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Fiscal Cliff – The Republicans’ Fault???

Fiscal Cliff – The Republicans’ Fault???

Here we are in the United States hours away from being tossed over something called a fiscal cliff by our own government.  But, what is a fiscal cliff and where did it come from?

The truth is that this “fiscal cliff” is our congresses’ idea of a way to punish itself.   The idea is that going over this fiscal cliff is so unthinkable of an idea that if the congress failed so bad at doing their jobs that it comes to that, they would be forced to find a quick solution.

What will happen, to begin the New Year in the United States is that all of the various tax breaks that have been put into place over the past several years to help various groups for various reasons will all disappear at once effectively raising everybody’s taxes all at once.

So basically, our congress has devised an efficient way to deliver a high powered groin kick to all of our citizens just as we were coming out of the worst economy in recent history.

Here in our great democracy of the United States, the public blame will probably fall on our Republican Party.  While this is really the fault of a dysfunctional congress, I have to say that I am going to have to agree with those that place much of the blame on the Republicans.

Those that know me understand that I feel that anyone who runs in lockstep along with one party or the other, as if rooting for their favorite football team is an idiot.  With your favorite team, you root for them no matter what and when they are doing bad you make excuses and try to convince yourself and others they are doing good.  If your team cheats, there is always a good excuse for why it’s okay, if another team makes some minor mistake; it is some terribly egregious act worthy of the worst punishment imaginable (insert pause to let the Fox News logo pass through your imagination for a moment).

I do believe in our party system, I just believe that, just like a person, sometimes a party can be way out there or just have bad years and that you as a person in a democracy have a responsibility to not support and facilitate the crazy.

In this case, the Republican Party has been hijacked by its extreme wing.  The problem for the Republicans in government is that these extremists seem to have the power to make or break a candidate for office in places where republican votes dominate.  The problem for the Republican Party is that on the national stage this extreme wing is a great distance from what the majority of voters are thinking right now and these extreme views have been eating the party from within for about eight years now (including two presidential elections.

I say all of this, because one of the major sticking points for Republicans in congress has continuously been that they will not sign a bill that raises taxes on the wealthiest people in America.

This was on of the battle cries of their overwhelming loss in the recent presidential election where the vast majority of the voting public of this country publically shared their disagreement on this issue.

The truth is that the logic that the Republican party is using is terribly flawed and not likely to be accepted by the general public.

The tax breaks are basically to help people in need like welfare checks and government cheese.  So at some point in history, some pointy headed economist decided that helping the poor doesn’t really stimulate the economy; helping the wealthy actually creates more spending and the money might be used to enlarge their companies so we would be more productive if we give the welfare checks and government cheese to the wealthiest Americans.  Thus, “Trickle-Down Economics” was born.

Though welfare checks and cheese were not the way it was done, this “assistance” came in the form of tax breaks and other subsidies.

I totally get the logic;  If those that have more, have even more, they are likely to spend more.  Those that have less, if given a little more it is more likely to go into smaller bills, late bills etc. that should have been paid anyway and will not do much to boost the economy.

The fundamental difference is that one side is trying to help people (sometimes haphazardly giving money away to both those who desperately need it as well as those that take advantage of the free money) while the other side believes that if you help the rich, at some point the poor and needy will be helped in the long term.  The money will trickle down to them.

The flaw here is that when thought through, this will never fly with the voting populous as a whole.  Think of it as one party trying to get all of the homeless shelters to close their doors to the poor, and convert to buildings that collect cash to distribute to the Donald Trumps and oil companies of the world because you will get a better return on your investment.  Eventually, with this little bit of extra spending cash, these wealthy Americans will spend more because of it and create more jobs which will be jobs the poor that use these shelters would be able to get and the world will be a better place, birds will chirp again, roses will bloom and all will live happily ever after.

While I do see the logic, the idea of help for the wealthy is preposterous.  I did a piece recently named “Taxing the Rich? Not Taxing the Rich?” in which I discussed this in some detail, but some of the breaks we are giving are ridiculous.

No matter how you feel on this issue, the American voting public has already clearly stated it is absolutely a “no go”.  They general voting public does not believe in Trickle-Down Economics at this time.  But, yet the Republican Party is willing to fight to the death (by the death of every person in the country by tossing us over a fiscal cliff not their own) for this unpopular concept.

