Friday, November 4, 2011

My Postman is a Jerk

You know what, I don't like my postman (post-person, whatever). My house has a mail slot. Below that slot is a note that says, "Put oversized items in the door; don't put them in the slot.," because I had an item damaged. The asswad still keeps doing it.

However, the US Postal Service reaches many areas that UPS and Fedex don't, delivers some of the mail of those companies, and has competitive rates overall. Some are saying the USPS is in danger of going away, and the reason is a ridiculous bill from 2006.

Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA) has been forcing the USPS to prepay benefits for employees it hasn't even hired yet. By June 2011, the USPS had a $19.5 billion deficit and had made $20.95 billion in prepayments to the fund for future retiree health care benefits. This means that if not for the PAEA, the USPS would actually have a surplus of $1.5 billion right now, be in no trouble, and not be talking of stopping Saturday service in order to prevent closing down completely.

The math speaks for itself. It's crisis that was created by Congress in early 2006. I'm not going to endorse talk that it was done to cause the Post Office to fail in order to privatize it, but I'll say others have said it.

Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) introduced bipartisan legislation (with 193 co-sponsors)
to fix this. by allowing the USPS to use pension overpayments to pay down its debt.

Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-CA) idea of a fix is to fire lots of postal workers and eliminate their union's collective bargaining power.

To sum it up, the "Post Office Crisis" is a manufactured crisis. The reality is that the problem is solvable without closing down post offices, layoffs, or canceling Saturday service.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Some of my issues with the official Libertarian Party

 I believe in freedom, but I don't buy the Libertarian Party version
  • That it's wrong to protect our freedoms at the highest level, but the States should be free to take them away. By this reasoning, we're wrong to have Amendments that let women vote and ban slavery. Leave it to the States. How dare the federal government consider legalizing gay marriage, letting churches do so that want to and upholding the 1st Amendment's freedom of religion. Even worse would be having one decision regarding abortion.
  • That we're not really free because we still need to remove regulations on business. However, it's fine if we let corporations limit what we see, hear, and read (such as by restricting the internet). It's fine if they set wages artificially low, draining money out of the economy, and wrecking it. It's more freedom to force people to fight against business megaliths than letting the people use government as an extension of their will to protect them from unfair practices.
  • That taxes are a form of violence on the people which is the same as slavery. They can put you away if you don't pay. Yet, it's ok to have laws which they can put you away for if you break. It enslaves the people to have them all contribute to a system available to all which helps them afford food and housing when an unfair system puts them out of a job. The most evil thing is to let the people agree to collectively improve society to make it more survivable via the government which is the people. We the People.
I don't see the Libertarian implementation of freedom so much as freedom as shifting the source of oppression. At the federal level, their goal is to remove all protection from being oppressed.

So yes, I want maximum freedoms for the people. I think we have far too many regulations. However, implementation is key, and the Libertarian implementation at the federal level would allow at the state level the removal of the freedoms they say they want to protect.

So when I say I support the libertarian ideals of freedom, I actually advocate pro-actively protecting those freedoms. Sadly, the Libertarian Party doesn't.

Ohio Nov 8th, 2011 Voting Guide, Part 2 of 2

“To preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage”

You've likely seen the flyers for and against Issue 3, both of which outright lie. Here's the truth:

Approving this Amendment doesn't strike down Obamacare.

Approving this Amendment will raise your health care premiums more by saying Ohio can ignore a provision of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” to some). This provision is the primary piece of the health care reform meant to reduce the cost of health care. Most of the laws of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) don't take affect until 2014, such as this one. Issue 3 tries to prevent implementation of one cost-saving aspect of the ACA while not bothering with the aspects that increase costs.

I'll repeat, voting “Yes” will raise your premiums more.

The nitty and gritty of Issue 3 is all about the health care reform. A provision of the ACA says that everyone who can afford health insurance must buy private insurance of their choice (like normal). Subsidies will be given to the poor to assist in buying insurance, and those who still can't afford it are exempt or eligible for medicaid. (Similar basic rules also apply to businesses who provide health insurance). Those who don't buy health insurance and aren't exempt must pay an additional tax on their tax return. I call this the Freeloader Tax. Hospitals must provide people emergency medical care. Those who cannot pay cost hospitals money so they raise their prices. This makes health insurance cost more, and that cost is passed onto you via your premiums. All of us who bother to pay for health insurance end up paying for the freeloaders who could pay but don't.

Last year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of California was going to raise insurance premiums by 40%. The reason? Young people who weren't currently sick were dropping health insurance. The insurer abandoned this plan because of the public backlash.

The title of the issue and wording on the ballot of it is even misleading. It claims it is the freedom to choose your insurance. It only preserves the freedom to not buy health insurance. However, even the ACA doesn't require you buy to health insurance. It just adds a Freeloader Tax. That is, a tax on those who want free health care at my expense despite being able to afford it.

Additionally, state law doesn't supersede federal law so this amendment is unenforceable. Attempts to enforce it will lead to a costly legal battle the state will lose. If SB5 is not repealed, the legal battle can be paid for by laying off teachers, firefighters, and police. So while the freeloaders are happy not having health insurance, they'll be surprised to see they still have to pay it on their tax returns. Meanwhile, health insurers will be raising our premiums more, and Ohio will be fighting a losing legal battle.


Vote “No” on Issue 3.

What is the good of Issue 3? There is no good. Whether or not you strongly support or oppose the ACA, Issue 3 is a bad idea with strong negative consequences.


"Why such high fees, such as $200 for a tetanus shot that you can get at Walgreens for less than $50? He says paying E.R. customers have to help foot the bills for patients who cant pay." This is just an example of why, agree with it or not, the "buy insurance or pay a freeloader tax" aspect of the health care reform bill will help to lower premiums.
Article at

Ohio Nov 8th, 2011 Voting Guide, Part 1 of 2

“Referendum on new law relative to government union contracts and other government employment contracts and policies”

A vote on whether to keep SB 5. A “Yes” vote keeps. A “No” repeals.

You've likely seen the flyers for and against Issue 2, both of which really fail to give some proper context or outright lie. So, I'll illuminate the issue for you, and I'll have a copy of the bill by my side for fact-checking purposes. This bill is an attempt at saving money in the state budget by altering and permitting alteration to public worker contracts. Public workers in this context includes teachers, firefighters, and police. Politicians and upper management are excluded from it.

The “good”:
SB5 requires that public employees pay at least 15% of their health care premiums, still less than the average private sector worker. The stickler is that most public employees already do pay this. So while reasonable, this isn't a big money saver.

It would ban employers from paying any of the employees’ 10% pension contribution. It is a lie that public workers don't contribute to their pension account; however, currently employers can agree to pick-up a portion of the workers' contribution. They are required to contribute 10% but banning employers from helping out with that payment could save some money.

Changed language in the bill does now allow workers to bargain for “…equipment issues directly related to personal safety...” which the original version didn't allow.

