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If It Looks Like a Duck

The TV network A&E’s best ratings come from the reality show Duck Dynasty, which follows the Robertson family and their duck hunting business in Louisiana. They are a devout Christian family, and the patriarch, Phil Robertson, has, in the past, taken exception to A&E’s editing out the name of Jesus in the family’s prayers and putting in fake censoring beeps to suggest that they use profanity.

Recently, Phil gave an interview in GQ magazine citing a bible verse that condemns homosexual behavior, and stating his views that homosexual behavior is a sin. For his views, which are what most Christian religions hold to be true, he was put on indefinite suspension by A&E, or in other words, fired.

Many people are claiming this is a violation of free speech, but let’s be clear. A&E is not a government organization, and they are free to determine the tone of their own channel. If they want to have a religiously-neutral pro-homosexuality channel, they can.

To me, the real issue is the tolerant gay and lesbian community’s intolerant response to the remarks. Phil’s actual words, while blunt, were critical of a behavior, and not of a group of people, and yet Wilson Cruz, the GLAAD spokesman, called for all of the Robertson’s sponsors to “reexamine their ties” to Robertson because of his “public disdain” for their lifestyle [1]. In other words, people who want to be treated with tolerance and respect because of their views want this man to lose his livelihood because they disagree with each other.

How is this tolerance? How can anyone expect to have a diverse and tolerant society when people are going to be fired for simply stating their opinion? A tolerant response is to give a reasoned and thoughtful rebuttal, not to call the other guy a liar and try to ruin him financially. To get tolerance, you should first give it.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Equality, Freedom, Uncategorized

 

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Say Uncle!

Sometimes the Obama administration feels like a merry-go-round. On every rotation we get the same pattern. First comes a scandal that’s explained away with a lie. Next comes the exposure of the lie, followed by an explanation of how the lie is in no way connected to the President, and then everyone gets to work forgetting that it ever happened and calling anyone who dares bring it up again a racist. Round and around we go! Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA, spying on the AP, “If you like it you can keep it”, and the ride continues.

The scandal this go around is Obama’s illegal alien uncle. The scandal is that Obama’s uncle was arrested for drunk driving and turned out to have outstanding orders for deportation. The lie was that the President had never met his uncle, and the lie was revealed when it came to light that Obama had lived with his uncle while attending college. The explainer-in-chief Jay Carney says that nobody had ever actually asked the President if he knew his uncle, so ergo he was never dishonest, we should all just forget about it, and Republicans are all bigots for bringing it up.

Now, I couldn’t care less if Obama lived with his entire extended family during college, and I don’t think the President is accountable for the actions of his uncle. However, this latest incident, like the others, is evidence of at least one of two things; either a fundamental lack of integrity, or a fundamental lack of administrative skills. Either the President is a liar, or he is unable to capably run his administration.

Either way, this constant spinning is making me nauseated. If this merry-go-round we’re on is due to administrative incompetence, then the President needs to clean house, and if it’s due to dishonesty, it’s time for Americans to stop looking the other way. Let’s get off this ride.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2013 in Corruption

 

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S is for Sabotage

The Affordable Care Act hinges on having large numbers of young and healthy people sign up for the government’s insurance. Their money and lack of health issues are needed to subsidize the care for older or unhealthy customers. Without the contribution from the young and healthy, there simply won’t be enough money to pay for everyone else, much like how Social Security currently works.

But who could have predicted that scores of healthy and vibrant young people wouldn’t flock to sign up for overpriced insurance plans that they can survive without at this point in their lives? The Republicans, that’s who. Before its implementation, Republicans warned that the ACA was unfeasible and were dismissed with accusations of racism, hatred, and only being motivated by politics. And now that it turns out they were right, they’re being accused of fear mongering and sabotage.

One of the political reporters at the Washington Post seems to think that if only those pesky Republicans would stop accurately identifying the glaring flaws in the ACA, young insurance buyers wouldn’t be scared away from signing up [1]. Evidently people are being turned off by the millions of cancelation notices, the rising premiums, the broken promises, and the threat of identity theft while using the government’s website, and it’s all the Republican’s fault because they pointed it out.

This is somewhat like blaming the weatherman when a tornado destroys your house because he predicted and reported it, but why use logic and common sense when you can use misdirection, blame and emotional outbursts instead? After all, it’s a lot harder to distract people from your mistakes when you only rely on thoughtful and reasonable discourse. Perhaps the Washington Post was inspired to play the blame game by The New York Times who recently blamed Republicans for JFK’s assassination…. by Lee Harvey Oswald….the communist [2].

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2013 in Politicking, Social Programs

 

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire – Part 2

Does anyone remember when back in August of 2012, the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention, Debbie Wasserman Shultz, deliberately misquoted the LA Times to support a lie about Republicans in a fund-raising letter? When called out about her dishonesty by Anderson Cooper, her response to him was to declare “it doesn’t matter. [1]

Fast forward to the present day, and she’s back to her old tricks. By now, everyone must be familiar with Obama’s spectacularly failed promise that everyone who wanted to keep their existing health plan would be able to do so. So what’s an administration with such a problem to do? Call the liar-in-chief, of course.

