Category Archives: Life

Sanders and Socialism

This is me, making my first and last sincere plea to anyone who thinks Bernie Sanders actually has a good, solid economic plan for America.  I see bits and pieces of this all over the internet, so this is less of a personal blog most and more of a bundle of other things to look at, gathered for your convenience and summarized.

Let’s start with a look at a country which is unequivocally socialist, and yet which never seems to be addressed by the rabid masses that are “Feeling the Bern”: Venezuela.  Here is an article that sums up what’s going on there.  Rationed electricity, leaving homes without power for hours at a time.  The country outsourcing the printing of their own (staggeringly inflated and increasing worthless) money because they literally don’t have the resources to do it all.  People hunting cats, dogs, and pigeons, and robbing water trucks in an attempt to survive.

“But Bernie’s a DEMOCRATIC Socialist”, I see commented on articles like these.  Well, I have another point to counter that.  Bernie has often pointed at Denmark as the benchmark, an ideal to which we should strive.  Well, Denmark wants Bernie to stop pointing.

While speaking at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the center-right Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said he was aware “that some people in the U.S. associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism.”

“Therefore,” he said, “I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.”

While he does admit to a certain level of welfare state, even that is being cut back, according to the New York Times.

Denmark has among the highest marginal income-tax rates in the world, with the top bracket of 56.5 percent kicking in on incomes of more than about $80,000. But in exchange, the Danes get a cradle-to-grave safety net that includes free healthcare, a free university education, and hefty payouts even to the richest citizens.

Parents in all income brackets, for example, get quarterly checks from the government to help defray child-care costs. The elderly get free maid service if they need it, even if they are wealthy.

But few experts here believe that Denmark can long afford the current perks. So Denmark is retooling itself, tinkering with corporate tax rates, considering new public sector investments, and, for the long term, trying to wean more people, the young and the old, off government benefits.

Even in our own country, we can see this trend of Socialism being a brief economic relief, followed by either reformations (as Denmark is trying to do) or disaster (as in Venezuela).  FDR’s New Deal during the Great Depression kept a lot of people in work, at least enough to keep their families alive, until World War II kick-started our economy and brought us back on top of things.  But now, even a socialist step as comparatively small as Social Security is proving how damaging it can be.  With the Social Security trust fund running out, recipients will start receiving less than they put in, about 75 cents on the dollar, in about twenty years, and those who draw on disability can expect to feel the sting well before that.

To expect Socialism to fix a problem that Socialism itself has caused, no matter what you call it, is madness at its heart.  Venezuela, fiercely socialist, is a barren wasteland, on the verge of collapsing entirely, where a value menu McDonald’s burger costs $170.  Denmark, loudly denying that it is socialist to begin with, is cutting back on those traits that Bernie Sanders espouses because they are unsustainable.

Socialism.  Doesn’t.  Work.

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On Ferguson

Warning: Post written on anger and Vicodin. Profanity and insults may follow.

Okay. So I watched the livestreams the night after the grand jury decisions, so this isn’t me repeating what the media is saying, or listening to someone else’s opinions. This is me seeing what physically happened, and commenting on it.

What happened in Ferguson was completely uncalled for and out of control.  If I had sympathy for the protesters before, it is now gone.  I saw what I can only describe as complete stupidity on behalf of the protesters. The police gave repeated verbal warnings for them to disperse. When the warnings went unheeded, when the police began using tear gas in attempt to disperse what was, by that point, an unlawful and unruly mob, they began shouting “F*** the police!” and yelling about police brutality and ‘collective punishment’, complaining about the ‘soldiers’ and ‘military vehicles’.

Then they complained, with a burning squad car in the frame, that they were being unjustly punished, and that it was a peaceful protest.

Now, I’m not one to endorse a police state or the absolute necessity of following the letter of the law.  But when mobs have threatened riots and violence, including direct death threats against officers and their families, I’d want a couple of armored vehicles, too.  When squad cars burn and buildings are looted and destroyed, you’ve lost all right to expect to be treated as a peaceful protest.

As far as the actual lack of indictment goes: I haven’t read the full report yet.  I plan to.  But this is not the first time something like this has happened.  And given the fact that I just saw hundreds of black people acting clearly hostile towards police officers who had already deployed tear gas and who were standing defensively with loaded weapons, I don’t find it at all hard to believe that Mike Brown could have been doing something that warranted him being shot.  Yes, yes, witnesses that he was surrendering, coroner’s reports, I’ve heard all that.  I’ve also heard the exact opposite.  No one had all the details up until now except for the grand jury, who decided that Officer Wilson shouldn’t be indicted.

