Political Ravings of a Certifiable Card-Carrying Liberaltic

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oklahoma Tea Militia

A state-sponsored anti-Federal militia actually created by the Oklahoma state legislature?

Do these guys understand the definition of treason? I'm pretty sure taking up arms against the Federal government qualifies. Maybe they're not planning on using real guns.

This militia's purpose is to protect the state's rights from Federal government infringement, but why not use the Constitution to protect the Federal government from militias? Check out Article I Section 8 under the powers of Congress:
[Congress may] provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
and also
[Congress may] provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
and Article II Section 2:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;

Sounds like we have new volunteers for Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Response to Whole Foods Darwinism

LINK: Mr. Mackey's Editorial

Since all rational people believe natural selection is the mechanism by which life evolves on this planet, I suppose it's just obligatory to apply this model to our government. On the surface, it appears compassion does not promote survival of the fit. If you believe Ayn Rand, it is the self-destructive path and most of the "haves" would like to impose this ideology on the "have nots". But actually our compassion is the only thing which keeps us civilized. Unfortunately, in large groups it becomes easy to distance ourselves from compassion and treat everything with logic.

Mr Mackey of Whole Foods fame will tell you compassion equals socialism. We can't afford to be compassionate. We will run out of money and everyone will die, but I didn't see this argument from Mackey about starting an illegal war with Iraq that was arguably more expensive and killed several hundred thousand people. He says health care isn't a right any more than food or shelter. I would agree with this statement to the effect that if you want to pay for food and shelter for those who don't have it, I would gladly pay more taxes for that too. We can't afford to make sure people don't starve or freeze to death either?

It's funny that any assistance from the government is labeled as an entitlement or socialism; the boogeyman of all greedy people in the world. It's a slippery slope from letting bums sleep in a vacant gym with a PB&J sandwich to redistributing all the wealth evenly across the population. People are not entitled to health care? The left wing group the AARP did a study that shows 1.85 million people went bankrupt due to medical bills last year and over half of them had health insurance. I guess they are taking financial responsibility for their well-being so this should promote social consciousness. Maybe they'll think twice about getting fat or smoking next time. Funny.

The most difficult part to believe is there are some Christians who claim to follow the teachings of a man who walked the earth giving everything he had to help as many people as possible and this is their role model, but yet they still say we can't afford to help everyone. I understand how the CEO of a big corporation might not be able to help anyone (their ideology is based on working hard for every dollar they can consume and it doesn't make sense to give anything away), but people who devote their spirit to spreading goodwill and peace should not be capable of this callousness.

To advocate the devil I will address Mr. Mackey's alternative to real health care reform because it is just misdirection to avoid paying for anything. His "reform" ideas only help himself and the people in his inner circle. I've heard the argument that 80 percent of people are happy with their health care coverage (really? Happy with the cost? Happy that they have none? Blissfully ignorant?), but a recent study shows that 90 percent of the people covered by the NHS in England (which is all of the people) are happy with it. I can't find any data to support the statement that 830,000 are waiting to be admitted to hospital in Canada and 1.8 million in England. I guess anyone with an appointment is "waiting" in line.

Is Mr. Mackey suggesting we should punish people who are overweight, smokers, make poor nutrition choices, or prone to some other health issue? You didn't eat your green beans. That doctor's visit will be two hundred dollars.

Suggestions by Mr. Mackey:
1) Deregulate obstacles to high-deductable health savings accounts - How does this help unemployed, underemployed or children who are in most need of health care reform? High-deductable? Isn't that gambling? Savings? If you save, you can pay for it. This makes you feel responsible and increases your self-image? I could write a whole article about this suggestion.

2) Equalize tax laws so self-insured can deduct taxes for health care like employee-insured - doesn't this sound like a money shuffle? This is supposed to give self-insured customers more money to pump back into the economy, but how does it reduce health care costs or improve the care and coverage? It just gives the government less money, but luckily we're running a surplus, so they can afford to get less money. This doesn't address any problems with the system, it's just a band-aid.

3) Deregulate insurance companies on what they must cover - Wow! Making insurance companies actually cover things makes it cost more? You mean if they didn't really have to cover anything, they could just collect premiums and never pay out anything? That would probably make insurance cheaper. I think my head is going to explode. I hope that's covered.

