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Monday, December 17, 2012

Shooting in Connecticut

Upon hearing about the terrible tragedy which took place in Newtown, CT, my heart just gave out to the families of the victims in the massacre. Who of all people takes their rage or their violent fantasies out on innocent children? While I cannot say that I will ever approve of mass shootings and dead victims of any group, my heart especially gives out for those who are just small kids trying to be safe in school, and their deaths are something that is unforgiveable. What have those kids ever done to the shooter? Was it because they were a part of his mother's life, and a big joy for her to be around? It's never something I will understand.

As President Obama said on Friday and just yesterday, these were kids with their whole lives ahead of them, but were completely robbed of any opportunity to fulfill their dreams. My one hope is that the law enforcement officials manage to piece together the whole story as they can in the earliest possible opportunity. However, my biggest wish of all, beyond anything, is to finally shut up the NRA about the need for everyone to be armed to the teeth. We don't need a society where anybody could be carrying a concealed AR-15 or AK-47, or any other automatic or semi-automatic pistol and/or rifle on their person. It's the main reason why we've had about 5-6 mass shootings in the past 3 years, with each being bloodier than the previous. Obama has it right, we need to put politics aside to work towards the goal of keeping our kids safe and that enough is enough with the saying that any attempts to keep ourselves safe means that we will give up our right to own a gun (right to bear arms - the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution). Translation: we need to take up gun control in order to keep our kids as safe as possible and re-instate the Assault Weapons Ban that passed back in 1994. It worked back then, and can do so in the present. Seriously, let's just do it for the sake of the kids. How many more young children deserve to die just to fit the ideal society depicted by the NRA?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Post-election analysis of Republicans & New low in Mideast

Following the end of the most recent election, I've been hearing a lot from Mitt Romney, and a lot of it is not pretty. While I find it quite gratifying that many Republicans are starting to distance themselves from Romney's recent race-bating commentary, I know off-hand they have more work to do in attempting to get their party back into the mainstream. If there's 1 thing that Barack Obama proved, it's that you need to build a coalition of varying interests and backgrounds in order to effectively win elections. Obama did this by gathering up support from the Hispanic and African American communities, as well as from the American youth. How? By looking into their various concerns on issues, and looking to help them in their various struggles and to give them new opportunities. Romney only called this welfare, as well as handouts to these constituent groups. These are not handouts, these are tools to build a better life. Romney only solidified a confirmation in people's minds that he was too out of touch with their concerns and with their struggles. While Obama has not been a perfect president, he was the one who actually understood the complexities of how badly people were struggling. The fact is that, he's been in their position and largely had to struggle to get to the presidency or the Senate for that matter. Until the Republican party gets its head out of the sand, or out of the Fixed Noise (i.e., Fox News) bubble, it won't win elections in the future. This is nothing more than a guaranteed fact.

As for the Mideast, Israel's going off to Gaza (again) for the 2nd time in 4 years. I know why, it's the fact that there's been a lot of rockets fired from Gaza as of late. However, there's also a massive realization, within the Jewish community here, that Israel and Hamas had been trading a war of words as of recently. The reason for the recent Israeli attack, however, goes beyond the simple reason of trying to force an end to the rocket fire. One of the main goals is to force Palestine's president, Mahmoud Abbas, to forefeit any more attempts to get the international community into the dispute and to only deal with Israel directly, in the form of letting Israel make all final decisions. This has been the goal of both Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigaddor Lieberman. Lieberman, in particular, is bad news to begin with, as he has no shame calling for the destruction of the Palestinian people and having all Arab citizens of Israel either sign an oath declaring their loyalty or depart from Israel to the other Arab nations immediately. If this is not racism, I don't know what is.

Moreover, the Israeli attempts to force Gaza to submit, is a means of showing their strength. It's a play to a far-right-wing domestic support base (mainly consisting of Ultra-Orthodox Jews and hard-line Zionists, as well as others). They look at Gaza as a territory invaded by Arabs who must be forced out. In other words, that is prime real estate for settlements that the Palestinians in the area happen to occupy. Force out the population of Palestinians and there's enough room to expand Jewish homes and get rockets out of the area. Additionally, it would help disprove the Palestinian story that they have the right to return to their homeland (which by the way, I don't buy this explanation). This is the Israeli position, which is implied, not said explicitly to the world at large.

