Friday, October 4, 2013

The Shutdown and the GOP: Cutting Through the BS

I'm just going to jump right in with both feet on this one.  Because truthfully after reading and listening to conservative pundits and politicians all week I've really just about had all I can take.  The government shutdown really has me feeling some kind of way.  I mean never mind the fact that the shutdown never should have happened in the first damn place.  The rhetoric coming out of Washington, and in particular from the GOP, is just out and out ridiculous. The level of bullshit has become so extreme it is almost comedic.  So I'm going to pull my boots up and try to wade through some of this shit in my usual eloquent and tactful manner.  Here we go....

First there is this bit of fuckery:  Obama wont negotiate.

OK let's just set aside that Obama doesn't HAVE to negotiate.  Let's set aside the fact that the ACA was voted through the House, voted through the Senate, signed into law, and upheld by the Supreme Court.  Let's set aside that the negotiations are OVER and the ACA is now the law.  Let's put all that on the shelf for a second.  What makes ANYONE think that the GOP has any interest in negotiation?  They want Obamacare gone.  They want it gone so bad they are willing to shutdown the government and are willing to default.  Their negotiation amounts to "Get rid of Obamacare or else".  What's more, what makes anyone think that they will stop?  If Obama yields and even partially gives them what they want they will not stop here.  They will push and push until Obamacare no longer exists.  What's more, they will be emboldened by the fact that they were able to bully the POTUS and will not hesitate to essentially hold government hostage whenever they don't get their way.  To pretend that the GOP is in any way interested in "negotiation" is ludicrous.

Then there is this nonsense:  Obamacare was "forced" on the American people

How many times have you heard conservative pundits yammer on about how the ACA was forced on the American public?  Apparently these fools are unfamiliar with democracy and how it works.  Once more for the cheap seats: The ACA was VOTED ON by duly elected officials in the House, the Senate, and signed into law by the President of the United States.  It's constitutionality was called into question and UPHELD by the Supreme Court.  Elections matter.  If the GOP really gave a shit about democracy they would respect the process and the rule of law.  Instead, they have chosen to try to strong arm and choke out the government because they didn't get what they wanted. 

Which brings me to this BS:  Tea Party Politicians campaigned on Repeal and Replace what?  Let's set aside that they have nothing to replace it with.  Does anyone believe the Tea Party should be able to shutdown the government based on some bullshit campaign promises?  Yes I said bullshit campaign promises.  Because any candidate that promised to repeal the ACA was campaigning on some bullshit.  The one slim chance that the GOP had to repeal the ACA evaporated when Obama beat the breaks off of Mitt Romney for a second term.  Even then there was very little chance of that happening with the Democrats controlling the Senate.  So any politician campaigning on the repeal of Obamacare was blowing smoke up your ass from the word GO.

And finally this one: The GOP is trying to protect Americans from a bad and expensive law
Get the hell out of here with that bullshit.  Don't for one split second pretend that the GOP suddenly cares about the American people.  You mean the same Republicans that voted AGAINST a minimum wage increase?  The same Republicans that are proposing 40 BILLIONS dollars in cuts to food stamps and public aid?  The same Republicans that support laws that continue to oppress and disenfranchise millions of Americans?  Suddenly I'm supposed to believe that they are so concerned they are willing to shut down the government in order to protect me from a harmful healthcare law?  Please.  Spare me.

I could keep going.  But I think my point has been made.  The ACA is not perfect.  It needs to be improved upon in many ways.  There are REAL ISSUES that need to be discussed where it is concerned.  But can we please stop the bullshit?  It's too much.  I'm tired of it.  Americans are tired of it.  Dysfunctional bullshit politics needs to come to an end.  This cant continue.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

American Imperialism: The Naked Truth About the Shut Down.

The Federal government has shut down.  Big surprise right?

Let's be honest here people.  We all knew this was going to happen.  The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is the law.  Like most laws, it was voted on in the House of Representatives, voted on in the Senate, and signed by the President.  It survived several challenges by the opponents and was upheld by the Supreme Court.  Some people are for Obamacare.  Others are against it.  But this blog posting is not about whether you are for or against Obamacare.  Instead I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that American democracy is a lie.  My fellow Americans, we live in an empire.  We live in a plutocracy.  The government doesn't serve you.  Your politicians don't serve you.  You serve them.

