Wednesday, March 27, 2013

SCOTUS And Gay Marriage

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that America is supposed to be the Land of the Free.

Maybe that's a rather conservative value to be held by someone as admittedly non-traditional as myself, but these United States were founded upon the idea that individuals may pursue happiness in their own way, without government intervention.

So you'll forgive me if I'm just plain sick and tired of same-sex marriage even being an issue anymore. Yes, I appreciate everyone on Facebook putting up pink pictures with equal-signs on them as a show of solidarity, but it shouldn't be necessary by now.

So you think it's against God's law?  Fine.  So then it's against the law - IN YOUR CHURCH. There's just plain nothing that necessitates that it be made the government's business, except some idiotic religious imperative which insists that those outside of said religion must conform to that creed's moral edicts. And if this isn't enough to make a sane person vomit, the aforementioned religion serves up an ipecac cocktail by dragging the government into it, as if what goes on in a person's private life is ever the government's damned business. You want to prevent gays from getting married? Here's how you do it Mr. or Mrs. Christian: You go out and  preach the gospel to the gay people. And when they've been brought to the Lord, they can repent. That's your job! How DARE you ask Uncle Sam to do your evangelizing for you!

Look, I know that our government loves assholes. That's no reason for it to get so jealous when certain assholes get fucked by someone other than the usual politician. Okay, maybe you happen to be someone who thinks that homosexuality is icky. Okay, fine. But then so are nose piercings. So are Speedos worn by fat people. So are those ridiculous pants which hang three feet down off the asses of inner city ghetto punks. But these gross and disgusting things are perfectly legal, and none of the government's business. And that's the way it should be.

Let me illustrate something about gay behavior, because there is a genetic component. Oh, not always, and not each time to the same degree, but most gay people are born, not made. I could go into detail here about what science says about homosexuality and genetics, but that would take too long. Just be informed that genes play a role in our sexual tastes, and that being the case, nearly all animals show occasional homosexual tendencies. Go look it up. A volume titled, "Biological Exuberance" is an excellent resource.

The puzzling thing comes with how homosexuality manifests itself with humans. A much larger percentage engages in this behavior in our species than in other animals. Why might that be? Part of the answer might lie in the occasional straight person who turns to homosexuality as a means of escaping the foibles of the other gender. More than one lesbian has told me that she prefers men, but can't stand male shit. But this is a minority within the gay community. The real answer comes from evolution.

If a person is born in a society where homosexuality is repressed, perhaps to the point where gays are killed on sight, a person born gay has a real dilemma. How do they survive in a world where they are outlawed? The answer is obvious: pretend to be straight! For centuries, this is exactly what took place. Gay men married and fathered children because that's what they were expected to do. Gay women didn't get a vote in the process. But that meant that the gay genetic code survived, multiplied and thrived! Today, the result is that this genetic tendency has reached a kind of critical mass, where there are too many to be kept silent any longer.

In other words, if the religious right wishes to condemn the homosexual rights movement, it has only itself to blame for creating that movement in the first place!

Oh, religion could have done the smart thing by not condemning homosexuality.  You see, gays do not breed naturally, meaning that gay people born with that tendency would have, in ages past, simply died childless. But that age has passed, and the Internet and medical science has made certain that gay people can propagate. In a world ridiculously overpopulated, having a percentage of people who don't breed naturally isn't such a bad thing.

But for the religious, it's too late. They went and took a huge dump right where they eat. Too bad. The debate is over. It's only the die-hards who will continue to fight over it. But rest assured...

...the day is soon coming when it will be the Christians who must stay inside the closet for fear of being ridiculed!



Monday, March 25, 2013

The 2nd Amendment

Well, I've been away from this blog during the eight or so weeks it's taken me to complete a machinist training program, and I'm glad to be back. Hello, people! I've missed you! And a few things have taken place over that stretch of time, not least of which is the slow strangulation of the outrage over the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.  New gun control legislation has gone from a near certainty to an almost certain impossibility, demonstrating the principle that if it wasn't headlined in the news yesterday, it won't get legislation passed today. Outrage, it seems, only lasts until the next episode of How I Met Your Mother goes on the air, and the empathy of the general public dries up almost as soon as the blood on the pavement does.

It also demonstrates the overwhelming power of gerrymandering - oh, excuse me, I meant to say vote stealing. Enough members of congress are more scared of what their illegitimately twisted districts will think than of what the people in their state think overall. Thus, something with overwhelming public support, such as the regulating of gun show sales, gets much less support than it deserves because the buckshot-redneck minority gets a disproportionately loud voice. Maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I really don't think the founding fathers of this great nation intended to give veto powers to the NASCAR crowd.  It's time the hicks took their thumbs off the scales.

