Friday, December 28, 2012

Guns in the USA

A typical sarcastic attitude on guns in the United States

We should take a multi-prong approach to our gun problem in the USA.
  • Limit the sale of guns to one per week. Places like Arizona where non-licensed dealers can buy as many as thirty at once are a grand problem. The guns are smuggled to Mexico or end up on the streets here. 
  • Clamp down and allow no guns sales without background checks. End the gun show and Internet sale loopholes. Have private sales administered by licensed sellers so that background checks and registration aren't circumvented. Apparently, California has something similar to this, and it has helped.
  • Make mental health and criminal background both part of the background checks. Coordinate mental health professionals with law enforcement. The mental health professional of the individual that shot up the movie theater in 2012 knew he was becoming dangerous but wasn't able to share her knowledge due to the law.
  • Create awareness of the warning signs that someone is going to do something heinous. In many mass shootings, there were warning signs people ignored.
  • Create criminal penalties for improper storage of one's guns. The recent shooter's mother didn't secure her guns against her unstable son. At least, that's what are some are saying. 
  • Have security at all schools. I'd rather have professionals rather than armed teachers who could have their guns stolen and are not security professionals.
  • Hold more gun buy-back programs to get guns off the street. Though the programs have critics, they're quite successful at getting unwanted (perhaps dangerous) guns out of households.
  • If it were practical, I'd say new guns must have finger-print scanning locks so that they won't fire unless held by the person they're registered to. We already have the technology. Arguments against its cost or reliability all point to manageable issues. 
  • I believe the biggest problem isn't the guns themselves but who has them and our attitudes toward them. Note that any legislation that bans a certain type of gun won't have much affect until many, many years down the road. There are many, many guns already out there. However, I agree that average American's don't need automatic weapons, bazookas, grenade launchers, etc. We're past the point where most Americans can afford weapons that can take on the government so that use of the 2nd Amendment is almost moot. Yes, the intent was good and true, but as the government has tanks and attack helicopters, your small arms are largely irrelevant. So yes, I'm OK with taking military grade weapons off the civilian market, such as assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. It won't make civilians fighting the military more useless than it already is.
  • We must recognize that guns are MODOKs (Mechanical Objects Designed Only For Killing). They are part of the problem. Those supporting a laissez-faire gun climate point to an incident in China where around 20 children were knifed as an example that gun laws won't stop violence. Yet, it's hard not to notice that the kids in China were only wounded. Meanwhile, 20 kids were murdered in an Amerian school. Guns were the difference.

Things I've Noticed in the National Dialogue

Arm the Teachers

Sure, if someone on the job is vetted by the job to carry a weapon on the job, I have no problem with it. However, proper screenings and background checks must be maintained. Proper evaluations of said employees must be conducted at regular intervals as if they were security personnel.

And yes, if the two teachers that lunged at the shooter during the Newtown, CT massacre had been armed, they might have lived or killed the shooter. However, all the victims of the shooter up until that point would still be dead. In this case, that would have been most of them.

Far better would be to have at lest two trained security personnel at vulnerable locations.

It's Easy to Get Guns in America, It's Difficult to Defend Yourself without a Concealed Carry Permit

Without a CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) license, the law is against the gun-owner in many cases. Laws vary state by state, but without one, you can't have a weapon on you or in your car (either loaded or with bullets anywhere in the car). This makes it awfully hard for it to be of any benefit. Because of this, we should make all that goes along with getting a CCW standard for gun ownership in the first place: training and safety classes.

Such-and-such had Security, Fort Hood was Full of Soldiers and a Shooting Still Happened, More Guns Won't Help!

What are these arguments trying to say? I don't think the people saying them know.

They seem to be saying we shouldn't have any security because it won't help - that we should just let shooters kill all the people they want. It's just proof that people on the left (politically) can say things just as dumb as people on the right.

Sure, more guns just laying around won't help. Sure, a bunch of soldiers in training who don't have their weapons at the ready can be gunned down like unarmed and unprepared people. There have also been times criminals have overcome security. However, security has also stopped criminals and mass shooters in some cases. A few failures doesn't make a legitimate case unless balanced against the successes and larger context.

All the "more guns won't help" argument does is provide whining without context. It seems to merely be a cry for banning all guns. For anyone with such a goal, they'll need to first solve the problem of illegal guns or the slogan "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" will certainly become true. Regardless, WE MUST ALL look to solving the problem of illegal guns if we care about the safety of ourselves, our neighbors, and our children. That is the goal of the multi-pronged approach outlined above.

What are Other Real Problems that Contribute to Crime in this Country?


Poverty contributes to crime. This is very well known.

Our Prison System

The USA has more people in prison than most other countries combined. The failed war on drugs has incarcerated many for small offenses and prison makes small time crooks into hardened criminals. For profit prisons, have lobbied for mandatory three-strike laws where a few misdemeanors means the person is treated as a felon and gets a mandatory long sentence. Meanwhile, prisons compete for both private and public work contracts against private businesses. Prisons don't have to pay their prisoner workers (slave labor) minimum wage, and they're competing against private businesses in America for jobs!

The Single Best Anti-Gun-Death Policy? Ending the Drug War

U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations

The Caging of America

The Business Ethics of Incarceration: The Moral Implications of Treating Prisons Like Businesses

Let's Tackle the Real Problems and not the Scapegoats.

Evidence Does Not Support Link Between Video Games and Violent Crime

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Reform

Regardless of who wins tonight, the fact remains that our Presidential election system needs reform. I have a three-point plan for this.

#1. Eliminate the Electoral College

It's an outdated system dating back to when we had a small number of states which were apprehensive about a federal government. It promotes States over the People. The States, and the People of the States, are represented in the House and Senate. Let the People directly elect the President of the United States.

As the current system stands, some States don't even require their electors in the electoral college to vote according to how the People in the state vote. They are called “Faithless Electors.” And in cases like the 2000 election, the candidate with the most votes doesn't always win.

