I Hate When This Happens

12 Dec

There is a melodic punk rock band called Rise Against. Though the bands conformist, hard left politics always annoyed me, I was able to look beyond that and appreciate the music. Sadly, I can no longer even do that. With the song Hero of War, they have taken away my ability to even reluctantly enjoy their music. The song in question paints the tale of a soldier who is a patriotic cliche who goes off to war and does bad things, with no context as to why he might be there. It paints soldiers as men who torture, murder and brutalize the innocent. It’s a cheap tune designed to appeal to leftists who’ve bought into the false narrative that, if it wasn’t for the ugly Americans the world would be all rainbows and kittens. It’s disgusting to see somebody like Tim McIlrath, who has never sacrificed a damn thing, is out there slandering all soldiers. It’s not like he’s ever done a song on the good that soldiers do, but that’s because it wouldn’t fit into his narrow political mindset.

This cliche portrayal of soldiers is nothing original. It can be seen in a number of Hollywood films and in your local university classroom. It’s an attitude born out ignorance. These leftists rarely see war on the news, unless the US is involved. As a result, they assume the rest of the world is as wonderful and peaceful as their San Fransisco coffee house, until the ugly Americans show up. It’s as much the medias fault as their own, that they turn a blind eye to the suffering of people living in “peace” around the world. Where are the songs about women who lose their faces to acid because they weren’t sufficiently modest or people who suffer horribly in Iranian prisons because they simply want a little liberty and freedom? For the leftist, who takes the freedom earned by their forefathers through blood, sweat, and tears for granted, it’s far too easy to ignore the injustice others must suffer, while they crusade for the rights of cows. Another band meets my trash bin because their musical talent is vastly overshadowed by their naivety and progressive posturing. Congrats guys and enjoy the bin.

Democrats are Sick

10 Dec

The entire Democratic caucus in DC must be suffering the effects of swine flu, because their ideas for health care reform just keep getting worse. In the latest deal, brokered by Senate Democrats, Medicare would be expanded to uninsured Americans over the age of 55 and insurance companies would be required to spend 90 percent of the money they collect on beneficiaries. While both of these provisions sound great to a bleeding heart, the unintended consequences could prove devastating.

By expanding the eligibility for Medicare to people age 55 and older the Democrats are ballooning the size of this program when it is already running a projected 89 trillion dollar deficit.* I find it ironic that Democrats are attempting to expand a program that they, less than a week ago, said was home to more than 500 billion dollars in waste. A program is dysfunctional and their solution is to make it bigger? Yeah, that’s a great idea. The expansion of an already bloated entitlement program is never advisable, but to do so during a deep, and likely long, recession is insane.

But hold on, because the craziness doesn’t end there. The provision in the latest manifestation of DemCare, which would require companies to pay out 90 percent of their revenue to beneficiaries, is going to stick it to already struggling Americans. Let’s say, as a hypothetical, that an insurance company is taking in 80 million dollars. If we assume this company is paying out 70 million to beneficiaries, that would leave ten million left for operating costs and profit. Under the new deal being worked out in the senate, this company would have to raise their total revenue to 100 million in order to maintain the ten million dollars for profit and operating costs. This 90 percent provision all but guarantees that the cost of insurance will rise, rather than fall. Either insurance companies will see less profit or they’ll be forced to increase their revenue by raising premiums. Which do you think is more likely to occur?

*While this is a peak estimate, almost all projections place Medicare’s future deficit well into the tens of trillions.

The Problem With The Left

9 Dec

After observing an especially ugly exchange on Twitter between a friend and a leftist troll, I began to wonder why the left is so damn angry. I’m not a doctor, but I believe I can diagnose their condition as, a complete lack of creativity due to reduced cognitive function. For the left, big government is the solution to every problem. People are poor? More big government. Some people don’t have health insurance? More big government. A company is failing? More big government. A financial crisis that is rooted in failed government policy? MORE BIG GOVERNMENT!!!

