Thursday, November 8, 2012

What I Can't Understand

Candidate "A" entered the presidential race in 2008 as an amateur. He was virtually unknown -- a community organizer with zero business experience, a senator with minimal legislative experience, voted "present" on all controversial issues, and had a blemished but largely secretive past. Despite all those things, I can understand why the people elected him. We were exhausted from Bush, and we associated all things Republican with Bush. Candidate A used cushy words like "hope," "change," and "believe" and those words were exactly what many Americans needed to hear. I personally saw nothing but empty words. My primary reason for neglecting him as president was simply because I knew nothing about him and could find nothing from his past to suggest that he would succeed in his lofty promises.

Four years have passed and I wasn't proven wrong. He promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. Instead he spent more money than any other president previous to him, then blamed it on Bush for setting us on that spending path. But if the rate of spending were like driving a car, Bush was driving at 60 mph, and when Candidate A took the drivers seat he floored it to 300 mph. He lost America's AAA financial rating. He implemented universal healthcare, or the biggest tax increase on middle income families since the 1960's, by promising that it wasn't a tax, but then still touted it on the campaign trail after the Supreme Court ruled it, indeed, a tax. He fostered the greatest boost in numbers of the dependent society. He played over a hundred rounds of golf. Your and my taxes have spent more on his vacations than for any other first family, even compared against two-term presidents. He lost more jobs than he created. He spent trillions on green energy: Solyndra (bankrupt, cover-up), Fisker (outsourced, then bankrupt), the Chevy Volt ($80k to make, sells for $40k), and a list that is much, much longer of failed businesses. He ran guns to Mexican drug cartels which were used to kill American border agents and tried to cover it up, and he is currently in the midst of potentially the largest cover up in U.S. history regarding details of the Benghazi consulate attack.

I don't understand how that man could point to that record, which he did, and convince people that it was a success, which he did. How could a man with that kind of track record ever be re-elected?

But what is completely beyond my comprehension is how Candidate A beat Candidate "B".

Let's meet Candidate B. He is an open book. There are no secrets about his past. He is an exceptionally successful and authenticated business man, involved in creating household name companies such as Staples, Domino's Pizza, Sports Authority, Pizza Hut, Brookstone, AMC Entertainment, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Dunkin Donuts, Sealy, Toys 'R Us, Warner Music Group, Totes, and The Weather Channel all of which employ more people than jobs created by Candidate A. He later turned away from AMC Entertainment because he didn't want to profit from R-rated movies -- placing his morals before profits. He turned the deficit-ruined Olympics into a surplus, he sat in the Massachusetts Governor's seat with a $3 billion deficit, left four years later with a $2 billion surplus, all while not accepting the Governor salary. He is a proven economic turn-around machine! He gave away every penny of his inheritance to charity and then earned and exceeded the amount of his inheritance because of his savvy business skills, and still gives most of it away, and promised also to reject the presidential salary.

But if you're giving into the mainstream media hype, you're supposed to hate him because of the fruits of his success -- his wealth. You're supposed to hate him because he used the word "binders" when articulating the extra initiative he took to hire more women. And I cannot begin to fathom how MSNBC can demonize him for giving supplies to hurricane Sandy victims while many of them are screaming at Candidate A for neglecting to give them the help they need. You're supposed to hate him for helping others. You're suppose to hate him because that's what you're told to do.

If we kept the names of the candidates anonymous and only showed a brief list of their accomplishments and you were required to vote on those merits alone, I can't even imagine that Candidate A would win. I'll give him credit for 2 of his kept promises: that gas prices would "necessarily skyrocket," and that we would have to pass the healthcare reform bill before finding out what's in it. I know, that was Pelosi, but I get the same skin-crawly feeling.