In fact, some states are looking to make the system more fair as the problems with it are well known.

#2. Campaign Finance Reform

Return the power to the people by only allowing individual people to contribute to candidates. Corporations and unions shouldn't have such influence. Set the contribution limit to not more than $1,000 per candidate per individual. As it stands, a few wealthy individuals have more influence and voice than all the rest of America. We won't limit free speech, but we will limit the corrupting influence of money in the elections.

As far as individuals forming their own PACs or buying airtime or ads on their own (two things I'm against but I'm also against limiting freedom), we will have total transparency. No anonymous attacks and contributions will be allowed. Accusations of foreign money entered our 2010 elections, and as of yet, there is no proof that such a thing didn't happen. We must have accountability and transparency.

#3. Eliminate the Hold of the Two-Party System

Instead of Democratic and Republican Primaries, we will hold one Primary in which every Presidential candidate of every party will participate. The two with the most votes will go on to challenge each other for the votes to become President. If parties want to trim down the candidates they enter into this Battle Royale beforehand, that will be on them.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Which Party is More Racist?: The Facts and Math

U.S. Senator Robert Byrd of
West Virginia, 2005
Some claim Democrats are racist because more of them opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, what this actually shows is that the South is more racist.

When broken down by party and area, 7% of Southern Democrats supported the Civil Rights Act while no Republicans did. In the North, 94% of Democrats supported the Civil Rights Act while 85% of Republicans did.

It's easy to mislead by saying more Democrats voted one way or another because there were more Democrats in office. However at this time in history, a greater percentage of the Republicans in office opposed the Civil Rights Act than did Democrats, showing that the GOP had a greater ratio of the racism. So yes, more Democrats voted against it than did Republicans, but more Democrats also voted for it than did Republicans.

Being able to see this, racists Democrats tended to gravitate to the Republican Party after the vote. While other racist Democrats who remained Democrats realized the error of their ways.

One of the acts greatest foes was Democrat James Strom Thurmond who switched to the Republican Party after 1964.

Robert Byrd, another Civil Rights Act opponent, remained a Democrat; however, he later changed his opinion and regretted his racism.

Byrd renounced racial segregation, regretted filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and said joining the KKK was "the greatest mistake I ever made."

George Wallace is one of the most well-known supporters of segregation. However, he ran for President in 1968 as the American Independent Party candidate. Richard Nixon was worried he would split the conservative vote rather than the liberal vote.

In 1978, George Wallace became a born-again Christian and apologized for his support of segregationists to black civil rights leaders. He said, "I was wrong. Those days are over, and they ought to be over." In his later years, he defended minority voting rights and appointed black officials to state office during his term as governor that began in 1982. Though some doubt the honesty of his change of heart, these are just the facts of what he said and did.

So, the next time a Republican apologist says Dixiecrats didn't switch sides after the Civil Rights Act vote, you can tell them that the ones who remained racists did. Of course, not all politicians did change sides, but several of the most prominent ones, who stayed in office long enough post-1964 to have a change of heart, did.

As you can see, Democrats are the less racist party and following 1964, the racists and non-racists fell into the correct parties. This reinforces the saying, "Not all Republicans are racist, but most racists are Republicans."

The South, unfortunately, remains a haven for racism and is now more strongly Republican.

The Republican Party has ceased to be a party of civil rights. They oppose the freedom to marry for some minorities (gays), and they think women should have to bear the baby of their rapist. Both are in the official Republican Party platform of 2012. They also seem to oppose freedom of religion (unless you're the right kind of Christian). Their Muslim witch-hunting harkens back to the Red Scare of McCarthyism.

The facts and math disprove the right-wing lie as you can see from the totals:

Totals are listed in the “For” - “Against” format:
  • The original House version: 290–130 (69–31%)
  • Cloture in the Senate: 71–29 (71–29%)
  • The Senate version: 73–27 (73–27%)
  • The Senate version, as voted on by the House: 289–126 (70–30%)
By party

The original House version:
  • Democratic Party: 152–96 (61–39%)
  • Republican Party: 138–34 (80–20%)
Cloture in the Senate:
  • Democratic Party: 44–23 (66–34%)
  • Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)
The Senate version:
  • Democratic Party: 46–21 (69–31%)
  • Republican Party: 27–6 (82–18%)
The Senate version, voted on by the House:
  • Democratic Party: 153–91 (63–37%)
  • Republican Party: 136–35 (80–20%)
By party and region

Note: "Southern", as used in this section, refers to members of Congress from the eleven states that made up the Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. "Northern" refers to members from the other 39 states, regardless of the geographic location of those states.

The original House version:
  • Southern Democrats: 7–87 (7–93%)
  • Southern Republicans: 0–10 (0–100%)
  • Northern Democrats: 145–9 (94–6%)
  • Northern Republicans: 138–24 (85–15%)
The Senate version:
  • Southern Democrats: 1–20 (5–95%)
  • Southern Republicans: 0–1 (0–100%)
  • Northern Democrats: 45–1 (98–2%)
  • Northern Republicans: 27–5 (84–16%)
Propagandist articles such as this fail to mention all the facts:

"What About Byrd?". Slate. December 18, 2002. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
"Sen. Robert Byrd Discusses His Past and Present", Inside Politics, CNN, December 20, 1993
"Civil Rights Act of 1964". Retrieved June 28, 2010.
King, Desmond (1995). Separate and Unequal: Black Americans and the US Federal Government. p. 311.
At Wallace Funeral, a Redemptive Tone
Changing minds: George Wallace

Articles about Racism (updated Nov 8th, 2012):

Hate Groups Grow as Racial Tipping Point Changes Demographics
 "According to the SPLC, the number of radical "anti-government" militia groups increased from 150 to 1,274 during the years of the Obama presidency. There have been more homegrown domestic terrorism attacks by right-wing groups than by international terrorists during his presidency as well, Potok noted."
Hate Groups Rise Against Blacks, Obama
"Take Georgia bar owner Patrick Lanzo, a hate-filled resident who claims that he’s not a racist but insists on plastering the N-word on a large roadside sign outside his Georgia Peach Oyster Bar to describe his political views."
Klan Group Heralds Rise of New KKK, Calls for Segregation
"Oh, it's going to happen. And I fear it. ... And it ain't just me. ... If he gets four more years, Barack Obama will ruin this country. And white people will be in concentration camps, and if you don't think that white people [can] be in concentration camps, [you] are sadly mistaken."
Hate and Extremism
"The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public."