Where it gets dicey:
The bill (SB5, page 18) makes employee performance the only determining factor for raises and job retention. This means that teachers who teach Honors English will likely always get raises, and that teachers who teach troubled kids in inner cities schools will likely not ever see a raise again. Teacher performance is measured by classroom performance.

It prohibits employees for bargaining against anything an employer deems reasonable (SB5, page 230). This extremely vague language gives carte blanche power to employers against our public servants so long as one side calls it reasonable. It is actually pretty disturbing the number of times “reasonable” is used throughout the document without ever defining “reasonable.”

What can we expect in public schools? We can expect higher-paid senior teachers to be laid off. We can expect classroom sizes to be doubled and divided up among lower-compensated younger teachers. That should cause student performance to decrease, thereby reducing the need to give performance increases to teachers. Similarly, we can expect reduced staffing levels among police and firefighters.

And in the rare case where public workers do get to negotiate something with their employer, the outcome will no longer be decided by a neutral third party. It will now be decided by the employer.

While there is not significant cost savings in SB5, it will allow for many cost-savings changes to be made in the future. However, all of these changes are likely to decrease the quality of service we receive from our public servants. Anything “reasonable” in this bill is overshadowed by the “unreasonable.”

It is not accurate to say that the recession was caused by our public workers, nor is it fair to exclude the politicians and upper management from “necessary” cost saving changes. Public workers have already agreed to $350 million in savings through unpaid furloughs and pay freezes. It doesn't sit well with me that politicians give tax breaks to their contributors and try to balance the budget on the backs of the little guys.

It wouldn't be necessary to harm our public servants if giveaway tax breaks to businesses would actually lure new businesses to Ohio. Some say we must make cuts to in order to make low-tax lures for new businesses, but that wouldn't be true if we made low-tax lures that worked. The reason for this is that new business creates new workers. New workers pay more state taxes. Employed people spend and have to pay local sales taxes. Meanwhile, a bill like SB5 which will lead to more layoffs will decrease employed consumers. Not only will it decrease the quality of public service of in Ohio, it may possibly cause economic harm due to causing more unemployment. Additionally, harming education in Ohio could mean less successful entrepreneurs, worse leaders, and less innovation for the future.

There is always the risk that when the government does something, it ends up causing more harm than it does do good. Senate Bill 5 is such a case, and that's why I'll be voting no on Issue 2.

The issues, the official arguments, and a copy of SB5: 
Why this Republican opposes SB5:
Collected news articles regarding SB5:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Presidential Candidate Best Represents Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy Wall Street movement released an official declaration of their goals on October 1st, 2011 after widespread reporting made the debatable claim that they had no clear objective. Their declaration was to businesses, corporations, and wall street. However, will the corporations change their methods because of it? This declaration asks them to give up profit and control. Unless they do, it will fall to state, local, and federal governments to regulate business to make it happen. Of course, one of the main complaints is that the corporations control our politicians and our governments.

The Occupy Wall Street Declaration:
(I would include it here, but it is quite long.)

The following will be presented as an alternative to bad articles such as this one.

I will compare Democratic incumbent Barack Obama and Republican hopeful Ron Paul in 15 points.

#1 Corporations took taxpayer bailouts and gave their executives giant bonuses. It's worth noting that as of March 11, 2011, six banks of the banks have repaid their loans bringing the bank capital program close to 99 percent recovery. The government also made a profit of $4 billion on the loans as of Aug30, 2009. Not too shabby. (Other bailout programs haven't fared as well.)
  • Obama permitted the bailouts which allowed this to happen.
  • Ron Paul opposed by the bailouts.

#2 They poison our food supply.

#3 They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

#4 Our system is corrupt.
#5 They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

#6 They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

#7 They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
  • Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law which makes it more difficult for insurers to remove customers from coverage when they get sick (due to technicalities), says that insurers must spend 85% of the money received from premiums on health care, and will prevents insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. It also will further reduce health insurance costs by making those who can afford it buy health insurance and providing subsidies to those who need help to afford insurance. This means hospitals will no longer have to eat the cost of care to the uninsured which they typically pass onto other customers.
  • Paul wants to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid, saying that the individual, private charity, families, and faith based orgs should take care of people, not the government.
  • Republicans, like Paul, oppose government regulations, including health care mandates, even though it was their idea. Here's 24 things Republicans were for before they were against them. It's worth nothing that Presidential hopeful Rick Perry mandated that girls in Texas get the HPV vaccine.

#8 They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
  • Obama signed the Patriot Act, allowing it to continue.
  • Ron Paul opposes such intrusions.

#9 They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

#10 They have perpetuated “colonialism at home and abroad” and "participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas."
  • Obama wound down the Iraq war; however, we are still in Afghanistan. He also had the US participate in a UN effort to assist Libyan freedom fighters which succeeded in overthrowing a dictator that had taken terrorist actions against US citizens. Obama did issue three executive orders to close Guantanamo Bay, secret prisons, and other detention centers, orders that were blocked by Congress.
  • Ron Paul wants the US to immediately pull all our troops home from foreign wars, believing we have no business even providing “foreign aid” to other countries.

#11 They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

#12 They don't pay their fare share of taxes.
  • Obama, like Reagan, says the rich must pay their fair share. He also supports letting tax breaks expire for the richest Americans.
  • Ron Paul wants a flat tax and to eliminate the income tax, which would be regressive and hurt the low-income and middle class. However, it might be something corporations would have a harder time avoiding.

#13 They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

#14 They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

#15 They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility. They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

So, who do you think better represents the beliefs of the Occupy Wall Street movement?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Is Osama bin Laden Dead? Investigating the Grand Conspiracy

Al-Qaeda Agents?

As you may know, there are some who doubt Osama bin Laden was actually killed. They doubt that there were any pictures of the body which was dumped in the sea, an act far too convenient for them.

There is a similar controversy growing over the killer whale which killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau. Her family wants to keep the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration from releasing photos or videos of the death to the public.

How do we know there are pictures if they aren't released? How can the autopsy report be trusted? For all we know, Dawn Brancheau was killed by Osama bin Laden, and this crime is being covered up and blamed on the innocent killer whale.

Read more here.

In any case, I don't believe the Republicans would fail to use the lack of evidence of a dead Osama bin Laden against a Democrat president if there was any chance it was true. That we buried his body at sea in accordance with his religion (which he was bad at following) and didn't bring it back home to use for bragging rights just goes to show the moral superiority of the USA. We treat our enemies better than they would treat us because we're America. We'll disregard that my first impulse would have been to make hacky sacks out of his nuts, and perhaps, post pictures of his incredibly small penis on a Flickr account so that the world could get a good laugh. That would be wrong, and I'm glad America chose to not keep around a decaying dead bastard that more bastards would have probably come to reclaim.

