Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Why use facts when lieing to the public works so much better?

Politicians are getting pretty good at making up shit these days.  It might be just because the nominations are going on within the GOP that we see most of it happening by Republicans.  Regardless of the reason, the rate at which republicans are lieing is getting ridiculous.  But before I get into those lies I know about by republicans I'll go on a hunt for lies by democrats.
Ah here is one source.

"Top 5 Democrat Lies – Economic Collapse By Design"

In brief they are complaining that Social Security was supposed to be voluntary.  That it was only supposed to be a max of $14. That that it was supposed to be tax free.  That it was supposed to be in a 'trust fund' and finally that the card was not supposed to be used for identification purposes.

So let me tackle the most stupid "lie" first.  The card being used for identification.  All this really did was legitimise the use that the card was being used for anyway.  I don't know about you but I learnt what my SS number was about the same time I learnt my home phone number as a child.  I can still ramble both off at the drop off a hat.

Next, that SS was supposed to be tax free.  Well lets combine this with "It was supposed to be voluntary" because when it ended up being a tax it stopped being tax free.  If you want to complain about this then you'll have to ask for very complicated tax laws because, for the most part, all taxes are pre tax.  If you have a complaint about this then complain that you pay taxes on the money you pay the state and federal government or that if you pay sales tax you've already paid tax on that money.  The list is endless.
The move from a 'trust fund' was part of a consolidation of government debt because and the program it was included in ended up reducing the number of Americans living below the poverty line from 22.2% to 12.6%.
Finally lets tackle the last figure of 1% of the first $1,400.  Honestly who thinks $14 a year is would cut it for social security?  Grandma can find more change left behind the cushions by the kids coming over then that.

Lets got to another article that deals with something more recent.

"The Only Reason Democrats Win Elections Is Because They Lie"

"How many times have we been shoveled the same old tired line that the $787 billion stimulus “saved or created” 3 million jobs? It’s been over a year now and the only thing everyone can agree on is there is no such thing as a “saved or created” job."
Hmmm lets look at the chart for job growth.

When Obama came into office the job market was hemeraging.  Over 2 million jobs where being lost in just the previous 4 months and yes it took 14 months to get job growth back into the positive numbers.  But even by the time that article was written job growth was not only clearly digging out of the hole from the previous administration but was there was about 100,000 more jobs being created a month then being lost.  In all at that point over 5 million jobs where created or saved.  Clearly if you think unemployment is still doing what it did at the end of the Bush administration then you need you pull your head out of 2009 and join the rest of us in 2012.

The article goes on and its crazy.  The author's source for information is "FOX NEWS" which is so good at getting the facts straight and presenting a "fair and balanced" reporting if by "fair and balanced" you mean being idiots.

"Obama’s Social Security Fear Mongering Exposes Democrat Lies About The Solvency Of The Program"

The author clearly doesn't understand the social security program because the problem is we are paying out more then SS is taking and there hasn't been a "trust fund" since the late 60's so there is no way in hell any democrat should say there is 2.3 trillion dollars in such a fund.  What is the truth is that the social security funds are in securities that are guaranteed by the federal government.  What this means is that the government uses the money and promises to give it back when needed.  So those securities are counted at debt and if the government runs out of money social security goes tits up because the government can't pay those securities when required.

So here is a lie that isn't a lie just a idiot not understanding the topic he is trying to write about.
OK, I've read through a heap of articles that all amounted to hand waving, most calling some democrat a liar without actually showing where they've actually said something that was a lie.
Now lets look at some Republicans.

Rick Santorum. 

Here is what he says.
" In the Netherlands people wear a different bracelet if you're elderly and the bracelet is 'do not euthanize me.' Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, but half the people who are euthanized every year, and it's 10 percent of all deaths for the Netherlands, half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don't go to the hospital, they go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, that they will not come out of that hospital if they go in with sickness."

