Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm Losing Faith in the Country: Part 4 - The Failure of a Country

In my on going rage that is driving from me the faith I have long held in this country, I am now going to address a subject that is rather vague to describe. So I'll put it in these terms. I am tired of failure. Now, brace yourself because this one is going to go all over the place. Because when I say failure, I mean that I believe that the government is failing me. Personally. I take offense at what has happened and what is going on. But also the people as a whole are failing me and themselves. I'll explain further. This one is going to be tough to write because, discussing it with my wife, I cannot seem to prevent myself from getting worked up and angry by the time I'm half way through. But here goes.

I can just simply go through the list of failures in our current government and indeed the politically active in this country. I'll start on the right, because I'm good with pissing off the right. When I talk of the right, I don't just mean republicans or libertarians in congress. I'm talking about all politically active on the right, whether on a forum or email campaigns or actually working for a candidate. And while these views may not encompass ALL of those on the right, they encompass a large enough part that I feel comfortable characterizing the right in this way. I have extensive contact with them both on this forum, in daily life, and in my own family. I grew up with this mindset.

For six long years, the republican party, and the right, enjoyed a majority in both the house and the senate, with a republican president. Six years of getting what ever you wanted. There was no compromise. There was only the brutality of ramming through what ever you thought was good. During this time, the republican senate threatened to get rid of the filibuster rules in the Senate, because the democrats had filibustered nearly 60 times in one year. Since that six year period, they have gone on to double that amount of filibuster every single year they have been in the minority. It appears that the filibuster is only "abused" when it is used by democrats.

For six years, we saw regulations stripped away. We saw a majority that pushed through imprudent tax cuts focused on the wealthy, an unprecedented two wars at once, and a medicare part D plan that was not paid for. We saw reckless spending like never before. Never in our history had this nation CUT taxes during war time. With the power the right weilded, they created an office of faith based initiatives, an office purely dedicated to giving money to religious groups! We saw the right back and promote a president as he gain and took more power into the executive branch that ever before, including current president Obama.

I experienced the rights assault on free speech nearly every day, as my views on the war were called unpatriotic. I watched as the left was silenced routinely by the right calling them traitors, unpatriotic, and anti-american for disagreeing with two wars that we were lied to about. I felt the anguish of being told I don't support the troops because I thought they should be brought home. I was embarassed for this country as a republican president supported by the right, garnered the anger of most nations in the world by our arrogant and foolish actions. A cowboy in the white house. Only to the right would such a thing be looked on in a good fashion.

We watched regulation after regulation fall, as we paved the way for a massive financial fail. But then, things changed. The economy tanked, and the republicans lost power. Then, they lost the presidency. So what next?

The answer was to completely pretend like they weren't even there for the last 8 years. They filibusterd double the amount they cried about previously. Suddenly, they were conservative. Suddenly, lots of people were conservative! Really? Why then was your mouth shut tight when it was your party and your group doing the spending? Did they think we were mad? Insane? Did they think we wouldn't remember all they had done to get us in this mess? And so for two years I have watched this nonsense as one after the other republicans turn conservative claim they are for small government. The same people who called me unpatriotic and unamerican suddenly tried to act like they disagreed with Bush. Really? You were silent before and now you expect me to believe you are angry at "both parties"? Bullshit! And YOu know its bullshit too! It would be better than you spit at me behind my back than to look me in the eye and lie like this. I remember how many on the right supported Bush. Now, its hard to find a single one who supported Bush. Everyone on the right now suddenly "always believed we were spending to much"! The right double the deficit over and over and nothing was said, Now you want us to believe you are so concerned about our childrens future and always were? We aren't stupid or forgetful!

But enough about what we already know. On to the left. Did you think you were getting out of this? You aren't! But for this, I need to separate the people from the politicians. Why? Because while the right largely walks in lockstep, and the people believe and do as they are told, the sins of the left are not the same. The left is of larger diversity and thus is not so prone to being sheep. Even still, the words coming out of the mouths of the right are nearly identical from the ones coming out of the politicians and talk show hosts mouths. Even still they believe ridiculous email chains, to a massively greater extent than the left.

For the left, politics was about change and hope. After watching the decimation of this country at the hands of Bush, we trust those on the left to make things right. But that isn't what happened, is it? Nearly two years after Barack Obama stood on the podium to the chants of "yes we can", almost nothing has changed. Nothing.

We are still in two wars. The president still fights to keep things private when it comes to their legal manuevering. And the courts are still split on the issue. We still have two massive detention centers that are basically black holes. We still hold people indefinitely without bail or court hearing of any time, and without any official charges. We still support and engage in extraordinary rendition. We are still in two wars. New looser FISA regulations allow americans to be taped. The bill was approved by Candidate Obama. Almost nothing of the power that Bush took has been reigned in by Obama.

On a legislative front, I couldn't be more disappointed. Democrats lacked the cajones to pass REAL health care legislation. Compromising to get republican votes is only acceptable if it gets that vote. Most of the compromises were for republicans who never intended on working with them to make the bill better. A bill they knew would pass, but worked to make it suck instead of make it better. Most of the republican amendments were approved to get votes. And most of those amendments are pointed out as bad. Health care lobby money flowed freely, and many democrats grew fat on it, right next to their republican colleagues getting the same money. And together they worked to destroy the bill. Together they managed to rid the bill of all but a few good protections. No single payer, no public option, no hard premium caps, no regulations on raising rates. The health care companies essentially won.

But there was another chance in the wall street reform bill. It has some FABULOUS amendments for this bill. Yet, again, wall street money flowed, and most of those great amendments were killed. Derivative reform? Watered down after the money whore Blanche Lincoln won her primary. Almost everything else has been stripped out. Something that should have been an easy vote, even for republicans, ended up not getting enough support. 30 democrats, but only 10 republicans, voted to audit the Federal Reserve. What ended up passing was a one time audit. So much for the so called conservatives, and the so called conservadems. Conservative, on both sides of the aisle, stands for "sell out to the banks". And as I will state later, the Fed truly needed to be audited. The bill was nearly salvaged with the consumer protection agency that gets created. Unfortunately, they have exempted the highest bidders. Car dealers will not be subject to the consumer protection rules. As if we all don't know that used car dealers are the sleaziest of the slime. Unbelievable.

While people like to get upset at TARP, that really is a small morsel. The real crime is that the Fed has given out over 4.6 Trillion dollars to the banks. Only the 700B TARP was approved by congress. An audit would be nice. To bad it had bipartisan opposition. The banks get 4.6 Trillion dollars, and they use it to get richer. All the while the conservative democrats and republicans convince the rest of the democrats that a stimulus package for the people is just to much to spend. Every job bill and unemployment extension, including the one that just failed in the senate, don't equal HALF of what the banks got if you combined them all! Yet, were is the protests over the Fed? Used up, thats where. Used up on protesting to much spending to give unemployment money in a recession. To much money to help the states meet the budget. The banks have the fools of this country so easily distracted that they are protesting against the good of the PEOPLE! We would rather sit back and ignorantly believe that somehow giving unemployment to people is ruinging the country. People are now put at the bottom of the pile when it comes to priority. PEOPLE! More of my tax money has gone to banks, yet the right and conservative left draw the line at helping states and helping the unemployed? Its more bullshit!

And all the while the people on the left have become a justification machine. And I'm guilty of it too! But we are in large part forced to because the criticism from the right is so pathetically wrong! If they would get it right and stop believing nonsense and lies then we could focus on what was actually wrong! But still, where are the protests? Where are the anti-war people? It has been three months since I saw anyone at our weekly war protest. Three months. No one cares any more, democrats are in charge after all. None of the Bush abuses went away! We just stopped caring about them! Writing letters? All find and good by they don't give a flying f**k about our letters and we all know it! We have managed to quell our own outrage over things that really matter! We on the left cheered on the health care bill while amongst ourselves talking about what we didn't like about it. What we should have done is protested, not with those idiots in the tea party, but our own protests, against the very real problems with this bill! We should have protested when Obama sent more troops to Afghanistan. We should have protested when Obama put DRONES on the freakin Mexican border! And when far right wing morons say he hasn't tried to secure the border, slap them in the mouth and ask them how many freakin military drones any republican put on the border! I want a secure border, but not in a manner that causes death and destruction and fear! Freakin military drones!!!!