The next time you run across an angry, bitter leftist troll having a meltdown, remember that they are not evil. They’re just really, really dumb. That, or it could be that they’re witnessing their world crumble all around them with the declining popularity of their messiah and the strength of the TeaParty movement. Either way, it’s pretty damn hilarious to watch the left lose their tiny minds.

Cross-Posted at Feed Your ADHD

Palin Made A Mistake

5 Dec

I may catch some flak for this, but I’m prepared.

While I very much like Sarah Palin, and what she represents, I do believe she made a serious error when answering a question concerning the issue of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

Rusty Humphries: Would you make the birth certificate an issue if you ran?

Sarah Palin: I think the public, rightfully, is still making it an issue. I don’t have a problem with that. I don’t know if I would have to bother to make it an issue ’cause I think there are enough members of the electorate who still want answers.

Rusty Humphries: Do you think it’s a fair question to be looking at?

Sarah Palin: I think it’s a fair question, just like I think past associations and past voting record — all of that is fair game. You know, I’ve got to tell you, too: I think our campaign, the McCain/Palin campaign didn’t do a good enough job in that area. We didn’t call out Obama and some of his associates on their records and what their beliefs were and perhaps what their future plans were. And I don’t think that that was fair to voters to not have done our jobs as candidates and as a campaign to bring to light a lot of the things that now we’re seeing made manifest in the administration.

Rusty Humphries: I mean, truly, if your past is fair game and your kids are fair game, certainly Obama’s past should be. I mean, we want to treat men and women equally, right?

Sarah Palin: Hey, you know, that’s a great point, in that weird conspiracy-theory freaky thing that people talk about that Trig isn’t my real son. And a lot of people say, “Well you need to produce his birth certificate! You need to prove that he’s your kid!” Which we have done. But yeah, so maybe we could reverse that and use the same [unintelligible]-type thinking on them.

I believe Sarah Palin made a serious mistake by excusing the paranoid conspiracy mindset that dominates the fringes of both parties. Truthers, birthers and baby trig conspiracy believers (see the deranged scum sucking troll Andrew Sullivan) deserve nothing but disdain and marginalization from serious individuals. Individuals who buy into these conspiracy theories should never be legitimized in my opinion. They are no different than ufologists and bigfoot chasers. Such ridiculous individuals should not be described as legitimate by a serious potential leader.

Sarah had options when it came to responding to such a question. She could have said that engaging in such reckless speculation, which is devoid of relevance and substance, should not be entertained when this country faces such serious challenges. She easily could have pivoted and discussed the bias in the mainstream media that was eager to entertain conspiracy theories regarding her, but hesitant to publicize those involving Barack Obama. By saying that “I think the public, rightfully, is still making [Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate] an issue,” Sarah Palin said that the public is also right to make the birth of her son an issue. I’m sorry, but I disagree. The paranoid twits who made the birth of her son an issue are insane and should be ashamed of themselves for perpetuating such clearly spurious allegations.

I’m not naive as to the nature of politics and I don’t expect Sarah Palin to be either. Opposition research and mudslinging are a part of major campaigns, but most candidates know to treat it as an unfortunate reality rather than embrace and legitimize it. I like that Sarah Palin speaks her mind and I agree with her in regards to investigating Obama’s past associations and radical views, but birth certificates and amniotic fluid cross the line of what should be considered off limits.

Some will say Barack Obama’s birth is a legitimate question, but they, like Sarah Palin, should know that, even if the birth certificate issue was legitimate, getting him removed from office for that reason would make him a victim in the eyes of many. It would be portrayed as undoing the election based on a technicality. There would be rioting in the streets and likely calls for a constitutional convention. The way to beat Barack Obama is at the ballot box and Palin should know that. By not dismissing the birth certificate issue as a non-issue and a mistake, she has made a major error. Obama’s past associations are one thing, but you can’t make him the bad guy because of something his parents did. You’d have to prove that Obama wasn’t born here and knew that while running for office, in order for him to even begin to look like the bad guy.

