Your Daily Mindjob
This is my personal blog where I'll offer up some political straight talk as well as thoughts on technology and pop culture. That should give me plenty to talk about. The world can give you one heck of a mindjob. Think like me and get your daily dose.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts on the "threat" of tyranny

In the gun control debate, opponents of gun control often justify ownership of assault weapons in the name of self preservation in the rare chance that the government becomes tyrannical and oppressive. They believe that in order to stand up in the face of tyranny, they must have firepower strong enough to fire back against the military forces that would impose tyrannical rule. However, that hypothetical scenario has some serious flaws, flaws where the reality of the military and our government are in direct conflict with the idea of liberal tyranny.

There are two key features of this scenario which simply do not add up, but seldom will you hear anyone discuss either one because the gun control debate never has a chance to evolve beyond simple sparring. The first is that I firmly believe an American conservative government is more likely to impose tyrannical rule by force than a liberal government. The second point to make is that, should the government use its arm of the military to impose its rule, one has to remember that those who belong to the US military are often conservative.

The first point is the more important one to understand. I concede that a liberal government is equally prone to tyranny by way of legislation as a conservative government might be. In that instance, I would urge you to proceed to the second point I've made. Still, in terms of what we are faced with right now, the Republican party has been hijacked by gun-toting religious fanatics. The militaristic nature of the Republican party alone validates my claim that they are more likely to impose tyrannical rule than Democratic leaders. The funding for the military is more likely to increase under a Republican administration. If anything, a liberal administration would weaken the US military force (if you listen to any conservative talk radio pundit). As a liberal, I should be more afraid of tyranny via Republican rule than Democratic rule. Religion is a powerful player in government all around the world. From Iran to Saudi Arabia, oppressive regimes rely upon religious doctrine to control the population within their boundaries. If a religious movement comes about, it will be of the conservative ilk, not liberal.

The second point, then, is to realize the members of our military are heavily invested in conservative politics. Go to any veteran or currently enlisted member of our military. Ask them if, when ordered to fire upon their fellow American citizens, would they follow those orders or resist?

Then, as a liberal, I have to ask whether I should be more worried about a conservative member of the military shooting me or if a conservative should be more worried about a conservative member of the military firing up on them. Given the rhetoric present in our current political environment, I strongly feel that the threatening language present on the Right would motivate a conservative marine to off me without a second thought, whereas a conservative marine would be sympathetic to a fellow conservative and refuse the order to shoot. Do you see now how a conservative administration is more likely to impose tyrannical physical force upon the populace?

Almost instantly, arguments related to that last question would soon devolve into tangents about how the government has used the military and the FBI to attack certain groups at home. One such example would be the Waco siege in Waco, Texas. What that argument fails to recognize is, the group in question was led by a crazy person. If you are identified as a threat to our security, yes, you very well could face a military force at your doorstep. If you think that the military is going to attack your Constitutional right to organize, then perhaps the organizing you are planning is a tad on the crazy side. You might just be a threat to our way of life at this very moment if your level of paranoia makes that much sense to you.

But if you follow the current conversation over secession, or worse yet, revolution, you will find that rednecks will put down their uniforms and loyalties to the President of the United States and cross the battle lines to fight on behalf of their brothers.

So what I'm saying is, even if tyrannical rule were to be imposed, the safeguard is built in by your own political brethren who serve in the military. You should be more worried that your own elected officials are plotting to impose rigid tyranny. If you want to continue arguing that the Obama administration is tyrannical in its proposed legislation, again, I will refer you to point #2. Your arsenal will be of little necessity since conservatives in the military aren't going to shoot fellow conservatives. You don't need an assault rifle to defend against a military force because you hold much of the military force already.

But paranoia like yours prevents us from having a serious discussion about gun control. We have to entertain arguments like what I just described just to nudge the door of conversation open. We have to entertain ludicrous hypotheticals to simply move on to propose limitations like background checks, mental health restrictions on firearms, and access to firearms that were designed for military use, not civilian protection or recreation. No serious debate can be had until you move beyond these two paranoid delusions I have just discussed above.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What if there's a tie?