One thing that I have noticed about the current Republican Party and particularly the extreme wing of the party (often called “Tea Party Republicans” associated in my mind way more with tea-toting rich people and less with the rebellion of throwing tea in the harbor that was a part of starting our country) is that when the American public does not agree with them they always go back to this stance that we do not know what is good for us so they have to force it down our throats for our own good.

That’s all fine and dandy…

if you are a dictator in some third world nation.

For those of us who live in a democracy, this is the clear indicator that the Republicans in Congress are not interested in doing their jobs.  The job of representing the desires and needs of the American people.

The facts are that we have been doing the experiment of “Trickle-Down Economics” for many years and during the years when the computer industry was booming in the United States all was fine.  But, suddenly in the second term of a Republican president the economy went bad.  The first dominoes to fall were due to abuses and excesses of the same wealthy that these breaks went to.

We are all suddenly faced with a painful reality:  If you give extra money to wealthy Americans and wealthy corporations (who are now declared to be people also) they may use it to be greedy and destroy our economy instead of somehow bolstering it.

This is the main point that the Republicans are stuck on and much of the rest of the debate is simply fluff to attempt to appear to be trying to play nice.

The American People are not buying all of this and the republican Party is becoming more of a cult than a political party (I suppose that Bill Graham can put the Republican Party on his website as a cult in place of the Mormons who suddenly were removed from the list because the Republican Party had a Mormon candidate for president).

They have a following that cheers them on and backs their play more and more the crazier it is.  The more out of step with the national voting population, the louder the cheers are.  The problem with all of that is that; the more out of step with the national voting population, the less trust this population will have in them.

The Republican Party is imploding and it is as if they are screaming:  “If we are going to implode, we are going to take the whole country with us over a…  wait for it…  FISCAL CLIFF!”

Don’t get me wrong; the Democrats have their crazy too and are playing a bit of a game also.  The difference is that it is a game that the American voting populous supports.  The Republican Party has hijacked the American public, tied us up in the back seat and decided to play a dangerous game of chicken driving headfirst at the Democrats in the hopes that they will scare the Democrats into turning out of the way at the last minute.

The challenge for Republicans is that even some of their own party have jumped out of the car.  There was this “Plan B” (use scary horror movie narrator voice).  It was Speaker Boehner’s (pronounced bay-ner if you didn’t know) attempt at going nuclear.  He was going to ram a plan through the House of Representatives because the Republicans have a majority there and force the President to not sign it publicly.  The idea is that this would shift the blame off of the Republican Party and place the blame firmly on the shoulders of President Obama and the Democrats.

The words “EPIC FAIL” (use scary horror movie narrator voice) come to mind.  The Republican dominated house did not vote for this and The Speaker now looks like Boo-Boo the Fool.

It is the last day of 2012 and I can see the cliff ahead.  This must have been the actual day that the Mayan Calendar was supposed to end.  In truth, I suspect that if we actually go over this cliff, the Mayan calendar may have been pointing to the end of the Republican Party’s political might as they defiantly go down with the ship still ranting “Tea Party” slogans as the ship goes down like the band in the Titanic movie.

By Wednesday morning the Uncle Sam recruiting posters with Uncle Sam pointing which says “I Want You” may have the caption changed to say:  “Republicans, It’s Your Fault”.

Alethinos P.

High Times or Low Times

 

High Times or Low Times

Every one is now talking about the votes in Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana for recreational use.  I am actually surprised at this conflict, but I am glad that someone else besides us Californians are finally the crazy hippies making up wild and unreasonable laws and being the nation’s crazy cousins.

Here is the deal (especially if you are not in the United States):  Federally speaking our government has declared Marijuana illegal, but some states have decided to declare I legal in their state and fly the proverbial “bird” at the federal regulators.

To start I will make it clear that I oppose this idea.

One reason is the idiotic idea that if the federal organizations that we put in place to regulate drugs, medicines etc. can be overrun by states at any given moment then we actually have no governing body or guidance for the chemicals that are introduced to people’s systems.  Either these governing bodies are the law or they are not.

