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  • just a conservative girl 12:29 PM on 01/30/2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: award shows, , conservative values, , , , grammy awards, , , , queen latifa, think progress   

    A Night at The Grammy’s 

    While this is a little late to the party, I have been seeing all the talk of what went on at The Grammy Awards on Sunday night.  Satanic rituals performed onstage by a woman who was raised in a Christian conservative home, the mass wedding performed by Queen Latifa, and Jay-Z and Beyoncé performing Drunk in Love together on stage.

    I don’t really expect anything different from Katy Perry.  It has been obvious for quite some time that she has rejected the values that her parents believe in.  That is her prerogative.  What I find insulting about it is the fact that she feels the need to publicly mock it, doing so in front of the artists who were there to see if they won awards for Gospel and Christian categories.  At least one artist got up and walked out.  Ms. Perry has the right to live her life anyway she chooses to do so, but somehow I have this feeling that she really isn’t a devil worshipper and that wasn’t done to get her own particular point of view across.  It was done to make people who are questioning their own belief systems to feel ashamed that they may have the audacity to think that Christianity is a good thing.  A person who is firmly set in a Christian lifestyle may be insulted by the performance, but they don’t question their belief.  They simply shake their heads in disbelief and dismay.

    Queen Latifa, and ordained minister of some kind, performed a marriage ceremony for 30 or so couples.  Some of these couples were of course same-sex couples.  Now, I would say this if all the couples were heterosexual.  The Grammy Awards is no place to get married.  This wasn’t about making a lifetime commitment to another, it was about proving a political point.  That gay couples love just as much as same-sex couples.  I have never said they didn’t.  A wedding and/or marriage ceremony is about is two people making a commitment to each other; for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, to remain faithful and loving for the rest of your lives.  Most people do decide to celebrate that commitment in front of their families and loved ones.  Others do it more privately.  The vast majority of people don’t decide to do it because they want to the world to see their political viewpoint.  That makes a mockery of the thing that gay marriage advocates say that they are trying to accomplish.  Simple equality and the right to commit themselves to a person that they love.  What is so odd about it is that some of the lyrics that were being played out that night even talked about how marriage is more than a simple piece of paper.  If you want equality than stop acting like everyone in the world must approve of your marriage.  I have news for you, not everyone approves of all kinds of marriages.  There have been marriages that have been looked down upon since the beginning of marriage and that isn’t likely to end anytime soon.  You don’t need to me to like what your choices are in order for them to be the right choice for you.  I am never going to approve of gay marriage and that doesn’t make your feelings and your commitment any less valid in your own life.  My religious beliefs tells me that it is wrong.  The sooner the activists get that the better off we will all be.  But of course, that would hinge upon it really being about just marriage, when for many it is not.

    Now we can move on to Jay-Z and his lovely bride Beyoncé.  She was prancing around on stage barely dressed and moving her body in a salacious manner singing a song that included the lyrics “I can’t keep my fingers off it baby, I want you”.  You know, I don’t really need to know what goes in the bedroom of any other couple.  I really don’t.  It isn’t something that interests me at all.  I have read two opposing views of this performance.  One from the very left leaning Think Progress that is basically saying that conservatives should jump at the chance of having this couple be the spokesmodels for marriage, because they make it look like fun.

    This may not be the vision of marriage conservatives intended to try to promote. And it’s absolutely a more aspirational, exciting good than the idea that marriage will discipline wayward men or provide support for women who can’t manage economically on their own. But if conservatives want to sell Americans on marriage, maybe they have to talk more about the bliss half of wedded bliss, to think about the desire part of making marriage desirable. And maybe the entertainment industry that Douthat’s singled out as the enemy of marriage has something to add to the case for marital happiness. If marriage is a product that conservatives desperately want to sell, the smartest thing they could do right now is to hire Beyoncé and Jay-Z as a product spokescouple.

