Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Religion of Peace My Ass

So the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, one of the most powerful leaders in the world of Islam, has called for the destruction of all Churches in the region.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah is the President of the Supreme Council of Ulema [Islamic scholars] and Chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.

But don't worry, Islam is a peaceful religion...

Here and here are definitions for the word "hadith." Words, actions, and approvals of the Prophet Muhammad, second only to the Quran... sounds pretty dang official to me, and yet there is no public outcry about this, nothing from our State Department or the President.

Paul Ryan's Latest Budget Plan

Have to say, from what I've read through it looks pretty good to me. Of course, I'm not economist, but given how much those types have ruined capitalism in the last two decades I don't think being an economist is generally a good thing anymore. Too focused on static numbers rather than dynamic reality. Of course, that's the problem with most Liberal budgets and cost analysis for their various bills, they assume nothing will change, if they increase taxes they'll get more revenue rather than less, etc.

I'm still trying to figure out how lowering the tax rate for everyone outside of the top earners to 10%, while also lowering it to 25% for those top earners, is an assault on the middle and lower class.

“The House budget once again fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility. It would shower the wealthiest few Americans with an average tax cut of at least $150,000, while preserving taxpayer giveaways to oil companies and breaks for Wall Street hedge fund managers,” Pfeiffer said. “What’s worse is that all of these tax breaks would be paid for by undermining Medicare and the very things we need to grow our economy and the middle class – things like education, basic research, and new sources of energy. And instead of strengthening Medicare, the House budget would end Medicare as we know it, turning the guarantee of retirement security into a voucher that will shift higher and higher costs to seniors over time,” according to White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer.

So decreasing tax rates for all those non-rich people isn't fair because the higher earners also get a tax reduction? Did he not notice that the majority of small businesses file their taxes under personl income tax, and that $200k is NOTHING for a business? Maybe he doesn't realize, like most Liberal economics "professionals," that if you raise taxes on corporations they will just increase the cost of the product they sell... like gasoline in the case of those oil companies. Hedge fund managers deal with capital gains taxes, something not mentioned in the bill so far as I can tell. It lowers taxes for citizens and corporations (down to 25% from 35% for federal taxes), but says nothing of capital gains.

As for ending Medicare, Paul Ryan worked with a Democrat to come up with a compromise for block granting all funds to the states.

People need to start looking at what President Obama says versus what he does. He doesn't want Congress to pass anything so that he can run against a "do nothing Congress." If they actually pass something he has to veto it kills his argument, kind of like the Keystone pipeline he cannexed so his buddies Soros and Buffett could make billions on transporting the crude by train instead.

Ryan's budget also cuts government spending, rather than increasing taxes and then increasing spending by more than 2x what the increase would statically take in like Obama's "budget plan" does.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rush Limbaugh's Recent Gaffe

I figured I'd give it a few days to let all of the information out before I gave my response on this whole thing.

Yes, he screwed up by bringing up the label of "slut." Even if what he actually said was that given the information Ms. Fluke (a political activist with a history of attacking religion) provided, someone that has sex as often as she or her friends appear to be doing so would have gotten labeled as such back when he was growing up. Do the math, you can go to a Target and get a year's supply of Birth Control pills for $300, so where was the other $700+ going?

He apologized to Ms. Fluke, who on national TV refused to accept it. So what did he do right after? Posted an apology to his listeners for sinking to the level of the Liberal left.

I tend to agree with his statement, if not his choice of words. It would have been better to make the implication without using the actual words. Of course, the hypocrisy of the Left never ceases to amaze me; what with Bill Maher getting a pass for calling Sarah Palin a cunt and a twat on national TV a year ago, or Ed Schultz getting a whole two-day suspension for calling Laura Ingraham a slut while the rest of the Liberals laughed it up and heralded him as a hero of some kind. Or the fact that Bill Maher gave the Super PAC supporting Obama a $1 million check, which they haven't returned, even after the President called Ms. Fluke (pronounced Fluk btw) to tell her how terrible it was that Rush Limbaugh was picking on her.

