Archive for August, 2011

Misusing the “N” Word (And it’s not the one you think)

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2011 by republicanrambler

Preamble: Let me state quickly that I originally wrote this post to tackle both sides use of this word, and I just got carried away with my emotions and focused on Glenn Beck. I apologize for this. Liberals are just as guilty of using this word in reference to things like the Arizona Immigration Law as conservatives are of using it to describe policy. Please keep this disclaimer in mind as you read

We’ve all heard somebody say it. Somewhere, maybe on the playground at school when you were a kid, maybe discussing politics with your friends, maybe from a popular talk show host, we’ve all heard the word thrown around. Often, it is associated with the inferiority of minority races, but it can be extrapolated to represent a more major form of classism, or even a government structure leaning towards profiling for purposes of its own gain, but anyway we use it, the word is inappropriate. The word I am talking about, of course, is “Nazi.”

Oh sure, everyone’s said it. Sometimes, we shoot it off as a joke. Maybe your friend told you a new rule and you call him a Nazi for his overbearing behavior. I’m not saying I’m saintly here, either. I’ve done it before. I’ve even laughed at it before. But the idea that we can even begin to imply that states of affairs or occurrences in this country come anywhere close to the horrors of Nazi Germany is not only ludicrous, but insulting beyond my ability to describe it.

Glenn Beck, I’m looking at you.

Now, as the name of this blog implies, I consider myself strongly conservative. That said, I try to be the very first in line to call one of our own on his or her mistake. As a political policy, I feel it makes one look stronger to be able to distinguish those who rightly agree with him from those who wrongly agree with him. Not to mention, I’ve no small disdain for most conservative talk show hosts (and I’ve made note of that historically on this blog). That said, I’m sure the earlier linked video blew things out of proportion. The fact that Beck has used the word “Nazi” to refer to the Obama administration is abhorrent, though, and I feel it is a trend, not just among Beck, which must be extinguished.

Let me paint you a picture. Imagine you are on a train car, stuffed shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of other men and women, no heat save each others’ bodies to protect you from the blistering cold outside. You’re filled far beyond capacity, hungry, tired, and scared. You’ve been separated from your family, and rumor has it that you’re being shipped to your death. At best case, however, you’ll be sent to a camp to be starved and overworked, isolated and possibly tortured, all because you possess certain features or belief that one man believes is not part of his “master race.”

I bet you can’t do it. I certainly can’t. I can’t even imagine what it felt like to be a German Jew in the Holocaust. My mother, of entirely German ancestry, was born in America. She is not Jewish, nor is anyone in her family Jewish. She was born in 1948, after Hitler’s atrocities had been stopped. Mention the Holocaust to her, however, and she twinges with guilt. That’s right, guilt. She feels the atrocities of the Nazi’s were so strong that she, in even sharing a bloodline with their race, is somehow remotely responsible. Jews (and other so-called “lesser human beings” in Hitler’s eyes) were isolated, punished, and slain in the millions for the slanted utopian philosophies of one crazed dictator. The word “Nazi” is synonymous with this man’s policies. Is this really a word we ought to be using to describe the policies of Barack Obama.

Let me make this real simple for you: no. The word “Nazi” should not be taken lightly. Dropping it in the political arena should be akin to shouting “bomb” in an airport. Anyone linking someone’s policies to those of the Nazi’s (given of course that said figure is not racially profiling by the millions, and slaying those he isolates) ought to be completely stripped of their credibility. I am not lending my support to President Obama with this argument. I certainly believe he has some questionable, even down-right wrong policies, but President Obama is not a Nazi.

Glenn Beck has every right to speak his mind. He has a First Amendment right to go on live television and adduce Barack Obama’s “Nazi” policies. He is absolutely entitled to this right, and I do not wish to take it away from me. All I can do is use my right not to listen, and hope others start to do the same.

That’s all for now, folks. Good night, and have a great rest of the week.

