Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Teabagger Default

I've been hearing a lot of talk about how the Teabaggers actually want the government to default on it's debts rather than raise taxes on the rich. And if they do raise taxes in one spot, they better cut them in another so government revenue stagnates. And you know what?

I hope they get the default they want. I hope the Republicans keep screaming No and the government defaults for the first time in history. And then I hope these old, wrinkly, shriveled up prunes see their social security checks stop coming, their medicare stops getting paid for, their disability checks dry up. I want to see them suddenly stripped of all these government programs they take for granted and are left flapping in the breeze by the same party they'll support until their dying, oxygen-tanked breath escapes their bearded lips as the Republican bus runs them over.

And then I'll laugh as they blame Obama.

Teabagger Dictionary

On Yahoo, the user deadliberalheart has made some really funny comments. He has given us the Teabagger Dictionary.

  • Activist Judge -noun: A judge who actively reads the Constitution before claiming to understand what it means.
  • Alarmist -noun: Someone who refuses to deny that defaulting on debt is bad.
  • Alternative Energy Sources -noun: New places to drill for oil.
  • Arab -noun: See (terrorist, Muslim)
  • BI-PARTISANSHIP, adj. When Democrats give us exactly what we want, NOW!
  • Climate Change -noun: Global warming, without that annoying suggestion that something is wrong.
  • Family Values -noun: Sexism, the idea that women are inferior and only useful as unpaid nannies.
  • Far-Left -Adj: Anyone who supports fiat money, the necessity of the Federal Reserve, or public education.
  • Freedom -noun: Something all nations want but only the US has. Only obtainable through a contract deal with Halliburton.
  • Growth -noun: The justification for tax cuts for the rich. What happens to the deficits when Republicans cut taxes on the rich, but only if everyone is a commie alarmist.
  • Honesty -noun: Lies told in simple declarative sentences. i.e. "Freedom is on the march." or "Mission Accomplished."
  • Jesus -proper noun: Ancient white Jewish male who personally founded the Republican Party. He preached the virtues of theocracy, homophobia, sexism, racism, and tax cuts for rich people.
  • Liberal Media -noun: Any news organization besides Fox News.
  • Recession -noun: The justification for tax cuts for the rich. What happens to economies when the rich have to pay taxes.
  • Reform -verb: To do away with completely. i.e. Medicare reform, Social Security reform, Government reform, Education reform.
  • Socialist -noun: Anyone who likes what you do not like. See also: economist, high school graduate.
  • Warrant -noun: A communist document that only protects terrorists, criminals, and illegal aliens.
I wonder, are there any you can add?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Security of Felony Sexual Abuse

It seems that a Colorado woman is facing jail-time after groping a TSA agent. Now, I'll say this, I've never once been a fan of the TSA and I'm even less of a fan of sexual abuse so with that in mind, I have only this to say:

Nice Job.

I view the TSA as a knee-jerk reaction to fear. Fear of what? Terrorists, of course. Why be scared of terrorists? Because they want to kill you! Why do they want to kill you? Because! ...umm...hmm...for the lulz? And in all of this, how effective has the TSA been? Well, they've been fixated on explosives. And they caught the undie bomber...or something. But let us harken back to the ye olde days just about ten years ago. September 11th, 2001. Did those guys have bombs? No, they had fucking box cutters. So if the TSA makes you feel so damn safe, using those full body scanners to take a nudie shot of you and then going to have a little fun alone time with that picture of you, then it may interest you to know that the "security" they provide is false security.

As you all may have heard, Adam Savage managed to (unintentionally) outwit the TSA with two 12-inch razor blades. And recently, a woman mistakenly carried a 3-inch long knife with her through TSA checkpoints twice. TSA, you don't make me feel safer, you make me feel humiliated both with the invasions to my personal space and the international embarrassment you've become. So, frankly, I'm glad you're getting groped right back. What you've been doing to us is no less than sexual abuse to give us the illusion of safety that you can't even provide.

I believe James Madison once said: "If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

And to quote Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Objective Sociopathy

Anyone familiar with Ayn Rand will know of her politics but in this case, I want to focus on her armchair philosophical movement known as "Objectivism." From an outward perspective and, admittedly after having only given it a passing glance (and discovering it's not worth my time), I have noticed one glaring problem here. The ultimate goal of the "objectivist" is to maintain their own personal happiness.

And fuck everyone else.

Why should the objectivist help that puppy that's about to get run over? It might endanger their own life and happiness, so fuck the puppy. Why should they help anyone? It's not going to make them happy, fuck 'em. Doing the right thing simply because it's the right thing to do? What's the benefit to the objectivist? If it doesn't benefit them, then fuck it. It's a way of thinking that says any act of altruism is unimportant if it means putting yourself second for the sake of another individual in need. Any act of altruism is enough to render Objectivism invalid. But when you start thinking in those terms, it reminds me of another, psychological condition.


