Who IS this guy?!

'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.

Feel free to contact me at niceguy9418@usa.com. You can also friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, and Tumblr, and support my Patreon. Also, if you don't mind the stench, you can find my unofficial "fan club" over HERE. ;)

Brick-and-Happy-Gun logo (above) by Munky Wrench, of Bent Wrench Studios

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Friday, July 30, 2010

More on (moron) Political Schools of thought...

In my last post, in addition to lamenting the decaying state of political discourse (in-box politics, bumper-sticker politics and beagle politics), I also tried to make the case that the hard-Right Wing has co-opted the word “conservative” to mean what “right-wing radical” used to, and sufficiently demonized the word “liberal” to the point where most people would rather be set on fire than be labeled one.  In other words, they’ve pulled the whole not notion of Left, Center and Right… to the Right. WAY to the right. I’ve argued this before, but something came to me recently that got me thinking…

There are a couple bits of revisionist history that have become rather fashionable for the Right lately. (And let's face it: After the eight year cavalcade of failure that was the George W. Bush administration, some revisionist history is deperately needed by them!)  The first is that George W. Bush wasn’t really a Conservative at all! Apparently the fact that he had huge deficits and huge federal budgets somehow makes him a liberal. And somehow if he were only MORE like Ronald Regan everything would have worked out. The problem with that? Bush was decidedly MORE Conservative that Reagan in just about every way imaginable. Reagan cuts taxes, Bush cut them MORE. And Regan eventually raised some taxes (six times in eight years, in fact) while Bush never did. Reagan waged a Cold War, while Bush waged a decidedly hot war - two, in fact; which for the first six years of his administration accounts for the bulk of his increased spending. Forget detent: he went for Regime Change!  And while both had huge deficits, the only budget cutting Bush did was to the budgets of federal regulatory agencies. (That worked out really well, huh?) What's more, Reagan practically INVENTED the culture of deficit spending, but that's outside the scope of this post.  And finally while Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor - a famous swing-vote - to the Supreme Court, Bush replaced her with Samuel Alito, a hard-Right Wing Reactionary. So seriously folks, don’t make me laugh: Bush’43 was not only to the Right of Reagan and Bush’41, he was WELL to the Right of them.

And with that in mind, I have to ask:

How far to the Right does one need to be for George W. Bush to look like a Lefty?

I mean… where the hell do you put the center if George W. Bush is supposed to be a liberal?

But the other thing we hear a lot lately, especially with all this “Obama is a Nazi” bullshit going around, is that HITLER was really a Liberal, or a Leftist. Now… as absurd as it is call BUSH’43 a liberal, where the fuck can one get that idea about ADOLPH FUCKING HITLER?! OK… to be fair, there is SOME evidence for it, assuming that you look at it VERY simplistically; almost stupidly, really.

First – The Nazi’s were originally called the “National Socialist Party.” So there’s that word, “Socialist.” That means liberal, right? Well, no, not at all really. (Morons.) But even putting that aside, in the 1930’s, “Socialist” wasn’t quite the epithet that it is now. Back then, it was the kind of label (like, “Conservative” today) that could actually be adopted as a selling point. But in many cases, it really meant absolutely nothing at all. It was just marketing ploy. There was nothing “Socialist” about them. It’s no more meaningful than when Kim Jong Ill calls his country the “Democratic Republic of North Korea.” (Or how Communist East Germany was called the “Democratic Republic of Germany.”) There’s nothing Democratic about ‘em, and there was nothing Socialist about the Nazi’s. It’s a LABEL and nothing more.

Second – It’s been argued that you can’t really place Fascism on a Left-Right spectrum. And that’s sort of true, if you put Communism on the far Left and Capitalism on the Right, since Fascism actually rejects BOTH. Now… to the Righties in this country, with their binary mode of thinking, any rejection of Capitalism MUST therefore be an full embrace of Communism, thus Fascism = Communism. Now… 20 Million dead Russians, felled by Nazi Bullets in WWII might argue otherwise, but… there dead. So I’ll have to.

Here’s why that particular Right-Left analogy is flawed, putting aside the fact that Fascists generally HATE liberals, HATE minorities, HATE dissent, HATE Academia, Intellectualism, etc… While Communism can be viewed as both a Political System and an Economic System, CAPITALISM can not be. Capitalism is primarily ONLY an Economic System. And likewise, Fascism can also not be: It’s not an Economic System at all. It goes so far as to reject economics as the primary driver of human behavior – an idea that lies at the heart of both Communism and Capitalism. It’s purely a Political system. So when we’re talking about ECONOMIC systems, you can certainly put Communism / Socialism on the Left and Capitalism on the Right, while Fascism doesn’t really fit in ANYWHERE. (And “Capitalism” itself can vary in its own level of regulation as well, and yet still remain on the Right!) But, if we’re limiting ourselves to discussion Political Systems, Communism ends up on the far left, Liberal Democracy lies near the Center and Fascism represents the Right. The FAR Right, fine, but if you can accept that, I have to ask…

…How far to the Right do you need to be to look to your Left and see Adolph Hitler?

(I’m looking at YOU, Glenn Beck!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Political Schools of thought...

*sigh*

I got an email the other day from a conservative (who else) that made me (1) roll my eyes and (2) got me thinking about our modern political discourse.

WAKE UP   (ed.note: No good ever comes form an email that starts out this way!)

John Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock
(MADE IN JAPAN )
for 6 am. While his coffeepot
(MADE IN CHINA)
was perking, he shaved with his electric razor
(MADE IN HONG KONG)
He put on a dress shirt
(MADE IN SRI LANKA),
designer jeans
(MADE IN SINGAPORE)
and tennis shoes
(MADE IN KOREA)
After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet
(MADE IN INDIA)
he sat down with his calculator
(MADE IN MEXICO)
to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch
(MADE IN TAIWAN )
to the radio
(MADE IN INDIA )
he got in his car
(MADE IN GERMANY )
filled it with GAS
(from Saudi Arabia )
and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.

At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer
(made in MALAYSIA ),
John decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals
(MADE IN BRAZIL),
poured himself a glass of wine
(MADE IN FRANCE)
and turned on his TV
(MADE IN INDONESIA),
and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA

AND NOW HE'S HOPING HE CAN GET HELP FROM A PRESIDENT
(MADE IN KENYA.)

You gotta keep this one circulating!
Yeah… you DO have to keep this one circulating. Just take off the lame joke about Obama being “made in Kenya,” and add something instead reminding people which Political Party (the Republicans) and which political philosophy (Conservatives) it was that made “protectionism” to come to be perceived as such a bad thing. I’m not saying it’s a always a GOOD thing - merely that, as this email unintentionally points out - it’s not entirely BAD and the free trade policies advocated for by the Right are have hardly been entirely GOOD. The fact is that this could have been a LIBERLAL’S email, were it not for the stupid Kenyan joke tagged on at the end. Cut it off at “wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA,” and you've got a pretty great anti-Republican, anti-Conservative, anti-Free Trade email on your hands to send to all your friends in the TRADE UNIONS.

....If you subscribe to that kind of thing.

Personally I don’t think humorous emails are the best forum to discuss serious political issues, but I’m just a liberal so what do I know? Well… ONE thing I've come to realize is that a lot of the people who send these out have NO IDEA what ideology is really behind them, and that just as many of the exact same emails said “Bush,” just a few years ago and “Clinton” before that. (And if you ever receive one that says “George Carlin,” both the late Mister Carlin and myself can assure you that there is rarely more than about 10% or so of ACTUAL Carlin material in them!) So it’s mostly just revealing your ignorance for all to see (a more technologically advance form of Bumper-Sticker Politics) by just blaming whoever’s in office (Beagle Politics.)

I'll call it IN-BOX POLITICS.  Which combines the following two schools:

BUMPER STICKER POLITICS: Forget the 30-second sound bite.  What we've REALLY got to do is boil every issue simultaneously down to a message that (1) Fits on a 4" x 12" sticker, that (2) Can be easily read from 30 feet away, while (3) Driving though traffic at 55 mph.  Because, you know, that's a really effective way to have a political conversation!

And I don't use the word "conversation" lightly - because it's hardly a monologue!  Consider the "Darwin Fish" in answer to the "Jesus Fish." And then they came out with the "Truth" fish.  And then we came out with the Darwin Fish EATING the Truth Fish.  (And now they've done it the other way.)

