Don’t Politicize This?

This kind of boiled over in response to the commentary in a thread on FaceBook. Someone posted a picture that was commenting on the behavior of a politician, and someone else took it to mean that the person was being super pro-gun, and he didn’t like it.

What ensued was an argument on gun control, with people stepping in to scream “More Guns,” and “Guns Bad,” and of course, the ever present “Calm down!”

I think I need to find time to sit down, and start putting my ideas on paper and working through them and such.

One thing, from my perspective, is that we need to do something. Even if we cannot do everything, we need to do what we can.

I don’t think that “taking away all the guns,” is the right answer. Neither is a total free for all.

The problem is that the only time there is any public will to discuss the issue is when something like this happens, and it is in the public eye. The only time there is any political will to talk about the issue is when there is the public will.

Any time something like this does happen though, three factions come forward immediately whose only solid task in the grand scheme of things is to distract from the issue in a three pronged attack, until the public will dissipates (Americans have the attention span of squirrels).

Group one screams from the rooftops “GUN CONTROL, ALL GUNS ARE BAD.”

Group two declares loudly and proudly “IF THERE WERE MORE GUNS THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.”

Group three, and they are the most dangerous because they pretend to be the “moderate” and “the voice of reason,” says “WE CAN’T POLITICIZE THIS, IT WOULD BE WRONG! DON’T TALK ABOUT IT!”

The truth is, the moment it happens it is politicized. The truth is, something does need to happen. The truth is that taking away all guns would be just as bad as a free for all.

We do need to talk about it.

We need to talk about it rationally. We need to think it through. We need to look at all the issues, not just the ones that we like.

We need to look at the fact that the second amendment is there for a reason.

We need to look at the fact that there are states where you can’t prevent a diagnosed psychopath form getting a gun.

We need to look at the fact that even in states with reasonable gun laws, there are loopholes.

Background checks, cool down periods, license requirements, and educational requirements: These are all good things. They help to keep the majority of guns out of the hands of idiots and the mentally ill. Ok, maybe it doesn’t keep them out of the hands of idiots, but it helps to make sure they know what they are doing.

People who do things like what happened on Friday are mentally ill in most cases. In most cases they got their guns completely legally. In most cases, no laws were violated until people started to die. This needs to be looked at.

In many cases, the people in question were being treated for various disorders. They were still able to get guns.

In some cases, they got the guns from relatives who had them legally, and just didn’t keep them locked up very well (again, an education issue).

So, yeah, there is an issue that needs to be discussed, and all sides need to bring their ideas to the table.

We need to look at the issue of guns.

We need to look at the state of mental health care in our country.

We need to look at the issue of education on gun ownership AND gun rights.

We need to recognize that the 2nd Amendment serves a purpose, but that it does not impose upon us a duty to ignore the obvious.

For those who are screaming “WE NEED MORE GUNS,” grow up, learn about society, and look around.

For those who are screaming “BAN ALL GUNS,” read a history book. Read the constitution. Learn about what was going on in the lives of the men who wrote the constitution.

For those who are screaming “DON’T POLITICIZE THIS!” Well, you don’t want to be at the table anyway. Either make yourself useful, or stay out of the way.

Irony in Politics

Warning, coarse language ahead.

What I find to be ironic is the claims by the right that Obama is unwilling to work with the Republicans in Congress.

For the last four years, he has bent over backwards to give the Republicans anything they wanted in the name of bipartisanship. He has twisted the arms of Democrats in order to push Republican agendas.

He has offered them anything they wanted, just for a little cooperation, and yet HE refused to cooperate?

When Obama was inaugurated about a dozen Republican Senators declared treason; that they would do everything in their power to stand against Obama even if it meant harming our country. It is the second part that makes it treasonous, not the first. It is expected that the opposition will oppose. It is not expected that they will do so at the expense of harming the people they have sworn to serve.

No, it is not Obama who has been uncooperative. It was that small group of assholes that were uncooperative. A small group of men who promised to cause harm to their country, have the power to do so, and explained their motives to the world.

Motive, Intent, Ability, and premeditation: All of the required elements are there. They said they were going to do it. They said this on international media.

Know what the real bitch of it is though? We let it happen. A few of us commented on it, but as a people we watched it go by and did nothing. They promised the commission of a crime and followed through. And still, this time last month, most of them were reelected, and we still allowed their party to keep the House of Representatives.

Repeal and Replace? Really?

