Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Compromise?

So a compromise was made, a tit for tat, or an eye for an eye if you will. In order to extend unemployment benefits, tax cuts for the upper 2% will have to be extended. A true definition of a compromise is when both parties get something they want, but aren’t happy with how much they got. I suppose one way of looking at this new compromise is that the Democrats get a bill to provide more aid for unemployment benefits and tax cuts for the middle and lower classes, where the Republicans get the tax cuts for the upper 2%.

Wait a minute, is this really a compromise? This does leave many unanswered questions. Are the Republicans really against extending unemployment benefits? Would they risk their re-election chances by denying benefits to the unemployed in this recession, solely on the grounds that they are not paid for? Are the Republicans really threatening to shut down Washington in order to obtain the tax cuts for 2% of Americans? Does this $140 billion tax cut for those 2% not have to be paid for? Will this be their campaign platform in 2012, tax cuts for 2% and austerity for the other 98% of Americans?

What have the Republicans sacrificed in order to obtain their desire for tax cuts for the upper 2%, their permanency? Will they finally concede that reducing the deficit during an economic recession is as absurd as raising taxes? Will the Republicans politely step aside and vote for more stimulus bills geared to job growth?

We can look back on the past two years to see where the Republican loyalties lie. During the Health Care debate, the Republicans sided with the health insurance companies. During the Gulf Oil Spill, the Republicans sided with big oil companies. During the Financial Regulatory debate, the Republicans sided with the big banks.

But this is hardly evident of what they believe in or against. So let’s look at this another way. During the Health Care debate, the Republicans judged that only those who can afford health insurance are worthy of health care. During the Gulf Oil Spill, the Republicans are against regulatory measures to attempt to protect us and the environment from more catastrophic spills. During the Financial Regulatory debate, the Republicans are against regulation and oversight measures to attempt to prevent another economic meltdown from being caused by speculative markets.

Someone once told me that our government cannot or should not pass unpopular laws, such as the so-called “Obamacare.” Their loudest argument with any validity (sorry, but I just don’t buy into your paranoid theory of Death Panels) was that the majority of Americans don’t want this bill. They concluded that Democrats have no right to pursue such measures against the American will. Yet when we see the polls showing that over 53% of Americans are against tax cuts for the upper 2%, is it not hypocritical of Republicans to push this unpopular bill? Is this not going against the will of the majority of Americans?

The Republicans vowed two years ago to not give President Obama any victories, they vowed to not work with this administration, they vowed to make him a one term president, and they even proclaimed their hope that he fails. After all, if they can prove Obama as a failure, then they may be able to regain their leadership role. But at what costs? The Republicans are indifferent to the plight of 98% of Americans. Even if unemployment reaches 15% and the poverty rate hits 10%, those upper 2% can weather the financial storm incurred; time is on their side. They can sit back and watch America’s future go into the toilet, just so long as those 2% receive their tax cuts.

We cannot avoid the reality that tax cuts must be paid for. Tax cuts are reductions in federal revenues and spending must be adjusted to offset the reduced incoming revenues. Who do you suppose is going to be expected to float these cuts? There will be a renewed and reinvigorated fight over the deficit and government spending. With the tax rates secured and not open to negotiation, public services will need to be cut. Expect unemployment benefits to be back on the chopping block in roughly one year, when the extension expires. Expect a reduction in Medicare and Social Security to be called for over the next year. Expect to see cuts for Medicaid and Food Stamps. Let their be no mistake about it, it will be “we the people” who will have to float the tab for the tax cuts for the upper 2% of us.

So I ask again, what compromise?

-Silence Dogood

Sunday, October 10, 2010

So What?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised at conservatives or the Tea Party’s platforms for the mid-term elections. They seem to have a respectable following, which only seems to be growing. They consist of anti-intellectuals who denounce facts and evidence. They are quick to demonize Democratic policies, and yet are reluctant to propose solid solutions.

It is important to point out that American students are internationally ranked at 33 for reading, 27 for math, and 22 for science in 2009, according to www.geographic.org. In other words, our comprehension, logic, and reasoning skills are lacking in comparison to other nations. Yet, we rank ahead in confidence. Confidence is only substantiated with an intellectual knowledge to back it up. Short of that, it is called arrogance.

Conservatives are calling for a return to the previous Bush-era economic strategies. Republicans have asserted that tax cuts do not need to be offset by lower spending (2010, Republicans Boehner, Kyl, and McConnell). They have been very concerned over the National Deficit Rate, yet they did not show this same concern when these temporary tax cuts were enacted through deficit financing. After all, they were designed to only be a temporary solution to our 1991 recession. Although that was not actually the case. This bill was drafted in 1999, in response to the budget surplus, returning it back to the people. Yet the 2001 tax cut was put into place “to avert the economic recession“, was based upon the “Trickle Down” model, and many aspects of this bill were not to be phased in until up to 9 years later. Though the recession officially ended by the end of 2001, many labor market indicators continued to worsen into mid 2003. So a second tax cut was made into law, based upon the previous one, to not only hasten the aspects of the first bill which were not affected yet, but to also further cut tax rates and capital gains. And yet again, this tax cut was still financed through the deficit spending. The second tax cut’s main body’s centerpiece consisted of $364 billion, the elimination of the tax on corporate dividends. When critics pointed out that these tax cuts primarily benefited the affluent, the response was that in a time of imminent war, the bill can not be expanded any larger and pass through congress. So, what?

The Republican leadership entered us into a war in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2003, again financed through deficit spending. This was a response to the attack on 9/11, despite the fact that the pilots involved with the attack were from Saudi Arabia. Out of the eleven reasons for us going to war in Iraq, the only one reason to hold true was, “To fight terrorists there, so we don’t have to fight them here.” Al Qaeda did not have a foothold in Iraq, until after our occupation, capture of Saddam Hussein, and his execution by the hands of Iraqis. Saddam Hussein admitted that he did not have weapons of mass destruction since 1991, yet 22% of Americans still believe the weapons are there. When President George W. Bush was being interviewed by Martha Raddatz on ABC, he acknowledged that Al Qaeda did not have a foothold in Iraq before our invasion, his response was, “Yeah, that’s right. So, what?”

After Barack Obama was elected to the Presidency, both the Conservatives and the Tea Party Movement are crying to “take our country back!” They have claimed that America was founded by Christians and on Christian beliefs, despite the fact that most of our Founding Fathers were Deists. The Tea Party Movement based their objections over taxation, citing “taxation without representation,” as based in the original Tea Party in Massachusetts in 1773. Though today’s Tea Party fail to realize that they are represented in our federal government and we were not founded by Christians or Christian ideal, so what?

So should it really come as a surprise that Fox News has been discredited as an unbiased news organization after their owner, Newsmax donated $1 million to the RNC, yet many Americans still believe in Fox News’ tagline, “Fair and Balanced.”? Are we to be surprised over Fox News hiring Conservative and Tea Party politicians as “exclusive” correspondents? Are we to be surprised that the Republican Party claim to want to lower the national deficit and make Bush’s tax cuts permanent, without being able to detail which spending they propose to cut? Are we to be surprised to hear a call for a return to Bush’s economic model, despite the fact that these economic policies filled with self-regulation spurned on the crash of the housing bubble? Are we to be surprised that Republicans are upset over correcting a discrepancy in taxes over the affluent? And worst of all, with American students comparatively lacking comprehension, logic, and reasoning faculties, So what?

-Silence Dogood

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hypocrisy of the Tea Party Movement and Constitutionalists

Throughout modern history, many governments have attempted to best serve their citizens. So far, the longest surviving government structure has been Democracy. This comes as little surprise as Democracy experiments with policies to best serve it’s citizenry. It is a trial and error approach, or a scientific experiment, if you will.

The US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights are founded upon the principle of “living documents”, allowing policies to change in order to meet the greater good of the people. Yet the framework of our government remains intact. Amendments are designed as legal and legitimate alterations of our founding papers, promoting a growth of governmental understanding of ever changing needs. This would not be the case if our Democracy was not built upon this scientific theory.

Even with the founding principles of “all men are created equal”, our founding papers were not suited well enough to promote that notion. Prior to the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868, our founding papers were interpreted as only granting freedom to Caucasian males. Blacks and women were not accorded with the same equality of freedoms as that of a Caucasian male. As science has not proven Caucasian males to have a superiority, thus it has proven that other ethnicities or gender are equal in all respects to Caucasian males. Thus our Constitution was amended to preclude the exceptions, reinforcing the notion that “all men (mankind) are created equal”.

The 18th Amendment is another experiment, prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors. This experiment was to be a solution to the nation’s poverty, crime, violence, and other ills and was embraced by tens of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, Prohibition not only failed in its promises but actually created additional serious and disturbing social problems throughout society. With the failure of the prohibition experiment, the 21st Amendment corrected this wrong.

Our founding papers are founded upon the belief that human reasoning is enough to govern its citizenry, and we have been experimenting with this notion ever since. Our Democracy is based on laws to protect the well being of its citizenry, not to promote religious or monarchial doctrines. Our government is based upon scientific experimentation to best serve the people, not to subjugate non-Caucasian males.

