Thursday, November 08, 2012

Why I voted the way I voted

This election was, in my opinion, a great success for all the issues that I support. There was a good cleaning out of fanatical "religious" congressional members, the election of the first openly gay Senator and the legalization of Same Sex Marriage in Maryland & Maine. These are all things I support whole heartily.

So why did I vote for Romney?!? Two reasons; one reasonable and rational, the other less so.

The former is that, while the Democratic party espouses many things I feel are good and right, there are other policies that I believe are less so. Basically, things related to taxes, some social issues, foreign policy and financial institutions are flawed. Mind you, the position of the GOP on these same issues is equally flawed. Suffice to say that neither party is anywhere near truly doing the right things for the country and, by extension, the world. It is simply that the Republican party is farther off target these days. But to keep things from getting out of hand one way or other we need some balance in the government. This balance would have been well set if Romney were elected.

The second reason was personal. You see, the GOP has a reputation (deservedly so) of being arrogant, elitist, bigoted and greedy. There is no denying this. The thing is, the Democratic party is equally arrogant, elitist, bigoted and greedy. The pure, unadulterated hatred of Romney and the GOP by people like Mark Hamill and most of the Entertainment industry plus the incessant lies, misinformation and disgusting comments spewed all over Twitter by others was sickening. If I was on the fence this definitely pushed me over the line.

And that's why I voted the way I voted.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

I am voting for ________

I don't know about anyone else but I'm getting so fed up with major political elections in the US. The constant TV and radio propaganda... The lies and half truths... The vile invective being used to vilify the opponent... It is sickening! Still, in three days I will cast my vote for president. Up until now I have been one of the much talked about undecided voters. So who am I going to vote for? I can tell you who I am not voting for.

Here in Virginia, there are five teams on the ballot.
  • Barak Obama & Joe Biden (Democratic)
  • Mitt Romney & Paul Ryan (Republican)
  • Gary Johnson & James P. Gray (Libertarian)
  • Jill Stein & Cheri Honkala (Green)
  • Virgil H. Goode Jr. & James N. Clymer (Constitution)
While I would love to see an all female ticket in the White House, voting for any of the last three options is effectively throwing you vote away. This leaves Obama/Biden and Romney/Ryan as the choices. In all honesty, I can't stomach either of these options. However, there's no getting around the fact that, if I want to effectively participate in the governmental process this country has, I have to vote for someone. The question is who?

First, let me say up front, that there are some positions the Republican party espouses that go against things I believe strongly about. Particularly their position on same sex marriage. The fact is that the issue of same sex marriage is exactly like the issue of interracial marriage was some 50 or 60 years ago. There is no reason beyond prejudice, ignorance and hatred for anyone to be against this. Additionally, they prefer to deregulate everything they can, which is a big part of the problems on Wall St. There is also the whole "women's reproductive rights" brouhaha with the abortion debate and contraceptives. This is a bit of a straw man argument, though. There is very little that even a Republican White House with a Republican Congress can do on those fronts, really. It's simply can't happen and frantic hysteria to the contrary is counter productive.

On the other side, we have a political party that critics claim is socialist and trying to undo everything the Founding Fathers built. While this is laughable, it does hold a kernel of truth. The position taken by the Democrats is more regulations and governmental control over the economy, healthcare, social services, finance and industry. Fundamentally, the Democratic party is of the opinion that the citizens of the country are incapable of taking care of themselves and, like children, must be "watched over." You can see this in the way they push to help women, minorities, "the poor" and other demographic groups they feel they can manipulate. That's not to say the GOP doesn't do this. Look at the way they've tried to coop religion.

Basically, the two parties are fighting to gain the upper hand by taking extreme positions on issues that effect voters but have little real impact when it comes down to making things happen. "Obamacare" hasn't changed the healthcare system as much as either party would have you believe. There are much more incredibly serious issues facing the country, and the world, with which both parties are in lockstep. Just look into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for one example. There are also issues like Climate Change, Education, Geopolitics and such which neither party is interested in giving more than lip service to.

"But Joe," you say. "You haven't come close to telling anyone who you're voting for." And I say, right you are. The proceeding was my attempt to break down the election as I see it. And, as I see it, neither choice is good. There are, however, some elements in the above commentary that give an indication as to my leanings. Plus, there are two other facts that I haven't mentioned which made the final difference.
  1. I was born and grew up outside of the US for most of the first half of my life
  2. The huge socioeconomic disparity between the supporters of each party
Point one means I have seen what life is really like in the rest of the world. Not through stories and filtered media but face-to-face. Nearly everyone who has had this experience can tell you that, in the arena of world governments, the US is head and shoulders better than everything else out there. Even when our government gets stupid and stagnant it still motors along far better for its citizens than any other.

