Friday, December 31, 2010

Hopes for the New Year

"Government is the problem."

On the contrary, government is the only thing keeping us from reverting to tribal warfare, where the richest and best armed among us rule with lead and fire.  The absence of government in our lives would not be a good thing, regardless of how rosy Republicans paint it.   We left the State of Nature in order to form this more perfect Union.  We are all in this together, and this a divided we fall endeavor.

I hope that this year will see Democrats stand up and explain that Constitutionally limited government, doesn't mean less government in your life.  Our Constitution simple divides which are state obligations, and where the federal government presides.  A 'more' Constitutionally limited government would simply shift the burden to state or county municipalities.

My hope for the new year is that an argument will rise in favor of fully funding government, so that it can meet or accomplish 100% of its stated goals.  Tax cuts demean this effort, serving only individual needs, while driving our nation into debt.  Someone somewhere has to stand up and say, "We MUST invest both time and increased taxes in our country, our Union, and especially our infrastructure."

It does not matter where these taxes are allocated or collected.  We have roads and bridges in disrepair, and it is going to take the raising of taxes to properly fix them.  Whether counties raise property tax, or the federal government sets a national gas tax, we have to raise revenues.  We are in debt and our crumbling  roads cause more damage to persons and property than drunk drivers do.

I hope that Democrats will stand up and state with certainty that meaningless platitudes like, "We are in favor of Constitutionally limited government." aren't a hinderance to our goals nor does it mean 'less government' or lower taxes.  Simply stated, We the People have basic needs, that must be met by the collection of taxes, be they by the federal government, states, counties, or cities.  We are in debt and our nation's infrastructure needs refurbished.

"I pay taxes because roads don't pave themselves."  (*A sign from the Rally to Restore Sanity.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Dead Dream

"No amnesty for law breakers, not now, not ever."

In this case, the law breakers are the children of illegal immigrants, and the 'amnesty' is the exchange for service in our nation's military for citizenship.  So, had the Dream Act passed, if you were a child of an illegal immigrant willing to put your life on the line to protect our nation, then you would be granted citizenship.  That the GOP managed to successfully filibuster this legislation is truly amazing to me.

Democrats failed to successfully argue that your willingness to fight and die for this country meant you deserved citizenship.  How is that?  Who really believes that your willingness to fight and die for the United States doesn't qualify you to legally pay taxes and vote?  The arguments presented against it were that it might encourage children to move here, and that it rewards illegal behavior.  The winning argument here was that it is bad to encourage young people to come here and fight for our country.

Being born here, is a passive act.  No one chooses where or when they will be born.  Well, I guess I'll say only that I don't recall having the option.   But this is the sole factor the Republicans are willing to consider, when deciding if someone deserves citizenship or not.  That someone is willing to join our military and defend you, me, and our Constitution didn't matter to Republicans.  The only thing at issue for them is the illegal nature of their arrival.  Republicans deem this to be an unforgivable federal crime.  Once you've arrived illegally, any process pointed toward citizenship has been successfully defeated as another "amnesty for illegals".

I too have a dream.  It is that, one day Democrats will stand up and make an argument good enough to convince not only other Democrats that it is a good idea, but half of the reasonable Republican voters, if not their Representatives.  Sadly, it is but a dream, because it seems these days strong convincing liberal arguments are a rarity at best.

How exactly does one fail to convince Americans that those who serve in our armed forces deserve citizenship?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Attacking Christmas

"Liberals are attacking Christmas, again."

According to Fox News, you'd think liberals were out stealing manger scenes and beating down anyone dressed like Santa in stores and on the streets.  The truth is the Pagans are the ones who got the raw deal out of Christianity co-opting their season and all of the things we know to be symbols of Christmas.  According to Biblical researchers, the Christ-child "Yeshua" (NOT "Jesus") was born around June 3rd.

It was the Catholic Church and its creation that borrowed all the symbols from the world's oldest and largest religion- Paganism, and then married them with gospel writings to arrive at "Christmas Trees."  The Pagans burned candles during all of their rituals, as Catholic do in all their ceremonies.  Pagans worshiped the female form, as Catholics still do the Virgin Mary.  During the winter solstice Pagans would bring evergreen trees, wreathes, or sprigs inside to decorate their home, as a sign of life's resilience over winter's icy grip.  Catholics just adopted all these things and stuck a Christian label on them and today we still kiss under mistletoe, and cut down 34 million trees every year to celebrate "Christmas."

That the vast majority of Christians have no clue as to what a Christmas tree has to do with the birth of Yeshua, isn't surprising.  They hide colored Easter eggs, and celebrate the Easter Bunny, completely unaware that the tale originated as the pagan goddess Ostara raising a dead bird back to life and then turning it into an egg laying hare.  Growing up my CCD teachers were always hard pressed to answer my questions about what Santa, the Easter Bunny, evergreen trees and colored eggs had to do with Christ.  Which is why I always say that I left the Church when I reached the age of reason.

The truth of the matter is that I enjoy the holidays.  I love the decorations, the music, the general cheerful mood most find themselves in, and of course the sales.  What I don't appreciate is that Christians claim sole ownership to this holiday, and tout "Keep Christ in Christmas!"  To which the historian in me just wants to shout back, "Christ's real name was 'Yeshua', not 'Jesus', and he was born in June!"  Then again, it's the holidays, and I don't want to yell at anyone.  I just want to smile and wish you season's greetings, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, or if you are a Pagan where all this started, I'll wish you life and good health in this time of want and woe.  Regardless, know that this isn't any one group's season to guard, but rather all of ours to share.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sarah Palin

"Sarah Palin is qualified to be President."