Prior to the 14th Amendment, States alone determined the qualifications of Citizenry, prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without due process, and requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people. In 1833, though many State’s Constitutions, are modeled after the United States Constitution and federal laws, those state constitutions did not necessarily include provisions comparable to the Bill of Rights. Thus after determining the experiment of States Rule failed, the 14th Amendment was ratified to provide equal freedoms to all American citizenry, regardless of which state one resides in.

Yet the Constitutionalists of today and the Tea Party Movement want to take us back to only the original Constitution and Bill of Rights. They choose to ignore the progress made of the other Amendments, which have proven to be beneficial to the American populace. They deny that our Democracy is based on what George Washington termed the “Great Experiment”. They denounce the notion of a “Living Document” and scientific experimentation of governorship. They rely on their interpretation of the intention of the founding fathers, not based upon fact or evidence, but rather out of beliefs. This is an anti-intellectual argument thrust upon the intellectual experiment that human reasoning is the best basis for any government. They deny that our Democracy is based on the “greatest experimentation of government”. Their claims to the original intent of our Founding Fathers is not founded in the same intellectual ideals of our Founding Fathers, and thus are hypocritical at best.

Monday, October 4, 2010

What is happening to our society?

What has happened to today’s society? We seem to be separated into two groups of thought, those who believe they are right and those who intellectually look at the issues and form opinions based upon facts and evidence. Truth has become a rare commodity.

Those who believe they are right cling to this notion with a religious zeal. They know they are right and nobody can tell them anything to the contrary. Facts and evidence are “liberal ideals” which are ignored to prove their righteousness. Anyone who believes anything different from them are “living in a fantasy” or are “misinformed”.

Those who form their opinions upon facts and evidence are not quite as quick to assert they are right. They keep an open mind and their opinions are not set in stone. When proven wrong through logic or reason, they alter their viewpoint. They are not righteous, but are open to civil discourse in their discussions.

But why are those who believe they are right know they are right? Is it because they are surrounding themselves with people who believe the same thing? Are they only listening to messages whom they agree with? And why the devotion to being right? Is this a result of immediate gratification? Does money equate into being right, the more material objects they own mean they are more right than anyone else?

Those who believe they are right ignore historical facts, scientific facts, and evidence, nor can they substantiate their beliefs with reason or evidence. Yet they cling to their beliefs without just cause. Many claim that all Muslims are evil, that President Obama is a socialist, or that only Capitalism benefits society. Many believe that the recession and TARP bailouts were enacted by President Obama, that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction since they haven’t been found yet, or that tax cuts only for the rich create jobs. Facts, evidence, or reason are not required to make these assertions, yet these are the beliefs they cling to.

Facts and evidence show us that many of their assertions are incorrect. The recession began under the Bush Presidency, the TARP bailout was signed into law by President Bush, Saddam Hussein admitted that he did not have weapons of mass destruction after Dessert Storm (but how could he publicly acknowledge that under Iran’s threat of invasion?), and tax cuts for the rich do not create jobs (or at least not permanent jobs). Yet those who form their opinions on facts and evidence are shunned. They are called liberal thinkers or sometimes socialists, but are always condemned for going against popular beliefs of the righteousness.

Remarkably, the stance against intellectuals are propagandist beliefs at best, and ignorance of truth at least. The righteous take opinions as facts, view compromise as turning the other to their way of thinking only, and refuse to engage in honest discussion to uncover truth. They claim that we, as Americans, must be united, yet they are the ones dividing the country with their “with us or against us” mentality. They claim that we must take our country back, but they fail to realize that no one took their country away from them. How can we have a civil discussion over today’s issues, or vote for elected officials among those with such righteous views? How can we unite as a society with such an extreme of a belief? What has happened to today’s society?

-Silence Dogood

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Can We Tolerate Intolerance?

Is there such a thing as tolerance for intolerance? Can such a thing exist? Intolerance, by definition cannot tolerate diversity. Intolerance leads to a sense of superiority, fed by fear and hatred of differences. The intolerant group will suppress the rights and freedoms of others. How does one tolerate such extreme views? When does a tolerant opposition become intolerant of the intolerance?

Tolerating intolerance is a great philosophical exercise, but nothing more. Intolerant groups demanding tolerance for their oppressive views do not show tolerance for others. This will not lead to a peaceful coexistence in the face of diversity. Intolerance is a lack of respect to anyone else’s ideas or beliefs. Intolerance will not unite a community, but rather drive them apart.

Tolerance holds respect for those with other ideas and beliefs. But to break this down to the logical outcomes, intolerance will only lead to fear, hatred and oppression, where tolerance will only lead to accepting the subjugation of the intolerance. These are two opposing ideals, which can not coexist. Our nation is based upon mutual tolerance, not mutual intolerance. So the real question is how can we truly be tolerant of intolerant views?

Freedom of speech defines that even the most vulgar hate speech must be protected under the law. But just because we can not legally quiet that voice, we must speak out against intolerant views. We must fight tooth and nail against intolerance people, not through tolerance, but through sensible reasoning. If we can not get them to understand the folly of their ways, we must poke holes at their argument, discrediting their intolerant messages and beliefs, allowing reason and sensibilities to shine through.

-Silence Dogood

Beyond Right vs. Left

Former President Bush’s TAARP program and the economic crisis brought forth a protest movement, who did not coalesce until after President Obama was elected into office. Through references to the Boston Tea Party in 1774, protesting taxation among other things, the Tea Party Movement was established. They rallied for a flat tax, smaller federal government, and a larger state government. After the election, the Conservatives also rallied in protest over losing control in both the Executive and Legislation branches, denouncing President Obama’s policies. Conservative media personalities were very vocal over their dissention of the Obama administration.

But it wasn’t long before the protest lines were blurred. Former Vice President nominee Sarah Palin spoke at Tea Party rallies, conservative rallies, and on conservative television programs. The Tea Party movement no longer stood apart from other conservative Republican protestors. One protest became analogous with the other, all feeding off of fear and frustration.

Before President Obama signed his first bill into law, doubts were cast over his country of origin. Debates over the crisis in the American automotive industry were met with accusations of a Socialist movement. The Health Care Debate brought forth rumors of “Death Panels” and a calling to “take out the opponent” and “lock and load”. Arizona’s Immigration Bill brought forth xenophobia, more fear and hatred by conservatives, and reactionary measures which included a call to repeal the 14th Amendment. California’s Gay Marriage bill brought forth homophobia and a debate over the sanctity of marriage. The false accusation of a Mosque on Ground Zero brought forth more xenophobia and a desire for isolationism.

Fear and hate proved to be a powerful motivator, more so than logic or reason. Protestors depicted President Obama as a witch doctor, a tyrant, and other racial slurs. Talks of Obama’s country of origin, his Socialistic movement, and death panels were prevalent at these rallies. Republican politicians decried over being “shut out” of policy discussions, while refusing to attend or contribute.

Though the Tea Party Movement was based upon a protest over taxation, Conservative protestors was based upon smaller government and less taxes, and Conservative media based their arguments against any non-conservative movements, what they left us with is much uglier. We are left with fear, frustration, and hatred towards anyone who is not conservative enough for this Right Wing agenda. With a lack of viable leadership, all they have to offer is lies, fear mongering, and war mongering. But society does not allow it to stop there. Society has been divided into two groups of thoughts, the ultra Conservative ideals and those against them. There is no compromise, there is no respect for anyone else’s opinions, and there is a break from reality. Their hypocrisy is staggering. But even worse than that, the Tea Party Movement, Conservative protests, and Conservative media are bringing the American society to the brink of a civil war and/or a holy war against Islam.

What we are left with is no longer a Right vs. Left debate. Politics have replaced religion in our society. And we well know that religion does not follow logic or reason, only fear and blind faith. When logic and reason fails the conservative voice, they turn to colorful metaphors, lies, and fear. This is only propels the “With us or against us” mentality. Fears over a Black Democratic President, losing control of the Executive and Legislation branches, and losing viable leadership only brought us only a devotion to take back what was once ours, but this has not been defined. Conservatives lost control of government because of their extremist views. Extremism has no place in our society. They may scream the loudest, but we are still Americans. And as Americans, we must protect the freedoms for all citizens. We must not only tolerate differences, but we also must respect them, just as we expect toleration and respect for our beliefs. As Americans, we can not allow the Conservative movement bring us to a civil war or a holy war based upon fear, hatred, and their false sense of superiority. We must turn our backs on those who wish to deny rights and freedoms to our citizens, regardless of race, creed, or gender. We must turn our backs to those who take extremist measures to propel their agenda. Logic and reason must supersede fear and hatred.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Voting against your own best interest

Voting against your own best interest:

If you are conservative by nature, whether it’s financially, or socially, you probably vote Republican, or at least right leaning independents. Let’s take a look at why that is probably against your own best interest. Let’s start with the social policies of the right. Same sex marriage, abortion, gun laws, religion etc… are often used as rallying cries from the right, in order to bring out voters that are afraid of losing ground on these issues. But let’s look at the voting records, and or policy introduction by the left. There have been no serious laws introduced to ban guns, or increase abortion availability. These are in fact personal choices made by individuals based upon their own beliefs. If you don’t believe in abortions, don’t have one. If you want to own a gun, go buy one. Although I personally believe that there should be tighter restrictions and better regulations as to the type of gun you may own, there has been no major legislation introduced for consideration in banning or reducing guns across America. Local laws have actually relaxed in some areas such as TX residents now being able to carry guns in to bars, and the lift on the ban altogether in Chicago.
The Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms. That leaves a wide area open to interpretation. At the time of the authoring of the document, there were no rifles, much less automatic weapons. The musket was the weapon of choice for that day and with the militias needing to be ready at a moment’s notice to attack or defend, this was a necessity. Today we have the military, National Guard, police and other means of protection. The argument has been made from the right that we as a people should be able to rise up against the federal government if it gets too much power. That was great in the late 1700’s. That situation couldn’t occur today as far as us taking back the government. The military is too strong and would squash any uprising in the US. The US military is so strong, due in large part to the increase in technology and manpower since the mid 1900’s on. This brings me to my first point of voting against your own best interest. If you want smaller government, increasing the military is the single fastest way to grow it. That is in direct contradiction of what the rights stance is.
Freedom of religion, or to not believe in religion at all is guaranteed by the Constitution. No one disputes that. However at this very moment, people associated with right wing fringe groups such as the Tea Party, are trying to deny Muslims the right to pray in a location that they own, are building and will keep up with through the years. The primary argument is that because of its proximity to ground zero, it would be considered a slap in the face to those that died. The right wants to prevent US citizens from praying in a private location. That is unconstitutional. Muslims have that right. That would be the same thing as banning a church near ground zero if the church that protests funerals with “God hates Fags” signs were to have flown the planes in to the towers. As soon as we start limiting where people of one faith may practice, then we are essentially setting the precedence of blocking all religions in the years to come. I’m not a person of faith but I will fight for the rights of anyone to practice as they believe as long as no laws are being broken. If you do not agree with this argument, then you are arguing against the Constitution. Now to my second point as to why you would be voting against your own interest if you voted primarily on this issue. You will be enabling the government to dictate how US citizens can exercise their beliefs. That is in direct contradiction of what the rights’ stance is.
Same sex marriage. Where do I start? Two people loving each other has generated so much hate in this country. How’s that for irony? There used to be laws in this country forbidding people from marrying outside of their ethnicity. There used to be segregation. There used to be tolerated lynching’s. Why is it acceptable to essentially demand that same treatment towards another minority segment of the population? If you want government out of your personal life, then you would be voting against your own best interest.
Now that I’ve addressed these social issues, let’s talk about why your opinion on them doesn’t matter. If you vote to the right in order to support these policies, you have to know that the left isn’t trying to increase bans on guns or abortions, and the right can’t decrease because of their platform. It’s a moot point. In order to overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court would have to rule against its earlier rulings. That is rarely done. Even though none of the current justices were on the bench when that ruling came down, it’s still very unlikely that they will overturn that ruling. Once again a moot point. The only other way for abortion to become illegal is for 2/3 of both the House and Senate to pass an amendment to the Constitution, followed by the POTUS signature.
Now let’s talk about fiscally conservative voters. Here’s why you would be voting against your own best interest. The right has claimed for over thirty years now to be the party of taxing less, less spending, and growing the military. In the last thirty years, taxes for the middle class increased under Reagan, and G.H.W. Bush. Clinton lowered them. G.W. Bush reduced slightly further than Clinton for the middle class, but he proportionately lowered them for the uber wealthy. Under Obama’s tax rates, the middle class will actually pay even less. The proof is in your paycheck. You are taking home more now than you were 18 months ago. It’s that simple. If the Bush tax breaks were to be extended, your taxes will actually go up from what they are now. If paying higher income taxes is your primary factor in voting, you are voting against your own best interest.
If you want less spending overall, Reagan and both Bush’s increased spending more than any other Presidents in the last 100 years save for FDR but that had WWII to thank for that. I doubt any would argue that we did the wrong thing there. Reagan increased the US military to the point that it could conquer the world in a traditional style of fighting, as well as the nuclear arsenal. The problem is that not only have the other major super powers gone away with the collapse of most of the worlds communist countries, but that there are very few places on this planet where the US would fight a traditional war. Most conflicts are solved with small special teams or quick strike weapons such as the Tomahawk missile. There is no longer a need to keep so many personnel in the military today. We as a country could cut our spending in half on the military and still have the most effective military in the world for homeland defense. The US has the best strategic location in the world for defense. Canada wouldn’t and if it wanted to, couldn’t inflict much damage to us. Mexico, well I think we all know the state of that country. We have two huge oceans on either side of us. There can’t be an invasion of US soil without us knowing about the movement of thousands of ships coming out way. There is no other Air Force that could carry enough personnel to effectively take over the US. Even there were that threat, planes are still slow and would give us ample time to scramble interceptors and bring them down.
Now let’s say that the military is your determining factor in how you vote. Let’s look at this from the service member’s point of view. Reagan had the highest percentage pay increase for service members. He brought the military out of the dark ages as far as wages go. I’ll give him credit for that. Behind him are Clinton, and then Obama. They are followed by Bush I and then with the worst percentage, Bush II. The VA and the benefits you received were also cut, during a time of war no less under Bush II. All resources were going towards active duty personnel. Obama has increased the VA benefits. You are now allowed to use your GI bill for your kids or spouse if you served in war. You would be voting against your own best interest if went with the right.
Next on the list is the deficit. Reagan doubled the national debt in his time in office. Bush I increased it as well following the same policies as Reagan, although it wasn’t as high due to the single term in office. Clinton actually balanced the budget, and started to pay down the national debt. Bush II saw the surplus as a way to reduce taxes and claimed that we were paying too much. He stated that he wanted to give the money back to us in his first SOTU address. He didn’t really decrease the middle class taxes that much. Nothing to really notice anyway. The one tactic he used with great effectiveness was the tax rebates that most of us received were in fact nothing more than an advance on the return we would be receiving the following year anyway. If you were going to get a $1000 back, you would now only get $600 back. It was a slight of hand maneuver and people fell for it. The greatest tax breaks were given to the wealthy. Under Bush II, the national debt nearly tripled. Obama has also increased the national debt, primarily with the stimulus package that was necessary because of the lack of regulations that were put in place by the right that caused the meltdown in the first place. He is actively trying to find ways to getting closer to balancing the budget in the future. The right tried to block the extension of unemployment payments to those out of work. The argument was that it would increase the national debt even though it would only be about 1% increase the national debt. Yet they want to vote for the extension of tax breaks for the wealthy. That will add 700+ billion to the deficit over the next 10 years. Clearly they are more concerned about the wealthy, than they are about middle class citizens and the working poor. Now that you know about the national debt and who created the majority of it, as well as the lack of balanced budgets, you would be voting against your own best interest if this is in fact the determining factor in your voting.
Let’s talk about regulation. The right is all about a free market and will go to great lengths to ensure that government doesn’t interfere at all. The problem is that greed takes hold. Whether it’s a business, or an individual, greed dictates how you do business. If the environment is affected because of lack of regulation, the right won’t act on it. They will vote against anything that hinders profit. Politicians on the right are the recipients of much larger donations from big corporations in general than those on the left are. I’m generalizing of course. But ask yourself this. Why does the right always vote the way that keeps money in the pockets of the fat cats, rather than taking care of the individual citizen? Time and time again this is true. They fought against seat belt laws because it would increase the cost of making cars. They fought smoking restrictions because it meant less cigarettes being smoked. They have fought against getting everyone healthcare with a single payer option because it forces private insurance companies to lower their rates and cutting in to their bottom line. Essentially, even if the law is put in place to increase overall health, decrease preventable disease, or decrease you chance of being killed, they vote against it. The environment, in my opinion, is the single greatest issue to discuss. Without a clean environment, nothing else matters. You won’t care about your job of most of humanity has died off. You won’t care about you taxes if there is no government in place anymore. You won’t care about abortion as we as a race would need to repopulate the world if it ever recovers.
It’s clear to me that while the right promotes less government, they increase it. They want a reduction in the national debt, yet contribute to it more than the left. Claim to be the party of inclusion yet the Republican Party is almost entirely white. The Democratic Party is a true cross section of America. If your view of America doesn’t not include everyone, then you may want to rethink what your party stands for. Debate is a good thing. We should be able to talk about what’s right, fair or simply what should or shouldn’t be allowed. Voting against any bill that is introduced, even if you wrote it yourself, is how the right is dismantling this country. The public is very concerned that Congress isn’t getting anything done. If we barely have the votes needed if every Democrat voted for the bill, that’s not a lot of room for error. If you vote even a handful of Democrats out of office, you have given the right a tool to completely stop the government. If you claim to want less government, than vote for the party that has a track record of bring down costs and increasing surpluses. If the social issues are your primary concern, live your life according to your beliefs. Having the government tell people what they can and can’t do in their own private lives in contradictory to what the right claims to represent. You would be voting against your own best interest.

-Chuck Sherwood Sgt. USMC 1995-2006

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Repealing the 14th Amendment

The call to repeal the 14th Amendment raises several issues. This is not only the amendment which defines who is a US citizen. It ties the state governments to the US Bill of Rights and the US Constitution and grants US citizens equal protection. With only the call to repeal and not to replace this amendment, where does that leave us?