I like Sarah Palin. I’ve defended her when she has been wrongfully attacked, but I believe she made a serious mistake in this instance. I hope I’m wrong and this does not come back to haunt her, but I fear it will. I’ve criticized others for taking pleasure in attacking Palin, but there are times when we must soberly criticize our own. Newt Gingrich was wrong to back Dede Scozzafava over Doug Hoffman and Sarah Palin was wrong to excuse those who deal in destructive conspiracy theories. Acknowledging that they were wrong does not mean I won’t support them, but it does mean that I hope they learn from the experience. I fear that if we, the people, never correct those who would lead us, we run the risk of raising up politicians that are ill prepared to do so.

Cross-Posted at Feed Your ADHD

If Global Warming Wasn’t Bullshit

1 Dec

If global warming wasn’t bullshit, I would support doing whatever was necessary to prevent it from happening. Fortunately, I am highly skeptical of the theory of man made global warming. I like to use the analogy of a meteor heading towards earth. If a meteor called “climate change” was heading toward the earth we would do everything in our power to prevent that meteor from striking this planet. We would send up rockets or solar sails to redirect that meteor and prevent disaster. What should be the response of a rational person, if the government announced a planet killing meteor was heading toward earth and their solution was to force every American to buy meteor insurance? A rational person would recognize this “solution” as bullshit and refuse to entertain further ramblings from such charlatans. Sadly, the majority of the earth’s population has bought into the global warming charade.

According to “climate change experts” like Al Gore’s hero, James Hansen, cap and trade, which is intended to “limit the rise in global temperature to approximately 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial level,” would not limit CO2 production enough to prevent the rapid melting of the ice sheets that he has warned about. If supporters of climate change aren’t willing to support the drastic solutions needed to prevent disaster, then they must not really believe that disaster is as imminent as they claim.

It should be no secret that certain people stand to benefit from the belief that global warming is real and a threat. The global warming theory translates into greater resources for climate scientists, legislation that could make individuals and governments richer, and voter support for political parties that align themselves with those perpetuating the man made global warming theory. If those who perpetuate the theory of man made global warming propose solutions that don’t solve the problem, but do benefit those perpetuating the theory, skepticism is the rational response.

If global warming was real, and such a dangerous threat, then shouldn’t AT LEAST ONE of the plans advocated by the governments of the world actually stop global warming? If we had evidence that there was real global warming that would threaten the survival of humanity, who among us wouldn’t advocate solutions that would stop or reverse global warming? Instead politicians and scientists advocate programs that would not stop the global warming threat, but would massively redistribute wealth while increasing the coffers of those in power. Why would they do such a thing? Why would they pass legislation for meteor insurance, instead of stopping the meteor?

There is now significant evidence that most people think the world revolves around them. People are so self centered and certain of their own supremacy that they believe they have greater influence over the climate than a thermonuclear fusion powered ball of energy that is composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, yet accounts for 99.8% of our solar systems mass. It takes a “special” kind of person to ignore a giant fusion powered ball of energy that could hold 1.3 million earths inside it and assume that man is the likely cause of a phenomenon that has been taking place longer than human beings have existed.

If I was a less trusting man, I would say that the real agenda behind global warming hysteria is clear and rooted in political opportunism. Politicians know that fear is the most effective tool for getting people to approve really horrible legislation. They use the dire “predictions” of “climate scientists” to scare people, motivate voters, and raise large amounts of money. The scientists in turn realize that they are dependent on government funding for their research budgets and act accordingly. The incentive for scientists to make worse case scenario predictions is significant. If a scientist said, “my research shows there is no danger and, as a result, there is no need for further research” he’s out of a job. If you don’t think this influences scientists, you’re naive.