For those who like part of the Affordable Health Care Act (Obama Care) but not other parts, and believe it when the republicans say they want to “Repeal and Replace,” wake up please.  That is not how the system is designed to work.  There is no need to repeal the entire thing.  All they have to do is include in the new bill a message saying “This replaces,” or “this supersedes,” or “This nullifies” whatever part of the bill they want to eliminate.

When a politician says “repeal and replace,” they mean “repeal and forget.”

When the republicans talk about “Death Panels,” they are talking about a panel that is geared towards discussing how to save money but is forbidden by law from touching anything that goes on between you and your doctor.

Guess where the Death Panels actually are (notice no quotation marks this time, because they are real)?  They are in the offices of the very insurance companies that already run the show.  The companies that the republicans want to give more control too (that is what privatization is).  Sadly, and this is something that new law is needed to change, “Obama Care” does not completely eliminate their ability to kill you off for profit while it funnels them millions of new customers, but it does restrict them somewhat.

Insurance companies have been making decisions for years about whether or not it is in THEIR (the company’s) best interests to allow a potentially life saving procedure for a patient.

It is the insurance companies that have set lifetime and annual spending caps on medical care.  It is the insurance company’s that will convene panels to decide if a particular customer is becoming too expensive to keep alive.

So, with that said…  Republicans screaming about death panels is a bunch of rubbish.  It is them trying to redirect the conversation.

Is the Affordable Care Act perfect? No?  Should it be repealed in mass and forgotten?  Hell no.  It should be trimmed, shaped, and formed, like an out of control shrubbery.  What the republicans want is to toss it on the rubbish heap like a broken bicycle, or burn it off like a broken chair.

And they don’t really care if that means sending you along with it.  If they did, they would not be saying “Repeal and Replace! Repeal and Replace!”  They would be saying “I think we should do it this way instead,” and be pushing it through the House of Representatives where they have a majority by a landslide, and the senate where they have an opposition that is generally very cooperative when they hold the reigns of power.

Heck, not only is “Obamacare” patterned after “Romneycare,” but it is also basically the same bill that various republicans have tried to push through the house and senate a dozen times over the last decade.  Now explain that in light of Republican reaction.


This link is to a recording of Arlo Guthrie singing one of his father’s songs. It is a hard song for me to listen to, but it is a very beautiful one as well. The Highwaymen (Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson)did a cover of it for their album.

The immigration issue has been a contentious one since our country’s founding. If that wasn’t a mass immigrant movement, I don’t know what was.

I know that my followers are a mix of conservatives and liberals, and people who use labels for themselves to imply they are further left or further right. Thing is though, that this song will apply in one way or another to most of us. Very few American’s can truly honestly trace their roots back to the landing at Plymouth, unless it is as a servant. The vast majority of us had ancestors that came later.

This song talks about Mexicans, but it applies just as much to the Irish and the Germans. If you ever heard your grandmother tell you stories about her family being potato farmers, this song is for you. If you ever tried to trace your family name back, and it just kind of disappeared in New York harbor, this song is for you. If you can trace the name past the harbor, but it was spelled and pronounced in a totally different way, this song is for you.

Most American’s are descendent of immigrants. Most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, got here looking for work and a better way of life for our families. Our ancestors came following the “coyotes” of the day, and in most cases got just as screwed as the Mexicans often do today, getting pushed into slave labor or worse, and putting up with it because “it was the only way.” They had to keep working to save up money to send home to Ireland, or Germany, or Russia, or Italy, so that their families could be fed. Eventually, they were able to get enough together to make the choice. “Do I go home, or do I bring my wife and children here?” Enough of them made the second decision that we now, even as screwed up as things are today, have the strongest nation in the world.

We are a nation of diversity and hope, even in these trying times. The idea of the American Dream still exists, even in these times. To be blunt, it is BECAUSE we are a nation of immigrants. That fact does not change just because enough of the immigrants happened to be white that they could pretend they were not any more.

Depending on which side of the family I look at, I am only third generation off the boat. And the other side? Well, my grandfather has to guess at his grandmother’s family name. Something to do with an island in New York harbor.

Get Out The Vote!

This message is for every American eighteen and older (or who will be by November). If you do not have a driver’s license or a state issued photo id, get one.

If you are not registered to vote in your state, go register.

If you have neighbors that might have trouble getting registered (transportation issues, handy cap, time constraints, etc) or getting above mentioned id cards, do what you can to help them.

This is your civic duty if you are an American citizen.

A number of states are passing laws to make the process of getting registered to vote more complex. Those laws will likely all pass through the state legislatures. It will be hard to prove any of those laws unconstitutional, given that most states already require all employment age citizens to carry ID and have for over a century.