4) Allow people to go across state lines to get insurance - If some states are cheaper than other states now, the way some group plans are cheaper than other group plans, then why would they continue to be the same cheaper rates if people could move around to different groups? It just means everyone will be paying the same high rate. The high rates won't drop from the competition. I'm all for letting people change plans with no pre-existing conditions and force the insurance companies to take all patients at the same low price (no group plans or group rates). Maybe this is what Mr. Mackey is suggesting, but somehow I doubt it.

5) Tort reform - The paper tiger. I suppose we all love pinatas, but frivolous law suits are estimated at 0.5 to 2 percent of health care costs. The argument is that doctors are required to pay higher rates for their insurance and they pass this savings on to you, or in some cases decide to become a lawyer instead of a doctor. Every real estimate of the "cost" of health care puts this item down at the bottom of the list. Last year, health insurance companies spent 400 million dollars on lobbyists and the estimate of profit for companies on average is 25 cents of every premium dollar. It sounds like we could save at least 25 percent by making this a non-profit industry even if we don't make it more efficient. I didn't see this suggestion.

6) Make costs transparent - I suggest that we make Whole Foods costs transparent so we know exactly how much they pay for every item and how much the distributors paid for that and what each employee of each product company is making so we know where those dollars are going. Maybe this would make our Whole Foods cost go down. I suppose the theory is they would be shamed into not screwing their customer. Shame and Heath Care Provider are not usually used in the same sentence. LexisNexis it if you don't believe me.

7) Medicare reform - Fix the most successful government program in the history of all world governments? That's going to save health care costs? I think he means fix it by not funding it. It's just old people and kids. They should be able to fend for themselves and we can empower them instead of enable or entitle them. Ugh!

8) A tax-deductible voluntary donation to help people without insurance - because the only thing keeping people from donating now is the tax they are paying on that money. You know, except for the voluntary part, I'm ok with this suggestion. Change it to - "A mandatory donation to the government to pay for health care for anyone that needs it." Sounds great. Why don't we just make all taxes voluntary. People are basically good anyway.

Everyone says Mr. Mackey has a right to his opinion and freedom of speech, and I'm fine with that, but he's using a position of power to mislead people especially if he's suggesting any compassion about his position. He doesn't want any health care reform unless it just makes it cheaper for him. He doesn't want any one to get more health care unless it's free and he doesn't want to fix anything with the system unless it also takes power away from the government to enforce it. Free market works great! Deregulation is awesome for rich people. He is all for individual responsibility unless it involves corporation. That's the corporation's fault and government meddling when they fail and we are all here to bail you out, unless you get sick.

You probably have COBRA though, right?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Guns are Great!

It's sad when a guy pulls a gun on a woman in a Wal-Mart parking lot and the first thing you think is, "Did he just come from a health care rally?" (not: maybe this guy is a policeman.) Also making me question my sanity, I then asked the guy I was with if he thought I should call 911. He shrugged. At least six people were watching including the policeman's wife and two young children, and I was the only one that called.

After a scuffle in the parking lot when an angry (reportedly drunk) boyfriend decided to get involved, the policeman was "forced" to shoot the man in the groin. I guess the guy might have overwhelmed the officer, taken his gun and shot him. He probably didn't have time to unload the gun and toss the bullets and the gun in different directions, but he did seem like he was in better shape, so I bet he could have outrun him.

But I am digressing from my point here. After seeing the officer shoot this man, I'm thinking they're going to close the store, but no, they just need to close the south entrance so we can go ahead and do our shopping. Yay! I don't shop at Wal-Mart, but I don't judge my friends (or anyone else) if they do. If you ask me, I'll tell you why I won't go back, but I'm not going to proselytize. So, I've just seen a man shot and as far as I know he could be dead and I'm shopping in Wal-Mart. "Shouldn't we go talk to the cops?" Turns out we shouldn't because it took them almost 3 hours to wake up the detective and get him down there to take our statements.

But, I can't be critical of a policeman that was purportedly trying to stop a crime when he wasn't even on duty while facing two aggressive people who don't back down when a gun is pointed at them. I don't know what all happened, but I do know that if he left his gun in the car or called for backup before confronting these people, there might not have been a weapon discharge. There is no way I could do his job and when they asked me if I thought he had another choice, I told them he probably didn't. I'm not sure he should even be reprimanded, but it's sad that we've become so numb to these events. What would it be like with less guns? We'll probably never know.