Twitter Racists React to ‘That Nigger’ Getting Reelected
A collection of the most racist tweets upon hearing Obama was re-elected.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Obama Option

Author: Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project

 <-- This Guy is Obama

I was originally going to post an objective look at each party's platform and their accomplishments since the last election. However since I know who I'm voting for, I'm going to instead say why. This will include much of the same information that would have been included in the other articles.

The business I work in has seen many jobs lost to cheaper South American competitors. My own job is in constant threat of this outsourcing.

The American Jobs Act is the sort of bill that could help protect my job. It provides tax incentives to bring jobs back to America, among other things. Republicans have been blocking it for a year.

I'm not a rich guy and will likely need to rely on Social Security and Medicare in old age even if I become more wealthy. Romney and Ryan have been talking about privatizing (or partially privatizing) Medicare which non-partisan economists agree will double the out of pocket costs for future retirees.

Republican policies are bad for my wife's education and job. When the Republicans cut spending, they cut funding for schools and education. She still needs to finish college for her job in education-related fields.

It'll be awfully hard to not take personally anyone voting for Republican scumbags this election. Why? Republican policies will cause personal injury to me so those votes are essentially personal attacks on me.

I guess the "positive" side is that the GOP platform will prevent gays from getting married which is none of my business nor anyone else's except for the gay couple and the religious freedom of whoever wishes to officiate the ceremony. Also, the GOP will protect the zygotes and fetuses of rapists from the horrible women who wish to abort them. Wait, those aren't good things. There is no positive side to the GOP platform.

That's why I'm voting for Obama. This is the first election where the right and wrong sides have been so clearly defined. Here's a rundown of all the reasons.

Reason #1: Conservatives Suck at Economics
Reason #2: Republican Bigotry Disqualifies Them as a Political Party
Reason #3: Obama's Foreign Policy Is An Example of How It Should Be Done
Reason #4: We're Better Off
Reason #5: GOP Report Card
Reason #6: The GOP Has Been Willing to Hurt the USA in Order to Regain Power
Reason #7: They're Not the Same

Reason #1: Conservatives Suck at Economics

Republicans (and Libertarians) argue that we need to give more tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, not incentives like the American Jobs Act. Fun Fact: Giving corporations more tax breaks doesn't give them any incentive to hire more. It doesn't create more demand for their product or make labor in America any cheaper compared to overseas.

Tax incentives for hiring Americans and raising wages are what's needed. Federal income taxes are already (in 2012) at their lowest point in 67 years, and America's corporate tax rate is the 4th effective lowest in the world. Though the base corporate tax rate is high, the rate companies pay when deductions are included is actually very low.

If the goal of conservatives is simply to make the rich richer, they're actually very good at it. Current wealth inequality is extreme. So, maybe it's that the people who believe what Republicans say are bad at economics. The income of the rich has been growing while the income of the other 90% of Americans has been stagnant. Meanwhile, inflation has continued.

What's more, two-thirds of private-sector job growth in the past five decades came with Democrats in the White House. Additionally, the economy has added 4.5million private sector jobs in the last 29 consecutive months. While this number doesn't factor in losses, the majority of losses occurred during Obama's first year before his administration had introduced any new economic policies. But any way you slice it, private sector jobs have still increased under Obama. Additionally, public sector (government) jobs have decreased under Obama. That's something which anti-government waste conservatives should praise. Yet, they hypocritically don't.

Lastly (for all the conservatives who criticize Obama for not creating more jobs), I thought you guys wanted the government to stay out of things. Why don't you people stop looking to the government to fix your problems? Some of them say the government doesn't ever create jobs so why do they expect it to? So you see, when it's government jobs they like, Republicans agree that government spending absolutely creates jobs.

Conservative government policies which favor globalism and outsourcing are to blame for many of the good jobs no longer being available in America. Democrats know that tax incentives for hiring American workers are needed to balance the playing field against cheap foreign labor. The same types of incentives could be used to raise wages here. It's foolish to expect the economy to magically improve if people don't have more money to spend domestically. This is why government money used to assist the poor is money well spent as it immediately recirculates back into the economy. Meanwhile, most tax breaks for the wealthy simply go into their bank accounts to be saved.

As far as placing blame for the economy during Obama's first year before his economic policies had taken effect, economists on both sides like to use their own math. They agree that 8 million jobs were lost as a result of the recession. When the previous administration sets the building on fire, it's not fair to blame the new guys for the building still being on fire when they first arrive. This is why I disagree with the report at, not the numbers but the interpretation. It says that 1 million net jobs were created under Bush. However, that number is closer to negative 3 million if losses from 2009 (4.1 million) are included. Don't blame the fire on the firefighters, at least not until they've had a chance to get started fighting it.

Of course, the kicker is that the real culprit is decades of incorrect economic policies. However, Democrats have been better at guiding America's flawed policies. For example, the 2001 recession in Bush's term could be blamed on Clinton. However, that recession cost 2.7 million jobs total whereas the recession started under Bush cost a total of 8 millions jobs. So, even if that full 2.7 million wasn't counted against Bush, he'd still have a net job loss for his term. Recent numbers have shown that, including losses - some of which should be attributed to Bush, Obama's term has so far still generated a net 300,000 jobs. Likewise, unemployment has now dropped below 8%. That is, mind you, with Republicans having blocked most job bills pushed by Obama and the Democrats.