Or, more simply: (1) My kid's an honor student. (2) My kid beat up your honor student.  And now... (3) My honor student sued your bully!

 - - AND - -

BEAGLE POLITICS: I won't claim this as my own, nor try to explain it as well as The Grey Path does, but this is basically blaming WHOMEVER IS IN OFFICE for all the world's problems.  These are the people who blamed Bush'41 for the '92 recession that got Clinton elected, and who blame Obama for the current economic mess... which started under Bush'43... who ALSO wasn't really responsible for it... (bet you didn't expect me to say THAT!)... because the biggest single cause was the repeal of the Glass-Steagal act, which happened under Clinton... who also is not to blame, because it was legislation written by Republicans and based on the failed Libertarian Philosophy that the Right is still pushing to this day!

See how stupid this is?  See how stupid ALL of this is?!

Now, really... the two serious schools of thought we hear the most about are Neo-Conservatism and Neo-Liberalism or Progressivism.  Now... I'm going to be honest here... I don't have the slightest idea what the difference between "Progressivism" and "Liberalism" is, or the difference between "Neo-Liberalism" and "Classic Liberalism" or "Neo-" and "Classic Conservatism," for that matter.  I don't know... AND I DON'T CARE! (So don't bother trying to spell it out for me.)
 
Since I don't let an ideology do my thinking for me, I don't really care what positions fall under which label.  I really, just DON'T CARE.  I'm not trying to Liberal here, I'm just trying to be RIGHT.  (As in "correct," not "wing.")  And the way I see our modern discourse going, there are really only two groups that matter:
 
One is very strictly and narrowly defined, and I've written about them here, here, here and here.  And to be in this crowd, you must accept EVERY bit of Dogma, even the ones that contradict other ones; you must swallow every lie, accepting every bit of obviously questionable evidence, and utterly reject ANY evidence or argument to the contrary of ANY point.  What's more you must accuse your opponents of committing all of the sins that you do, and you must HATE them, because they are "out to destroy this country."  You must believe in your own perfection and the perfection of your positions and that you have a mandate from God that justifies this belief.  At worst, the weakest in this camp merely keep quiet, fail to criticise the big-talkers, and silently tell themselves that it will all, somehow be OK, since at least the OTHER GUY'S not winning.
 
Then there are the people who simply can't abide this kind of insanity.  And almost regardless of what positions they actually hold, the people in the first camp call them "Liberals" and demonize them.
 
So, from my POV, there are really only two school's of thought: Radical, Right-Wing Reactionary Authoritarianism...
 
...and those who reject it.
 
They have robbed the words "conservative" and "liberal" of any real meaning.  Not that I care... I don't really buy into labels...
 
...which apparently makes me a Liberal.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Belief" in FREEDOM as opposed to RELIGION

This post is meant as a kind of an in-depth answer to some of the questions poster Duta raised in her comments to my last post. One of the great things about having a regular poster [like Duta] who thinks about things completely differently from you and who comes from a totally different school of thought, is that they will inevitably frame things in a way, or pose a question that, from your point of view, comes from so far out in Left Field that you hadn't ever remotely considered it.  In my experience conservatives don't really appreciate those kinds of points (or people) so I feel like I owe it to both myself and her to try and address these points in greater detail.

The first question, and the easier of the two, was:

What about the muslims in Europe and other places of the western world, making a minimal effort to respect and to adapt themselves to the norms existing in the hosting countries?

It's a pretty common talking point in the United States as well, and it applies not only to Muslims, but spills over into the broader immigration issue as well.  (Applied to Mexican migrant who don't speak english, for example.)  The word most commonly used in the American Right Wing talking point is "assimilation."  IOW: "Why should we accomodate people who aren't making an effort to assimilate?"

In the first place, personally, I don’t see any INHERENT good in assimilation. Don’t get me wrong, when I go to a foreign country, I try to learn some of the language, eat the local food, participate in the customs, etc… I mean, yeah, that’s the whole POINT. But I DO NOT believe that anyone should have to forego something as important to them as their religious practice, or for that matter be forced to participate in another’s religious practice (a sin in most religions) because of it. If you were to visit Iran, for exmple, just I as I feel it would be bullshit for you to be REQUIRED to wear the head covering (etc...) and participate in their prayers and rituals, I think it is equally bullshit to expect them to leave all that behind when they leave their country. Even though most DO... usually as soon as the airplane is outside of their country's airspace and the laws no longer apply. But if they don’t wish to? They shouldn’t HAVE to. That's just how I feel about it. “Assimilation” is just another word for “conformity.” And I’ve never seen any inherent good in conformity. Learn the language. Fine. Try the food. (Unless it is specifically taboo.) But ALWAYS be true to yourself.

And the other side of this is that "American" culture formed by assimilatring aspects of cultures from all over the world.  Primarily Europe, yes, as we are a majority of European descent.  But there is no longer any denying the influence of Asian, African, Latin American and increasingly Middle Eastern cultures as more immigrants for those regions come here.  Is that GOOD? Is that BAD? It's neither, really. Or rather it depends on your point of view.  The fact is that NO immigrant group completely left their culture behind when they came here.  At one point in this country's history, violence between the Irish and the Italians was far worse that any anti-muslim or muslim instigated violence is today.  (Putting aside 9/11, I'm talking day-to-day here.)  My point is that America will absorb some of any new culture.  And in doing so it will only grow stronger. 

What stops something like radical islam from comign in ataking over? Simple: FREEDOM.  Our Constitution.  OUR culture of TOLERANCE.  And the guarenteed Freedom of Religion that comes from the seperation of the church and the state.  In time any group will "assimilate" here, because that which is different becomes part of what "America" means.  That happens becuase America is an entire country of immigrants.  Ironically it is the native American culture that arguably has the least infuence of American culture.  In European countries it is harder to adapt like this, because the idigineous population is homogenius and has a more singularly established culture.  Likewise, those elements in America who fear change, and fear anything that's different, and fear anything they don't immediately understand also have a hard time accepting this.  But the greatest law of nature is that a species that can't adapt will die off.  The world around us is constantly changing, and no amount of conservatism will ever change that.  America thus has an advantage that Europe doesn't have: Since nothing "American" (other than Jazz and Rock & Roll) doesn't come from somewhere else, adaptation is what we do best.  So we'll take the best easpect of middle eastern culutre, and the worst aspects of it will, as in many other cases, be addressed and will eventually die off.  Their "assimilation" will involved both their own felxibility as well as ours.  And, just as in many other cases, it can take a few generations to accomplish this.  But it can happen.  My parent's marriage (Irish to an Italian) would have been unheard of in their parent's youth.  The growth in inter-racial marriage that we're seeing now was unheard off in their day, and actually still ILLEGAL in many states.  In another generation or two?  You won't see the muslims as all that different.  Well... YOU will... but your kids or grandkids won't.  That's just how it goes. 

*phew* I spent a lot longer on that than I'd intended! Sorry, about that!

The other point you made, the one I thougt was more prfound, though which I might end up haveing less to say about was:

You claim you're not religious and yet you seem very reigious about certain words such as Freedom.
Interesting.  So, I'm forced to ask myself if I have a “religious” belief in freedom. It’s an interesting use of the word, "belief.". The problem is that “belief” can have tow different meanings, both of which can be applied to both religion and freedom.  But I tend to mean one with Religion and the other with Freedom.

When I say that I DON’T “believe in Religion” this means two things. First of all there is the value judgment: I don’t believe in the inherent goodness of religion. Second, there is an existential question. To me, “Being religious” means that you believe that by participating in certain rituals (mass, prayer, fasting, worship, drum circles, etc…) you bring about a change that you can’t percieve or meausre, in an object (your soul) that you can’t percieve, measuire or  even prove exists, brought about by the will of a being… that you can’t percieve, measure, adequately define, or prove exists. Well… as I don’t believe in God or Souls (or Heaven and Hell,) as you’d likely define them, in the existential sense. So I REALLY don’t believe that I’m invoking any magical change in the universe by participating in these rituals. If YOU DO? And YOU get something that you feel is tangible out of it? Fine, go right ahead. Not only will I not try to stop you, I’ll fight for your right to do so. Because…


I believe in FREEDOM.