In past presidential elections, I do not recall so much emphasis being placed on the possibility of a tie in the Electoral College on election day. Over the past two weeks, it seems as if that's what 75% of news sources mention, in passing or directly. I'm beginning to wonder why.

If I go to Gallup or 270towin and read their front page, in a matter of seconds, I'm going to come across talk of a tie. Should there be a tie, the reality is, the House picks the winner. Right now, the House is controlled by Republicans. That means Romney wins.

So do these people know something we don't? According to 270towin, there are 32 combinations in which a tie might occur as of today with about eleven states up in the air.

It's almost as if they are giving us a preview for the news coverage we will receive on election night and the morning following the election. It's almost as if the election is going to be rigged and then stolen. Imagine the hubbub should the House pick Romney. It will be no different than the events which transpired in 2000 when George W. Bush was handed the big win by the Supreme Court. The people didn't make this decision. The Electoral College didn't even make that decision. It went to the Supreme Court. In this year's scenario, it would be left up to the House, not the people.

It would further discredit the validity of the Electoral College and invigorate the push for our elections to rely solely upon the popular vote instead. I don't know about you, but I don't like the way the tie scenario is being fed to us. It's very suspicious that this possible outcome is so common a topic this year.

I mean, according to 270towin, Obama has a 74% chance of getting to 270 and Romney only has a 24% shot at the same goal. Why, then, does it even come to mind that the election would end in a tie?

Is this just media hype? Imagine the division in this country should the House be given the choice. Imagine just how much finger pointing and complaining we will have to endure over the next four years. Imagine all the doubt and distrust something like this would create.

A tie? That'd put us in some deep doo doo. Let's hope there is a clear winner on election night. I do not want to put up with a partisan decision. I would rather see the Electoral College play out as intended.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Unstable Conservative Mind

While I will preface this post with an understanding that mental illness and violent rhetoric exists on both sides of the aisle, there is an overwhelming trend among the conservative ilk that continually makes liberals like me fear for our safety.

Tonight, on my local Craigslist, someone posted the following rant displayed in the screen capture below.

I reported it to Craigslist via their more advanced help system because I knew merely flagging the post as prohibited did not address the issue. Myself, nor Craigslist, should ignore violence or threatening behavior.

That said, I have a strong suspicion Craigslist will do nothing about this, so I am posting a screen shot of the deplorable post here in hopes of shedding light on the violence brewing in America, namely the South. I strongly feel that this person is a threat to the safety of those around him/her and saying nothing, in my opinion, is as unacceptable as their post. I firmly believe this person either needs to be in jail or helped by our mental health system.

The Southern Poverty Law Center might be particularly interested in this, as might the FBI.

Link to the post:

I contacted this person via email in hopes of drawing out his identity and more of his insane ramblings. To my surprise, he replied. I have his email and his name, so I know exactly who he is.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Two Biggest Problems With Clint Eastwood's Speech

While the internet is still buzzing from the hilarity that was Clint Eastwood's rambling on the RNC stage at the convention, two things stood out in my mind as I watched the coverage and replay of the poorly timed and poorly placed attempt at Republican enthusiasm. While I agree with Bill Maher that producing comedy with an empty chair is a difficult task and that Eastwood pulled that part off, I did not find the act itself to be of the quality or decency that we should expect in a campaign.

Let me explain what I mean.

Al Sharpton has already brought my first point to our attention, as have many others. The speech itself was disrespectful to the office of the President of the United States of America. Now before you get your conservative panties and secret mormon underwear in knots, let's cover one very important retort that I've seen. Yes, democrats have been known to say and do some very unkind things when talking about President Bush. This behavior, however, does not excuse you or Clint Eastwood from behaving the same way. You should strive to be a better person than your rivals, no?