Don't believe me?  Let's talk about the shut down.  Let's set aside that this shut down accomplished nothing.  Let's set aside that there was never a point where a shut down would accomplish anything.  Obamacare was rolling out Oct. 1st no matter what.  Politicians were willing to allow the Federal Government to shut down to make an ideological point.  Why?  It's not just because the hate Obamacare.  It's because there is no consequence for them.  None.  Congress isn't going to lose anything.  Congress will still get paid.  They will still receive benefits.  They will still cash checks from corporate lobbyists.  No one will lose their job or position.  Basically, the shutdown will have NO IMPACT WHATSOEVER on them.  None.

The American people?  Well that's another matter entirely.  Thousands will not be paid.  Thousands don't have a job to go to.  Thousands will see their benefits freeze.  As the shutdown continues that number will grow.   Imagine a game a chicken where the politicians place YOU in the car instead of themselves.  Imagine a game of Russian roulette where the politicians place the gun to YOUR head and not theirs.  That's exactly what this is.  Congress is basically holding Americans hostage until they get their way.

It's always been that way too.  American politicians can't relate to you.  They don't worry about putting food on the table.  They don't worry about how they will send their kids to college.  They don't worry about how they are going to pay their mortgage or how they are going to pay for their healthcare.  They live on Planet Washington.  The economy, unemployment, and social conditions of this country has no impact on them.

America is an empire folks.  You and I are pawns.  Believe whatever the hell you like.  But that's the truth.  This "shutdown" is just another example.  You have two options at this point.  Accept it and deal.  Or you can wake up and push back.  There is no such thing as American exceptionalism.  American imperialism?  Well that's another matter entirely....

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Thoughts on Syria pt. II: Partisan Hypocrisy

If you are a hardcore progressive or a hardcore conservative you should probably take this opportunity to stop reading and close this page. 

Still reading?  OK.  I warned you....

Conservatives.  I find it comical how many of you are suddenly anti-war.  I find it hysterical how many of you are so concerned for innocent life.  I find it laughable how many of you are suddenly a bunch of red palmed peaceniks.  Just a few short years ago you were all so gung ho GI Joe.  I remember how you guys rallied behind GWB in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I remember how adamant you were about how we had to "teach Saddam a lesson".  I remember how eager you were to rain hell on the middle east.  I remember how any opposition to those wars was label unpatriotic, un-American, and even treasonous.  I remember how any criticism of military action was labeled liberal pacifism.  What a difference a decade and a President makes eh?

Progressives.  I find it comical how many of you are suddenly pro-intervention.  I find it hysterical how many of you readily support raining missiles on Syria.  I find it laughable how many of you are suddenly more than willing to support waging war in the Middle East.  Just a few short years ago you were all "No more War".  I remember how adamant you were about how we should stay out of the middle east.  I remember all kinds of talk about international law.  I remember how any justification for military action in the middle east was labeled war mongering, war profiteering, and even treasonous.  I remember how any support of military action was labeled conservative fascism.  What a difference a decade and a President makes eh?

Partisan politics in many ways is like an infectious disease.  It poisons the mind.  It suppresses common sense and reason.  It places party above all else.  It causes normal people to abandon critical thinking and demands that they tow the party line.  It is an echo chamber filled with hive minded drones who are incapable of thinking for themselves. 

The Syrian debate highlights the hypocrisy that is partisan politics.  We see hardcore progressives blindly supporting President Obama.  We see hardcore conservatives blindly opposing him.  They seem oblivious to their own hypocrisy.  Either that or they simply don't care.  It makes me wonder if they care at all the events taking place in Syria or if this is just another opportunity to cheer for the home team.  It makes me wonder why any of them should be taken seriously. 

It's clear that these hyper partisans are not truly passionate about the issue.  They are passionate about their party's position on the issue.  They are passionate about towing the party line and perpetuating the current party narrative.  Syria is just another opportunity for many Americans to engage in the intoxicating sport of partisan politics.  That to me is a shame.  Because this is an important issue.  More than we realize I think.