The fact that opposing members of our representative government can verify that the Navy SEAL raid did in fact occur and take out America's Most Wanted is good enough for me. It's at least as good as seeing a photo or video (either of which could be doctored) or having been there myself. Of course, eyewitness testimony is unreliable so why should I believe myself about stuff I've seen?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ben Franklin's On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, 1776

In his time, government controls forbade the export and set prices on the crop of corn farmers. Franklin's outrage was surely righteous on this issue. Being given a limited market and prevented from selling the product at the desired price, the farmers were forced sell the fruits of their labor at prices below what they should have earned in the market. Supposedly, this was so that poor consumers could afford the product; however, Franklin claims similar measures were not made in other markets. I doubt there is anyone who would not be upset at this.

He then proceeds to lambaste the poor of America for being lazy, drunk, and ungrateful. Reasonably, this makes Franklin appear to be a grouchy old-man with a, "Hey you kids, get off my lawn," mentality. After all, how dare the poor not come up to him each day and give their thanks to him. Such a rant would seem unbecoming of someone of his intellect, yet things were different then. How does his rant hold up today?

"There is no country in the world where so many provisions are established for them; so many hospitals to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained by voluntary charities; so many alms-houses for the aged of both sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor."

It certainly seems that in his day, the poor and unfortunate were better cared for than today. Nowadays, none but the ultra-rich can afford serious health care without health insurance. Yes, there are clinics available; however, treatment for serious ailments is still beyond the means of the uninsured to afford. Most care will be limited to dealing with the deadly repercussions of not being able to afford the care that would have prevented catastrophe in the first place.

It also seems unlikely that the rich of today would urge Congress to pass a law that would tax them for the benefit of the poor. According to the modern Tea Party, that is the sort of thinking that would be the most wrong.

"I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."

This does seem pretty common sense to me. I imagine that this does to everyone. However, given that he wanted to "do good" to the poor, it is illogical to conclude that he felt letting them starve and die in an environment with no jobs would have been Franklin's desire. If only temporary until such a time as conditions for employment change, such care for the unfortunate could not be objected to be Franklin.

One thing is certain, simply letting the poor be without assistance or guidance as most conservatives today should be done would not match Franklin's desire to actively lead or drive the poor out of poverty. Inaction is never leading.

It's likely many will say that if social security had existed during Franklin's time, this would be his argument against it:
"The day you passed that act, you took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health, for support in age or sickness."

With the slow death of the American economy that is ongoing today and with the majority of jobs paying wages so low that meaningful saving is impossible, Franklin's idea that a program such as Social Security should not exist is certainly outdated.

Instead of applying Franklin's desire as to how social protections should work while in an economic model that is vastly different from what existed while he lived, it would be better, and the only logical goal, to instead make today's economy into something in which Franklin's desired type of social protection could work. That economic model requires that jobs be available and that those jobs actually pay a wage that allows saving to be made for the future. That certainly doesn't exist today.

I have no doubt that, if Franklin were to meet today anyone trying to apply his comments on the economy then to the economy now, he would tie that person to a kite and send them up to meet a storm.

Here is a link to Ben Franklin's On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, 1776.

Note: The above link is provided by the Claremont Inst. which excluded Thomas Paine (among others) and his works. By means of excluding disagreeing Founding Fathers and/or excluding certain writings, it uses false assertions to claim that the Founders unanimously endorsed certain ideas.

Fight Socialism by Recognizing It

According to the Tea Party definition of socialism, our police, fire departments, schools, social security, medicare, medicaid, any proposed universal health care, and our military are all socialist. Everyone pays a different level of taxes for them, yet everyone gets equal benefit of them. By Tea Party logic, they all need to be privatized because they're all evil socialism!

What is socialism actually? It's where the workers control the means of production, almost as if the workers own stocks in their employer and are encouraged to work harder because they receive economic benefits of their hard work! The horror! Or, state socialism which is where the state has ownership of all businesses (basically, communism)? Why, that sounds exactly the same as me working in a capitalist economy and then paying taxes so that the government can exist and provide a service to me, such as police, firefighting, or health care! Wait, that sounds completely different from socialism! That's capitalism and having a government instead of anarchy!

So, the Tea Party, pretty much all Republicans, and heck - most liberals don't know what they're talking about when they talk about socialism. They just use it as a label to slap on anything their (puppet)masters say.

Recognizing actual socialism is the best weapon for fighting for it.

What are the warning signs of socialism?
  1. Forbidding private ownership of the means of production, giving the workers equal ownership of the means of production, and then requiring equal pay for each worker regardless of their contribution.
  2. Having the state control all industry and forbidding private ownership of the means of production.
  3. A violent overthrow of government where the ruling rich capitalists and/or aristocrats are slaughtered, and the poor take over in order to create a socialist society (Marxism). In this case, the administrators of the socialist society may become the new ruling class. In essence, becoming the enemy they hated.
What isn't socialism?
  1. When a government gives loans to private businesses so that they can stay in business and help protect the economy from increased unemployment.
  2. Providing citizens of a capitalist society with desired services (that apply equally to each citizen) paid for by taxes, services such as police, firefighters, a military, education, health care, retirement savings, unemployment insurance, and roads. However in the case where someone may say some (but not all) of these services are socialist because they provide each citizen with equal availability of such services, it must be recognized that each such service would be equally socialist. In such a case, a person would be saying, "I only like the socialism that benefits me, not others."
Do we really want a military that only protects the sovereignty of the citizens that can afford its services? For some, that would be a more economical small government. However, that is not the United States that our Founding Fathers envisioned.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welfare Fraud

Welfare fraud is a problem. A number of individuals spend their government assistance money on inappropriate activities and then complain that they don't have money for their kids, school, housing, and food. I've had the misfortune to hear a few of these people complain about it in person. This fraud is both stealing as well as depriving those in real need of the aid they need.

The solution is to audit recipients, either at scheduled times or randomly several times a year. The recipient will need to present receipts (or other proof) detailing their expenditures. Any income unaccounted for will be considered inappropriate. Failure to show appropriate handling of assistance money will result in a probationary period of reduced aid with improvement required to remain on assistance.

Not only may this encourage responsibility and frugality, the auditing system will root fraud and inappropriate use of aid in ways that drug testing welfare recipients won't. For one, drug testing doesn't show who spent the money on the drugs. Two, 98% of welfare recipients passed their drug screenings when it was implemented in Florida, meaning that the tests wasted the time of 98% of those involved. Three, although there will be a cost to the auditing, just like there is for drug screening, this will employ auditors willing to work for the fees that welfare recipients can afford. Also, I'm suggesting a quick and expedient audit of monthly income and spending, not an in-depth tax year audit that you may get from the IRS.