Okay, then. So the fact that Clint Eastwood not only spoke in a condescending tone to an imaginary President Obama, but adding profanity to the mix made this performance especially disrespectful.  Had President Obama been in that chair, Clint Eastwood would have conducted himself in a more respectful tone.

This leads to my second impression of this crap.

This is the only way conservatives like to debate President Obama. Not only have they spent the last four years (election season and post-election first term) creating a fake story line about President Obama with which they have armed their dittohead minions for the sole purpose of making him a one term president, but in this instance, they created a situation where a debate without a retort from their opposition served only to fit their hate-laden fancy. They could argue with an invisible man from the comfort of their own echo chamber. Difference of opinion? What's that? It's what Republicans refuse to acknowledge in the name of arrogance and self preservation. This was hardly a respectable way to frame the campaign, let alone a debate. In that setting, no humor exists. It's a shameful representation of what the Republican Party has become.

Conservatives do not wish to debate the President on his home turf. No. This was an act of blatant cowardice. If they can't muster up the courage to debate President Obama face to face, then that makes them cowards. That makes Clint Eastwood a coward. To pull a line from Back to the Future III, Clint Eastwood is the biggest yellow belly in the West.

When in history has either party talked this way to a sitting US president? Oh yes, this might have to do with the fact that modern conservatives question the legitimacy of this presidency, from birthers, to people who think he is Muslim, to racists, and to people who think he stole the election. This kind of disrespectful behavior is rooted in the foul mentality that is the hatred modern Republicans have for President Obama. It's disgusting. We're Americans for crying out loud. Act like it.

That is all.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paul Ryan did ask for stimulus money.

Here are screen shots of documents written and signed by Paul Ryan in referencing money being provided by the economic stimulus.

When Paul Ryan says he did not request money from the economic stimulus, he is lying to you.

Don't like it? Too bad. That's his signature there at the bottom of each of these documents.

Now, when he states that the stimulus did not work, surely he has to answer for the fact that, when making these requests, he believed the stimulus would indeed work. Folks, Paul Ryan is merely posturing for political purposes and personal gain now that he is the VP nominee. Not only is it a lie that the stimulus did not work, but the fact that he believed it would work calls into question his current mindset about government spending.

1. We've established he has difficulty with honesty.
2. We've established he has difficulty recollecting about his own actions.
3. We've established that he is saying things just so Mitt Romney can get elected.

As the adage says, a leopard can't change its spots.

Friday, June 29, 2012

This just in...

This just in...

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are reportedly getting a divorce. Fox News blames Obama and claims it is a liberal conspiracy to erode away at the sanctity of marriage and the American way of life. Mitt Romney will hold a press conference later today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How Voter Purging and Papers Please are Linked: Republican Delusions

One of the things about journalism in the US that gets me going is how pundits respond to anything the Republican or Democratic parties do or say. When the news covers a story, it is often framed in such a way that makes an action or phrase sound so preposterous that the party in question has done something outrageous and unheard of. The fact of the matter is, whether you're listening to Fox News or MSNBC, the facts were twisted to cater to an audience who would naturally become suckered into believing something so outrageous when it is nothing of the sort, sort of.

Let me use the recent coverage of voter purging in Florida and the Arizona Papers Please ruling to illustrate the problem. I'll first describe the pitch (the delivery) and then I'll follow through with the explanation the news completely missed.

Voter Purging

The Pitch:
First, in the voter purging situation, the "goal" at first glance was to weed out fraudulent voting. Judging by the citizens who were purged, it was clear all the wrong people were getting caught up in the mess.