Without the 14th Amendment, who is determined to be a US citizen and how is that determination going to be made? Under the 14th Amendment, any child born in on US soil is a natural born US citizen. Once that is removed, who and what determines our citizenship? This does not effect only children of immigrants, but all of current citizens of the US. Does this leave open the possibility of negating US citizenship and transferring it to State citizenship? Would the determination be made upon state citizenship being the basis for US citizenship? Should states be able to determine who is eligible for citizenship and who is not? If so, then citizenship may be determined upon gender, race, religious beliefs, or political affiliation.

Without the 14th Amendment, state laws do not need to obey federal laws, for the US Constitution would no longer supersede state’s law. Each state will then be empowered to write laws, without needing to be consistent among the fifty states, without having to adhere to federal law. It would negate the legitimacy and effectiveness of the federal government. The Bill of Rights would be negated, thus freedom of speech, freedom to possess arms, and permits in peacetime the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner’s consent, among other rights.

Without the 14th Amendment, due process will be negated. Anyone can be detained for any length of time for any reason, without the needs of courts. Not every state would be compelled to hold trials or adhere to due process. Those determined by the state as being criminals will have no protection from cruel and unusual punishments.

Without the 14th Amendment, would negate the legitimacy of all US public debt legislated by the Congress. Each state would then be on their own to maintain the needs of their residents. Each state would be required to be self sufficient in commerce, production, infrastructure, education, and financing. Inter commerce trade would prohibitive for each state would then be permitted to write individual tariff laws.

Without the 14th amendment, slavery would no longer be abolished in every state. With civil liberties being curtailed, each state will adopt slavery laws. As the states will then be able to determine who is and who is not a citizen, certain residents of each state will find themselves without rights. And without rights, these residents will find themselves exploited into slavery. For what is to prevent infringements upon resident’s rights?

But what is most absurd about this argument is the platform of the those who calling to repeal the 14th Amendment, while boasting their devotion to the US Constitution. After all, how can they be in support of the constitution while wanting to change it? Are they merely picking and choosing which articles of the US Constitution they wish to believe in? And if so, is this not consistent with their calling to repeal the 14th Amendment, allowing each state to write their own constitution, picking and choosing who will be determined to be citizens?

-Silence Dogood

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Welfare State?

Arguments over the extension of long term unemployment and affordable health care brought up a very interesting perspective, that we are supporting a welfare state. But let us not fool ourselves, our charity only goes so far and does not extend only to the poor. Conservatives who are under the belief that tax breaks are equitable and do not need to be funded are demanding that their tax cuts not to be allowed to expire. Homeowners whose property is worth more than a million of dollars are up on arms in Vermont over reallocating property tax rebates to only those earning less than $90,000 per year. The property tax rebate is a form of subsidize housing for those having trouble maintaining their property tax bill.

We do not want to support a welfare state. We do not want to subsidize living expenses on those on unemployment. But we are fine subsidizing the property tax bill for people earning more than $50,000 in investments? Homeowners, whose homes were foreclosed upon after losing their jobs or due to their variable interest rates skyrocketing, were blamed for the housing crises. They were told that they had no right to buy a house which they cannot afford. They were told they were irresponsible for not choosing a home in which they could afford without subsidizing their property tax bill. Yet we are fine for those not living along poverty level to take advantage of services designed to help those in need, who claim they can only afford their $1,000,000+ homes through property tax breaks?

My advice for those who are not living along poverty levels is the same advice I received from them. Don’t to go out to eat as much. Don’t go to the movies as often. That alone should solve your financial worries. If that is not enough, then downsize your home. No one guaranteed you would be able to own a home, let alone how nice of one. Learn to live within your means, and don’t ride our backs to support your lazy butt! Now don’t get angry with me for saying this, for these are not my words. These are the callously spoken words to the poor folk who lost their jobs and homes due to downsizing by those whose lives were not in jeopardy. Perhaps they should listen to their own words and take them to heart.

-Silence Dogood

Sunday, August 1, 2010

No one man government here!

I want to remind people that President Obama is not the entire federal government, as a lot of ill informed and angry frustrated people that don't know a lot about government or how it works seem to think that he is. For example when something goes wrong in this country, like the disaster in the gulf, these people start to point the finger directly at the president. They were saying that he was to blame or that he is at fault. Then when Florida Sen. George LeMieux's got on air to grab headlines and to pander to the misinformed people, Exaggerating the facts saying the president was refusing help for the gulf disaster from other countries, it cemented the idea of it. The truth in the matter is that The government organization in charge of handling this disaster is the Coast Guard and offers has been excepted for help from several countries so far. When the people that do not now the facts, or listen to people that sounds like they are speaking the truth, they believe what they hear. The misinformed people now except that as fact and start to spread it around to other miss informed people believing it to be real. So now when a disaster strikes or something else bad happens, these people, thinking that they know what the truth is, and
blame him for it. On the other hand when something good happens or a disaster was prevented, the same politicians that was pointing fingers, now gladly go on air to take credit for themselves or their party.

When this happens people start placing more confidence in what the politicians say and do. People need to realize that even though he does have a lot of power and say in what happens in this country he is not the only one that makes decisions and laws that effect everyone in this country. We have the senate and the congress that also makes and passes laws too. Lately some of the members in the congress has been doing everything in their power to combat President Obama every time they get a chance to do so. They use different tactics to do this, like stalling important matter that effect everyone in the U.S. with filibustering. They also do this by trying to get everyone in congress together and vote against him and some of the ideas he has to help out everyone not in principle but spite because it goes against there personal agendas and there lobbyist. In my mind there priorities are all warped, not everyone in government mind you but a lot of them, because they seem to care first about themselves first, then there lobbyist and their
bank account, and then finally their constituents. They were voted into office by their constituents so that they have a voice in government but it seems to me that it all changes as soon as they are sworn into office. They do all have a lot of pressures
when it comes to there jobs and their duties but what makes them either good or bad is how they handle the pressure that comes their way. I also don't think that they go into
politics trying to be misguided and corrupt but they either just don't handle the pressures well or cave into peer pressure from lobbyist and senior officials. So you see that everyone has a lot of pressures and also has people to answer to, yes even the president, he has to answer to the people of this country.

He is not perfect by any means but who is in government now a days? Before people get together and start to point fingers at the president and his cabinet they should first learn and find out why the decisions were made before jumping to conclusions based on other peoples opinions on the matter instead of thinking for themselves. For example, we have so many people out there that watch and listen to people like Glenn Beck, Sara Palin, Fox News as well as so many others out there and just them without getting both sides of the story or getting any of the correct statements and facts.

To me it is amazing that they have so many ignorant, ill informed, mindless zombies in one place all seemingly sharing just one brain. In my opinion that one brain is FOX News, and they others out there that share their agenda because with every video I have seen lately on stories like this they all say and agree that they get all there news from one source. The source they get it from is FOX News. After watching hours of political videos mainly focusing on the Tea Party and the Republican party I see now why Fox News has good ratings. It is not hard to see why they do, just look at there viewers and you will see just why it is so. I think because mainly the majority of Fox's viewers are easily persuaded into thinking what ever they want them to think. To me it doesn't seem that hard to do that when you are dealing with people that don't have a lot of education, and is easily talked into doing and saying whatever there needed to think because they like the person or personality telling them what to think. They can't distinguish between liking someone and liking what they stand for. I like a lot of Tom Cruise's movies but I don't agree at all with Scientology but I know the difference between the two. I bet if these same people were told to like the Dr. Doolittle movies then they would soon believe that animals can talk. After watching a lot of these videos, it seems to me that no one in the group has a single original thought or idea amongst the crowd that wasn't told to them to think. In psychology this is what is called " Mob Mentality ", because when people get together in a large group, everyone in that group starts to share the same thoughts and ideas with each other because it is the path of least resistance. It takes more energy to have original ideas and thoughts and then trying to explain them, then to convey them to everyone in the group, where as it takes a lot less energy for everyone to conform to just one set of ideas.

I am just a little mad that I think the Republicans are going to vote no just for spite. Anymore the Republicans and Democrats that want the President to “fail” for there own personal reasons are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats. If they don't get their way and get what they want then no one will get anything at all either. I seriously know young children that has better diplomacy then they do. These children have no problems with sharing at all and if they don't get what they want, they may get mad but they don't go around and make sure that no one gets what they want either. These government officials are throwing a tantrum fit and are so jealous that if it wasn't so serious it would be laughable. What is this teaching the younger generation about politics and our government? There is no wonder why this country is where it is at right now because of bull shit like this going on even with simple bills that are being seen. I wonder why this country and it's leaders are among the most hated people in the world. The rest of the world is like the Tea Party right now, there getting sound bytes and half truths repeated non stop on a loop and we wonder where they are getting there ideas that we are a nation of spoiled brats that want it all, and if we don't get it we will take it by any means necessary. I am getting so damn frustrated lately with all the political jockeying and childish power plays that are being done in the guise of helping the people when in fact most are doing it for either there political career or some other self righteous selfish personal agenda. A lot is also to help out the people that mean the most to them, themselves and their pockets.