Climate science is far from a “hard” science. As someone who was educated and trained as a social scientist I can attest to the difficulty of establishing predictive models when dealing with a large number of variables. Complex human behavior is especially difficult to predict in the aggregate due to the high number of variables and their sometimes transitory nature. The number of variables that influence the earths climate is astounding. Air current patters, water current patterns, variance in the radiance of the earths surface, clouds, human activity, plant activity, solar activity, electromagnet forces and the effects of shifts in/on those electromagnetic forces. In short the variety of potential factors is truly breathtaking in scope and “climate science” is an extremely young field of research. Do we react like frightened children to perceived dangers or do we act as rational beings before we drastically change our way of life, that has brought us to this proud point in our evolutionary process? I choose the latter and I do so soberly. I love this planet because it has been the vehicle for our human civilization, but I will not fall subject to a new religion that is rooted in fear and ignorance.

Cross Posted at The Anticrat

The Perils of a Multi-Party System in the US

4 Nov

I recently argued, to the lovely Shelly Roche, that third parties were a bad idea, unless that party is seriously attempting to replace the Democratic or Republican Party. The reasons I gave for opposing a multi-party system were entirely insufficient, as is often the case on Twitter. In the following paragraphs I will attempt to answer her excellent query, “why not have like 10 parties, & people just vote for the candidate that best reflects their values?”

The consequences of a multi-party system operating within the context of our current electoral system poses many significant issues. The constitution leaves states responsible for the majority of details concerning elections. The most widely used method for all elections in the US is the winner-take-all method. Under this system, the candidate with the most votes, or a simple plurality, wins. An example of a plurality win, rather than a majority win, would be a congressional election where the winner only received 47% of the vote. This only can happen if there are at least three candidates running.

Imagine now that we have ten parties that offer each voter the perfect ideological match. Each party decides to run a candidate in a congressional election. Under that scenario, it’s possible for a candidate with as little as 10.01% of the vote to win under the winner-take-all rules. This would mean that the candidate elected was not supported by 89.99% of voters. Under such a system we could expect voter discontent, since there is the potential for a candidate to represent a district in which he/she could never hope to gain even 25% of the support of voters. All potential solutions to this problem create new issues. If a run-off election system is adopted, there are the issues of cost and voter fatigue. If an instant run-off election or ranking ballot is utilized we run into the problems of education, equipment cost, strategic voting and the monotonicity criterion, which is of more concern than the folks at FairVote would have you believe. In short, there are no easy fixes.

At the presidential level, the situation is even more grim. The electoral college governs the election of the US President. Under this system, citizens vote for electors rather than the actual candidates. In order to win the Presidency a candidate must win a majority(currently 270) of the available electors. If no candidate earns a majority, the House of Representatives is tasked with electing the president. In a multi-party system where everyone voted the best fit, it would be increasingly likely that no candidate would earn the necessary majority to win. It would then be left to the House of Representatives to choose among the three top electoral vote recipients. I can only imagine how people would respond to this happening in our modern era, given how the Democrats reacted when the popular vote didn’t match the electoral vote.

The same issues that arise when attempting to reform congressional elections apply to attempts to reform the electoral college. A yet unaddressed alternative would be a parliamentary system and proportional representation. My only response to this is that our past prime ministers, if we adopted the UK system, would have been Newt Gingrich, Dennis Hastert and Nancy Pelosi. Enough said.

I hope this exceedingly boring post explains my opposition to a multi-party system being embraced in the US. A closing question: Would a strong multiple party system strengthen the power of special interest groups?

P.S. There are also issues of disproportionate representation, (as applied to multiple parties vying for electoral votes in the states themselves, excluding Maine and Nebraska which do not use the winner-take-all method), culture, ideological extremism, and Federalism, but I assumed this was boring enough.

Bukkake Barney Strikes Again

30 Oct

bad barney

Barney Frank has been banned from the White House following an unfortunate incident this Wednesday. During the signing of landmark hate crimes legislation, Representative Barney Frank vomited on President Barack Obama. When asked about the incident, Representative Frank lamented that he had perhaps had too much to eat during a celebratory brunch.

Cross-Posted at The Anticrat