We have failed as a country. We have failed as a people. Our government has failed. And yes, it is both parties. And yes, it is the people too. But all for different reasons. I'm losing faith in this countries ability to handle anything in an age of naive acceptance of email chains. I'm losing faith in a country that only cares about the big problems when it is the party they hate doing it. We cannot continue like this. It will be the death of us all. Contineous war, endless recessions, and ridiculous lawmakers are what we face.

Two more examples of what is wrong. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of corporations, giving them the same rights as an individual. How atrocious is that. Amidst the anger at this, the congress wrote up a new law they are trying to pass. The "DICLOSE ACT" which will force all groups to list who donates to them and all companies that choose to support a candidate must put it forward so all can see. Yet, One group after another seems to be exempt. Companies under 1 million people are exempt. The NRA is exempt. And a number of other broad exceptions, have been written in to ensure that our corporations are not really resticted at all.

In the middle of the largest eco-disaster in our history, the criticism couldn't be more obscene. The right using a disaster to its benefit by first saying government didn't respond fast enough, then saying it responded too much. Circulating emails that are pure lies, that now have senators who should know better, repeating them. When senators are repeating email chains, I lose hope quickly. When senators apologize for forcing a foreign company to pay people who they have harmed, I lose hope quickly. And yet, the President has angered people because hasn't miraculously found a plan that the experts have apparently missed, that will fix the leak in the gulf. How is any of this helping the situation at all?

The government and many of the people have been sucked into a war of propaganda by both sides that has made true change irrelevant and unlikely. I used to laugh at the South Park Addage that voting was like choosing between a sh*t sandwich and a giant douche. I have come to realize that it really is just that. And "voting them all out" is irrelevant as well. The power and money have corrupted them all and will do so to the next generation. There is no stopping it. Debt will swallow us whole eventually. But most people are not smart enough to see that not spending right now will cause greater debt in the future. And I have no hope that it will get better. People will eventually tire of democrats, and vote in republicans. Who will then do what they do best. Say they are conservatives, the continue to ruin the economy. Then the democrats will take over and do what they do best. Bring all kinds of great ideas to the table, the water them down into obscurity.

This is our future, our country, that we have allowed to slip away from us. And the problem and the blame lies with us. The people. We allowed things to get out of hand. We allow ourselves to believe then never follow through. We allow ourselves to be convinced by propaganda and email chains. I am losing faith in a country that seems to have lost all sense of reason.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm losing faith in this country: Part 2 - Environmental Rant

We are the only industrialized nation in the world that has such a huge amount of truth deniers in it. We are the only industrialized nation in which the truth deniers out number the rationalists. We have a rather large number of people who, for some reason, would rather believe three scientists working for BP, than the thousands working for NASA, NOAA and Woods Hole research centers. As one of my favorite posters, Gary, has pointed out, the evidence is so blatantly and obviously overwhelming, that those on the right must do some seriously ridiculous mental gymnastics to ignore the evidence!

Yet, no matter the evidence, people on the whole still listen to Sean Hannity theorize how the extra snow in his yard must disprove modern climate change theory. It would be silly and worth laughing at these morons if it weren't actually dangerous to our childrens future. They are so busy minding our business on the debt, that they don't realize that the biggest threat to this nation is not the debt, but the climate. They are nice and smug in their ignorance, rolling around in it congratulating themselves on their idiocy, like pigs in mud on a hot day! It is obscene to say the least.

I would normally post a bunch of evidence, but it is really pointless. I confront these morons with evidence, and they simply ignore it. One person, on this forum once challenged me to show them the evidence. I posted the top three research sites in the world, and that person never even looked at it. Why? Who knows. The likely answer is that they either did look and ignored, or simply refused to look. It is easier to ignore the evidence and keep things status quo, than to be proven wrong and be forced to change!

Ten years ago the answer was "we need more evidence". Five years ago it was "we are in the middle of greater solar output". Now, in current era, we set another record heat year, followed by the hottest global first quarter on record, ever, during the lowest solar output on record, and their is no answer. Just silence and more smug mocking. Whats worse, they do their damnedest to continue harming the environment with their push to NOT move any environmental legislation forward! While they smugly look at those who have proven the truth, talking about debt, deficit, and our childrens future, they are in reality flushing our childrens future down the toilet!

The evidence is there for all to see. But when you cover your eyes and ears and mouth, like three idiot monkeys, then you not only put the blame for the consequences on your own head, but you multiply it. And passing the buck to later generations is simply unforgivable. This idea of "we need more evidence" is simply stupid. These are the same people who needed almost no evidence to go to war. I guess the right is intent on being the party of the dead and dying. But this effects everyone, the entire world. And truth deniers are going to kill us. I'm losing faith in this country. It is failing on the whole to recognize and act on truth.

I'm Losing Faith in the Country: Part 3 - The American Empire

The third part in this series focusing on my continued disappointment with my country, I have gone a different path. I am not going to simply "rant" as the very term indicates someone just spouting off. While I state my opinions in a very "matter of fact way", this particular post is far from a rant. It is a disposition that is founded on some very scary and very disturbing facts. I am speaking of course, about the American Empire.

Most people will picture the Romans, or the Greeks, or the Ottomons , perhaps even the Byzantines when they read the word Empire. Some might even site the British Empire. However, these would not compare well to the US in current form. The Empire the US has built is built from bases. Forge under the guise of "nation interests" which this country uses as an excuse to create and keep bases in nearly every country in the world. In fact, of the 194 independent countries listed by the state department, we have military troops and/or operatives in 135 of them. We have troops station in some form or another in 70% of all the countries of the world!

While it is hard to gather a true count of just how many troops are abroad, Pentagon and State Department sources list approximately 1.5 million military personel that are stationed abroad, with over 400,000 of them being troops. They range from deployments as small as 1, in the country of Malawi, to nearly 75,000 in Germany. Germany! Is Germany really so much of a threat that we need 75,000 military personel there?

What essentially happens is that where ever we go, for any reason, we leave behind our own forces to protect our "national interests". Really bad part is that people don't even seem to be aware of it. Just think back to any deployment you can imagine. Every president in recent history has left troops abroad. Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama will share in the blame for the same troops that W Bush sent abroad. Because we aren't ever coming home.

Whats worse, is that this Empire has grown cocky, and evil. George W. Bush began a wide spread practice of Extraordinary Rendition, which is the kidnapping of suspects and taking them to secret prisons. He also started the practice of using torture. And make no mistake, the memo's are mostly out, there were tortures worse than waterboarding going on. He also started the process of holding people, indefinitely, without trial.

President Obama is a unique president in that he ran specifically on taking away such things. Stopping these evil practices devised to use fear as a tactic of control over the world. Yet, nearly two years into his presidency, things have gone awry. The Obama administration defended the act of holding a prisoner without a trial. Extraordinary rendition CONTINUES to this day. And Guantanimo Bay remains open, along with other prisons designed to hold anyone deemd an "enemy combatant".

You can be rest assured that we will NEVER really leave Iraq or Afghanistan. Obama has all but said those exact words. We will eventually end the war, but our troops will remain there indefinitely. Note the careful wording of the promise to leave Iraq. "Combat Troops" is the term used to describe the withdrawal. Combat troops may leave, but we will remain in some capacity until we are forced out. That is the hallmark of Empire. Empire goes where it pleases, takes what it wants, and lets you know when you can have your space back, if you can have your space back.