Oh yeah, the guy went to the hospital and he's fine (well, he's not going to die from the shooting) and he and his friend were released from jail today. I hope everyone involved is ok. It was gratifying to know this is the first firearm discharge by an officer (on or off duty) in this town of almost 250,000 people in 17 years.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Politics in Decline

The whole world is topsy turvy now, so it's difficult to figure out what to write about here. While the last eight years have been Republican executive, Republican congress and Republican appointees to the Supreme Court, now on the surface it appears that common sense has caught up with the lunacy and corrected some of the problems that were mostly just being ignored. I suppose we're lucky they decided to raid the larder instead of loot and pillage and burn all the bridges. But now it seems like the current administration lets intimidation by the perceived center of political mass drive them to compromises which effect nothing but an appearance of acknowledgment of issues with a long term goal to address them in the unspecified future. It makes me want to avoid politics altogether. Even the first Latino Supreme Court nominee seems like a compromise in that some of her decisions lean away from the party platform but even though she is probably the most conservative of the left half, she can't get the vote of Senator McCain with a very large hispanic constituency who said five days earlier that he needs to make some changes to the party line to court the latino votes. Changes like opposing the first latino nominee for fear of losing the Republican party nomination for president in 2012 even though it probably makes him unelectable in the general election? I hope that works for him.

I really thought President Obama would be the people's advocate and promote transparency and a policy based completely on ethical positions, but political posturing always seems to creep back in. I like it when he addresses mistakes head-on like the Gates issue. Bringing them both to the White House for a "beer" was a perfect solution, but why don't we see a stronger stance on the "Don't ask, Don't Tell" issue. He said he was against it during the campaign and now it's like there's some force out there holding him back. He doesn't lose any political capital by saying, "What we're doing here is wrong. If there's any method of modifying or belaying this approach, I'm for it." Then he can let other people present the solutions or tell him that he doesn't have the constitutional power to tell Congress what laws to write, but the pressure is on them to do something then. He's actually said this isn't on the agenda right now because it's not politically expedient. Disturbing.

Health care is another issue where baby steps are more likely to destroy the effort than going full force and running into a few brick walls. How hard is it to push a single payer system for children under 18? How many kids under 18 have serious medical issues and even if it's five to ten percent and this might cost 30 billion dollars, isn't it at least 10 times as important as the cash for clunkers program? No? Children's health care isn't as important as private school vouchers that help rich kids or the failed charter school infrastructure that's destroying public schools, or bank and auto industry bailouts or some of the other questionably managed programs. How hard is it to start with children? They're going to vote eventually and a large percentage of people have children so surely this is an attractive proposition. Prove it works for children and then base the rest of the system on the children's health care system. Just go at it with big guns. Don't give it time to fail in the first 2 to 5 years.

Climate change is at least one issue where the longer we let it go, the more obvious it becomes. Hopefully people will figure it out before the world is unlivable, but if we break the planet and there's only a few thousand or hundred or tens of people left on the planet, maybe we'll see what Noah's flood was like more than a metaphor. Not a pleasant prospect, but it is a self-healing issue in the long term if we don't become extinct (something else will evolve even if we do). It will probably make the nuclear warhead debate a non-issue as well.

Where is the compassion on a large scale? Is it only palatable in individuals? Is government compassion seen as some kind of weakness? I wish we were strong enough to appear weak to all the unimportant ego-driven people who still believe in gunboat diplomacy.

Disturbing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama Elect - Week 1

Day 1 - Take half a day off from the 2 year campaign and we'll meet at noon to discuss the next 8+ years of work. Go Go GObama!

Day 2 - Launch www.change.gov as a forum to tell you what the President (elect) is doing for you. I guess you won't need me any more.

Day 3 - It's a Prairie State quorum. Rahm Emanuel accepts the job as chief of staff. Can he get things done without burning everything to the ground? Here's hope!

David Axelrod (who?) is now the White House Advisor (elect of course). And they said Obama didn't like Jewish people.

Bring me the intelligence briefings! My calendar is already booked for the next eight years. Everyone has a pet project.

Day 4 - Start work on the 100 day plan to fix the economy (Can you say FDR?). Isn't that cheating when you get an extra 73 days before the starter pistol goes off?

Priorities: 1) Health Care, 2) Tax hike for rich guys, 3) Energy, 4) Education, 5) Auto Industry.

You think that's enough for the first 100 days? Nope, he's also going to collect all the guns, get rid of all the money (we'll now use lentils for currency), everyone gets an anger suppression chip installed in your frontal lobe (next upgrade will add sensitivity and a good fashion sense), then he will suspend all military spending until we find a good use for it, and finally create a real entitlement system where only people making over $300,000 a year actually have to go to work. Everybody else gets a mansion and a mule along with servants (robots since we can't pay servants $300K) and free food (seaweed, but you have to collect it yourself). He'll save the gay marriage bill until he needs to get re-elected.

