a man. And standing by him exactly to the degree in which he stood by the country. That is what Giuliani did. To this the Democrats answered with the patriotism of Obama, launching witch hunts against anyone whose love of Obama appeared to be lacking in sincerity and enthusiasm.
Now the media is questioning Scott Walker’s patriotism. Not his love of country, but his love of Obama.
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank fumed that Scott Walker had replied to a question about whether Obama was a Christian with “I don’t know.” “This is not a matter of conjecture. The correct answer is yes,” Milbank angrily prompted like Orwell’s O’Brien lecturing Winston Smith about the virtues of Doublethink.
Of course the correct answer is, “I don’t know.” Or as Walker put it, “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”
No one knows whether Obama is a Christian, loves the country or wears ballet slippers to bed. These are hypothetical questions. Milbank wants them to be prerequisites for getting elected, writing that Walker’s confession of ignorance on Obama’s inner faith “disqualified him” from being president.
The question was ridiculous and asked in bad faith. Candidates are not normally interrogated about the religions of other politicians. The only reason to ask it was to force Walker to affirm Obama’s virtues. Instead of providing testimony for his own faith, he was asked to provide testimony for Obama’s faith.
Call it the media’s Obama Inquisition. No one expects it, but by now everyone probably should.
Obama doesn’t need to love America. That would be one of those vulgar displays that our bicoastal elites sneer at and class together with Wal-Mart and country music. But Republicans still need to verbally profess that Obama is a Christian who loves America, motherhood and arugula pie.
Finish reading all this HERE.
The terrifying rate at which smokers die from smoking
Two-thirds of smokers will die early from cigarette-triggered illness — unless they choose to kick the habit, according to new research from Australia.
The study of more than 200,000 people, published this week in BMC medicine, found about 67 percent of smokers perished from smoking-related illness. That rate is higher than doctors previously estimated.
Tobacco smoke can boost the risk for least 13 types of cancer. The earlier you quit, the better. “The relative risks of adverse health effects increase with increasing intensity of smoking,” the study states, “measured by the amount of tobacco smoked per day, and with increasing duration of smoking.”
Smoking 10 cigarettes daily doubles the risk of death, the research showed. Smoking a pack daily quadruples it.
“We knew smoking was bad, but we now have direct, independent evidence that confirms the disturbing findings that have been emerging internationally,” said co-author Emily Banks, a researcher at the Australian National University.
An estimated 42.1 million Americans smoke cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette smoking is the top cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, the agency reports, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year — or one in five.
Emotional turmoil aside, smoking is also bad for our wallets. An Ohio State University study found employees who smoke tobacco cost employers roughly $6,000 more annually in health care and productivity than nonsmokers.
Another study, from the New England Journal of Medicine, shows health-care costs for smokers tend to be, on average, 40 percent higher. (The same research darkly suggests we’d all save money in the short term if cigarettes vanished from earth but might pay more down the line because everyone would live longer.)
Policymakers have long wondered how to get Americans to quit the habit. Adding excise taxes to cigarette packs has reduced youth smoking in some areas, according to research from the University of Michigan. Nearly 30 percent of adults who live below the poverty level smoke, compared with 16 percent who live at or above the poverty level.
More to read HERE.
Along with the prestige and occasional glory of being a stand-by auxiliary member of the Professional Photojournalists Guild of America comes a solemn commitment to uphold the unbreakable code of ethics we’ve all sworn to abide by. Prime among the directives is the one that states an ethical photojournalist does not ever alter another person’s work and call it his or her own, particularly when the crime is committed in the employment of cheap, tawdry political attacks, against democrats. When we observe such a thing occurring, we are forced to confront it in defense of our collective honor and individual reputations.
And so at the request of my Brethren of the Guild and with the generous financial backing of the Clinton Global Internment Foundation we are joining with
dozens an untold number of other leading blogs and news sites to spotlight any and all egregious examples of these repugnant personal attacks unethically foisted onto a trusting public in the guise of professionally skilled and artfully edited “photojournalism”. We hope you will all do your part as well, by posting these warnings far and wide so everyone sees them and they won’t be fooled again!
Here’s the first one off the wire…
Why so many women don’t enjoy sex as much as they could
Even now, female sexuality is defined by what men want. Is it any wonder their partners are so often unsatisfied?
Sprout Pharmaceuticals is on the warpath. The pill company keeps applying, now for the third time, to authorize sales of a drug called flibanserin, which has been nicknamed “female Viagra,” but the FDA just keeps turning it down. Sprout would like you believe it’s just another example of conservative forces shutting down technological advances that help women realize their sexual potential.
