Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Back Again! What Have I Missed?

It’s been a long time, but after another long hiatus I am back!

It’s hard talking politics all day and debating over the net and in person. It can really get to a person after a while and really burn them out. So I took a break, focused on work, and silently watched as America (and the rest of the world) put on this lovely little absurd play. I laughed, I cried, I shouted, then I drank a beer and passed out. So let’s get down to it. What happened since my last post?

Government Shut Down:

Oh joy! Republicans have outdone themselves this time. They actually shut down the government because of their grievances with the Affordable Care Act.

When the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”, was due to be enacted the Republicans went on an all out assault and tried to stop it by shutting down the government. Many Republicans were on the TV at this time talking about how this was all about stopping “Obamacare”, yet others were saying that this was less about “Obamacare” and more about the debt ceiling or both. Debt ceiling debates aside, we all know why they wanted the shut down. It was simply an effort put forth to attempt a halting of funds to, or the down right dismantling of the Affordable Care Act.

Why would Republicans do this? Were the majority of Republicans all for this? Well, no they really weren’t at first, I think. Sure, many Republicans were against the ACA, even after a SCOTUS ruling which deemed the ACA constitutional. But a minority of House Republicans (Tea Party Republicans) were able coaxed the rest of their colleagues to take it one more step off the crazy edge. And thus the government shut down was born.

What is really funny about the whole Republican manufactured shut down is how after the shut down took place the Republicans were quick to respond to critics by saying that they never wanted to shut down the government and that it was the Democrats fault the government was shut down.

But the Republicans spent weeks and months talking about how they will shut down the government unless a law they didn’t like was repealed immediately. How in the world can they turn around and say they never wanted to shut down the government?

It’s like being in a dysfunctional, abusive relationship with someone. You demand that your partner do something that they can’t or otherwise don’t want to. So to get them to comply you threaten them with the ultimatum that they either comply or get injured. When they still don’t comply you start to beat them, all the while saying, “This hurts me more than it hurts you. I never wanted this, nor am I doing it. You’re doing it to yourself and you’re the one who wanted this. If only you just did what I told you to do, you wouldn’t have brought this on.”

What is even more absurd is the Republican attitude toward the shutting down of war memorials and national monuments and parks. They seemed to be more upset that veterans could not go to war memorials than the fact that their shut down was going to cost billions of dollars for the country. I thought this was somewhat interesting though. Republicans tout themselves as being extremely patriotic, and their attitude towards the fighting men and women of our military seems very loving and highly supportive. Republicans constantly talk about supporting the troops and how we wouldn’t have freedom without them.
Memorials Closed Due to Government Shut Down

Yet, when they aren’t fighting wars Republicans don’t seem to care about them. They come home after fighting questionable wars, and all they get is a pat on the back and sent on their way. Many of the troops who come home suffer from mental disorders they received due to the traumas of war. Many of them cannot find jobs, cannot get the healthcare they not only need but deserve due to VA hospital tie ups (another debacle created by Republicans), and many even end up homeless. But Republicans don’t seem to care about the health and status of our veterans at all. They only care about buildings made of stone and mortar that were erected to honor them, not the actual fighting soldiers. If they truly cared, then why would they try to cut funding for VA hospitals?

To drive the idea that this shut down was not their fault the GOP had photos taken of Republican law makers sitting down at one side of a long conference table, the other side was vacant essentially saying, “We’re here to fix this, but Democrats don’t want to.”
GOP "Ready to Compromise"

In the end a compromise was made though, one that would raise the debt ceiling and allow “Obamacare” to continue unhindered as planned. The Republicans lost their silly battle against healthcare, and the cost of the shut down to the country was $24 billion. All because they wanted to cry about something they couldn’t dictate.

Now that they lost that battle a new battle rages on to discredit the Affordable Care Act; the failure of the ACA website. Yes, the ACA website is one hell of a cluster fuck. With all of the problems it is having it really is hard to tell if the site is just being inundated with traffic from Americans who want to sign up for healthcare, or if the site just plain sucks.

Republican attacks against the site are filled with silly talking points that make them look pettier then you could imagine. They are attacking it by criticizing the President for the cost of fixing the ACA website, which is being reported as $634 million.

This is silly, because compared to the shut the ACA website has only cost 2.64% of the government shut down cost (if the numbers are being reported are accurate). Hmm, and they call themselves fiscally responsible when they can’t even tell that 24 billion is more than 634 million? Interesting.

