Friday, August 17, 2012

Obama and Romney are the Same: Really?

Since we’re in the heart of the presidential election season, and I am a supporter of Barack Obama, I am going to continue to blog politically, this one a direct follow up to a comment I received in my last blog. Here's what Just Jeff commented: 

I respect his opinion, but it's not one I've not heard before. No ardent Romney supporters comment my blog; there are very few enough out there. Lots and lots of folks who will vote for Romney (or Obama, for that matter) just consider their choice the lesser of two evils. They don’t really support the guy, they just think that since there’s not much difference anyways, they might as well vote the way they’ve usually done, for the party they think they support.  

Well, this blog is addressing the “there’s no difference” believers. To those who say that Romney and Obama are the same, that they both serve the same corporate masters, that they wish Ron Paul had been nominated, well... it didn't happen. Sorry.  Now what? Ron is not launching a 3rd party campaign.  He's been careful not to criticize Romney.  If not Gary Johnson, then between Obama and Romney, if you think they're both the same, how do you decide? I want to point out to you in 26 points how your two remaining candidates differ. Alphabetically. They ARE different; from A to Z. 

 The A to Z of how Obama and Romney differ.

  A: AFGHANISTAN. Can you remember less than a year ago when the last US troops left Iraq? As a peacenik liberal, I was very disappointed that Obama announced that his “withdrawal” in 2009 would leave 60,000 American troops in country. Then, bam!, what seemed like out of the blue (but was actually in accordance with agreements we’d made with the sovereign powers in that country), we up and left, entirely. Oh, how Romney called this a mistake by Obama to leave Iraq. Point being, we have a similar agreement with Afghanistan for the year 2014, wherein we’re gone. Shoulda done it 10 years ago, but that said, based on how Romney viewed to protocols with Iraq, I doubt he’d leave the Republican’s favorite war just because some piece of paper told him to. Difference A: in his second term, Obama will get us out of Afghanistan like he did Iraq. Romney will not.  

B. BIRTH CONTROL. Romney has stated on television that he supports a “personhood” amendment that would outlaw the most popular forms of birth control (like the pill) as well as invitro fertilization. Romney also supports an employer exempting itself from the law of the land when it comes making sure that your company-supported health insurance provides coverage for perscription-only birth control (the pill, for many women, the only perscription they take). Difference B: Romney is anti-Birth Control

  C. COAL. Recently, Romney himself said Obama was on a “War on Coal”. Well, I’m not sure if that’s 100% true, but I sure hope it is. Sorry my brothers in West Virginia and environs, Coal is 19th Century fuel that we cannot support in this world of global warming. We need to do everything we can to get OFF coal, not just because it destroys entire mountains and watersheds through "mountaintop removal", but because it is the worst carbon offender when it comes to fuel sources. Heck, why not just go ahead and support wood-burning power sources?!? Difference C: Coal policy, for which we’ll take Romney’s word. 

 D: DIVERSITY. Let’s face it, the Republicans are the party of white people trying to defend white privilidge. Sure, there are lots of people of color who support the Republicans for their social or fiscal conservatism, but ever since the “Southern Strategy” of Nixon (and leave it to a guy like Tricky Dick to come up with this), a large part of the Republican strategy for winning national elections is to prey upon the fears and prejudices of the white majority. Fear of “The Other” is a natural human tendency, rooted deep in our primal concern for our tribal allegiances and fears that those strangers who look different than us will knock us out of our supporting territory. The Republicans have overtly tried to tap into that fear for 40 years in their attempts to procure power, kinda ironic for the party of Lincoln. The Democrats, by and large, are for overcoming the primal fears of our ancestors and moving forward to embrace the strength and vigor of diversity. Difference D: Romney courts those who fear those who look different; Obama looks different. 

 E. ENERGY. Every president in the last 40 years has said we need to ween ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil. None have succeeded. At least Obama supports things like ending the tax subsidies for big oil, something the Republicans oppose. Stopping oil pipelines due to environmental concerns also shows that Obama is not a slave to the oil interests. Sure, our current president could have done better when it comes to a progressive energy policy, but certainly a Republican like Romney would have done worse. Difference E: Energy policy

 F: FREEDOM: One very valid concern I’ve heard from several they’re-both-the-same friends is Obama’s continuance of Bush-era tendencies to allow for civil rights abuses within the USA. Many point to the NDAA from earlier this year as an example of how our government now has unprecedented ability to arrest, detain and oppress American liberties. Now, no one is saying these oppressions are actually HAPPENING. Unlike the Bush presidency, where we wire-tapped, monitored and actively broke the freedoms of American citizens, the Obama Justice Department has done LESS to impinge upon American freedoms whilst perhaps increasing their ability to do so. Sure, the executive branch has become even more powerful under Obama. Do we really want to turn these expanded discretionary executive powers over to the likes of Romney? Would he be so restrained? As most of this national security team are remnants of Bush-Cheney years, I think not! Difference F: Obama has not abused American freedoms  

