On Government Dependence

Republicans love to keep tally on the less fortunate whether it was Mitt Romney chastising the 47% or Jim DeMint stating that 69.5 million Americans are dependent on the government. What the Republicans fail to understand is that this is only half a talking point. Yes, a lot of people need government assistance but Republicans never talk about why so many people are using government programs.

This is why people are no longer connecting with the Republican Party. Essentially, they are pointing fingers and saying look at those poor people, isn’t that horrible? Instead, they should be asking why is it that so many people need assistance to simply buy food? Why is it that most middle-class families cannot afford to pay for their children’s college education without government loans? Why are there so many less fortunate people?

For the Republican Party to remain relevant, they need ideas, not just a wagging finger and a look of disdain. How about a plan to help lower the cost of tuition? How about a program to help drag people out of poverty? Stop chastising the poor and the needy and start coming up with ideas that will actually help.

Jim DeMint: ‘69.5 Million Americans’ Are Dependent On Government.

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Palin is Friendless

Sarah Palin was exposed in 2008 as an earnest politician way over her head. After her campaign imploded, she went back to Alaska and resigned halfway through her governorship under questionable circumstances, started a reality show, hung out with Kate Gosselin, and joined Fox news. Looking back, Kate Gosselin might be remembered as her apex.

Recently, she was fired from Fox news. Her reality show is all wrapped up. Her political clout has been diminished. She is probably seen on television being parodied by someone else more often than she is actually on TV. Except for a handful of interviews, she appeared to be falling into obscurity. But after her speech at CPAC, she seems ready to get back into the limelight. She released a new video encouraging people to donate to her political action committee and it is replete with old Palin-isms: anti-media, anti-establishment, anti-big-money and it wouldn’t be complete without an insinuation that Obama is Muslim. But now these complaints fall flat. And what you once wrote off as political inexperience now comes off as political bullshit.

In the video she chastises the mainstream media of which she was a member of for quite some time. She critiques insider politicians without a hint of irony. And worst of all, she complains about big money politics. That’s when the bullshit really hits the fan. Her PAC spent roughly $5.1 million (more than it raised which must mean she is a proponent of deficit spending) of which roughly $300,000 was spent on politicians. The rest went to political consultants. This is awfully confusing because in the video she says explicitly that she wants to get rid of political consultants. So she doesn’t want professionals involved in politics but then gives them $4.8 million? Something stinks. And it’s her bullshit.

So therein lies the problem. In 2008 when she struggled in interviews trying to answer difficult questions about international politics, you could shrug and blame it on inexperience. Now, after five years in the belly of the beast, she is fully aware and comfortable with the ins and outs of national politics. But that’s not what is turning people off or why people see her as hypocritical. The problem is that she’s taking advantage of the very system that she publicly derides. She attacks politicians who take money and gives it to the establishment but she then takes donations and gives it to the establishment. With one fell swoop, she manages to alienate everyone across the board. She’s making fun of herself and the worst part is, I don’t know if she even knows it.

Palin’s SarahPAC Embarrassment: Consultants Are Cashing In – TheDaily Beast.

Conservative Economics and Poverty

Take a close look at this graph showing the poverty rate over time:

There are several spikes in poverty and one significant dip. The first spike happened right around the early 80s, right after Ronald Reagan took office. The next spike happened right around the early 90s right after George Bush took office. The dip occurred around 1994, right after Bill Clinton took office. The next spike in poverty occurred right around 2000, right around when George W. Bush took office. In recent history, whenever a Republican took office and during their presidency, the poverty rate rose dramatically. Every Republican presidency resulted in a net gain in the poverty rate whereas the only Democratic presidency of significant length resulted in a net decrease in the poverty rate. We are only in the middle of the Obama presidency but we can start to see a small dip occurring.

Although there are a multitude of factors that impact poverty rates, presidents often set the economic mood. Think Reaganomics, the Bush tax cuts, Clinton raising taxes, etc. In any case, there is a significant problem that has been increasing ever since the early 80s that needs to be addressed.

A Small Voice

Gay and lesbian people deserve all the rights and privileges enjoyed by every other American, including the right to marry. Flatly. Without question. Now. In fact, not now. Get in a damn time machine, go back to 1787 and write on the Constitution, right after it says “We the People,” in big, obnoxious, capital letters, “THIS INCLUDES GAY PEOPLE!” But that would never work. They couldn’t even agree that a black person was a whole person. So run back to your time machine before those angry white guys hang you to death and zip to 1868, to when the 14th amendment was ratified, take out your trusty marker and write on the Constitution, just after the Equal Protection Clause, where it says, “nor shall any State deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” again, in big, obnoxious, capital letters, “THIS APPLIES TO GAY PEOPLE TOO!” And now you can zoom back home, taking the time to stop to flick Hitler in the eye of course, and enjoy your much more rational and loving world.

Even though I write in jest, this issue is very important to me. It wasn’t that long ago that certain groups thought it was acceptable to deny people like my wife and I, or my mom and dad the right to marry based on the color of our skin. If you take the time to read their racist reasoning, I’m sure you will end up wrinkling your nose in disgust. It is repugnant. Depressingly, the arguments used to deny same-sex marriage are shockingly similar. I imagine in 30 years, future generations will look at those arguments against gay marriage with the same amount of repugnance as we now look at those idiot racists. Please don’t be remembered as one of those idiots.

And to be honest, this issue is inherently tied to religion. Christianity in particular. Most people that I know who identify as Christian are great people with good hearts. I really hope that my Christian friends and readers recognize two very important facts. First, living in the United States awesomely provides you with the freedom to practice your religion but it also guarantees to all people equal protection under the law. This means anything the law gives to one group, it must provide to everyone unless there is a very good reason not to. “Because my particular God says no” is not one of those good reasons. Even though that’s all the reason you need, living in this amazing country of freedom requires a bit more of an explanation. And second, the Bible is full of funky rules that don’t seem to get any attention. Apparently men with long hair are shameful and anyone who works on Sunday should be put to death. I’m pretty sure this dude has long hair and Walmart is open on Sundays. Please let this one slip away into obscurity as well.

I am speaking out because if people remained silent to bigotry, my wife and I would never have been allowed to be married.  Good people fought to eliminate the vestiges of racism from the law and extend to me the right to marry my awesome and beautiful African-American wife. I’m using my small voice in support of same-sex marriage to hopefully help to eliminate the vestiges of homophobia from the law.

Every story starts somewhere…

I’ve been meaning to write this journal for quite some time. I hope to use it as a way not only to recollect the past few years but also as a creative outlet. Some of these stories will be highly personal and might be a little disturbing. I will preface these stories with a warning but I will not hold back. No matter how painful the past can be, I want this to be a true reflection of me and my experiences. These personal reflections will be interspersed between my commentary on any topic I find interesting at the time. My interests are eclectic, so bear with me.

What I want in the end is for my story to leave an impression. I hope it makes you question your own limitations or reflect on how you would respond to tragedy. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask any questions. Thanks for joining me on this journey.