First they are no such bracelets.  There are "do not resuscitate" items that some people wear maybe he's just confused there.

Second it isn't 10% of deaths that are via euthanasia it is about 2.1% or specifically 3,136 cases out of about 146,000 cases.  Just a factor of 5 he's off by there.

He says that half are involuntary where as the records show that there where only 9 cases that didn't follow protocol.  Not that they where involuntary just that all the rules had not been met.  But lets say those 9 wanted to live to help old Ricky boy.  9 cases out of 3,136 is .3% so the claim that 50% is off by at least 150 times.  In reality the protocol is very strict and if not followed can result in a charges being brought against the physician.
If you are wondering what the protocols are here they are

  • The patient's suffering is unbearable with no prospect of improvement 
  • The patient's request for euthanasia must be voluntary and persist over time (the request cannot be granted when under the influence of others, psychological illness or drugs) 
  • The patient must be fully aware of his/her condition, prospects and options
  • There must be consultation with at least one other independent doctor who needs to confirm the conditions mentioned above
  • The death must be carried out in a medically appropriate fashion by the doctor or patient, in which case the doctor must be present
  • The patient is at least 12 years old (patients between 12 and 16 years of age require the consent of their parents)

He also told people in Puerto Rico that they could not become a state because there is a federal law mandating the use of English and even if there were, which there isn't, English is an official language of Puerto Rico and Required to be used in places like the Federal courts.

Rick claims children under the new health care changes will not be treated...Here is his exact quote
"It’s all about the usefulness of the person to society, instead of the dignity of every human life and the opportunity for people who love and care for people to give them the best possibility to have the best possible life."

Where he pulls this from only he and his 'God' knows.  The fact is that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act makes sure that children, not only the children of the rich, have access to health care.  No one forces him or anyone else to use the benefits put in place.  It is there to make sure that people don't get dumped by their health insurance providers when they get need it the most.  Santorum and other Republicans want you to believe that it is bad for America.  To me the fact that millions of kids that were not covered before are now is a good thing.

I could go on but bringing up the "Death panels"  and other crap is just beating on a dead horse at this point.

Slander is ok but facts are not?

Apparently its ok to call Sandra Fluke a slut on national radio but to point out Newt's wife is white is "racist".

Back on March 4th Newt Gingriche said this in response to Rush Limbaugh comments about Sandra Fluke.

FMR. REP. GINGRICH: You know, David, I am astonished at the desperation of the elite media to avoid rising gas prices, to avoid the president's apology to religious fanatics in Afghanistan, to avoid a trillion dollar deficit, to avoid the longest period of unemployment since the Great Depression and to suddenly decide that Rush Limbaugh is the great national crisis of this week.

Yet today, the 22nd of March, just 3 weeks later he thinks that Robert De Niro's following comment
Robert De Niro: Callista Gingrich, Karen Santorum, Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady? Too soon, right?
warrants the President of the United States to apologise on De Niro's behalf.

Really?  A joke pointing out that the GOP candidates' wives are white is racist and warrants the president stepping in?

Lets see..rising gas prices....not the Obama administration's fault.  It is a globally regulated market and he is trying to put policies in place that will minimise the effect of gas prices on the average American.

The deficit due to Obama stopped us from the stupid downward spiralling unemployment rate he inherited from the Bush administration which brings us to unemployment which again wasn't Obama's fault in the first place.  Forget the fact that the Obama administration has almost got us dug out of that hole the Bush administration threw us into.

Get a grip.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The president can't lower the price of gas at the pump! What can he do though?

The president can't lower the price of gas at the pump! What can he do though?