I think that all of this negative finger pointing and bad press is bad for America on a couple of levels because when you spread the negative news on the president and the ones trying to help out this country people tend to remember that more then the positive news. Now when the president has a bill he wants passed or some ideas to make this a better country the people that only has those negative images and stories doesn't think that his new ideas are any good or has any merits at all. It makes it that much harder for him to invoke changes that are needed. So now the other politicians swoop up to seize on all of them and pander to their fears. It is all so juvenile and it should not be tolerated by anyone in politics or the public. It all becomes a huge negative cycle and then it starts to make the ones that wants him to fail look as if they are right and the so called press backs up there opinions and then the finger pointing starts out all over again, and again. The cycle has to stop somewhere and the truth has to come out and the only way I can think of for something like this to happen is to be better informed by more than just one source of news and to some of your own independent research. To me this is a way to make better decisions and to better know if the ones we have elected to be in office are doing what they should be doing and are voicing what we have to say as a whole. Maybe then we will know that the ones that we think are making all the decisions for us is not just one man rather the government and the policy and law makers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Successful Arizona Immigration Law?

The Arizona Immigration Bill has been passed and it has been effective in driving out approximately 100,000 unauthorized immigrants have left Arizona, according to D.H.S. Consequently, approximately $2 billion of revenues have been lost, according to AZEIR. Legitimate businesses are forced to closed their doors and close shop because of the abandoned communities.

The loss of even an illegal workforce has a direct impact on Arizona’s economy. Unemployment will not be curtailed as there is now even less consumers. Sales tax revenues are consequently reduced. Communities have been devastated by the mass exodus. But Arizona exercised their State’s Right to address a neglected federal policy.

Citizens of Arizona in support of this law made the conscious decision to go at it alone. How does Arizona propose to balance their State Budgets with a reduction in tax revenues? Can Arizona cut further services to balance their budget? Won’t the reduction of tax payer services be detrimental to the legal Americans residing in Arizona?

Arizona's Immigration Resolution

The Arizona’s immigration resolution and the calling for illegal immigrants to take their “American born” children back with them raises several logical and ethical issues. Can the American Federal Government allow one state to set laws affecting the unity of the nation, or can one state address and pass laws when such issues are neglected by the federal government? Can Arizona alone afford the costs of tracking down and deporting illegal immigrants, or what would this action cost Arizona’s economy? Is it ethical to deny natural born citizens their rights based upon the legality (or illegality) of their parent’s citizenship?

It is against Constitutional law to deny the rights of a natural born citizen of the United States of America. On this ground, we must not waiver. Until the definition of a citizenry is addressed on the Constitutional level, one state must not be permitted to deny rights of any American citizen. State’s law must not be permitted to supersede federal law when it comes to the rights of its citizens. The children born on American soil, by Constitutional law are naturalized citizens. It is clearly unethical for one state to define who is a citizen and who is not, as this will affect the legal status of citizenship among other states.

Silence Dogood

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Racism in 2010

The term “Racism” has been tossed around callously as of late. The Tea Party has been accused of condoning racism. They have taken offense at being given that title, though that is not an accurate assessment. It was not stated that the Tea Party is a racist movement. It was pointed out that several members who attend Tea Party gatherings have demonstrated racist views, and the Tea Party has not denounced these members, hence condoning these views.

The Tea Party was not based upon racism, but rather an outrage over taxation. They are opposed to deficit spending and they are abdicating for a smaller federal government. This in and of itself is not a racist stance, so the Tea Party was not based upon a racial movement. But when attendees criticize President Obama as labeling him as a Communist, as a Socialist, and depict him as a witch doctor on their picket signs, the attendees went too far and brought racism into the Tea Party movement.

Racism is still a real issue in America today. Making it taboo did not move us move forward as a society. By making racism taboo to speak about only silences the voice, not the attitude or the beliefs. Americans still practices self-segregation. Americans still point out the difference of ethnicity through derogatory terms with impunity. Americans still self-segregate themselves into segregated communities. So it must be concluded that racism is still alive and well amongst Americans today.

The Tea Party has not denounced their racist attendees. The Tea Party has not denounced racism. Instead, the Tea Party attacked their accuser, NAACP as being racist themselves. The Tea Party’s actions have accepted the accusation as fact and have retaliated against their accuser. However, one Tea Party defender made one very accurate statement, “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Thus, since the Tea Party has not denounced racism, because they attacked their accusers of racism, the Tea party is actively promoting racism in America today. Their attempt to blur and convolute the issue does not resolve the issue. Instead, their actions promote it.

Two Sides of the Same Coin... illegals and immigration

After I posted a video about AZ Governor Jan Brewer To Illegals With US Citizen Children: Take Them Back Home With You that can be found on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acUf4Uqvj4Q I got some good arguments from bothsides and these two guys tell there side of the story as they see it. I know how I feel about this video and argument but I would love to hear from you about this.


T.J. Moffett I hate her so much.
July 18 at 8:07am

Glenn Piller: Why do you dislike her. If a parent is illegal they do not belong in the US, regardless if your anchor baby is legal.
July 18 at 10:48am

T.J. Moffett: The reasons I hate her are too numerous to mention here. As far as this issue goes, she's talking about deporting AMERICAN CITIZENS. How and to where do you deport an American citizen?

It's just more knee-jerk, fear-mongering nonsense that appeals to the primative parts of our brains.
July 18 at 1:02pm

Glenn Piller: Okay. then the kid can stay an go into the foster care or orphanage.
The bottom line is that the parents are here ILLEGALLY! Why do you think its okay to enter the US without permission? Every other country in the world throws illegal aliens in jail, or worse (Including Mexico). Since I live in Arizona, I can tell you we have millions of illegal aliens living here.
They cannot get legitimate jobs, so they often commit crimes to pay for their existence in Arizona.
July 18 at 3:15pm

Glenn Piller: TJ... The main people who are pissed off are those who are:
1. Here illegally
2. Who have a parent or friend here illegally
3. Make their money off illegals (landscapers, farmers, drug dealers)
July 18 at 3:17pm

Amy Todd-Gher Not true at all, Glenn. The people who are pissed off are people like me who believe (1) in human rights and (2) that racial profiling is wrong. You can see how well the Governor's policies are likely to work out here - http://lawmrh.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/arizonas-anti-illegal-immigrant-law-two-editorials-and-the-9500-libertydocumentary/
July 18 at 9:42pm

Glenn Piller: So what does an illegal look like since u are so sure there will be profiling? The law simply says that if u are breaking the law and cannot produce identification then the officer can ask u your county of origin. How is this profiling or violatiing Human rights?
July 18 at 10:12pm

Glenn Piller: Btw. The lawsuit against AZ is not about racial profiling.
July 18 at 10:13pm

T.J. Moffett: Glenn, I'm sorry but you're not correct about the AZ law. You should read it -- even just the first page.

What you have described ("if u are breaking the law and cannot produce identification then the officer can ask u your county of origin") is standard police procedure in every state. Simply put, if you or I get caught speeding or stealing gum or punching someone, we have to produce our ID so they can check for existing warrants, unpaid tickets, etc. If we don't have a U.S. ID, they're gonna check our nation of origin if we're not native speakers of American English. That's the law everywhere and no one has a problem with it.

The problem is that SB1070 requires officers to check ID for people they suspect are illegal during "lawful contact."

Lawful contact (according to the police officers I've discussed this with) means pretty much anything other than, say, breaking into your house without a warrant (that would be unlawful contact). Any cop can walk up to a person at any time and start a conversation for any reason at all -- just like I can start talking with anyone I choose. If you know a police officer, ask them. I guarantee they will back up what I'm saying.

So with this new Arizona law, if the person that the cop decides to talk to struggles with English a bit, that's probably enough to suspect him of being an illegal alien. The police officer is then required to ask for ID.

And here's the problem: there are plenty of LEGAL American citizens who struggle with English a bit. And there are many who don't struggle with English but just look similar to Mexican nationals who are here illegally. Because of those similarities, US Citizens are going to be stopped and questioned. And if they DO struggle a bit with English and have forgotten their ID, guess where they get to go? Jail. Sure, if they're a Citizen it will get sorted out eventually but, personally, I'm opposed to bothering/harassing U.S. Citizens just because they look and/or sound like an illegal alien.
July 18 at 11:36pm

T.J. Moffett: As far as the US Justice department lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of SB1070, you are correct, it isn't about racial profiling.

However! The Justice department is merely taking the broadest issue in order to put a stop to this trend of states creating their own immigration enforcement laws.

Think about it logically: why would you nit-pick the details of each state's new law as they come up when the overarching issue is that states are simply not allowed to create these types of laws at all? Win this one case and they'll never have to deal with any again.

Now, the Justice Department is just one of six -- SIX -- lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of SB1070. At least one is on the ground of racial profiling:

http://www.aclu.org/immigrants-rights-racial-justice/aclu-and-civil-rights-groups-file-legal-challenge-arizona-racial-pr
July 18 at 11:45pm

T.J. Moffett: I live in Southern California and there are millions of illegal immigrants here as well. But -- perhaps magically -- they get all types of jobs that (mostly) pay under the table. These are the main areas I can think of:

- Construction
- Manufacturing
- Restaurant/Bar...
See More
July 18 at 11:53pm

T.J. Moffett: The main people who are NOT pissed off about SB1070 are:

- those who don't know anything about the law
- those who do know something about the law but just hate illegals so much they don't care if it the law is unconstitutional or if it negatively affects US Citizens who also happen to be Hispanic
July 18 at 11:57pm

Glenn Piller: TJ... Once you produce identification, it stops there. If you are legal in this country then it should not be an issue to produce valid US identification. A cop can pull you over for anything they want anyway. I once got pulled over to check my registration since it did not come back with his computer. I gave him the documents and I was on my way. A very small inconvenience in my opinion, since he was just doing his job.