Likewise, the federal deficit and the blame for it is entirely a red herring for similar reasons. The deficit is only bad if other countries consider the USA not good for its debt. Conservatives (the GOP House voted into power in 2010) got America's credit rating downgraded by fighting the debt ceiling increase which is America's promise to actually repay the debt it owes. Junior Tea Party Congress people and other Republicans somehow felt that not raising the debt ceiling could win them political points. They hurt America instead.

The conservative idea of reducing the federal deficit by only cutting spending is bogus. I wonder how many conservatives pay off debts in their personal lives by only decreasing their spending and balk at the idea of increasing their income. Making more money is a great way to pay off one's debt, yet Republicans think they can pay off the debt only by cutting spending while also decreasing federal income (the federal taxes which are already at a 67 year low). Some of them want to increase military spending at the same time while also promising to not cut Social Security or Medicare. They simply refuse to use logic and promise the impossible. Meanwhile, Obama has reduced the increase of federal spending (not since Eisenhower has an increase been so small) while being unable to raise taxes on those who can afford it and whom Romney agreed aren't the people who need help (when at their first presidential debate).

How does Romney suggest reducing the deficit? He disliked that Obama wanted to end specific tax breaks for oil companies totaling $24 billion despite oil companies raking in record profits during recent years. Romney then said energy independence was good and complained about $90 billion in federal assistance to clean and green energy programs which promote energy independence and a cleaner environment (reducing pollution protects people from pollution-related health problems). Romney then said he'd end federal funding to programs like Sesame Street (“just $445 million from the government in 2012—or about 0.014 percent of the federal budget”) which promote education despite saying he was pro-education. So, Romney will cut spending for education, the environment, and energy while preserving tax cuts for the oil companies which can afford to make political donations.

Reason #2: Republican Bigotry Disqualifies Them as a Political Party

Mitt Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan,said this: “The things you talk about, like traditional marriage and family and entrepreneurship, these aren’t values that are indicative to any one person or race or creed or color. These are American values, these are universal human values.” By including “traditional marriage” Ryan is saying that preventing gay marriage is a universal human value. In fact, preventing it denies people their civil rights and some religions their religious freedom (the ones that use the Bible correctly).

Any party whose platform includes denying a portion of the people their civil rights should automatically be disqualified from consideration. It's no different than racism or bigotry. In my eyes, those bigoted against gays are no different than racists or misogynists. The Family Research Council is a hate group no different than the KKK.

It baffles me when I hear people complain about a militant gay agenda. If I didn't have the same rights as other people and there were groups actively trying to prevent me from gaining those rights, I might be far more militant than gays throwing a parade. Frankly, the homophobes have been lucky the gays have been as civil as they have.

We shouldn't forget that as an 18-year old senior at the Cranbrook School, Mitt Romney had his buddies hold down a closeted gay student (whom Romney felt was effeminate) so that he could shave off his hair as his victim screamed for help. It was a brutal attack designed to hurt and humiliate. This is who Romney is. Sure, Romney has apologized (because it was brought to light). However, his insincerity is evident in that he laughs it off when it's mentioned. He claims he didn't do it because the student was gay. That's doesn't make it better. That would mean the only reason for doing it would have been to hurt and humiliate someone else in an unfair fight simply because he could.

It's the easiest litmus test of all to realize that people must not be listened to if they support the oppression or marginalization of any minority in the USA. It's distinctly un-American. Two consenting adults should be able to marry. Religious institutions that want to marry them should have that freedom. It's personal freedom and religious freedom at stake here. Under the guise of religious freedom, Republicans claim that their religious tyranny is otherwise.

Frankly, the social control that is desired by social conservatism is big government intruding into the homes and personal lives of people. That's not small government. This is why I say the current meaning of political conservatism has lost all elements of being conservative.

Reason #3: Obama's Foreign Policy Is An Example of How It Should Be Done

Instead of unilaterally invading countries that were of no threat to us and giving the rest of the world a negative attitude towards us, the Obama administration ended major operations in Iraq which we earlier invaded under false pretenses. Obama also made pursuing Osama Bin laden, the leader of the terrorist organization behind 9/11, a priority and successfully killed him. While it is true we are still in Afghanistan, perhaps unnecessarily, the Obama administration is only as conflicted as other groups of politicians from both parties about that effort.

However, Libya is where Obama has shined. As part of a UN force requested by Libyan citizens, we helped the Libyan people win their freedom from terrorist supporter Muammar Gaddafi whom Ronald Reagan failed to kill. We did that without any U.S. military casualties (though journalists did die) or troops on the ground. Although our ambassador was killed by an al-Qaeda affiliated group using protests against an anti-Islamic movie as a cover, the Libyan people then rallied in support of America and kicked the extremist militias out of their city. Helping people win their freedom from dictators and gaining the support of people is how an international community should behave.

Republicans somehow think this reflects badly on the president when it is something to be praised. In fact, they launched an investigation (with taxpayer money) to figure out how to blame the Democrats for the attack on the Libyan embassy despite it being the same Republicans who voted to reduce the budget for the embassy's defense. In any case, our President isn't responsible for an American who makes an offensive movie or the ensuing al-Qaeda attack on our embassy. Obama rightfully condemned the movie, defended its freedom of speech, and sent marines to catch the killers.

Reason #4: We're Better Off

Under the Obama administration, I've gotten married and bought my first new car. That seems pretty good for me. We're also better off as a country.

Obama is one of only five Presidents to see the stock market gain over 50% in 3 years. That's a free market capitalist's dream.

Shortly after Obama took office, the Dow hit 6626. It's now at 13,066. The stock market has DOUBLED.

He's created 4.5 million jobs in 29 consecutive months. This link also shows how our GDP and unemployment would have been worse without the stimulus.

Obama's policies have clearly helped. If anything, the stimulus should have been bigger; however, right wing propaganda has turned America against government direct economic stimulus. After the Great Depression and WWII, the government spent significantly more to help the recovery. There are other things that could have been done, but Republicans have obstructed everything except tax cuts which don't help. Taxes are already the lowest in 67 years, and lowered taxes don't create a need for more jobs or an incentive to hire Americans. Obama knows this.