Here in California (particularly during the daytime and ridiculously odd hours of the morning) we are inundated with commercials for drugs and chemical products that were once normal and available over the counter or by prescription that have now been deemed so unsafe that lawyers come on television to gather all the people who used these substances together to be a part of the massive lawsuit that is taking place.

Once it is determined that these substances can cause catastrophically negative results, the federal government steps in and deems that substance illegal due to the lack of safety.  These organizations have deemed marijuana illegal and unsafe.

Some states have decided that the sovereignty of the state allows each state to override these laws and do whatever they want as part of a democracy.

The big misunderstanding here begins with the idea that we are a democracy.  In a true democracy, at least in concept, every person has a say in everything.  The founding fathers of the United States felt that allowing every person to have a say in every little thing the government does would make every decision incredibly slow and would be prone to the confusion of the crazy ends of various views.

They decided to have a representative democracy where everyone has a vote on who represents you in the various levels of government and then those people make the decisions (by vote) on these things.  This (in theory) makes the decisions faster and should limit the power of the crazy wings of society from gaining too much influence (they so underestimated the power of crazy people gathering together).

In this case the states are attempting to override the representatives they have at the federal level by basically saying that they refuse to listen to what they have to say.  In other words a few states (including my state, California) have decided to undermine the representative democracy that we have in place and the people those folks have put in place to protect our safety.

In a representative democracy, the fact a group of us disagree is not an acceptable reason to ignore what they say as a matter of fact, it is an expected norm.  The fact all things are done by vote implies that there will be groups of people in most (if not all) decisions who do not agree with the government.  Do those people get to do whatever they heck they want in every decision?  If so then there is no democracy pr representative democracy:  What we have then is a chaos of every man, woman and child for themselves.

This is not a war on drugs or against the war on drugs, this is not a fight against oversized government or for the rights of states, the passing of these laws is a war against our form of democracy and as such a war on our own government as an institution.

Moving on, another reason I oppose this law is the foolishness of the arguments that so many have been programmed to believe.  It is amazing to me how many people have been programmed with little quotes such as:

  • Marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and kills less people so it should be legal
  • Marijuana is not really a drug, it comes from the ground (as if many of the different drugs on earth do not come from natural substances – should poison mushrooms be legalized because some group of people decide they are not dangerous)
  • Legalizing drugs will put drug dealers out of business and eliminate a large segment of the crime we experience in our cities.  Like legalizing alcohol eliminated all of the crime from prohibition.

Comparing marijuana to alcohol is not even as close as comparing apples to oranges, it is more like comparing apple juice to being beat up in your sleep.

Why do I believe that alcohol should be legal:  because it is simply a drink that can be abused.  Alcohol has become a major part of many cultures because of lack of access to good water etc. and has been used for centuries in some cultures at every meal often without any intoxication etc.  You can get drunk and can get addicted to it, yet you can sip a fine wine with a plate of pasta or Mediterranean food and never run any risk of intoxication (unless you are already an alcoholic I suppose).

In terms of the use of marijuana, the main reason people use it is always to be intoxicated.  I have had conversation after conversation about this with people and I always set them up the same way (for a large part of my life I was an avid pot smoker myself so I am not alien to the culture):  After the person has gone into a discourse about all of the other reasons he/she uses marijuana and how high is not the goal, I ask the question that requires a heart and mind check.  What if I had a virgin Marijuana that would have the exact same smell and taste as well as producing all of the same results, yet would not produce any “high” at all.  Would you still want to use it?

This is usually met with stumbles and confusion and in a few rare cases a person may try to convince themselves (which is usually painfully obvious) that this would make no difference.  The honest truth is however, that the real desired result is to be intoxicated and the other possible positive effects could be better produced by other substances in existence minus the high.

So, the truth is that the conflict is not one of if some awesome medicine is ripped out of the hands of those desperately in need by the evil federal morons based on one-hundred year old propaganda.  The conflict is about weather or not the government has the right to stop people from getting high or not.

On California, a few years ago, a law was put before us to allow the terminally ill and incredibly sick to use marijuana by prescription.  There were images of the desperately ill in commercials and discussions of depriving the dying from some level of peace.  I suppose I drank the Kool-Aid along with many others and I voted for this law.  I use the term law loosely because it turned out to be a Trojan horse.