Oh yea, might want to take notice of the fact that the "committee" she appeared in front of was actually a subcommittee staffed by Nancy Pelosi, and not Issa's committee. Why, you may ask? Because she was rejected from being able to appear before the original committee for several reasons. 1) She was a last minute selection after the Democrat's primary pick was kicked out so they could have a woman on the panel to try and hijack the whole thing. 2) The panel was actually to discuss whether they government had the power to force religious institutions to pay for healthcare practices that were against their religious beliefs, NOT about forcing employers, schools, etc to provide completely FREE birth control and abortificients to students and employees, and how horrible it was that they should have to pay for such things themselves. 3) The REASON she wasn't allowed to appear before the actual panel was because the last minute selection meant she couldn't be vetted to ensure she actually had any authority to speak on the subject beyond opinion. She had no medical or scientific background to base her opinions on. Only the same old bullshit "Women's right to determine what she does with her own body."

Well, I happen to mostly agree with that reason, but their thought processes are seriously flawed. If they actually agreed with that they wouldn't be trying to get the government involved. If they really think women have the right to determine what she does with her own body they would not be DEMANDING THAT OTHER PEOPLE PAY TO SUPPORT THAT RIGHT. Pay for your own dang recreational activities. Birth Control may have a few medical benefits, but even if true (and there is no proof it's anything but a placebo for most of "benefits") it doesn't exactly cost you a lot. $9 at Target, or if your doctor prescribes a stronger specific brand $20 at a Walgreen's, per month. 9x12=$108          20x12=$240      Birth Control is a preventative therefore it should not be on your insurance. Car Insurance doesn't cover oil changes, tire changes, engine checkups, etc. Home Insurance doesn't cover gutter replacements, yard care, or new paint jobs.

Children are not a disease, they are the product of a choice made. In all but a few cases forcible rape does NOT result in pregnancy. Medical insurance is meant to pay for procedures that are life threatening, or could seriously degrade your health., not to pay for you making a mistake (if that's what you want to call it). Pregnancy is not caused accidentally, it takes two to tango, and a choice to be made. Don't want to get pregnant? Don't have sex, or do everything in your power to prevent it, but DON'T TRY TO FORCE OTHER PEOPLE TO PAY FOR YOUR ACTIVITIES.

Edit (8 Mar 10:11am): As an aside, Bill Maher has gained a bit of respect from me for defending Rush Limbaugh's right to free speech. It's so rare to see anyone on the left defending this right when it comes to things they disagree with.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Super Tuesday Results

First off, I'd like to congradulate Mr. Romney on his Super Tuesday victories. To be fair, he won quite a bit. On the other hand, I would like everyone to look at exactly WHERE he won.

In the majority of states where Santorum was also on the ballot Romney won the cities, and that's about it. Let's keep that in mind as we go through the various state eligibility rules.

Alaska (Romney): Participation in the Alaska caucuses is open to registered Republicans. A voter may register or re-register as a Republican at the convention.

Idaho (Romney): Open to registered Republicans, including same-day registrants, as well as 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the date of the general election.

North Dakota (Santorum): Caucus goers must be physically present to cast their votes; must be eligible to vote in the general election; and must have been affiliated with the Republican Party in the last general election or intending to affiliate with the Republican Party in the next general election.

Ohio (Romney): Open to members of the Republican Party. Members of other parties can change party affiliation and vote in primary.

Oklahoma (Santorum):  Voting open to registered Republicans only.

Tennessee (Santorum): Any voter may vote in the primary, regardless of party registration, but may not vote in both parties’ primaries.

Wyoming (Romney): Caucus open only to registered Republican voters.

Vermont (Romney): Voter registration does not include party affiliation; any voter may vote in the primary.

Georgia (Gingrich):  Modified primary in which only registered Republicans and independents may vote.

Virginia (Romney): Voter registration does not include party affiliation; any voter may vote in the primary.

Massachusetts (Romney): Modified primary, open to registered Republicans and those who identify themselves as Republicans.

