Category Archives: Politics

Pay your taxes, loser

I’m sick and tired of hearing conservatives bitch and moan about having to pay taxes. It boils down to this: conservatives take all the credit for the success they have. To a conservative, if you’re poor, you’re a loser and you’ve gotten what you deserve. Likewise, if you’re rich, then you worked your way up, without any help from anyone, and you deserve to keep every dime you make.

This is, quite simply, bullshit. And the reason I know it’s bullshit is because of my own life.

I’ve done well for myself. I’ve exceeded expectations. I’ve worked hard, and I have a rewarding and interesting career. But I’d be the biggest most arrogant type of narcissistic asshole to claim that I’ve done it all on my own and that I deserve to keep every dime that I make.

Why? Read More →

Created equal

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

– United States Declaration of Independence

Well yeah… but there are some exceptions:

  • Anyone who believes that they have a right to clean air and water (they’re environmental wackos).
  • People that think that government does more good than harm (they’re clearly crazy.)
  • People that believe that a great country takes care of citizens that are not entrepreneurs (they’re Socialists.)
  • Muslims (they’re not really people.)
  • Mexicans — especially the ones that break the law to feed their families (They’re taking jobs to which all Americans aspire).
  • Public employees (they’re leaches on society.)
  • Teachers (they’re working to destroy our country by teaching our kids crap like all men are created equal.)
  • Anyone that believes that the wealthy should pay at least the same rate of taxes as the middle class (that’s class warfare.)
  • Gays and lesbians (the government has no right to interfere in the lives of straight people, but should be required to interfere in the lives of gays.)

The fires of nationalism

Since moving to Europe in 2006, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that, in a post-9/11 world, one can travel across international borders without papers, much less being stopped. I’ve visited Norway without any paperwork. Same for Sweden, Germany, Portugal, and Spain. This is because of what is known as the Schengen Agreement — a free-travel zone that currently includes twenty-five countries.

However, Denmark’s ultra-right wing party, Danish Folk Party (DF), has been pushing for withdrawal of this agreement and pretty much every other agreement Denmark has entered into that requires them to cooperate with their neighbors, including the EU. And, in order to drum up support for this position, DF casts every bad thing that happens in Denmark as the fault of Muslims, other foreigners, or the EU, pretty much always in that order.

Had Denmark suffered a single successful terrorist attack by terrorists that were not in the country legally, DF would have an easier time convincing voters that participating in the Schengen Agreement is dangerous. However, despite the fact that Denmark has had open borders since 2001 when it joined Schengen — and has been a prime target for terrorists since 2005 due to the Danish Cartoon controversy — the few terrorism attempts here have been pathetic.

Read More →

The latest war

If there is one thing that we can depend on from the American Right, it’s this: they use fear to motivate their base, and the solution for the fear is always a war. During the eighties it was the fear of drugs, which lead to the War on Drugs. During the Clinton years it was the fear of immorality, which lead to the war on Clinton. After 9/11 it was the fear of Islam, which brought us the War on Terror.

Recently, now that ten years  have past since 9/11, it’s time for a new war. Voters only stay afraid for so long, you see.  So the war or terror has given away to the war on debt and government. Right-wing media is hysterical with the specter of record-breaking dept. Pundits and politicians tell us we’re broke. They say we’ve never been so far in dept. And they say that only savage and immediate cuts will save us.

Federal debt as percent of GDP by president (Source: Wikipedia)This chart puts things into perspective. You’ll notice first that, as a percentage of GDP, we’ve certainly had more debt before. We have yet to reach post-WWII levels. And that’s significant because now we’re fighting two wars (some would say three) and the effects of a major recession. The second thing is that debt went up significantly under Reagan and both Bushes, and yet we’re led to believe that Obama pretty much invented the concept of debt. Naturally neither of these facts that are mentioned on Fox news or in the Wall Street Journal. Read More →

Nuclear delusions

This is the kind of logic that makes me despair for the nature and future of the human race:

On the other hand, if the Japanese are able to contain the core at the Daichi plant, which will be determined over the next day, it could invigorate the call for more nuclear power plants.

“If we don’t get a meltdown, it will be fair to point to this as a success in nuclear power. You had a 40-year-old nuclear reactor withstand an earthquake and a tsunami and it kept the core intact,” Cirincione said. “If that is the scenario that will be used as an argument to say look nuclear power is safe even this 40-year-old plant could take a one-two punch from mother nature and survive.”

Umm… no. The only “fair point” is that mother nature will continue to catch us off guard and that we simply cannot foresee every possible way in which disaster might strike, making nuclear power unacceptably dangerous, particularly close to tectonic fault lines, where we know that earthquakes are not only likely, but inevitable. Read More →

I am a tea partier

I am a tea partier. I believe in America. I believe in liberty. I believe in freedom. And I believe that these things are being taken away by sinister forces working to destroy American from within.

I am a tea partier. I believe in paying virtually no taxes, and yet somehow maintaining the greatest country in the world.