You should your ID almost everyday. You cannot return something at a store, or even pay with your credit card without someone asking you for your drivers license. Why is it a big deal to provide it to a law enforcement officer? Being Asian myself, I will happily provide my Arizona drivers license to any police that ask for it.
Monday at 12:06am

Glenn Piller: oh.. and TJ.. you are correct... California has MILLIONS of illegals. Did you ever wonder why your state is practically bankrupt, while you have some of the highest taxes in the country?... Its because the millions of illegals are using hospital services without insurance, committing crimes and going through our penal system costing the tax payers millions. Who do you think picks up the bills for the illegals?
Monday at 12:09am

T.J. Moffett: Correct, if you produce ID, no issues.

I think instead of asking me what the big deal is, you should talk to Hispanic Americans who don't want to be stopped walking to the store. Or standing in line at a movie. Or whatever.

We have a long history in the country that says US Citizens are not required to carry ID on them at all times. Driving is one thing but just walking around is another.

And the worst thing that would happen to you or me if we forgot our ID is that we'd get a ticket. For those that struggle with English a bit, they're going to jail. That's not acceptable.
Monday at 12:10am

Glenn Piller: The bottom line is how are you even on the side of people being in this country ILLEGALLY?
Monday at 12:10am

T.J. Moffett: Glenn, you're jumping to an incorrect conclusion: I'm not "on the side" of people being in this country illegally. I, like most everyone I know (of all political affiliations) believe we need to do a much, MUCH better job of dealing with illegal immigrants. SB1070 is just a shitty law: it stomps on the US Constitution and harasses US Citizens.
Monday at 12:13am

Glenn Piller: The police already know where the illegals are, they can just do something about it. The people who have legal jobs are not living 10-20 to an apartment; to send money back to Mexico.
Monday at 12:13am

T.J. Moffett: We're bankrupt because we have a ridiculous Prop system that allows the voters to do stupid shit. And we seem to vote in crap politicians. There are many reasons but illegal immigrants using services isn't a big concern.
Monday at 12:15am

Glenn Piller: Please tell me what part of the US constitution we are stepping on? How does it harass US citizens?
Police: May I see some ID
You: Sure
Police: Have a nice day.
Monday at 12:15am

Glenn Piller: According to About.com
http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/immigrationnaturalizatio/a/caillegals.htm
Illegals cost California residents 10.5 BILLION each year.
Monday at 12:16am

Glenn Piller: ‎"California's addiction to 'cheap' illegal alien labor is bankrupting the state and posing enormous burdens on the state's shrinking middle class tax base," stated Dan Stein, President of FAIR. "Most Californians, who have seen their taxes increase while public services deteriorate, already know the impact that mass illegal immigration is having on their communities, but even they may be shocked when they learn just how much of a drain illegal immigration has become."
Monday at 12:16am

T.J. Moffett: Go read some of the six lawsuits. Start with the US Justice department, then read the ACLU racial profiling one I posted.
Monday at 12:16am

T.J. Moffett: I wonder how much illegal aliens save us in labor costs and downstream cost of goods. I bet it's more than $10.5B a year.
Monday at 12:18am

Glenn Piller: There are BS lawsuits being brought up everyday in this country. Believe me when I say that they wont stick. The ACLU is a liberal group who often overstep their boundaries.
Monday at 12:18am

Glenn Piller: So TJ.. as long as the California people have cheap vegitables to eat, you are okay with employing people who have crossed our boarders illegally? You do realize that these employers are not paying them a fair wage for their work right?
Monday at 12:20am

T.J. Moffett: I'll bet you $5.00 it's struck down.

And the ACLU defends the BILL OF RIGHTS. I thought that was a big Tea Party, conservative mantra. We should all support the ACLU.
Monday at 12:20am

Glenn Piller: ‎90% of the countries lettuce crop comes from Yuma AZ area. I would gladly pay $1.00 more for lettuce if an AMERICAN was harvesting it. This way that worker is protected against crappy treatment and paid a decent wage so he can have a decent life too.
Monday at 12:21am

T.J. Moffett: I'm not okay with illegal immigrants (in general) because they are breaking our laws. And I don't think companies should be hiring and exploiting them. Cutting off the labor demand on our side is probably the best solution to the problem.
Monday at 12:21am
T.J. Moffett: We agree on the lettuce point.
Monday at 12:22am

T.J. Moffett: I just don't want to turn into a police state and trample civil liberties of US CITIZENS to deal with immigration. We can deal with it in other ways.

And I don't like to hear a politician like Jan Brewer vilify people who are trying to make a better life for themselves. They're not all criminals. In fact, they're not even MOSTLY criminals. She talks shit constantly because fear is an effective tool. And the poor brown people are an easy target/scape-goat. California is the way it is because of CALIFORNIANS. The same can be said of AZ, TEXAS, etc.
Monday at 12:26am

Glenn Piller: Believe me ... The police have enough to do and run into enough illegals breaking our laws to keep them busy for a good long time. I really doubt that citizens will be effected at all.

I agree that we need to cut off the companies hiring the illegals. Arizona has passed laws that can force business owners to loose their business licenses for up to a year if they get caught. The problem is that the illegals have gotten so good at forging documents (another crime) that they can get past normal checks.

Our police are no fools. They know where the illegals live and operate. These are the areas that will be hit the hardest in AZ.
Every illegal immigrant brown, black, yellow, or white has broken the law in our country and should be punished; no matter what their motivation.
Monday at 12:35am

Glenn Piller: You are right California is in the mess that it is in because of its people. Politically speaking Cali is known for being a liberal democrat state. Arizona is a conservative Republican state who is trying to take care of itself, when the federal government would not help us. 14 additional states are passing laws similar to ours right now. We are just at the front of the pack in protecting our boarders from foreigners who are breaking our laws.
Monday at 12:40am

T.J. Moffett: Conservative Republicans -- especially those who shout about strict adherence to the Constitution -- should find this bill abhorrent.

On a side note, the way you talk, I'd have to believe that Arizona is just over-run with criminals and they're mostly illegal aliens. I'd love to see some stats on that.
Monday at 12:47am

T.J. Moffett: I ask for your stats on crime because everyday i read articles like this:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/04/29/arizona.immigration.crime/index.html

KEY POINTS FROM THE ARTICLE:

According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona's population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008.

According to the nonpartisan Immigration Policy Institute, proponents of the bill "overlook two salient points: Crime rates have already been falling in Arizona for years despite the presence of unauthorized immigrants, and a century's worth of research has demonstrated that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or be behind bars than the native-born."
Monday at 12:49am

Glenn Piller: TJ... Did you ever consider the constitution, bill of rights, are for people who entered this country legally. These documents are for Americans not people from other countries?

Next, you send me a link to CNN.. A liberal website. It must be the only news channel you guys get in California. There are others like Fox News if you want the other perspective. Ill see if I can find some of our unbiased LOCAL news. Less than a month ago a group of illegals with AK-47's were shot at an police officer. This maybe common place in California where you have gang violence running rampant, but is extremely unusual for AZ.
Monday at 9:42am

Glenn Piller: The crime rates have been falling in AZ due to several reasons.
1. Illegals were leaving the state due to the strict enforcement of the law by Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
2. Our economy has been in decline so the need for unskilled labor has also declined

I also think the statistic of illegal immigrants being arrested is not 100% correct. EVERY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT IS HERE ILLEGALLY! 100% of them have committed a crime by crossing the border. They just have not been caught yet.
Monday at 9:48am

Glenn Piller: Here is the link I promised
http://policelink.monster.com/news/articles/138735-az-deputy-shot-with-ak-47-illegal-immigrants-suspected
from an unbiased website with no political agenda
Monday at 9:50am

T.J. Moffett: Joe Arpaio? Utter nonsense. He has a very small jurisdiction that has no effect on the major cities of Arizona.

Wait, CNN is a liberal website? What a waste of time this has been talking to you.
Monday at 11:00am

Glenn Piller: Sheriff Joe is the Maricopa county sheriff. This is the county where Phoenix is located (the 6th largest city in the US and where over 1/2 of the population of AZ lives). How can you say that he does not have an effect? The fact that you know of him in California means that he is having an impact enforcing the law. Can you even tell me who your county sheriff is?

How can you honestly say that CNN is not a liberal website?
They are the Anti-Fox news (conservative view point). I agree that its was probably a waste of time talking to you since...
1. You are from California
2. Since you are from Ca you are ignorant to the problems, laws, and lifestyle of AZ
3. California is being overrun by illegals and your state is welcoming them while being on the verge of bankruptcy.

Don't worry Obama will probably give you guys a bail out too, then the rest of the country can pay for your mistakes.
Monday at 11:11am

Glenn Piller: And there is no place in the constitution that you cannot be asked your country of origin. Please tell me what rights a police officer is violating when a person suspected of breaking a federal law (crossing our borders illegally) is asked to provide identification to establish who they are.
Monday at 11:20am

T.J. Moffett: My understanding is that the major cities in Arizona, including those in Maricopa county, have their own police forces and chiefs who report to the city mayor and not Arpaio.