And before you bring in social issues like abortion, gay rights, women's rights, racism, etc, stop the bullcrap train right there. Another thing the mainstream media is imprinting on your brain is that Conservatives want to control your lives. This is, in fact, the Liberal's very agenda and the very antithesis of Conservatism. At the core of Conservatism (and Christianity, especially Mormonism) is what is called "Free Agency" or freedom to choose, and an understanding that our choices bring certain consequences. We are far more interested in stopping the government from controlling our lives than we are in controlling your life. Simply put, we don't want to pay our taxes to fund your personal lifestyle, and we don't expect you to do it for us either. Believe it or not, there are Conservatives who are anti gun, homosexual, vegetarian, atheist, pro-healthcare reform, etc. These Conservatives simply don't buy guns, they quietly lead their lives, they don't eat meat, they don't go to church, and they shop for their own healthcare. Compare that with Liberals who fight for the outlawing of all guns, demand legislated respect, try to ban meat products for everyone, want any mention of God and religion silenced, and demand that everyone pay for their healthcare. They launch attacks on Fox News and anyone else that disagrees with them while Conservatives simply change the channel. Don't tell me that we are trying to control your lives. The government (we the people) is not a piggy bank to solve your problems, it is the problem. I could care less if you have an abortion, or if gays marry each other, or if you don't believe in God. I believe there are consequences for those actions, but you disagree, so who cares? Take a lesson from Conservatives and don't force me to publicly accept and pay for your lifestyle, and we won't force you to publicly accept ours. It is selfish to demand funding for your lifestyle choices when that money should be used to help people that actually have real problems like poverty, homelessness, job-loss, and natural disaster devastation.

And how is that war on women going for you? It must be hard to make us look like the bad guys in that fight when you have Candidate A telling women to "vote with your lady parts," and launching an official campaign ad that compares voting to losing your virginity. Then Sandra Fluke really helped your cause by demanding that the government (which means you and your money) pay for her loose lifestyle so that she can be judicially negated of any and all consequences for her personal choices. Yes, of course, it's your choice and your body, so why do you need my money? It must be tough to maintain your image as "on the side of women" when you consistently objectify them.

The point I'm trying to make here is that our country is a sinking ship. The giant hole on the bottom of the ship is the economy. If that isn't fixed the whole thing goes down and your favorite social issue isn't going to matter any more. Your argument that Conservatives, and not Liberals, are trying to control everyone's life is a spoon-fed load of crap. When are you going to learn that forcing people to do what you think is right is a form of universal repression, and not the progression you extol?

So congratulations, America. You chose Candidate A again. You chose a man who has failed miserably in everything he has done over a man who has succeeded in almost everything he's done. You think the world owes you something. You think the government should legislate your (and my) life and give you what you need. You, who voted for him are more interested in a partisan victory and a country that fulfills your demands to the standard that you want. I don't doubt that many of you are hard-workers -- it isn't my intention to attack your character, aside from evidence pointing to the contrary. I just feel like you lost sight of the big picture this time. Candidate A will give you what you want, but at what cost? And I'm not just talking about money. Your independence is on shaky ground.

But speaking of money, here are the taxes associated with the Affordable Care Act. Enjoy that. Human Resources gave a presentation to us at work about the changes to our benefits in 2013 due to CandidateACare; they were especially upset about their Flex fund being cut in half. There was a whole lot of uproar, and I couldn't help but think to myself that most of them voted for the man who put it in place and will probably re-elect him too. If you think the Affordable Care Act is actually affordable, you're delusional. Keep an eye on the gross vs. net balance of your paychecks for a while -- you'll start to see a difference.

But I can't really get too angry at average Americans. I mean, just take a look at the popular vote map:
Something is wrong.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mormon? Or, More man?

I'll just say it: If you're a Mormon and you're voting for Romney just because he's a Mormon, you're dumb. If you're not voting for Romney just because he's a Mormon, you're dumb. A person's religion should rarely, if ever, be the basis for voting them into a political office (unless they say something crazy like "the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam," but that would be just INSANE!).

I have a lot of Mormon friends who are not voting for Romney, and I don't mean that in the "I'm-not-racist-many-of-my-friends-are-black" sort of way. I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 5 years--I was a freakazoid outcast at church, politically speaking. But I have a lot of friends from there whom I respect and love, and they are no Romney supporter by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm okay with that.