Now, unlike the popular conception, being a sociopath does not automatically make a person bad. Of course, it doesn't make them good, either. A sociopath is a person without a conscience or empathy, so they need a logical reason to preform an act of altruism for the simple fact that they can't feel on a gut level when something is wrong. Again, this does not make them bad in it's own right because, by and large, they can play by society's rules. However, it does make them prone to manipulation. But, conversations about sociopaths are best left to others.

From my own perspective, I have a lot of trouble telling the difference between Objectivism and Sociopathy. Both discount altruistic acts unless it brings benefit to the person preforming the act and both seek only their own personal happiness. Please, show me the difference between being an Objectivist and being a Sociopath.

Someone best said: "Ayn Rand is for self-centered douchebags who just don't want to admit they're self-centered douchebags."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Self Defense or Murder

Jerome Ersland, the pharmacist convicted of killing an attempted robber after he'd already shot the kid and rendered him unconscious, has been sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. It seems this has a lot of people in a tissy who say that he was justified to defend himself. I would agree with that, were he actually defending himself. But let's look at the facts of this matter.

  • Two suspects entered his store and attempted to rob it.
  • One of the suspects had a pistol and was threatening Ersland and his staff.
  • Ersland defended his staff and wounded the second suspect in the process with a shot to the head.
  • The headshot was not fatal.
  • Ersland then chased the armed suspect from the store, firing two more shots as the kid ran.
At this point, the threat to both himself, his staff and his store had passed. The most dangerous suspect was running from the scene, the other suspect was subdued and unconscious and the police were on their way. If there's a fear that the kid may wake up and either try something or try to get away, then you lock him in the storage closet until the cops show up. This should have ended right there, except:

  • Ersland returned to his store and retrieved a second firearm.
  • Ersland then went to the subdued, unconscious and unarmed suspect and shot him five times in the chest.
This is no longer self-defense, this was a clear case of murder. To say otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

I could write a long essay on the morality and legality of this, but when the old saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words then you have to wonder how many words is a rather graphic security camera's video worth?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Read My Lips! New Taxes!

So, it looks like Republican leader Boner Boehner and the rest of the Reich Wing are going to stomp their feet and hold their breath and allow the government to go into default to prove...what? That spending is out of control? That we "can't afford" new taxes? That they are somehow anything other than a hollow shell of their once touted "Fiscal Responsibility" former selves? And isn't saying that we "can't afford new taxes" like saying "I'm dying of thirst, so don't give me any water"?

It's well known that the goal in spending cuts has been knocked back from $4 Trillion to around $2 Trillion but every time the Democrats try to kick up taxes a little bit, the Republicans swell up with a Holier Than Thou morality and refuse to even consider it without more spending cuts. Now they're wanting to pick away at Medicare and Social Security.

My question is, where was this morality when funding the wars overseas came up? Those always got rubber stamps. In fact, any time the military asks for more money then it gets a rubber stamp. Hell, the Marines have asked Congress to kill development funding for the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) and when Defense Secretary Robert Gates agreed with them, the Republicans fought it. The EFV is a concept dating back to the '80's and didn't start getting underway until the '90's. It is a concept who's time has come and gone, the Military knows the EFV is something that was conceived of during the Cold War and designed when computers were in their adolescence. The simple fact is that it has no purpose on a battlefield in 2011 and if that weren't bad enough, it was projected to cost $15.9 billion dollars a unit. Why would the party of "fiscal responsibility" and "spending cuts" want to fight that cancellation?

And why are Republicans now acting like raising the debt ceiling is some kind of unthinkable notion when they voted to raise it 19 times and actually got it raised 7 times. So, who pays for Republican short-sightedness? It seems we will with yet another recession. Of course, you know what else we can do to avoid this? Eliminate the fucking tax breaks for the rich that the Republicans kicked and screamed for until they got. Without those, we wouldn't be in nearly as bad a situation as we are now. Or maybe, ya know, just returning taxes to what they were under Clinton? Or taxing luxury items, like yachts and things of that sort?

You know, I think the Republicans do, in fact, hate America.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shallow Voting

There are a whole list of reasons to vote for or against a political candidate. For example, if they have a voting record you don't agree with, or if their ideals strike you as close to the ones you hold, or even if (and I dislike this reason) you perceive them as the lesser of two evils.

Now, while I can't say I know a whole lot about about his ideals and voting history (because I don't know of either), at this stage, I've probably found the most shallow reason ever to vote against a candidate. I am talking about Republican presidential candidate Thaddeus McCotter.

I can't bring myself to vote for a candidate who looks that much like Vladimir Putin.