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“Right to Work”: A Right We All Deserve

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2011 by republicanrambler

Do me a favor. The next time you’re driving down the highway for, let’s say, more than ten minutes, make sure you examine the bumpers of the cars around you. Then, take a mental note of how many of those bumpers have stickers defaming “Right to Work” legislation. If you count less than five, I’ll buy you a soda*. Now perhaps my vision is skewed. Living in Missouri, a state that currently has Right to Work legislation being discussed in its senate, I’m sure I see an inflated percentage of people lobbying against the legislation as it is a hot topic right now. Or do I? After all, “Right to Work” is legislation which steps on the toes of labor unions, and if there is one thing labor unions are good at, and you’ve got to give the devils their due on this one, it’s, well, uniting. In the interest of full disclosure, I myself have been a member of a union for four plus years. As a grocery worker, I was forced (spoiler alert: because my state did not have Right to Work legislation) to join the UFCW, conditional to my employment. I never participated in any event, nor did I ever attend a meeting (at the cost of a $50 refund on initial union dues to myself). I did, however, pay a certain amount of union dues which escapes me at the moment, which were subtracted weekly from my paycheck without any more permission from me than that I continued to work there. It is my belief that Right to Work legislation would disallow this sort of situation, and thus would be a fair and appropriate step in labor fairness legislation.

Let me first state one thing. As a conservative, I am fairly thoroughly against the concept of labor unions in the modern day, but that is not to say that they did not at one point serve a purpose. Certainly, during the Industrial Revolution and the horrifically poor working conditions that came with it, there was a definite need for workers to band together to ensure not only a decent work environment, but their own safety. If you don’t believe (and I know many hardnosed conservatives may not) take a moment to read about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. My argument here, however, is not as to whether labor unions once served a purpose, nor is it to even argue their purpose now. I simply aim to examine Right to Work legislation and its validity and usefulness to the labor worker.

For those unfamiliar with Right to Work legislation, allow me to give a very short, admittedly oversimplified definition. Right to Work is a type of law along a line of legislation some fifty or sixty years in the works which calls for the forced involvement of laborers in labor unions to be abolished. Currently, fewer than half of the states of the Union have Right to Work type legislation. Just to clarify, that’s the big “U” Union. Now arguments both in favor and against right to work legislation are many, and I cannot begin to document them all here, but for a good argument for the laws, look here, and an equally valid argument against here. These are each just one argument, but they are solid arguments, now let me give mine.

Conditional of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, modern businesses have little option but to negotiate with unions, and while there may once have been many unions fighting for the rights of the same body of laborers, given the very nature of unions, there is now generally one per field. This is because once a union has established itself, and has majority support, it is very unlikely that another will overthrow it. As mentioned in the argument for Right to Work laws I linked to earlier, laws about the formation, continuance, and existence of unions have been federally created. This gives states little power over unions or how they treat members. Therefore, my argument is largely one of federalism. I believe states ought to be allowed to govern many things, particularly commerce within their own borders. Right to Work legislation gives them some power to regulate unions, and it is a power they need.

Beyond that, however, I believe that each individual has the right to choose what groups he joins, who he associates with, etc. As someone who has been forced to join a labor union, particularly as a conservative, I know the frustrations of being forced into association with a group with which you do not agree, and being the minority voice in that party. I ask you to think of another situation where that is the case? Where else in this great country can someone be forced to join in with a group that does not share his political beliefs, and then be part of so distinct a minority that he has no voice whatsoever? Then, on top of that, this person with no voice is forced, I reiterate, forced to pay dues to this union which will then use his money to support causes against his political beliefs. This is another major problem with unions in the modern age. They are now equal parts labor federations and political lobbies, and if you disagree with their political causes, yet are forced to pay them dues, you are forced transitively to support political causes against your leanings. That is completely and utterly un-American. I know for a fact that the union I was a member of donated to the campaign of Barack Obama for President in 2008, a campaign I was staunchly opposed to, and I gave them money, through no choice of my own, so that they could afford that support. That does not sit well with me, nor does it sit well with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Finally, I realize that this is a divisive issue. I realize that for every union member that disagrees with their politics, there are probably five or six members that agree. It should be their right to associate with the union just as much as it should be anyone else’s right to disassociate with the union, and while I realize that they would argue this creates free-riders, they themselves would have the choice to not join the union. And we also cannot argue that those that don’t wish to join a union can simply get another job. First of all, with unemployment hovering around %9, no one can afford to just “get another job,” and secondly, I can hardly think of a blue collar level field which does not have a major union it associates with. Many people cannot get jobs that don’t go with unions, and some cannot afford to join those unions. Unions, once the voice of the voiceless, an army for the individual to join and protect his rights, now force involvement and stamp out the minority just as viciously as employers once did. Right to Work can help destroy this trend in American labor, and I hope for all those voiceless blue collar workers that it does just that.