So let's see... Ohio, where Romney outspent Santorum 5-to-1 (again), he barely won by 1%, and the majority of his votes came from the city counties... where most voters are Democrats, and will vote Democrat in the general. Massachusetts is his home state, if he couldn't carry that I'd be demanding his immediate withdrawal (same goes for Georgia for Newt).

Vermont, where he won every county in the state, he also outspent Santorum by a 3-to-1 margin, AND it's relatively close to his home state of Massachusetts. Also, both states are solid Democrat states in the general, neither has gone to the Republicans since 1992.

Virginia has its screwy ballot requirements that make low income candidates from competing there. Nevermind the fact that even with his MUCH lower budget Santorum is still neck and neck with Romney. That right there is proof enough that Romney is buying the election.

Oh, and while I'm at it. Speaker Gingrich, please drop out. Santorum would have won several of those states if you had not been there. You're splitting the conservative vote. If you really don't want Romney to get the nomination you need to drop out and support Santorum. Your chances of coming back a third time are far too low, and the longer this takes the more likely it is that the Republican candidate won't have enough time to raise enough cash to fight against Obama's $400 million+ campaign.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Holy Cow!

Quick, someone check the temperature in Hell. There is actually an article at CNN that I completed agree with!

When you have federal judges telling a state their balloting rules may be, or are, unconstitutional and they are refusing to do anything to change them, there is a problem. Some of these states have known for years. Heck, Britain and Canada have simpler rules for getting on the ballot than we do!

Again, someone want to check out how they're doing down there?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Col. Van Barfoot, Medal of Honor Recipient, Dies at 92

The title says it all. An article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch tells his story.

Rest in peace Colonel. *Salute*

Congress and Their Anti-Defense Budgets

I suddenly felt the need to say something about Congress and their habit of messing with the DoD budget every single term. Lately the trend has been to reduce Defense spending while leaving all of the various unconstitutional entitlement programs untouched, or nearly so. This crud needs to stop.

There are a whole slew of things they could do with the Congresscritters to lower the budget (though admittedly it wouldn’t be by a lot, which is why they get away with not doing it). Here’s some of information on the subject before I go into what I think should be done about it.

The lowest salary I could find listed for the House was $175k a year, before additional pay for each board or commission they are a part of. There are seats for 435 Representatives, and 100 Senators (currently only 97). That equals $93,625,000 per year for congressional salaries alone, not including their staff. Their health insurance costs them approximately $400 a month, the government paying the other $800, under the Federal Employees Health Insurance Benefits program. This is the same health program that covers the majority of civil service federal employees.

To clear up some rumors regarding their pay and benefits after they leave office... As far as their healthcare, once a member of FEHB the individual is able to continue coverage with the medical program, but they must pay the entire premium themselves (so about $1200/month). It's not free, they do pay for it. The average yearly annuities collected by those congressman that have been in (or left) office prior to 1984 collect is about $64k/yr, and those since collect an average of $40k (a lot more one-term guys than I was expecting for sure). This is of course the average, and seems to include the years they don’t collect after they leave office until they are eligible; any of those that served for 20-24 years can collect their retirement at age 50, and receive 80% of their pay during their time in office. Serving 25 or more years nets them 80% immediately upon exiting office and those who serve less than 20 cannot collect until 62, and receive a % of their base pay based on the number of years of service, but only after serving at least 5 yrs.

Congressional Salaries and Benefits
Congressional Research Service
Now that all of that is out of the way (and hopefully this next part gets read BEFORE the flaming starts), I do NOT agree with this method. It is my opinion that one of three things should occur in regards to the paychecks of those in Congress before they ever try to mess with the DODs budget:

1) Reduce all Congressional salaries to be in-line with the yearly base pay of an E-6 in the US Military, with pay raises on the same basis as everyone else (increases every year for your first 4, and then once every 2 years). Pay them BAH/BAS, also at the E-6 level, for their Home of Record (i.e. back in their home state, not in D.C.). Their pay then STAYS at that rate, they want a raise, the entire military gets a raise as well; and the entire pay scale needs to be adjusted by an equal amount, they can't just give it to the E-6 rate. They would also receive healthcare via Tricare as if on active duty, which means they'd be seen at a military facility if available before a civilian doctor. As with everything else, their retirement would follow exactly with whatever the military receives.