While I will admit that random drug testing of welfare recipients may be beneficial in fighting fraud, I'm opposed to the up front drug testing of those who apply, just as I am to drug testing job applicants. It all comes down to accusing people of being addicts and criminals without cause. However, Florida's implementation of drug testing welfare applicants has resulted in 98% of the people passing and will cost the state $178 million over the year in the form reimbursing those who passed. That's a lot more than the $1.5 million Fox News report said welfare recipients in Florida spent on trips to Disney.

All in all, auditing those on welfare to make sure they actually need the help and aren't spending money meant for their kids on booze seems like common sense. In addition, knowing audits will happen can encourage people who may not be good at handling money to become better at keeping track of their spending. It seems like common sense, but we'll need someone (or some people) who can implement it fairly and effectively. It does little good (or more harm than good) if the cost of fighting fraud is more than the actual cost of fraud.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bigotry is Pervasive in our Society

Bigotry is so pervasive in our society that even some "good" people may not realize they are bigots.

Heck, just look at the recent flap over the Sesame Street petition to have Bert and Ernie be gay. I saw many people saying "no" because gay sex or the gay "agenda" shouldn't be promoted on a kids' educational show.

However, the show features couples, and the store owner is married. Showing straight couples but refusing to show gay couples is simple bigotry, no matter how you dress it up.

It's important because if more kids see a gay couple on Sesame Street, then maybe those few kids who turn out to be gay later won't feel odd about themselves and commit suicide. Likewise, maybe they'll get bullied less.

I'm sure that decades ago, people would've been upset about showing an interracial couple on TV. Heck, a Louisiana justice refused to marry an interracial couple in October of 2009.

Sesame Street responded to all of this by saying they are puppets and don't have a gender. I don't buy that. How do you explain Kermit and Miss Piggy? I know that's The Muppet Show, not Sesame Street, but they're both Jim Henson puppets. The Sesame Street response also doesn't say why Bert and Ernie couldn't be a genderless couple. There's also the fact that there have been numerous puppet families and couples in numerous sketches (Oscar's girlfriend Grundgetta, the Count's Countesses, The Twiddlebugs). Sesame Street's response is simply dishonest.

While I wouldn't say it's bigotry to not want to have Bert and Ernie be a gay couple, it is if that response also includes not wanting any human gay couples or gay couples involving different puppet characters.

The evidence shows that being gay, straight, or bisexual isn't a choice; therefore, singling out gay couples is the same as singling out interracial couples. However, the whole "it's a choice" argument is really a red herring. It's entirely possible to be bigoted against a lifestyle.

It's time to recognize and end the bigotry whether it stems from religion, homophobia, or feeling insecure in one's heterosexuality.

Friday, August 26, 2011

America: A Christian Nation (Let's Take a Look)

As most everyone knows, many religious folk claim the USA as a Christian nation. Mostly, these people are highly conservative and will go on to tell you how we must protect marriage from "the gays" and cut government spending by eliminating Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), welfare, and other entitlements.

If America was truly a Christian nation, it would mean that it would be the government's job to carry on the will of Jesus. In other words, the government's job would be to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and stop coddling the rich who are going to have a hard time getting into heaven (something about a new meat processing method of passing camels through the eyes of needles - check out Matthew 19:24). And if we want to actually heal all the sick, Obamacare, with it's "evil" desire to enforce personal responsibility by slinging an additional tax on those who choose not to carry insurance but instead want to ride the system when they get ill, simply won't cut it. The government is going to need to simply say, "That's it, we're just insuring everyone," using one or several of the options available to do that.

A compassionate nation that takes care of its own? That sounds pretty good. Where do I sign up for this Christian nation? Crap, what do you mean I can't eat meat during Lent? Hey, why is everything closed on Sunday? It's illegal for me to work overtime on a Sunday? That's not all bad. Though, I am curious why the story of Adam and Eve is being taught in science class during the human development chapter.

Unfortunately, any of the programs required to make this a Christian nation would be called socialist by a large number of people with a narrow and incorrect definition of socialism. We have universal health care? Why obviously, that means we live in an economic system where the workers control the means of production! It's almost as if the workers own stocks in their employer and are encouraged to work harder because they receive economic benefits of their hard work! The horror! Although, I wonder if they mean state socialism which is where the state has ownership of all businesses (basically, communism)? Why, that sounds exactly the same as me working in a capitalist economy and then paying taxes so that the government can exist and provide a service to me, such as police, firefighting, or health care! Wait, that sounds completely different from socialism!

Therefore, my main problem with people telling me that the USA is a Christian nation is that everyone who has told me that is a freaking hypocrite. What they should really be saying is that the USA is a country that happens to have Christians in it. In regards to the assertion that the founding fathers were all Christians and that means the USA is supposed to have a government that rules according to religious law, the founding fathers DID NOT AGREE. Fortunately, the Constitution doesn't anywhere claim that the USA is a Christian nation. The Constitution, at best, has a few references to God which are agnostic in nature.

The US has even made treaties in which it declares " . . . the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion . . ." Just check  Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli.

I'll leave you with a few of these Thomas Jefferson quotes which came to my attention via Jim Walker's Thomas Jefferson page.

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814

Although speaking of a Christian nation, we have a deficit, and this is BS:
Military Spends Millions Evangelizing Troops 


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Abortion: What's up with that?

Abortion isn't really a main issue of mine, but I have an opinion on it just like most everyone else. My opinion on it is that it's horrible, and we should prevent it. Really, the whole concept of it is right out of a horror movie.

However, what should we do in regards of whether or not to keep it legal and how to prevent it? The currently necessary path is quite clear.

Firstly, let's cover why there's even an argument. The reason is that murder is bad. Even most serial killers will tell you that killing someone who has done nothing to wrong you is evil. Of course to them, that's probably part of the charm.

A whole lot of people think abortion is murder, even that those who perform or request abortions should be charged with murder. What is murder? It's killing a person. It's not taking a life; otherwise, me just swatting that fly would make me a murderer.

Most people on both sides agree that murder (killing a person) is wrong so the argument is about what
constitutes a person. Is it the life? Technically, all of the human life cycle is life. If we say that the life cycle qualifies, then even sperm and eggs must be protected by law.  Well, some women may say menstruation is murder, but they don't mean it literally. Is it the start of the life cycle? Scientists say the life cycle starts at conception. However, some step had to be Step One for the text book. It could just as easily have been ejaculation.

Pro-lifers cite this example from 1981 but only because they think it supports their argument. Do we really think they'd be pro-choice if the scientists had said life begins at birth? How many trust the scientific consensus on this but not on evolution or global warming? They're citing a source they don't trust.

However, taking a life isn't murder. Taking the life of a person is murder. I still don't hear any sirens over that fly. So, the whole argument over life is a distraction from the real issue.