Obama's administration saved the auto industry (without the massive layoffs the Romney plan endorsed), passed universal health care (which Romney endorsed in 2006), and killed the top terrorist in the world (whom Romney says he'd have gotten except that he clearly said he wouldn't have been looking for). I point out that Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks might not be such a household name if George W. Bush hadn't dropped the ball on defending us.

Americans living abroad love having a President who is admired and respected overseas.

Obama helped the welfare program by giving states more leeway in choosing how they administer it. That's something Romney asked for when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Romney's attacks on Obama for this show just what a hypocrite Romney is.

Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than Bush and taken less vacations than any other recent President. Only Carter and Clinton took less vacations. Reagan took approximately twice as many vacation days while George W. Bush took triple the amount of vacations within the same time frame as Obama.

He's also repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), and there have been no catastrophic consequences. The benefit is we're no longer at risk of losing skilled military personnel who happen to be gay. He also stopped defending DOMA (the discriminate against gays act) which I believe is unconstitutional.

Of course, I'd be remiss to not mention that he laid the groundwork to improve health care and extend the life of Medicare. For the last few decades, many politicians have talked about reforming health care. Only one actually bothered to take the political risk to do it, and for that, he deserves our praise. In 2012, the rate that health insurance premiums rose dropped to a historic low. My own health insurance premiums actually dropped instead of increasing.

If you'd like to hear my mock horror at what the liberals have done, click here.

Reason #5: GOP Report Card

What have the Republicans done since they were elected to a majority in the House in 2010?

Republicans have blocked Obama's American Jobs Act as part of their obstructionism strategy. The American Jobs Act is much closer to the real economic solution than any other plans suggested by our politicians.

They've spent too much money (up to $1.5 million) protecting DOMA in order to not recognize any gay marriages performed by states where it's legal.

The House GOP had America's credit rating downgraded by fighting the debt ceiling increase which is America's promise to actually repay the debt it owes. Junior Tea Party Congress people and other Republicans somehow felt that not raising the debt ceiling could win them political points. They hurt America instead.

They spent $50 million of Congressional time in efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without trying to replace it with anything. This would have denied health care to $30 million Americans, let people with pre-existing conditions be discriminated against, and prevent over $700 million in medicare savings which will help keep it running. Politifact rates this as false because they calculate it at $20 million instead, which is still a hefty sum. However, the CBO calculates the costs that would be incurred from actually repealing it would be much higher ($210-$300 billion). Romney says repealing it would save $95 billion in 2016 which is false. And if Romney wins, it's very doubtful he'll actually repeal it.

Republicans obstructed re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act because they didn't want protections for American Indians, illegal aliens, or LGBT people. When women are afraid to come forward for help, it keeps them in abusive situations, essentially creating an example of modern day slavery. Just because a woman might be a non-citizen or minority doesn't mean they're not entitled to human dignity within our borders. America needs to be a better country than that.

Instead of focusing on jobs, Republicans have been intent fighting abortion rights, gay rights, and worker rights. Apparently, they think the solution to our economic problems is to degrade worker's rights. I guess they'll be happy once we're like China. Battles have been fought in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana. The Republicans have lost their way on this issue. They should look to Reagan to remind them that: "Where Free Unions and Collective Bargaining are Forbidden, Freedom is Lost."

They've also promoted fear and hatred of Muslims. Michele Bachmann (MN), Peter King (NY), and Joe Walsh (IL) are some of the most guilty of this. This Islamophobia has even led to attacks on Sikhs just because they look similar to the ignorant.

On the campaign trail, Republicans have been happy to use dishonest propaganda. Romney/Ryan accused  Obama of weakening Welfare by letting States have some leeway which is what Romney wanted as Governor and of harming Medicare by cutting it by the same amount that the Ryan plan did. Only, Obamacare makes the cuts by reducing overpayments to hospitals and otherwise making the program more efficient while the Ryan plan cuts benefits to people on Medicare.

That's a dismal and frankly un-American record. What's more, the GOP party platform is both disgusting and shows a lack of comprehension of our Constitution:

Reason #6: The GOP Has Been Willing to Hurt the USA in Order to Regain Power

The Republicans like to claim that Obama hasn't been bipartisan. The truth is that they threw all offers of cooperation back in his face.

There's evidence that Mitch McConnell sabotaged our government for political gain. Numerous sources have corroborated that he orchestrated obstruction of every vote that Democrats supported. That's right, the Republicans decided to oppose the Democrats on everything before the Obama administration even took office.

Joe Biden said, “McConnell decided to withhold all cooperation even before we took office.”
Senator George Voinovich (R-OH) went on record telling Grunwald that Republican marching orders were to oppose everything the Obama administration proposed. Republicans Bob Bennett of Utah and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania both confirmed this.

This is quite evident in many of the votes Congress has undertaken, from the American Jobs Act to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which uses past Republican ideas. They even opposed providing aid to fire fighters who incurred illnesses from the 9/11 tragedy.

Yes, they opposed efforts to provide care for first responders and emergency workers who suffered illnesses related to 9/11. It's unbelievable to me that Republicans would deny aid for medical care to the true heroes who helped in the face of our great American tragedy, but they did. Eventually, a stripped down version that provided about half as much aid passed. However, Paul Ryan opposed it every time.

Frankly, the Republicans have made the call for the death of bipartisanship. Because of their obstructionism, they've given no reason for future Democrats to ever attempt bipartisanship again. Romney deviously claims that Obama has failed to be bipartisan. I don't know what makes him think that Democrats would not now seek to undermine him the same way Republicans have done to Obama. We'll have to wait and see whether bipartisanship is now dead for all time. I think it could come back if the Republican Party somehow changes.