G. GDP. Do you remember what people were talking about back at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009? Personally, I remember a conversation with my parents when people were fearing that the big company I worked for was on the bring of collapse. They told me I could move into the basement it everything fell apart, which seemed like a distinct possibility. We were on the very edge of the complete collapse of our economy due to the policies of the Bush Administration. Romney is proposing going back to those policies. It’s really difficult to credit someone for preventing something that might have happened but did not, but however much flak Obama has received for not shepherding a robust recovery, the kept our country from collapsing into the abyss of a 21st Century Great Depression. He kept me out of my parents’ basement. He’s grown our GDP for 3 years straight after seeing it decline at that critical transition 4 years back. Difference G: Gratitude, with me being thankful he kept me from losing my job.  

H. HEALTHCARE: How can anyone claim that the two candidates aren’t any different when the challenger openly declares that one of his priorities is to undo the most significant legislation passed under the incumbent administration? We’ll leave aside all the similarities between Massachusett’s Romneycare and Obamacare and just take Mitt at his word that he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He wants to allow for insurance companies to reject clients for pre-existing conditions. He wants to repeal the ability for young people to stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26. He wants to allow for lifetime caps and allow insurance companies to drop people when they get sick. He wants to abandon the idea of state exchanges, wherein citizens who cannot get insurance from their employer can buy reasonably priced policies through the power of their strength in numbers. Sure, the ACA was not all it could be, but it was a step in the right direction and Romney wants to get rid of it. Difference H: The ACA.  

I. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: It seemed like during the Bush years, we saw footage on TV of street protests burning the American Flag as weekly events. From Morrocco to Mongolia, nobody liked America. In recent years, when we’ve done stuff like invaded Pakistan to get bin Laden or just had stuff happen like American soldiers accidentally, or South Carolina preachers purposefully burning Al Qu’ran, there have been the occasional DOWN WITH AMERICA protests, but all in all, no one will deny that our respect, influence and standing in the community of nations has improved under Obama. Now, some might say that’s not even important, we shouldn’t CARE about world opinion, but I’m not speaking to them. Furthermore, although we can’t say what a Romney presidency would produce in that regard, but if it’s anything like his recent foreign jaunt, I’m scared. Difference I: The World love Obama; Romney pisses people off.  

J. JURISTS: One of the most important roles of the President is to nominate Supreme Court Justices. I think it is somewhat sad that the judicial wing of our government has become so predictable based upon the political leanings of its justices, but given this climate of impartiality, who gets appointed next is of major importance. Who can deny the importance of Supreme Court decisions on our everyday lives? Obama’s two nominees have purported themselves well. You may not think Obama and Romney are all that different, but whom they might nominate to the Court certainly will be. Difference J: Jurisprudence.  

So... That is A through J.. a little more than 1/3 rd of the way through the alphabet. I'll be back for more, or if you feel so inclined, rebutt my argument with K, L, M, N, or P with how the candidates are, as I've heard so many say "The Same"...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Republicans Call Senior Citizens “Inhuman”

The headline is sarcasm... sort of.  

Obama got in “trouble” today for making an off-handed joking reference to Mitt Romney putting Seamus the Dog on the roof of his car in a kennel some 29 years ago. 

  Here’s Obama’s exact words: “(Romney) said that new sources of energy, like wind, are ‘imaginary’. Governor Romney then explained his energy policy this way, and I’m quoting here: ‘You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it.’. . . Well I don’t know if he’s actually tried that. . . I know he’s had other things on his car. . .” Of course, the line drew laughs and Republican outrage. 

Then, the media spent all day debating whether or not this was a gaffe, whether the outrage is justified, whether or not that kind of ‘teasing’ is okay & pointing out that 68% of Americans disapprove of strapping a dog to the top of your car. 

  Lost in all this is the substance of the context. For intents and purposes, YOU CAN DRIVE A CAR WITH A WINDMILL ON TOP!!! Not literally, of course, but in case Governor Romney hadn’t heard, there are these great new devices called ELECTRIC cars. You plug them in at night to an electrical outlet that can get it’s juice…FROM WIND!!! So, in that sense you CAN drive a car with a windmill on top, and with climate change becoming an increasingly more apparent and dire reality, we need to get more of these electric cars on the road! Instead, we’re talking about dog jokes.  

