Just say no to corporations

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Truely American Plan to Solve the Forclosure Crisis

Whenever someone can't pay their mortgage, I propose that we get two really big guys to pick that person up, hold them upside down, and shake them until enough falls out to make the bank happy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Stupid Things That People Say

"I'm not saying you're crazy, although I do think you're crazy..."

Tyra Banks, referring to black women who bleach their skin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shift in the "Liberal" Movement

I remember a time when being a liberal meant that you were inclusive of differing points of view.

Those days are over.

I think that it started with the 2000 election, when Democrats blamed Nader supporters for Gore's loss. By the 2004 election, Greens were ridiculed and berated by Democrats to no end. Now, you don't have to be a Green. Anything you say that does not agree with the talking points of the Democratic party is just buried.

I am starting to think that liberalism really is dead. It has been replaced by liberal Fascism, where no dissent is allowed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fairness To Sarah Palin

I am the first to criticize Sarah Palin, but most of what has really stuck seems unfair.

First, on the Daily Show recently, they said that she couldn't list the countries in North America. First of all, if you look up North America in Wikipedia, there are 41 countries listed, so it's not just the US, Canada, and Mexico. I believe the actual question was not which countries are in North America, but rather which countries are part of NAFTA, of which the correct answer would have been Canada and Mexico. I have to admit, I wouldn't have known that either. Obviously Mexico is the one that gets all the attention, but what about the smaller countries just south of Mexico like Belize or Guatemala? What about all of the Carribean countries? They are not part of NAFTA, but I would hardly consider that something any idiot would know.

Also, there was the thing about not knowing what the vice president does every day. The thing is, there aren't any official daily duties for the vice president. The VP breaks ties in the senate and if the president dies, the VP takes over. When you ask someone what the VP does every day, it's not easily defined, and it's unfair to jump all over her for her response.

Finally, it has now come out that the issue with her not knowing that Africa was a continent and not a country was just made up.

I think this is primarily the result of a partisan Democratic smear. Before she ever did anything, all of the "liberal" bloggers began attacking her for being unqualified. For the entire first week after she was nominated, every single post at Daily Kos was an attack on her. Essentially, they set the narrative in the blogosphere that Palin was unintelligent and unqualified, and eventually that was repeated so much that she was constantly put in a position where she had to defend her intelligence and qualifications.

I'm certainly not a fan of Palin at all, but I think that the things that were valid criticisms were set aside for more low-brow attacks. First of all, her abuse of power in Alaska was forgotten very early. When the story came out that she was found guilty of abuse of power, there was a little criticism, but that didn't fit the narrative of her being stupid, so it was cast aside, just like when her aides refused to comply with subpoenas. Also, there was hardly a stir when she wouldn't say that abortion clinic bombers are terrorists. The truth is that she is a far-right, fundamentalist Christian, and should be criticized as that, not as stupid or unqualified.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

That's Not Change, That's More of the Same

Everyone seems to like Clinton because times seemed good when he was in office, but a lot of that had nothing to do with him. The Clintons actually took us backward in a lot of ways, but given the new standard set by the Bush administration, everyone seems to give them a free pass.

With the appointment of Rham Emanuel, I have to question how committed Obama really is to the change agenda.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Big Wins, Losses, Things To Hope For

With the presidential election every bit the runaway that it was expected to be, there are a few things which are still undecided, but leaning in the opposite direction that I had hoped. First of all, Al Franken is currently losing by less than 600 votes in the Minnesota senate race. I have been a big fan of him for a long time. There will be an automatic recount since it was so close, and the results aren't expected until December at least.

Also, the ban on gay marriage in California is currently winning by about 2%. If California of all places is able to ban gay marriage, I don't see any reason to hold out hope that this form of institutionalized bigotry will be overcome any time soon.

But finally, now, on to the big winner.

As I mentioned in my last post, I don't see how any non-deity could live up to the expectations that people have for Barack Obama, but there are a few things which were direct campaign promises, and it is important that we hold him to them.

1. Health Care
The most important issue to me, a person suffering from a rare, incurable disease, is health care. The Clintons also had complete control of the government in 1994, and they couldn't get it done. I was never a big fan of Obama's plan, as it relies on the fundamentally flawed health insurance industry, but I'm willing to give him a chance in the hopes that his efforts will be a stepping stone to the universal care that we are desperate for. Any functioning health care system will have several distinct features. First, a person suffering from a debilitating disease should not be also suffering from debilitating debt. When I got sick, I had health insurance, and I still came out of it more than $10,000 in debt. And that is after spending almost half my monthly income on prescriptions. Second, preventative care is a necessity. When the only medical care that a large portion of the population receives consists of an emergency room visit when their condition finally becomes out of control, that is not a functioning health care system.

2. War in Iraq
Obama campaigned on the promise of ending the war. This will not be an easy task, as it is not only important for US troops to leave, but it is important that we leave Iraq stable and functioning. It's no good to leave if six months later, the government is overthrown by militias. A big part of what is needed, I think, is a concerted effort to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure and economy. If the Iraqi people are no longer suffering from poverty, desperation, and living with constant violence as part of their life every day, I think that people will be much less likely to turn to violence themselves.

3. Africa
I don't know the statistics, but Obama must be one of only a few senators to ever visit Africa, and certainly his ties to the continent are obvious. I expect him to address the tremendous suffering that is taking place on the continent, from genocide in Darfur to the AIDS epidemic.

4. Economy
I have long said that I think politicans can do little to affect the economy. Therefore, I don't expect him to be able to single-handedly bring us out of this recession. What I do expect, however, is an end to the dominance of the Ayn Rand philosophy of objectionism. Clearly, the idea that free markets can be trusted to regulate themselves is fundamentally flawed. Deregulation of the electricity industry led to widespread blackouts, but sure made a lot of money for Enron executives. Deregulation of the financial industry caused the biggest financial crisis since the great depression. These outcomes should have been avoided.

5. Environment/Energy
Ending our dependence on fossil fuels would be the largest infrastructure project in US history. There are a few things that need to be accomplished as part of this goal. First, as the vast majority of Americans depend on vehicles which burn gasoline. More efficient vehicles like hybrids may help, but they are hardly a solution. Second is power generation. I hope that Obama lives up to his promise of expanding nuclear power. This is a viable technology that has been proven to be safe and efficient. Environmentalists fear it because of the radioactive waste, but I would suggest that a small amount of radioactive material in a contained, controlled area is far better than pumping thousands of tons of CO2 (which contains just as much radioactive material, if not more so) directly into the atmosphere.

If Obama can accomplish these things, maybe my faith in American democracy will be restored. Otherwise, I pledge to vote for the Green from now on.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

If He Wins

If Obama wins, I think that it will be very difficult for the Democrats to hold on to power for very long. People are always going to have problems, and likewise, people like to blame the party in power for those problems. Obama seems a lot like Homer Simpson running for Sanitation Commissioner. People expect more of him that he, or anyone else in the world, can provide.

He is running on change, and regardless of his specific campaign promises, people vote for him because they expect him to make their lives better. Even if he is able to keep 100% of his campaign promises, I doubt that he can live up to individual's expectations for the change that he has promised. In 2010 and 2012, when the vast majority of our problems remain, voters will punish the incumbents and start putting the Republicans back in power. I only hope that in the little time he has, he can put back in place the majority of the New Deal and other social welfare programs that Republicans have gradually eroded over the past 70 years, and maybe even sneak in a few new ones, and do it in a way that prevents Republicans from sabotaging them as soon as they are in control again.