She may well have been born, and always resided in the U.S. and be over the age of 35, but that doesn't mean she is truly qualified to hold the Presidency.  I think that position should be filled by someone willing to lead us into better days through better ways.  I want someone with ideas, enhanced perspective, and a desire to succeed by our nation.

Sarah just does not seem full of new ideas.  She's great at turning out conservative voters, but that doesn't mean she is capable of speaking upon any topic with any real depth.  I can't say I've ever heard her wax poetic upon anything, besides how the media is attacking her.  The longest single topic speech I've heard her give was her resignation speech, wherein she went on and on about her leaving was the best thing for Alaska because people were attacking her legally.

So, apparently she is half of America's favorite target, and the other half's most adored darling.  Riding a media wave, she has recently written a book and is starring on her own reality TV show.  One thing certain, is that she can draw a crowd, but I don't think that in-and-of-itself qualifies someone to hold our nation's highest elected office.  Before someone claims this is another attack piece on her, I'd like to argue that claiming someone isn't qualified, isn't attacking them.  I can't fly a helicopter.  If someone points this out, they aren't attacking me.  They are simply stating as fact, that 'I' should NOT be given the keys to a Blackhawk.

Hunter S. Palin recently took and missed "5" shots at a caribou from around a hundred yards away with a scoped rifle and the animal never moved.  That's not "hunting" as I know it here in Texas.  If you rustle in your stand or blind, the game will hear you and bolt, let alone shooting at it multiple times with a rifle.  That said, what I take issue with her here is her completely missing the animal "5" times.  A hunter in our group would have been disqualified from shooting after missing a live target 3 times.  They'd have been sent back to the range until they could group together a pattern the size of the game animal's kill zone (heart & lungs).  Hitting an animal in the legs or stomach could ruin a lot of good meat, so one wouldn't be allowed to go on a live hunt, until they could prove proficiency with their weapon.

Like so many moments before this, she seemed unprepared for the task at hand.  We never saw the actual wound, but I am almost certain the animal suffered and there was meat lost or destroyed, simply because she hadn't done due diligence at the range.  Sarah Palin is not one to go into things totally prepared, so it would seem these past years.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Socializing Medicine

"There shouldn't be a federal take-over of the health care system."

On this I must say that I can find some agreement.  A huge, one size fits all, single payer system may well turn into the biggest government boondoggle of all time.  So, let's just localize medicine.  Local or County Hospital Districts should set a tax rate that fully funds their operations, and then they should use those facilities to offer residents in that area the care they need.  Simply cut out the federal middleman and keep 100% of those tax dollars right where they are collected.

Then have locally elected Hospital Boards be the deciders as to what gets covered, and which tests or procedures are offered.  If your district isn't fulfilling your needs, then you can vote out those whom you disagree with, run yourself, or re-locate to a district more aligned to your medical needs.

This said, I do think the federal government has a role to play in setting basic standards, as to the level of care all health care facilities have to provide citizens.  This should come in the form of an 'unfunded mandate'.  Now I know that phrase scares a lot of people, but it isn't the same as a 'federal mandate', which is the government telling you what you are going to do.  This 'unfunded mandate' is merely the government telling you what you need to do, and not telling you how you are to go about doing it.  This will literally be the difference of having a faceless disconnected Senate or Congress decide your health care and its costs, and having your local monthly Hospital Board hold public meetings deciding these issues, right in front of you.

At present a faceless for-profit insurance agency is deciding who lives and at what cost, and premium payers have no voice in those decisions, other than to buy insurance elsewhere.  However, with no government non-profit option, affordability escapes over 30 million Americans.

We have a duty to help provide and protect individual life, it is right there in the Constitution.  We all have the Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  The best most efficient way to deliver a health care system to protect 'Life', is to keep local taxes out of federal coffers, as locally elected officials work with citizens to deliver the desired level of care.

We should 'localize' socialized medicine.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Another Year in Afghanistan

"We are spending money winning the war in Afghanistan."

On the contrary, we have now been in Afghanistan as long as Russia, and we are still not even close to defeating the Taliban, building a stabilized government, or rooting out corruption in the present government.  We have spent some $300 billion so far, $80 billion of that in 2010, alone.  These monies are spent on weapons, ammunition, vehicles, fuel, and the people to operate them.  However, we have spent a tawdry $15 billion, rebuilding what we have bombed and turned into dust.  How this is supposed to 'win hearts and minds' is beyond me.

So, while our own nation wallows in debt, its infrastructure crumbles, its citizens refuse to even consider tax increases on anyone, we are spending money we don't have bombing a sandbox, losing the confidence of the Afghan people, and we seem unable to realize that this behavior isn't sustainable.

My question is "Why?"  Why are we so disconnected from the reality of taxes and what they pay for?  Why can't we see that we are spending money we don't have on a war we can't win, while our own highways, bridges, and rail systems dilapidate right before our very eyes?  When are we going to see that not only is the emperor naked, but he's emptying the treasury buying even more invisible clothes.

So, where is the young wide-eyed lad to proclaim the emperor's true state?  Moreover, how do we get that kid a bullhorn?

Instead, what we have is an entire television network dedicated daily to saying how masterfully crafted the emperors clothes look.  The truth is that we seem entirely unable or unwilling to accept that this story isn't going to end well for the emperor and his magical clothes, or the treasury that is funding this obscene fashion show.

Ideally, a charismatic leading liberal would step onto the stage and lay out what is actually occurring, then would provide a plan to get us out of the problems plaguing us, and the whole of the country would begin stepping up and forward to rite this ship.   What we lack is responsible leadership, willing to tell it how it actually is...

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Patriot Act and the TSA

"Obama has overseen the most intrusion by the federal government into people's personal lives, ever."

