State of the Union Address

These things always last an hour. So I took the liberty of writing Obama a speech he could read in 5 minutes.

Enjoy ;)

If you either 1) have no sense of humor or 2) are easily offended by a bit of good old-fashioned Obama-bashing smart-assery, then do yourself a favor and don’t read any further.

You have been warned. :)

Thank you very much, Mr. President and Supreme Leader, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans.

2012 was marked with both tragedy and blessings that have highlighted many areas in which our country needs to address so we can improve and move forward. I have every HOPE that we can bring about this much needed CHANGE.

Since I was first elected in 1ADB (Anno Domini Barack – In the first year of our Lord, Barack Obama) we were faced with a seemingly insurmountable fiscal crisis and budget deficit that I inherited from the notorious George W Bush and Congressional Republicans. Their unwillingness to fund Congressional Democrats’ endless spending with total wealth confiscation of all corporations and individuals making more than $250K a year put this country on the road to financial ruin. In the last 5 years we’ve made leaps and strides to correct this. We’ve quadrupled the Bush-era budget deficits. By running trillion dollar plus budget deficits every year I’ve been in office we’ve actually cut the budget deficit in half, just like I promised during the campaign, during the end of the 2nd age of mankind. Now let me be clear. My trillion dollar deficits have also resulted in a balanced budget that’s helping to put this nation back on the road to prosperity. Join me in celebrating my leadership of humanity into the 3rd age – the Golden Age – of mankind! Yay me!!

*Applause* (stick nose in air and smile smugly)

Despite my progress however, there’s still much left I have to do to ensure a lasting, vibrant economy. The middle class are still suffering. The one single tax break I gave the poor and middle class was only temporary and expired this year. There are still millions of poor and middle class that don’t have a full time job. The only way to accomplish the goal of a stronger middle class and more jobs, is to take a balanced approached to our nation’s tax code. The GDP was only a measly $16 trillion last year. That’s simply not enough money (don’t believe me, look in Michelle’s closet – *wait for laughter to die down). I need more money to fund all the jobs I’ve created for and tax breaks I’ve given to the poor and middle class. The rich are chocking off this nation’s blood supply by refusing to fund the billions I’ve given to the poor and middle class in the form of tax cuts and jobs. So long as the top 25% of Americans can afford to go places and buy things that the bottom 75% can’t, then they won’t be paying their fair share. I fall into that category. My million dollar, tax-funded vacations to Hawaii have highlighted just how evil the rich, white Republicans are. They need to pay just a lil’ bit more – a whole lotta lil’ bit more. The top 25% of wage earners pay 87.3% of all federal income taxes. Even after our punishing, progressive tax code, they can still afford planes and yachts. They clearly aren’t paying their fair share. Let me be clear. I won’t rest until every rich, white, male Republican pays his fair share and even the poorest among us can afford their own vacation home far away from mine in Hawaii. After all, it’s a civil right. Who do those evil, rich, white Republicans think they are to trample the civil rights of poor, working Americans by denying them their own cabin in a segregated part of the country far away from rich Democrats?

*Applause* (smile – pretend to be humble and accept the worship)

To that end, it will be impossible to create the jobs I’ve already created without strong Green Technology companies. Since 2009, I have set aside $80 Billion to invest in green tech. 34 of those companies have filed for bankruptcy and 1900 investigations have been opened. The smashing success of these programs prove that green tech is the way of the future and big oil is a dirty, monster of the past. Currently, there are roughly 7 million people employed by Big Bad Oil and only 1.7 million employed by green companies. Those 7 million jobs need to be eliminated to make way for another million green tech jobs that I will subsidize heavily to ensure their success. Let me be clear – Less is more! Go me!!