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Thoughts on Syria pt. I: Asking Real Questions

*For those that are already up to speed on the situation in Syria, feel free to skip the first paragraph*

Syria.  Unless you've been living under a rock you are aware by now that the Obama Administration is seeking approval from Congress to launch a military strike against Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian regime.  For those that might be unaware(all five of you) Syria has basically been locked in a bitter civil war for the past three years that has seen more than a hundred thousand Syrians killed.  Recently, several hundred Syrians were killed in a chemical weapons attack prompting the Obama Administration to call for military intervention by the US and it's allies.  While it is not 100% clear who initiated the attack(al-Assad or Syrian rebels) it is abundantly clear that chemical weapons were used.  Almost all evidence points to Assad's regime although there have been conflicting reports that it was the Syrian rebels and NOT Assad's regime who were responsible.  That said President Obama wants to launch what he calls a limited military engagement in Syria with no boots on the ground.  According to the POTUS, use of chemical weapons violates international law and makes this a humanitarian issue that the US cannot ignore.  He believes military intervention is the right choice and it is important that a message be sent to al-Assad that chemical weapons use crosses the line and will not be tolerated. 

Got all that?  Good.  Now if you've been following my posts on FB and my extended tweets you are aware that I absolutely DO NOT support President Obama's proposed course of action.   Here are a few reasons why, in my personal opinion, President Obama and the US needs to stay the hell out of Syria.  Here are some questions that I believe every American should be asking.

For starters President Obama and Secretary John Kerry want to carry out cruise missile strikes to key military targets in Syria with "no boots on the ground".  Now according to several military experts it is safe to assume that airstrikes WILL NOT kill al-Assad.  No one believes al-Assad can be taken out from the sky.  What's more, there is no reason to believe that once we are doing raining missiles into Syria that Assad wont just go right back to killing Syrian civilians.  It is also very likely that military assets will be placed in civilian areas, increasing the odds that a cruise missile strike will kill many of the Syrian civilians we are supposed to be so concerned about.  There are few positives and a host of negatives.  Airstrikes will not get rid of Assad.  It is unlikely he will be deterred by them(especially with Russia aiding him).  So why do it?

Which brings me to my next point.  The President has said there will be no boots on the ground.  Conventional wisdom says that there is little to no chance of killing Assad from the sky.  It is safe to assume then that regime change is not the objective of this intervention.  So what is the objective?  What do we stand to accomplish by doing this?  If the objective is not to remove Assad and it stands to reason that missile strikes will have only a marginal impact on Assad's ability to wage war then why do this? 

Another question that should be asked is why are we pretending that this is suddenly a humanitarian issue?  Supporters of military intervention say to me all the time "Doc Sinn we cannot allow Assad to use chemical weapons on innocent Syrian women and children".  To me this is very disingenuous argument.  For three years Assad's regime have been killing civilians.  It is estimated that over a hundred thousand Syrians have died since this struggle began.  Are we going to suggest that only NOW after chemical weapons were used that this is suddenly a humanitarian issue?  What about the tens of thousands who were bombed?  Who were shot?  Who were assassinated?  Who were tortured?  Are they not human?  Do their deaths not matter in humanitarian terms?   Dead Syrians are dead Syrians.  It's a bit hypocritical to speak of Syrian woman and children killed by Sarin gas while ignoring the ones killed by shrapnel and mortar fire don't you think?

Here is an even harder question.  Who are we aiding?  I don't see how civilians benefit from airstrikes.  So it stands to reason that we are aiding the Syrian rebels.  The problem with that is the case can be made that the rebels are no better than Assad(depending on who you speak with and what news reports you choose to believe).  There are conflicting reports that many of the Syrian rebels are Al Qaeda sympathizers, supporters, and even members.  Senator John McCain, Secretary Kerry, and others have all but denied this but the questions linger.  Do we want to take the risk?  Is it possible we could be AIDING Al Qaeda by striking Syria and empowering the rebels?  Are the rebels any better than Assad?  Shouldn't we answer these questions DEFINITIVELY before taking military action?

There are too many question marks, too many uncertainties, and far too many risks based on what we know. I am directly opposed to the President on this.  President Obama has not made a very good case for military action in Syria.  Based on what we know it is clear that such action will be ineffective at best and at worst it will make an already unstable, volatile situation extremely worse.  Which brings me to the mother of all questions.  The question I ask whenever I hear about something like this.  The question we should ask above ALL OTHERS....

What is the government not telling us?

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dont Just Remember the March. Remember WHY We Marched

As you all well know today marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  50 years ago today, hundreds of thousands of people stood in solidarity in the nation's capital, demanding equal pay, equal rights, and equal opportunity.  On this day 50 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the most important, relevant, graceful, and eloquent speeches in human history.  Today we honor his efforts, his works, and the efforts of those who risked everything to stand up for justice and equality.  That said, while we commemorate and celebrate this historic event, we should be mindful that in many ways we are no closer to Dr. King's dream and it could be argued that we have drifted further away from it.  In some ways we have forgotten the purpose of march and have failed to carry on the legacy of Dr. King. 