And call her they did. Out trotted Ms. Wasserman Shultz on MSNBC, like the dutiful trained pony that she is, where she claimed, “There was nothing about what President Obama or that I or any other Democrat supporting the Affordable Care Act said that was not true. [2]” Really, Ms. Wasserman Shultz? Really?

Perhaps her goal with such a statement was to shock her opponents into a stunned silence with sheer brazen dishonesty. I’m at a loss as to what else could have prompted such an announcement, because she surely knows that the President’s own rule-writers estimated that huge percentages of people would lose their grandfathered plans at the time he made his famous “You Can Keep It” speech [3].

She also stated that only 3% of Americans would lose their existing health plans, when the real experts think that the number will be closer to 68% by the end of 2014 [4]. But not to worry, because according to her, “At the end of the day, most of those people who are having their plans transitioned will have better benefits for lower costs [2].” I guess what was implied was, “Don’t worry about all those families whose premiums and deductibles have gone up as their coverage has gone down [5].”

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2013 in Corruption, Entitlement, Politicking

 

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It’s a Metaphor

The high hopes of all the poor uninsured masses were recently dashed when the shiny new Obamacare website turned out to be a complete failure. This marvel of technology didn’t come cheap, costing anywhere from 180 million to over 1 billion [1,2], depending on who you ask, and yet after spending all that money on it, it still doesn’t fulfill its purpose.

The website has turned into one big sad metaphor for the entire Affordable Care Act. To begin with, the ACA can’t possibly hope to support the insurance needs of the population as written, and neither can the website. Neither the technology nor our existing health care network can handle what it’s being asked to handle, and no pep talk from the president is going to change that. Don’t forget, the same President that assured us that the website will get fixed is the one that assured the country that nobody would lose their insurance plans, and look how that turned out [3].

Also, the cost of the website is just like the cost of the act for which it was created: grossly inflated, wasteful, and embarrassing. The government doesn’t have a very encouraging track record when it comes to efficiency in its business practices, and it doesn’t look like this is going to be any different. The health care exchanges, which rely on enrolling large numbers of participants, have astonishingly low rates of participation. In North Dakota, the rate of enrollment has been just one person per day since the federal exchange went live on the first of October. It’s not surprising that the feds asked that this information not be made public [4].

The whole Obamacare website debacle can really be summed up on one question; If the government can’t be trusted to run a website, how can we trust it to oversee healthcare for the entire population?

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Social Programs

 

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The Parable of the Mid-Life Crisis

Our government has become like a household in which the children are governed by the dictates of parents who have become increasingly hostile to one another. The children who agree with the rules of one parent are verbally abused by the other, and the household is in dire financial straits, with both parties refusing to cut any of their expenditures.

One day, the father gets his heart set on a new Ferrari (because all the other dads have one) and goes out and buys one without the approval of the mother. Predictably, she’s upset and demands that he take it back because they can’t afford it. They can’t agree on the subject and shut down the household, and to show how serious they are, they refuse to let the children enter their own rooms because the heat may have been turned off.

This dysfunctional home is our country. The parties who should be running our country have chosen petty bickering over doing their job. And because one party decided to shove a bloated and ineffective health care bill on people who never wanted it, the other has decided to stop paying for anything until it’s taken back to the dealership.

Government shutdowns are not anything new; this is the eighteenth since 1976. But the level of petty partisanship is unprecedented. Neither side is providing any information on what’s happening, and negotiations with the President didn’t even start until we were 10 days into the shutdown. Perhaps the administration was too busy giving Charlie Sheen-esque quotes about winning, kicking people out of their homes, and barricading open-air war memorials.

In a dysfunctional home, it’s the children who suffer from the poor behavior of the parents, and in our country, it is the citizens who are suffering from the childishness of our politicians. It’s time for the kids to tell mom and dad to grow up.

 

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Try It, You’ll Like It

In the movie Dave, the President falls into a coma and a presidential impersonator named Dave is chosen to take his place. While there, Dave starts to take a look at the way things are being run, and while looking at the budget, he finds that the government is spending thousands of dollars on a campaign to make people feel better about the cars they’ve already purchased. The senators responsible for this campaign look sheepish when confronted with their wastefulness, and the program is discontinued.

Now, this bit in the movie is a joke, a little dig at the many ways politicians find to waste our money. Life imitates art, but instead of buying billboards telling people how great their own cars are, they are hiring people to go out and educate American citizens about the wonders of their government programs.

We have those who are hired to find and enroll new food stamps recipients. The federal government is offering $54 million in grants to “navigate” people through the so-called health insurance exchanges, and school districts are holding pep rallies for parents to get them fired up about common core.

The American people have purchased, through our votes for our legislators, these social program lemons, and just like in the movie, the government is increasing our deficit to try to make us feel better about our decision. If it were true that our country desperately needed these programs, then why should it be necessary to hire people to encourage people to use them? It’s like claiming someone is starving, and then having to spoon feed them because it turns out they weren’t that hungry after all.

I know there are people who legitimately need assistance, but perhaps the reason that people aren’t flocking to Obamacare or food stamps as expected is because their numbers were drastically inflated to begin with.

 
 

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