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Monday, March 19, 2018

The Onion: Pros and Cons of Free Speech on College Campuses

Source: The Onion
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

To be completely serious second ( which seems to go against everything that The Onion stands for ) a pro for being in favor of free speech on campus is that you get to learn other views and what people who don't think or look like you. Perhaps who've gotten through an entire school day at least without their favorite fancy coffee drink, perhaps don't even have a favorite fancy coffee drink and perhaps even gotten through a whole hour without staring at their smartphone, or least gotten through that hour without a jaw dropping OMG expression on their face.

Well, that was mostly serious, but you get to hear views that are different from your own. You get to experience what living in a liberal democracy is like. What life at college is like and again we're talking about college which is supposed to be an institution of higher learning. Even in Alabama and Mississippi where perhaps their higher learning doesn't reach the top floor and in some cases struggles to get to the second floor. ( Hey, when you produce the Roy Moore's of the world, you're going to get jokes like that. )

A con I guess if you want to look at it that way and perhaps tend to look at life from a glass half empty I need I anti-drepressent pills right away or I going to die, is that of course you'll hear opinons and views that you not only disagree with but find offensive. And you might actually hear views that literally are offensive and not just critical views that some narcissistic tight ass who thinks they're the only perfect person God ( unless you're an Atheist ) has created believes are offensive even if they're just critical and even accurate.

But so what, what were you expecting when you decided to go to college? You learn about life there and what life will be like once your'e out of college and can hopefully afford and more expensive and bigger place to live than you parent's basement. If you want to be part of world where everyone thinks and acts the same, join a cult, or move to some communist or other authoritarian state. But if you want to live in a free world you have to accept responsibilities and realities that life there is not the same for everyone and not everyone thinks and believes in the same things.

And in that world you have people who didn't get any higher learning. Perhaps that was because they went to college in Alabama or Mississippi, or were to busy staring at their smartphone, when they should've been listening to their teachers and studying. Freedom is not free and life certainly isn't free either. When you live in a free society you have the freedom to be yourself and think for yourself, but what comes with that is that everyone else has that same freedom that you and might not look at things and think like you. Which is also a plus because it's how people get to know each other and learn about each other. Which make freedom and diversity so great which is the ability to learn and self-improve.
The Onion: Supreme Court Revokes Annoying Man's Free Speech Rights

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Onion: 'Dozens of Other Countries That Interfered With 2016 Election Annoyed Russia Getting All The Credit'

Source: The Onion- The Real Vladimir Putin- President of The Russian Federation-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

When I think of this Onion article, I go back to I believe the first Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential debate in 2016 where someone asked Trump did he believe Russia was responsible for hacking into the election campaigns and hacking into the DNC emails and Trump said, "it could be Russia, it could be a lot of other countries, but it could also be some 400 pound and lying in bed in New Jersey or somewhere who is responsible for the hacking. We don't know who is responsible for it." In that same debate Hillary called Donald a puppet for Vladimir Putin. Truer statements have never come out of Hillary's mouth than that. The only dictator in the world that President Trump won't criticize is the Russian dictator President Vladimir Putin.

To say Donald Trump doesn't operate, live or even have visited the same planet that sane competent American call Planet Earth, is like saying that Wisconsin tends to see snow in January. Or it can get hot in the Arizona desert during the summer. Seattle tends to see some rain and overcast every year and people there like coffee and are into new technology. Jazz music is popular in New Orleans, Washington especially Congress and the White House, has more than their share of bullshit and hot air, as well as humidity. You would be doing the best imitation of Captain Obvious the world has ever seen to the point that you would be for not only a Golden Globe but an Oscar on the same night.

Big Don simply sees things that aren't there. And that's assuming he's not an complete idiot and is being straight up when he says he doesn't believe Russia didn't interfere in the 2016 elections ( because his good friend Vladimir Putin told him so ) even though his own National Security Council and his own intelligence community where President Trump is personally responsible for the appointments of all of these national security and intelligence officials to work for President Trump and give him the best national security and intelligence advice that they possibly can. What they're telling the President and hold him more than a year ago is that Russia interfered into the 2016 presidential election.

But Donald Trump with an ego the size of the Sahara Desert simply can't bring his mind around to accepting that, because that would imply that Russia is partially responsible for the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States instead of Trump deserving all the credit ( or blame ) for that himself. Any responsible, sane, competent, intelligent, reality based, ( not reality TV ) person would've acknowledged as soon the evidence came out perhaps as early as November or December of 2016, that of course Russia interfered with the 2016 elections as Donald Trump said himself he wanted Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton's emails and releases the non released emails during the summer that year, because that is where the evidence points to.