What makes anyone of us a person? Unique DNA? Embryos can have unique DNA but so can tumors. Is it the soul? Well, the Bible doesn't state at what point in the life cycle a soul is granted. Also, we're not a theocracy so the religious answer has no place in this debate. The mind is what makes us unique. Would an adult body kept alive without a brain be considered a person? Or, is it just a shell? How about a brain dead adult? By definition, brain death is the irreversible cessation of brain functions. At various points in the human life cycle after conception, there is no functioning brain. And although it is irrelevant, I would have to say the answer to the religious question of the soul would be that the soul arrives when the brain has at least some degree of awareness. Without our consciousness, the body is just a shell

The question we need to ask is at what point in the life cycle do we acquire a brain? Scientists know that the possible capacity for the lower boundary of sentience is not developed until 18-25 weeks into a pregnancy.  However, the most likely correct answer is 30 weeks. At some point during the life cycle, personhood must be bestowed, but the point must not be an arbitrary one. Because there is some degree of uncertainty here, I would recommend erring on the side of caution and going with an answer of 18 or 22 weeks. It is an answer that should change as we learn more.

Some people say that comparing a brain dead patient to a fetus is unfair. They say it's different because the fetus is a potential person. An abortion would prevent a potential person. However, there are several stages of the life cycle where potential humans are prevented. One can't defend the “potential person argument” without saying that not knocking up a woman and not getting pregnant are crimes. While I'm typing this, I'm not impregnating anyone. It is a missed opportunity. I could currently be denying life to the person who cures cancer or to a person who will someday flip burgers. So, should not having unprotected sex at fertile times be a crime? Should we become a society where we all devolve into some kind of orgy whenever a fertile woman is present? Although it's the case on MTV reality shows, I hope that doesn't become everyday law.

So, should we make abortions illegal? If abortions are outlawed, only outlaws will have abortions. It will certainly be a boon to the industries run by Dr. Coathanger, Dr. StomachPunch, and Dr. SwallowBottleofRandomPills. Women will still have abortions, and they will be far less safe. Approximately, one million women had underground abortions in the two decades preceding legalization. Besides the back alley abortion business, outlawing abortions will also certainly please some rapists who will be glad that women must bear their children.

No, the answer is to prevent abortions and make them readily available until the fetus reaches the developmental point where it can be agreed it is a person., perhaps at 22 weeks. However, there needs to be an exception to this with regards to the safety of the mother's life. This prevents it being murder and gives sufficient time for most women to decide whether or not to remain pregnant. Most women know they're pregnant by 8 weeks. However, a far better answer would be only getting pregnant when it is desired. I will admit that even the concept of legal abortions that aren't murder are still pretty horrifying. Nobody would look forward to those, despite some on the Pro-life side claiming that others are Pro-Abortion.

So, how do we prevent abortions? Here's how:
  1. Make contraceptives and so-called morning after pills readily available.
  2. Provide comprehensive sex education. Abstinence is a valid choice; however, abstinence-only education relies on kids having an unbreakable iron will and actually agreeing with abstinence. The education they're provided pretty much guarantees unwanted pregnancies. Proper sex education must involve pregnancy and both the male and female responsibility in pregnancy.
A nasty roadblock to the accessibility of medication to prevent pregnancies are conscience laws. A pharmacist shouldn't be able to refuse to sell medication that a pharmacy sells based on that pharmacist's own religious or personal code. It is an employee's duty to fulfill a job function. If it is someone's job to sell drugs, but they only sell some drugs when they feel like it, they should be fired. If a personal code gets in the way of doing a job, they should pick a different job. However, I do think a pharmacist should be able to deny medication(s) to someone when there is a valid medical or legal concern (such as that person possibly being a drug abuser).

Some people are happy to sit back and say that abortions have risen in countries where there are more contraceptives and sex education. There are several problems with that statement. In developed countries, proper education has a better chance of success. The truth is that legal abortion increases the number of abortions that we know about. Unfortunately, not all illegal abortions are reported. Also, raw numbers usually rise in less developed, poorer countries as the population rises. Success has to be measured in terms of percentages of the current population. So if you see a graph showing that the number of abortions is staying constant, that means the abortions per person are decreasing because our population is increasing. Given population counts in the USA, the number of abortions are decreasing.

In the current times, that abortion has become such a big issue makes me think it is a distraction from solving our current issues, such as high unemployment, poor economy due to high unemployment, and poor economy due to a few having most of the wealth in this country, preventing the masses from spending.

If we could tackle the abortion issue logically as I laid out above, we could move onto the larger issues that affect us more greatly. This isn't to say abortion isn't an important issue, but the larger issues are also a matter of life and death. Poor economy creates crime. It means more people can't afford health care or sufficient food. It is not a good sign when the state of a country is a shambles and what goes on inside a uterus is the main focus of discussion.

Further Reading:
Carl Sagan on Abortion.
A pretty poor argument against the one presented by Sagan and myself. It is well-refuted by my above article.
Tumors Can Have Distinct DNA
According to Psalm 139, an embryo/fetus may be an unformed substance and is not said to have a soul (despite this writer's interpretation that it says it does). This article also says that a doctor says there isn't enough genetic material to define a unique person until at least after 8 days, possibly later.
Woman denied abortion, forced to endure her uterus crushing fetus to death:
GOP wants to censure legislature for saying the word “uterus” during discussion of abortion.
Over 97% of climate scientists and 82% of Earth scientists agree that humans are a significant contributing factor to the current global warming.
(I shouldn't admit it, but global warming is something I don't really care much about either. However, we should all agree that poisoning our air, water, soil, and food is bad. Friends deny global warming all the time, but it can't be denied that the city where I live constantly declares smog days. My lungs don't like it one bit. Let's agree that pollution is killing us, and we need to stop it.)

Bonus Video: Betty Bowers Describes All The Abortions in The Bible


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In Defense of the Simple Plan to Save America's Economy

In one of my first posts, I presented a plan to revitalize and preserve America's economy using tax incentives to raise wages.

Below, I respond to various criticisms of the plan, and show why those concerns are unfounded. I have culled and paraphrased these criticisms from various sources.

“Higher wages increase the costs of goods and services, which will also raise prices.”

Right. So, I guess we just don't increase people's wages then. Problem solved? Hey everybody, no more raises ever!

Actually, no. Wages have to increase. Wages have been stagnant for quite some time for the vast majority of Americans. Meanwhile, the number of millionaires has increased in this country and the riches of the mega-rich has increased dramatically.

However, the important thing is that higher wages don't increase the cost of goods. Anyone who understands economics knows this to be true. Cost is a function of supply and demand. When demand increases, more of a product is sold, the production cost is divided across more products and this reduces the cost of production per item, decreasing the cost of the item. The only time demand increases the cost of an item is when demand outstrips the supply. For the counter statement to be true, it would have to have said that demand increases the cost of goods and services when the supply is limited, and higher wages would also have to increase the demand on every product in the market to the point where demand outstrips supply. It is not as if everybody is suddenly going to want 50 gallons of milk every week. The truth is that many products will become cheaper though it is possible some items of limited availability may increase in price.