We’ve been down this road before, with attacks on legal abortion, contraception and even laws banning vibrators for women. There’s no doubt that, despite all the advances women have made, there are still a lot of social obstacles preventing women from really enjoying their sexuality like they could. But in this case, the reality might be a lot more complicated.
Despite the “female Viagra” nickname, flibanserin actually is a very different drug from the pill that’s been the source of a billion jokes and nearly as many erections. Viagra is meant to help men who feel sexual desire but can’t get erect—often due to age or medical issues like prostate removal—get back in business. But most of what is called “female sexual dysfunction” isn’t about women who want to but can’t. As Daniel Bergner wrote in his 2013 New York Times piece on this issue, “Lack of lust, when it creates emotional distress, meets the psychiatric profession’s clinical criteria for H.S.D.D., or hypoactive sexual-desire disorder.” Women who suffer from this “lack of lust” range from 10-30% of the population of women of reproductive age.
Flibanserin is meant to fix this issue, hitting the brain with a cocktail of psychological drugs that are supposed to make the reluctant woman want to do it again. The “again” is key here, because as Bergner pointed out, the funny thing about the HSDD diagnosis is that the cause in most cases appears to be environmental, not physical: HSDD affects monogamous women in long-term relationships. Couples get together, and at first, they’re hot for each other. But after years of being together, women are far more likely than men to see a dramatic drop-off in their interest in sex. “The impact of relationship duration is something that comes up constantly,” Lori Brotto, an expert on HSDD told Bergner. “Sometimes I wonder whether if isn’t so much about libido as it is about boredom.”
It’s long been an article of faith among those who believe in “evolutionary psychology” that men are more promiscuous than women, but the blunt fact of the matter is the actual evidence on hand shows the opposite to be true. It’s women far more than men who seem to find the confines of marriage to be a boner-killer. The fact that most women do not experience this deep dive in desire after being with the same man for a few years suggests that the problem may not be monogamy itself; it may be that our culture just gives men a lot more of the tools they need to stay interested in having sex with the same woman over many years.
The problems start with how we define sexuality. Male sexuality is generally understood in terms of what men want from sex. Female sexuality is often defined in terms of what men want from sex. Men are encouraged from a young age to think about women’s bodies and what they would like to do to them, but women are encouraged to concentrate their efforts more on being desirable than on developing their own desires. You can see this clearly in the magazine market. “Men’s magazines are mostly based around heavily eroticized images of women,” Noah Berlatsky of the Atlantic writes. “And women’s magazines are also based around heavily eroticized images of women.”
It’s not just magazines. Go to any mainstream heterosexual porn site and you’ll see that most of the sexual fantasies on offer are meant for men, and the best women can hope for are sexual positions that don’t look too painful for the woman. It also goes to grooming habits. Women are expected to flaunt their bodies, paint their faces, spend a fortune on hair care, shave off most body hair and even get plastic surgery if they fall short of what our society tells them men want. As Troy Patterson at Slate noted, we still live in an era where many men can barely be moved to reject ugly clothes “because they are worried about embarrassing their wives.” Getting them to dress to turn on their wives in this environment feels like moving a mountain.
Men are told to want and women are told to want to be wanted. And then we wonder why there are so many marriages where husbands do all the wanting and wives just want them to keep their hands to themselves.
But having this conversation is nearly impossible. A lot of men are already feeling emasculated by the rise of feminism. Having a national conversation about something as intimate about inequality in bed is going to make that defensive reaction deafening. Add to that the pressure put on women to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping relationships healthy. No wonder we’d rather just have a pill to fix the problem rather than ask why women have lingerie and Cosmo tips for keeping their partners interested and men do not.
The good news is that things do appear to be changing, if slowly. Sure, there was an attempt to shame men about “metrosexuality,” but only because the trend of straight men showing an actual interest in being sexy to women was taking off in the first place. Fifty Shades of Grey is causing a nationwide moral panic, but it’s also heartening to see that a movie that is all about appealing to women’s sexual fantasies is such a major hit in the first place. And the Internet has been a treasure trove of reminders that women, like men, need a little fuel for their fires, with the explosion of women’s erotica boards and Tumblrs where women collect clippings of the most female-friendly parts of porn. Sex toys aimed at improving women’s experience in bed used to be taboo and even illegal in many states, but now they’re being sold in ordinary drugstores.
But still, there are many places in the U.S. where these expressions of female desire are considered shameful and are suppressed through social pressure and sometimes outright censorship. Even in more liberal places, women often struggle to express themselves and their desires on the same level as men. Perhaps, if this changes, we might see that a huge chunk of what is deemed “female sexual dysfunction” was just the predictable outcome of systematically understimulating women while hitting men with porn and titillating advertising everywhere they turn. We can’t know until we try.