Triple-Jumper kicked out of the Olympics: PC Syndrome strikes again

For the past 50 or so years, the scourge of racial bigotry has been dying. Unfortunately, a new (albeit weaker) wave of illogical thinking, one of extreme idiocy, sensitivity, and taboo, has been emerging at the same time. Last week, these two terrible trends met, right before the Olympics, as  triple-jumper Voula Papachristou was kicked off of the Greek team for tweeting the following:”So many Africans in Greece…at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade cooking”.

Her comment seems hateful and xenophobic at first glance, especially given her association with the racist, Nazi-sympathizing political group known as Golden Dawn. On the other hand, such a remark, even copied word-for-word, need not necessarily be construed offensively. Intent is key, and a remark of this caliber may have been meant as a joke appealing to a somewhat dark sense of humor. The intent of the actual comment is not unequivocally clear, there is probable cause to believe that she harbors xenophobic, possibly racist views, but we cannot be certain.

Throwing ambiguity aside, let’s assume for the sake of argument that Voula Papachristou is a bigot, a fascist who wants all Africans (and possibly all immigrants) out of Greece. Regardless of her stance, the Greek Olympic Committee made a big flop by throwing her off of the team.

Let’s think this through: This woman was a triple jumper for the Greek Olympic team, not a politician. If she was sitting on a jury, then her comment would be grounds to boot her off. However, that wasn’t the case. She was tasked with performing in an athletic competition designed to a) foster international competition and b) profit off of ticket sales and TV revenue. Athletic ability is the only sensible criterion for selecting contestants for an Olympic team. If a team selects an individual with bigoted views, it likely does so because he/she is a good athlete, implying in no way that it approves of those views.

Following that logic, it only makes sense to expel players who violate the rules of the Games, perform poorly, or violate some other contractual obligation made by the athletes. Papachristou has done neither of those. She has likely trained, trained, and trained for years, made a stupid comment, and would not likely have been any worse an athlete for it. The best excuse the Committee could come up with for kicking her out was that her views “go against the spirit of the Games”.

Bullshit excuse, people. The Olympic Games are a sporting competition, and the expulsion of this already qualified athlete was nothing less than a shameless bow to the legions of politically correct (PC) crybabies who would call the team “racist” to no end were she not removed. Perhaps, on that note, the Greek team removed Papachristou merely because it did not want a public relations situation on its hands rather than because it could not tolerate undesirable views on the team.

This is not to assume that the Olympic Committee would not have kicked her off were the public not involved, (it probably would have), but politically correct people are very real. The PC will go up in arms over the smallest infraction upon their sense of emotional security, and when “I’m offended” becomes a legitimate excuse for people to come to the aid of the self-proclaimed “victim”, rational thought is the first thing to be thrown out the window.

Take the Anthony Weiner scandal, for instance. Last year, scores of Americans demanded (and eventually prompted) the resignation of a US Congressman over a few half-naked photos that he sent to consenting adult women over the Internet. Was Weiner doing anything illegal? No. Would Weiner’s actions have been considered highly abnormal for the average Joe? No. Did Weiner’s critics recognize their double standard? Hell no. Stupidity is powerful in numbers, and powerful objects tend to go wherever the hell they want.

Granted, we didn’t see the double standard of the Weiner affair in the Olympic expulsion, nor did Papachristou receive the same level of media coverage. The Olympics are on, and soon, nobody will care about Voula Papachristou. Regardless of the significance of the individual incident, however, it is but another symptom of the expanding taboo culture that I like to refer to as PC Syndrome.

Political correctness creates nothing more than more and more ridiculous taboos, ranging from people suffering public relations hellfire to losing their jobs, all for insignificant offenses. PC is stupid, and fighting stupidity requires common sense. People like Papachristou say stupid and bigoted things, but a mere statement like deserves little consequence or recognition. So, fine, reprimand people for hateful comments, but there’s a limit to what qualifies as a reasonable response.

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Election 2012: Obama’s Dirty Tactics

It’s July right now, just above four months before Americans head to the ballots to select our next President, and already,  candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are tearing at each other’s throats like two lions fighting over a dead gazelle. The Republican campaign is sinking its teeth into Obama’s failure to curb unemployment and reduce our enormous national debt, whereas Obama and his team have been promising change this time around and calling Romney an “enemy of the middle class”. The mud smells fresh, and it’s being slung: That’s the smell of election season.

Recently, the Obama re-election campaign has sunk its teeth into a juicy chunk of information concerning Mitt Romney’s company, Bain Capital: Between 1999 and 2002, Bain purchased several smaller companies, shut down factories, sold jobs overseas to China and Mexico, and made a handsome profit. In his latest ad campaign, Obama has capitalized upon Bain’s track record, denouncing Bain’s profits as an exploitative profit made off of the backs of working Americans, and labeling Romney, as the founder and CEO, as a “corporate raider” who has no business being President. In doing this, the Democrats have managed to fool many people into distrusting the Republican nominee, but their arguments only sound convincing: Romney is not the unscrupulous profiteer that the left wants you to believe he is.