As I stated previously, I have only been out of the culture of constant pot use for so long and at the time this was passed in California I got to see the insanity of the fallout.  Suddenly, a huge segment of my friend-base sought out information about what things you need to say to get a card that allows you to legally smoke marijuana and which doctors either were handing these “Cannabis Cards” out like candy at the receptionist’s desk or who you could pay a small fee to and they would write you a prescription.

Suddenly, I had droves of friends with incessant headaches and back pain.  Some were thanking God for their cataracts and on and on.

Then there were trips to “Cannabis Clubs” which are sort of like warehouse stores for cannabis (sort cannabis Costco or Sam’s Club).  With various kinds, potencies and ways of delivery and lots of potheads sitting around in all day as if in the Starbucks of pot in their tie-dyed Bob Marley shirts and multicolored knit hats.

Face it; the people of California got hustled.  I remember seeing on the news the story of a politician in southern California describing how there needed to be a limit on the number of “pot clubs” in their city because their city had allowed there to be more pot clubs then there were Starbucks and McDonald’s combined.  If you are not familiar with the culture of the cities in California then you might not understand how ridiculous of a development that is.  I didn’t research the facts of that statement etc. but I have noticed the ridiculous number of these things that have surfaced.  If there were really that many terminally ill people in every city in California for the amount of years that many of these things have been open then the entire populations of these cities would have been wiped out years ago, pot and all.

The terminally ill argument is a Trojan horse to Universal Pot Care and is the road to getting our tax dollars or your medical insurance to pay for you to smoke as much and as strong as you want.

Then we get back to this only true motivation being to get high.  What does it mean to be high?  This idea that intoxication is somehow a healthy thing is foolishness.  That somehow the dizziness, painful coughing, distorted thinking and processing is somehow a benefit to the body is a reach at the level of the ridiculous.  These things are all the results of your body trying to reject something.

In the case of smoking it, you start with the idea of ingesting smoke.  That, in and of itself is an incredibly unhealthy thing to do and is poisonous to your system.  The human body is simply not designed for ingesting smoke.  Before the pot smokers reading this get into the whole “safer than cigarettes” thing, I also used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and quit due to the fact that it was unhealthy (as well as expensive).  This logic is like saying shooting yourself in the head is worse than stabbing yourself in the head so I should be allowed to stab myself.

As a general rule, one of the signs of smoking “good weed” is the coughing that accompanies inhaling it unless you smoke so much that you train your system, not to choke on it.  What I am getting at is not the idea that this choking somehow kills you or anything like that, but what that choking symbolizes.  If you were to use something else, let’s say eating a turkey.  If you were sitting at a turkey dinner with your family and the turkey made you choke to the point of not breathing for a few seconds and almost throwing up, would you say:  “Man!  That’s some good turkey?”

Absolutely not!  That’s because the choking is a sign of your body rejecting something for whatever reason.

If a good marijuana causes intoxication: altered awareness, mild to heavy changes in equilibrium and several different kinds of artificial emotions etc. then is it not doing something ultimately unhealthy.  Is it not altering (weather in a small or large way) your brain chemistry and killing brain cells.

In what universe do we legalize something that is self destructive (which is already illegal) for casual fun.  How do we not see how changing the way you think, changing your ability to balance, and artificially altering the way you interact with world is not a normal part of your body’s functioning but the effects of your body resisting a mild level of poisoning?  This is a poisoning that is self-induced and that feels (what we believe) to be good when our body tries to fight and reject this poison.

I have been okay with use by the seriously or terminally ill in the same way the I believe that chemotherapy should be legal.  If someone is at that is sick is advised to get chemotherapy, there is the assumption of some negative results that are outweighed by the positive results.  On the other hand, if a patient who is not seriously ill wants chemotherapy for some other effect, in this case we’ll say for the feeling of having other people feel sorry for him/her, then that person will not be allowed.  There is a perceived benefit in getting more attention which could make a person feel better about himself/herself, but the perceived benefits do not make the dangers worth it.

The truth is, this is all an elaborate scheme to make the government cosign the idea that it is okay to get high as much as you want (to poison your body as much as you want).