Reason #7: They're Not the Same

Some people claim all politicians are the same, that Obama and Romney are the same or that Obama is Bush the Third. They're fed up with Washington and think nothing ever changes or get done. All one has to do is look at Obama's record and see that change for the better can happen. However, not much gets done when a President has a Congress that won't cooperate or that is gridlocked by obstructionists.

How is it that George W. Bush and Obama are similar?
Did they both drop the ball on defense, letting terrorists attack us on American soil, and then retaliate by invading the wrong country? Did they both then attack civil liberties and religious freedom by trying to ban marriage for a minority? No, those were both only Bush. Who was it who tried to take the first step in eliminating Social Security by privatizing it? Again, that was only Bush.

How is it that Romney and Obama are similar?
Do they both want to curtail civil rights for minorities? Do they both want to provoke a war with Iran? Do they both belong to parties that suck at economics? Do they both belong to parties that increasingly feel that Welfare, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are unconstitutional? Do they both want to change government to lift the burden from the wealthy by increasing the burden on all the rest? No, those are only Romney.

The praise I've given is sure to cause some to call me an Obama-bot or Obama-worshipper. Others will say Obama and Romney are just the same. Both claims are tacitly untrue. If I could design the person who would be our president from scratch, that person would be different from Obama in a great many ways. But of the two candidates, Obama is the clear choice. Of the third party candidates, I only see Governor Gary Johnson as viable. In fact, I see him as the only other valid choice besides Obama. Johnson is a Libertarian and more economically conservative than Obama without being disqualified due to wanting to institutionalize discrimination like Romney. However, Libertarians adhere to the same bad economic theory as most conservatives.

The would be Obama-clones, Jill Stein (Green Party) and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party), would have you believe they could do a better job than Obama despite not having the same experience or legitimately different personal beliefs. They fail to account for the political realities that cause politicians to be unable to get everything they want.

Meanwhile, the Constitution Party candidate, Virgil Goode, crusades against America giving out green cards. So, he criticizes both legal and illegal immigration. The truth is that America has imported many great minds which have increased our industry and science fields, leading to the creation of new jobs.

And of course, there is Ron Paul. The Federal Reserve is his great White Whale, and he's certainly no social libertarian. He'd use his religion to guide his views on abortion and gay rights, instead of science or a philosophy of individual liberty. Whereas Gary Johnson is a true Libertarian, Republican Ron Paul appeases Southern racists by calling Abraham Lincoln a failure and claiming he could've done a better job, ignoring the reality that it was the South who attacked the North first (at Fort Sumter).

As much as I'd like this election to be between Obama and Johnson (in which I'd still support Obama but could actually respect Johnson), it's between Obama and Romney (or "R. Money" as known to his friends). Many voters simply treat their political party the same as their religion or favorite sports team, not really caring about information because they won't change their belief that “X” is always the right choice. Therefore until the election system is changed (and it should be), I do believe that voting a third party or not voting are both a vote for whoever ends up winning. At a time where we stand at a precipice where never before has the correct choice been more clear, allowing the wrong choice to be picked is unconscionable. That is why I support Obama.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Did Obama arrest Innocence of Muslims filmmaker? No, he apologized to Islamic extremists by sending elite marines to kill them

I was dismayed to see that someone on a forum I read is a “moonbat.” As in, someone who believes what he reads at

The article claims Obama had the filmmaker of Innocence of Muslims arrested and also that Obama apologized to Islamic extremists. This is the movie that was sent to Islamic countries on 9/11. The actors were dubbed over and had no idea they were making an anti-Islamic movie. Some speculate that the timing of the film and the attacks on U.S. embassies were a coordinated effort by al-Qaeda terrorists.

However, this story comes from Moonbattery which is the final resting place for posts about Zeitgeist, Illuminati, Square Earth, and other Bronnerisms. In other words, it's a conspiracy theorist, crazy propaganda website. People should be ashamed for reading it.

The truth is that the filmmaker was brought in for questioning because he may have violated his parole, not for other reasons.

The Innocence of Muslims “film,” though terrible and insulting to filmmaking, is absolutely protected by free speech.

The article is actually as badly written as the movie was directed and dubbed.


“For political purposes, local sheriff’s deputies were used to drag Nakoula in for “questioning” instead of federal agents, but there is no question they were acting with the blessings if not on the direct orders of the Obama Regime, which has openly sided with the Muslim mobs that killed our ambassador by denouncing Nakoula’s insignificant movie and repeating the preposterous lie that it caused the Middle East to go up in flames. “


there is no question they were” - In other words, the writer didn't bother to investigate.

Obama Regime, which has openly sided with the Muslim mobs that killed” - Yes, the Obama Admin sent an elite group of Marines to Tripoli to bring the killers to justice. Apparently, the writer thinks that if both Hitler and I were to say we disliked the movie Gigli, that means I'd be endorsing all of his opinions and siding with the genocide of Jews. No, the Obama Admin called a crappy movie a 'crappy movie' and then dealt with the real issue.

It's an insult to call the person that barfed out this anti-Obama article without any research a writer. Shame on those that give the article any credit.

The Facts:

The Filmmaker may have broken his parole:

Actress Sues Filmmakers for Dubbing Movie into anti-Islamic film

Obama sends elite group of Marines to bring killers to justice:

Filmmaker linked to anti-Muslim movie questioned | Nakoula Basseley Nakoula "Sam Bacile"

Pro-American Libyans kick extremists out of the city where our ambassador was killed

"Some protesters carried signs reading 'The ambassador was Libya's friend' and 'Libya lost a friend,' the AP reported."

This comes after Obama 'apologized' to the Arab world by sending elite marines to kill the extremists who killed our people. Does this mean Obama's apology has now turned Libyans into our friends? Or, maybe it was the fact that we helped them win their freedom from Muammar Gaddafi as part of a joint UN force. You know, the guy that Reagan tried but failed to kill? If killing terrorists is apologizing, Obama sure does a lot of it. Remember Osama Bin Laden? Dead.