    Now I am far from the spokesperson for every conservative nor do I pretend to be an expert on marriage.  But I can think of no conservative that thinks that sex within the realms of a marriage is bad.  After all conservatives, especially of the social variety, tend to have much larger families.  Something must be going on in order for those babies to be coming along.  The difference is that we don’t like talking about it publicly nor do we think that it is appropriate viewership for our young children for a scantily dressed woman making provocative movements while using euphemisms about a surf board.  I also am unclear of the conservative message that women should get married because they can’t manage on their own.  Now the data is clear, the majority of children living in poverty are products of a single family home.  When you are married before you have children the chances of those children living below the poverty line decreases and not just a little.  That doesn’t mean that conservatives are saying that women should get married simply because they need a man to support them.  You have a 70% chance of lifting yourself out of poverty if you follow three very simple things, graduate high school, do not get married before the age of 21, and do not have children out-of-wedlock.  The left leaning Brookings Institute didn’t like these findings, but the finding are there nonetheless.  That is a far cry from saying that you must marry in order to support yourselves as women.  There are plenty of women who can support themselves and their children financially without the help of man, but that doesn’t mean that they give a strong base for that child.  Two active parents is better for children to thrive.

    I am not going to get into passing judgement on the marriage of that supercouple.  That is something that is between them.  He knew she was performer when he married her and apparently he has no issues with the whole “sex sells” part of her job.  He is obviously fine with it so it isn’t up to me to say that it is wrong in all instances.  What I don’t like is that being told that is what I am supposed to aspire to.  Sorry, but no.  In my relationship there isn’t a great deal of jealousy going on, thank God.  But somehow I don’t think that me shaking my ass in a barely there outfit is part of the long-term game plan for a happy and successful relationship.  It also isn’t the best role model for young children either.  But that is just some prudish conservative talking.

     

     
  • just a conservative girl 12:31 PM on 03/06/2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , stone, think progress   

    Hugo Chavez – Champion of the Poor? 

    This from 2010:

    Analyst estimates Chávez’s family fortune at around $2 billion

    Criminal Justice International Associates (CJIA), a risk assessment and global analysis firm in Miami, estimated in a recent report that the Chávez Frías family in Venezuela has “amassed a fortune” similar to that of the Castro brothers in Cuba.

    According to Jerry Brewer, president of CJIA, “the personal fortune of the Castro brothers has been estimated at a combined value of around $2 billion.”

    “The Chávez Frías family in Venezuela has amassed a fortune of a similar scale since the arrival of Chávez to the presidency in 1999,” said Brewer in an analysis published in their website.

    Brewer said that Cuba is receiving about $5 billion per year from the Venezuelan treasury and in oil shipments and other resources.

    “We believe that organized bolivarian criminal groups within the Chávez administration have subtracted around $100 billion out of the nearly $1 trillion in oil income made by PDVSA since 1999.”

    From ABC News Jan 2013:

    1. Venezuela has gone from being dependent on oil to being extremely dependent on oil.

    Former minister Gerver Torres points out that in 1998 oil represented 77 percent of Venezuela’s exports but by 2011 oil represented 96 percent of exports. That means today only around 4 percent of the goods that Venezuela exports are non-oil products! The Venezuelan economy relies almost exclusively on the price of oil and the ability of the government to spend oil revenues. This will take years to reverse because of item two below.

    2. The Chavez government has crippled private businesses and national industry through expropriations and nationalizations.

    The Chavez government has expropriated or nationalized numerous companies (no one seems to be able to count them all) involved in various sectors including aluminum, cement, gold, iron, steel, farming, transportation, electricity, food production, banking, paper and the media. The number of private companies in industry has dropped from 14,000 in 1998 to only 9,000 in 2011, according to Torres.

    Companies need investment to grow and hire new workers. One of the biggest failures of the Chavez government has been to drive away both domestic and foreign investors. In 2011 Latin America enjoyed a record of more than $150 billion in foreign investment with Brazil receiving $67 billion. Venezuela’s neighbor Colombia received $13 billion while Venezuela received only $5 billion. To avoid expropriation and find investment a number of Venezuelan companies have moved to Colombia, Panama and the United States.