This puts their average yearly income at around $46k/yr. That's a savings of $129k/yr PER congressman, or about $68,987,000 a year in pay alone.


2) Completely remove pay for all members of Congress and use a somewhat similar method as suggestion 1, with a few changes. The basis for Congressional members being paid is due to the time it took to travel from one end of the country to the other before airplanes were in common use. By the time they got home from D.C. by car/wagon/train they had to turn right around and go back, giving the ones with exceptional travel distances no time to have a normal job. Well, thanks to the awesome power of flight, that is no longer true, so here is what you do:

First, their travel is paid out of the federal budget, they get business class tickets (they’re travelling on official business, I’ll be nice), not First Class, and they sure as heck don’t need a private plane. Second, they receive per diem pay at the same rate as a military member on orders away from home station, and a daily amount equal to an E-6 in the military as above, however ONLY during the times that Congress is in session. By the 20th Amendment of the Constitution they are only required to meet ONCE each year, and the length is not specified. The Constitution itself states that the meeting times will be from the first Monday in December to April or May for their first year, and then December to March thereafter. This was in addition to being there for swearing in of new members, inaugurations, and organization.

Both the House and Senate have been known to have pro forma meetings, only minutes long, every three days (the maximum length they can wait without meeting during session times) in order to avoid the need to obtain consent from the other body to adjourn. That’s fine by me, but they don’t get paid during those days off. The military gets paid for weekends off true, but they can also be called back at any time.

So now we are only paying them for the 4-6 months out of the year they are actually in D.C. doing their jobs, the rest of the time they’re going to need to work just like the rest of us. Treat them like deployed Reservists so they can’t be fired while fulfilling their federal obligations.


3) Stop paying them with federal funds period (I favor this one the most). Their pay is determined, and paid for, by their state of origin. They want a raise, they must put it to a vote in that state, and it applies only so long as they are in office before defaulting to the base rate when a new person is voted in. This means that each state can determine the base pay, and yearly increases, retirement benefits, etc. that their Congressman receive. No more of this voting themselves raises bull.

Friday, March 2, 2012

On Birth Control and Abortion

Here comes a big controversial topic. To start it off I'll go ahead and say that personally I do not, and never will, support an abortion in any case except to save the life of the mother. The use of birth control is a personal choice; however there is NO REASON that other people should be forced to pay for someone else to be able to use it. If you want it you can get condoms at any corner store and birth control is around $9-20 a month at your nearest Walgreen's/Rite-Aid/etc, over the counter in most cases. Pay for it out of your own dang pocket.

On to the topic at hand.

Birth Control is good for the health of the woman. True and False. Yes, using birth control can help to alleviate various problems like cramping and bloating, along with pain and hot flashes during menopause. There are also several studies out on the various effects of oral contraceptives (OCs) in particular that show a decrease in ovarian and endometrial cancers with a continual decrease in risk of contracting those particular cancers the longer the woman uses OCs. However there are also studies that show an increase in breast and cervical cancer from using OCs.

Now, maybe it's just me, but I'm more willing to accept the findings of non-politically motivated groups like the National Cancer Institute and Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer over a group with a name like Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experiences that sounds to me like all the "free love" and "have sex whenever and however much you want" types. On top of that the annual death rate to Breast and Cervical cancer is higher than the combined rate of Ovarian and Endometrial (Uterine). So while reducing the rates of those Ovarian and Uterine (approx 20,100in 1994 with a steadily decreasing rate since, due to early diagnosis) is definitely important, the death rate for Breast cancer alone is over 39,000 a year, on average (that means it sometimes goes even higher). So let's think about that for a minute.

Next you have the fact that many of the women on birth control don't even use it right, and when they do they STILL get pregnant. OCs does not prevent women from getting STDs at all, yet women on OCs tend to be more sexually active. Condoms may reduce the risk, but they do not eliminate it, nor do they always work to prevent pregnancy if they aren't used correctly. The only way to prevent both, ABSTINENCE. Just want to avoid the STDs? STICK TO ONE PARTNER YOU KNOW IS CLEAN INSTEAD OF SLEEPING AROUND.