While President Obama is the acting President today, he isn't responsible for federal screeners being allowed to feel people up and molest some airline passengers.  That was done by the previous administration, and the passing of the Patriot Act.  That said, the current President seems disinterested in addressing or acknowledging that current pat-down standards are growing far more intrusive.

Americans lost big on 9-11.  We lost because we abandoned that which makes America great- "Freedom". Our Constitution is supposed to safeguard certain rights of citizens as inalienable, such as the right to be free from government intrusion into or onto your person.  The 4th Amendment was meant to protect citizens from 'unreasonable' searches and seizures, by the government or law enforcement officers.  The Supreme Court has in recent decades allowed for government to more easily access people's persons and property.  However, none of their decisions were as broad or as debilitating to citizen privacy as the Patriot Act and the creation of the Transportation Safety Administration.

The TSA is the FBI of the sky.  If the TSA wants to fondle your genitals before you board an aircraft, you'd better pony up, or you could face a $10,000 civil suit.  Recently, I've seen videos of parents being separated from their children, and some being forced to let a complete stranger physical molest their child, as the child screamed "Stop touching me!"  The shoe bomber led to us taking off our shoes, the underwear bomber brought about the overly-familiar pat downs.  What will come when one of these guys sticks a bomb up their bum?

It has been said that those who would sacrifice freedom for security would soon have and deserve neither.  Well people, we are there.  Your person is no longer 'free' from intensive searches, if you are going to board a plane.  Now, I understand that we are in uncertain times, with terrorists hiding in every shampoo bottle over 3 oz., but does that make every 80 year old man with an artificial joint subject to a strip search?

These might all sound funny, if they weren't true.  Except that these are not puns, or plays on words at all.  When the very mention of Constitutional rights, can get you detained at an airport, one must wonder who are we fighting, with such tactics.  And where is our elected leadership, among all this?  Silent, as though anything 'they' said might be used against them, as them being weak on terrorism.  My fellow Americans, I beg you stand up, and say enough is enough.  We should all be willing to have our genitals left alone, without probable cause.

Terrorists can't make us less free, only we can do that to ourselves...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Re-building Rome Overnight

"The economy isn't growing fast enough."

So, should it?  Recent economic downtrends, are the result of overpriced goods on the market taking a big hit, 'houses' in this instance.  Too many bought things they could only afford in times of plenty, then an extended period of not-so-plenty occurred triggering the tumble into another recession.  Our recent economic tendencies seem to be that of bomb then bust, rather than mild to moderate sustained growth.

We seem hell-bent on growing the economy fast, rather than slowly building a sustainable economy, but why?  Why not stop, and take a long term view on things, chart a reasonable course that leads us into a future we can all live in, and then do it?  Our use of fossil fuels will end, either when we run out, or when our use finally causes undeniable global climate change, that forces us to abandon their use.  So, why don't we pre-empt the move, and start building an eco-friendly economy now, based only on renewability?

Democrats should become much more progressive in their economic policies, focused on ending our addiction to foreign energy supplies.  We have coal, natural gas, geothermal, and all the sun, wind, and tidal power you could want.  So why in the world are we paying kings and dictators inflated prices for a resource that is killing the planet?

Instead, we should announce a new policy, immediate and mandatory reductions in foreign crude purchases.  Followed shortly by the institution of a short step-down process, by which America begins buying less energy from non-domestic sources, with a goal of less than 5% by 2020.  The goal being to get started in a positive direction, today.  We should begin building, even if only slowly, a sustainable economy.

Let's start by providing tax cuts, subsidies, AND 'raising taxes' to do so, to put solar panels on every roof, and a wind generator on every lawn.  While at the same time, we should raise taxes to renew our rail system. We should become that which we've been accused of, and take on the roll of "tax & spend".  Both our economy and our nation NEEDS these services, and given our debt, we need to raise taxes to pay for it.

We spend $700 billion a year on foreign crude.  Imagine if that money stayed in our economy, and enriched American businesses...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mid-term Losses

"Obama and the Democrats over-reached..."

The problem was that both the Universal Coverage-butter and the Public Option-gravy were placed well beyond the Democrats' dinner table.  Then they ran as if they were ashamed of even asking for such.

As a Democratic voter I found myself dragging-ass, to the polls.  I was not impressed, energized, or mildly interested in half-measures, compromises, and giving up on actual goal realization.  The current attitude of Liberal leadership is lacking a stiff backbone, in my opinion.  They simply aren't standing up for progressive values with any kind of authority, passion, or enthusiasm.

We lost because our voters stayed home, while the GOP road Tea Party vigor all the way to victory.  A mere 15 million Democrats made it to the primary election process, while the Conservatives saw almost 20 show up.  That is an enthusiasm gap, and is the first lesson of politics.  Voter turnout wins elections.

People follow strong leadership, to the polls.  They will not follow those who appear to be weak, ineffectual, lacking in confidence, and unwilling or unable to justify their votes or actions.  The Tea Party didn't win any debate, and none of them offered any specific solutions to our current problems, yet they won.  What they did have were impassioned people standing up and making an argument, at every opportunity.  They took every opportunity to attack Democratic efforts, while Liberals fell silent and hung their heads with dis-pride.