That’s all for now, folks. Have a wonderful week.

Preposterous Prosperity

Posted in Uncategorized on August 15, 2011 by republicanrambler

It is being widely discussed today that Warren Buffett, considered to be one of the richest men in the world (not counting, of course, dictators and the like) has come out saying he’d gladly pay more taxes to help ease the National Debt Crisis. Now Warren Buffett is one of the most successful businessmen in history, there’s no doubt about it. Born less than a year after the stock emarket crash of the Great Depression, he built himself up from very little to become one of the richest men in the world. He is brilliant, successful, philanthropic, and his business-savvy inspires millions (myself included). Now let’s look at why he’s a fool.

I want to discuss some statistics here, and since I try to be a fair journalist, I’ll even cite my sources. First of all, let’s discuss Warren Buffett’s personal wealth. This is coming from Forbes.com, which has Buffett listed as the third richest billionaire with a net worth of $50 billion. Now three years ago he was the richest with a net worth of $62 billion. I guess the economy affects us all (poor soul).

Buffett achieved his wealth primarily from shrewd investment and owning Berkshire Hathaway. That’s right, I said Berkshire Hathaway. For those of you who don’t know, Berkshire Hathaway is one of the largest, most successful companies in the world. It is, according to Forbes.com, the eighth largest public company… on earth. Owning Berkshire Hathaway stock is similar to owning a Rolls Royce Phantom: you pay a ridiculous amount for it, to have it as a status symbol, so that occasionally on a Sunday afternoon you can bust it out for a spin and make all other stock feel small and incompetent.

Now that we’ve thoroughly discussed the wealth of Mr. Buffett, let’s touch on the terrible shape of the U.S. Economy. The U.S. debt right now (simplified, as it’s ever increasing) is about $14,600,000,000.00 dollars. That is, of course, rounding off the almost meaningless hundreds of millions of dollars (he said in jest). To put that in perspective, that’s about 32,444,444 of those Phantoms I discussed earlier, which would be enough cars to give one to each resident of New York City proper AND the entire metro areas of Chicago and Los Angeles (give or take a few Phantoms, of course).  Perhaps more importantly, though, it is 292 Warren Buffett’s. Consider that: Warren Buffett would have to hand over his entire net worth 292 times to bring the U.S. Government back to almost zero, a point from which, of course, it would begin gathering more debt.

That is the real problem with the debt crisis, however, and perhaps the one least discussed: IT’S ALWAYS GROWING! To prove my point, let’s take a fun little field trip, shall we. Alright, go here: http://www.usdebtclock.org/  Now, look at that number in the top left corner. The one that’s moving really, really fast? Yeah, that one. Now, here’s the fun part. The next time that million dollar column changes, start counting. 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi. Wait until that million dollar number changes again. You just watched your country gain a million dollars of debt. How long did it take you? 25 Mississippi? That’s what it took me. 25 seconds for the nation to accrue a million dollars more debt. This, perhaps more than anything, is indicative of Buffett’s foolishness. Let’s disregard the fact that increasing taxes on the rich would increase unemployment, and therefore in the long run create less revenue. Even if we taxed everyone in the United States making annually above $400,000 dollars at a %50 tax rate (which of course we’d never do) we would generate just under 5 trillion dollars (which, in layman’s terms, is less than 14 trillion). And of course, the deficit is ever increasing.

To summarize, there is no quick fix to this debt crisis. Fixing the debt will be a long, arduous process. I, being 20, know that this debt will affect my parents generation, my generation, and my children’s generation (if not many generations beyond that) greatly. As I think I’ve demonstrated fairly in this blog, however, taxing the rich is not the solution to this problem. But if Mr. Buffett is so insistent on his holier-than-thou, I’ll pay more approach; let’s have him put his money where his mouth is. There is a wonderful site, www.pay.gov , where those that wish to give the government money can do so outright. Let’s get the word out so we can see if Mr. Buffett and other rich liberals mean what they say or are just all talk. If you truly wish to impress me, Mr. Buffett, toss a few billion dollars at the U.S. debt. Heck, you probably won’t even notice it’s missing.

With that said, good afternoon, and have a fantastic week.