The Explanation:
Behind all of that, Republicans feel justified in purging these voters who largely vote for Democrats. Why? Republicans feel that they are the victims here. They claim to be the victims of a liberal conspiracy to allow illegal immigrants the ability to vote in order to steal the election away from them. In their minds, illegal immigrants are overwhelmingly corrupting the voting process to the point where Republican candidates lose. They feel as though purging the voter rolls will result in a course correction. This is why a Republican audience applauds Mike Turzai in Pennsylvania for saying a voter purge will lead to a Romney victory. Liberals foolishly respond, pointing out how Turzai's comments were an admission of rigging an election.

On the contrary, the Republican delusion is such that they don't see it as rigging the election, but adjusting the situation away from an incorrect belief that the election was rigged to favor Democrats. It's wrong, but it is their delusion. Liberals are left mouths agape for the wrong reason. Liberals need to begin framing unscrupulous behavior in terms of the Republican delusion and not the reasonable assertion from outside the Republican bubble.

Papers Please

The Pitch:
The Papers Please part of the Arizona law that was recently upheld by the Supreme Court has been perceived as a form of racial profiling whereby innocent Hispanic-American citizens would be stopped and accused of being an illegal immigrant just because they are hispanic.

The Explanation:
What you need to understand is, the same sort of Republican delusion exists here, too. You see, Republicans in Arizona and elsewhere believe that illegal immigrants are Democratic strongholds threatening the American way of life and unfairly victimizing (white) American citizens by taking jobs, leeching off government programs, and committing crimes. The Papers Please part of the law, to them, was not an attempt to profile at face value, but it represents Republicans who already profile all Mexican-Americans as illegals. To them, a person of color is not a legitimate American. To them, a person of color is a pawn of the liberal conspiracy against the Republican voter and of America itself.

The Conclusion:
So if you understand the delusion, then you can report on the story better. It will sound as though you are being flagrant and mean to your opposition, but it's the truth. If you admit Republicans are delusional and see the delusion for what it is, you can correctly assess their behavior. Then, you can call them on it. Anything less is feeding into the same stalemate we have come to know.

The same sort of mentality applies to their opinions toward unions and welfare. To them, Democrats are crooked SOBs. To them, a union equates to thugs. To the, welfare equates to lazy leeches. Pick a good system and they will demonize it, claiming victimization.

It's why Romney's "Sauce for the gander" comment resonated. To the, Democrats are unsavory and conspiring against them, so it's only fair to conspire right back. It's disgusting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Santorum Super PAC plays on Islamophobia

Ads are playing right now in Louisiana for the Republican campaigns and I just happened to see one running for Rick Santorum. The ad attacks President Obama on energy policy and it was funded by the Red White and Blue Fund super PAC. As a Louisiana resident, I would prefer that people question the ads playing on our televisions. Knowing Louisiana, this isn't going to happen, so I'm going to be the one person who writes about this damn ad.

First, it attacks Obama using buzzwords, those buzzwords being "foreign oil" and "radicals." The stage was set to plant the seed of Republican American isolationism and fear from the start. From there, the ad went on to say the money we spend on oil goes to "fund radicals with bad intentions," showing a photo of obvious angry Muslim protesters with some form of Arabic language written on a sign on a building, followed by a burning American flag.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but we put the gas in our gas tanks. We, American citizens, spend the money which goes to the oil companies and countries in the Middle East, not President Obama. It's our money, not his. We're to blame, Rick. It's our addiction that is the problem.

High prices are also the result of speculation, but market speculation isn't covered in the ad. If you're not talking about market speculation, then you aren't serious about gas prices. Really. You are not at all serious about gas prices.

But we also don't fund radicals. That's just factually inaccurate. Sure, I'm certain some Middle East countries have ties to terrorist organizations, but let's face it. The oil money is going to the very rich families in Saudia Arabia, for example, so that they can live lavish and luxurious lives. Our money goes to the US oil companies so that they can reinvest in research, but also so they can fill their pockets.

Santorum's solution is to investigate domestic sources, utilize natural gas, open up drilling and build pipelines to lower costs, according to the ad.