We will win, when we take unashamed progressive positions, that Liberal voters can get excited about supporting.  We showed up and voted for change, in huge numbers.  What we got was something less than impressive.  We abandon our base and left voters with little to be excited about.  Democrats will win, when they act like leaders with the better ideas.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Call to Action

We the People are not presently well represented by our elected officials.  Our basic needs are often times left to what we can muster between ourselves.  Government at all levels fails us daily.  Redresses for these outright crimes against civility are met with courts and bureaucracy that are impenetrable to appeal or petition.  From state and federal down to our county and city levels, government suffers shortcomings.  Our government has become the hindrance upon our pursuit of happiness, basic freedom, and even equality under the law.  People, this is not what government was intended to be.  Government is merely People realizing that problems can best be handled by people working together, rather than against one another.  You are not alone.  We the People left the State of Nature, in order to form a more Perfect Union.  We levied claims that We would work together to see to it that certain Rights were inalienable. Moreover, We claimed that when government failed, that it was Our Duty to fix it.  The problem is that We have become complacent, and unaware of our governments’ actions.  We don’t see, or hear reported their everyday doings, dealings, decisions, or deliberations.  More often than not, these meetings take place in executive session, behind closed doors, and well beyond the eyes and ears of the public.  Local governments fare no better holding meetings, courts, and councils in rooms not large enough to accommodate a score of public attendees.  And those charged with reporting on these events, that Free Press, being necessary to secure a Free State is woefully inadequate.  They are as bought and paid for by these officials, as can be expected.  We the People simply don’t see, or know about the shortcomings of our elected officials.  More sad, is the fact that We just don’t care.  Only about two-thirds of us are even registered to vote whom qualify, only half actually show up to vote on election day.  If there is no federal election, local and state elections' turnouts fare far worse.  The point being that, most of us are staying out of and or are completely unaware of the election process, and this is why government is so unresponsive to our daily needs.  There are no checks and thus no balances.  We have to know more about those we elect.  We have to know how they vote each and every day, on each and every issue.  We have to be the watchdogs upon our own government, lest they stray from their true purpose, to serve the Will and Needs of the People.  

This is a Call to Action.  I entreat you, reach out and lend an ear to the movements and daily actions of those whom you have and are to vote for, see for your own eyes if they represent your values and ideas, or those listed in the Constitution of the United States.  Show up at these public hearings, meetings, or councils and witness the utter and complete incompetence, as I have.  You have to see, to know and understand the depth of this problem I am calling attention to.  I have met a water board President, who couldn’t tell me and or didn’t know the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety level for lead contamination in drinking water.  I have encountered a library board President who had never heard of the Library Bill of Rights, or the American Library Association.  I have seen judges and courts ignore their own sanctioned Policies to limit the rights of citizens, merely because they had to cover for one of the officials they appointed.  Almost every time I have attended a board or counsel meeting, I have seen or heard arguments for or in favor of limiting public access to government services, the very things our tax dollars fund.  These elected officials forgot, or never initially understood, that it is their first duty to protect the individual’s right to public services, and to indeed help us gain access to these resources.  It has become far too often that I have seen the opposite.  I call on you now, to see and bear witness to the same.  Then I call on you to VOTE for those who would act in line with standards you care about.  Bear true witness to these things, and hold elected or appointed officials accountable for their shortcomings.  Governments’ failure to act, is merely our failure to oversee their actions as voters.  Politicians are re-elected most of the time, so either We don’t know or We don’t care.  Regardless, We have only ourselves to blame.  That said every passing moment is an opportunity to turn it all around.  Help me, help us, to elect a government responsive to the needs of it’s citizenry.  Let’s re-make government what it was intended to be, a State not of competitors, but teammates, intended to help and look out for one another.  We are a Community, and when We act together there is nothing We can’t achieve.  It is only when We act as individuals, that We separate ourselves from the communal goods and services that We’ve already paid for through taxes.  We are that more perfect Union, or We are merely individuals acting as competitors stuck in the State of Nature, where the one with the strongest arm and biggest stick, makes all the rules.  We Left that State, in order to form this more Perfect Union.  American Democracy may very well be the best of what Government has to offer,  but today that’s like being valedictorian of summer school. Our inaction, inattention, and general unawareness and ignorance has given us our government induced problems.  As a Democracy, We get the government we deserve. 

Today, our best is just not good enough.  Yet, all that is needed is that those who vote, to do so in an informed manner.  With that, I ask you to now, to Vote Smart, or don't at all.  Know not just the names of those who you would vote for, or what party they represent, but be able to boast of the actual votes they’ve made in line with your own beliefs.  Stop voting for incumbents who haven’t done their job, and don’t represent you or your stances. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Juan Williams

"Muslims on airplanes scare me, and make me nervous."

My wife is the same way, about spiders.  At some point in her past, she 'had a bad experience', with a spider.  Now she has an irrational fear of all spiders, even though the vast majority of all the spiders are completely harmless.  The spider she encountered didn't even bite her, it just wouldn't 'get off of her'.  If she encountered a spider today, she'd freak out.  And the bigger the spider the bigger her reaction would or will be, even to a point of completely disabling her.  She can't even look at a picture of a big hairy tarantula without getting creeped out.

In my head, this is a weakness of hers.  She's allowing one bad interaction, to affect all future encounters with arachnids, even though most of them are there to help rid her world of unwanted insects.

Juan Williams is also suffering from an irrational fear, and the closer to Fox News he gets, the more this irrational fear will be enforced.  O'Reilly himself has crowed that "Muslims attacked us on 9-11!", as does the rest of Fox News.  And then they herald, 'Williams is free to express his opinion here', as they just gave him a big fat contract.  Which also means that about 40% of the country is leaning in this direction, because it would seem you don't have to drink the kool-aid, to be affected by its fumes.

The problem here is 'generalizing' based on a stereotype.  "Rag-heads attacked us on 9-11."  While Juan didn't say this directly, that's what he's thinking.  We were attacked by terrorists, who seek to expel our military from their homeland.  The Muslim religion didn't attack us.  There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.  If Americas' 380 million were indeed at war with them, I'd say the odds are against us.