Therefore, those who say increasing wages in this country is a bad idea think we should keep the workers poor because there is a chance that the demand for some items may increase their cost. They're saying the money is better off in the hands of the rich CEOs. Unless, maybe you think the money is better off in the hands of the government. Personally, I wouldn't mind an extra $20 grand in my salary, even if maybe the price of milk were to go up by 20 cents a gallon.

In summary, that higher wages increases the cost of goods is blatantly false.

“It will cause inflation.”

See the above. This counter is simply not true. Also, the term inflation should only be used to mean rising costs associated with the devaluation of money caused by the government printing more.

“Salaries & wages are already a write off. Corps only pay taxes on net. We'd be better off eliminating all subsidies and loopholes.”

Eliminating subsidies and tax loopholes will only increase government revenue. I guess this means the government can take better care of all the poor and struggling working class who become poorer as companies outsource their work.

My plan provides a tax write-off incentive for companies to increase wages and hire domestically. In the case of corporations only paying taxes on net profit, this is an additional write-off. In light of that, perhaps a write-off equal to 50% of a worker's wage would be sufficient. Although, I must say I'm in favor of eliminating all write-offs and deductions for everybody and taxing all income, regardless of the source (except for non-profit charities). I'd couple this suggestion with suggesting eliminating sales tax in America, putting the tax on the person doing the selling, not on the buyer. It is true that some localities depend on a sales tax, but I would rather they instead earn a local income tax from sales. I'm aware that could simply lead to building the cost of the “sales tax” into the price of the item instead of calling it a sales tax. I'm just not a fan of anything resembling double-taxation (taxed when you earn, taxed when you spend, ugh), but that's neither here nor there. I'm getting somewhat off-topic.

“Let's enact tariffs. This will discourage domestic companies exporting their manufacturing to areas of cheap foreign labor and importing their products for sale. Then, they'll hire domestically instead.”

Or, they'll just increase the cost of the product to make up for the tariff, pushing the cost onto the already struggling consumers in this country. Companies don't want to give up money. If there's a way around it, they'll do it.

“These subsidies aren't sustainable. How long will they last? I'd rather a recovery be a function of the market.”

We'll have given businesses a new tax write-off and eliminated other write-offs and loopholes. It's more likely the government would break even, given that the six richest corporations in America pay none or almost no Federal tax.

However, the government would likely earn more tax revenue overall from this plan, even if corporations end up paying the same amount or less taxes. The reason being that working Americans would be earning more, and therefore, paying more in income taxes. Unlike corporations, most working Americans are honest, tax-paying folk.

How long would this last? I'd make it permanent. After all, a recovery via this plan would be using the market itself. This isn't the government subsidizing wages; it's providing ground rules for fair, ethical, and moral capitalism. If you take those rules away, the same recession will happen all over again because all economic systems eventually break down. Everything needs ground rules. You don't play sports without rules, and driving without traffic laws (or road signs) would be chaos.

“Companies don't have the money to increase wages, even with a tax write-off.”

During our recession, oil companies have been posting record profits.
Taxes can be paid at the year's end. Companies can pay extra wages if they know they won't have to pay that in taxes.
There's also enough money in some CEO's salaries and stock options to increase worker wages. I'm perfectly OK if companies, in order to pay less taxes, decrease CEO paychecks and pay that to the workers instead.
The CEO of Occidental Petroleum made $76.1 million in 2010, as much as 1,465 workers making $52,000 a year. Cut that CEO's pay in half to $33 million and you can give a $26,000 raise to 1,465 workers.
His pay also increased 142% from 2009. The life-changing effect of that would have been far more greatly felt by someone making $52,000 a year who would have seen their salary jump to $73,840.
While true that this CEO's pay may not be entirely transformable into cash since he's paid in stock options too, why not pay the CEO a meager salary and the rest in stock options? Or, why not give workers stock options? Maybe, they'd care more about where they worked if they had a stake in it. Remember pensions? I thought not.

What if a hugely profitable company doesn't have a lot of employees? How will this help them?”

In this case, it will improve the standard of living for the employees that they do have if those employees are paid less than the maximum deduction amount. However, the company won't be able to claim a giant deduction for wages that reduces its taxes to next to nothing. It'll just have to pay its regular taxes. This answer was pretty obvious.

I should point out that I do believe there should be a minimum taxation amount so that no company can use deductions to reduce their taxes to zero. I believe that 5% to 10% would be good.

However, government is all about compromise so I'm sure that if this plan is enacted some politicians will include a few write-offs and deductions even for companies without sufficient employee numbers to significantly reduce their taxes. I would also support that even if we tax companies on all of their income instead of merely profit, that a company with no profit would not owe taxes in most cases. However, the basic premise is simple, and I have heard of no other plan to revitalize America's economy that will sustain itself and pay for itself as this plan can.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Recognize and Disprove a Crappy Article

There are enough articles on the web that anyone can find a number of articles to back up almost any viewpoint, no matter how blatantly false. The dilemma one has is separating the good from the bad. However, even articles that write about the truth can fail to hold any water when they provide nothing to back up their claims.

Here are the six types of crappy articles I most often see:

  1. The contents of the article don't back up the title (or worse, contradict it).
  2. Easily discredited falsehoods or hearsay used to back up claim.
  3. Uses assumptions with no attempt to back up claim.
  4. Limited and irrelevant data used to back up a broad claim.
  5. Science doesn't back up the claim.
  6. History doesn't back up the claim.

Examples of Crappy Articles

Example 1:

This article comments on a feud going on between other journalists over the Affordable Care Act.

The line it uses to try to prove its point says that the person in question, an Ezra Klein, “fully admitted it [the ACA] could result in less generous insurance.”

Let's examine this statement. If someone says that something could possibly happen as a result of a law, that isn't the same as saying that the possible event was the actual goal of the law. Walker provides a link to Ezra Klein's article; however, an article is required to stand on its own to at least some degree. If an article's own text contradicts the claim of the title, it's a crappy article.

However, the beginning of the article is no better. The article quotes Ezra Klein where he is saying that the law wouldn't make Johnson's health insurance less generous. The article then goes on to make the statement which contradicts the article's title as I showed in the prior paragraph. That Klein admits that the law could make someone's insurance less generous would seem to support at least one thing in this article. Sadly, this isn't the case. This is because Klein's quote which is being used against him is being taken out of context (or is provided with no context, take your pick).

In Klein's article (and in the ACA), it states that health care premiums over $21,000 for families, and $8,000 for individuals, get a 40 percent surtax. This article by Jon Walker fails to determine (or share) whether Johnson's health care premiums meet this requirement. For all I, the reader, know, Johnson's premiums are exempt, and from the text of this article, it appears Jon Walker doesn't know either. One thing that is known, according to Klein's article, is that very few premiums will meet that requirement.