Paying to much at the pump?
First lets clear something up.  The price of gas at the pump is set by a globally regulated market. Local conditions have little to do with the price of petrol. The oil companies scared the people in California into thinking that placing a tax on oil removed from the ground in California would raise the price of petrol at the pump and this is just an out right lie.  What would have happen in that situation would have been, at worst, that the companies would have been paying a fee for removing a limited natural resource to the Californian citizens and the price of petrol would go up by a hair.  That money could then be used to provide more services to the people of California.  Note that "fee/tax" which is paid by the oil companies in every other state and nation.  California just lets the oil companies rape their limited natural resources for free.  Most likely that tax would be absorbed by the global market anyway.  So if the price does goes up it is hedged over the entire world.  IE you might pay 1¢ more at the pump but the oil being removed might be taxed at a rate where the citizens of California would benefit by double digits.  Its kind of like paying an extra 35 cents at the pump to get a few dollars worth of benefits and services in other areas and the rest of the world makes up the difference.  That is the worst case scenario.  Most likely you'd not notice an increase directly due to that tax.

The same process also means that increasing oil production in the USA doesn't lower the price at the pump.  What it does do is provide more money to US citizens employed by the industry.  It can build up our reserves so that if there is a drastic change that OPEC causes we can buffer that a bit but that isn't a sustainable solution at this point and is more a buffer against some situation where supplies are limited.  Prices would still go up but there might not necessarily a limitation to supply.

So you might ask "How does the 'all of the above' policy does help me?"  As you reduce your dependence on petroleum based products you reduce the impact of the price rises of petroleum.  Let me demonstrate this with a simple thought experiment.

Say your electricity is produced 75% petroleum based and 25% based off of renewable energy, that aren't put on a global market like oil is, that if the price of oil goes up by 50% that you don't get slugged with a 50% increase because only 75% of the cost is effected by the price of petroleum based products.  So instead of a change of 50% you only get slugged for 37.5% increase.

Say your car is a ford focus.  You drive an average of 15,000 miles in a year mix of city and highway driving you would use about 500 gallons of petrol say at a cost of $4 a gallon your up for $2000.  Now if petrol jumps to $5 a gallon then your annual fuel cost jumps by $500 or ~$10 a week.  Not really rocket science here.  So what can you do?  Well go for the hybrid ford focus and your buffered.  Your bill is over 25% less to begin with so instead of $2,000 a year you are only talking about $1,500 a year, $500 cheaper.  But that increase of petrol from $4/gal to $5/gal means you only pay $375 more a year.  At the end of the day the you're still spending less at the pump after the increase in price then you where before the increase with the non hybrid version of the car.  You can go one step further and get a full electric version of the car.  Then your cost go from $2,000 or $1,500 a year to about $600 a year and get this...no emissions.  You will pay a bit more for it at the dealership but after government rebate you are talking 4-5 years of fuel savings if prices don't climb, less time if they do.

Now you might say "Why should I spend more upfront?"  Well you are insulating yourself from the changes for 1.  Second there is no emissions.  Third they are putting all the bells and whistles on this car so many of the options on a normal focus like the sat nav, dual-zone climate control, parking sensors and others come standard.  If that is still not good enough there are other similar cars you can get for less money to include the volt, Nissan LEAF and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV.  The Mitsubishi costing less then a non hybrid focus after the government rebate but its honestly a bit to "European" for most Americans I think.  Baby steps.  Go for a car that looks like it isn't a small European car.

Remember too that this technology is still pretty new and as the market gets a bit more mature technological advancement will bring the cost down even further.

I'll end it on home efficiency.  If you are still using incandescent light bulbs get off them.  If you leave your lights and tv's on...turn them off.  If you can ... get solar panels.  I've read papers on people who have gone effectively off the grid by a combination of solar panels and relatively simple changes to their power usage.  One professor at Berkeley paid for the whole conversion of his house by adding it to his mortgage.  You might think "The last thing I need to do is add to my mortgage." but think about this.  The amount of money he now saves from the conversion is more then the increase to his mortgage.  Another big difference is one day he'll pay off his house but if he didn't convert he'd still be paying his ever increasing power bills for the rest of his life.