It is wrong to fear an entire group, based upon the sins of a few within that group.  It would be not be acceptable to treat every Catholic Priest like he was a pedophile.   Yet, Juan is now being welcomed with open arms into the Fox News family.  "Fox News, We accept broad generalizations and irrational fears!"

While I was indeed a Juan Williams supporter, I think he needs some mental health care, maybe some direct exposure therapy.  Feed him his favorite food while meeting and speaking to kind and happy Muslims.  This behavior can be overcome, but if I were to daily toss rubber spiders at my wife, while someone poked her with a sharp needle, I doubt she'd ever get over her arachnophobia.  In fact, those actions would probably make it worse.  So, Juan heading to Fox News to a full-time position may well see him bombing a mosque, in the end.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Legalizing Pot

"Why would we want to make it easier for our children to access marijuana?"

Because we are losing tax revenue now, while making a bunch of gangsters rich, and at the same time wasting law enforcement officers' time and resources by chasing, prosecuting, and then feeding, clothing, and housing non-violent offenders.  We are wasting valuable resources trying to tell other people what they can and can't consume.

Children with parents who lack the time and energy to provide adequate supervision, are those who find themselves getting into things they shouldn't.  What is or isn't legal has little to do with it.

Rather than trying to tell adults how to live their lives, we should focus our law enforcements' energies apprehending actual criminals- those who have infringed upon another's life, liberty, property, or pursuit of happiness.  Liberty and freedom are supposed to extend to everyone, so long as they aren't hurting anyone during their pursuits.

California spends over $8 billion, prosecuting and housing marijuana offenders.  While estimates are that  legalizing and taxing cannabis could generate close to $10 billion in revenues.  Then there's the added resources  that will be available to law enforcement, allowing them to focus much more time to catching real criminals.  Fewer criminals on the street mean fewer crimes.  Fewer crimes mean fewer home insurance claims, leading to even more savings for everyone.

Proposition 19, even if passed, won't stop federal officers from enforcing federal law.  So, while the Administration threatens to veto the will of the people, we lose tax revenue, waste resources, and jail Americans seeking solace in a harmless herb.  No one in the history of the world has died from THC overdose, and doctors are prescribing it as medicine.  Yet the federal government resists any and all efforts to use sound reasoning or judgement of any kind.

When will this reefer madness end???

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Health Care Reform

"Over 60% of Americans are not happy with Obama Care."

I, for one, am one of them.  However, the reason I am displeased is that we didn't get Universal Health Care or even a strong Public Option.  What we got instead was a bill watered down by health insurance lobbyists and their conservative cohorts, that lacked serious reform.  While Republicans claimed,  "No one reached out to us."

This is the oldest of plays ran by conservatives, since the legislation began.  The Democrats want to enact a project and say that it will cost $1 million dollars.  Then the notion enters the process, where Republicans say they will only fund the project at $500,000, and needing their votes, Democrats relent.  The result is legislation that is ineffectual and not supported by the public because it doesn't do the job the originators said it would.  This is exactly what happened to the Health Care bill.

The issue isn't that we shouldn't fight the notion of Universal Health Care.  We already have it, except that the current problem is that it is the most expensive care one can purchase.  People without health insurance don't just stay home and die.  They wait until they are in pain, and then they show up at the E.R., where Doctors provide them care, as their oath dictates.  The two problems with this system are first, that E.R. care is super-expensive, and second, that it is oftentimes too late to affect positive results.  So, patients don't pay their huge bill, and they don't get the results they could have with an earlier diagnosis.  In the end, taxpayers and insurance holders get the bill, anyway.

What we should have done was allow everyone access to clinical care, where illnesses can be treated both inexpensively yet effectively.

The Democrats' problem is that they can't or won't make the argument that "We" have a duty to our fellow citizens, and that when one of us falls to injury or illness, "We" are supposed to be there to help one another.  That Republicans were able to successfully argue that: "Money = Medical Care" & "Rich = Head of the line.", is just loony, to me.  Where in the world of medicine, other than America, do you get to demand that you get to move to the head of the line, because you have more money???  In the medical world, there's a term called "triage", meaning literally 'sorting of patients'.  If you come in with a gunshot wound, you get to go ahead of someone with an ingrown toenail.  The worse off you are, the more immediate your care becomes.  Your ability to pay isn't part of the medical equation, nor should it be.

The notion that the poor don't deserve basic health care is inhuman, not compassionate, and is the very definition of incivility.  That Republicans successfully defeated both Universal Health Care and the Public Option baffles me, especially when Democrats control both the House and the Senate, as well as the Executive Branch.

What else can be said, other than Democrats are weak, ineffectual, and lacking in an ability to construct and deliver good arguments.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Deficit Timeline

"Tax cuts pay for themselves."

The problem is simply, they haven't and they won't.  The failed notion is that if taxes are low, this will spur long-term economic growth, because more people will have more money to invest with.  So, why are we running deficits, now?  Taxes are lower now than they were in the 90's, a period of economic growth and stability, not to mention budget surpluses.  In fact, when you look back over the past century, you'd see that the top tax rate is currently less than a third of its highest peak.

The point I'd like to make is that lowering tax rates doesn't raise tax revenue.  They simply don't, "pay for themselves".  When you cut taxes, you are going to have less money to operate government services.  President G.W. Bush offered tax cuts while at the same time going to war in two theaters.  His instructions to Americans were, "Keep shopping."  So, while U.S. soldiers were fighting and dying, American citizens were told it's better that you buy that new flat-screen TV, rather than pay for wheelchairs for returning veterans.