Therefore, this article uses assumptions (Crappy Article Type #3) and the contents contradict the title (Crappy Article Type #1).

Going by the contents of Klein's article which was linked to in Walker's article, it seems much more logical to assert as follows:
  1. The ACA was designed to decrease the cost of health care.
  2. The excise tax was designed to make health insurance more affordable by providing a disincentive to charging excessive money for health insurance.
  3. When the cost of health care decreases, charging an excessive amount for the insurance should be discouraged by a tax.
If I were to write an article claiming the above, I would cite sources revealing creators of the ACA saying that they designed the ACA to achieve those specific goals. Otherwise, I would have to assert that the law is only likely to cause those three events and provide reasons that those events would occur.

That Fire Dog Lake would even host an article that only backs up its claim by hoping that the reader won't notice there is no supporting material shows that it has the same journalistic integrity as Fox News. This doesn't seem surprising from a website that seems to be home for liberals that hate liberals. At least, that's my opinion.

Example 2:

The gist of this article is that private schools cost less and provide better test scores than public schools.

First, he asserts that the Wisconsin teachers were protesting because they didn't want to pay more of a percentage of their pensions. However, the teachers had agreed to pay more of their pensions and were protesting the removal of their ability to collectively bargain. So far, this article hasn't even gotten a secondary piece of information correct.

Second, Jeffrey claims private schools test better than public schools. For this, he only compares Catholic schools to public schools. This bogus comparison doesn't compare all private schools to all public schools. The difference in test scores is also marginal. He compares the test scores of public versus private eighth-graders where there is an average 17 point difference out of 500 points (or a 3% difference). Interestingly, he mentions that Wisconsin public schools are better than the national average. This should rather deflate his attack on Wisconsin public schools. Instead, he goes on to claim that only 30 percent of public school eighth-graders received a "proficient" or better rating in reading. It must be noted that he fails to list how well private schools did. Like all good propagandists, the author is good at removing context.

When he compares costs, he compares all public schools of Wisconsin against only a few Catholic schools belonging to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He is also comparing the “money spent on each student by public schools” against the amounts charged for tuition in Catholic schools. Those are two different things. If you are comparing tuition, you need to ask how much taxpayers are paying for public schools, not the amount spent on each student.

At no point does he provide any reason to think that it is the teachers in these schools that cause the marginal test score improvement. Whereas, it is likely that students with parents that pay out of pocket are more likely to be more involved.

  • All the parents (or at least one parent or guardian) of students at private schools are paying for their kids to attend that school. So, these parents are already involved in their kid's education just by paying the bill.
  • Pitting only students whose parents are involved and can afford a private education against a wide range of students, some of which are poor and who may have parents who don't care about their education, is not a fair comparison when the only factors being blamed for poor performance are the teachers and the school.

Many believe that teachers are not as important in test scores as are students and parents. However, this is not conclusive. Jeffrey fails to even address this issue. He also fails to address whether public teachers are overpaid. Should teachers willing to teach difficult students in bad neighborhoods be paid less than private teachers who mostly teach better behaved students from well-to-do families? Who has the more difficult job? Frankly, the cushy job is less demanding.

So, it becomes apparent, by his own admission, that his main desire is for kids to be indoctrinated into the religion that he prefers. To try to prove his claim, he uses comparisons which pit a broad selection of the schools he dislikes against a narrow selection of the schools which he prefers, meaning that the reader has no idea whether he is comparing averages against averages. In fact, pretty much all of his comparisons are apples to oranges.

This crappy article, which is an example of Crappy Article Types #3 and #4, is hosted on which is home to numerous such articles. After all, is where conservatives preach to other conservatives who have already made up their minds to believe whatever has to say with no critical thinking. Lack of critical thinking on the part of the reader is harmful to the reader no matter what is being read. It is especially important with articles such as this one which give the illusion that it provides useful data.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Barack Obama Birth Certificate

Some people claim Obama hasn't proven he's not from another country. They say he's a filthy foreigner, like our ancestors that came from afar to settle this land.

However, here's proof that he was born here in the USA:

Here's a closeup of the birth certificate:

Here's a photo of me using the birth certificate as a sail on my trip to Hawaii:

Now, instead of engaging in actual debate, many birthers simply state that it was a liberal who first started the question of Obama's citizenship. If true (and it's doubtful Philip J. Berg is a real liberal), this means that a liberal simply wanted reassurance when Obama started his run, the question was answered, and the liberal then sat down, his question being satisfactorily answered. However, right-wing nut jobs (RWNJs) weren't satisfied by an answer. The fantasy that Obama wasn't American-born was too attractive to give up.

The ridiculous fake Kenyan birth certificate:
A real birth certificate wouldn't list Kenya as a republic before it became a republic. The fake also lists a hospital that is in Zanzibar, not Kenya.

Apparently, some RWNJs still aren't satisfied, even after seeing the birth certificate, holding it, or having it rubbed all over their naked bodies. I guess they want to see video of the birth in a hospital room that has a window from which you can see a nice Hawaiian beach. Of course, they would simply suggest that the video was faked in the same way that the moon landing was faked.

The 2012 GOP Presidential Nominees

Here they are folks, the GOP superstars, strutting their stuff down the catwalk. Baring their credentials for your discerning critical eye. Let's take a look, shall we?

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee is a Southern Baptist minister born in 1955 who has only married one woman and is still married to her!

He wrote a book on small government, entitled "A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need from Washington (and a Trillion That We Don't)."

At the time of this writing, Huckabee hosts the Fox News Channel talk show that is creatively named “Huckabee.”

On an interview on the Colbert Report, Huck agreed with being a social conservative who boycotted CPAC. He said social conservatives are also fiscal conservatives. Interesting.

Social conservatives disagree with permitting what they see as various moral failings in our society, usually due to a religious belief. So, they want the government to intrude in people's lives and say, “No, you can't do that.” They don't want gays to marry, gays to serve in the military openly, or women to have abortions (even before a fetus is formed). They oppose the legality of pornography, prostitution, polygamy, drugs, and euthanasia. So logically, a fiscal conservative is someone who disagrees with various types of commerce, possibly on moral grounds, and wants such commerce outlawed (for the common good, of course). That sure sounds like it requires a lot of regulation.

However, fiscal conservatism is actually a belief in government staying out of all expressions of capitalist freedoms and of not spending more than you have. Therefore, one would logically think that social conservatism would be a belief in the government staying out of people's private lives and decisions, permitting any freedom so long as they weren't infringing on someone else's freedom. After all, why should the government regulate people's private lives if they're not going to regulate business?

So, Huckabee isn't very good at logic. He's just an emotional heartfelt person; that's all. On the Colbert Report, he certainly seemed like a jovial guy with a sense of humor, kind of like a Republican Santa Claus. He's in a rock band so he must be cool too. However, Southern Baptists are the ones that, in the 80s, protested Dungeons and Dragons for turning kids into devil worshipers. That's like protesting the board game Candy Land because it will turn children into candy. However, Southern Baptists also tend to think rock music is evil so maybe Huckabee has a bit of a liberal streak.