However, I also know off-hand that Hamas get new weaponry from Iran. I know the Iranians' reason for doing so, it's part of their scheme to draw Israel into another Mideast conflict. When the trick through Syria didn't gain much steam, the only thing Israel did was fire a few warning shots and lodge a complaint to the UN Monitors in the area. For the most part, Israel has little to no interest for getting involved in Syria's Civil War. Sure, they'd be relieved if Assad simply stepped down, but are wary of the fact either Al-Qaeda or some other extremist group could take charge in Syria (i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood). However, I'm pretty sure the Muslim Brotherhood would rather assert a more peaceful stance to Israel than become embroiled in a war. Anyhow, back to the situation with Iran, the fact is that it has few options for how to get rid of Israel other than to arm Hamas and direct it to take on Israel through rocket-fire. I know that it is an attempt for Iran to distract the international community's attention away from its nuclear program (big surprise). However, I know off-hand that in the end the international community will see the Iranian plot for what it is, and will simply not turn their attention away from the ongoing discussions over Iran's lack of transparency. Like I've said before, the program lacks transparency, which is a major issue for determining Iran's true intentions. Even US President Barack Obama has said this, "There's no question as to Iran's right to maintain a nuclear program, but with that right comes responsibilities." In other words, all parties to the NPT have the right to maintain a nuclear program to generate electrical power and to develop medical isotopes, but they have the responsibility to make disclosures of such activities and forgo any intentions of building a nuclear weapons arsenal.

If I can express gratitude to Pres. Obama for one thing in this sense, it's the fact that he brought forth a new START Treaty with Russia back in 2009-10. Both the USA and Russia needed a treaty of that magnitude, as it would continue to show that both parties are serious about world nuclear disarmament. Other things that I can also express thankfulness for are some of his gutsy calls, such as Healthcare Reform, while I know there need to be some tweaks, he and Congressional Democrats got it 90% right.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Election and World Series

Well folks, 2 pieces of interesting news. Last night, the San Francisco Giants made it to the World Series (2nd time in 3 years, not bad), and are about to face the Detroit Tigers (who hopefully will be more of a challenge than against the Texas Rangers in 2010 - who choked badly, for the record). Now I'm not going to tell you that the Giants are a bad team, because well, they're not! They have the best pitching rotation in the entirety of Major League Baseball. Try having 5 of the league's best starting pitchers, and since I think he's returned, the league's best closer. If I remmber correctly, good pitching always generally outperforms great hitting. So we'll see what happens tomorrow night.

As for the other piece of news, Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney just concluded the last of the general election debates, and we'll see what kind of impact they had. I seriously think that Obama just seriously knocked Romney's scarns back to kingdom come, as there's little to no chance that he'll be able come back and pull some other Houdini to grab the presidency (unless of course there's by some odd reason that the Barack Obama/Joe Biden ticket gets racked by a serious scandal, or the Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan ticket and their Republican hacks find some interesting means of stealing the election | i.e., tampering with the voting machines, etc.) I just know that the Republicans will do anything to win, even to the extent of committing massive voter fraud. Still I give them credit in one sense, they have identified a problem in our electoral system, just only it's them and their corporate cronies who are the involved parties.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Election is fast approaching

My family and friends, I must advise you that we are about to commence with the same ritual we completed 4 years ago, and will in every 4-year interval for the presidency. President Obama, as unshockingly obvious as this sounds, is running for re-election. I know that many of you wish to sit out this election by not casting your vote at all, thinking that you have no voice in the process. In all seriousness, don't! This is exactly what people like the Koch brothers want you to do. They want to silence your voices and make theirs heard, so that they can continue their scam of taking away our rights and our money.

I want everyone to know that we have a stark choice this year between the visions of Pres. Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney in their fight for the presidency. I won't make the specious claim that a presidency under Romney would mean the end of the Earth, or that the sky will crash upon us, as those likelihoods are very minimal (try the odds of 1 in 100,000,000). Anyhow, what may happen is that life will become much harder for the middle class as the Republican mantra for the time being is for the middle class to sacrifice various needed programs and deductions (for taxes) so that they can give the top 5% of income-earners another $1,000,000,000.00 in new tax cuts which they believe will stimulate the economy, and that we should not tax this class as they are the job creators. I don't know about you, but to me, this is complete nonsense. First off, it's a hollow argument in the sense that spending $1.00 on a tax cut (or tax break) for the wealthy only brings in like $.60 of revenue. Compare that to at least $1.60 in revenue for every dollar spent on unemployment insurance to the middle class. Secondly, we've tried this method when George W. Bush was president from 2001-9. Believe me, it failed miserably as incomes declined severely and prices shot up much higher than the rate of inflation. Another factor to look into is taking out various regulations desparately needed to protect consumers from fraud, or to give them a legal recourse to settle a dispute with a large corporation. Think about the recent financial crisis as a clear example of what I'm talking about. This came upon us by maintaining very weak regulatory oversight of various portions of the financial markets, including in the commodities and speculations markets.