*Applause* (shoosh the screams of adoration – woman just fainted)

Now please allow me to shift gears to a more somber note. Fresh on all our minds is the countless loss of life due to gun violence last year. My fellow Americans, let me be clear, this must end. These crimes, perpetrated by law-abiding citizens who break the law cannot continue. Criminals regularly buy stolen guns off the black market where background checks are laughed at, so we need to implement a universal background check to make sure law-abiding citizens are properly scrutinized before being allowed to exercise their 2nd amendment rights. Criminals regularly steal firearms from lawful gun owners, so to stop this at the source, we need to make it increasingly harder for law-abiding citizens to enable these criminals to commit crimes. How do we do this? By making it ever more difficult for law-abiding, able-minded men and women to purchase firearms. By doing this, we deprive the criminal of their supply. Supply and demand, it doesn’t work in economics, but it works with regulating firearms. The end result is clear – violent crime will go down. Violent crime in England went up since their gun ban was put into place. It will go down here as well! The status quo is simply unacceptable. Law-abiding citizens regularly hunt, target shoot, and defend their homes with AR-15s with the standard 30-round magazine. By banning such mechanized weapons of death, the criminals will obey the law and no longer be able to smuggle them into the nation and buy them off the black market to use for evil purposes. During prohibition, no one bought alcohol off the black market. Today no one smokes marijuana or uses other illegal drugs. Why? Because they’re banned and criminals always follow the law if you have just the right number of them. It’s simple math. The Greeks perfected it centuries ago. However, as always, the evil, rich, white Republicans made up myths of mobsters, speakeasies and moonshiners to scare us into allowing the sale of alcohol. The same Republicans make up myths of college potheads toking up on their back porch and of homeless men on bathsalts eating the faces off of other homeless men. We won’t let them fearmonger. They must not be allowed to scare Americans into thinking the Founding Fathers knew what they were talking about when they amended the Constitution to allow for the private ownership of firearms. By restricting the rights of the law-abiding citizen, criminals will stop breaking the law! Three cheers for Barack!!

*Applause* (give Boehner the finger behind back where cameras can’t see)

Finally, our nation desperately needs to fix it’s immigration laws. Too often, law-abiding illegal immigrants are caught at the border and sent back to their home countries. And not often enough, law-breaking legal residents are stranded in their home countries – countries they returned to in order to renew their visas to retain their legal status. They’re stranded because – despite them having a job and a spouse who is a US citizen – our ICE agents arbitrarily refuse to renew their work visas. Those who refuse to obey the law should be given a free pass – a path to citizenship while those who spend the years and the thousands of dollars to comply with our laws should be made to wait longer and pay more.

*Applause* (smile and look smug again – wink suggestively at Michelle, she looks hot in that dress)

My fellow Americans. Let me be clear. I know if we work together and rise up against the evil, rich, white Republicans, we can see the Hope for Change realized and our country restored to greatness. I want all Americans, right where you are, to repeat after me. “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Less is more. Poverty is wealth.”

Give me a B! Give me an A! Give me an R! Give me an A! Give me a C! Give me a K! What’s that spell? BARACK! Yay me!! Thank you to all my fellow Americans, and may God Bless your dear leader, the Lord Barack. And may God bless you all a little bit too…but not too much and not as much as me. Thank you America and have a good night and God bless Me and America!

*Standing ovation* (your subjects love you, bask in the glory of your perceived majesty)

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Libertarian ≠ Anarchist

What is libertarianism? Over the past 6 years I’ve gradually moved away from the Republican party and toward the Libertarian party. Why? What on earth do Libertarians think? Well, Libertarians are as diverse as Democrats, Republicans and any other political party. One thing libertarianism most certainly is not is anarchism. I can understand, however, why one could confuse the two. There are “Libertarians” out there who advocate no government whatsoever. These people are not Libertarians; they are anarchists. This is a point that desperately needs clarification. Advocating Libertarian principles does  NOT make one an anarchist nor does it mean they’re actually advocating anarchist principles. Here’s a quick, generalized, nutshell comparison between several political views (as seen through my eyes; as an aside however, I’m intentionally not covering gun rights in this list):
Republicans – Smaller centralized (federal) government, less control over the private enterprise, more control over society (gay marriage, drugs, prostitution, etc)
Democrats – Larger centralized government, more control over private enterprise, less control over society
Libertarians – Minimal centralized government needed to satisfy the requirements for such under the Constitution, minimal control over the private enterprise needed to maintain a functioning economy, minimal control over society needed to maintain law and order
Communism – Maximum centralized government, absolute control over and ownership of the economy (no private enterprise at all), absolute control over society
Anarchism – No formal government or laws whatsoever (each individual or community is totally self-governing), private sector free-for-all, absolutely no control over society (every man for himself)