So here's my beef:

Any LDS person will tell you that the mainstream media's attempt to really understand and positively expose Mormonism generally miss the mark. Inaccuracies overfloweth the cup of misunderstanding, but I think that, as a collective community, we've come to accept that that will happen, and we try our best to personally represent what the church really is about. It's getting more personal now, as the media is using the Mormon card as a basis for an argument that Romney should not be president because of the "wacky" beliefs that he holds. Whatever, I expected that. But I'm seeing a very disturbing trend among many of my Obama supporting Mormon friends--the relaying of articles, blogs, and videos through the channels of Facebook that are not accurately representative of the fundamental Church doctrines, but are expressly intended to make Romney look bad through the lenses of his beliefs, which we share.

I don't care which candidate you support, but I wish we could unite to keep our religious values strong. Remember, you're voting for a secular leader, not a Bishop. Instead of passing along some garbage that demeans our community in the hopes that it will convince others to sway to your political leaning, let's work together to keep the below-the-belt religion fight a non-factor. May I remind you that "We believe . . . that Christ will reign personally upon the earth." At which point, our worldly political parties will no longer exist and we will have One leader (yes, anti-religionists, similar to a Dictatorship, only sans corruption).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

SCOTUS, POTUS, and other things that make me giggle

I make serious, conscious effort to be a thoughtful, well-rounded, and educated person. I really try. Some days I have to remind myself to try. Like today, when I learned that the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare constitutional.

I believed that Obamacare was unconstitutional, but I would be an idiot to argue that now. Luckily, The Supreme Court did strike down the unconstitutional mandate, thus satisfying my desire to be right about something. Unfortunately they also ruled that if we were to simply change the term "individual mandate" to "tax" that then it magically becomes constitutional. Ok, whatever, so it's constitutional now, but it's still bad medicine. The philosophy of universal healthcare is great, but it just doesn't work. There are just too many problems that I don't feel like addressing right now. Just ask Canada.

And believe me (I know you won't believe this, but it's true!), I tried to see the good in this. I thought, "ok, maybe it's not so bad and I'm just being a regular ole' stubborn cynic, per usual." But I couldn't wrap my head around a few things.

For instance, now that it's a tax and not a mandate, I should be happy! Reason is, you see, because I don't make $250,000 annually, so my taxes aren't going to go up. Right, Barack? Oh, sorry, didn't mean to bring up yet another botched campaign promise . . . But I still should be happy, because the constitutionality has been proven and that was my only hangup! Except that your healthcare overhaul also includes several OTHER tax provisions in no way related to healthcare. Oh, well, at least I don't have to fund abortion! Oh . . . Stupak squealed . . . Moving on.

My first reaction was something like this: "&#IWKROPUFP(*Q&@#!*)@!*Y*HF{." That's more of a declaration of thunderstruck-tivity rather than a string of obscenity, by the way. Believe it or not, and maybe it's just pure naivety at it's finest, but of all the groups with political power, I think I trust the Supreme Court the most to make decisions. Of course they are probably swayed by their political convictions, but I think they are the best at pushing aside emotion and looking at straight fact. So here are some facts:

Obama and others adamantly denied that it's a tax before the bill is passed, because, seriously, a new tax would look bad and no one would have voted for it:

I would hardly consider a "mandate" more appealing, but what a clever way to disguise a tax. And now, "Obama say 'tax good!'" And followers say "tax was bad, now tax good." 

Please, do not be that person who supported Obama when he made the "it's not a tax!" argument, and then continue to stand by him when he says "See, it's a tax!" You look like a wagon-jumping idiot -- void of awareness, abundant with blind loyalty.

And now we have opened floodgates to the possibilities of the government's broad and ill-defined access to tax power. It would be even more scary to think about if, say, we had a president who was getting on-the-job-training after being elected by the American Idol generation who get their news from Comedy Central. It's not like electing an unknown senator who had zero legislative, business, economic, or leadership experience would be a bad idea, right?

Here's the kicker -- I actually think that Justice Roberts, who was the swing vote for this decision -- is helping the cause of the GOP, and maybe even on purpose. Read what he said about the decision:

“Members of this Court are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgments. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

In other words, "You're on your own, suckers!"