I believe it was fine to spend a trillion taxpayer dollars to invade and occupy a foreign country for bogus reasons, but I’ll be damned if I’ll stand for a trillion dollars being spent to stabilize the American economy or create American jobs. I’d rather see the American economy collapse than see my taxes go up.

I believe that living with laws that induce businesses to reduce how much energy they use or how much pollution they produce is exactly like living in a totalitarian regime.

I believe in liberty and freedom. Except the freedom to decide if or when to become a parent. Or the freedom to decide when and how to die. Or the freedom to marry the person who you love if I don’t like your preferences. Or the freedoms of Muslims to build places of worship. Or the freedoms of dark-skinned people to move around freely without having to show their immigration papers. All those things should be forbidden. But otherwise I believe in liberty and freedom.

I believe that “the environment” is an imaginary invention of radical leftists and therefore affects me in no way whatsoever, and never will. Read More →

WSJ: Speaking in tounges

Up until a few years ago, I figured the Wall Street Journal was merely a boring business paper — a publication by and for business people, covering money issues. I assumed that if it did cover politics, it did so only in the context of how a party or policy might affect a certain business sector.

It turns out I was very naive.

I started reading the WSJ opinion pages a few years ago, having been inspired by a piece in the New York Times about the dangers of seeking out information that merely echoes one’s own opinion. I was quite surprised to find not drab businessmen writing for the WSJ, but instead fervent believers, preaching and worshiping.

The opinion page at the WSJ doesn’t actually have much in the way of business specifics. Instead readers find two types of pieces, those comdeming the Obama administration as the worse thing to happen in the history of mankind, and those praising the magically benevolent powers of free-market capitalism.

Naturally a business paper is bound to find some faults with a democratic policy, so the pieces criticizing the Obama administration are remarkable only for their hysterical pitch. What surprised me are the soaring tributes. It surprised me because I thought that the lesson of the last few years is that strong government regulation is an essential part of a successful capitalistic society. After all, the largest economy on earth was almost taken down because Wall Street was furiously selling toxic mortgage dept to itself. Critics of laissez-faire economics could not ask for a better demonstration of the dangers of unregulated capitalism. Read More →

No end in sight

Today marks the anniversary of 9/11. It was nine years ago today that the World Trade Center came down and the world changed. Changed mostly for the worst. And one way in which things have gotten worse is that the concept of freedom has lost all meaning.

Americans are taught from an early age that we’re lucky because we have freedom. This is certainly what I was taught. And furthermore, I was taught that the citizens of other countries are not really free, even if they think they are. Sure, they may have been told that they are free (by their oppressive governments) but they in fact are not free, but merely brainwashed. (This is in contrast to us Americans, who are not brainwashed at all.)

Freedom is, we are told, at the core of what it means to be an American. And so after 9/11, freedom was Bush’s rallying cry. “They hate us because we have freedom.” Then he took us to war using the preposterous idea that it would increase the freedoms of both Americans and those in the middle East.

Well, apparently Americans love war, because now — now that we’re winding one of the foreign wars down, we’re told that we need to wage another war. This war is a war against our own government, and again, freedom is the rallying cry. “Less government = More freedom”, we are told. Read More →

Cartoonishly absurd

We all knew there would be opposition to Obama’s presidency. We all knew that he would be attacked and maligned. This would have been true regardless of his politics. But I, for one, have been surprised by how cartoonishly absurd and hallucinatory the opposition is.

“When the focus is narrowed to Republicans, a Harris poll finds 57 percent of party members believe he is a Muslim, 22% believe he “wants the terrorists to win,” and 24% believe he is the Antichrist.” (Roger Ebert, Sept. 1st 2010)

If this is true — if over half of republicans think that Obama is a Muslim and one in four actually thinks he’s the Antichrist, then there really is no point in debate. There’s no point in talking about this. There is no point because the US is completely screwed.

It’s one thing to disagree over economic or military policy. It’s one thing to argue over whether our government should be strong or weak. But what we’re seeing here is complete and hysterical meltdown. If this is the reaction that conservatives have to having a progressive president with an unusual name, what would they do if Hitler came back to life and was elected president? Would their reaction be any more extreme?

Or, more to the point, could their reaction be any more extreme?

A passion for prohibition

It seems crazy, but the US has given a huge gift to criminal gangs: virtually unlimited profit. Furthermore, the US has given this gift more than once.

In 1920, alcohol was banned in the US. The idea was well intentioned but wrong-headed. Supporters of an alcohol-free America naively thought that making alcohol illegal would make it go away. There is little evidence to that effect. Passing a law does not magically change appetites.

What the change in law did do was put legitimate bar owners, merchants, truck drivers, and brewery workers out of business and simultaneously opened up vast new business opportunities for outlaws. Suddenly, instead of providing a living for legitimate, law-abiding people, it was a criminal enterprise.

This period saw explosive growth for gangsters like Al Capone, who went to work putting together bootlegging networks. Inevitably, turf wars started, and violence followed. Additionally, since it was outlaws making the stuff, there was no regulation or safety inspection. People died and went blind regularly during this time due to bad batches of home-made spirits. Read More →