Those last two sentences apply to guys too; you're not guilt free, no matter how much of an uncaring jerk you are.

To add to the above, and leading into the next topic, here is a good read for you on sexual activity among US teenagers (15-19).

Let's start the abortion topic with a fun couple of statements from the above document. For teens, 15 percent of births in 1960 were to unmarried mothers, but that rate rose to 78 percent by 1997. Moreover, racial differences in teen births are dramatic. Currently, virtually all births to black teens are nonmarital.

Yes, you read that right, in 1997 78 percent of births to teens 15-19 were to unmarried mothers. On the plus side, the document also shows that the abortion rate has gone back down to around 50/51 per 1,000 women 15-19 after it reached 62 per 1,000 in 1991.

Now let's get to all the nasty stuff that can occur with an abortion, then we'll get to what can happen if the woman (or girl) chooses to carry the child to term.

Yes, I linked to 3 different places on the same topic, just to prove that it isn't a single agency or politically motivated group that sees the possible nasty side effects from having an abortion, AND none of the above links even mention the fact the woman is ending the life of an innocent human child. Scientifically speaking, no matter what your opinion of right or wrong on the topic, at the moment of conception that is a human life.

It's always amused me (in a dark fashion) that people are readily willing to admit that the moment an animal is found to be pregnant that the offspring is immediately recognized as a life, but for some reason in humans there are arguments on both sides. If you follow the biological scientific fact that there is a human life at conception then it is not just the responsibility of the mother and father of the child, but also the responsibility of the government, to protect that life.

Anyone remember the line "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (emphasis mine) in the Declaration of Independence? Maybe Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution where it mentions in Clause 1 the responsibilities of Congress to "provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States"? It is in the best interest of the country not to kill off any possible offspring of its citizens since you need people to ensure the continuation of our society.

So many people are concerned about the rights of the mother, but they refuse to acknowledge the rights of the father, let alone the rights of the unborn child. Many of these are the same people that tend to scream about how wrong it is to kill this or that animal or tree, but they'd never dream of suggesting that the father has rights to determine the future of that child, or trying to say that the child has a right to live just as much as the mother does. If there is no medical danger to the mother, what possible reason is there not to carry to term?

I'm perfectly okay with the government getting involved in paying for orphanages or foster homes for children born to parents who did not want them, or those with no relatives that can or are willing to take care of them (though I still believe that charities and other private organizations would do a better job). Paying to make sure those children live to become productive adults is in the best interest of the society. We should make it easier to adopt children raised in places that receive government funds. Any such places should be required to adhere to whatever rules the government puts in place such as non-discrimination, etc because they are accepting government money. Entirely private organizations should be allowed to determine their own criteria because they are private organizations.

On top of that, mothers unwilling to keep a child should be pointed to organizations willing to help them financially if necessary in order to allow her to carry that child to term. This should be done by the doctors or the hospital. It's not exactly costly to say a few words or hand over a pamphlet with more information.

Without a very accurate, and most likely insanely expensive, system to track every American's tax money, there is no way for the government to ensure that federal/state funds spent on abortions are not those collected from citizens who have a religious or person belief against such a procedure. THAT is why it is a violation of their First Amendment rights for the government to provide such funds. THAT is why it is a violation of peoples' First Amendment rights to issue the HHS mandate that Kathleen Sebelius did (regardless of how one feels about her personally).

Healthcare companies will increase theirpremiums to cover the increased cost of having to provide birth control (a PREVENTITIVE should not be required as part of INSURANCE coverage) and abortions.
Who do you think pays for those premiums? Why, the employer and all of their employees of course! Also, what happens when the insurance company IS the employer? Believe it or not there are companies that choose to cover the entire cost of various medical procedures themselves instead of going through an outside agency. Some of them are even owned, run, and/or staffed by people of a particular religious or moral belief system that would be violated by being UNCONSTITUTIONALLY FORCED by the government to cover birth control and abortions.