Because responsible, sane, competent, intelligent, reality based ( not reality TV ) people have their reputations to protect and don't want to be perceived as not knowing what's going on and don't want to be divorced from reality like a gold digger who wants to divorce their wealthy spouse as soon as they have a lot of their money. Good, responsible, intelligent, sane people, don't want to be seen as idiots. President Trump apparently doesn't have that problem to worry about because he could care less if he's seen by an idiot even by people who personally work for him ( and that is already happening, just ask his Secretary of State ) as long as he gets what he wants. Which is to perform and entertain and try to convince people of seeing things that simply don't exist, because those perceptions or lies make him look better than he deserves to look.

Donald Trump doesn't live in a reality based world, but in a reality TV based world known as Donald Trump. With the latest series taking place at The White House as President of the United States. Some people have suggested ( me included ) that the name of President Trump's latest reality TV show is Amateur Night at The White House. He sees and acknowledges what he wants to even if those things obviously don't exist. Which in many ways is very funny and how you get an Onion article written about you and how someone writes a piece for their blog about you with that Onion link. But in most if not every other way it's very sad and dangerous to have a President of the United States who is so far divorced from reality and not able to make decisions based on reality and the best available evidence at the time.
Source: The Onion: The Onion Has Obtained Hundreds of Classified Documents From The Trump White House

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Onion: U.S. Senator Tom Carper- 'My Vote is Not For Sale At These Prices'

Source: The Onion
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

Note: these views don't necessarily reflect the views of Senator Tom Carper, even if he personally wrote this piece for The Onion himself or had a staff writer write it for him. Who knows, perhaps a paid lobbyist wrote this piece for Senator Carper. Which unfortunately wouldn't be surprising for Congress.

"When I was first elected to represent the people of Delaware, I made a vow to hold myself to a higher standard. The voters had placed their trust in me, and I knew if I broke that sacred covenant, I’d never forgive myself. Which is why, 35 years later, when someone tries to sway my position on an issue by offering me a small favor or modest campaign contribution, I’m not afraid to put my foot down and clearly state that no, my vote is not for sale at a price that low."

Source: The Onion: U.S. Senator Tom Carper- 'My Vote Is Not For Sale At These Prices'

So I guess it's okay for members of Congress who are being bought, if they're getting their money's worth. I mean what decent politician in his or her right mind would allow himself or herself to be bought off for a few hundred buck per vote. I mean if you're going to be bought off by the oil and gas industry or by teacher unions, you might as well get your money's worth.

This is how Congress is perceived in America. Why 1-2 American voters bother to take 30-60 minutes away from their daily and iPhone and reality TV viewing to go down to their neighborhood school and bother to actually stand in line or just walk up to the nearest voting machine after they're checked in to bother to vote. Or why Congress on a good year has an approval rating about 20%, but generally make accident attorney's and traveling salesman look popular in comparison.

Because the word politician is seen as an insult. Not just as an insult but a four letter insult. American politicians are viewed by average Americans like professional athletes who go from team to team during their careers simply looking to earn the most money possible. And in the politician's case to get the most money for their campaigns and to win reelection as easily as possible. Because at the end of the day what are politicians actually in office to do?

Only two possible things. Either to get reelected or to win a higher office. Perhaps win a leadership position in Congress. If you guessed politicians serve in office to serve their constituents, well I won't burst out laughing at you and ask you what you're smoking or drinking, because you would actually be 1-4 right. They're there to serve the people who financially backed their campaigns. Who without they would've struggled to raise enough money to buy a neighborhood lemonade stand by themselves.
Source: The Onion: NRA Fights Legislation That Would Ban Gun Sales To Those Currently On Killing Sprees

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Thinking Atheist: Seth Andrews Interviewing Dr. Michael Shermer- Why Smart People Believe Stupid Things

Source: The Thinking Atheist-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

Why smart people believe stupid things? Perhaps a better question would be do these smart people actually believe these stupid things, or are they ( pardon my French ) bullshit artists? People aren't necessarily good or bad because they're smart or even stupid. There not necessarily honest or dishonest because they're smart or stupid. They're Saints who are smart ( not necessarily in New Orleans ) and there Devils who are smart. ( Especially in New Jersey ) There are smart people who are honest like the late Dr. Martin L. King and there are smart people who are bullshit artists. Take cult leader and serial murderer Charles Manson.

There morons who are honest and where you know exactly what they think or don't think all the time. Seem to have this hellbent desire and lifelong quest to broadcast to the world how stupid they are. Donald Trump, might be a good example of that at least when it comes to government and public policy and his lack of knowledge of those issues. And there morons who are also dishonest which really makes them dangerous. Because they not only know very little if anything that is important at least., but they lie about what they actually think about those issues that they've somehow managed to get themselves involved in. Perhaps they have friends who feel sorry for them and decided to bring into their fields. Again, Donald Trump would be an excellent example of this. At least when it comes to government and public policy.