Point two is one that surprised me completely. The Occupy Wall Street noisemakers talk incessantly about the one-percent verses the ninety-nine-percent. The assumption is that the GOP backs the 1% while the 99% are who the Democrats support. This couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is that the bulk of both parties members are all one-percenters. And the bulk of the money they get is from more one-percenters. The interesting part is, when it comes to "regular" folks, it is the Democratic party which is supported by the elitist, privileged, arrogant, chosen like celebrities and intellectual academicians in their ivory towers.

But what about the support of minorities like the African American and Hispanic communities that the Democrats have? Surly they aren't members of the privileged.

No, they are not. But the actions of both parties; the propaganda, lies and misinformation, that gives the impression that the "right" is against and the "left" is for them. Neither party sees them, or any other voting demographic group, as anything but peons they can manipulate into voting for them. That's all we are.

"But Joe, you STILL haven't told us who you're voting for!"

Right you are. If anyone has actually made it through this wandering treatises, some might say rambling rant, I will tell you that I am voting for. . .

Dun, dun, DAH!

Ritchie Blackmore!

Ok, not really.
The true answer is: I'll tell you after the election. And I'll explain why I voted the way I did.

Bet no one actually read this entire post, too.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Climate Change - The Insanity of Conspiracy

"The spirit of the age is filled with the disdain for thinking."
- Albert Schweitzer, French philosopher & physician (1875 - 1965)

The other day I came across a story about the Flat Earth Society and how they think there is a conspiracy to trick everyone into thinking the world is a sphere. They have plenty of explanations on how this conspiracy of lies warps the truth that the world is, indeed, flat. Seems their membership has been increasing fairly rapidly over the last few years.

Speaking of truth, there are the 911 Conspiracy enthusiasts more commonly known as "Truthers." Recently it was estimated that some 30% of US citizens think the US Government caused 911, either directly or indirectly. That's around 1.2 million people.

Then there's the Pearl Harbor Conspiracy, the JFK Assassination Conspiracy, the Fake Moon Landing Conspiracy... The list goes on and on.

What these all have in common is that, despite incontrovertible, undeniable, irrefutable proof to the contrary, the believers will not be shaken. They are right and there's nothing you can do to change their righteousness. It is we who do not believe that are delusional and blind.

Into this list I would add those who do not believe that the climate of Earth is changing. There are many people who think that climate change isn't happening and all the doomsayers are crazy. This is, of course, ridiculousness itself. There is no possible way anyone with eyes can deny what's happening on our planet. There is, as I previously said, incontrovertible, undeniable, irrefutable proof to the contrary. There is, however, a reason beyond mere conspiracies that these deniers continue to hold their opinions. And that is because there are so many wing-nuts on the pro climate change side who continue to believe their own insane conspiracy; That this phenomenon is being caused and/or driven by the human population.

The idea of man made climate change has been around for over 75 years. But it wasn't brought to the fore until Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" was released. There is, again, incontrovertible, undeniable, irrefutable proof that, while mankind is making a mess of our planet with pollution and the destruction of the environment, massive climate change has been happening on this planet for about 4.54 billion years! To get a perspective on human vs nature's impact on the climate one only has to look at the cattle industry. The greenhouse gasses produced by the cattle in the US is significantly more harmful to the climate than all the carbon produced by all the internal combustion, gas burning engines on the whole planet. Five minutes on any reputable science study will bear this out.

So, the question becomes, why are people so rabid about claiming human actions are driving climate change? One word. MONEY! You see, before Al Gore made his movie, he started and built a company that makes money off of man made climate change. If the real science were ever to take hold he, and a handful of other multimillionaires, would lose a major source of income. They have so much tied up in this fallacy that they had to make it a political issue in order to keep it perpetuated.

I realize that, should this post ever actually be read by anyone, those that believe in climate change caused by humans and those who do not believe in climate change at all will not be convinced to change their view of the issue. But maybe, just maybe, someone with an open mind will come across this and do their own research. It isn't easy to wade through the tsunami of rhetoric and misinformation out there, but it can be done. And even if said person should come to a conclusion different than mine, if they looked at and researched the issue with an objective, rational methodology, it means at least one more person exists who used their intellect to decide what to believe.

One more person not caught by the insanity of conspiracy.