Well, he did famously compare legalizing gay marriage to legalizing drugs, incest, and polygamy.
Huckabee also suggests we isolate the HIV positive from the general public since they are akin to carriers of the plague.
Pros: Seems friendly enough, Christian
Cons: Not very good at logic, Social conservatism should win him the Tea Party vote but alienate the Libertarian vote, May have lied about his book containing a trillion things government shouldn't do
Qualifications: Governor of Arkansas, Works for Fox News

Mitt Romney

Romney is a Mormon born in 1947. His first name is Willard which he doesn't use. You'd think the power to control rats would be a plus in politics.

He used to be for abortion rights and gay civil unions. However, now he's not. He signed the Massachusetts health reform law which is for all purposes identical to the Affordable Care Act signed by Obama. However, he opposes the Affordable Care Act. This means he doesn't think the federal government should be able to force you to buy something, but your state government can force you to buy whatever it wants, possibly for no reason.

So, Romney has changed his stance on mostly all social issues. He was for them before he was against them. He also signed into law a hated “Obamacare” bill before Obama did. Though he's now against it, that he was ever for it could be a stumbling block. The Republicans hate their ideas once the Democrats starting using them.

So, is he a social conservative or not? Mormons certainly are supposed to be. That he supported gay civil unions in order to prevent gay marriage may not fly with the “gay people touching each other is icky” crowd. He certainly doesn't seem like a fiscal conservative given that he supported health care regulation.

There's also the problem that he successfully worked with Democrats in Massachusetts to get legislation passed. The current speaker of the House John Boehner can't even say the word “compromise.” Compromise isn't the “in” word right now.

And of course, Republicans are wary of non-Christians and non-traditional Christians.

Pros: Has all his hair.
Cons: Flip-flopper, Created Obamacare before Obama did, Magic underwear?, Not a Fox News employee
Qualifications: Governor of Massachusetts

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is a hot babe born in 1964 who bears quite the similarity to someone named Lisa Ann (yeah, you probably don't want to Google her at work). She loves wolves and the Wasilla Assembly of God Pentecostal church. Palin is still married to her first husband.

She has been fully protected from witches by a blessing from Thomas Muthee. When not speaking in tongues, preparing for the rapture, or challenging evolution, Palin enjoys appreciating wildlife through the scope of a rifle while in a helicopter.

She was also Governor of Alaska which has about 5 people in it, right? Most communities that need organizing have more people in it than Alaska. It must not have needed much organizing because she quit her governorship before finishing. Well, one can make more money promoting a book, speaking at engagements, and being a media darling (in the laughing at you, not with you, way).

Palin has been a Fox News guest commentator (on the Glenn Beck show), a reality TV star, and had a 20-year old kid sentenced to a year in prison (not the 20 she was going for) for looking at her e-mail.

Still, she's religious, conservative, and wants to cut taxes. That she has no plan besides cutting taxes isn't that important. It's a great catch-phrase and worsening the government's ability to pay for things usually solves everything.

However, her biggest advantage is that so many people view her as a down-homey mama grizzly.

Pros: Able to maul the face off a camper, Christian
Cons: Her frequent incorrect statements, Being a quitter, Appearing to be batshit fucking insane
Qualifications: Avid book promoter, Reality TV star, Has had several books written for her, Has worked for Fox News

Newt Gingrich

Newton Leroy Gingrich (born 1943) is a former House Speaker from Pennsylvania. He's a Roman Catholic who enjoys reviewing military history books and spy novels on Amazon.

Capable of both reading and writing, Gingrich is a prolific author. Despite his love of animals and dinosaurs, he has written no books about them. This shows that, like a good Catholic, he is into denying himself pleasure.

Gingrich has been married three times. He cheated on his first two wives. Please ignore any previous statements about him denying himself pleasure. He left his first wife when she got cancer. Cancer is just no fun at all. While still married to his second wife, Gingrich was banging some hussy as he led the impeachment effort on Bill Clinton (whose crime was denying that a blowjob was sex).

He has a good conservative track record. He helped pass legislation that reformed welfare and balanced the budget. He also oversaw passage of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 that reduced the number of laws members of Congress can ignore.

Gingrich is largely responsible for the government shutdown of 1995. He claimed it was over a fight to slow government spending; however, support for his effort failed when evidence began to surface that it was payback for a personal snub he'd received. Evidence now shows that the government shutdown cost the government money. Among other things, revenue was lost from an estimated 7 million people who would have visited national parks and museums. It was estimated that the shutdown cost taxpayers $700 to $800 million.

He has the honor of the being the first House Speaker to be disciplined for an ethics violation. Eighty-four ethics charges were thrown at him, but only one stuck. I hate to think why it was sticky.

After his job as speaker, Gingrich has frequently appeared as a special guest star on numerous Fox News programs. He has hosted various specials for Fox News and is listed as a special contributor.

Pros: Name recognition, Christian
Cons: Adulterer, Ethics violator, Hypocrite
Qualifications: Former House Speaker, Worked for Fox News

Tim Pawlenty

Timothy James Pawlenty (born 1960) is the former two-time Governor of Minnesota. He's a Baptist and is still married to his first wife.

As Governor, he didn't raise taxes, but he did raise fees. He managed to balance the state deficit by slashing social services, showing he protects the money of the rich at the cost of the less fortunate as a Republican should.

Pawlenty signed a bill that raised the minimum ethanol in gasoline to 20%. Most cars are only designed to safely handle 15% ethanol. This shows a strong disdain for science which is good because only 6% of scientists are Republican.

He showed extreme disdain toward his state's legislative branch when they told him he overreached with his powers. This shows he dislikes big government.

He tried hard, but failed, to reinstate an education requirement system, Profiles of Learning, which had previously failed and been repealed. This shows he is tenacious as a leader should be.

To regain some conservative cred, Pawlenty turned down federal funds to implement the new Affordable Care Act. However, he accepted $500,000 in federal funds for abstinence-only sex education to help more youths experience the joy of unexpected pregnancy. This shows he cares about the youth.

He abandoned Minnesota, leaving it with a $6.2 billion deficit and record high taxes.

Pawlenty has already started making campaign promises, such as, if elected, he will reinstate Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He supports raising the retirement age of the middle-class because the life expectancy of the rich has increased.
He also really enjoys shutting down the government and looks forward to doing it again.

On the case of collective bargaining, he sides with Governor Scott Walker by stating that the need and argument for unions, “does not apply to public employment.”

Pros: Christian, Opposes legislation that furthers or protects gay rights or worker's rights
Cons: Left his state with a high deficit and high taxes, Doesn't work for Fox News
Qualifications: Governor of Minnesota, Never shot a man in Reno just to watch him die