When you look at the greater picture, you realize that people don't hate us for our "freedom", rather, they don't hate us at all. They hate the American Empire, oppressive and agressive as any in history. Built not on military conquest of the world, but slowly, over time, moving in and never moving out. With over a quarter million troops abroad excluding Iraq, we have the forces to do serious damage in a very short period of time to who ever doesn't do what we want. And there is no one to stop us. The UN showed that when they said no to Iraq, and we did it any way. Because we are bigger and greater than the UN. We are the only nation whose strength GREW because we refused to pay UN dues after Iraq! We pay so much into the UN that our refusal to pay dues nearly forces their hand. Only an Empire could control a world body in such a fashion.

History is a great teacher. It tells us that all Empires fall eventually. Only the people in full force, can slow, stop, and reel in the expansion of Empire. And this is where the problem lies. The people are kept busy and occupied with partisan nonsense. The people are kept busy defending or attacking the opposite party constantly. They use key words to get people riled up. Socialist, fascist, nazi, obstructionists, patriots, unpatriotic, anti-change, pro-oil, pro-big business and numerous other key words designed in their usage to get people angry and upset at the opposing party. This has the effect of turning the eye from the reality at hand.

And just what is the reality at hand? The reality of todays world is the escalation of Empire. The Endless War. Endless war is the process this Empire has worked for, for decades, and we now see the culmination of that process. We saw it starting in Vietnam. We saw attempts to give reason to stay at war with Reagan and his dealings with Iran and the USSR. George H. W. Bush saw the down fall of the USSR creating a vacuum. He immediately turn towards another boogie man, another country to invade, Iraq. But that ended very quickly. We did, however, manage to keep troops in the region to secure our "national interests".

Clinton managed to put us in several more countries we didn't have forces in at the time in the name of stopping genocide. Genocide happening in a very strategic place, happening right where a major natural gas pipeline was being constructed. Of course, with no resources of need and no strategic advantage, Rowanda was left for dead as millions were slaughtered in a racial cleansing genocide while the US and the world looked on and did nothing.

George W. Bush, exercising a principle echoed by the current Administration of never letting a good disaster go to waste, used 9/11 to send troops to Afghanistan. Afghanistan, we are told, refused to hand over Bin Laden. Okay. So why then is Bin Laden still not caught after all this time? Why then was the mission, from the beginning, to unseat the taliban and "rebuild" the nation?

Since Iran has been rather lippy, they had to be dealt with. The best way to do that was strategically place yourself, something the first Bush failed to do. So we created a reason to attack a country that never had the ability to strike us. Not even close. We were lied too. But the damage had been done, and the fact that we were lied too, had not impact on their ultimate goal, even if we knew about it. Yet, the genocide in Darfur went unchallenged as millions died in a religious holocaust that rivals any in history.

But Obama had the chance to start fresh, and end both wars. But the result came as a surprise, even to me. Afghanistan was escalated. Iraq still holds problems. And we aren't going any where. And Darfur? Nearly forgotten in the minds of the people as the media failed to cover it as more than just a side show. We are kept busy worrying about other things. Healthcare, the environment, taxes, and terrorism. Fear is used as a weapon. Fear of terrorism, fear of being over taxed, fear of being called unpatriotic. And we are the conduit that allows this power to flow.

All of this works to keep us unaware the worst danger to this world is the machine that keeps us afraid. And as terms that are all but obsolete in the modern word keep being thrown at the left, like socialism, the majority of the left are kept defending against this absurd claim, while the majority of democrats are sold out to the companies that profit most from endless war. And while the Tea Party crows about taxes and freedoms, they ignorantly work towards allowing corporations more power in the government and over them. Corporations who benefit financially from this endless war.

As time marches on and the people kept distracted, the Empire Grows. While people are worrying about republicans and democrats, people are being taken to secret prisons, tortured, held without charge and without evidence indefinitely, and our children are being sent to die on foreign soil for a purpose that has no connection to our freedom. To die in the name of freedom when freedom is not being defended, is an insult to our soldiers. But don't say that out loud. The Empire will hear you, and deem you unpatriotic. And we can't have that. Can we?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm losing faith in this country: Part 1 - Immigration Rant

Immigration seems like it should be an easy situation to fix. First things first, secure the border. Now, every other country in the world does this with their military. We have a national guard being sent over sees to fight a war of discretion. Bring them home and put them on the border. Next, create and implement a simple straight forward way of becoming a citizen or getting the status to work in this country. Do away with the mountain of bureaucratic trash that they have to go through now. If the object is to monitor who comes in, and to have them pay equal taxes (individually and on a business level) then why make it so difficult? Is it really necessary to make the process go on for years at a time? You are practically encouraging people to cross illegally!
Many people like to argue that we don’t need immigration reform, or parts of it. We don’t need a new process path towards citizenship. We don’t need to secure the border. Fact is there are some very good reasons to do both. We can start with human rights. Many of the people who come up here are brought by Coyotes. These are ruthless vile people who abuse people, take advantage of them, manipulate them, and often times enslave them for periods of time. They hold people for ransom for greater sums of money often. People should not be treated like cattle, smuggled across the border and held till their family can pay for their release. Human trafficking is a human rights issue. Soldiers at the border will help address this.
One thing few people realize is that these paths traveled by illegal’s are very often littered with trash and debris. There are paths that go through private property and national parks alike, that are as trashed as you can possibly imagine. Yes they exist, just google for them. Snopes has verified that this is not a myth. The pictures of the damage and trash I have seen are horrific. How can we allow our own homeland to be treated like a garbage dump by someone from another country? Why on earth would we allow this to continue? If you are going to come to this country, the least you can do is respect it!
Drug violence may be a relatively new aspect brought into this debate, but a prevalent and convincing one. Why should our people have to fear violence from Mexican drug cartels? They shouldn’t. A good healthy dose of National Guard should effectively reduce this problem. Further, it would make Americans living near the border feel safe. And they should. Its our country, not theirs. I applaud Mexico for going after the drug Cartels. But there is no reason it should be allowed to spill onto our soil. We have our own problems with drugs and gangs to deal with.
Now, once in, people have a basic right here to have a minimum wage for their job. We have a right to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, proper working conditions, proper treatment by our bosses, and kids cannot be made to work. Yet, these are not rights afforded to illegal’s working here. And its not fair to them to have to work that way. Its not right for the employers that participate in such actions to get away with it either. Yet they do. No, not all go through this, but enough of them to make it a problem worth solving.
Yet, every time this issue comes up, the same partisan bullshit gets spewed. Republicans would like you to believe that democrats are trying to let illegal’s flood in to this country unchecked, that they don’t care about border security, that “path to citizenship” is a code word for amnesty. Democrats would have you believe that all republicans are bigots who don’t want anyone to become a citizen, they just don’t want “those brown people” in their country! Neither view is correct! Both views are based on the kind of ridiculous bias that has plagued this issue for years. And it shows no sign of stopping.
President Obama finally sent troops down to the border. 1200 National Guard troops to the border, after republican calls to secure the border. What was the first thing that happened? Complaints by the republicans that Obama isn’t sending enough troops. By whose measure? You finally get what you have been asking for, and the first thing you do is use it as a political tool to score points? Come on! This is not what you were elected to do! John McCain should have applauded the effort, not laud it! We all know this will go on and on, with Democrats watering down legislation in return for more cat calling nonsense from the republicans. When a republican president gets back in office, we can expect every immigration reform bill to be met with calls of xenophobia and bigotry by the right, from the democrats.
Time and time again we see this nonsense play out. And it never gets better, it just gets worse. I am losing faith in this countries government, and its ability to get done what needs to be done. I am losing faith in this countries people for their inability to discern truth and reality, and their constant biting onto the bait by the right and the left. I’m losing faith. Its like a bleeding ulcer that I can’t stop. A myriad of reasons increase this wound. A myriad of reasons increase the blood lose. A myriad of reason why I am losing faith in this country. This is only one.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Road to American Solvency - The Next 50 Years

This country has a problem. It is a problem that exists in the rest of the world as well, but one that will get noticeably worse if we don't make changes. That problem is debt. Current debt in this country is around 87% -96% of GDP, depending on who you ask. Thats pretty large. Granted, there are larger debt to gdp ratio's out there. Hungary's debt is 121% of gdp. And if you take the top 20, it only gets bigger.