Now, the funny thing is, I don’t believe in freedom in the existential sense either! Actually, I’m positive that the kind of freedom I talk about, as I define it, doesn’t exist ANYWHERE. So when I say that I “believe” in it (religiously, as you put) it is only form the pointof view of a value judgment. I DO believe in the inherent goodness of the freedom of all mankind. I believe, as I’ve defined in the doctrine of choice, that pretty much all moral issues can be resolved almost trivially by respecting individual freedom (choice.) If religion make you happy? Practice it. If you, as I do, believe that THIS LIFE is all you get? Better enjoy it. Better make the most of it. Better do whatever you can to pursue the most happiness you possibly can! And there is only one limitation that I think should ever be put on that: Your happiness is not more important than anyone else’s. So you cannot pursue your happiness at the expense of another’s. As I said before: If religion make you happy? Practice it. But respect the fact that not everyone feels as you do. And if not everyone feels as I do? Fine. You don’t HAVE to be free. You can voluntarily give up as much of your own freedom as you wish. (Like I said: Practice Religion, for example.) But I will stop short of allowing anyone to compel other to do the same. To me the inherent goodness of this is self evident. And I haven’t really be challenged in a way that has ever shaken my belief in this. 

My faith in the Bible, OTOH, was shaken when I was FIVE YEARS OLD. That’s how long it took. Two weeks in Sunday school when the Nun couldn’t reconcile the existence of Dinosaurs with the “true” story of Genesis in a manner that was satisfactory to a five-year-old. From that point on I pretty much knew it was almost all bullshit. And the more I learned about OTHER religions as I matured? The more I learned that every claim to fame of Christianity (virgin birth, resurrection of the dead, divined incarnates, miracle, eternal life, etc…) had been made just about every OTHER religion on earth – IOW every Religion I had either already rejected or was being encouraged by Christianity to reject? I realized that there was not reason NOT to reject the claims of Christianity (or ANY religion) as well.

And what's more, there is nothing of inherent value in any religion that isn’t already part of the secular humanist philosophy or my own doctrine of choice. You don't need religion to tell you that we shouldn’t killing each other, or lying to each other, or stealing from each other or having wars. And considering how many wars have been fought and killing has been done BECAUSE OF religion… I am forced to see it as no more than unnecessary at it’s best, and a destructive force at it’s most common.

But the more I learn about freedom, the more I THINK about freedom, and the more times I’ve seen that philosophical doctrine WORK when it comes to resolving societal problems… the more I come to believe it.  Because it has failed me in only ONE instance: abortion. That’s the only issue it can’t resolve, and then only because it hinges upon when we consider life beginning, when the rights of one entity finally overide the rigths of another.  Outside of that one issue, I've seen no issues that this doesn't satisfactorally resolve.

At least... In my humble opinion.

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And BTW... "Freedom" is NOT "the jungle." Freedom, "as [I] see it" is NOT found in the jungle.  Not at ALL.  In "the jungle" might makes right.  "The jungle" only the strongest have their rights protected, and the weak get exploited.  What I advocate for is practically the opposite of the jungle: It is a society that guarentess the protection of the rights and liberty of ALL it's citizens, limiting them only enough to prevent demonstrable harm (the taking of a choice) from another.  Protecting an unpopular minority is as far from the jungle as you can get.  So you're just flat out WRONG there, though the failure may have been a lack of clarity lately on my part,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Freedom of Religion

In the past, I’ve certainly made no secret about my feelings towards religion. In fact, I’ll admit that I'v not been shy about treating it with open hostility. But through it all, I have claimed to hold Religious Freedom as a matter of principle: That while freedom OF religion REQUIRES freedom FROM religion, it is still, “FREEDOM OF RELIGION.” And the time has come for me to defend this principle, and to defend what might be my least favorite religion of all, ISLAM, from a violation of this principle.

I want to issue, without equivocation, a strong condemnation of the new laws in France and Turkey banning the public wearing of Headscarves by Islamic women, and the new law in Syria banning of the wearing of the full veil by female Islamic teachers in the classroom. These laws are clear violations of these individuals' basic human right to free religious expression and represent what I believe to be an abhorrent violation of human rights.

Wow – where did THAT come from? I mean… The whole idea of the veil? I find beyond absurd. It’s a symbol of the oppression of women in particular, and of people in general by the Religion which, more egregiously than any other in the world, seeks to dominate all forms of government and public life, and which invariably seeks to outlaw all other forms of religious expression. Islam is, IMHO, the worst religion for this reason: It carries by far the most restrictive superstitious taboos, has by far the least tolerance for dissent and violation, and if left unchecked, aggressively integrates itself and it’s tenets into the State and into the Public Laws. And once it does this, it commits grave violations of human rights and despicable acts of human suppression. And to the extent that any country in the middle east (or anywhere else) DOES NOT do this, it is directly proportional to how SECULAR their government remains. IOW – it’s like I said before: How crazy you are is X times the amount of how religious you are.

So how can I so strongly condemn Islam and yet defend the veils, headscarves and burkhas? Simple: It all comes down to freedom.

I have said before that I can respect anyone’s religious beliefs provided that they are kept:

1) Out of the classroom
2) Out of our laws, and
3) Out of my face

An Islam – at least within Islamic states – aggressively violates all three. So if we’re talking about a case where someone is FORCED to wear a scarf, veil or burqua? Or for that matter, FORCED to pray, FORCED to fast, FORCED to tithe, etc… Then yes: I condemn that. But it is not the place of ANY government to tell someone who BELIEVES in that level of modesty (for example) and CHOOSES to wear the Scarf, Veil or Burqua that they CANNOT.

Just as government should not be able force any religious prohibition upon me, nor should any government prohibit me from accepting a religious prohibition voluntarily should I choose so. (Hey, this applies anywhere: I fully support the rights of nudists and naturists everywhere as well. But that doesn’t mean I’d support outlawing clothes!) No human being should be told that they MUST or CAN NOT participates in a religious ceremony, practice, tradition, custom or taboo.

The Separation of Church and State must be ABSOLUTE, for the protection of BOTH ENTITIES.

I don’t see how it can be any clearer.

------------------------------------------

BTW – I’d like to point out that this reasoning is very consistent with other positions that I hold with equal vigor:

1) I abhor abortion, but would protect most abortion rights.

2) I despise guns, but oppose most gun control measures.

3) And (in this case) while I despise what the Veil represents, and condemn its forced usage, I cannot abide the idea that it would be TAKEN AWAY from someone who believes in it, and choose to wear it for themselves.

And these are not contradictory, because for me, it comes down to CHOICE: I may not agree with the choices you make but I fight, kill and die for your right to make them. (And I will also fight, kill and die to prevent you from taking them away from someone else!)

-----------------------------------

One last thing…

It should be noted that the ALCU, that “secular enemy of organized religion everywhere” (according to the Christian Funny-Mentalists in THIS country) agrees with me.  And I applaud them  for their efforts in each and every one of those cases!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lies du Jour, Part Two

(If you haven’t read part one yet, please do so. I don’t feel like repeating the context.)


So now that we, hopefully, have some perspective on the idea that tax cuts will (or even CAN) pay for themselves, let’s take a look at the two statements. Did Obama create the deficit? Or, less absurdly, how much of this did he REALLY inherit from Bush? Here’s a graphic that breaks down some of the larger components of the deficit:


Two Wars? Bush. Bush Tax cuts? Bush. Economic Down turn? Started in August 2007 and ended in April, 2009 so… 18 months under Bush, 2 months under Obama. Yeah, I’d say that’s Bush. (Even putting aside that it was the result of bank de-regulation, which is part of the Republican agenda anyway!) TARP? Bush.  Stimulus? Fine: 50/50. Both had their stimulus packages and both cleared the $700 Billion mark. So this deficit is four-and-a-half parts Bush, and just one-half-part Obama.


Now… I make no (negative) value judgments on any of these things. I supported the Auto-Bailouts (not shown, but perhaps deficit neutral, on paper anyway, since the gov't got an asset for thier money) wholeheartedly, for example.  Thank you, President Bush! (Disclosure: I work in the auto industry) and eventually came to recognize TARP as a necessary evil. I didn’t LIKE it, but I can’t condemn it. It was needed. BUT… it was still BUSH, and it still contributed to the deficit. In fact, it's remarkable how small the deficit would actually be if it weren’t for the Republicans, so it’s kind of absurd that they’ve made it their #1 issue!