Not all Muslims will kill you over a movie or poorly drawn cartoon of their Prophet

Still, the Muslim world throwing a hissy fit over the Innocence of Muslims makes me wonder how they'll react when the porn parody, Muhammad Baghs Dad, comes out. Perhaps, it will star Jesus and maybe even include all religions.

I'm sure it will have better acting and production values than Innocence of Muslims.

I partly feel that, so long as there are enemies of freedom of speech who would destroy those who cause offense by merely making a movie or drawing a bad cartoon, it is our duty as a society to continue to produce such offensive materials. That way, the enemies of freedom of speech are drawn out (and can be destroyed). People dying as a result of a movie, cartoon, or the mistreatment of a book is far more offensive than any offense caused by an exercise of creativity or the handling of physical objects.

Once there are no more enemies of freedom, people will stop provoking them. 

(Of course, we don't consider slander and libel to be protected speech. Though a whole lot of politicians and talk radio people somehow get away with lying, don't they?) 

Update Nov 7, 2012:
Calif. Man Behind Anti-Muslim Film Gets Prison

"The California man behind an anti-Muslim film that roiled the Middle East was sentenced Wednesday to a year in prison for violating his probation stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction by lying about his identity."
The Right-Wing's Most Brazen Lie of the Election -- Debunked
There is zero evidence that the administration lied or covered anything up in the Benghazi attacks."

Obama vs Romney: Medicare

Here is the Obamacare claim on Medicare Advantage:
    "Today, Medicare Advantage is stronger than ever. Premiums are 16% lower and enrollment is 17% higher than it was before the Affordable Care Act passed.

    Any senior that wants a Medicare Advantage plan can chose one - and when they do, they'll always be promised every single one of Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.

    Before Obamacare, the government overpaid the private insurance plans in Medicare Advantage. The Medicare Trustees said those extra payments  - resulted in higher Medicare costs overall and higher premiums for all Part B beneficiaries, not just those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Everyone paid higher prices so Medicare could give subsidies to private insurance companies.

    All the health care law did was get rid of those extra subsidies - saving $156 billion over 10 years, according to the CBO. Because of this and other reforms, people with Medicare will save $4,200 over a decade."

This is actually better than I thought. Medicare Advantage was started with the hopes of seeing cost savings by outsourcing Medicare to private insurers (unlike the rest of Medicare). As it failed miserably with this, I'd have thought they'd have canceled it outright.

Meanwhile, the Ryan plan (which Romney endorsed) would double the costs for future enrollees in Medicare, turning the whole program into a voucher plan for private insurance that provides less assistance than current Medicare. So, while both the "Obama" and "Romney" plans actually "cut" about the same amount from Medicare (reportedly $716 billion). The Obama plan does so by cutting waste and by predicted savings (which may or may not pan out) while the Ryan plan does so by actually reducing benefits (which the first one doesn't). While current seniors wouldn't be affected by the latter, it would harm future seniors like myself.

Read More: A Primer on Paul Ryan's 2011 Medicare Plan

A Demonstration Program Conspiracy?

Some people claim there's something sinister about a "demonstration program" being run by the Obama Administration on Medicare. They say it's keeping Medicare prices steady, in order to fool people, only until Obama is reelected. Well, here is the official claim:
"The three-year demonstration project by the Department of Health and Human Services, which began this year, is intended to speed up quality improvement in Medicare Advantage plans as called for under the 2010 health reform law.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday that before the new health care reforms were passed, Medicare overpaid private insurers to the tune of 114% above Medicare rates, and lacked any power to assure the care was high quality.

She said that, with the program, Medicare is overpaying private insurers by 107% and more beneficiaries have been switching to higher-rated plans.

"With the demonstration, we're on track to reduce ovepayments," Sebelius said. "I think it's a basic win-win-win situation. We've got lower rates, we've got better-quality plans, and we're on track to reduce the overpayments in the long run."

The demonstration project would cost $8.35 billion over 10 years, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. GAO is the "investigative arm of Congress charged with examining matters relating to the receipt and payment of public funds."

GAO disagrees with the demonstration project and says it would be better to use the quality measures defined under Obamacare. The program hardly sounds sinister. Also if it was started in 2012 and lasts for 3 years, it won't end until 2015, not coinciding with the current election. Even if it did coincide, it wouldn't seem sinister. In fact, GAO says they think costs would be less without it.

So, GAO says the Obamacare quality measures for Medicare are better than the demonstration project.

Keeping Medicare Efficient and Viable

Denise Early of the Tuscon Citizen writes: 
"So insurance companies keep investing billions of dollars to expand their Medicare Advantage business - while Mitt Romney says Obamacare is killing this option for seniors.   As I see it, smaller Advantage plan companies will find it difficult to find enough efficiencies to handle lower payments from Medicare. But the big players will get bigger, and they know they can still make profits with less money from Medicare."

The other option of continuing the overpayments so that many smaller insurers keep swarming around Medicare like sharks and raising Medicare costs for everyone seems like the wrong tactic.

More links on the subject:

"According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, about 25% of Medicare recipients (12 million) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage.

But the reason why the program saw cuts in the 2010 health-care law is due to its shortcoming: It's not as cost-efficient as traditional Medicare.

Under Medicare Advantage, the Kaiser Family Foundation says, Medicare ends up paying the private plans MORE per enrollee -- about 7% more -- than the fee-for-service program does."

It sounds very wasteful and inefficient. Nobody would want to continue it, right?

"The plan that I've put forward is a plan very similar to Medicare Advantage. It gives all of the next generation retirees the option of having either standard Medicare, a fee-for-service-type, government-run Medicare, or a private Medicare plan," Mitt Romney told reporters 8/16/2012.

Breaking Sam
Under the Republican plan, this parade goer will have to sell his Uncle Sam costume on eBay to afford the higher Medicare payments and won't be able to leave the costume to his kids. He'll also have to start selling Meth.