US - 96%
HUngary - 121%
Australia - 124%
Italy - 147%
Greece - 170%
Germany - 182%
Spain - 186%
Norway - 202%
Finland - 220%
Hong Kong - 223%
Portugal - 235%
France - 248%
Austria - 256%
Sweden - 264%
Denmark - 316%
Belgium - 328%
Netherlands - 376%
Switzerland - 382%
UK - 425%
Ireland - 1312%

And that is at the end of 2009.

Now, a crowning jewel in the rhetoric merry go round of the tea party is to talk about passing debt on to our children. Well lets not be crass, we are already going to pass on massive debt to our children. And lets not be ideologically ignorant either. Most tea partiers supported Bush for eight years while he passed unfunded medicare programs, prosecuted two wars based on lies, all while cutting taxes twice. If you supported an idiot who decided to increase spending while reducing income, you can't suddenly say you are tired of big government spending. At least not if you want to be taken seriously.

So here are the common sense ways to cut and eliminate this debt. And make no mistake, these aren't really that debatable. Not if you are serious about cutting debt and deficits.

1. Medicare and medicaid spending must be cut. Now, there are great ways to do this. But first we must acknowledge that this nonsense of the party out of power claiming that the other party will cut your benefits is only designed to scare you, and is used as a political tool. When the republicans said that the democrats medicare waste reduction amendment was designed to cut grannies benefits, and lots of seniors believed them, we must admit that this was stupid on our part. There are lots of ways to cut spending without cutting benefits. To say it is cutting benefits unilaterally is deceitful and should be called out by the party who does it.
A. Allow bidding for medicare prescriptions and allow imports from canada that are fda approved and scanned. Yes we can, and yes we should.
B. If your net worth is measured in multiples of millions, you don't get it. I'm not paying for some rich man or woman to get free health care when
he/she can fund their own clinic.
C. Like Reagan and Clinton, the medicare/SS taxes must be increased.
D. Actually investigate and crack down on medicare/medicaid fraud.

2. SS must be made solvent. You can do this by increasing SS taxes. And again, if you measure your worth in multiple millions, you don't get SS. And yes, you still have to pay into it. It isn't going to kill millionaires to continue to pay into a fund for the poor and elderly.

3. Bring home the troops. All of them. It is much cheaper to house troops here, that abroad. Couple in the fact that there are hundreds of bases we would no longer have to maintain. Then, you can solve the illegal immigration problem by putting them on the border. Not interested in arguments for immigration reform here. Make a path to citizenship, what ever. But stop the violence at the border the way all other countries do. With your own troops.

4. Once you bring the troops home, you can drastically cut the military budget. Without spending money on housing troops abroad, you can effectively reduce the budget without having to cut any other areas of defense.

5. Taxes must be raised. Don't like it? Sorry. You can't complain about passing on a debt when you aren't willing to pay for it yourself. So either shut it or own up. If you don't want your kids to own it, then guess who has to pay for it? Thats right, you. So, there are several ways of doing this. One is to have the rich pay more. After all, they have benefited more than the rest of the country, from the system we live in. Why must people continue to insist that we lower taxes even more? Federal taxes are very low compared to history. Eisenhower had the top tax bracket at 90%. For goodness sake open your eyes and stop calling taxes socialism!

These five things would lower spending on the top expenses in our budget, and increase revenue. Like anyone who runs a budget, this seems like an obvious answer. Reduce spending, increase revenue. Why is this difficult?

Now, some will say this can't be done in a recession. And I agree, you cannot raise taxes in a recession. However, we can stop the military spending and reduce the waste in medicaid and medicare right? That would take a big chunk out of the yearly budget!

Its time to put up or shut up America. Either suck it up and do what is needed, or stop crying about passing on debt to our children.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Party of Small Government?

The Party of Small Government?

One of the huge "selling points" from the right is that the republican party is the party of small government. I always considered this a rather crass argument. After all, they don't seem to act like the party of small government when they are in power. Come to think of it, they don't act like the party of small government when they aren't in power. They like to say they are, but a brief look at what they do and what they stand for shows they clearly aren't. Lets first look at what they have done in the recent past to see if they stand for small government.

Recent accomplishments:
1. Patriot Act which allows domestic spying on US citizens
2. War on Iraq without Iraq attacking us
3. Expansion of government power via creation of Homeland security
4. Expansion of presidential powers via President refusing to allow documentation in a court case because he says so.
5. Expansion of presidential powers to authorize any actions at all in the name of homeland security, even on US soil
6. Unfunded Medicare Part D plan
7. Holding people out charge or trial
8. Torturing people then admitting it despite the US's Geneva convention treaty

These are the actions of a party that is for small government. These are the actions of a party trying to expand their power.

But perhaps what they stand for is small government and extenuating circumstances changed the status quo. Like 9/11. Surely in their hearts they are for small government, right?

So what is on their plattform? Small government actions right?

GOP Plattform:
1. Banning Gay Marriage
2. Banning abortion
3. Banning certain things from TV
4. Banning internet gambling
5. Restrictions on internet content
6. Continued ban on drugs
7. Requiring schools to allow prayer for all school
8. Banning flag burning
9. Using technology to monitor former felons for the rest of their lives

What kind of small government mentality believes in this mass government intervention into peoples lives? The kind of party that does this is the kind of party that believes you are too stupid to notice it, and will lie through their teeth. Words have meaning. You can't just say stuff and do something completely different. The reality is that they are for government intervention in areas they approve of doing it, and against it in things they are against. Oddly enough, they are all for government intervention into your personal life when it comes to moral choices, but against intervention when it comes to providing health care and help for the poor and help for retiring seniors. See the problem here? When you need help, they say no. When you want to live your personal life as you choose, they say no. Small government isn't just small when its convenient.

The odd thing is that they have convinced millions of people that they are the small government party. Never mind the fact that they, when in full control, doubled the debt to have unfunded tax cuts, unfunded medicare part D projects that suck, and two wars at one time. What kind of bullshit is that? Not small government by my last check. Yet millions in this country mindlessly chant the cause of small government and check their ballot for republicans.

Here is the reality. Here is the way things should be. When you need help, the government should help you out. We the people are the government, so we the people should help people in need. We should ensure the education, health, and retirement of our people, as a society, which will make the over all experience of living, better for everyone. When it comes to personal life, people should be free to live as they choose. It is not your decision on who someone can marry. If they are of age, the government should have no say in it. It is not your decisions or the governments, whether a woman gets a medical procedure or not. It is not your decision or the governments whether you can take drugs or not. It is not your decision or the governments whether or not you can gamble online. Within reason, and the law, it is not yours or the governments place to decide what I can look at on the internet or TV.

THAT is productive helpful government. A government that only intervenes to help and do good. A government that leaves life choices to the person living the life. THAT is what government should be. And that is as close to small government as you can get. And the only party that comes close to that is the democratic party.

Monday, March 15, 2010

GOP's New Contract with America

It is the modern "Contract with America", A Road Map to America's Future.

This atrocity is written up by Republican Senator Paul Ryan. And yes, it is horrible for most of America. Here is his website for the bill.

This bill would single handedly wipe out years of progressive tax reform and devastate most of America.

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities has this to say:

• The higher one goes up the income scale, the more massive the tax cuts would be. Households with incomes of more than $1 million would receive an average annual tax cut of $502,000.

• The richest one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans — those whose incomes exceed $2.9 million a year — would receive an average tax cut of $1.7 million a year. These tax cuts would be on top of those that high-income households would get from making the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of 2010, permanent. ...

• The plan would shift tax burdens so substantially from the wealthy to the middle class that people with incomes over $1 million would face much lower effective tax rates than middle-income families would. That is, they would pay much smaller percentages of their income in federal taxes.