We know this is happening, and we know how to counteract it (follow the above instructions). Make sure you are eligible to vote in the general elections and in your cities’ elections. Make sure your neighbors are as well. I don’t care if you are Democrat, Republican, Green, Constitutionalist, Libertarian, or whatever. Get out and vote. Get out and make sure your neighbors are able to vote. You can’t force anyone to the polls, but you can do your damnedest to make sure they are able.

In the current political environment, the best hope for saving democracy and the democratic republic as a system of governance is to make sure you do your part by educating yourself on the issues and voting.

An Environmental Rant

About twenty years ago, the powerful nations of the world got together and talked about the environment.  They all agreed that we had to do something, and promised that they would, and then they went home and forgot.

Twenty years later they got together again to talk about the same subject.  At least this time they were more honest.  They walked away from the talks saying “We need to do something, but we don’t really feel like it.”

There are scientists that say that we have a 50% chance of surviving the next ninety years.  I am talking the Human species, not an individual person such as you or me.  A 50% chance that the youngest human beings on the planet now may see it’s slow painful death, and know that we, the generations that came before, couldn’t be bothered to stop it because thinking about it was inconvenient.

This may sound a bit out there.  It may sound a bit psychotic.  It may sound like it was some conspiracy theory that just came out of the blue.  However, scientists have been screaming this at the top of their lungs for almost a century.  People with more funds have made sure that we were too distracted to listen.

Any time people talk about how to fix it, big industry screams “It will destroy the economy.  Jobs will be lost,” while totally ignoring the fact that creating the infrastructure to generate power without fossil fuels will generate millions of jobs, most of which will never go away.  Equipment once installed must be maintained, updated, repaired, and replaced.  The best part is that these are jobs that cannot be sent overseas.

A sea change is coming.  It is only a matter of time.  The human species will at some point see what is coming and change paths.  I just hope it is not too late.

There are corporations that see the change coming and are starting to spread out their resources to non-fossil  fuel based energy sources.  Exxon is investing majorly into green energy.  They are spending a lot on solar and wind.  They are still however spending massive amounts of money on oil and coal.  They are still spending massive amounts of money on politics, protecting their “right” to rape and pillage the environment that they never intend to be held accountable for.

Something needs to change, and it needs to change soon.  People need to acknowledge that there is a problem and that we already have possible solutions.  Further more they need to stop using the EXCUSE that multiple green energy only companies have gone under.  The US Spends hundreds of billions of dollars subsidizing the oil industry, which is so profitable that even without those subsidies they are literally making more than any other industry in the world ever has, but at the same time they throw a few million at green energy and say “Well, I guess they didn’t make it.”

More Alike Than Different

I just posted this to facebook a few minutes ago. I figured it was long enough, and an important enough statement that it should be put here as well for those who don’t like to waid through the mess that is their facebook wall.

I know that I have people following me that are both Occupy and Tea Party. I see what you guys are all posting, and most days it is the exact same stuff. I know there is a lot that the two sides do not agree on, but there is a lot that you do.

I know that both sides love their country.

I know that both sides would do ANYTHING to protect our constitution.

I know that both sides are tired of the role that money is playing in politics.

I see only one MAJOR problem with the above statements. It should not be “both sides.” The two groups need to get over their minor differences and work together based on the major things they have in common. The whole “right wing, left wing” illusion is nonsense. It thrives and survives because the people in power spend a LOT of money to keep it in the public eye.

Stop looking at eachother as “conservatives” and “liberals,” and start looking at eachother as “Fellow Americans.”

The problem, a long time ago, stopped being “the left” vs “the right.” In fact, the more I look at history, the more I doubt it wever was. The problem is that the rich wish to be powerful, and they have the money to make it happen. The rich spend that money to increase their power.

For those who think of themselves as “someday rich,” capitalism in its current form is a zero sum game. The guys that are rich now are going to do everything they can to stay that way. The game is rigged. The only way to unrig it, is for all of us to work together.

Some Messages are Better Left Half Finished




This started out as a response to a facebook post, but then exploded into a thing of its own.

I have to say that this is a message that would be best served by posting only the first half of the words. I know that what I am about to say may not be popular, but as a military person who works to protect the Constitution, and the freedoms it provides, it becomes harder and harder for me not to speak up when people say things that are mean and angry and attribute it to the Constitution.

First off, I have never met a person that wanted to stop everyone from praying. There are those who want to see prayer and religion removed from a position of authority in public (i.e. governmental) situations, but they generally are ok with the idea of you praying at home. They are not anti-prayer, they are simply in favor of freedom of religion.