Taxes are gathered to pay for the stuff government does, all of it.  When "We" go to war, "We" have to pay for it, or "We" go into debt.  When you reduce the tax rate, you must reduce spending.  If you don't, you will go into debt.  This was true yesterday, it is true today, and it will be true tomorrow.

The economy is not going to solve or otherwise fix the deficit.  It simply doesn't work that way.  We must raise taxes to pay for our debt.


We must cut spending.

As Americans, we now have a decision to make, "Do we want to fund our current activities, or not?"  After which, we will be tasked with doing without for a while.  We have lived beyond our tax income, and there's a bill due now.  We have to do with less income or less government.  Now before you leap to the later, I'd ask you not to weakening our Union.  Taxes are gathered for all of us, and they fund the infrastructure upon which we exist.  So should we allow our roads, bridges, and social safety nets to collapse, or should we raise the revenues to fully fund their restoration?

In whichever case, there must be a reckoning with the direct correlation between the tax rate, tax revenues, and spending.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Abortion Compromise

"An abortion is killing a human life.”

     On the contrary. An abortion is terminating a pregnancy – and thus not allowing human life to further develop. Please note my absence of the phrase “a human life” in the previous sentence. My finger is a form of human life, as are my organs, as is the overgrown scar tissue atop an old wound.
     However, none of those things is “a human” entitled to individual rights. If any of these things offend me, I can cut them off without fear of these things suing me or someone else doing so in the name of my excised appendages.

     Our Constitution affords rights to individual humans. It makes no mention of groups of people, animals, body parts or parasitic life having the rights to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. Individuals, alone, are deserving of these protections.

     So the question is, “When do we become individuals?”

     Rather than make an emotional or religious argument, I think we should allow our best technology to decide when the point of external viability is. Current medical technology puts that state of development at around six months. At which point, if born prematurely, the “not yet fully formed” fetus still has a strong chance of surviving – given that we have developed sufficient incubation chambers that can provide further support in place of a specific host. This, I believe, is the moment you become an individual. It is the moment you are no longer dependent on one specific host for all of your life functions.

     That said, at present, after six months of development, you “are.” So whatever the host agent does to her body, she is also inflicting this upon the unborn individual. Just like we would prosecute a parent for issuing drugs or tobacco to a one-year-old, so should we hold a would-be mother accountable for any harmful agent they consume that would otherwise have a detrimental effect on the growth and development of a pregnancy they intended to carry to term.

     The compromise should never be to prohibit an abortion before external viability, while holding expecting mothers after that point criminally responsible for actual child abuse.

     The flaw with the pro-choice movement is the blind eye they turn to such behavior. The flaw with the pro-life advocates is that they elevate the life of the unborn above that of the host mother. They even go as far as to say that a woman who is raped or molested shouldn't have the opportunity to seek an abortion. Herein lies their crime against civility. Making all abortions illegal, even in the case of rape and incest, would give rapists the legal authority to force any woman they choose to carry and have their baby. In what world is it alright for someone to have legal backing to force their will upon another? No one has the right to force their will upon another. Each of us are endowed with an individual right to pursue our own happiness.

     In the end, both sides are wrong on this issue. And they are all ignoring that their stance infringes upon another's freedom.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Progress Through Progressive-ism

"Progressives, Liberals, Democrats, they're all the same, screaming about hope and change."

All the while traditional conservative republicans reply, "I want my country back."  So, how is it that 'backwards' is winning?  Hey look, we just turned the Gulf into a dead zone, why do we need to subsidize electric cars again?  How is it that "progress" became a bad word, or a notion to be dismissed rather than embraced?  Progress is how we got this far.

It was progress that got us to throw off the chains of King George and begin our Democratic Republic.  It was progressive to do away with slavery, the steam engine, and typewriters.  It will be progress when we finally get around to developing high speed rail for shipping and travel, and it will be progress when we stop using gasoline powered vehicles.  It was a good step forward when we developed heart and organ transplants, and yet there were conservative traditionalists that believed putting one man's heart into another would change the receiver for the worse!  We must employ science over beliefs, and use our best technology to solve our worst problems.

My point here is that conservative-ism and or traditionalism is holding us back, I'd just like to know how and why!?  What has status quo ever delivered us, but more of the same, literally???

We are more than we were yesterday, and our environment presents bigger and more complicated challenges every day.  Because this is true, we have to embrace change, or we will parish.  We need to evolve, we need to become something better, more capable, and more united, in order to face all of what tomorrow might bring.  It is "united we stand and divided we fall", not this to each his own tax cut to spend on what what his wants- garbage.

We need to progress, as humans, and we need to do so dramatically.  We need to leave behind us:  old dogmas, religious grievances, physical differences, and truly accept that there is only one standard for everyone.  I beg for progress, and hope dearly for it.  Moreover I decry that those who would rail against "Progressive-ism", are Obstructionists, plain and simple.

Progress is far too rare a thing these days, and we are all the worse for it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Entitlement Spending

"We shouldn't be paying people to do nothing, everyone should have to work for what they get."

I guess the best place to start this is to say that people don't starve to death, when there are people with food around.  I mean to say that the drive to stay alive will force the starving to lie, cheat, and steal if need be, in order to procure a meal.  So, providing for a minimal existence to those who can't or won't work is self preservation, or rather an effort to keep them from becoming criminals.

The problem with every entitlement program I have ever reviewed, is that none of them are designed to get people off of them.  They are hand-outs, rather than hand-ups.  They merely provide these needy folk only enough to barely scrape an existence out, which insures they will continue to need help, forever.  I only ask Conservatives to be aware of the fact that there is no one 'thriving' with or on Food Stamps, Welfare, Social Security, or Medicare.