The Tax Policy Center claims:

Anybody making less than $20,000 a year would get a break of about $100-$300 on their income taxes. Anybody making $20,000 to $200,000 would get taxed more than now. Anybody making $200,000 to $1,000,000 would rake in the dough. Above a million dollars, the average benefit would come in over half-a-million a year .

And the third major tax watch dog group Citizens for Tax Justice have this to say:

It’s difficult to design a tax plan that will lose $2 trillion over a decade even while requiring 90 percent of taxpayers to pay more. But Congressman Paul Ryan has met that daunting challenge. This analysis makes obvious that Congressman Ryan’s budget plan has nothing to do with balancing the budget, but has everything to do with creating a system that takes more from the poor and less from the rich.

The whole article from them is here:

Thats right ladies and gentle men. The conservative wing of the GOP has come up with a bill to tax the middle class into extinction and give it all to the wealthy, all the while adding 2 Trillion dollars to the deficit! AWESOME!

The problem with conservatives is that they aren't. Period. And the ones that are, don't know good policy when it hitting them in the ass.

Friday, March 5, 2010

There is Something Very Wrong with this Country

This is a subject that I have been meaning to write about again for sometime. You can call it a rant if you like. Because a rant is exactly what I would call it. The longer I think about it, the more things I can think of to add to it. This rant gets longer every time I ponder it. I can more and more angry until I just want to explode! Which of course leads to an angry rant, which is rarely composed well. So I have to sit back and calm down a bit. And by then, I don't feel like writing it. I'm in a rare place this morning. Placid, calm, and clear headed, while thinking about what is wrong with this country. I have written about it before, so some of this will be redundant. But the good thing about having your own blog is that you can write about what ever you want, when you want. So here goes!

There is something very wrong with this country. And it is unique in many aspects to this country. To a far less degree, there is something wrong with the UK and Australia I imagine, but mostly, the United States has something dearly wrong with it. We have become a people who no longer value education. Let me elaborate. The founding of this country saw people like Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison come to prominence. These were thinkers, people of great intellect who were able to see things as they really were, then. Thomas Paine was one of the great enlightenment intellectuals, as was Thomas Jefferson. Benjamin Franklin was an astute politician AND inventor, and James Madison was one of the finest political and legal minds in this countries history. And they were valued for their intelligence.

Through the years, we have seen great thinkers who were able to come up with practical solutions to difficult problems. From John Jay, who wrote many Federalist Papers and became the first Supreme Court Chief Justice, to John Marshall who helped define the way the Supreme Court Works, our Supreme Court has had a myriad of brilliant legal minds. From Thomas Jefferson, who ended the Sedition Act, to Franklin D. Roosevelt who had the courage to do what had never been done in this country, securing us financially for nearly 6 decades before his regulations were largely removed in the late 90's and early 2000's, our Presidents have been intelligent and courageous. Many a Senator and Representative have stood in the halls of congress and stood up for what they believed in and what was best for the country. From John Quincy Adams who served even after he was president, to Ron Paul, we have had a plethora of good congressmen who had the courage to speak up and say the truth. Agree or disagree with Ron Paul, he understands, truly, the effect of spreading our military around the world has on our economy, security, and national perception. And finally, the people, who have chosen these leaders, have in large part made wise decisions through out the year. The extremists and anti-intellectuals have not one in large part. Until now.

We have a problem in this country. A raging sweeping torrent of ignorance and anti-intellectualism is dragging us down to the depths. It is frightening to know and understand that Fox News is the largest cable news network in this country. In large part, its watchers have exchanged learning and knowledge, for the opinion of Shawn Hannity and Glenn Beck. On nearly every issue, the opinion of a few crackpots and a news opinion show have garnered more support than scientists and experts in various areas. From Global Warming and evolution, to separation of church and state and corruption, the view of others has become the fact. The entire evening is completely monopolized by opinion shows. Whether its Glenn Beck or Keith Olbermann, the entire cable news evening is dominated by opinionated individuals.

It would be one thing if people did their fact checking. I enjoy Keith Olbermann allot, but when ever he says something that is outrageous, my wife and I break out the laptop to find out if its true. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most Americans. Nothing is more disheartening to me than to watch Hannity or Beck with my parents and watch them get angry and upset over things Hannity and Beck say without backing anything up. They simply accept it to be true. My wife is known for asking "I wonder if thats true" when Olbermann makes a new claim. But not most Hannity and Beck watchers. They accept their largely unsupported claims as fact.

Online, many of these same viewers enjoy believing they are fact checking by visiting World Net Daily and Newsmax. Unfortunately both of these sites have gotten in trouble for simply making things up to back up their claims! The main source of information for World Net Daily's Obama birth certificate story was a blog in which the person later said it was always intended to be a joke! Newsmax has been sued twice and lost for printing lies and false stories. Yet they remain a bastion of conservative respect!

I once did not believe in Evolution. However, I have been studying the actual evidence for evolution for over five years now. I had no clue the vast amount of evidence for evolution. I will go so far as to say that evolution can be proven fact is not a single fossil was ever found. The evidence is strong enough that you could throw out fossil evidence completely and still prove it easily! Yet, how many people believe in their hearts that there is no evidence for evolution? MILLIONS! Whats worse, almost all of them have steadfastly refused to even look at the evidence for evolution. Someone tells them its not true, so they believe it. The worst claims are that if they saw evolution happening in front of them, they would believe it. The problem is, if they looked at the evidence, there are many proven cases of seen and observed evolution NOW! It CAN be seen in real life happening! Yet, they refused to study before having an opinion!

Global Warming is another. There are only a few classes of scientists that actually study climate change and the environment. These scientists are nearly 100% in agreement that global warming is happening and is caused by humans. The evidence is enormous for this. Yet most people are content to sit back and believe someones opinion, or a scientist who doesn't work in this field, and believe its not happening or isn't our fault. Some even go so far as to believe its a hoax! Considering who benefits and who doesn't, that claim doesn't even make logical sense! Further, the evidence for global warming is right in front of our eyes and easily accessible to people to go read it. Yet, people simply refuse to go study the evidence. They CHOOSE to remain ignorant on the issue!

There are some who believe this country was founded to be a christian nation. Never mind the fact that the writer of the Declaration of Independence was a Deist, that the writer of the Constitution also wrote the Separation of Church and state laws in Virginia, and never mind that our first president is quoted saying that he carries a bible to stop people from questioning him but that he detests christianity, they believe it must be a christian nation! Deliberate and calculated ignorance for their own personal gain!

Today, one of the big problems in politics is that we have people who agree with tons of views, yet vote against those views constantly. The people vote in favor of the corporations and against their own best interests repeatedly. Further, the politicians blatantly campaign for their highest bidder lobbyist in everything from health care reform to bank bailouts, but people still believe them! When Mitch McConnell gets up and tells us that Health Care reform is bad for America, shouldn't hte people be asking why he is saying that and why he is getting out there to oppose it, and ask if it could be because he is the second or third largest recipient of health insurance lobby money? Yet, many people trust him and others of his party to tell the truth about health care reform! They have money at stake to see this fail!!!

But the nasty underside of this is that the people who know and understand and study and follow the evidence are being demonized in this country. If you believe in anything that is inconvenient to someones world you are labeled as someone trying to push an agenda, or trying to destroy america, or destroy families, or destroy faith yadda yadda yadda!

Unfortunately, the group of people MOST responsible for this type of behavior currently are conservatives and the christian right wing. Conservative christians being the worst. They seem to fight with all their heart and soul against anything intellectual. Evolution and global warming are fact. To deny so is to remain deliberately ignorant. When I got home yesterday, one of my family members was on the phone arguing about evolution. "I have never seen any evidence to make me believe evolution is true". Well lucky I walked in. I piped right up. "What was the last book or article or paper you read on evolution and about evidence for evolution". The answer? Crickets. None. Nadda. She had made up her mind that evolution was false, and convinced her self of her own correctness to the point of actually arguing against it without ever picking up a single book discussing the evidence for it. She had read plenty of apologetics against evolution, because that backed up her own ignorant views of science. She pulled out the "its only a theory" nonsense, so I asked her to define a scientific theory and how it is used in science and regarded in science. She didn't know. How can you make a claim about what something IS if you don't know what that think really IS? So I began to enlighten her until she cut me off. "Don't start with all the intellectual garbage". Intellectual garbage.