Day 5 - Let's fix the auto industry in the US giving them 25 billion to retool for more fuel efficient cars. Now initiating an economic team to study options to help.

Statement: "This economic crisis will not stop me from expanding health care, overhauling education and energy policy, and passing a middle-class tax cut soon."

First weekly (did he say weekly?) radio address. He's going to talk to us? Regularly?

Day 6 - Start the day taking the girls to school. He's still a dad (or maybe he's still looking for photo ops - hard to break these habits).

Meet with Lame Duckie and scope out new drapes and the best spot for the jacuzzi. First question to 43: "How can people dislike you more than Nixon after Watergate?" Oh yeah, as evil as he was, he still created the EPA, tamed Communist China, pushed the SALT treaty, declared war on cancer, said no to chemical weapons and seemed to have some interest in helping America become the most powerful bully nation in the world.

Bush legacy? Some kind of vestigial limb to an Alzheimer government stuck in a padded room.

Plans to close down Gitmo are already being formalized. More details soon from Code Name: Renegade!

Day 7 - Save the cheerleader!

Wow! Most people probably wrote America off as the Cubs of the world, but it's like we dusted off the old light saber and created a Luke Skywalker to take out the evil empire. You're going down Microsoft!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Polls!

National Polls

Monday, September 29, 2008

Debate Analysis - McCain Take III

Part III - The next part of the debate (McCain transcript in blue - Comments in white)

I won't repeat the mistake I regret enormously; after we were able to help the Afghan freedom fighters drive the Russians out of Afghanistan, we basically washed our hands of the region. - This time we're going to take a shower and wash our whole bodies free of the region. That stuff gets everywhere.

The result was the Taliban, al Qaeda, and difficulties we are facing today. So we can't ignore those lessons of history. - These are resources like poppies and oil that we could have exploited if we'd just been involved in their development.

The Pakistanis have to understand that the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was a signal from terrorists that they don't want their government to cooperate with us (US) in combating the Taliban and jihadist elements. - Reading hotel bombings is a lost art like tea leaves and phrenology. There are very few of us left that are able to divine the true meaning.

I don't think that Senator Obama understands that there was a failed state in Pakistan when Musharraf came to power. - I'm just reading his mind right now, but that's one of my super-powers which is another reason you should elect me King, er, I mean President.

Everybody who was around then, and had been there, and knew about it knew that it was a failed state. - Which is why we have to coddle the head of the army that took over the government from a democratically elected prime minister and who then twice suspended the constitution. Perv is my buddy. I've been there. I've talked to him... in person. We shook hands. He knows how to run a coup. Arrest political dissidents and human rights activists. Shut down and take over the media. With only five (reported) concerted attempts to assassinate him, he's one of the most likable leaders in Pakistani history.

But let me tell you, this business about bombing Iran, let me tell you my record; - I have this speech impediment when I sing that changes R's to M's which is why some Beach Boys songs (my favorite group by the way) sound a little funny at Karaoke. Just the first "R" because bombing Oman would be worse than bombing Iran since they're supposedly our friends.

The person I admired the most and still admire the most, Ronald Reagan, wanted to send Marines into Lebanon. - Luckily I voted against that so that I could pander to you right now and tell you I voted against it right before 300 marines were killed in a suicide bombing. Also, I was able to name drop Ronald Reagan. Did I mention I admire him the most?

And then we had Somalia, then the first Gulf War. I supported that. I supported going into Bosnia. - Darfur? Where's that? Africa? Why would we want to go to Africa? What? Somalia was in Africa too? Are you sure? Even back in 1992? Maybe I wouldn't have supported it then.

I supported what we did in Kosovo. I supported it because ethnic cleansing and genocide was taking place there. - I did wait until it was over to support it because it's always good to see which way the wind is blowing, but better late than never. It was still fun to criticize Clinton for being such a sissy boy. He's in touch with his feminine nurturing side. A war of compassion. But yeah, I supported it. Genocide usually isn't good.