As I was writing this, at least for some people, I just discovered that all of this is a Trojan horse for the idea that all drugs should be legal.  I have the television on in the background and they started to have a discussion on this topic with that Sir Richard Branson fellow.  This Sir Richard Branson fellow, somehow an expert on American marijuana and drug policy moved from the passing of these laws to ending the war on drugs totally.

His idea was to allow the citizens of the United States to use whatever drugs etc. they wish and then when each individual realizes the need for recovery having government sponsored programs (specifically with methadone as he mentioned) they will be admitted to these programs for care and somehow magically live happily ever after.  His logic is that these methadone clinics will cost less than prison and it would lessen the crime.

The problem with all of this is that, clearly he has not been around many people at the various levels of using and recovery and if he has, he clearly only understood an incredibly small part of the culture.

The question I have is are we so culturally drawn to the desire for people to be high that we lose all ability to use common sense.  Whole states have decided to try to override federal law.  People have lied and misled us to believe this had other, more noble motives when secretly the motive is just to get high.  The solution to the war on drugs has in effect become:  Just cancel the war and let everyone get high and magically they will get less high.  The war here is not on drugs; it is a war on our government systems and on good sense.  The strange part is that most of the country is on the side of the complete anarchy of every man, woman and child doing as they feel, and making it almost mandatory that everyone get high.

If there is some incredibly evil person (we’ll call this person “the man”) this divide and conquer focus of anarchy and undermining of our government system would be an awesome way to take apart everything that holds us together, particularly if we are all too high to do anything about it.

Perhaps the threat of this level of crazy is why our founding fathers decided on a representative democracy instead of a direct democracy as a defense.

 

Alethinos Paradoxos

 

Isolated or Forthcoming

Isolated or Forthcoming

 You may or may not have heard, but candidate Mitt Romney has a bit of a faith problem  brewing at Liberty University.  Liberty University being the university that was founded by evangelical leader Jerry Falwell. The conflict of course is tied to Mr. Romney’s affiliation with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The university’s Chancellor, Jerry Falwell Jr.’s invited the presidential candidate to deliver its 2012 commencement address.  Being a predominantly evangelical school, the university is used to having an evangelical speaker deliver the commencement address. 

The student body was not as open as Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. and comment after comment appeared by the hundreds from angry students.

The university has a history of having prominent republican candidates such as Ronald Regan and Sen. John McCain.  These previous speakers have not created an uprising of this sort, so what is the only difference.  The fact he is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made him offensive to the students. 

One student’s protestations demonstrated a huge shift that may be taking place at the university:   “We came to Liberty because of our faith in Jesus; not for political reasons.”

The problem I see here is not the commencement address at Liberty University, the problem is much bigger.  The problem I see is the awkward relationship that evangelical Christians have with Mr. Romney as the Republican Party is traditionally a party dominated by evangelical/conservative Christians.   At this university, the normally accepting student body that has in the past had Catholic and Jewish commencement speakers in the past suddenly has students that refuse the idea of talking or inviting politics into Christian discussion. 

In other words, a person who would normally be herded into the cheering, way to the right wing section is now determined to keep religion and politics separate. 

My question is:  Will this take place Republican Party wide if Mitt Romney is bouncing around at the forefront of his party for too long?  Is there going to be an uprising amongst evangelical Christians that drives some or even many of them away from the political arena.  I cannot truly know or state if this would be good for the Republican Party, but I have to say that it would not seem to be good for the Republican Party base and ultimately the party as a whole.

Check this out…

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-april-2-2012/indecision-2012—endless-suffrage-2012—jump-on-the-bandwagon-edition?xrs=share_copy

Funny but true, many of the endorsements for Mr. Romney seem almost forced against someone’s will.  They also seem so painful to some that people are unable to fake it.

What I am getting at is:  Could this be the Republicageddon  that destroys the Republican Party?

All that time in the public eye campaigning is going to be tough on supporters who are not in love with the candidate.  Then what happens if the Republican Party ends up with him at the front of their party for four to eight years as president?

This incident at Liberty University may be a smaller version of things to come or an isolated incident.  What it is however is something the Republican Party ought to consider before going any farther in the direction it is heading.