If, after reading all this, you say to yourself "But it is all to hard!" or make up some other excuse then do me a favour.  Don't blame the President of the USA when you are at the pump and don't whine about your power bills at home.  You choose to drive a gas guzzling people mover and complain about gas prices then  STFU about the price of petrol.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

You should know who the major supporters of your candidate are!

One of the biggest problems with a super pac is that it allows millions upon millions of dollars to be funnelled into the political process, which is bad enough on it's own, without a requirement of identifying where that money comes from.  This means a candidate can have "supporters" that have a HUGE amount of financial influence on the candidate and the American public will have no idea what type of people are influencing a candidates position.

It doesn't matter if you are pro-life or pro-choice, anti-gay or a LGBT supporter, pro-big business or pro-middle America, a corporation or a real life flesh and blood person.  If a candidate has supporters donating millions upon millions of dollars to a candidate or a super pac supporting that candidate then you have a right to know about that support because you would have to have a hole in the head the size of a base ball to think that those people don't have a unbelievably large amount of influence over the candidate's political stance.  If you are against gay marriage I'm sure you'd want to know if your "family values candidate" received large amounts of money from prominent gay activists.  If you say to yourself "No, I don't need to know about that because it won't influence my candidates position!" then please immediately proceed to a mirror and check your forehead for that hole right now.

Obama has led the way.  Picking what I would call the lesser of 2 evils which is accepting fund from super pac but requiring them to reveal their major donors.  In effect the super pac becomes less of a super pac and more of a normal political fund raising tool.  Obama gets funding to compete with the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent by the top 1% for the GOP candidates and still the American people get to see what type of "company" the candidate, running for the top political position of the USA, keeps.

It amazes me that right wing media like Fox News will use Obama accepting super pac donations as a negative position but have no problem with all of the GOP candidates using funds from super pacs.  It is just one more, in a long line of, tools that apparently the GOP candidates are allowed to use freely but if Obama uses them then it is some how Un-American.

I'm always torn because I want both parties to put forth a candidate that, at the end of the day, I could accept as president.  This time I'm really torn because, while I like some of the things that done under Mitt Romney's term as governor of MA, his stance on corporations and capital gains disgusts me along with his seeming disconnect from the average American.  He seems to be a stereo typical politician that will say anything, no matter how stupid, and isn't afraid to repeat said stupid comments.  How he can pander to the people of Michigan about how he loves American cars while he still defends his "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" stance is beyond me.

What is even more disturbing to me is how one of Mitt's major supporters is so actively, and successfully, killing people freedom of speech via use of a almost bottomless pit of money used to threaten people with legal action over legitimate free speech issues.

It disturbs me that many American's, and honestly many people's around the world, don't really know what "Freedom of Speech" actually means.  It doesn't mean that I can say something about my neighbour like "Joe bloggs likes to perform sexual acts with goats!" when there is no evidence to that fact.  But if you are a public figure the bar is a bit lower.  Not to say I can say things like "Richard Gere likes to use gerbils for personal pleasure".  But if a person makes a public stance against the LGBT community by putting up billboards all over the state it is not defamation to point out that that person is against LGBT rights.

Read a short article here on Frank VanderSloot  or a very good long article here and see how he repeatedly uses very questionable tactics to suppress other peoples 1st Amendment rights and understand that Mitt Romney is VERY close to this man.  I'm not part of the "liberal media". I'll let someone be a bigot if they are one but if you put yourself out there and become a public figure then try to suppress my 1st amendment rights to point out to the world your bigoted views that you've already made known in the public domain then you can take your billions of dollars and see if it gives you pleasure to use in a way that some people say Richard Gere uses gerbils.

Contact your politicians and let them know you support the Disclose Act and over turn the "Citizens United" which should have been named "Corporations United".  Corporations might be considered people but they don't have the rights of a full Citizen yet....tho I'd argue they have stronger rights then real people like you and me.