Let me clarify what the 2nd amendment truly means, because as usual, most people miss the point. Yes, it's true, the 2nd amendment does protect a citizens' right to buy and own firearms. The intention at the time was to make sure states had well-regulated militias comprised of volunteer fighters, but that's both ancient history, and beside the point. The right to own guns is ours, period. That much is settled.

How-EVER! The second amendment also says nothing, nothing regarding the re-sale of said gun to another party. In other words, while the second amendment may protect your right to buy and own a firearm, it does not protect your right to turn around and sell that gun to someone else! So, if the government insists on all re-sales being brokered through it's own, little bureaucracy, can it do so?

The answer is, hell yeah! Not only is the government entirely within its bounds, but I argue it has an obligation to do so!

The NRA can claim many things about regulating re-sales at gun shows, but it cannot claim protection of 2nd amendment rights. The right to re-sale just plain not in there! It can claim that it's a bad idea on moral principle, or it can argue that regulating gun sales in an infringement on free trade, or it can argue any number of other angles - but it cannot argue 2nd amendment!

The regulation of gun re-sales is absolutely Constitutional!

So back off, NRA! Stand down, Sarah Palin! And Ted Nugent? Fuck off, will ya buddy? You're just a musician, after all!

So, you want to own a gun? Fine. You want to sell that gun? Go get a license!

Either that, or wait until your local municipality's next gun buyback program.



Monday, March 11, 2013

Okay, YOU Balance The Budget! (Part II)

Two years ago, I outlined what it's like to be the one to balance the nation's budget.  Back then, the government was threatening shutdown over increasing the debt ceiling.  It was overwhelmingly clear then that it was impossible to balance the national checkbook without cutting spending AND raising taxes both.  Now, with the sequester underway, and with various areas of government all feeling the pinch, it seems relevant for me to re-visit the idea.  Republicans have drawn a line in the sand regarding spending cuts rather than tax increases.  Is this even possible?  Or is the current situation similar to the one of two years ago?

Indeed, the situation is exactly the same.  Here are the projected numbers for 2013, courtesy of the Congressional Budget Office:

2,902 billion in revenues (that's incoming taxes).
3,803 billion in outlays (that's government spending).
901 billion in deficit (that's the amount we're spending too much of and putting on the nation's credit card).

That means that balancing the budget would involve raising our current tax revenue by one-third of today's levels (31%), or else slashing about one-quarter (23.7%) of national spending.

2,293 billion is mandatory spending, while 1,510 billion is discretionary.  In other words, one would have to jettison two-thirds of our discretionary spending in order to balance the budget.

That's not as bad as two years ago, when balancing the budget meant dealing with a deficit which was half the nation's income, and nearly all discretionary spending.  The numbers are moving in the right direction.  Obama kept his promise of cutting the nation's deficit in half by the start of his second term (it just happened after the election was over, that's all).  But we're still in dire straits.

And it's still impossible to balance the budget without cutting spending and increasing revenues both!

The one number which is worse is the national debt.  It now stands projected at $17.5 trillion for 2013, up from $14.8 trillion in 2011.  The debt increase is leveling off, which is good, but is still increasing and that's bad.  Plus we're paying interest on all that, and that's even worse.  This, more than anything else, makes the need for increasing revenues of paramount importance.

What part of "no choice" do Republicans not understand?

Any lines in the sand which have been drawn over not increasing revenues are just that - lines in the sand; the transient, shifting, impermanent, wind-blown dust. Increasing revenue is not off the table, as Republicans will insist, but is rather welded to the table!  Any chin-boogie to the contrary is nothing but monkey-chatter.

Now here's where it really gets interesting: The entire 2012 presidential campaign was predicated on balancing the budget through closing loopholes in the tax code. Over and over again, Mitt Romney insisted that the budget could be balanced through tax reform, and this became the official Republican stance: closing loopholes did not constitute increasing taxes.

So why are they even bothering to fight over this now?  All Obama wants to do is close the tax loopholes that Mitt Romney wanted to close!

Ah, but the nation doesn't have a tax problem, say the so-called conservatives, it has a spending problem.  Bullshit! It has a spending AND a tax problem!

So, let's recap: Republicans are fighting over an issue they themselves campaigned in favor of in their attempt to unseat Barack Obama, one in which they have no choice but to capitulate upon, and they're willing to throw the entire nation under the sequestration bus in order to accomplish this.

Fucking really?

Peter Segal of NPR's news-quiz show, 'Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!' said it best: "Barack Obama set up the sequestration agreement on the premise that Congress would have to be crazy to allow it to happen.  Well, right there, you can see the flaw in the logic."

Indeed. Congress is bat-shit crazy!

Now, here's where my rant reaches a fever pitch: Why in frakkin' Hades did Newt Gingrich get to sit his smug fat-ass in front of David Gregory for twenty fucking minutes without having to confront ANY of this?!