Republicans can't or won't accept higher taxes, even when we are faced with a huge deficit.  Their solution is to cut spending, and their first priority is to do so to entitlements.  Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are over a third of our budget.  We pay this price because we decided as a society that we should provide for those who are not able to care for themselves.  While I have no problem with attempting to identify waste and abuse within these areas, cutting spending here, won't do that.  You'd have to raise revenue to fund such an endeavor, which may or may not pay for itself.  Cutting spend here is only going to squeeze those who can least afford to be taken from.

I don't understand what is compassionate about suggesting that we should provide the old and disabled with an even worse lifestyle, as though they are living high on the hog now.  In my mind, this is an area impossible to cut spending without endangering actual lives.  We are all going to grow old, and eventually we will all need to be cared for and looked after.  Do we all deserve to live off of hotdogs and mac & cheese, during this time, or are the old and disabled entitled to even less?

These safety nets are designed to catch those in need from hitting rock-bottom, and at present the nets are suffering gaping holes, that aren't catching their intended game.  Cutting spending to these programs will only see more financial pain among those who already suffer the most.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Patriotism Through Taxes

"We believe individuals know better than the government, when it comes to how to spend money."

I couldn't disagree more.  Individuals are usually selfish, single-minded, and not at all interested in a greater good.  This is why we left the State of Nature to form government, in the first place.  We gave up the individual need for immediate self-gratification, so that we could all sacrifice a little to provide for the basic needs of everyone.  Individuals don't build interstate highway systems, nor do they fund armies or societal safety nets.  They buy houses, boats, cars, TV's, fast food, and XBOX 360's.  

What has happened is individuals have been brainwashed into thinking that fully-funding the state is somehow a bad or unpatriotic act.  Conservatives rail against taxes, of any kind, even when we are running deficits.

People volunteer their time and energy to all kinds of endeavors, from local community groups to national organizations.  They do so, because there's a known sense of reward for sacrificing one's self to help those in need.  In fact, we even give awards to those who devote a lifetime to volunteering.  People are both honored and proud to volunteer to help others, and no one would crow about getting out of volunteering.  No one talks poorly about volunteer work.

Taxes on the other hand, are seen as something to get out of, sheltered from, and are dealt with as a burden to be avoided, rather than the honored duty to your fellow citizens, that they are.  Tune into any cable station and it will only be a matter of minutes before you see a commercial wherein someone is bragging that they owed the IRS $20,000, but only had to pay a fraction of that, thanks to "Tax Masters".  There is an entire industry dedicated to finding legal loopholes in our tax code.  

Our nation is in debt, and massively so.  We are hurting each other, our nation, and our future by dodging our financial duty to one another.  There would be no need to ever 'raise' taxes, if everyone was just willing to pay their fair share.  Taxes aren't exactly volunteer, but they fund a system that serves all of us.  At present, our system is underfunded.   

Pay your taxes, it'll do far more for your fellow man and yourself than any volunteer job you could ever do.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


"The private sector, not Government or bigger Government, is what spurs innovation."

The problem is that the private sector doesn't, won't, and isn't.  But can it, will it, and should it?  I think so, and that's why I drafted this letter to NASCAR's customer feedback link:

To Whom it May Concern,

I have been a fair weather fan of NASCAR for years, and a fan and participant of racing in general for as long as I can remember. I think that the very best innovation in engineering happens in and around the spirit of 'competition'.  And today, we have a gasoline engine capable of maximum horsepower while still delivering efficiency. The advances that have occurred 'under shade trees' is truly astonishing...

I ask now, when is racing going to go 'green'...?

Why can't we turn this massive tool of innovation into delivering unto us super-fast, super-efficient cars and motorcycles???

The government can't, won't, or isn't spurring the market into more affluent actions, but the private sector could. In fact, an entity like NASCAR, could change everything in a single race season. Simply create a division that offers more prestige with much higher purses. However, it would only be successful if the incentives for gasoline racing were drastically reduced or eliminated.

I can't imagine how different so many people would view racing, if next season every official NASCAR race track was powered by 100% renewable energies, each one outfitted with solar arrays and wind turbines, selling building-it-yourself home kits in the gift shop that allow kids to build and learn about these technologies first hand. NASCAR could lead the American marketplace into a sustainable way of life, rather than being the well painted dirty stepchild of the industrial industry.

With that, I'll thank you for taking the time to read this, and ask that you please pass this 'request/suggestion' onto someone who might make this lofty notion an actual reality. I would love to receive a response or take part in an ongoing exchange with NASCAR upon these matters.

-Race Fan

To date, I've received no response, nor do I expect to, which is the problem.  There is nothing as 'conservative', traditional, or unchanging as Southern culture.  NASCAR's is set in stone, and gasoline racing will likely live long through "Peak Oil".  Half of the current sponsors are Gas and Oil Companies.   

The chances of progressive change coming out of this private sector are slim to none.    But imagine if this weren't true.  Imagine if NASCAR went whole-hog into creating renewable racing, who's sole purpose is to make advancements in electric motors and battery technology.  The American racing world could save the planet, rather than slowly destroying it at 200 mph, and $75 per spectator.

This is just a blog, and not a call to action.  I hope only to move my readers to consider "what if"...

That said, feel 'free' to write NASCAR yourself, and also make this recommendation.  :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

No Mosques in America

"We Ought to be Done with the Building of Mosques in the United States of America."

So much for America being the Land of the Free...

That Democrats aren't flocking to the defense of American Muslims and their right to practice, freely associate with one another, and indeed even build their own houses of worship is well beyond appalling to me.  That so many can so easily dismiss the notion of American religious tolerance is the biggest step backwards we've taken since the adoption of the Patriot Act.  The problem is that far too many leaders have settled on doing what is popular, rather than what is right.