Gov. Romney has made it clear that this is the only solution for getting us out of the mess we're in. That Pres. Obama's method of propping up working families has done nothing, but take a pretty penny out of your portfolios and been a large waste of your tax dollars. He thinks that your tax dollars would be spent better subsidizing big business, and paying it to handle your money and benefits, from Social Security to Medicare to Education. Speaking of education, I've been in the private education system, and can tell you from experience, it's even less efficient than the public system. In highschool, I had a math teacher who was trained to be a test proctor, and as such was insufficient in teaching us both trigonometry and advanced mathematics. In fact I remember in senior year, where every American student got D's and F's on their midterm exams, while the International students got A's and B's. If you're going to argue that the school I went to was unionized, you'd be dead wrong. There was no union, the principal was adamant about not firing the teacher in question, retaining full confidence in them (this was after both students and parents complained). Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked, but that should highlight my point that private does not generally equal efficient. In the case of these areas, public is generally better, as it helps to give a more expanded range of options for teaching our children. Do there need to be some structural reforms done? Of course, and how to do it is a debate I would gladly welcome. I'd love to hear either educational or psychological experts duke it out over policy changes, or structural changes/consolidations. However, what we don't need is money going out to parochial (faith-based) schools from the federal government as it clearly violates the 1st Amendment (Congress [or for that matter the states per 14th Amendment] does not have the right or authority to promote religion nor to trample on someone's right to religious freedom). Separation of church and state has long been a traditional American principle, going back to the Founding Fathers.

Pres. Obama, however, has tried, and largely unsuccessfully in some cases, to make the case that we can still make structural changes to the economy and grow it up. We need jobs, which he's been on target about for the past 3-4 years to help the economy recover much faster. However, he's been dealing with the recalcitrant and obstructionist Republican-dominated 112th Congress (Republicans control the House of Representatives and have larger blocking ability in the Senate), which has for the most part refused to budge on any kind of job-producing bill, save for a transportation bill that passed. Pres. Obama has pressed for more action to alliviate the high unemployment rate (currently about 8%), but the Congress has refused to budge, with the Republicans' goal being that they should make him a 1-term president like Pres. Jimmy Carter (1977-81). In some cases, I think Pres. Obama deserves a lot of credit, especially in saving the auto industry and passing healthcare reform. I'll admit that it's a start, and that more people using it will realize that their costs will come down. However, I think that it needs some more tweaking. I mean this in the sense that we need to take out the insurance industry's special exemption from Federal Anti-Trust Laws. It's a mistake to keep it, and that was 1 component to how costs grew faster than the rate of inflation. Let's for argument's sake say that medical care costs $1.00, but your insurer charges you $3.00. I know from working in the industry (I'm an admin assistant in a small insurance sales office), that $.60 of every dollar goes to claims (torts). However, that formula was never the case, especially considering the fact that 1 in every 3 dollars for insurance costs went aside to claims, meaning that the other $2.00 went to non-medical purposes. That's right, $1.00 went to political contributions (to bribe various politicians to look the other way) or to denying care to people, while another would go to the CEO's bonus. Think about it, that made up about 90% of the cost. Anyway, watch this race carefully, is what I can tell everyone.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Beginning

After graduating from college, it's enough of a stress factor of being thrown into the world where you don't know what comes next. I know the old wisdom that says: “GET A JOB,” but that's easier said than done.

Seriously, let's give recent college grads a break. It's not their fault that the economy is not producing any real decent jobs at a fast enough pace (that's an easy place to put the blame).