Now… has Obama raised taxes? Again: NO. No. No. No! In fact he’s lowered them once already, and will actually lower them again next year! Wait a sec… then… what’s all this noise on Fox about how taxes are going up next year? Well… they are. But… you just said…? Hang on a sec. Let’s get in the “way-back” machine and take a good hard look at those “Bush Tax Cuts.”

These were passed in 2003, when the Republicans controlled both houses of congress and had Bush in the White House. They were officially called the “Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.” And one of the key, but frequently ignored, provisions in the legislation was they were scheduled to expire on Jan 1, 2011 unless some ADDITIONAL action was taken. Expire. On 1/1/11. ALL of them. That’s the existing law, as written by Republicans, and signed by George W. Bush: Effecive 2011, the tax rates will return to their previous, Bill Clinton-era levels. It’s perhaps worth noting that Barack Obama would not even be elected to the Senate until 2004, his term starting in 2005. So this law passed two years before Obama entered the Senate as anything but a tourist. He could not possibly have had anything to do with it!

So when your taxes “go up” (or ‘return to their previous levels’) it is because of legislative action taken by REPUBLICANS and GEORGE W. BUSH.  Be sure to remember that and tank them approprioately.

So what has Obama done? Well, in early 2009, as part of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009,” Obama lowered payroll taxes for everyone making less that $250,000 a year. That’s 98% of American according to the latest available census data! And last time I checked, 51% was a majority. (A MANDATE, if you’re a Republican candidate apparently.) So right off the bat, Obama lowered taxes. My take-home pay went up IMMEDIATELY by $68 per month, for example. Pretty much everyone’s did. Well… 98% of America anyway. But most people either have no idea, or have forgotten. Maybe because Fox News keeps hammering home the misinformation of Obama being a tax-raiser. Convenient, in an election year, but unfortunately not true at all. (Fair and Balanced folks!)  If you don't believe me, just look at your paycheck the first couple months of 2009.  You'll SEE the increase.  It's THERE.  Pretty much EVERYONE got it!

So what about next year? What about 2011? Well, remember that if Obama did nothing at all, took no action, the BUSH legislation effectively would raise (restore) tax rates back to their previous levels.  Becuase they were set to expire unless other legislative action was taken.  And guess what?  President Obama is TAKING THAT ADDITIONAL LEGISLATIVE ACTION!!!  In the budget he's proposing, those "Bush Tax Cuts" would remain in place for the first $250,000 of income.  And... if you understand how a progressive taxation works, you'll realize that this means that EVERYONE will be paying a lower effective than the otherwise would have been if Obama did nothing at all! (Yes, even those people who make more than that.  They'll still get the break on the first $250K)

I'm sure this sounds convoluted to the avewrage conservtive, but it's absolute FACT and absolute TRUTH.  Obama is a TAX CUTTER.  And you just can't escape that.

One concession I'll make...

If the budget goes through like he's proposing, in future discussion about the deficit, I will galdly refer to them as the "OBAMA TAX CUTS" instead of the "Bush Tax Cuts."  That's only fair.  If he's going to get hammered over the deficit, he's should at least get his due credit for cutting taxes.

A Joke I'll Surely go to Hell for...

(Assuming I'm wrong about God.)

I just read that Glen Beck is going blind.  So... Beck's BLIND, and Limbaugh's DEAF.

So we've got "See no evil" and "Hear no evil."  But when I tried to figure out who "Speak no evil" would be...

Well...

...Of course THAT would have to be a LIBERAL!

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Yes, I'm a shit for thinking that, but here was a very like-minded commenter (Cimarronrose) from that same column:

Limbaugh is deaf, Palin is dumb, and now Beck is going blind...karma is like God... you either believe in it or you don't...in this case I'm a true believer.
Well... I'm still not.  But I appreciate your POV none the less.

Lies du Jour, Part One

There are two particularly annoying meme’s being pushed right now by the Right about Obama and the Democrats:
  1. That Obama created the deficit
  2. That Obama raised taxes.
  3. There are both true and both bad and thus both are reasons to vote Republican.
First things last: neither is true. And we'll get to that in part two.

But let me put that aside for the moment, and first point out the absurdity of the idea that the deficit can be your #1 issue when you’re calling for TAX CUTS! Now… am I saying tax cuts are BAD? No. Not at all. They stimulate the economy. That’s right. You read that right. They DO. In fact the idea that cutting taxes can stimulate the economy if every bit as much part of the Keynsian economic model as the fact that increasing spending stimulates the economy is. And both work the same way: The multiplier. If you cut taxes, or increase spending you increase the income of America by [some multiplier, greater than 1] times the amount of the change. And like wise raising taxes and cutting spending will have the same negative effect: the income of America will change by [some negative multipler, greater than -1] times the amount fo the change. Conservatives are more than happy to accept the tax half of the Keynsian model, but for some reason they can never seem to swallow the spending side of it. And the real kicker is that the multiplier ofr spending are GREATER than the multipliers for taxes. The end results is that a balanced budget always has a multiplier of “1.” If you raise taxes AND raise spending by [X] collective income will INCREASE by [X]. If you cut taxes AND cut spending by [X] collective income will DECREASE by [X]. They never buy it, but if you take an economics course, regardless of the ideology of the professor, you will learn this. It’s a FACT.


BUT… that’s all about the effect on the ECONOMY. If you’re concerned about the ECONOMY? Fine, cut taxes. (Or increase spending, whatever.) But you can’t be expected to be taken seriously if you’re talking about cutting taxes to decrease the DEFICIT. (Well, OK, yeah you CAN, only because there are a lot of real idiots in this country. In any case you SHOULDN’T BE taken seriously by ANYONE.) Because that’s like saying, “My credit card debt is getting too high, so I better quit my job.” The deficit is SPENDING minus TAXES. So… if you lower taxes, you can ONLY increase the deficit!

Duh!

Now… some will argue that the multiplier effect I mentioned earlier can fix this. That if we cut taxes (for example) the resulting growth will result in more tax revenue. (Or at least as much as we had before.) That’s the idea behind the now widely discredited Laffer Curve. Personally I think Laffer had a legitimate point, but he his partisanship caused him err when trying to figure out where exactly on the curve we were, as well as what the exact shape (slope) of the curve is, and where the center of it is. In any case, let me demonstrate why tax cuts (or spending icreases, for that matter) will never “pay for themselves,” why they will ALWAYS contribute to the deficit, unless offset by spending cuts (or tax increases):

  
Let say you’ve got a company with $100 in taxable income (profit) and we’re taxing them at 30%. (That a bit higher than most US corporations pay, but it makes the math easier.) SO you get $30 in tax revenue from them.  How much growth would they need to see for a 5% reduction in taxation to “pay for itself.” (Meaning: for it to be deficit neutral.) Well… to get that same $30 at just a 25% rate of taxation, they’d need to make $120 in pre-tax profit. IOW: they’d have to see 20% growth! Note: Few companies EVER see 20% growth, and a 5% tax cut on it's opwn just ain’t going to do it! How do I know this? First of all, most companies require a Return on Investment of just 10%, 15%, 20%... something on that order. To turn that $5 of tax savings into $20 of income would require a 300% return! And if a company had a way to get a 300% return on their money? They’d do it. Period. Right now. They’d find a way to beg, borrow or steal that $5 they needed. But guess what? There are not a whole lot of projects out there with a 300% ROI. None really. At 20%, that company would made $101 in taxable income from that $5 investment and pay $25.25 in taxes. IWO – we added $4.75 to the deficit by doing this.

Even IF one considered the multiplier effect, the results are still nowhere near where they need to be. To turn a $5 tax cut into $20 of taxable income requires a multiplier of FOUR. And no legitimate economist goes throwing numbers like THAT around lightly. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that your going WAAAY out on a limb to assume it.  Here, for example, is a graph by Mark Zandi of Moody’s showing the benefit of each dollar spent on various parts of the stimulus package in 2008:

(And yes, I know that looks like crap bleeding over like that, but it look worse shrunk down. So just deal.)

Now, granted one could claim this is “just some liberal rubbish,” but do you notice how the highest multiplier is still under TWO? (~1.7) Even for the “liberal” stuff that he'd be trying to sell?! Nothing ANYWHERE NEAR the four that we'd need.