50 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom we are still fighting for jobs.  The unemployment rate in the US is still a staggering 7.4 percent.  There is still a considerable wage gap between whites and POC.  We have watched corporate wages skyrocket while the minimum wage in this country has stagnated and many Americans are working 40 hour a week jobs while living in utter poverty.  The top 20 percent controls 80 percent of the nation's wealth.  Black people in particular have been hit hard.  Black people account for 25% of workers unemployed for 99 weeks or longer.  There are 2.6 million black people looking for work that can't find a job.  50 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, those numbers are absolutely unacceptable.

50 years after the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom we are still fighting for freedom.  Minorities still do not receive equal justice under the law.  Police continue to murder young black men at an astonishing rate.  Blacks are still disproportionately incarcerated for the same crimes as whites.  We have seen innocent black children murdered and cold blood and watched their killers walk free.  Minorities are still subjected to the negative stereotypes that serve to relegate them to a permanent underclass.  We witnessed the Supreme Court basically eviscerate the civil rights Voting Act of 1965.  We still lack the opportunities that would allow us to succeed.  50 years after the March on Washington, this is absolutely unacceptable.

I am not going to be long winded here.  You are going to hear many speeches today.  You are going to hear many people speak about Dr. King, the march, and so forth.  I just want people to remember that while we commemorate this important day in our nation's history, we should conscious of the TRUE purpose of this march.  We should be fighting.  We should be protesting.  We should be ever vigilant.  Don't just remember the march.  Remember WHY we marched.  Remember what the march was about.  Remember what inspired the march.  Don't just hold hands and sing and chant "Free at Last" or "I have a Dream".  Remember what this was about.  Frederick Douglas once said "If there is no struggle, there is no progress". Remember that this is still a struggle, not a celebration.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Conservatives: Stop Comparing Chris Lane to Trayvon Martin

I am going to start this blog posting by sending my condolences and respect to the family and friends of Christopher Lane.

As you have probably heard by now, Australian baseball player Christopher Lane had his life tragically cut short when he was gunned down by three young men.  These young men who claimed they were bored and had nothing better to do randomly targeted Lane, followed him, and shot him in the back in an act of wanton cowardice.  Lane's death was a senseless killing and for the sake of his family I hope that his killers are punished and that Lane's family receives swift justice.

That said, I must say that I am extremely irritated(and mildly offended) that fringe Conservatives are using this young man's murder to race bait and to suggest that Lane's murder is comparable to the Trayvon Martin case.  Many of the usual suspects among the far right are actually trying to suggest that there is a double standard that exists when a young white man is killed in terms of empathy, interest, and media coverage.  Two of the three young men who killed Lane were black(one was white).  So in the minds of fringe pundits the outrage over this case should be the equivalent of the public outrage over the Martin case and the lack of said outrage is an example of bias.  Conservatives are essentially standing of the grave of Lane trying to convince people that no one cares if a white man is killed by black men.  Such disgusting race baiting would be laughable if it wasn't so offensive, not to mention false.

First there was Fox News, who erroneously(as always) reported that all three of the suspects were black.  Then there was Rush Limbaugh who called Lane's murder "Trayvon in reverse, only worse".  Similar sentiments came in the form of Glenn Beck, The Daily Caller, and The Drudge.  Now it should come as no surprise that Conservatives get their collective rocks off race baiting.  But for them to attempt to compare these two cases shows they are either desperate for attention or just plain stupid.  Or both.  So I am going to break down, in no particular order, the reasons why no one in their right mind should even ATTEMPT to compare these cases(as if I should even have to).

1.  Lane's killers are in custody.  They did not kill Lane, speak to the police, and then return home.  It did not take public protest for law enforcement to arrest and charge Lane's killers and it did not take them several weeks.  George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, spoke with police officers, and was home in time for Letterman.  What's more, it was well over a month before Zimmerman was charged with a crime at all.

2.  It is a foregone conclusion that Lane's killers will face swift justice.  There isn't anyone who believes that Lane's killers will walk and those three young men will easily spend the rest of their young lives behind bars(if they are lucky).  By contrast, George Zimmerman killed an unarmed innocent young man and walked free.  Zimmerman is not in prison and will not be punished.  Trayvon's family must deal with the reality that their son was killed in cold blood and the killer got away with it.