Let the millenials chart their own path.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Recall in Wisconsin

Well this I certainly know off-hand, the recall election for the Governor's seat in Wisconsin is soon approaching. It'll be interesting to see if Scott Walker will keep his job as governor or will meet his end. Let's seee what happens.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Israel's New Low in Misbehavior

Where do I even begin with this? How is it that whenever the international community tells Israel to quit building settlements for the sake of peace (this includes Israel's only real ally, America), that it just builds more? Well, that is nothing new, by any stretch of the imagination. The real issue is that it now won't let any UN Human Rights Inspectors come to investigate claims about the settlements underming the Palestinians' right to national self-determination, as well as the right to stay in their homes and live in peace. They see the settlements correctly for what they are. It's a land grab, and soon will lead to the development of a new Apartheid system. I know Israel will continually deny this analogy to the American South's Jim Crow and South African Apartheid, but it is going in the same direction. Saying that they won't let anyone verify their claims, or those of the Palestinians, is only allowing injustice to flourish. If Israel wants to be an equal member of the international community, it must heed the community's will for peace.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Reliving the 1960s

My God, I've been seeing the news about the teen Trayvon Martin's death. It's hella racially motivated and the dang cops near Orlando are not even bothering to investigate, saying either the witnesses misspoke on some of the facts, or that there was no one to refute the gunner's claim that he acted in self-defense. That's complete b******* if you ask me. By all means, are the cops attempting to let the guy get away with murder, since in their minds it's just another n***** kid about to cause trouble. It's not, and there's 3 reasons to say this. #1 and most obvious, Trayvon wasn't armed, he only went out to the local 7/11 to get some candy during the half-time break of an NCAA basketball game. #2, the gunman had been previously arrested for assaulting a police officer and had no business maintaining a gun license. #3, the final reason, Florida's "Stand Your Ground" (or as I'll put it; Shoot First, Ask Later) is hella racist and further more, the gunman acted as a self-appointed cop. I mean the cops can simply replay his 911 recording, and the recordings of the other witnesses. The fact is he failed to comply with an order to stay put and let the cops handle the situation if he felt threatened. Instead, he followed Trayvon and shot him in cold blood. That's what's called a hate crime. The reason that the gunman felt threatened by Trayvon, was as the man put it, "He's black." That's enough evidence to convict him on that.

I'm going to make this very clear, I feel like I'm reliving the 1960s. I don't see why we have to let this kind of nonsense happen. There's no reason that America, or any other nation, should be arming its citizens to the teeth. This is exactly why I think that gun control is so desparately needed. Anyone who wants a gun to either protect themselves, or to hunt, should have that right. After all, we have the 2nd Amendment for that reason. However, I don't think that people need assault, automatic or semi-automatic weaponry, nor do I think that people should be allowed to own guns in an unlicensed fashion. If you want to own a gun, simply take the necessary tests to receive a federally issued (not state-issued) license and have your gun registered in a federal database. I think that makes a lot of sense, and I also think that it will do the country some good. Let's make America safe and secure for the next generation, and not one that allows yahoos to get guns and kill innocent people for their own sadistic pleasure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Settlements

What is the Israeli government thinking? Don't the top ministers in Israel, as well as their subordinates, realize that by approving legal status for those outposts previously deemed illegal is a massive step backward? I can see this for what it is, a land grab. When will Netanyahu realize that he is alienating Israel from the rest of the world? These settlements are only successfully doing one thing, making any Mideast Peace Deal unattainable. We do not need another war, but that is what this will boil down to.

A new round of threats between Israel and Iran

I've been hearing too much about what the Israelis and Iranians have been saying back and forth past each other. Israel, after a successful campaign of assassinations, now has deal with attempted assassinations directed by Iran. I know why Iran did this, it's to show Israel that it can carry out a campaign of this nature as well. However, that's old news, as the assassinations failed miserably in both Bangkok and T'blisi.

What's going on now, especially from Iran's end, is that they will hit anyone it considers a threat pre-emptively. What the heck are they thinking? Don't they realize that by doing that they're dealing with a military power who has backing from the worlds most powerful military? I honestly don't see the logic.

As for Israel, attacking now would be a disaster waiting to happen. Both America, Israel's chief ally, and Russia have starkly warned against such a maneuver. For America, the reason is simple, give the sanctions time to work. For Russia, the reason is not to have a war flare up near its borders. Lastly, if such an attack happened, anyone that is anywhere will become a target of a death-bearing cult that has taken over Iran.

This is the worst way to start WW III.

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