    3. The Venezuelan currency is a mess.

    The new currency, the Bolivar fuerte, is anything but strong. The Bolivar fuerte has lost nearly two-thirds of its value since it was launched in 2008. Many analysts expect Venezuela will have to go through a painful devaluation sometime this year or next. This will further reduce the value of wages and sharply increase the costs of imports of basic staple goods. Life will get tougher for most Venezuelans but Chavez probably won’t be around to see it.

    4. Prices in Venezuela have gone up by 23 percent a year for more than ten years.

    Inflation in Venezuela has averaged 23 percent during 1999-2011 compared to a Latin American average of 4.6 percent. Imagine what life would be like if the price of groceries went up 23 percent every year. This craziness combined with stringent price controls has completely distorted the economy, creating black markets and shortages. In 2012 Venezuela will again have one of the highest inflation rates in the world.

    5.Under Chavez Venezuela has become one of the most violent countries on the planet.

    The murder rate per 100,000 citizens has risen from 25 in 1999 to 45.1 in 2011. This is not an economic stat per se but violence has an economic impact. It is more challenging and dangerous than ever to do business and go to work in Venezuela. When you consider these points, it’s hard to call the economic legacy of Chavez and his band of 21st Century Socialists a good one.

    From Amnesty International:

    Police and security forces

    Public security remained a major concern and, according to latest figures released by the Institute of National Statistics, more than 21,000 people were killed nationwide in 2009. There were allegations of police involvement in killings and enforced disappearances.

    • In September, Wilmer José Flores Barrios became the sixth member of the Barrios family to be killed in circumstances suggesting the involvement of members of the Aragua State Police. At the end of the year, Venezuela had not adopted measures to protect the family, nor had it ordered an effective investigation into these crimes.
    • In March, eyewitnesses saw three labourers – Gabriel Antonio Ramírez, José Leonardo Ramírez and Nedfrank Xavier Cona – being bundled into an unmarked car by a group of between 17 and 20 police officers in the city of Barcelona, Anzoátegui State. At the end of the year, the whereabouts of the men remained unknown. Six police officers were under arrest at the end of 2010 in connection with the incident; a higher-ranking officer remained at liberty.

    Repression of dissent

    Those critical of the government were prosecuted on politically motivated charges in what appeared to be an attempt to silence them.

    • In March, Oswaldo Álvarez Paz, a member of an opposition party and ex-governor of the Zulia State; Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of TV station Globovisión; and Wilmer Azuaje, an opposition candidate for the governorship of Barinas State, were detained for several days on spurious charges. The charges remained pending at the end of the year.
    • Richard Blanco, Prefect of Caracas, was released in April, after four months in prison, but continued to face unsubstantiated charges of inciting violence and injuring a police officer during a demonstration against an education law in 2009.
    • In November, the trial began of trade unionist Rubén González, general secretary of Sintraferrominera, the union representing workers at the state-run iron mine CVG Ferrominera Orinoco in Bolivar State. He was charged with inciting a crime, curtailing people’s freedom to work, and violating a security zone following his participation in a strike in 2009. He had been in pre-trial detention for over a year and the charges against him appeared to be disproportionate.

    People boast on how he was “democratically elected”:

    He cemented his rule by rewarding allies. Opportunists, notably senior military officers and the tycoons known as “boligarchs”, got rich manipulating government contracts. Civilian ideologues and Cuba got power and influence. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary people got jobs in a bloated bureaucracy. And millions of the poor got social services, scholarships and handouts, notably fridges, tumble dryers and washing machines. Those who voted against him were often barred from government jobs and benefits.

    Other Latin American governments knew of the abuses, that elections were free though not fair, but stayed silent. Venezuela’s hollowed economy required huge imports from its neighbours to keep shelves stocked. Why risk the bonanza? Plus Chávez offered discounted oil, called time on Yankee meddling and told the IMF to stuff itself.