As you can see, the typical Libertarian would be one who would advocate a minimalist view of government. That is, the minimum amount of government needed to maintain the following: a free society, a functioning economy, peace and order, and national security. This is very different from anarchy which rejects any formal laws or formal government (which of course is a necessary prerequisite to formal laws). So when I hear statements like “Libertarianism like communism is a pipe dream that relies on the idea that an abstract theory that has never been test “could” work.” I cringe. Ignoring for the moment the fact that “Anarchism” should have been used instead of “Libertarianism”, the statement is flat wrong. Firstly, neither of these are simply “abstract theories”. They are belief systems on which advocates would like their system of government based. Secondly, they have both been tested. Communism has been tested several times (USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam come to mind) and in every case failed conclusively and absolutely. Libertarianism has also been tested – by the founders of the United States of America. If an experiment was ever proven a complete success, it was this great nation. This isn’t to say that no other basis for government than libertarianism could work, simply that a government based on libertarianism has worked and worked well.

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Define “homophobe” please

A recent political ad by Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) has caused quite the public outcry. Having not seen the ad, I assumed he really stepped in it this time (again). As more and more people became vocal about it, I felt compelled to actually watch it for myself. My thoughts? What on earth is everyone freaking out about??  Here’s the transcript:

“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again. I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.”

Really? THAT’S homophobic? Then I remember this is from the same people that automatically call anyone who disagrees with Obama a racist.

Look, I’m no fan of Rick Perry. I didn’t vote for him in the last gubernatorial election and I won’t vote for him in this primary / presidential election; but if you think this ad is “anti-gay”, “homophobic”, etc, then you stopped listening after he said “gays can serve openly in the military.” He’s making a very obvious and very accurate observation. As a country we’re tolerant of homosexuals serving openly in the military (a good thing to be sure, one’s sexual orientation has no bearing on how well you can follow orders and aim a rifle) but we’re intolerant of school children handing out Christmas cards.

Spin it how you wish, but it’s as obvious as the nose on my face. This nation is intolerant of Christianity and Christians. THAT’S the point the governor was making. Yes Rick Perry may be against gay marriage. I’m not arguing that he’s not opposed to homosexuality on a personal level, but what he believes personally is meaningless in the context of this political ad. As a country we’ve become more tolerant toward alternative lifestyles but less tolerant toward Christians.

From a government standpoint, both groups should be treated fairly and equally. It’s not the government’s business to tell two gay men they can’t get married any more than it’s the government’s business to tell children they can’t wish their classmates “Merry Christmas”.

In short, the governor is not bashing gays. He’s clearing juxtaposing how two groups in our society are treated.

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Why I’m Happy Osama is Dead (and what that actually means)

It’s been two days now since the news broke and the social networks lit up like the fourth of July that Osama bin Laden had been killed by an elite, covert ops SEAL Team. When I first heard the news, my immediate response was not so much a response really as a desire. I wanted to curse the man who’d murdered tens of thousands over the past 30 years and brought misery to countless more; and I confess, I started to do so. Then I had to stop and think – “is it appropriate to curse this man?” Sure he’s cursed us and undoubtedly cursed our dead soldiers, but as our mothers have all said, “two wrongs don’t make a right”. So like any other sinful human, I began to think it through and seriously consider my feelings over the next two days (and as I’m writing this).

First I started seeing a (fake) quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr:
“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Undoubtedly many who share “Dr. King’s” sentiment do so out of a sort of self-righteous attitude. They like to be in that dissenting minority because it’s the hip thing to do. Others certainly agree. (I personally think in this case most fall into the first category and don’t actually hang their heads in some sort of sad remorse that the Hitler of the 21st century thus far is dead.) I have no intention, however, of pointing fingers in an attempt to judge which of the two anyone is, nor do I think anyone who agrees with this sentiment is in error. We are all humans and all react differently with different emotions.

That said, I’ve seen a several sentiments that differ quite a bit. Two blogs in particular caught my eye. Both effectively make the same point. The first makes the argument that we should rejoice that justice has been done. The government did what it was legally obligated to do – protect Americans and punish those who murdered them. The second makes a similar argument but differentiates between rejoicing and gloating. I agree with both. Had Osama bin Laden been murdered by some vigilante acting outside the law, my attitude would have to be different (I’d have no choice). That’s not what happened. A recognized, sovereign government exacted justice on a man guilty of mass-murder and a man who undoubtedly sought to murder countless more in the name of his god. That makes me happy. However, as the latter points out, we should be careful not to gloat. As evil a man as bin Laden was, he was still someone’s father, brother, son. That makes me sad. Rejoicing that tens of thousands have seen retribution for crimes committed against them should make any person honest about their feelings happy. Boasting to the world that a single man is dead, however, is what I think “Dr. King” was talking about and that, I firmly believe, is wrong.