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Feeling Grumpy. So Grumpy Left.

I have a bunch of drafts written up from when I lived in Berkeley (you know, when I was bottled up by "well meaning peace-seekers" who hated me for having a different opinion) and I want to break them up into smaller, easily digestible word snacks because I think they are funny now that I'm in an environment that isn't as hostile to different views. But now, we have much *ahem* bigger problems: Midget fury.

According to The New York Post, the recent release of the film “Snow White and the Huntsman” has created serious uproar in the community of "little people." We all know that dwarves are an integral part of the story, but the actors playing them were actually “full-size.” For this reason, the Little People of America and dwarf actors are protesting the film, even threatening a “100-Midget March.” Dwarf actor Danny Woodburn is quoted to say, “this is akin to black face,” which was when white people would paint their faces black to portray black individuals.

I can't believe that society has become so over-sensitive.

By sensitive, of course, I mean that we would forget little people during such an economically deficient time. It's understandable that they would feel so shortchanged. Sources say that the Little People of America even offered to stunt the roles for minimum wage, but obviously they were easily overlooked. Some would suggest that the dwarves are being shortsighted and should just act like bigger men and walk away from this small creative licensed script change. Perhaps Woodburn just woke up on the wrong side of the shoebox, but he shouldn't have mounted a soapbox expecting to become a big voice sharing the same arena as those who have larger acting careers. Instead, they should look up to the actors chosen to portray the 7 dwarves and realize that, in comparison, their acting falls short. Perhaps this is just a poor attempt at trying to revive their minuscule career by demanding that tall people be discriminated against instead. But let's not jump to disproportionate conclusions and instead be very compact in our thinking. Why should we build up such a diminutive issue? We should empathize with their dilemma and try not to look down on them during the 100 midget march.

Does this mean that there will be a fat woman march in protest of Tyler Perry movies? Oh, who am I kidding?

Friday, March 16, 2012

The GOP "Elephant in the Room"

*Editor's note: I wrote this a llloooonnnngggg time ago. Way before the GOP primaries, so I'm not jumping aboard any bandwagon like a silly-nanny. Also, my failed attempts at humor should not be laughed at unless it's a courtesy laugh to bolster my ego.

There are really only two things that I talk about on this blog: religion and politics. So, I know you guys must be DYING to know my feelings about Mitt Romney and the whole "controversy" about whether or not he's electable because of his Mormonism. A topic I've been sort of quiet about, but you can be sure that I have an opinion. I'm quiet about it for good reason, I think. So, for all of you die-hard readers out there (hi, Mom!) I am interrupting the silence with my stinky brain farts of wisdom.

I am going to get right to the point and tell you the official Hardy GOP candidate endorsement (and we all know how much weight that holds). Remember long ago, when I said that I was hopeful for Herman Cain? Wow, that's funny! Anyway, what was I saying about just getting to the point? Oh yeah -- I give my official Hardy endorsement to Mitt Romney. I said it. I want the guy to win. Some of you are surprised. Some of you aren't. Some of you have indigestion. Some of you wonder how you ended up here. And one of you is wondering who the other "some" are that I'm referring to. Sorry, Mom, I don't know.

Here's why I've been quiet about it. Well, firstly, I hadn't really made my mind up until about a month ago. Secondly, I don't want anyone to even believe for a split second that I'm just giving my vote blindly to him because we are both Mormons. Not so. Harry Reid is a Mormon, and I desperately want him out of the senate seat of a state that I don't live in nor intend to live in. And I could give you a list a mile long of Mormons that I would not want to become president (starting with some of my very, very good friends, bless 'em).

Fourth, er, thirdly, I really don't think that Romney is the ideal candidate except in today's political climate. Meaning, he doesn't fly, doesn't save school buses from falling off cliffs, doesn't save kittens from burning buildings, but he does have fantastic hair. And furthermost, the man is a financial and echo-nomic genius, and THAT is what we need right now. We need a kick in the pants of the economy, instead of teases of economic stimulation that just leave the country feeling rather randy. And he's the best one to do it. And honestly, will there ever be the ideal candidate? I think not. But, I guess what I should have said is that he is the ideal candidate right now, because let's be honest, the changing political landscape calls for different types of leadership at different times. Have I lost you yet? Because I feel as lost as Obama without a teleprompter.