Unfortunately, these solutions will not provide any immediate relief. These are all long term plans. The Republican plan right now is to drill, baby, drill. It was the same plan they had in 2008. They haven't evolved away from that plan, aside from talking up more natural gas investments.

Americans want immediate relief. No Republican candidate can provide that level of relief with more drilling. We have to build the equipment first and that takes time. This is a promise they cannot keep, but because Americans only think in terms of immediate results, that's how the super PAC wants to play their advertising hand. We are apparently that stupid, or at least they think we're that stupid.

If you're a Republican, ask your candidates what solutions they have to lower gas prices within the next month. Yes, a month. Maybe two.

Sure, we could establish a long term plan to lower prices and increase supplies, but what does that do for you right now? Nothing. Not a damn thing, son.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Will Ron Paul Split The Vote?

In modern politics right now, the more liberal media outlets are focusing most, if not all of their attention on the Republican primaries. The respective pundits hit all the high points, the Newt vs Mitt phenomenon, the Mitt vs Mitt phenomenon, and even the icky colorful Santorum Surge. These same media outlets have also mentioned that Ron Paul has largely been left out of the mainstream discussion, in part because he is not seen as a viable candidate. Yes, folks, MSNBC does cover Ron Paul, despite what your conservative friends have said.

But the coverage for Ron Paul has dropped off over the past few weeks because the primary results, while initially very strong for Paul, dwindled in comparison to the changes in the numbers for other candidates. Still, you know Paul has a strong backing by his supporters. You'll know them as the internet forumites who end their rants with "Ron Paul 2012." Sometimes they include an exclamation point. Sometimes, not.

So the support is there, right? He has a following. His supporters do not constitute a small group of people. In fact, they are quite large and in addition to that, they are extremely vocal, especially on the internet. Even one of my friends on Facebook supports old man Paul and scoffed at the notion of my perception of him as a crackpot. Sadly, he and I are no longer friends, but I can guarantee you this. Come election time, my former friend will most certainly still support Ron Paul.

With the primaries in full swing, it seems Paul has garnered more than a few delegates. When it comes time to pick a Republican nominee, what will Paul do with his amassed delegates? Will he run as an Independent? Will he run at all? Again, Ron Paul has been lost in terms of being on the media's mind, whether on Fox News or elsewhere. The voice of the Republican establishment knows Paul is a threat to them...but very few are actually asking the more important question. Will Ron Paul's presence in the 2012 Presidential election affect the outcome? Will he be to the eventual nominee what Ralph Nader was to Al Gore? Will he split the vote?

As I've already discussed, Paul supporters have lots of energy. Sadly, though, there is another group of Ron Paul supporters who pose a threat, but not to the Republican nominee. No. They pose a threat to Barack Obama. They are the liberals who want pot legalized. A woman I dated in Arkansas was one of these confused liberals. If any liberal actually goes through Ron Paul's voting record, they'll come to realize he is not very liberal at all and he would do away with many of the things these pothead liberals support. The thing is, they are angry about marijuana and they are also angry about the wars we have been fighting. Anger apparently leads to confusion, but the anger is strong enough for these liberal voters to cast their vote for Ron Paul. It isn't even a protest vote, a vote of no confidence in Barack Obama. It is a self-legitimized vote of support rooted in only a few issues, disregarding the rest of what Ron Paul stands for. These voters will split the Democratic vote, but by how much? I'm not sure I have the answer to that, but they could be a threat as well.

I'm not sure the numbers are there on the Left to negate the Paul supporters on the Right, refuting the notion that Paul supporters are negligible in the grand scheme of things. They will most certainly have an impact on the 2012 election, but because they are largely libertarian conservatives, Paul will eat into the support for the Republican nominee more than Barack Obama. Perhaps a vote for Ron Paul ends up being a vote for Barack Obama. I don't see Ron Paul supporters as rank and file conservatives, people who will vote for anyone with an (R) next to their name, justified in the sentiment that any Republican is better than any damn Democrat.