Now, that 300% return (multipler of 4) only applies to a 5% cut from a 30% base tax rate. Here’s a chart I worked up, showing how much growth you’d need (and the required multiplier) for a given tax cut to pay for itself. Feel free to go in there and monkey with the numbers if you want. The point still stands.  You can see that unless you’re talking about very small tax decreases, from very large rates, you’re talking about growth rates that are only ever talked about in classroom examples. They have no place in business projections (indeed any business would go broke VERY FAST if it relied on this kind of growth assumption) and should have no place in policy discussions.

"Part Two" will show why, in addition to being assinine when taken together, both a flat out FALSE individually as well.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A few changes...

Liberals like change right? LOL

JK.  Just one new addition really: A portal to my Amazon store is now at the bottom of the page.

I figured if I'm going to use ads, they might as well be for something I believe in.  (As opposed to all those Palin, Coulter, Ginrich, Stein, Obama's a Socialist / Defeat the Democrats ads that keep popping up.)

So next time you're buying books, DVD's, etc... help a brother out, K?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also, I noticed a while back that Armchair Subversive (my Walter Johnson Gold Star Hall of Famer) is no longer active.  That's a bummer. All those links to documented Republican pedophilia... gone.  Oh well.  These things happen.  If I can find a decent cached version of the page, I'll probably still link to that.  Otherwise, I'll need a new nominee.  Just like Walter Johnson though, Armchair Subversive will be pretty hard to replace!

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I want to thank everyone who responded to eitehr of the two "Things you have to belive..." threads.  Those were fun to do, and it's always funny to see what comes into your in box from your more partisan friends.  One "parting shot" I wanted to lob before finally putting that subject to rest...

This is a screen-cap of Google 's auto-fill when I was looking for the source material:

Notice how the "Democrat" version doesn't show?  Just the "Republican" one? Losers. LOL.

Or maybe Google, like facts, reality, logic, reason and truth is just LIBERALLY BIASED!

(the horror!)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things you have to believe to be a Democrat?

In response to the semi-famous "Things you have to believe to be a Republican" email that was circulating there were many attemnpts to respond with a "Democrat" version.  None of them really approached the meme status the way the Republican one did, but I'd like to respond to one of them anyway.  I make no claims that the following one is in any way the most popular or any kind of “official” list. It’s just the first one that came up in Google with the search tag, “things you have to believe to be a Democrat.”

(In case the Google order eventually changes, this is from:: http://www.treachery.net/~jdyson/liberal_beliefs.html)

1. Drug addiction is a disease that should be treated with compassion and understanding...unless the addict is a Conservative talk show host.

LOL – I’m sorry… Most liberals would be perfectly willing to acknowledge that Rush Limbaugh is most definitely diseased. Funny oh this tries to spin around one form the Republican list… and yet utterly fails!

2. The United States should be subservient to the United Nations. Our highest authority is not God and the U.S. Constitution, but a collective of tinpot dictators (and their appeasers) and the U.N. charter.

This one’s kind of bizarre. “Subservient to the UN.” Seems a bit exaggerated, seeing as how the UN would pretty much collapse without US support. I guess they think that endless war all the world over is preferable to having some forum to attempt diplomacy.

3. Government should relax drug laws regardless of the potential for abuse, but should pass new and unConstitutional anti-gun laws because of the potential for abuse.

Yeah, but… I can’t kill anyone else with a little marijuana. What’s more… What “new gun laws” have the Democrats proposed since the took control of congress in 2007? [*crickets*]

4. Calls for increased security after a terrorist attack are “political opportunism,” but calls for more gun control after a criminal’s spree killing is “a logical solution.”

When that “increased security” involves unconstitutional, unamerican measures like warrantless wiretapping and suspension of habeus corpus? Damned strait. When the “criminal” (I’m guessing he’s referring to Seung Hui Cho) who went on a killing spree was a former mental patient who should not have been able to buy his gun under existing laws and those “calls for more gun control” are basically just the shoring up of the current system? Again: Damned strait. (And as a graduate of Virginia Tech, I’d gladly kick anyone’s ass who tries to use Seung Hui Cho to make a bullshit political point like this one.)

5. “It Takes a Village” means everything you want it to mean...except creeping socialist government involvement in the nuclear family.

Huh? I’m not entirely sure what ANY of that means! It almost sounds more like something a conservative would believe, but even then it’s not a particularly clever parody.

6. Disarming innocent, law-abiding citizens helps protect them from evil, lawless terrorists and other thugs.

Well, I got nothing here, except what I said under (3): WHAT “new gun laws” have the Democrats proposed since they took control of congress in 2007? (*crickets*)

7. Slowly killing an unborn innocent by tearing it apart limb from limb is good. Slowly killing an innocent disabled woman by starving her to death is good. Quickly killing terrorists, convicted murderers and rapists is BAD.

Oh, you like to kill them quickly all right. Quick enough to avoid having to prove they’re actually terrorists, and quick enough that there’s no change to even consider otherwise. Forcing children on rape victims and people who don’t want them and can’t afford them IS good I guess, huh? Keeping someone alive who WISHED TO DIE is also good I guess. And where’re all those ‘limited government’ principles when it comes to recognizing a husbands right to make medical decisions for his wife? Of respecting a patients own wished?

BTW: As I’ve posted before, I’m AGAINST abortion. Like many liberals I talk to (surprise, surprise) I believe it to be an immoral act. So therefore: I WOULDN’T HAVE ONE. What I won’t do is labor under the delusion that what I THINK is wrong needs to be TAKEN AWAY from everybody else… like Conservatives do.

8. Every religion should be respected and promoted in public schools the name of diversity, so long as that religion isn’t Christianity.

Um…NO! WTF?! NO RELIGION should be “promoted in public schools!” PERIOD! Despite what you lot think, Freedom OF Religion REQUIRES Freedom FROM Religion!

9. The best way to support our troops is to criticize their every move. This will let them know they’re thought of often.

Since when is George W. Bush, “the troops?” OK, I know, I know… I guess they think the best way to win the hearts and minds of a foreign country is to bomb the shit out of their cities and kill as many civilians as possible that we don’t round up at random and torture until the sign confessions justifying their groundless incarceration.

10. Sexual harassment, groping and drug use are degenerate if you’re the governor of California, but it’s okay if you’re the President of the United States.

(Tongue in cheek) Clinton also did all that stuff when he was GOVERNOR. His only marital transgression while PRESIDENT was a consensual affair.

And this one’s almost too easy to turn around. How about: Sexual harassment, groping and drug use are degenerate in a public servant who’s a Democrat, but it’s okay if they’re a Republican. LOL.

11. Sex education should be required so that teens can make informed choices about sex, but gun education should be banned because it will turn those same teens into maniacal mass-murderers.

Um, no… hang on a second… Gun education is something that we liberals would WANT TO REQUIRE any potential gun-owner to get! It’s one of those law thingies you were calling unconstitutional just a few posts ago.

12. Minorities are blameless for the hatred of the racist; women are blameless for the hatred of the rapist; but America is entirely at fault for the hatred of Islamofascists.

Wow. This is pretty telling isn’t it? Think about this. Seriously, this is sick. What they’re saying is that Racism is justified (because I guess all those stereotypes are TRUE, huh? Who knew?) and Rape CAN, IN FACT sometime be the WOMAN’S FAULT. But the U.S. is entirely blameless, no matter what we do. We can debate the last point, but in pairing with the first two, they suggest that those would be equally debatable statements. That’s just…. sick.

13. Poverty is the cause of all terrorism...which is why the leaders of al Qaeda are typically U.S.-educated and were raised in wealth and luxury.

Again, I’m not even sure where this is coming from. As a liberal I’d be wiling to bet that poverty in the US is the cause of much of our street level CRIME. And I’d also argue that street-crime does far less damage to our society than white collar crime – Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Bertie Ebbers, Bernie Madoff. But if poverty has any connection to TERRORISM, it obviously poverty in AFRICA and the MIDDLE EAST. And it only makes people easy for these Wealthy, U.S.-educated types to RECRUIT. You think BIN LADEN is going to be a suicide bomber? Yeah right! That’s an entry level job. In that way, A-Q operates pretty much like the Republican party does: Using religion to get poor people to support an agenda that’s against their interests.