The article over at NBC on the recent defeat of the Blunt Amendment shows just how lacking in logical thought some of the supporters of the mandate actually are. Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood said, "This is an important victory. Today’s vote says that your boss won’t be able to decide which prescriptions you can get filled and which medical procedures you can have." But either she is really dense, or purposely ignoring the other half of that argument. What about the employers rights to be able to decide what prescriptions he is willing to pay for for his employees? Until Obamacare there was NO legal requirement for an employer to provide health coverage to their employees. Many of them did, but that was their choice to do so. Companies that didn't cover their employees generally gave them higher wages instead. Now many companies are being forced to lower wages to be able to comply with this ludicrous law that people are STILL finding new things in.

Also, regarding the individual mandate in the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare). It is unconstitutional on a couple grounds. 1) The one they are using to bring it to the Supreme Court right now; is that it requires a US citizen to purchase a product. There is not one single line in the entire Constitution or its Amendments that gives the government the power to demand a citizen purchase a product. If the government is finally acknowledging that there are too many freeloaders in the system (something they never said with words, but is easily and logically implied) then the problem is with the rules of their system and enforcement of those rules, or the system itself. Personally I think the entire Medicare, Social Security, Welfare, and Medicaid programs need to be revamped at the very least, or tossed out the window and replaced with a better system that people can opt into now if they are above a certain age (50ish), and anyone under that age gets lumped into the new system.

2) One of the excuses provided by the current administration is that the government has the power to force people to purchase insurance because of the interstate commerce clause. There is a rather large glaring fatal problem with this argument. Not all Health Insurance companies are cross-state corporations. All of the branches may be a part of a larger company; however each branch in each state is technically independent of the whole. They have their own coverage items, their own prices, and their own customer databases (generally shared amongst the whole however). Of course, the exception to this is the government health insurance companies, but even the ones providing coverage to the government are regional rather than national. So where exactly is the interstate commerce again?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Well, darn...

I've made no secret of the fact I support Rick Santorum, so I can safely say I am disappointed he lost Michigan at the last minute after all the positive polls there for him. At the same time, Romney outspent him 5 to 1 (not 3 to 1 like I had originally thought) and only squeaked by with a 3% lead, in his home state. Because of Michigan's electoral rules (they reward 2 votes for each county) Romney only gets a 2 point victory in the state. For someone who spent so much more than his opponent this is a pretty sad result for Romney, I still call the state a victory for Santorum, just as I did with Iowa weeks before they reversed their call for Romney winning there.

At the same time, I am also amused at Romney being whiny about Santorum appealing to Democrat voters. Mitt did the same thing in Iowa and New Hampshire, and even used the fact he had so many Democrats supporting him as proof that he was the most electable candidate (even though he again outspent his opponents by a HUGE margin). Instead Santorum got 53% of the Democrat vote to Romney's 13%. Also, Ronald Reagan appealed to Democrat voters when he was running (again, not saying Santorum is another Reagan), so what is the problem?

It's going to be interesting going into Super Tuesday, with each of the candidates having at least one state pretty much in the bag. Santorum leads in Ohio at the moment, but as we saw in Michigan that could change, unless Romney tries to whittle down Santorum's 20 point lead in Oklahoma to prevent him from getting all of that state's electoral votes (Oklahoma is one of those states with a rule that says if someone doesn't get a majority then the votes are split, otherwise it's winner-takes-all).

People keep on trying to hit Santorum for smacking Obama about his college degree opinions, which is just plain silly. What people need to do is start respecting the blue collar jobs more instead of the so-called intellectual jobs. Who do you think fixes the cars for those high income folks? Or makes the computers work at their various companies? Makes sure the plumbing in your house works? The people in these jobs generally get nothing but flack from others, until they are needed to fix a problem, then people are all smiles and politeness. Yet no liberals (or at least very few) would ever dream of suggesting that these people be the ones to make more money than say, a public school teacher or a politician.

With all the Romney supporters out there, surely one can tell me what makes Romney such a great conservative without trying to pull his business credentials out, I've already debunked that one enough.