NSA Spying:

Well, the cat’s out of the bag now, Mr. President! Thanks to 30 year old Edward Snowden, an EX analyst for the NSA, the entire world now knows that the United States of America has been spying not only on it’s own people, but the people and governments of other countries. How did this information get leaked? It got leaked because Edward Snowden was privy to this information and had access to sensitive documents, and he released them to The Guardian, exposing the NSA’s domestic and foreign spying efforts.

Currently, Snowden is living in Moscow, Russia after being given amnesty by Russian president, Vladimir Putin. This action by Putin was taken simply to stick a large bug up Obama’s ass, and it worked. Because of these actions Snowden is safe from American reprisal for the time being. And now the entire world knows of America’s spying, and they are not very happy about it to say the least.

German chancellor Angela Merkel is one of many world leaders that are particularly concerned about this spying revelation, especially now since we are discovering that the USA was spying on her cell phone conversations and what’s more sources say Obama knew about it.

Merkel has been in the news a lot recently because she is asking the President if these allegations are true. The White House of course has taken a firm stance on these accusations, and the NSA itself is denying that they ever briefed President Obama on Angela Merkel phone surveillance.
Angela Merkel and Barack Obama

First off come on, man. Obama had to have known about it, I’m sure he did allow it, and now I’m sure he is lying about it. I mean, the man renewed NDAA which expanded on indefinite detention and indiscriminate wire tapping. Then he went behind everyone’s back and signed into law the Monsanto Protection Act, knowing damn well that his constituency did not want him to do that. Yet, I’m not seeing very much anger on the Democrat side.

I have to share a story here. A friend of mine once bashed Bush, saying that he was wire tapping the American people and spying on us and detaining people indefinitely and that Bush was a real asshole for all of that.

So, just this summer I asked “What do you think of the NDAA being renewed and all the NSA revelations under this administration?” To which he replied, “Well PEOPLE in the GOVERNMENT have been spying on us for decades now, so it’s no big deal really. And I don’t mind it at all because I’m not doing anything that I shouldn’t be.”

WOW! What a change of heart! A Republican is in office and a Democrat assaults him verbally for establishing laws which make it easier for the government to spy on its own people. Then a Democrat gets into office, does the same exact thing, and it’s totally acceptable.

Remember folks, I’m no Obama-Yes-Man. I did vote for him, yes. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to defend his every action or inaction. This is just how it is.

Quite frankly, I believe that Obama is way more right-winged than anybody is willing to believe, and that this type of behavior is going to continue and many of us, Democrats and Republicans alike, are going to allow it.


So Syria was a big deal for me. When I heard about it I was pissed. “Here is our famous “anti-war president” dragging us into another unnecessary conflict”, I thought. I mean seriously folks, this is the guy who campaigned on Iraq being an unnecessary conflict that we should never repeat again, yet he wants to lob missiles into other countries?

Obama said that “no boots would touch the ground”, and he even had John Kerry try and explain to us that war is only war when troops are not on the ground fighting other soldiers. Since no boots are touching the ground, Kerry tried to explain to us, there is no real war. It’s just some missiles being fired, aimed at strategic points to cripple the other country’s regime and force them to surrender. That’s all, folks. No war here.
Kerry at Senate Hearing Discussing Syrian Intervention

It hurts my brain to think about it, but Mr. Kerry truly is one real son of a bitch for trying to get us to believe this nonsense. He clearly wants us to believe that there are no sailors who are going to be controlling these missiles. Are they not troops or part of our fighting forces during war time? Do they not feel the morality of what they do weighing on their shoulders? I guess not. How about pilots whose missions are to drop bombs or control drones? Are they not troops?

This reminds me of something, an anime called Gundam Wing. In the story there is a type of mobile suit created which does not require a pilot to control it manually from the inside of its cockpit or from a remote location. They are all controlled by computer and are for the most part autonomic. While these machines are out fighting wars in space against real people the citizens of the alliance which built the machines barely feel the true effects of the war and have essentially become separated from it in nearly every way.

That is how I feel when our politicians try to tell us that no boots on the ground means war cannot exist. I feel it is a dirty, underhanded trick that politicians find necessary to use when they want to start another conflict without their followers realizing what it really is.

Luckily though, we have had some seemingly good progress come out of this almost-conflict with Syria. The Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad has actually pledged to get rid of their chemical weapon stock piles and has said that he would like Syria to become apart of the Geneva Convention. I have to admit, I did laugh when I heard this. Only because I wasn’t sure if Assad would go through with it, however it seems that he is.

No news has been making it to the major media networks about that region for a while though…interesting.

So that’s about it for this blog, now that I’m back from hiatus stayed tuned for some more to come.

If you want you can follow me on Twitter @Turk_Reno

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