My mother was alive, and local, in fact, when the Rodney King riots happened.  It was a very similar situation.  A bunch of black people blindly believing that the police are racists, that the justice system failed, that they’re all so oppressed and no one will help them, and then they loot and burn and destroy their own neighborhoods.

Maybe the fact that black people get shot and white people get arrested isn’t because of the racism of the officers on the scene.  Maybe it’s because of the attitudes of the people in question.  This whole ‘f*** the police’ attitude, the constant threats against law enforcement, those create an atmosphere of hostility that creates a very real danger for officers, who then defend themselves appropriately.

So don’t tell me that the rioters have your sympathy.  Don’t tell me that justice wasn’t done.  Is our justice system broken?  Absolutely.  Is this an example of it?  No.  The grand jury made the right call.  It’s absolutely a tragedy that this happened, but it’s not because Officer Wilson is a racist, and it’s not because the whites are oppressing the blacks.  It’s because certain stereotypes exist because they’re true.

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A Hope for the Human Race

A Hope for the Human Race.

Yeah, not really much to say to add to this.  Just read it.

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A Comment on American Society

This isn’t an area I study, so I wouldn’t have come up with the details, but it’s something I’ve believed as a general rule and suspected for a while.  Then I saw a friend’s father post this on Facebook, and asked him if I could share it here.

What differentiates these old-school communist groups from (for lack of a better term) the neo-crypto-Marxists is that the oldsters missed the memo that the route to socialism is not through OVERT calls for revolution but rather through stealth and infiltration. The “new” (in the last three decades or so) technique is now to introduce socialism bit by bit to America, but deny that you are doing so.

Thus, the fundamental difference between these embarrassing and counter-productive protest groups and the much more common postmodern crypto-socialists is that the old-timers are not followers of Gramsci, the Italian communist philosopher who recommended a slow and surreptitious takeover of society’s institutions (education, media, etc.) rather than the blunt in-your-face violent revolution advocated by the Leninists and the Maoists.

The amazing thing about Gramscianism is that it functions as a virus such that most of the young people participating in the slow-motion socialist takeover of America have no idea that they are even doing so. Indoctrinated by the first wave of devilishly clever teachers, misinformed by devilishly clever media, and led astray by devilishly clever politicians, the young activists of today for the most part have no clue that the positions they advocate and the social or economic changes they push are actually part of an incremental communist revolution. All they “know” is that they’re hip and with the in-crowd, a misapprehension which their indoctrinators intentionally encourage.

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An Alternative to the Furlough, or, The First Step to a Balanced Budget

I live in a single-income household of five people.  That’s already tricky, at times.  Now, that one income has been cut by 20%.  That makes us all really nervous.

So I started looking into other ways the government could save money without having to resort to these ridiculous cuts to the Department of Defense.  The first thing I thought of was the Postal Service, because I seemed to recall that it was a sinkhole.

Sure enough, I find this article:

The U.S. Postal Service said its net loss last year widened to $15.9 billion, more than the $15 billion it had projected, as mail volume continued to drop, falling 5 percent.

Without action by Congress, the service will run out of cash on Oct. 15, 2013, after it makes a required workers compensation payment to the U.S. Labor Department and before revenue typically jumps with holiday-season mailing, Chief Financial Officer Joe Corbett said today.

The USPS lost almost $16 billion last year, and isn’t getting any better.  Seeing that number made me wonder just how much the furlough was supposed to be saving.  After all, if I’m going to offer something as an alternative to the furlough, it should be at least as much of a money-saver, if not more.

So I find this other article:

Because of sequestration, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the difficult decision to furlough about 85 percent of DOD civilian employees one day a week through the end of the fiscal year, a total of 11 days, the press secretary said. “My assumption is the vast majority of that population is on furlough at least one day this week,” Little said.

Little estimated the action will save the department $1.8 billion by the end of September.

So the furlough will only be saving them $1.8 billion, and the USPS lost nearly $16 billion.  It seems clear, just looking at those numbers, that it would be more beneficial to the government to lose the dead weight of the Postal Service, instead of trying to cut Defense, especially if the Postal Service is going to run completely dry by October in any event.

Of course, just cancelling the USPS could be a very bad thing.  We’ve gotten used to having letters delivered.  I see a solution to that, too: auction off the USPS infrastructure to companies like UPS and Fed-Ex.  This has the two-fold bonus of giving the government a chunk of cash, and allowing whichever company wins the auction to take over the distribution of mail without disrupting the current system.  It would be a big undertaking, but if they kept the USPS employees, who already know their routes, etc., it shouldn’t be an insurmountable task.