So Jack Harris, the Chief of Police in Phoenix and critic of SB1070, reports to the mayor of Phoenix and not Joe Arpaio. Arpaio has everything OTHER THAN the cities... hence the small jurisdiction.

As for the CNN thing, without getting into bias, there are not the source of the data. It's not an opinion piece, they are just reporting on crime statistics.

If you only listen to Fox News, here's regular contributor Judge Napolitano saying SB1070 is completely unconstitutional:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKQUXhC2VXQ

Here's something else from Fox about AZ and border county crime rates declining:

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/06/03/ap-impact-despite-calls-troops-data-shows-mexico-border-actually-pretty-safe/

But FBI crime reports for 2009 says violent crime in Arizona declined. And violent crimes in southwest border counties are among the lowest in the nation per capita — they've dropped by more than 30 percent in the last two decades. Of America's 25 largest cities, San Diego — with one out of four residents an immigrant — has the lowest number of violent crimes per capita.
Monday at 1:27pm

T.J. Moffett: Look, I know a lot more about your law (SB1070) than you do as demonstrated above.

I also know more about crime rates in Arizona and Joe Arpaio than you do as demonstrated above.

The reason I know more is that I actually read/watch conservative news all the time (in addition to liberal and moderate news) because I like to see all sides of the argument. I like to be informed, in general.

I'm pretty sure you don't look at anything that isn't blessed by Glenn Beck because you don't like having your views challenged. And you're obviously ill-equipped to defend them in a serious, fact-based debate.

Open your mind. Read more. We should both want to find common ground and serious solutions to our county's problems.
Monday at 1:34pm

Glenn Piller: You are correct that there are city police, however the sheriff still helps the local police. There are so many 'county islands' and unincorporated areas in AZ the sheriff patrols all over the place.

I actually do not listen to either Fox or CNN. I think they are both biased in their own way. I tend to look at the local news.

I disagree that you know more about 1070 or Arpaio that I do. You also do not see a problem with people breaking the law as long as its not violent. 1 in 4 Hispanics are in Arizona ILLEGALLY. If 1 in 4 people in California was a drug dealer or shop lifter would you be okay with it?

My mind is open. If you have a better idea on how we can identify undocumented immigrants other than asking them to provide identification I would love to hear it. If you think its racial profiling, just ask everyone the same question
Monday at 1:40pm

T.J. Moffett: I am not okay with people coming here illegally, as I mentioned several times earlier. It's breaking our law and it's unfair to the people who come here legally. But that's not what we were talking about.

I refute the claims made by Brewer and you that immigrants come here illegally and then become REAL criminals. She said they're all drug mules. You said they can't get real jobs so they're forced into crime. That's not true.

Don't blame serious crime on illegals. Crime is a problem across the board and statistics show that illegal immigrants are more apt to stay in the shadows and out of trouble because the consequences for them are higher.

As far as 1070, you had no idea that this law is more than just asking people for IDs when they commit crimes. That's the biggest issue of the law! That's why people are up in arms. It forces the police to look at people on the street and if they "look or act" like an illegal, they have to be questioned. That's not okay because it will affect US CITIZENS.

I don't care if it's an inconvenience to illegal aliens: my sole concern is that we don't trample on the rights of our citizens.

And the main argument against requiring ID is that it's an invasion of privacy. There are numerous conservative articles about it. It's tantamount to illegal search and seizure. The police need probably cause to ask for that type of info... which is why SB1070 made simple BEING here illegally a crime.
Monday at 2:09pm

Glenn Piller: TJ... 100% of the illegal immigrants are criminals. They broke the law crossing our boarder. They need to be punished and/or deported. Not all illegals are drug mules, but when the border patrol seizes tons of drugs every year just at Nogalas crossing alone, you have to recognize that this is where the drugs are coming from.

How can illegal immigrants get legitimate jobs with no US identification? I know when I do my tax paperwork, I have to show my driver license and SS card (or passport) So.. The next crime they commit if they get a legitimate job is identity theft which is a class 5 FELONY.

As far the argument of requiring id being an invasion of privacy, that is complete BS. You cannot even return an item at a department store without showing your ID. Possessing identification is a part of being in a civilized society.
Monday at 2:16pm

T.J. Moffett: Come on now. You're conflating two different issues and you know it. Brewer and supporters of SB1070 talk about the terrible crime rates in Arizona and how illegals are a big part of the horrible crime and they need to be stopped. They're not talking about illegal border crossings -- they're talking real crime.

And as I said before, illegals work at jobs that pay under the table. The employers are complicit in evading payroll taxes and not paying minimum wage or benefits. That's the big problem.

As for the National ID, here's an op-ed from NEWSMAX (that's as conservative a site as it gets) after 9/11:

http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/9/25/195911.shtml
Monday at 2:49pm

Glenn Piller: TJ... I think we are on the same page.. I will agree that not all the illegals come here as drug mules or to commit violent crimes. The media does blow that out of proportion. However it still does not negate that they are breaking the law just crossing. These illegals are using Arizona's services, such as hospitals & school, while not paying state taxes to replenish this fund. Arizona is 48th in education due to the non-english speaking illegals that are in the school system. This needs to stop.
Monday at 2:56pm

T.J. Moffett: AGREED
Monday at 2:59pm

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A new mission

I would highly encourage this group of Proud American to, have discussions, share videos, support politicians that have your best interests in heart. I would like to ask that everyone please keep it civil. Any racists/hateful comments or posts will be removed, as well as the member will be banned. *MOST IMPORTANTLY* Please help grow this site by inviting ALL of your friends, and stay active and get informed about the facts not the rumors! I greatly appreciate it, our fellow Proud Americans! All content is public and I would have it no other way. We here have nothing to hide and thank you for you support. It is our mission here to help people come together and have a civil discussions about what is on the minds and what there parties are doing right and wrong. We do not judge here, we will listen and try as a whole to come up with a sensible solution to problems instead of flying of the handle and getting mad with out no outlet to voice these opinions. That's what we want, to get together to make our society better not just for us but for generations to come and the only way to do that is to stick together with a common goal of bettering ourselves. Don't get all confused and convoluted with the different parties platforms and there personal agendas. Put all the parties aside and do what's best for this country and the people living here in it. I would like to believe that all the political parties want what is best for our country and us but sometimes it seems a little hard to swallow and that they are either feeding into there own egos or personal agendas to better themselves instead. I don't believe that they started out that way but the lobbyist and big businesses helped them along the way to veer from there original paths in order to get what they want. To me that doesn't make them bad, just misguided. It is up to us to help them see the error of there ways and help to put them back on the right path. As law abiding citizens it is, in my opinion, our duty to do so after all, I think that we all want the same thing here to be a better county and look out for one another. To summarize what I have just said, I don't think that all politicians are bad they just get a little off track and it is needed for us help them get back on the right path for the betterment of our society. This is just my opinion and that's how I see it, please tell us how you feel about this or other stories that are written here on this site. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Money Going, Going, Gone.

This is not the newest news but I want to remind people the some business have some commonsense because they pulled there sponsership from Fox News and the the Glen Beck show because of there views towards President Obama and his adminastration. Glenn Beck called President Obama a racist with a deep seeded hatred towards white people and has repeatedly compared him to Hitler. There has been 20 in total but the most recent ones are Walmart, Tavelosity,Best Buy, Broadview Security, CVS, Allergen, amd Rebath. I now have more respect for these companies for looking through his bull shit and doinging something right, Congrats to them and good job. I hope that more businesses and sponsors out there come to there senses and follow suit by not supporting Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and the Fox "News" channel when they continue to preach fear and hate to anyone that will listen and believe them. If enough of there sponsors either leave or threaten to leave then they might start to change how and what they report as news to have more facts and truths and less opinions and propaganda then it might be a news channel worth the time to watch. Until then Fox still gives them free range to do what ever they want to do in order to achieve what it is they are trying to do to further there own personal agenda. Enough is enough and finally some people and corporations are seeing it for what it is, fear and hate mongering and have the "balls" to take there money away from them. I say GOOD for them and it is about time. Thank you to the businesses that has done what is right.
Thank you and thats just my opinion.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Prioritizing and Governing

Prioritizing is the fundemental task of leadership and governing. The Democrats are attempting a watered down version of FDR's New Deal and the Republicans and Tea Party are upset about deficit spending. The Republicans are attempting to block any legislation in which funding is not laid out, or in other words, Pay as you Go. Or more aptly put, the conservatives are calling for no legislation to be written which is not paid for. Unless you are talking about the tax cuts from the Bush era, which are about to expire.

"You should never raise taxes in order to cut taxes," Republican Senator Jon Kyl said. "Surely Congress has the authority -- and it would be right -- if we decide we want to cut taxes to spur the economy, not to have to raise taxes in order to offset those costs. You do need to offset the cost of increased spending. And that’s what Republicans object to. But you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans."

With all due respect to Senator Kyl, but did you honestly say that you should never have to offset the cost of a deliberate decision to reduce taxes? Are you suggesting that programs should not be cut to offset the $678 billion of taxes not collected? With all due respect to Senator Kyl and other Republican and Tea Party representatives, but which is it that you want? Do you want to reduce the deficit or have non-offset tax breaks? You can't have it both ways, for one contradicts the other.