President Trump not only has a horrible habit of saying things that aren't true, but when he is clearly contradicted by people who even work for him, then he tries to deny and hide that he previously held stupid positions and made stupid statements before. Even when it's obvious that he did. And not to pick on our dear President who I don't view as a moron generally. But when it comes to public policy and government, it's hard to name a time in the history of the world, at least in America where you had a President or public official who knew so little about what they actually spoke about and positions that they took and then lied so much about what they actually thought.

When you see smart people say stupid things, here's a suggestion. Question whether they actually believe what they're saying. Especially if they're in politics either as a politician or as a candidate. Also look at the audience that they're speaking to and at risk of being insulting look at the intelligence level of the people the politician or wannabe politician is speaking to. I don't mean give everyone in the audience IQ tests. ( Unless you have way too much free time on your hands ) But look at what they believe and what they think, political and social positions that they've made in the past and take now.

Because the politician might believe the people they're speaking to are morons and are dumb enough to believe him or her when they agree with the groups they're speaking to. Which is how I look at Donald Trump. Not as someone who is a moron in general, but as someone who views his base as morons and as people who'll believe whatever the hell he tells them. And who takes their side simply because he believes he needs their political support.
The Thinking Atheist: Seth Andrews Interviewing Dr. Michael Shermer- Why Smart People Believe Stupid Things

Monday, February 19, 2018

David Von Pein: Q&A With President John F. Kennedy- April 19, 1963

Source: David Von Pein-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

The first questions in this presidential news conference asked to President Kennedy, was about Cuba. With someone actually asking President Kennedy did his administration have any plans to invade Cuba. As if President Kennedy would ever reveal to his plans or no plans to invade another country in public. Imagine if JFK said, "sure, we're going to invade Cuba. And we're going to do it Thursday afternoon at around 12PM coming from Miami. And we're going to send in a dozen fighter jets and a big Naval ship headed to Havana to take out the Castro Regime and anyone who tries to get in our way. So President Castro and your military, get ready for us because we're coming to get you." No responsible President in his right mind would ever make his military plans public before they were executed.

Tax cuts and economic policy generally, was a major part of the Kennedy Administration's agenda in 1963. Tax reform and lowering taxes across the board in exchange for eliminating tax loopholes to avoid deficits ( unlike a recent tax cut plan passed and signed into law ) since the American economy was till growing slowly in the early 1960s after getting out of the recession from the late 1950s. The top tax rate in 1963 was 90%. The lowest rate being 20-25% and if you're making what would be in today's dollars 40,000 dollars a year and you're paying 20-25% in Federal income taxes, plus 3-4% in Federal payroll taxes, plus state and local taxes, even with the tax loopholes back then you're still paying a lot in taxes on a very modest income. The tax reform plan that President Kennedy wanted, was finally passed out of Congress in 1964 under President Lyndon Johnson.

So-called Conservatives today ( borrow and spend supply siders, to me more accurate ) like to point to Jack Kennedy when they promote their tax cut and tax reform ideas. The difference being that JFK wasn't a supply sider. He didn't think a trillion-dollar tax cut would pay for itself because of the economic growth that it would generate. Especially on top of huge increases in Federal spending. He believed tax cuts if they were targeted right and encouraged spending in the economy could generate economic growth, but that those tax cuts should be paid for. JFK was a Liberal Democrat in the real sense and believed in fiscal responsibility as well as using government to encourage more independence, not discourage it. Which separates him from the Bernie Sanders Democratic Socialists today. And that tax cuts and Federal spending, needed to be paid for to avoid high budget deficits.

In case you don't own a calendar or have one on your cell phone and perhaps even don't have the time on your phone and have been using the same cell phone since 1997 or something, or have been vacationing in Mongolia, it's President's Day. Which is why I'm posting this piece about Jack Kennedy because he is my political hero. And when it comes to his politics and how he governed he's also my favorite President. I don't believe he's the best President of the United States, but he's my favorite in the sense of what he stood for and believed in. Which was liberal democracy and individual freedom for all. Not just for people who were born to wealth or have European ancestry, especially English ancestry who also happen to be male and Protestant.
David Von Pein: Q&A With President John F. Kennedy- April 19, 1963

Monday, February 12, 2018

Skeptic Magazine: How Michael Shermer Became a Card-Carrying Skeptic

Source: Skeptic Magazine-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

If you want to make this about religion, I come from a German-American family in Maryland, but my father is a hardcore card-carrying Atheist, who if anything has gone Communist when it comes to religion and perhaps other issues and perhaps would like to see religion outlawed in America as Communists tend to. Growing up my mother I believe was an Atheist as well, but not as hardcore and partisan about it. She's now officially an Agnostic herself. Or that is what she tells me. Germans tend to be Lutheran or Catholic, so I guess our family is unique when it comes to religion.