3. Lane will not be tried for his own murder.  No one will question Lane's character.  There will be no embarrassing social media pictures of Lane.  No one will call Lane a thug.  No one will suggest that Lane got what was coming to him or was looking for trouble.  Trayvon Martin on the other hand, despite having no criminal record, was depicted as a violent thug and was basically put on trial for his own killing.  Despite never having been convicted of a crime, Martin was characterized as a brazen criminal looking to burglarize homes with a bottle of tea and skittles.

4. There will be no talk of what Lane was wearing.  Do we even know what Lane had on when he was shot?  Most of us don't.  Because it's irrelevant.  Lane's choice of attire is a non factor in his killing.  Meanwhile Trayvon Martin achieved thug status by simply wearing a hoodie. 

I could go on forever.  In fact I could make the case that a double standard does indeed exist, but hardly in the way Conservatives suggest.  But instead I will humbly request that Conservatives stop making complete ass clowns of themselves.  I will request that the race baiting ceases.  I will request that they stop appealing to their ignorant, racist base with this foolishness.

Conservatives stop it.  Stop comparing Chris Lane to Trayvon Martin.  It's outrageous.  It's ridiculous.  And it's low...even for you.  Stop that shit.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tea Baggers, Birthers, and Hypocrisy

For this particular post I'm going to turn my attention to politics and speak on something I find absolutely fascinating. 

Rafael Edward Cruz.

Now some of you might be thinking "Who is that?" If you are then don't feel bad.  There is a reason that name may not sound familiar to you.  So what if I told you that the Tea Party supported a Hispanic who was not born in this country and who's father fought for Communist leader Fidel Castro?  While you are digesting that, imagine that many within the Tea Party want him to actually run for President even though he was not born here and has dual citizenship in Canada.  Sounds crazy right?  Well, as many of us all know, no one does crazy quite like the Tea Party.

Enter Senator "Ted" Cruz(TX), also known as Rafael Edward Cruz.

Senator Ted Cruz is a Tea Party fan favorite.  He is your classic Tea Bagger.  He hates Obamacare and, like many Tea Partiers, demonizes Obama at every given turn.  Like most freshman Tea baggers who were swept into office during the "shellacking" of 2012, Cruz is likes to rock the boat, stir the pot, but isn't very good at governing(at least in my humble opinion).  But he says all the things Tea Baggers love and never misses an opportunity to attack the POTUS, much to their delight.

Now, I normally wouldn't care all that much and I haven't really said anything up to this point.  But with some people actually talking about Cruz as a viable candidate for 2016 I've decided that the hypocrisy is just too much.  I now feel almost compelled to call it out.  So...that's just what I'm going to do.

How many times have you heard Barack Obama called a communist by a Tea Bagger?  More times than you can count right?  So if the Tea Party is so concerned about communism why would they endorse a man who's father fought on behalf of someone who could very much be considered the poster boy for communism(Fidel Castro)?  How many times have you heard from Tea Baggers that Obama is not an American citizen because he wasn't born in this country?  Yea I know.  Me too.  So why isn't the Tea Party questioning Cruz's citizenship?  How many times have you heard from Tea Partiers that Obama is ineligible to be POTUS because he was "born in Kenya"?  Well Cruz was born in Calgary Alberta, Canada.  Clearly that is not America soil.  So why would Tea Baggers even consider him for POTUS? 

Where is the outrage?!  Where is The Donald?!  Where is Fox News?!  The son of a communist has invaded the Senate and is trying to become POTUS!  A man who wasn't even born in this country! Where are the "Go Back to Canada" signs?!  Where are the "Commie go home" signs?  I thought the Tea Party was for AMERICA??  What happened to that shit? 

Now, in all seriousness, I don't really care where Sen. Cruz was born.  I'm not really interested in the history of his father or his family.  I don't support Sen. Cruz and I think his policies are archaic at best.  But I don't have any issues about his birthplace or his family's past.  I just wanted to point out how blatantly and unforgivably hypocritical the Tea Party is.  I just wanted to point out just how easily sheep are misled.  I wanted to point out how easily politics can corrupt one's thinking and influence people into believing pretty much anything.  I just wanted to point out just how blind people truly can be.

So the next time a Tea Partier looks at you and speaks of socialism, communism, or questions Obama's legitimacy as POTUS, just look at them, smile and say three words:

Rafael Edward Cruz.

*As I write this blog Senator Cruz has stated he will renounce his Canadian citizenship.  The story can be found in the link below*

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