I was discussing global warming on a forum recently and came to the odd conclusion that some people just don't want to know the truth. At one point I listed the top three or four research sites in the world that had websites. People whose entire life is studying the environment. The answer? A site with a physics scientists signing a petition against global warming. Another site with another scientist not in the field of climatology or the environment stating it was a hoax. Not a single scientist that studies the environment listed among them. Whats worse, none of my sites were even ocmmented on, and the person just continued to believe the nonsense they wanted to believe. It was deliberately choosing to remain ignorant.

On another forum I used to frequent, I went round and round with one person about this being a christian nation. Their favorite tactic was to take a smidgen of a quote to back up their claim. It is unfortunate for them that every quote was completely out of context once I gave the rest of the letter or statement being given. I completely destroyed every claim made! Easily! Yet, they choose to remain willfully ignorant despite the evidence. Call me one of "those intellectual idiots". Intellectual idiots.

And here we come to the problem this country has. This country, by en large, simply ignores or demonizes that which challenges its world view. Whether it is the completely misguided and false view that we have the best health care policy in the world, or that evolution is a fact. Most people demonize the intelligencia and praise the fools who believe despite the evidence. It has become something of a national past time for people to ridicule the really smart people in favor of the now "useful idiots" who give their opinions on tv. This countries problem is that it no longer values intelligence. It values loyalty above all. Remain loyal, keep the faith, don't let your mind be changed.

This mindset comes directly from the countries main religion, christianity. Religion, as can be shown over and over, is a poison to a society, and the poison is reaching critical mass in the united states. From useful idiots hold socialism signs who can't define socialism properly, to people arguing in favor of Walmart over their own best interest, this country is suffering from a rash of anti-intellectualism that has not been seen before. When you can't win with the facts, kill the messenger. Don't like what someone is saying? Demonize them as unamerican, unpatriotic, or hating god and religion. Its much easier to do that then address the fact that what you believe is factually inaccurate. Its much easier to NOT read any information and keep your opinion that you know is approved by your group of fools, than to challenge the status quo.

This country has a problem. And that problem is stupidity and the vilification of intelligence.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Former Christians View on Christians Today

I have neighbors, as most of us do. And my neighbors happen to be very strict and literalist fundamentalist Christians. We have had issues with them, but not for the reasons you might think. We had an issue some time back with their pet cat causing damage to our property and peeing under our house. So, after many attempts to get them to keep the cat inside, we called the neighborhood property manager. And this is where it gets ugly. From that time on, they have shown their true colors, well at least all but the Husband has. See, the wife lied to him about what the property manager said so that they had to get rid of the cat. See, she didn't like the cat and she also holds personal grudges. This is where it gets good.

From that point, the war has been waged, on their end, against our kids, through their kids. Spitting on our kids, name calling and insults, throwing ice balls at them, telling them they are going to hell, are all things my kids have gone through. I tried to talk to the dad after hearing some of it myself, but his kids lied and he believes them and thinks I'm just a lying atheist. Typical oblivious moron.

This is not the only time when a small issue has turned into a big issue with christians. It seems they like to find a small reason to justify their hatred of me and my family and have no problems using my kids to get to me. The hatred christians have for me is stunning in its openness. Their ability and desire to lie to continue their hatred is appalling. But the idea of allowing that hatred and anger to be directed at children, all under the age of ten, is unfathomable. Its heart wrenching and makes me want to harm them for their actions. However, unlike them, I have morals and standards and ethics that guide my life.

Now, spare me the ridiculous claims that "not all christians are like that". Yes yes I know they aren't all like that. But the problem is, given the right situation where no other christians will know about it, christians in general seem to show this startlingly similar behavior pattern. A friend of my mothers thought I was my dad, who is a christian, and sent me an email about how atheists are trying to ruin america and asked me to donate to this organization to fight atheists and their attempts to tear down america. I informed her that this was his son. She knows I'm an atheist. So her email back was an apology saying she knows that I'm not trying to tear down america, that this is just about those few that are.

BULLSHIT! Two faced lying christian sack of shit! You can't even be bothered to be honest with me about how you feel?

This type of lying behavior is not just common, it is endemic. When christians don't believe anyone is watching them or see's them, they are worse than the worst liar you can find. Is it everyone? No, duh, obviously not. But, I would say from my experience, that there is a good amount that are. And because my parents are christians, and my wife can back this up, I try and give christians the benefit of the doubt. Try to come up with a good reason for their behavior. Yet it always returns to lies to justify their seething hatred of those who don't believe like them. Like the gay movement of "hate the sin, love the sinner", the actions speak louder than words. In their mind, behind the lies and quips they use to build themselves up, the reality is this. "Hate the sin, hate the sinner". And their actions betray this.

If there is a god, and the bible is true, I would bet my very soul that less than 1% of professed christians would actually go to heaven. Perhaps less of the so called fundamentalist christians, as they are more self righteous and more prone to lying and hate speak towards those unlike them.

Whats worse, its is detrimental to their cause. You know what? My oldest son nearly hates christians. Why? Because every christian child who has found out he comes from a free thinking family turns on him and is mean and cruel to him. Nine years old and he has learned what christians are like when you aren't like them. How can teach him religious tolerance when his foundation is one of cruelty and hatred from this religion? Yesterday we had a little knowledge session in which I was teaching him about the good things that different religions bring to the table of humanity. When we got to christianity, he object to my suggestion that Jesus taught some good moral values. He said this "I see what the bible says, but christians don't act like that. So if they believe in Jesus, then Jesus must have been mean". Good boy, you see the contradiction at such a young age. Shame on christians for forcing my child to understand the cruelty of religion at such a young age. And fuck you for the heart break you have brought upon my children.

But unlike you, I don't wish you ill. I don't hope there is a hell that you will go to. Unlike you, I believe in true goodness and kindness for the sake of making humanity a better species and this planet a better place to live. Unlike you I have true morals and ethics developed from society and life experience that speaks to a better life that I can see and feel myself by following them.

If Jesus really existed and really was moral, then christians are a disgrace to his memory. A disgustingly dark mirror image of how ugly humanity can be. Christianity as a whole, has become a stain on this earth. Are all christians like this? No, of course not. But I would wager a fair amount that when no one is around, or they think they can get away with it, their Alter Ego fades and what lies beneath is truly ugly.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Republicans and Conservatives: Out of their minds and losing control

Okay, by now I have railed on this for several days and you might be getting tired of it.....if you are a conservative or a republican. For those of us liberals, thats not the case. We don't tire of making them own up to the reality they tried to push on us. Three issues have caught my attention today. One is one I already pointed out but haVe new details on. Another was one that I missed the last few years. I'll start with that.

John McCain. Republican moderate for President. Are you sad that he didn't get in? Sad that such a man of integrity didn't make office? Lets review a few things he has said about the military.

He has said that he will listen to the commanders on the ground. You know, the people who are actually in charge that deal with the troops. These people know best for our military.

He has said that he would go with what the military says they need for advice on Gays in the military. But then changes his tune four years later (now) to saying they need to consult congress!

And again here, rely on the military people to make the decision, even though he believe DADT is working.

So we have John McCain simply saying what ever is politically expedient depending on the atmosphere in his party.

Same with allowing gay marriage.

Discriminating is wrong, but not allowing gay marriage is the way to go.

But, maybe he wasn't sure?

Here is shows his flip flops all over the place. Legal? Yes and no. Civil unions? Yes and no.