Reverend Sharpton had the best take on how, with Ryan entering, the race has turned to a discussion of Medicare. “The race isn’t about Obama, it’s about yo momma.” Awesome.  

What I find interesting about how the Ryan budget destroys Medicare as we know it, is how it’s supporters try to justify the change to all-important senior vote. They say over and over about how the proposed changes do not effect anyone 55 years or older. How can these seniors be so opposed to turning Medicare into a voucher system? It won’t effect them? It’s only us young whippersnappers who won’t be able to get Medicare! See, Republicans, American seniors are capable of a very simple human emotion, one of the very things that differentiates human beings from animals. It’s called empathy

  Now, if I were on cable news, I would say: “REPUBLICANS DENY THE VERY HUMANITY OF OLDER AMERICANS”.  

Point being, yeah, a senior whose on a fixed income with limited resources will oppose ending Medicare for people twenty years younger than them, maybe even after said senior won’t even be around, because they can imagine what it’s GOING TO BE like for the next generation because they are in that circumstance right now. I would even go as far to say that it’s even easier for a young person to vote in a way that’s against their own interests 20 years from now than it is for a someone twenty years older to vote those interests for someone else who will be in that position in 20 years. They can empathize twenty years down the road. 

  So, every time you hear a Republican try to appeal to a senior citizen voter by saying that NONE of the proposed changes effect anyone over the age of 55, what that Republican is actually saying is that seniors should just be selfish, heartless and not care about the next generation. 

Who cares if it’s screwing over your children, it’s not screwing YOU over, right? You shouldn’t have EMPATHY. You shouldn’t be a human being!  

I’m wondering if, under a Romney/Ryan regime, the “Grade B” eggs in my fridge would qualify for “personhood”?

Monday, August 13, 2012

What You Didn't Know About the 2012 Olympics

So the Olympics are over for another two years, and even with the 73,495 hours of TV coverage on 17 channels, I’ll bet you didn’t know most of these interesting facts about the Summer games. I blog to inform and educate!  

1. The sheep that were featured in the opening ceremony were each given carrot medals, then slaughtered for a communal mutton stew feast in the spirit of the traditional British cultural celebration of the closing ceremonies.  

2. Usain Bolt, the greatest sprinter in history, changed his name when he got serious about his sport. His birth name was “Norman Sloepolkipants”  

3. 85 countries won at least one Olympic medal. 119 countries won ZERO medals, and tied for last place.  

4. 204 “countries” competed in the games. There are 196 independent countries in the world.  

5. Michael Phelps loves swimming, but hates getting wet. 

6. Olympic athletes are tested for performance enhancing drugs, but even with Oscar Pistorius, an open “Bladerunner”, competing, there are no tests to determine whether or not any of the athletes are actually androids.  

7. Bob Costas won his 3rd consecutive gold medal in Olympic commentating. Here he is destroying Al Michaels in the finals of the “how to hold your microphone” event. Such poise. Such grace.
8. With Brazil hosting the games in 2016, transgendered athletes will finally be permitted to compete. 

  9. Carrie and Missy not only won a 3rd consecutive gold in beach volleyball, they also set a record for tiniest uniforms!  

10. There are so many popular world sports that AREN’T included in the Olympic games, i.e., baseball, rugby, cricket, softball, darts, UFC, caber toss and bowling, we really need to review some of the sports that ARE included. Team handball? Archery? Dressage? Really?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fun With Time Lapse Video

Two months ago, I had my cable & internet shut off for a week due to lack of funds. Last month, that time was down to five days. This month, I only had to suffer two days of no-media between shut off date and payday. Whoohoo! Next month, I’ll be current.  

There are some definite upsides to having two days off concurrent with no TV or internet (throw in no gas money to go anywhere either). My apartment has never been cleaner (I vacuumed, twice!). Every single item of clothing I own is laundered. I finished two books this week (which means I’m out of reading material and must go to the used bookstore today). Heck, I’ve even lost 15 pounds due to this summer’s austerity induced diet of cheeseburgers being replaced by homemade chicken & rice (well, Rice-a-Roni or it’s generic equivalent. Love that stuff). 

  I even had a chance to explore some of the lesser used functions of my video camera, such as the time-lapse recording feature. 

I learned squirrels and cats make for poor time-lapse subjects whereas sunsets are awesome. Enjoy! 


Thursday, August 02, 2012

Return to the Return to the Ice Caves!

Had to break up Monday's travels into two videos. Here is the conclusion of my return to the Ice Caves of the Cascade Mountains.  

Any music experts out there, help me out. There are several "lead" instruments in the musical composition in this background music. I think they're primarily alto saxophone and oboe, but I can't be sure.