Contrary to what the pseudo-intellectual left wants you to believe, job outsourcing is not, by definition, a heinous tool of “profiteering” used by the rich to assault the poor. Apart from the fact that work shipped over to third-world countries tends to offer workers higher salaries than they would have been offered at more local jobs, the work that ends up moving away is often too economically infeasible to be performed in the US, often performed by machines anyway.

Even if moving jobs overseas ends up leaving workers over here unemployed, that leaves companies with a supply of potential employees they could have, and they may end up creating new jobs to fit their demand. Outsourcing may end up eliminating jobs in some instances, but it is erroneous to assume that any executive who moves jobs overseas is a “corporate raider” as Obama would have it.

You may still accept that Bain was unethical in moving jobs overseas, but we cannot conclude that Mitt Romney was at the bottom of it, as Romney wasn’t actually working with Bain during the time of the controversy according to Fact Check reports. Having moved to Utah in order to help run the Olympics, he played little role in the management of the company. The reports filed to the Securities and Exchange Commisison listing him as the CEO are not inaccurate, he did not fully step down, but to this date, the Obama campaign has found no evidence to suggest that Romney took an active role in managing Bain since 1999. In short, the allegations lobbed against Romney were false, little more than a pile of sensationalist junk.

Let’s accept for just one minute, though, that the left is right about Romney and the evils of outsourcing. Bain is a company of assholes. It buys businesses just to close them. Fired workers are asked to take pictures of their unhappiness so that Bain’s executives have something to laugh at. Even if any of that were true, you can take the halo right off of President Obama’s head; he’s accepted  plenty of money in donations from Bain, and shows no signs of stopping. I wouldn’t buy flowers from Joseph Kony, so if Obama accepts funds from what he thinks are “corporate raiders”, then maybe he should shut up about Romney.

Aside from making up false information about his opinion to confuse uninformed people, Obama has also been sticking up a giant middle finger to the hard work and talent that America is built upon. Stating that “if you have a business, you didn’t build that — somebody else did” (here’s the original video for reference), our President displays his gross misunderstanding of how success is made, belittles the hard work it took to form major companies like Microsoft or Apple, and attributes every last iota of productivity and progress in our nation to the state.

To an extent, his message is correct; a stable infrastructure of roads, buildings, and schools helps form the shoulders that we all stand upon, but as is the case with people at any level of technology, some individuals rise above their peers. Steve Jobs was just one of millions who benefited from public schooling, but only one of those people became the mega-success who was Steve Jobs. If Jobs (and Wozniak) had been killed right before they started Apple and were replaced by some ditch digger, then the iPod, iPad, and Mac would not exist today. Don’t flatter yourself too much, Mr. Obama, people can succeed just fine without the mountains of debt and high spending that you created.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to pass Romney off as some sort of saint, even in comparison to Obama: Our handsome GOP contender is a shameless flip-flopper with a penchant for war (foreign wars and drug wars), and he would have no scruples about signing laws that would let him arrest you if he feels like it. Unfortunately, our big-eared incumbent can’t say that he shines above his deficit-eating cousin on any of those counts: He has bombed 3 countries after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, refused to close Guantanamo Bay, killed US citizens, and  actively fought against your right to a fair trial (so much for swearing to defend the Constitution). There are Democrats out there who surpass Romney as champions of your rights (i.e. Ron Wyden), but Barack Obama is not one of them, and where he differs from his opponent, he surpasses only in building castles in the sky out of money he doesn’t have.

Would a Romney Presidency be an unfortunate prospect? In light of the other candidates who could have been the GOP nominee, Republican voters clearly didn’t pick the best out of the bunch. However, when weighed against the bag of mixed unpleasantries that is Barack Obama, the choice becomes clear. Romney’s spending policies are saner, he has a plan for reducing the national debt, and he opposes Obamacare, so unless you want to feel good about healthcare for a few moments before costs and spending shoot through the roof, Romney is the choice to make this November.

Elected Angels

Whenever we see President Obama appear on TV and express his support for democracy and a prosperous nation, most of us would probably believe that he earnestly means the words that come out of his mouth, that he completely supports popular government.

When we watch old speeches of Josef Stalin promising his people freedom and prosperity, on the other hand, we immediately identify his statements as a farce, an empty attempt at fooling the populus into believing that he is not the hideous tyrant that he is.