In short, selling off the infrastructure of the USPS and allowing private parcel companies to carry letters would remove a substantial detriment from the overall budget, and would probably yield a fairly substantial amount of money from the sale.  With that money, they could end the furlough and put my dad back to work, which was the point of this exercise to begin with.

Edit: I have created a ‘We the People’ petition on this subject. If you wish to sign, you may do so here.

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The Logic of Opposing Abortion

I really, really don’t want this blog to turn into angry, right-wing rants all the time, but I see so much ignorance and erroneous logic on this topic that I feel the need to try to put my views, which are based solely on what I see to be logic, into a single, cogent argument against abortion.  In case you can’t tell, this is a topic I have strong feelings for, and I’m more than a little aggravated by the public response to the recent events in the Texas Senate.

Let’s start with some definitions, aye?

Murder is defined as killing another human being with intent and malice aforethought, or planning ahead.

A human being is a creature of the species homo sapiens sapiens.

Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy before the fetus is able to sustain independent life.

Okay, so we’re clear on definitions.  Just from that, it seems pretty obvious to me that abortion ends a human life, and should be considered murder, or manslaughter at the very least. Obviously, not everyone agrees with me, since there are both personal opinions and, in fact, legal precedents that say a fetus is not a person.

But as has been shown in many cases, court decisions and even laws can be changed or overturned or reversed, and I think simple logic shows that that should be the case here.  These abortions of convenience are horrific, and over a million babies are murdered every year.

People argue that there are cases where it’s required to save the life of the mother, and I accept those cases as the mother’s choice; doctors are often faced with medical situations where one or more of their patients might die. However, from what I can find, those cases make up between 1% and 3% of all abortions.

People also argue that rape victims who get pregnant should have the option of abortion.  That is nothing more than adding another tragedy to the one that has already occurred.  The child is not at fault in any way for what happened to its mother.  There is no legal reason that that child should die, and so it would still be murder.

A third argument I hear often is ‘what about underage mothers’ or ‘what about victims of incest’. Yes, those are horrible, horrible things, but again, it’s not the child’s fault, and an abortion won’t change what happened to the mother.  I’ve heard of cases where abortion clinics would repeatedly abort the pregnancies of underage girls, allowing their abuse to continue undetected.

I’ve also heard attempts to chide the right wing for their stance on abortion by comparing it to gun control.  Why do we want people to have guns, if we’re so concerned with the deaths of innocents? Well, gun control is another matter entirely, but to argue the parallel they’re attempting to create, I’ll say this.  A gun is a tool.  Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  Guns have a variety of uses.  Yes, one of those uses is to kill people.  But here’s the thing: It’s illegal to use guns to kill people except in very specific circumstances

If you’re a cop, and lives are on the line, you can use your gun to kill someone.  If you’re a soldier, and your life and the lives of your comrades are on the line, you can use your gun to kill someone.  If you’re a private citizen, and your life and your family’s lives are on the line, you can use your gun to kill someone.  Well, guess what?  If lives are on the line, then I see no problem with abortion, either. Those 1-3% of cases that are actually, medically necessary, I have no problem with it. It’s saddening and horrible, but that’s how life is.

Another argument, which seems to be trying to make a mockery out of the pro-life camp, though it’s so ridiculous I don’t see how even they can buy it, is ‘if you think abortion should be illegal, shouldn’t contraceptives be illegal too?’  No.  Sperm is not a complete human DNA sequence.  Neither is an egg.  Contraceptives keep those two things from coming together to form life.  No life is created.  An absence of creation is entirely different from destruction.

So there’s my take on abortion, from what I believe to be a fair and logical standpoint.  I hope you’ll actually consider it reasonably.  If you can’t, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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Filed under Life, Politics

Don’t #cut4bieber

It’s midnight. I was getting ready to go to bed. Then I see a post on Facebook, of a friend furious over the ‘cut4bieber’ trend on Twitter. A quick Yahoo search brought up what she was talking about. You can read it here.

This. Is. Sickening. I have friends who have problems with cutting, so this is not something to be taken lightly. Once you start, it can quickly become an addiction, just as real or dangerous as any substance abuse. Any group or cause that actually urges young people to start cutting is, and I don’t use this word lightly, evil.

Cutting is never the right answer, to anything. Threatening that you’ll cut yourself unless someone behaves in a certain way is abusive both to yourself and the other person.  Especially in this instance, when Justin Bieber doesn’t have any personal connection to any of these people.

It’s disgusting, it’s disturbing, and it’s the most clear example I’ve yet seen of the darkness into which America has fallen. Her celebrities use illegal drugs, and her children mutilate their bodies because of it.

God Bless America. No one else will.

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