14. The Patriot Act is a horrific compromise of Constitutional rights, but anti-Second Amendment laws and Franklin Roosevelt’s Presidential Order 9066 must be regarded “reasonable precautions.”

First of all… WHAT “anti-Second Amendment laws?” (And what’s with the gun fetish of the psychopath that wrote this, huh?! About 1 in 5 of these are about GUNS!) Secondly… Most liberals would gladly condemn Order 1066 as one of the blackest periods in our nation’s history. It’s rather telling, however, how eager you “loving Chiristians” seem to be to do the same to every Muslim and Mexican! Also… putting aside that 1066 was definitely NOT justified, it was in response to WWII – the single largest and deadliest armed conflict in the history of mankind. Not a SINGLE terrorist attack, perpetrated by a handful of guys living in caves.

15. We should unquestioningly honor the wishes of our age-old allies, even when said allies no longer act like our allies and have vested economic interests in propping up our enemies.

Kind of like how you lot support free-trade agreements with China? You know: Send all of the manufacturing jobs to a Communist country just so you can break our “Socialist” unions.

16. Socialized medicine is the ideal. Nevermind all those people who spend every dime they have to get to the United States so they can get quality medical care...that their nation’s socialized health care can’t provide.

LOL. And I suppose free-market medical care is the best? Never mind the 40+ million American who are denied health coverage due to “preexisting conditions” or can’t afford it unless their employer picks up 75-80% of the tab. (And that anyone else can be dropped at any time!) And never mind that many chronic, deadly diseases have no available medicines (not to mention the shortage of snakebite anti-venom, and a dearth of new anti-biotics!) because it’s more profitable to put yet another erectile dysfunction drug on the market.

17. Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and Natalie Maines are perfectly qualified to criticize our leadership, but Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charlton Heston, and Dennis Miller are just ignorant political hacks.

Yeah, that’s pretty much the size of it. Again: We all have freedom of speech, some of us just have more intelligent things to say.

18. John Lott’s research on how gun ownership reduces crime is junk science, but Michael Bellesiles is still an authority on why gun control is good (even though he was forced to resign from Emory due to research misconduct over his book “Arming America”).

I have no idea who either of those men are, and I have never brought up, or heard them brought up in any discussion I’ve ever been in about gun control. Personally? I don’t support restrictive gun laws, and (as I’ve mentioned several times now) there have been no proposals put forward by the Democrats to create any.

19. Bush’s toppling the Saddam regime was a “diversion,” but Clinton’s lobbing a couple of cruise missiles at Iraq in the thick of the Lewinsky sex scandal was “sending a message.”

Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with this? I’m pretty much fine with this one! LOL. (Also: Which is the bigger story: A reputed philandered having an affair, or a purported great anti-terrorism fight being unable to find the ONE GUY that he said was responsible for 9/11?) (Well… at least he said that until he couldn’t find him. Then it was magically all SADDAM’S fault.)

20. A president who lies under oath is okay, but a president who references sixteen words from an allies’ intelligence report should be dragged through the streets naked.

So… Lying about an extramarital affair, which was an immaterial question, in a civil trial involving ONE PERSON is an impeachable offense, but cherry-picking, omitting and lying about your evidence to start a war that kills thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of enemies and civilians alike and which could accomplish NOTHING in the war on terror, is OK? Glad we could clear that up.

21. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning Second Amendment rights and shopping the courts for judges sympathetic to causes that wouldn’t pass in any legislature.

Again – What’s with the gun fetish? Haven't we adequately covered this issue  yet? And what the hell is this guy talking about – there are no anti-gun laws being proposed! As for the rest? Why is that any different from a judge overturning some “anti-2nd amendment law” that had majority support? Also: “Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution” is a CONSERVATIVE talking point. And it not really one you lot really believe in either!

22. “The People” in the First Amendment means The People; “the People” in the Fourth Amendment means The People; “the People” in the Ninth Amendment means The People; “the People” in the Tenth Amendment means The People; but “the People” in the Second Amendment (ratified in 1791) means the National Guard (created by an Act of Congress in 1903).

Again with the gun-fetish. You’d think that being anti-gun and loving terrorists was the only thing the Democrats ever did wrong! Where’s the stuff about high taxes?

23. You support a woman’s “right to choose” to kill her unborn child, but don’t believe that same woman is competent enough to homeschool the children she bears.

This makes no sense at all. Chances are that home-schooler is a pro-life conservative. So it probably isn’t THE SAME woman. And based on the superstitious bullshit religious pseudoscientific nonsense conservative want to teach their kids? Yeah: DAMNED STRAIT.

24. Proven draft-dodging is irrelevant, but baseless claims of AWOL status is crucial to national security.

Proven? Baseless? I realize that, as Obi-Wan stated, “many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own POV,” but, in the words of Indigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Oh, and… I don’t think Bush being AWOL during Vietnam was ever considered a matter of National Security. Just of the Right's credibility.

25. Threatening to boycott Dr. Laura’s and Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers is exercising Freedom of Speech, but threatening to boycott CBS’s “The Reagans” and Liberal actors over their asinine anti-American remarks is censorship and McCarthyist blacklisting.

No… both are absolutely excercises of Free speech. As I mentined earlier, some of us just have more intelligent things to SAY. (Some of those liberal actors, for example.)

26. You fervently believe that rabidly referring to your political opponent as an “idiot” is a good idea...even after that “idiot” whipped your ass in the 2000 and 2004 elections.

Project much? It’s my experience that liberals debate while conservative resort to insult. (And I have no doubt that some “idiot” conservative will come by, post here, and prove my point!) Also… “whipped your ass.” Interesting way to describe 2000 – when that idiot LOST the populat vote and “won” (notice the quotes, liberals?) the 2nd closest electoral college vote in history. And 2004? That was the narrowest REelkection bid in history. The only incumbents that faired worse than Bush did in ’04 LOST. Also – while you lot insist on CALLING us idiots, we insist on PROOVING that you lot are. There’s a difference.

27. Everyone must unquestioningly support a junior senator with negligible political experience for president. ’Cause, like, if you don’t, well...dude, you’re a racist!

I thought we were supposed to be elitists or something. Huh. Who knew?

28. All cultures must be treated as equal. This is why we have to make excuses for Muslims when they riot, rape and slaughter, but vilify Christians when they organize letter writing campaigns.

When the hell did Christians “organize letter writing campaigns?” We couldn’t have POSSIBLY vilified that, because we never even HEARD about it! Probably because it was obviously COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE. (Which must be why they instead took to killing doctors and denying poor women access to pre-natal care.)

29. America can only be great if it raises taxes, punishes the successful, rewards the lazy, creates bigger government, and funds more socialist programs. It worked for the Soviet Union, right?

Did it really take this guy 29 points before he got around to mentioning taxes? He’s obviously not a REAL conservative, just a gun-toting, muslim-hater. Anyway…

I guess America was going to be great under ever increasing DEBT due to WARS and TAX CUTS and the COLLAPSE OF A DE-REGULATED BANKING SYSTEM. At least we WERE, until Obama took office, then suddenly thirty years of accumulated debt were not only everyone’s top priority, but also entirely OBAMA’S FAULT.

30. Being against illegal immigration is racist. Nevermind that illegal isn’t a race.

Riiiight. Because, you know, there are so many Canadians coming over the border, eh? Must be for that free health care we offer or something. Why do I get the feeling that if Mexicans were lighter skinned and spoke only English Illegal Immigration wouldn’t be much of an issue? (Except with pro-labor LIBERALS who recognize what it does to working class wages!) (And other than RACE why is it that this seems to ONLY issue under the sun where Republicans are willing to do ANYTHING to support blue-collare wages?)

31. Global warming is caused by humans burning fossil fuels, which is why the Ice Age ended a mere 10,000 years before the invention of the internal combustion engine.

They have such a wonderful grasp of climate science, don’t they?

32. Everyone has the right to disagree, but only with Republicans.

This is cute. I think I’ll keep it. It makes a good bumper sticker. I’d just change “but only” to “especially.”

33. The only way to be a “real American” is to hate everything America stands for.

Like… torture, indefinite incarceration without trial, endless war, violation of international treaties, warrantless spying on our own citizens, keeping immigrants from becoming citizens… that sort of thing?

34. The only unbiased media is the European media, but only because they hate the United States of America even more than the liberal media in the U.S.