This is what the "conservative" wing of the republican party has fostered, insane flip flopping from the party that once called John Kerry a flip flopper. THey are out of their mind!

But no where is this more evidence than in the bill to create a budget deficit commission.

Bill was created and announced by Democrat Kent Conrad and Republican Judd Gregg. It was added on to the bill to increase the US debt ceiling, which by the way, passed. 17 Republican senators joined with democrats in a letter urging President Obama to sign this bill when it passed the Congress. Here is the letter and the people who signed it.

So what happened?

What happened is that the bill failed by 7 votes. And 7 republicans who endorsed the bill turned around and voted against it. Enough voted for it to say they were for the commission if need be in the future, but just enough voted against it so Obama couldn't get credit for a budget deficit commission.

It was a completely political move. Which brings us back to McCain and my final situation to bring up. Pay as you go economics. Paygo economics is the idea that you cannot introduce new spending without cutting something else so that it is deficit neutral. It was introduced by republicans and conservatives in 1990. It has been a staple of republicans fiscal policy when they are not in full control. They only want it when it can't happen. In reality, they aren't fiscal conservatives and have no intention of restricting their own spending in such a fashion. No time is this more evident by the recent rejection of a DEMOCRATIC pay as you go initiative by John McCain and several other republicans.

In fact, the party that houses nearly all fiscal conservatives, voted 40-0 in the senate AGAINST pay as you go economics! They voted against the principle that you have to pay for programs you want!

Every damn one of them voted against it! Why? You know why! It was fiscal responsibility proposed by a democrat, and they can't have that! They cannot allow President Obama to get credit for a position they are desperately trying to lie their way onto the high ground!

Republicans have lost their mind and are out of control. Their partisan ship is so ridiculous at this point that they cannot be trusted to make sound judgements on anything. They simply vote based on whether or not Obama is for it or against it. They have gone from obstructionist to actually working against things beneficial to this country in order to hurt the democrats. This is what you voted for Massasschussetts! Idiocy and partisan actions that harm this country! Wake up America! Through out these punks who obstruct for the sake of obstructing! It is now literally causing harm!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Conservatives and Republicans have a problem with Sincerity

Conservatives and Republicans in this country have a problem. No, I'm not talking about the obvious problem with reconciling the dichotomy that is the Conservative movement. I'm talking about sincerity. The GOP and the Conservative movement have a problem with sincerity in that they never seem sincere. Confused? Well, if you are a conservative or a republican, then your head is likely in the sand and you are very confused. But if you are a liberal or independent, then you are shaking your head in agreement.

Republicans continue to use phrases that get their base lit, yet they don't really mean it. Now, I know, you want specifics, and we will get to them soon, but just think about it for a moment. When you make statements about fiscal conservatism, shouldn't you expect them to act like it? Sure, you would. When you make comments about the deficit, then your actions should belay that deep concern, right?

But there is the problem. Lets start with recent history shall we? The President, a democrat if you have been paying attention, decide that the deficit is out of hand. And he is right. So he wanted to create a bi-partisan commission to decide what could and couldn't reasonably be cut. This sounds like a great idea and a great time to force the president to listen to their ideas. After all, they would have an automatic seat at the table! But did they? NO!

The amendment would have created a group to come up with a combination of tax cuts and spending curbs to be passed by mid term elections. But the republicans all said no, as did a few blue dog democrats. But without fail, every single republican and conservative in the senate voted no. Okay, so thats the Senate. But surely conservatives everywhere were outraged that this did not get passed right? WRONG! There was almost no conservative response to it! Apparently, trying to curb deficit spending is not a big issue to the conservative movement unless it is the democrats NOT doing what they say!

But this continues from previous experience as the general norm! As we have seen in my previous post, they pretty much spend away no matter how many taxes get cut. In the past 30 years, they have the highest deficits of any president. They hold the record for deficits and deficit increases. Yet, they are content to sit by and just complain about the deficit!

One can only come to the conclusion that Republicans and Conservatives are only concerned with the deficit when Democrats are in power. Other wise, they would have been blowing off steam for the last 30 years, not just during democrat terms! Which leads us to the premise of this post. Republicans and conservatives are not sincere about cutting the deficit, or lowering the national debt. If they were, then they would have jumped right in with the President and his council and demanded a seat at the table. Instead they voted it down. See, when people are sincere, their actions show their sincerity. If it were reversed, then every media outlet would be screaming this about the democrats. But the democrats are at least sincere. They ran on health care, stimulus, and environment, and they are working on bills for all of them currently, whether republicans like it or not. Which shows that they are at least sincere, if not misguided by some peoples view.

The "Conservative" response to the health care bill? Same price, covered less, and gave bigger quirks to the health care industry. Sincere about health care? No. Sincere about giving breaks to big corporations? Absolutely. But did they say that to the American public? No. Just the opposite. Because the GOP and the conservative movement are not sincere about what they want to do. They just want power. Which leads me to my third point.

Every single government expansion of power into the lives of the individual in the last 30 years has been under Republican rule. The last and biggest one being the Patriot Act. A "Conservative" President with a Republican majority passed the most intrusive governmental power bill ever. And what did conservatives do? Nothing. Mr. and Mrs. Small Government did most of the justification to the country on why they needed the power to spy on US citizens. Why? Because "big government" is only a term they use to try and win votes against democrats. They aren't sincere about having a smaller government.

Conservative voters all over this country get ramped up when democrats are in power, but are silent as death when it is a republican in power. Where are these "tea party" favorites when republicans have power? MIA. Because even they aren't sincere in their views. They are sincere as far as wanting republicans and so called conservatives in office, but after that, they don't care. Which is why there where no cries for fiscal restraint for 8 years while Bush was in office. Thats why there were no cries for smaller government for 8 years while Bush was in office. And thats why there were no calls for lowering of spending until the Democrats took power. Because they have a problem. And that problem is sincerity. They lack it because they, as a whole, hate democrats and liberals more than they care about this country. Their actions belay their intent. Watch their actions to judge their intent, not their words.

These people are out lying again. They are out making up stuff and their constituents who believe themselves to be conservatives are eating it up. All they while they know they will never attempt to lower the deficit or the debt or government control, because they never have before. Everyone needs a talking point I suppose.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Republican Conservative Dichotomy

It has long been my joy to witness that pure dichotomy that is the Republican party and the Conservative movement. For those unfamiliar with the term, is refers to the splitting of a whole into two parts. In this case, I'm using it metaphorically in a mutually exclusive sense to refer to Republican Speech versus Republican actions. Two parts of the whole in which nothing can belong simultaneously to both parts. That is to say, their actions cannot match their words. In case you are wondering, this is not a good thing. Now, I'm sure this has not always been the case, but at least since Reagan, the Republicans and Conservatives have had a nasty problem combining the two parts of Conservative politics, what they say, and what they do. We should examine my claim critically, because it is revealing.

Fiscal Conservatism. This is one of my favorites because it has long been held that the Republican party and Conservatives in general are the ones that are fiscally conservative. But what is fiscal conservatism? Fiscal conservatism generally encompasses three major talking points. Lower government spending, decrease and eliminate deficit spending, and lower the national debt. Now, in keeping with that principle, we should see all three of these principles working over time in the last thirty years since we have had three republicans presidents and a republican majority for most of that time. They should have made changes that permanently decreased all three. So how did they do?

Not to well I'm afraid.

See, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush all ran budget deficits the entire time they were in office. All three are Republicans who ran on and got elected on Conservative principles and values, including fiscal conservatism. Bill Clinton was a democrat and he managed to work from a deficit to a surplus. And before you say it, no, he didn't take from Social Security or anything else. How did he do it? Well, its easy really. Fiscal Conservatism, outside of the political realm, means making sound financial decisions. In other words, the way to reduce your deficit is to take in more than you spend. What these three Republican conservative presidents didn't understand, and what many conservatives don't understand still, is that you cannot lower taxes without increasing the deficit without drastic spending cuts. And they never made drastic spending cuts. So what did they have to spend money on that was so important that they needed to sacrifice the deficit of this nation? They clearly didn't decrease government spending. And, if you look at the history of the national debt as a percentage of the GDP (and thats really what matters) we can see that it went down every year after the Great Depression until Ronald Reagan. It then went up every year until the changes enacted by Bill Clinton, and then it started going down. When George W. Bush took office, it started going up again.