As for “Let’s take our country back,” back from who? People of Christian faith are the vast majority of lawmakers. They are the ones who have the most sway over the laws.

More importantly, saying “Let’s take our country back,” in this context is implying that you are more American than the next guy. It is saying that if someone disagrees with you they are obviously dangerous and radical. It is saying that somehow the country has been invaded and must be liberated.

As for “In God We Trust,” that is a very sound concept for families and groups that are Christian, or follow some other singular deity. It is not however part of the Constitution. It was added to our currency in response to the “Red Scare,” because the communist leaders of the day had some very unhealthy ideas about religion and those in power wanted to prove that America was not a communist country. The same goes for “Under God,” in the pledge of allegiance. “Under God” as added sixty two years after the pledge was written (Not only that, but according to WikiPedia, the guy that wrote the Pledge was a Christian Socialist).

We are a nation that has many Christians. They are by most accounts the vast majority of the people in our country. We are also a nation that was made great in part because we encourage diversity. When people make the claim that “Liberals are trying to take God out of government,” Well… To be honest, they are. But that is because God does not belong in government. Our founding fathers fled England for that very reason. This Nation was founded primarily for that reason. Yes, we are a nation of Christians, but we are not a Christian Nation. Yes, our laws often (but not always) match up with Christian morality, but that is because in most cases Christian morality matches Jewish Morality, matches Muslim morality, matches Pagan morality, and matches Buddhist morality. Certain things are right and wrong, and most people of most faiths agree with that.

The Church has a strong role in our country, and that role is to provide faith and support and compassion to their flocks. When the Church gets involved in government though, it generally does more harm than good. Many people who are Atheists today left the church because of the church’s public and legislative behavior. If you want to push anyone out of government, it should be the people who are CLAIMING to be Christian’s, and then pushing a hate filled agenda with all the passion and grace of a feral animal. Christians should not be uniting to “Take Back Our Country,” they should be uniting to take back their name from the bigots that present themselves to the world as representing the church and all that it means to be Christian.

As for the military, we do fight for your right to be Christian. We also fight for your neighbor’s right to be a Muslim, a Jew, a Buddhist, an Atheist, or whatever he wants to be.

We are also sworn to protect the Constitution, and I cannot stand by and let people defame it with their anger and hate. If you love God, you can say so. If you love the Constitution, you can say so. If you hate your neighbor, well… You can say that too. Please though, do not spout hate, and then claim it is you defending the Constitution our country or what it means to be American.

I mean, you can say those things. You do have freedom of speech, I would just rather you not lie to yourself or the world about what the Constitution says.

I would rather you not spread hate and bigotry at all, but if you choose too, please keep it away from the constitution, and please keep God/gods out of it.

Labels, the Current System, and Third Party Votes

I have noticed that a lot of people are not educated on just what the words “socialist,” “socialism,” and “socialistic” mean.

You can talk about their views and political ideas. You can go item by item. Every response matches up with the concepts and ideals of socialism. Ask them if they are socialist though, and their reaction varies from simple denial, to violent rage.

It is no wonder the liberals of the country have trouble electing officials that represent what they believe. They don’t even know what the normal label is for their views.

All it takes is for a republican to scream socialist, and the candidate is suddenly outcast and a pariah.

And for those candidates that liberals do get into office, they are educated and do know what words mean. The message to them is loud and clear “be as liberal as you dare, but socialism will get you voted out or worse.”

The result is that the mainstream “left wing” of American politics is way to the right of most countries center line. It is to the right of most countries right wing.

People need to learn what words mean. They need to learn how to call what they believe. They need to learn how to speak up and voice their views to their politicians. They need to remember that their vote does have power, and they must act as a united people to insure that the politicians in charge remember this.

A European friend of mine recently said “You guys have the government you deserve,” and he is right. We voted them all in, Republican and Democrat. Worse than that, we show ever indication that as long as they maintain the status quo, we will continue to vote for them. I say that needs to change.

If you are a far right winger, vote libertarian not republican. If you are a far left winger, vote green party. If you are a constitutionalist, vote Constitutional Party. I say start now with the upcoming elections in September.

Voting for a third party candidate is NOT throwing your vote away. It sends a message to the election officials that these people are potentially electable in future elections. It also sends a message to whichever candidate wins. It tells them that if they do just maintain the status quo, it may not work out for them.

I see that what was intended to be a one or two paragraph comment turned into a full on rant. I will leave it here. Take it as you will.