There’s a liberal media? WHERE? I want to watch!

35. Congress must create a “Fairness Doctrine” to counter the commercial success of conservative talk radio and the resounding failure of Air America. (Nevermind that we already have a government-subsidized liberal mouthpiece called National Public Radio.)

LOL. Yeah… Again, the proposal to recreate the “Fairness Doctrine” only exsist in the depraved ramblings of RW Radio. But calling one of the last remaining relatively objective media outlets a “liberal mouthpiece” and suggesting that giving someone a few inutes to refute a three-hour broadcast would somehow bring AM Talk Radio crashing down is a pretty blatant admission of what WE already know: Facts tend to have a liberal bias.

36. Any Republican who sides with Democrats should be instantly assigned the role of “leading Republican” in all media reports. This position is immediately forfeited the moment said Republican starts acting like an American again.

I’m kind of stunned at the audacity of this one. How many times was Independent Joe Lieberman identified as a Democrat while here cheer-lead for Bush’s war after 2004? How do you explain away the FACT that the only Democrats that got interviewed in the build up to the Iraq war were PRO-WAR, even thought the majority of the Party (and eventually of America) were opposed to it? You’ve got this one COMPLETLEY BACKWARDS. Again: Project much?

Also… How do square this idiots statement, that you’re only “acting like an American” if your serving as a Republicans mouthpiece, with #33 (for example)? You no what? I take that back… Actually that’s remarkably (though I’m sure unintentionally) consistent: Since Republicans pretty much hate everything America actually stands for, and only Republicans are “real Americans” I guess he’s, right – only from a conservtaive’s point of view!

37. The pseudoscience of "global warming" must be unquestioningly accepted because a consensus of scientists say it's real. Nevermind that there was also once a consensus among scientists that the Earth was flat, the Sun revolved around the Earth, and that caucasians were genetically superior to all other races.

*sigh* Global Warming is not pseudoscience. Nothing becomes a pseudoscience just because you think that a funny way to try and be dismissive of it. It’s SCIENCE. And the case has been building, without any legitimate challenge, since the 1950’s and it ain;t going away any time soon. (Reality really sucks that way.)
What’s more… The “consensus” that the earth was flat, or that the sun revolved around it, was not one of SCIENTISTS. See… Scientists were the ones DISPELLING that nonsense, even at a risk to their own life posed by that most CONSERVTAIVE of forces: the CHURCH. As for that stuff about Caucasians being genetically superior to all other races? Seems to me like THAT consensus still holds… among WHITE CONSERVATIVES anyway.

That was fun. PAINFULLY EASY. But still fun.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Things you have to believe to be a Republican

There was a pretty famous email meme that was going around, c.2004, call “Things you have to believe to be a Republican Today.” There is different version, but the following seems to be a pretty common version:


Things you have to believe to be a Republican today:

1) Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

2) Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

3) The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing UN resolutions against Iraq.

4) A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multinational corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

5) Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

6) The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

7) If condoms are kept out of schools, teenagers won't have sex.

8) A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our longtime allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

9) Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.

10) HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

11) Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

12) A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense. A president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

13) Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

14) The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

15) Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness, and you need our prayers for your recovery.

16) You support states' rights, which means Attorney General John Ashcroft can tell states what local voter initiatives they have the right to adopt.

17) What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.


The truly scary thing is that none of these are really all that farcical!

I’ve sent this to many conservative friends of mine and while they don’t appreciate have their bullshit called out, or mocked, none of them really made any effort to deny that these were legitimate points! And if anything? They’ve pretty much doubled down on them since then!

About the only one that’s changed is (16) because now the conservative interests (industry, religious funny-mentalists, teabaggers, etc…) are BURYING US under voter initiatives to try and cram their agenda down our throats. And before anyone even TIRES to tell me that voter initiatives are in ANY WAY democratic, I will remind you that the general public is almost always woefully misinformed about what’s actually IN most of these.   which is pretty much exactly how these initiatives’ sponsors want it! Orwell would either be proud or is rollingin his grave, I’m not sure which.

In any case, while the list itself is still depressingly relevant there are a few I’d like to add:

18) Using racist rhetoric is an appropriate exercise of your first amendment rights, but pointing out the inherent racism in someone else’s comments is hate speech.

19) Every black person who voted for Obama is a racist, but none of the white people who voted for McCain are.

20) Anything bad that happened while Bush was still in office is Obama’s fault. Anything good that happens while Obama is in office is because of something Bush did.

21) Social Security is going broke because we don’t have enough money going into it. Therefore we should take MORE MONEY away from it.*

22) MSNBC, which gives former Republican Senator Joe Scarborough his own morning show and once gave both Mike Savage and Tucker Carlson their own shows is liberally biased, but Fox, which made Alan Colmes share a show with Sean Hannity and which currently features NO regular liberals (or even moderate) commentators is “fair and balanced.”

23) The Founding Fathers, who went out of their way to guarantee us freedom of religion, were Evangelical Christian Fundamentalists who wanted all of us to practice the same religion.

24) Murdering a Doctor is doing God’s work, but setting up an Islamic community center is terrorism.

25) It’s freedom of religion, not freedom from religion… unless that religion is something other than Fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity.

26) Keeping religion out of the classroom is a Violation of the 1st Amendment / Freedom of Religion, but kicking Muslims out of the country is not.

27) A Republican Supreme Court Nominee talking about his Italian heritage is being patriotic, but a Democratic Court Nominee talking about her Puerto Rican heritage is being racist.

28) Deficits don’t matter when the Republicans control the Federal Government, but they’re of critical importance when the Democrats do.

Feel free to add mine onto the list and forward it on. There are many “Democrat” versions, though none really caught on like this one did. There will howver be a part-2 to this, where I’ll take apart the one [about the Democrats] that comes up in the #1 slot in Google.

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*I’m often told by conservatives that can’t fix every problem by throwing money at it. My counter argument is that you can’t really fix ANY problem by taking money AWAY from it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The SECOND biggest problem with this country

This is related to a thread on MMFA this morning.  Was anyone ELSE having trouble with multiple posts today? It seems everthing I posted went up three times!

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A few years ago, I received one of those RW emails “proving” how stupid, un-American, etc… liberals are. It was chock full of the typical RW distortions and bullshit, to the point that few of them were even remotely memorable. But there was one that struck me, because it was something that I hadn’t ever even considered: Liberals hate McDonald’s because it succeeded where communism failed: Feeding billions of people both cheaply and profitably.


Now… I’m sure I don’t have to point out the first absurdity here: That American Liberals / Progressives are NOT, by and large, “Communists.” Nor Marxists, Socialists, etc... Also, while there are plenty of legitimate reasons to CRITICISE McDonalds, “hate” in this case would seem to be a particularly egregious exaggeration. I’m sure on most liberals’ outrage-o-meter, Micky-D’s scores somewhere between the Barbie Doll and the derogatory nature of the term, “Mexican Standoff.”

And since we’re NOT and NEVER HAVE BEEN advocating for any form of actual communism, the fact that McDonald’s (and the fast-food industry) HAS undeniably played a roll in ending hunger in this country and in many others is a reason for Liberals to PRAISE and CREDIT them! The problem here is that, as usual, conservatives have no sense of moderation; no sense of balance. They think that if “cheap food” is GOOD, then MORE food, even CHEAPER, must therefore, always, be better.

Goodbye, widespread hunger. Hello, obesity epidemic.

And so here’s my second entry in the “What’s wrong with this country” category:

You can get a 7-Layer Burrito at Taco Bell for $0.99.

The 7-Layer Burrito has:
510 Calories (over 25% of the daily allowance for a 200 Pound male.)
68 Grams of (mostly refined) Carbohydrates (50% of your day’s supply normally, 340% if you’re on a low-carb, weight loss plan, as I am.)
6 grams of Saturated Fat (30% of the recommended daily allowance)
1420 Milligrams of Sodium (60% of the recommended daily allowance)

…all that yummy goodness for only ONE DOLLAR. Not bad… if you’re otherwise broke and starving to death, but any objective look at the numbers will find that, if anything, we’re well into the opposite problem by now.