It has been argued lately that we are living in a "Welfare State" who is "redistributing the wealth." In light of this new discussion over offsetting the tax cuts, I can not deny this truth. We do live in a "Welfare State, redistributing the wealth" to the wealthy. Society is complacent to the struggles of others, until it effects them directly. And now we are beginning to scratch the surface of the division among our economic classes. We are in a dire time, of that everyone is in agreement. To quote former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

-Silence Dogood

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Pandora's Box

I recently came from an online debate where the posted article was about President Obama's broken promises. Being a Facebook "friend" and have engaged in political debates with this person before, I pointed out the one sidedness of this argument and presented the link fully assessing President Obama's promises, those kept, those compromised, those unaddresses, and those broken. It became quite clear that this article was only shared to "demonstrate" their point, that "NObama" was wrong from the start. They were not interested in conversation or debate, but rather to propel their beliefs amongst themselves. They have the audacity to claim they are fair and informed, yet they surround themselves only with information in which they agree. They then thrust this belief system down anyone who they come across who disagrees with them. We are demonized for having an opposing point of view. I refer to them in the plural intentionally. When one member's perspective comes under attack, others come running to the defense. Accuracy of facts are not addressed, just the defense of the message. A civil debate, a redirection to more information, an attempt to point out a one-sided argument is met with mob mentality.

I walked away. But I was posed with a question, was walking away a success to them silencing me and consequently winning their argument by default? I must conceed that the answer is yes. I must contend that I am weaker than the mob. I have no frame of knowledge of how to redirect a mob. I have been shocked into silence. Any words of wisdom?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Your Opinions Are Facts? Really?

Anymore these days, people look at me like I just ate their first born child when I talk about my opinions dealing with politics. After all, they are just my opinions, and everyone has the right to have their own personal views and beliefs. What really frustrates me the most, is when my opinions don't fit neatly into their beliefs with their political views. They either get extremely argumentative or refuse to talk about it anymore with me. I remind them that they are just my opinions and in no way am I trying to tell them what to think or what party to back. I would never tell anyone who they should like or dislike or even what to think because I want people to make up their own minds and to have their own opinions. I know I don't like it at all when it is done to me. I just want people as a whole in today's society to have an open mind and get informed before they start to preaching to others about beliefs that they really don't know much about. Even worse then not being informed is to be ill informed and persuaded by people in the media that say they are unbiased and impartial and just report the facts. Take Fox News for example, people like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Andrew Napolitano and many others tell stories to stir up fear and paranoia for ratings and to further their own personal agenda. Fox News is in no way impartial because they have to appease their sponsors and pandering to their demographics. How can you report the truth when you are worrying about the bottom line, profits? Most of the guest and reporters are hand picked to go on air knowing that they are in line with their beliefs and political views.

Now that the Tea party is on the scene, they have a new audience to preach their half truths and skewed facts to. These people are eating it up and can't get enough of it. If you were to go to any of these Tea party members and ask them where they get there news on politics from, most of them say proudly with out hesitation, Fox News. To them Fox News is the end all, be all when it comes to political facts. They are taking what they say as if it was coming from their God, himself. I say God, himself because it seems like with the Tea Party they are overwhelmingly Christians and very religious. Knowing that, certain media outlets play on that fact to drive home their points of view on politics saying it is true and supported with facts. Hearing the same thing over and over again by different people with the same political outlook doesn't mean that you are getting the information from a well rounded poll of political peers. It just means you are getting the same information by different people saying the same thing. By hearing these soundbytes and stories repeatedly Without actually paying attention it starts to sound like the truth and then they form their opinions using this information. Most of them do this without listening to both sides and even fewer do any independent research for themselves. That's why at a lot of these rallies and gatherings you hear them shouting and holding up signs in which they really don't know anything about. If you don't believe me just ask some of them about whats on the sign or about what they keep saying and shouting out loud. Most of them, not all, but most of them will repeat a soundbyte they heard from their news source and have no information or facts about it at all to back up their opinions. A lot of them that do this can't go into any details about what it is they are telling other people to think and support. In a rally or gathering situation when you have a huge group of people doing this it just reinforces the beliefs because they are seeing others that they have never met before saying the same thing. Thinking to themselves that if there are so many people saying the same thing, it has to be true. Repetition of a lie or opinion doesn't make that lie or opinion the truth, no matter how many times you hear it. After all, a lie that is perceived as truth through repetition will always continue to be a lie. If these people would just step back from themselves and think using common sense they might just start to think about what they have been saying and look at everything in a different light. But most are caught up in the situation and don't know any other way to think about it. I just want people in this society to practice some common sense and do their own research before trying to tell others what they should think and do. We are all living in the time of information where it is easily found everywhere and even easier to get. It is a shame that with all the information out there, they are choosing to ignore it for a one stop shop media outlet that is saying what they want to hear because they are saying what the are thinking, instead of the facts from both sides. Please, don't be just a follower or one of the pack, but be a leader. Be a leader of your own thoughts and ideas then maybe, just maybe, things in this world will be different and change for the good for everyone, not just the few.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Which Side Are You On?

Society is being bombarded with 24/7 "breaking news coverage". Whether on tv or on the web, we are constantly surrounded with the new soundbytes from which we base our opinions on. Seldomly do we hear the whole news article, and even more seldomly do we research the information we've just been exposed to. We just go about our merry way, with that soundbyte resonating inside our heads. There is no frame of reference. There is no context. There is just that little bit of something we picked up. It may have been a news article or an opinion piece. But we are not sure what we heard, only that we heard it. Does it matter if it's one person's opinion or a factual news article? Without actually paying attention and actually researching what you just heard, you will never know for sure. But it really doesn't matter as you just heard it again, and again, and again. If you keep hearing it, then it must be true. Repetition does not substitute truth, but it's easy and it's comforting.

There has been a lot of arguements as of late over politics. People take comfort in categories. Things are either black or white. But people are also social by nature and have a need to be accepted. Society has alligned themselves into one of two categories, the Conservatives and the Liberals. We are expected to be one or the other. If you are not one, then you must be the other. Conservative or Liberal, Republican or Democrat, society has more than one of two options. Yet we allign ourselves and are expected to allign ourselves into one of these two simple categories. We can rationalize our differences with our alligned party as "there are always exceptions." Yet alligning with either of these two ideals leads to greater acceptance. With greater acceptance we feel more righteous. Our voice is not alone in this world; there is someone else who believes the same way I do! So we become proud. We feel we are right. And if we are right, then the other person must be wrong. Proud, yet bold statements are made. "Democrats are evil." "Republicans are heartless." But don't both parties share the common belief that they are promoting what is best for America as a nation?

Society is at the core, but we are forgotten. What is best for the nation is not always what is best for society, and vice versa. Wealth and Industry are good for our nation, but compassion and work is good for society. Civil rights is good for society, but division is good for the nation. Society benefits from the acceptance to the diverisity of our thoughts and opinions. The nation benefits from a separation of the classes. In every society it is inevitable to have a working class and an upper class. It is a symbiotic relationship. The business owners would not have a business at all without workers. Workers would not have jobs without business owners. When one grows, so does the other. Through mutual growth, society benefits as a whole.

But again, society has been forgotten in this equation of categories. "You are either with us or against us" has replaced "we are all Americans." Compromise has been replaced with one side imposing their ideals unto the other. Our neglected society is broken into one of two categories, the right and the wrong, the left and the right, the Conservatives and the Liberals, and the worthy and the unworthy.

No one person has the right answer to everything. No one party has the right answer to every problem. No one class has the right answer to societal issues. But we are divided, entrenched in our ideals. Both our society and our nation will benefit and grow only through contributions of society as a whole. That was the notion that the United States was founded upon. A collection of 13 individual states, each with their own idea over what is best for the nation. One state falling would be at the detriment of the others. Collectively, they unified their best of ideals which represent the individual states as a whole. There were two separate politcial parties, but ultimately they were united as "Americans".

Each of us have a perception and a perspective on what we feel is best for others. It's very difficult to see the other's perspective. But that does not entitle us to be righteous over the other. That divides our society. Your voice is no more important than ours. Your voice is no less important than ours. But we must be intellectually honest. A voice is only as important as the accuracy of the message being conveyed. One does not have the right to an opinon which they can not defend. We must be honest and sincere. Sincerity must be based upon fact and evidence, not subjective opinion. Basing an opinion upon that soundbyte we sort of heard is not a sincere opinion, it is just opinion over what we thought we may have heard. Basing an opinion over repetition is as equally insincere. We must be honest enough to say that the other has a very right and valid point. Basing opinions upon evidence is more beneficial than subjective talking points. For that is the only way our society will grow. A divided society only defeats itself.

Are you a Republican or a Democrat? Are you a conservative or a liberal? It only matters in a divided society. I am neither Republican or Democrat. I am neither conservative or liberal. I am the embodiment of both ideals, I am an American Citizen. Which side are you on?

-Silence Goodall

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York, Pennsylvania, United States
I am a very creative person with years of experience in many different creative fields. I am a published writer writing for political blogs as well as product reviews. I have also worked in the Digital Audio/Video special effects business too.

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