    And:

    Venezuela hasn’t invited international observers to watch its elections since 2006, although it does allow “witnesses” to the process

    Somehow this man is a hero to the left:

    Hollywood liberals Sean PennMichael Moore and Oliver Stone have paid tribute to Venezuelan president Hugo Chávezwho died on 5 Marchafter a long battle with cancer, at the age of 58.

    Penn, who first met Chávez in Venezuela in 2007 and attended a candlelit vigil for the stricken firebrand in Bolivia in December, bemoaned the politician’s lack of credibility in North America. “Today the people of the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion,” he said in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter. “I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chávez and the people of Venezuela.” Penn added: “Venezuela and its revolution will endure under the proven leadership of vice president [Nicolas] Maduro.”

    Oliver Stone, who celebrated Chávez’s presidency and the successes of left wing politicians across South America in his 2009 documentarySouth of the Border, said the Venezuelan leader would be remembered fondly by historians as a champion of the poor. “I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people and those who struggle throughout the world for a place,” he said in a statement. “Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chávez will live forever in history. My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned.”

    Michael Moore, who met Chávez at the Venice film festival in 2009 and posted pictures of himself with the president, tweeted: “Hugo Chávez declared the oil belonged 2 the ppl. He used the oil $ 2 eliminate 75% of extreme poverty, provide free health & education 4 all. That made him dangerous. US approved of a coup to overthrow him even though he was a democratically-elected president.”

    If this is a hero, what does a villain look like?  Oh yeah, I forgot George W. Bush.

    I would like to give Kudos to Think Progress of all sources.  They had the balls to stand up to the crazies on the left:

    Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-NY) released a statement today praising former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, despite the latter’s record of harsh crackdowns on his political opponents and state-sanctioned persecution against Venezuela’s Jewish population. Serranotweeted a statement praising Chavez as an a champion of the oppressed, writing that “Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless. R.I.P. Mr. President.” Serrano’s office later released a statement expanding on the tweet:

    President Chavez was a controversial leader. But at his core he was a man who came from very little and used his unique talents and gifts to try to lift up the people and the communities that reflected his impoverished roots. He believed that the government of the country should be used to empower the masses, not the few. He understood democracy and basic human desires for a dignified life. His legacy in his nation, and in the hemisphere, will be assured as the people he inspired continue to strive for a better life for the poor and downtrodden.

    While even Chavez’s critics admit that he did attempt to address the plight of Venezuela’s poorest, the decline in economic inequality in Venezuela reflected a broader egalitarian trend in Latin America, and can’t be fully credited to Chavez’s policies. However, Chavez’ policies harmed Venezuela’s poorest in other ways: the value of the Venezuelan currency dropped while prices soared, making it harder for people to buy basic necessities, and crime skyrocketed.

    Moreover, Chavez hurt the vulnerable in Venezuela in other ways. Chavez’s state-run media hounded Venezuela’s small, beleaguered Jewish population — he himself once said “Don’t let yourselves be poisoned by those wandering Jews.” A study released by the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University found that Chavez’s rule “witnessed a rise in antisemitic manifestations, including vandalism, media attacks, caricatures, and physical attacks on Venezuelan Jewish institutions.” Indeed, roughly half of Venezuelan Jews fled the country because of “the social and economic chaos that the president has unleashed and from the uncomfortable feeling that they were being specifically targeted by the regime.”

    Chavez also attacked Venezuela’s democratic political system. Human Rights Watch reported in 2012 that “the accumulation of power in the executive and the erosion of human rights protections have allowed the Chávez government to intimidate, censor, and prosecute critics and perceived opponents in a wide range of cases involving the judiciary, the media, and civil society.” Contra Serrano, Venezuela’s elections were not certified as “free and fair” by international monitors of late: Chavez had not allowed international election monitors to observe Venezuelan elections since 2006.

     
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