So again we see that conservative Republicans are clearly NOT fiscally conservative in any sense of the word. They don't reduce spending, they have increased deficit spending more than democrats/liberals, and have increased the national debt more than democrats/liberals. So how is it that they can claim the title of the fiscally conservative party? It simply isn't true. They say one thing, but their actions are those of someone who spend more, illogically cuts taxes at the same time causing sky rocketing deficits, and politicians who increase the debt. So next time you vote, do yourself and everyone else justice and don't vote for a party that claims fiscal conservatism and responsibility when they clearly are not.

Capitalism. This one should be easy. Be all for free market and make only laws which protect that free market from becoming a corporatist fascist entity that runs the country. If you were a dyed in the wool capitalist, you would make laws and tax laws designed to better assist the small business owner and entrepreneur and NOT the big corporations. You would make laws and enforce laws that make sure that Corporations cannot run rough shod over small business and the American consumer by cornering markets and unethical business practices. So, how do they do?

Horribly I'm afraid. Never was this more evident when the Graham-Leach-Bliley act was passed in 2000. This act removed the restrictions that prevented investment banks and regular banks from intertwining. Why? Because if the stock market crashed, like during the great depression, the congress and the country didn't want it to be able to take down the entire financial system, like it did recently. Their foolishness nearly caused another great depression when the stock market crashed in 2008. Very little is more dangerous to capitalism than a full blown financial collapse. But this isn't the only one.

As any good, well informed, well read capitalist would know, monopoly is the enemy of capitalism. It is the enemy of competition! Adam Smith, author of "The Wealth of Nations" (founding principles of capitalism no less!) had this to say about monopolies. a great enemy to good management. The Wealth of Nations, Book 1 Chapter 11 Part 1

The monopolists, by keeping the market constantly under stocked, by never fully supplying the effectual demand, sell their commodities much above the natural price. The Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 6

So, what company does this remind us of? Well, lots of them. For starters, Wal-Mart. They buy products for pennies on the dollar overseas, under stock popular items then sell them for a thousand percent profit all the while still selling them less than everyone else based on where they buy them. They make so much money they can buy more at one time as well. It is market abuse and they are bad for market competition with their deliberate supply manipulation. But they aren't the only ones and they certainly aren't the Republicans or Conservatives fault. Even though they have been in power most of the last thirty years and could have done something about it, they cannot be directly blamed. But what about Health Care? Costs are out of control, and in most states, one company controls 80-90% of market in that state. This is a true monopoly. So why haven't they been taken to court and broken up? Well, its a long story that I will try to shorten. In 1945, the Supreme Court ruled that insurance was indeed commerce and could be regulated by the Federal Government. So the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 was passed give that power to the states, which almost never enforce monopoly laws due to the cost of such a battle. It effectively made the insurance companies regulation free unless there is a law written specifically towards them.

Well, it wasn't until recently that this became a problem. Health care insurance companies have become so big that they simply do what they want, including deny coverage after years of paid dues and coverage, or deny payment when its due, or announce that they will raise prices if certain laws are passed. So, being that this is anti-competitive you would think Republicans and Conservatives would be lining up to get this changed right? Well, no. They aren't. In fact, numerous times during the last 30 years, attempts to repeal this have been attempted by democrats, only to find that the Republicans majority simply ignores it and it never makes it out of committee. Or they filibuster its passage and the bill gets set aside. Even when there was a bi-partisan bill with Trent Lott and Patrick Leheay, it still couldn't pass the Republican majority congress. And now, currently, Patrick Leahey is again trying to get it repealed and what is the response? Silence. Nothing at all. And when asked about it, the only thing I ever hear is about not wanting to harm business. And that encompasses the total of their problem with capitalism. When all you care about is the Corporations, laws you make cannot make capitalism thrive. Capitalism requires a strong middle class and the reality that you can truly come from nothing to be rich. The Republicans and Conservatives are clearly not on the side of that little man trying to come up in the world. They constantly side with big Corporations. Even now, the SCOTUS rules in a fashion that the conservatives like, in the Citizens United case. It was a conservative "watch dog" group that was run by regular citizens but funded by massive corporations who put out the movie Hillary during a campaign season. Republicans have backed this group the entire way and still do. They are in essence backing the corporations ability to dump millions into campaigns. This is not capitalism, it is corporate fascism.

Family Values and small government. This one is a problem. Why? Because in supporting "family values" you are necessarily stating that you are the purveyor of all knowledge of what is a family value. This arrogance has led them to make some hideously poor choices and decisions. From blocking gay marriage (based on another conservative platform of religion) to violating their own views of small government by trying to stop a family member from pulling the plug on their own comatose wife! Republicans and conservatives have long held the ridiculous dichotomy of SAYING they want smaller government, while simultaneously advocating for government intervention into the every day morality of Americans. Gay marriage and abortion are two of the biggest, but not the only ones. Gays in the military, reducing the rights of children, these are things that clearly should not be on their agenda, but are. They want to tell you who can and can't get married. They want to tell you what medical procedure you can and can't have. They want to dictate who can die for this country based on sexuality. They want to make sure parents have maximum control over their children by shooting down child rights laws. They want all sex education to be abstinence only, with no disease education or real sex ed involved at all, and they fund it fully! All the while the conservatives and republicans of this movement are usually having affairs (like Newt Gingrich) or have gay sex with meth head, prostitutes in airports, and congressional pages (Teg Haggard and several senators). These are the keepers of family values? No!

American Exceptionalism. Well, this is less a dichotomy than a simple delusion. The idea that America is simply better than everyone else is just arrogant and ignorant. Any fool can look up the states and see we aren't even in the top ten in health care. We aren't the top ten in quality of life globally. And quality if life rankings for just the America's? Nope, not a single US city in the top five. In fact, for cities globally, the highest ranked US city in the world is Honolulu, at number 28. That’s pretty sad. We aren't the best country in the world. Our citizens aren't the happiest, the healthiest, live the highest quality, or enjoy their lives the most. The arrogance of conservatives and republicans has led to ignorance and a refusal to make changes to better American. It is, in fact, dragging us down every year they are in power, even for a moment!

I have simply picked a few key conservative republican platform generalities to show that what REAL conservative Americans vote for, is not happening in the republican party or the conservative movement. Now, I know the response to this already. Dems are the same way. Well, hold on there. Fiscal liberalism says you spend more encourage growth, then when growth occurs, you raise taxes to cover your deficit and recover the debt. Is that not what the democrat party has done and does? Isn't tax and spend what they are accused of? So yes, they do what they say financially. Dems have led the way and will finally lead the way to make insurance companies, and hopefully banks, accountable and keep them regulated. Good for capitalism, unlike what the conservatives do. Family values? Well, pushing for children’s rights, equal rights for all including gays, seems like a great value to have to me. And most do not feel that America is better than the world, but want to improve America via the entity that is best equipped to do that, the government.

So no, its not the same for dems. That dichotomy simply doesn't exist within the democrat party or liberal movement. It doesn't. Now, I'm willing to discuss anything, but if you come to the table with that weak argument, you better have some examples that back it up.

The simply truth is this. If you are really a fiscal conservative, you can't vote republican. In fact, you should be voting democrat. Why? Because democrats have lowered the debt and decreased and eliminated the deficit when republicans have only raised both. The democratic party is more fiscally conservative than the conservative party. If you want a party that consistently says one thing but its actions clearly do something different, all the while being told that this is conservatism, then vote for the republicans. Go ahead. We all know that what conservatives and republicans really want is to just keep believing they are right, despite the evidence.