Myself having heard about religion being so great for people and people need to church to live well and only God can save you and all this nonsense ( outside of my family ) but on TV and in and around school and from friends families that I grew up with, I got the other extreme version of what religion is supposed to be about. So I get this argument and philosophy on one side that only morons and mental patients are religious, even though I knew a lot of intelligent people growing up who were religious. And then on the other side I get that religion is the only way of life and not just that but only moral people are religious and I know that's not true just from my own family alone and from other people I knew growing up weren't religious at all but were good productive people.

So that is why I'm not just an Agnostic but a skeptic as well. Not because I can't make up my mind or I don't want to offend hipsters who hate religion and see it as uncool or so not awesome or whatever and are people who claim to be spiritual but not religious as if there's any difference between being religious and spiritual. Like there's any difference between being tired or fatigue or two lemons, or crooks and liars. You might need Superman's X-ray vision to see any difference whatsoever. Or the fundamentalists who again believe only moral people are religious especially if they're not just Christian but Evangelical or Muslim when it comes to the eastern world.

I'm an Agnostic simply because like any other intelligent person who is of sound mind and has the right to free express them self who has ever lived on Planet Earth, (whether they care to admit it or not ) I literally don't know if there is a God or not. Or if there are multiple God's or not. Show me a God and I'll not only believe you but I'll believe there is a God. And then I might start believing in Santa Clause as well. While you're at that you might as well show me a plan for the Cleveland Browns to win a Super Bowl. I'll give you the rest of that decade to figure that one out and most of the next decade. Hopefully the Browns will have won another game by then. But on the other hand for you Atheists out there especially the hardcores, show me that there is no God and I'll become an Atheist. I'm an Agnostic because I'm skeptical I simply don't know if there is a God or not. It's that simple.
Skeptic Magazine: How Michael Shermer Became a Card-Carrying Skeptic

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Economist: Srdja Popovic Interviewing Bassem Youssef- Revolution For Dummies

Source: The Economist- Bassem Youssef-
Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat 

What I would say about this is that it takes a special type of narcissist to want to be a dictator, let alone actually be a dictator. Regardless of whatever authoritarian ideology you come from. Whether it's communism religious theocracy, militarism, oligarchy, nationalism, whatever it might be. It takes a special type of narcissist to believe that you're so great and you're like a God ( even if you're a Communist ) to believe you're so great and so brilliant, that you're not only great with your own personal life, that you're qualified to run the personal lives of everyone else in your country.

You believe you're so brilliant that you can make great decisions for people you've never met before and know what's best for perfect strangers. That you just don't just see yourself as a dictator, but a psychic and a mindreader as well. You see into the future and see what perfect strangers need and what they should think and how they should act and every other personal decisions that people make in their lives everyday. Maybe that is why Donald Trump admires dictators ( or at least Vladimir Putin ) because he sees himself that way as well.

Dictators might see themselves as brilliant and godlike before they come to power, but once it becomes clear even to the regime that things aren't going very well and country is now in bad shape that power is not just over centralized with the national state, but the dictator himself, the dictator has to find others to blame or the people and even his own regime will lose faith in their so-called great leader and look for other leadership. According to Fidel Castro it was never his fault that the Cuban Marxist economy was failing. It was always the fault of the Americans according to Fidel. The same thing is now going on in Venezuela where of course the Maduro Regime won't take the blame for their failing socialist economy that doesn't have the ability to provide their people with even the basic necessities of life like toilet paper.

Mark my words ( or some cheesy bullshit like that ) if the American economy were to start sliding in 2018-19, President Donald Trump won't take an ounce of responsibility for that. The economic downturn will become the Obama downturn according to President Trump and his Administration. Even though President Trump would've been in office for 1-2 years at that point and the Trump economic policy will have a;ready been in place. If the economy starts to fall, the deficit and debt will go up even more than it's expected to go up because of the new Tax law. And according to the small world or brain of Donald Trump, it will become the Obama deficit and debt.

And I know I'm using the word dictator with Donald Trump loosely. President Trump as much as he would like to be a dictator and have the U.S. Justice Department and White House Office of Legal Counsel, as his personal law firms and lawyers and the Congress as lackeys who are only in office to please their master which is what you see in Russia and China, even Donald Trump as President has real checks and balances in the U.S. Government. The independent Russia investigation is a perfect example of that. But Trump sees himself as a dictator and wants the power to be able to do whatever the hell he wants to protect himself and stay in power and damn the consequences.
The Economist: Srdja Interviewing Bassesm Youssef- Revolution For Dummies