So, am I happy that Osama bin Laden is dead? Unashamedly, yes. I am happy that the Hitler of our time has been brought to justice for his crimes against humanity and can no longer commit such heinous acts against innocent people. Am I going to sneer, jeer and cheer in the faces of those who are sad he’s gone? Absolutely not. Consequently, that’s what makes us different from them. While they tie the bodies of dead soldiers to the backs of trucks and drag them through the streets to be spat upon and disfigured, we take care to respect the body and ensure it gets buried within the 24 hour time period required by Muslim faith. While they happily send video of hostages getting their heads sawed off to the families, we have serious debate about posting a single image of the corpse out of respect for those it would offend. So consider that when comparing America’s celebration that Osama is dead to Osama’s celebration when Americans are dead.

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The Rightwing Conspiracy

One of my favorite (and by favorite I mean most irritating) diatribes from the left is the old adage “the rich keep getting richer while the poor keep getting poorer”. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard friends on the left state this as the goal of the Republican party. If there’s any truth at all to a right-wing conspiracy to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, then surely we should find that those richest among us, those making the most money year in and year out, should all (or at least most) be right-leaning, yes?

Fortunately, Forbes has already compiled a list of the world’s 400 wealthiest individuals. Let’s look at the top 15 and their political affiliations based on political contributions. (This seems like the most practical and honest method to make a determination; money talks after all):
1) Bill Gates (Microsoft) – Moderate (very slightly center-left)
2) Warren Buffet (Berkshire-Hathaway) – Liberal
3) Larry Ellison (Oracle) – Liberal
4) The Waltons (Wal-Mart) – Conservative
5) Charles Koch (Koch Industries) – Conservative
6) David Koch (Koch Industries) – Conservative
7) See #4
8) See #4
9) See #4
10) Michael Bloomberg (Bloomberg World Financial) – Moderate (50/50 split)
11) Larry Page (Google) – Apolitical (gave almost nothing)
12) Sergey Bring (Google) – Apolitical (gave less than Page)
13) Sheldon Adelson – Conservative
14) George Soros – Liberal
15) Michael Dell – Conservative

Based on who the 15 wealthiest individual’s political contributions, we have 3 Liberals, 8 Conservatives (5 if you lump the Waltons together since they’re all part of the same corporation) 2 moderates and 2 “I don’t care”s. So barely over half (counting the Waltons individually) of America’s 15 wealthiest citizens are Conservatives.

Take into consideration companies like Starbucks, Apple, Google and Facebook. All of these, as corporations, are known to be left-leaning and all of which make billions each year.

So my question: If there’s a right-wing conspiracy to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, why are there so many Moderates and Liberals getting richer along with the wealthy Conservatives? You’d think if the Right was conspiring, they’d make bankrupting George Soros part of the plan. (If I were conspiring such a plan, I would.) Furthermore, when you look at the States by median income, you see the wealthiest States are also overwhelmingly Liberal. So again I ask, if the rich getting richer is part of a grand right-wing conspiracy, then why do the wealthiest states vote Democrat? If the plan is to make them richer, then why wouldn’t they vote Republican.

What about the poor? According to US Census data (via Wikipedia), the median income for the poorest among us has stayed pretty much the same. The poor are not getting poorer.

My conclusion? I submit there is no right-wing conspiracy. I submit that the rich keep getting richer not because of tax loop holes or because they aren’t regulated enough. They aren’t getting richer because they’re not paying their fair share in taxes (an entirely different discussion). No, the rich are getting richer for one reason and one reason alone; and that reason is simple. The rich are getting richer because the rich keep doing what got them rich to begin with. They figured out a way to market a product that the public wants and they sold it.

Does this make the rich by definition smarter or harder working than the poor? Not at all. It means simply that the rich among us figured out what the general consumer wants to buy and sold it to them before any of the rest of us. I suggest we spend more time listening to and learning from those who are successful so we can likewise be successful and less time demonizing them because of how much less we have.

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