I told you it was shallow, didn't I?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Question for the Libertarians

Now, I admit, my views on libertarianism are no secret. *cough, cough*

But whatever I may feel on the subject (mocking laughter, for instance), I want to ask one serious question. Knowing the basic views of the ideal, I can't help but wonder if the typical libertarian would support the Clean Diamond Trade Act. The CDTA was written to help curb the importation and sale of rough diamonds from Sierra Leone and Liberia, better known to the world as Conflict Diamonds.

Conflict Diamonds are mined in areas where heavy fighting is going on to sell or barter in order to continue to finance a war effort or insurgency or just to help support the local warlord. Knowing that could you, in good conscience, not support the CDTA?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

If You've Done Nothing Wrong, You've Got Nothing to Hide

If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide.

If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to hide.

This is a phrase that has irritated the holy shit out of me for a very, very long time. Any time privacy is brought up, there's some idiot out there who'll whip this little saying out like a cock at a streaker's convention. I don't know if they really believe this or if they're just mind-bogglingly naive.

My knee-jerk reaction to this is to ask: "Then would you want to take a shit in a glass box on the sidewalk?"

The baseline of this, as pointed out in another article I read, is that the If You've Done Nothing Wrong argument is faulty on it's face because it mixes up the concept of privacy with the concept of secrecy. We do things that are private; like taking a shit, making love, lounging in our underwear, keeping medical records sealed, not sharing our credit card bills, not blabbing our social security numbers to people. We do these for a number of reasons; modesty, security, the desire not to put ourselves on display. When we go home, we have doors to close, windows to shut. We do this because, among other things, we like our privacy.

Now, I have done no wrong, but I have things I want to keep private. My online browsing habits, for example. I don't go to pedo websites, I don't hit up white supremacist sites or look up nuclear weapon designs. I go to message boards, art websites, webcomic sites, but the bottom line is, they are my business and no one else's. I don't want to have my internet movements tracked without my consent, just like I don't want my reading habits monitored or my phone calls listened in on. It's not because I am up to anything nefarious, I am just a private person.

People also seem to underestimate simple things like intimidation. If a person believes that participating in this protest is going to get them on a government watch-list which will then have agents snooping through their lives and records, then they are more likely to stay home when they otherwise would have exercised their First Amendment rights. Of course, the government did nothing overtly to curb their rights to freedom of speech, but they did through the use of perceived retaliation. These people have nothing to hide, but they don't want to have government agents poking their noses into their business.

The people who are saying this are largely doing so in response to the government violating the Fourth Amendment. After all, only Evil Doers™ need to be afraid and unlike the Evil Don'ters©, who Have Nothing to Hide, they do so why are you worried about enforcing the Fourth Amendment?

The only way this argument would work in the case of security or the pursuit of justice, however, is if the government could be shown definitively to have never, ever made a wrongful conviction in the entire history of that government's existence. Just one wrongful conviction, one, would be enough to render the If You've Done Nothing Wrong argument invalid. Well, here you go, everyone. One article about two such wrongful convictions. Not only have two innocent men been convicted, one was on Death Row for it. And, the icing on the cake of this is that the Supreme Court has basically said "Tough shit."

One innocent man, from Arizona, was sent back to prison for raping a child when the Supreme Court ruled he had no right to evidence that would later set him free.

Another innocent man, from Louisiana, was convicted of murder and came within weeks of being executed because prosecutors had hidden a blood test that later freed him.

The two men were linked at the Supreme Court last week by Justice Antonin Scalia, who argued that criminal defendants have no right to "potentially useful evidence" that "might" show they were innocent.

Since the 1990s, the advent of DNA evidence has swept across the American criminal justice system and revealed that hundreds of convicted prisoners were innocent. Yet, throughout that time, the Supreme Court has shielded prosecutors from claims that they hid evidence that could have revealed the truth and has been reluctant to give prisoners a right to reopen old cases.

By a 5-4 vote Tuesday, the high court threw out a jury verdict won by John Thompson, the Louisiana man who had sued the New Orleans district attorney after he spent 14 years on death row for crimes he did not commit. In the past, the court has shielded individual prosecutors from being sued, even if they deliberately framed an innocent person. Last week's decision protects a district attorney's office from being sued for a series of errors that sent an innocent man to prison.

Advocates for the wrongly convicted denounced the decision. Prosecutors have "enormous power over all of our lives," said Keith Findley, president of the Innocence Network, yet "no other profession is shielded from this complete lack of accountability."

In Thompson's case, at least four prosecutors knew of the blood test, eyewitness reports and other evidence that, once revealed, showed they had charged the wrong man.

"When this kind of conduct happens and it goes unpunished, it sends a devastating message throughout the system," said Sherrilyn Ifill, a University of Maryland law professor. "It means more of these incidents will happen."

So, no, I don't have anything to hide, but I've done nothing wrong so I'm not gonna show it to you anyway. Come back with a warrant.