Faced with the potential of being labeled "Pro-Muslim", just months before an election, has turned principled leadership into impudent followers of the lowest common denominator.  When the leading Democratic Senator Harry Reed sides with the likes of Pat Robertson, one must wonder where we can turn to for Liberal leadership, willing to stand up for actual Constitutional standards.

The only ones making any kind of sincere argument are liberal commentators, and comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.  My favorite retort was made by Stewart when he noted, " one is protesting the building of Catholic Churches next to daycare centers."  While the comment is obviously a jab at the recent child molestation troubles the world's oldest and largest Christian religion has had, it makes a great point-  "We don't punish a whole group for the sins of a few within that group."  There are  over a billion Muslims, and those who object to Mosques in America are willing to discriminate against an entire religion based on the acts of less than .01%.  

This is America, where people are supposed to be FREE to worship when, where, and how they like.  Our leaders are supposed to be willing and able to take principled stands against those who would discriminate based upon religious beliefs.  At the very least, someone should be willing to say out loud, "We were attacked by Al Caeda, NOT Islam."  Or, how about stating the simple fact that the latest protest about the "Ground Zero Mosque" are completely misplaced, as the proposed project is neither a Mosque nor at Ground Zero, and that its organizer has actually worked in conjunction with our F.B.I.

When the actual facts of the matter and Constitutional standards take a backseat to emotional statements and people's feelings then we're truly in a sad state of affairs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Immigration Reformation

"If you break the Law, you are a criminal.  You shouldn't get to go to the head of the line, when some people did the right thing and waited their turn."

Let us begin by admitting that America, today, is still the biggest most opportunistic market place in the world.  If you are hungry and eager to work, you can find a job here.  The more talented you are the more money you can make. America is like a Super Wal-mart with only a single-lane driveway for customers to get in and out, with 'illegal customers' making their own way in using 4X4's, and creating their own roads into the marketplace.

Our 'legal' immigration offices are that single-lane driveway.  It is simply not designed to handle the flow of present immigration demands being placed upon it by the current influx of people.  Lady Liberty herself has opened her arms to the masses of the world:

"Give me your tired, your poor, 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"  

The problem is that those charged with filing the paperwork, are way way behind, so much so that people simply aren't willing to wait any longer...

And for the 'crime' of wanting to work to feed and provide for themselves and their families, Conservatives want the "illegal immigrants" punished.  Since some 'waited their turn', I guess it's only fair that those who didn't, be forced to pay a fine of some sort, not unlike a speeding ticket.  But after that we should fast track them into full citizenship.

What we need is an immigration super-highway.  We are losing tax revenue by our inability to process those who flow through our system, and we are turning the very people Lady Liberty invited here, into criminals.

I do not understand why these lawbreakers can't suffer a meaningful penalty, but then be offered amnesty and be made citizens.  The system and its budget are only hurt by having undocumented or 'illegal' workers here, because they aren't paying their fair share of taxes, and they are still utilizing our roads and services.

We can fix immigration by raising the ability for immigration offices to handle the demands being placed upon it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Rich EARNED Higher Taxes

"Why should I be punished for being successful?"

This is the conservative talking point or response, when the issue of graduated or higher tax brackets is raised.  The notion that the more successful or rich you become, the more onerous your tax burden becomes, isn't a punishment at all.  However, this is not the way conservatives see it...

So, the point I'd like to make here is: 'the more you benefit from something, the more you owe it'.  There's a system of government in place that serves us all, and it must be paid for through taxes.  If you aren't 'benefitting' from said system, then your duty to it isn't comparable to someone who has garnered great wealth from the same system.  You see, alone one can accomplish very little, and hold even less.  Wealth can't be created in a vacuum, and it can't be held as an individual.

If you were the richest man in the world, but there wasn't a stable system of government to protect and serve you and your wealth, you'd soon find yourself at the hands of marauders and or pirates better armed and or organized than you.  Luckily we aren't truly 'individuals' anymore.  We exist, as we do, as part of a community or government.  We left the State of Nature, to form this "more perfect union".  And as part of this union, we all have a duty to fund it, as it is the thing that safeguards all of us and the wealth we garner.

When the system benefits you 'more', you should feel more obligated to pay for it.  Imagine a lemonade stand where an owner employs 2 squeezers.  Out of each glass sold, the owner keeps .50, and pays the workers each .25.  Then one day a tornado completely destroys the stand and all the inventory.  Upon deciding who will pay to fix it, would it make sense to demand that everyone pay the same amount?  Possibly, IF they were all going to be equal partners, but if the profit isn't going to be shared equally, if would be unfair to ask those not benefitting from the operation to pay the same as someone making twice as much.

With that said, I believe that we DO all deserve to pay the same 'rate' of taxes, on our earnings.  If you make "0", you pay "0".  If you make a $1, you pay .10.  If you make $10, you pay $1.  If you make $1,000,000, then you pay $100,000.  This is what as known as the "Flat Tax", and is NOT what is being employed right now.  Instead, we have a convoluted system of laws complete with loopholes, caps, and exemptions that allow those who can afford it- Tax Lawyers, who's sole purpose is to make it so that the rich DON'T pay their fair share.  Worse yet, is the fact that people brag about legal tax evasion as though it isn't stealing from everyone.

Instead of viewing taxes as a patriotic duty, taxes are thought of as punishment.  Friends, my fellow countrymen, nothing could be further from the truth.  We owe each other a tax debt, and the more you benefit from this system, the more you owe to it, period.