And Somalia, I opposed that we should turn from a peacekeeping force into a peacemaking force. - Because peace, like money, is easier to keep than make. I tried it once. I got this really cool color printer, but I put a picture of me on the hundred dollar bill and that didn't go over very well. Lucky I had some friends in the right places or I could have done some time for that one. It was Keating's idea. There are some perqs to being a Senator. I can't wait to see what a President gets. Do you think the mints on your pillow get any bigger? Imagine a mint the size of Ted Kennedy's head! Whoa!

I have a record of being involved in national security issues, which involve the highest responsibility and the toughest decisions that any president can make; to send our young men and women into harm's way. - I tried to send our old men and women into harm's way once, but they know better. Did you ever wonder why harm has a way and why would you send someone purposely into it? Hopefully you would warn them about it and show them how to skirt it or bridge it. Maybe we could build a tunnel under it.

A woman said, "Senator McCain, I want you to do me the honor of wearing a bracelet with my son's name on it."
- I wish I'd talked to my advisors before I answered her because now I've got over 4,000 of these bracelets. I asked if I could just get one bracelet with all their names really really small on it, but I guess it's not the same. It's lucky I couldn't really use this arm anyway, but I sure am building up this bicep.

She said, "But, Senator McCain, promise me one thing; do everything in your power to make sure my son's death was not in vain." - I said, "No problem. I'll use it as an anecdote to get elected." And my opponent says I have trouble following through on promises.

They all say to me that we don't want defeat. - This is really surprising because based on most of the poll results I've been reading, at least one in three Americans does want defeat so when every mother I talked to said they didn't want the defeat I began to wonder. Was it statistically possible that all these women didn't want defeat? I don't know. I don't do math or computers.

I was in a war where we had an Army. It wasn't through any fault of their (not our) own, but they (not we) were defeated. I know how hard it is for a military to recover from that. And it did and we will win this one and we won't come home in defeat and dishonor and probably have to go back if they fail. - Because that would be really tough on these guys psychologically if we don't let them win. I know it's not a war. It's just an occupation and how do you win an occupation? If we brought these men home now, they would be so upset that their police action devolved into a civil war they would kick their dogs and yell at their wives. They would neglect their children or expect them to not give up if they were mired in a quagmire of homework. There's no telling how much this would cost in therapy. Maybe a billion dollars. Can you imagine? Then as soon as they get better we'd probably have to send them back. Awkward!


But the important thing is -- the important thing is I traveled to Waziristan and I know what our security requirements are. We will prevail in Afghanistan, but we need the new strategy and we need it to succeed. But the important thing is, if we suffer defeat in Iraq it will have a calamitous effect in Afghanistan. Senator Obama doesn't seem to understand there is a connection between the two
.
- Did I mention the important thing? About going to Wario-land? Obama thinks we can use the troops from Iraq to win in Afghanistan. The young are so naive. Hasn't he heard of a little thing called the Domino Theory? When will they learn?

If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it is an existential threat to the State of Israel because the other countries in the region will feel a compelling requirement to acquire nuclear weapons as well. - With this existential threat comes an existential crisis and an existential angst which is actually an existential fallacy, but who's really paying attention? We're all curled up in a fetal position and John McCain is probably more like all our fathers than Barrack Obama, so he'll make everything better (just like he did in our childhood).

Now we cannot have a second Holocaust. - A shout out (HOLLA) to my Jew brothers. We got your back.

But have no doubt; the Iranians continue on the path to acquire a nuclear weapon as we speak tonight. And it is a threat not only in this region but around the world. - This is actually classified information that I'm not supposed to tell you, but since there's an election around the corner and a little fear never hurt anyone, I'll tell just you. Don't spread it around though. I could get in a butt-load of trouble.

Senator Kyl had an amendment in order to declare the Republican Guard in Iran as a sponsor of terror. Senator Obama said that would be provocative. - Serious? How could declaring the army of a democratic country terrorists be considered provacative. He is so naive. Provacative? Really?

But have no doubt about the ultimate result of them acquiring nuclear weapons. - They would never bother sending a missile into Israel with a conventional warhead. We all know they are just waiting until they can do it with style. I know they have missiles that can reach Jerusalem, but sending 100 small bombs isn't as cool as one big one, so they're waiting. You say, "That doesn't make any sense", but my logic doesn't have to make sense to you. I'm John McCain and I'm older than dirt so I know better.

I'm not going to set the White House visitors schedule before I'm president of the United States. I don't even have a seal yet. - Oh no you dit-unt! Snap! Does it burn Senator Obama? Let's see that seal now. Boo yeah!

Too much stuff to work with. Looks like we'll have a Part IV now...

 

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