Such is the conventional view that the sons and daughters of most Western nations are brought up on; children are taught from a young age that Presidents are good and dictators are bad. When we grow older, we often retain the tendency to be more skeptical of the leaders of more authoritarian nations, and are likely to afford a greater amount of trust to people like Clinton or Obama than to people like Mussolini or Milosevic.

However, does the democratic process of election unequivocally separate those who intend to rule with an iron fist from those who intend to rule by the people? I think not.

Take a look at the following articles; one’s on Putin, and one’s on Obama.

http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/World/Story/A1Story20120714-359072.html

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/07/13/obama-order-gives-power-to-seize-control-of-all-communications-systems/

In the red corner, we have Vladimir Putin, who has written into law a provision declaring NGOs like Human Rights Watch or the World Wildlife Fund as “enemy agents” (what kind of weapons do human rights advocates carry?), and re-criminalized the slander of state officials. Putin is generally deemed as reprehensible in the US; he’s had a history of using loopholes in the law to increase his power, seized control of media outlets to weaken the influence of opposing candidates, and held executive dominance over Russia even when Dmitri Medvedev, his faithful subordinate, held the office of President. Scary, isn’t he?

In the blue ring, we have Barack Obama, who has claimed that he has the authority to take control of the Internet, phone lines, or any other communications systems in the event of an “emergency”. Disliked by some but lauded by many, Obama’s had a history of attempting to write the laws by himself (he attempted to make ACTA into a law without putting it to a Congressional vote), signing laws that would give him the authority to arrest anyone at any time (and then trying to undermine the authority of judges who declare those laws unconstitutional), and launching drone strikes that end up killing civilians.

Is the President truly that much more moral than Putin?

Don’t make the assumption that I equate Obama with Putin; Obama has a greater degree of respect for human life and welfare, however, he has very little respect for the limits of his own power. He has pushed for draconian legislation that would, if not for the intervention of judiciaries (and sometimes Congress), give him power that would make the Founding Fathers vomit.

As such, we shouldn’t put any executive governmental figure –democratically elected or not– beyond strict scrutiny of his/her fundamental attitude towards government. The corrupt heads of the Russian political system, like the wrongdoers of the Bush and Obama administrations, are all people, and as human beings in power are capable of (and prone to) committing heinous crimes, we must never turn our backs upon people, lest we be consumed by an ever-expanding sphere of governmental authority.

Election 2012: Choosing the lesser of two evils

Political campaign ads have become all the more common on the Internet in light of the upcoming Presidential election this November. Up until now, I had paid little attention to them, as I consider Romney to be the more favorable candidate (he is less friendly to Big Government than Obama is), but now, for those interested in preserving liberty, the presidential and congressional elections must be carefully balanced in order to prevent some dastardly legislative plans that each party has in store.

Obamacare on the left, cyber-tyranny on the right

The Democrats’ “Affordable Care Act” is a ticking time bomb waiting to  make costs and prices skyrocket with its mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance, and since we can’t rely on the Supreme Court to actually uphold the Constitution, it will take a repeal by a Republican Congress to prevent the ACA from being implemented.

If Romney is elected this November, a slight majority of Republicans in both houses of Congress will probably be enough to send Obamacare packing, but if Obama wins the election, however, anything less than a 2/3 Republican majority in both houses of Congress will not be able to stop the ACA before it is implemented.

Unfortunately, such a significant majority of Republicans in Congress, with or without a President of the same party, is not particularly appealing. The Republican Party has been more supportive of the draconian stream of cyber-“security” legislation which threatens to give the government unprecedented access to our data and unreasonable authority to deliver felony sentences for minor copyright infractions, and with the right number of legislators, it could turn such dangerous measures into law.

To be fair, Republicans aren’t the only ones supporting measures that would essentially destroy our freedom on the Internet, and since SOPA and PIPA were never put to a vote, we can’t assume that the majority of Republicans in Congress inexorably supported them, but as the opponents of CISPA (a bill that, while less potent than SOPA, is nonetheless undesirable) in the House of Representatives were predominantly on the left side of the aisle, it would be safe to guess that the Democratic Party is more likely to guard the Internet than the GOP.

The dilemma

No matter how the elections turn out this November, both CISPA-esque measures and Obamacare could end up going through. No action, in any area of life, produces an inevitable result, and thus, it behooves us to balance the possible consequences of any electoral outcome.

It seems to me that a very thin Republican majority (perhaps 52-48) in both houses of Congress, as well as a Romney Presidency, will result in a likely repeal of Obamacare without a likely pass of CISPA, as it will allow both parties to counteract one another’s dangerous ambitions. The liberty that lies at the foundation of the US Constitution was produced by compromises that prevented groups of people from exercising their whim when it grew inimical to the public, and that is the way we must progress in the future in order to prevent the death of the freedoms we hold dear.