Meanwhile, 5 Red Bell Peppers, which contain more Vitamin C per Calorie that an Orange will cost you around $9.00. Think about that: One single pepper, good for you yes, but hardly a meal, will cost you almost TWICE what Taco Bell’s “saturated fat, wrapped in refined carbs” does. Another example: One English cucumber costs about $2.00. And granted, I can buy a regular cucumber instead (bleh) but think about that for a moment… How can one, single vegetable cost more than a PREPARED “meal?” That’s a victory for industrialized snacking perhaps, but it’s no wonder why so many Americans (certainly myself very much included) need to eat more fruits and vegetables!

The free market might not let us starve to death, but when we’re all getting triple bypasses we can’t afford, we might well advised to spend some of our recuperation time rethinking what a wonderful fix-all the free-market REALLY is.

PS: I really don’t have the answer to this problem. There’s no simple solution that I am aware of. I’m merely observing that when slowly killing yourself costs ONE dollars, and eating healthy costs TWO (just for the Peppers and Cucumbers, mind you: we’re nowhere near a MEAL yet!) something has gone seriously awry.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

GOLD STAR AWARDS, July, 2010

I actually had two other sites in mind this month, but these two both came to my attention fairly recently and made such an impact on my consiousness that I felt compelled to speak out on their behalf.  Continuing to follow the Baseball HoF elections, I'm skipping over 1950, which saw no ne inductees, and moving up to 1951 which saw two BWAA inductees (Gold Stars) but none from the Veterans Committee (so no Silvers this month.)

The Jimmie Foxx Gold Star #20: Jezebel

I've said many times in my life that the sexiest part of a woman's body is between her ears.  And as anyone who's heard the story of how my (then future) wife bloodied my nose while I "taught" her how to box (or tried to, anyway!) knows: I REALLY dig ballsy broads.  (Sexist irony in that statement fully intended.)  This site is one of my wife's favorties and I can happily admit to being a big fan as well.  As the bumper sticker says: "Well behaved women rarely made history."  So... You go, girls!  Keep kicking ass!

"Men of quality are not threatened by women of equality."

On a side note, DW and I started watching an anime last night called "The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye."  The main charecter is a tough, female, tom-boyish, swordsman, mechanic, pilot, independant, jack/jill-of-all-trades, who's just a real ass-kicker.  When DW (who enjoyed it) asked me how I knew she'd enjoy it, I said, "Simple: We have the same taste in women!" LOL


The Mel Ott Gold Star#21: Thrity-Thousand

When George Washing first took office in 1789, the population of the United States was about 3.9 Million. Today it’s just over 300 Million.  Congressional districts that were never supposed to be larger than 50,000 people are now averaging over 700,000.  Is it any wonder that the individual feels helpless, like his voice is being drowned out by the elites and the special interests?  30K.org explores the history of why we have only 435 Representatives when, according to the will of the Founding Fathers, we should have over 6,000.  Our Democracy IS slipping away from us, and these guys have some really interesting ideas about what is really needed to restore it.  Their FAQ does a fantrastic job of addressing many of the most of the obvious questions and concerns, and what I like the most is that while their goals are philisophiocally LIBERAL (meaning they go against the status quo and the vested interests) they are also Consructionist and inherently non-partisan.  (And while Cities and urban areas (with tend to vote for Democrats) would get more delegates, many of the most under-represented STATES are, in fact, Red States!)  And if their goals WERE to come to fruition, we would not only realize just how "purple" most states really are, but third (fourth, fifth, etc...) parties would have a much more serious chance at getting SOME representation.  In effect it would return REAL Democracy to this country, and return the People's House to the PEOPLE.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This was very distrubing....

Driving into work this morning, I head this story on NPR.  I found it very disturbing; a sign of just how far this country has devolved.  I'm not sure if I should hope Mister Obama is aware of what's going on or not.  It's a sad state of affairs to be sure.


First of all... Why the fuck are BP employees calling the shots here?! Why are they standing side by side with our coast guard and police force? Are you fucking kidding me?! This is NOT what's meant by "civilian control of the military!" This has been going for some time now, and it grows ever more disturbing as time goes on. Welcome to 1984, folks. If you ever wanted to see the freedom of the press utterly destroyed, well HERE YOU GO. It’s just like George Carlin once predicted: When fascism finally comes to this country, it won’t be wearing jack-boots, it will be wearing Nike’s.

A few points, that highlight the absolute absurdity of this, from the transcript:

"You are not allowed, as a police officer, to rummage through the notebooks and photographs — not published — of newspapers," Engelberg said. "That's not how we do it in this country."
Well said, Mister Engelberg. Have you contacted the ACLU yet?

"We have more than 40,000 people working on this response," [BP spokesman Scott Dean] said. "We're working around the clock to make this situation right. And we very much want that story to be told."
Yeah – they sure do: THEIR VERSION of the story. How else does he explain away the fact that the press has been HINDERED by HIS OWN company from telling the story?! This man is not only a whore, he’s a cheap whore, and doesn’t even try to hide the fact.

The flap in Texas City over the police stop of the Pro Publica photographer involves practices initiated in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. FBI Special Agent Shauna Dunlap, of the agency's Houston field office, said that such stops have become common around sensitive sites like refineries and nuclear power plants.

"People don't think about it, but there are people out there who want to do us harm, and it's our obligation to protect our territory and these critical infrastructures that are targets," Dunlap said
Riiight… I’m sure an already demolished oil well, 5000 feet below sea level, is a really high level target on Al-Quaeda’s hit list.

...adding that the oil company had also been threatened by what she said were environmental terrorists.

"There is a heightened security around those facilities, especially with BP," Dunlap said.
Oh, I get it. It’s environmental terrorism, they're worried about. Because, yeah, again, they’d accomplish SO MUCH by screwing up the cleanup effort, after the rig had burned down, sunk, and spilled X-Million barrels of oil into the gulf. Yeah, that’s when they "eco-terrorists" would SPRING INTO ACTION.

Is our FBI really this stupid, or are they just blatantly insulting our intelligence? If "eco-terrorism" was involved AT ALL, it would have been at the BEGINNING, when the rig was still WORKING. Now, it was already shown that the initial fire was entirely the result of BP’s own negligence.  That’s been clearly established.  And that’s was the only possible oppotunity for “eco-terrorism.” Destroy the RIG. (Something that is completely without precedent, I might add!)  Not showing up three months later and sabotaging the CLEANUP. That doesn’t make any damned sense at all!

This situation is now nothing more than corporatism using out irrational fear of terrorism to PREVENT the real story from being told here. (Behold your LIBERAL MEDIA!) And the only really terrifying thing going on here, is just how much this FOREIGN (not even US-based!) corporate entity can manipulate our gov’t into doing its bidding, even getting them to violate the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

No only should BP’s heads roll over this (and as far as I’m concerned, that BP Corporate Whore Scott Dean should be boiled in crude-oil as an example to other professioanl liars) but there needs to be some serious investigations into the gov’t actions here; Not in dealing with the spill itself, as the right have hypocritically called for, I’ll stand by my earlier judgment that President Obama is doing exactly what he should be in terms of the cleanup, (althought how would I know otherwise, seeing as how the press has been largely shut out?!) but of the way the Coast Guard, FBI and Police have denied press access, intimidated the press, rifled though their private property without warrant or propbable cause and have conspired with BP to keep the Public minimally informed at best, and misinformed at worst. Heads should roll over that.

Hey right-wingers? THIS is what “big government” or "big borther" REALLY looks like: Corporate interests being protected over public ones. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Most disappointing product EVER.

I was looking for some tools in a co-worker's stash last week and found the following in his toolbox:

And I thought, "Wow... LASERTORCH!  This should be pretty cool!"




































OK, yeah, I should have guessed that... But... TORCH?




































Very disappointing.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Another failure of free-market economics and health care...

By now y'all are well aware of my disadain of the for-profit, free-market model of health care.

Here's another example of just how utterly uselss it is.  The same kind of thing applies to rare diseases.  Get a disease that "only" kills a few hundered people a year?  Well, sucks to be unprofitable you.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The biggest problem with this country

Forget healthcare, gun control, illegal immigration, the economy or the defiict.  This morning on CNN I figured out what's REALLY wrong with this country: The fact that what happened last night on "the bachelorette" somehow qualifies as NEWS.

Imagine that: CNN thinking they need to inform people - who weren't even interested enough to WATCH THE PROGRAM - what happened on it!

There is something seriously wrong with us if there's enough people in 'the market' who think they really needed that infomration.