As far as Mitt's Mormon religion, and those nay-sayers who . . . say "nay," all I have to say is: (ahem) PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER!! Remember when there was bedlam in the streets about JFK, and all those nayers who said that if he, a Catholic, ever got into office, kiss the country goodbye and prepare to be led by the Pope! Well, I don't remember that, because I wasn't born yet, but I read about it (history!). Soooo, why isn't more interest being placed on Obummer's religion (or lack of)? And why does religion matter in voting for a president? I think God cares as much about who the president is as much as He cares about if the Broncos win the superbowl.

Actually, I'm being facetious--I really do think God cares about who is leading the country that, as taught by the LDS church, is a promised land gifted to us that we are very fortunate to live in. Yes, I think God cares that a good person should run the country that allows religious freedom, but I also think that good people exist everywhere and personal relationships with God is not something saved for Mormons alone. I would have no problem at all voting for a man or woman of a different faith, so long as that person has some amount of moral fiber. If you are Mormon, Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, non-denominational, GOOD-GOLLY, IF YOU'RE AN HONEST, MORAL, UPSTANDING PERSON THEN I WANT YOU TO LEAD! And if you think that Romney is going to force everyone into practicing Mormonism, then you are in essence calling Romney an apostate Mormon (which would actually grab the evangelical vote, right?), because he would be in direct violation of core values and beliefs of the LDS community:

  • We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. (Articles of Faith, #11)
  • I'm really trying to take the high road and not make myself an example of exactly the kind of person that bothers me . . . BUT, the main groups that are saying Romney is a cult member and must be avoided at all costs, and are saying that they will never ever vote for him are Southern Baptists and Born Again Christians. And while LDS members go door-to-door and talk to strangers like crazy people, I have never met people more forceful about their religion than Southern Baptists and Born Again Christians. And for being such vocal advocates for "the real Jesus," they sure are mean and unpleasant.

    So, if you're against having a Mormon president at all cost, then fine. Just remember that the cost is possibly more of Obama. And curious, how do you feel about Obama's religion? I guess the real question is, can you identify which religion he belongs to, and does that matter to you? And if this rant doesn't apply to you (ie, religion doesn't play a role in who you vote for), then ask if you'd rather re-elect a man who has shown a complete lack of financial comprehension, or bring in someone who has proven that they can manage big budgets. Essentially, we have bigger fish to fry. Religion should be the biggest non-issue of this election.

    And since I think it should be a non-issue, let me continue to beat this dead horse. Mormons try to be like Christ, and even if you think we're misguided, is it so bad that we're trying? Even if you don't believe in Christ, is that a bad standard to hold ourselves to? We are extremely family-oriented. We are honest, and hard working. Would it be so bad to have someone like that as the president? You can keep masking your deep-seated hatred and negativity towards Mormonism behind the title "true Christianity." And if Romney did take orders from the prophet, then BE CAREFUL! He's taking advice from this man! And if you don't believe in Christ or God, why would you worry about us trying to act more like the Christ we believe in? And it might be horrible for a Mormon president to act on the principle taught by this prophet.

    I didn't really want to delve too much into the religious aspect of it. I just wanted to point out that it's ridiculous. It's just as ridiculous as being called racist for not supporting Obama. But, at the same time, just as people voted for Obama simply because he is black, I don't want anyone thinking that I'm voting for Romney just because he's Mormon. People are making connections that just aren't there. My, how the tables have turned.

    Hyrum Smith, brother to LDS prophet Joseph Smith and early Church leader said, "We want a President of the United States, not a party President, but a President of the whole people . . . and . . . have a President who will maintain every man in his rights." Rights, including the right to worship in your own way or not at all.

    And WOW: - from 1965

    And, if I was funny, clever, and smart I would've written this article instead of the one you just read.

    I have to admit that this blog post is a lie -- my mom doesn't read this.