Part of the Republican Plan to Eliminate Medicare Once and For All

I want to point out that Paul Ryan's plan of changing Medicare to an entirely voucher-for-private-insurance based system is in keeping with the Republican plan to eliminate Medicare once and for all. When all Medicare does is give you back less return on your own money to buy private insurance, it won't make any sense for you to pay tax dollars merely to get that money back and have to use it to buy private insurance. The point of Medicare is that it's a massive program that doesn't discriminate due to age. Because it's so large, health providers lose out on tons of business if they reject it. So, they don't reject it. This means seniors can get medical insurance.

Unless part of the Republican plan is to keep around Obamacare, don't bet on having an easy time finding someone to insure you in your senior years.

Paul Ryan: ‘We Need’ A Man Who Thinks Medicare Is Unconstitutional ‘In The United States Senate’

 "Mourdock mocked the very idea that Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are constitutional at a Tea Party rally last May. You can watch the man Paul Ryan begged GOP donors to send to the Senate ridiculing the idea that Medicare is constitutional here:"

GOP Rep. Todd Akin Thinks Medicare Is Unconstitutional, Runs Medicare-Based Attack Ad Regardless

A Conclusion

Seniors who vote for Romney/Ryan based on the GOP Medicare claims are selling out their kids and future generations because of false claims made about their own Medicare security.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chuck Norris versus Dave Mustaine

Dave Mustaine: No More Mr. Nice Guy

I met Dave Mustaine at a concert (Gigantour in 2005), and he was a nice guy. His band, Megadeth, has been my favorite metal band since high school, and unlike others of their ilk, has consistently released fan-pleasing albums to this very day. Also unlike other metal bands, their music often has a political or societal message, such as being anti-war, anti-censorship, anti-corruption, or being against canned hunting. The latter won them the Doris Day award from the Humane Society of the United States in 1993.

At a recent Megadeth concert in Singapore, Dave Mustaine has recently claimed that Obama is behind the numerous shooting deaths that have occurred in the United States. Not only is this crazy conspiracy stuff, it's also bad-mouthing the United States while visiting a foreign country. I thought conservatives opposed that?

It saddens me to say that if this is the sort of message the band endorses, I can't buy anymore of their albums. To cheapen the tragedies of the Batman theater shooting, the Sikh temple massacre, and other shootings in America by endorsing a cheap political conspiracy theory claiming Obama orchestrated them all is disgusting. I'm very saddened.

People are far too quick to believe things without evidence. Dave is obviously very gullible. Without knowing anything about the group, he once endorsed the IRA at an Irish concert, causing a riot. Maybe all the drugs turned his brain to Swiss cheese, making his being clean irrelevant. The band's twitter account made things worse by sharing this link to "clarify" the matter. It's from the conspiracy website for gullible people which shows that apparently his ravings which they encourage/enable have been going on for some time.

That Megadeth apparently started becoming a pro-war band should have been another sign that things were going downhill. I'll bet Dave also thinks Obama had him thrown out of Metallica. I have some advice for you, Dave. Stick to thrashing.

Megaidiot! Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine says Obama mastermind behind ‘staged’ shootings in Aurora, Colo. and at Wisconsin Sikh temple 

Aurora massacre victim blasts Megadeth singer’s anti-Obama rant

Chuck Norris (May I call you Chuckles?)

photo by Alan Light

I think the universe must really hate us that it took Bruce Lee and left us with this guy. Well, Chuck Norris loves free speech (unless it disagrees with his), freedom of religion (unless it disagrees with his), and wants us to take lessons in sexuality from the 1700s. Shut up, Chuck Moron. Here's his disgusting commentary from WND, home for hate-speechers.

The offending article: God, Guns, and Gays

So, Chuck Norris uses a law that was proposed by Thomas Jefferson 10 (okay, 9) years prior to the Constitution to claim that the Founding Fathers opposed gay rights? Does Chuck realize that this proposed law (which was rejected) was actually an attempt at liberalization? That's right. Castration would have been more liberal because the current penalty (which Virginia decided to keep) was death. For all Chuck knows (which apparently isn't much), this was Jefferson's attempt to start slowly reducing penalties until they were eliminated.

Chuck says he wants to turn back the clock to our founders to find the answers. He discounts that society will rightfully become more free as people become less prejudiced and bigoted. It sounds like he's okay turning the clock back far enough that slavery is legal and women can't vote.

Let's not forget that the actual definition of sodomy is any non-procreative sex between any sexes. How many straight people want to outlaw sodomy knowing that?

Chuck also hates freedom of speech: "How abhorring it is when the freedom of the press is abused to demean the biblical God and the most sacred couple in Christendom, especially right before Easter. If the cartoon depicted Allah or Muhammad, there undoubtedly would have been a national decry of bigotry." Yes, Chuckles (may I call you that?), it's abhorrent when others say things that offend you. Actually, it's really not. Freedom of speech is meant to protect the speech that we disagree with. What you should be asking is, "Why do Christians not have murderous riots when their God is insulted but Muslims do?" We mustn't coddle those who whine about being offended, and we mustn't tolerate religious violence in the name of such idiocy. Frankly, no amount of burning Bibles or Korans is worth taking even one human life. Life is more precious. Well, except for Hitler's life. I think we can agree on that.

Special Guest Star: Bruce Lee

So, Chuckles, take your bigotry and religious dogma and roundhouse kick them up your own ass. Seriously. You've admitted you suck at fighting compared to Bruce Lee, and now, it's obvious Bruce beats you at philosophy.

"Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it." -
As quoted in Bruce Lee : Fighting Spirit (1994) by Bruce Thomas (1994), p.44
(It's as applicable to politics and political parties as it was to martial art styles.)

"Neither. I think of myself as a human being." -
When asked if he thought of himself as Chinese or American,
The Warrior Within (1996), p. 87

"To be perfectly frank, I really do not." -
When asked if he believed in God, The Warrior Within (1996), p. 128

So, anyway, who wins in the Chuck Norris versus Dave Mustaine fight? The answer is Bruce Lee.

Be Water My Friend! Bruce Lee Remix