What’s disgusting? Union busting.

Kill the bill. This statement is short, concise, elegant, and best of all, it rhymes. This rhyming allows it to be a chant, a slogan, and a rallying call, present on the lips and in the hearts of all who recognize its truth. The Wisconsin state capitol in Madison has been occupied for the past two weeks by protesters carrying this statement high, drumming the mantra for countless hours, protesters from not just Wisconsin, but Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and New York. This is not the protest of a few, but the protest of workers, families, children, any and all affected by Governor Scott Walker’s proposal. The bill in question? Governor Scott Walker’s “Budget Repair Bill”, which focuses not so much on fixing the deficit as it does on fixing the opposition to corporate interests and the wealthy elite. The bill calls for, among other things, drastic pay cuts to public employees (excepting the police force, firefighters, and state troopers – interestingly, groups that backed Walker’s campaign), and the elimination of their right to collectively bargain, to fix a $137 million hole in the state budget. Some see this as necessary, citing the relative salary of Wisconsin public employees in relation to other states, or the apparent issue of public employees not paying for benefits, or the allegedly overpowered unions. Though these may be partly truthful, they are overwhelmingly flawed analysis. Wisconsin state employees may earn more in relation to other states, but when compared with private sector employees, public employees earn an average of 8.2% less, in some cases as much as 25% less; when compared with similar skilled positions, Wisconsin public employees are simply undercompensated. Additionally, though public employees may appear to not be paying anything towards their benefits, public unions have actually negotiated lower salaries for the cost of including these benefits; thus, in effect, state employees actually do contribute, but via the institution of collective bargaining. Furthermore, unions and state employees had actually agreed to cuts prior to this bill, in recognition of the need for decreased expenditures, so any indignation expressed for state employees “not pulling their weight” is an incorrect analysis. The “overpowered” unions have also been cited in the disagreement, with calls for their removal from government. This call, however, is essentially representative of the major political swing away from legitimate issues towards party politics and power jockeying. This bill is at its core a scheme to strip the unions of their power, and, by extension, strip the power from progressive reforms. Scott Walker said as much in the now infamous prank call by newspaper editor Ian Murphy, posing as billionaire David Koch, one of the top contributors to Walker’s campaign. Walker spoke of his union-busting goals, and the “slugger with [his] name on it” that he keeps in his office for such negotiations. Barring the serious ethical violations in Walker’s words and the questionably legal gambling of state jobs to bring the Democrats back (Walker called threatening layoffs “raising pressure” on the Democrats to return), the goals of union-busting become quite apparent, especially when viewing provisions that negate the mandatory participation in unions and the paying of union dues for state workers, the main source of unions’ income. Having thus destroyed the finances of the unions, Walker moves on to the very rights that define them – the right for workers to collectively bargain. Wisconsin was the first state to provide this right, as we have historically been very progressive and pro-labor. Walker’s actions have even been described as not like him, and not as radical as his normal politics, suggesting an interest or group behind him pulling the strings – and with similar actions against unions being taken at this moment in other states, we cannot help but see the grip of corporate control ensnaring the very rights and freedoms which define us as a people. This “budget repair” nonsense makes no economic sense; it will pull over a billion dollars in purchasing power (based on an 8% pay cut for all publicly employed) from Wisconsin’s economy. The egregious effects of this are not difficult to understand, and are, in fact, basic high school economics. A decrease in consumer expenditures, from the decrease in pay, leads to a direct contraction in the economy, only worsening problems like unemployment and state debt. The bill is party politics for corporate gains, false economics and elimination of rights. If Walker had wanted to fix the deficit, he needn’t have given $117 million in corporate tax breaks, or spent $140 million on special interest groups. This bill is not a credible political proposition, it is a travesty of democracy in which the people of the state of Wisconsin are being lied to and cheated by officials elected to represent them. More have protested this bill in Madison than protested the Vietnam War; the people are letting their voices be heard. We are a democracy, literally “rule by the people”, and the people are not going to sit down and accept legislation that serves no other purpose than to increase the power of its writers, and the corporations that finance them. This, Wisconsin, is democracy. It’s not going anywhere. #

– adh


TED Talks

This is the beginning of a sort of series of me posting TED talks that I enjoy.

The TED talk site is one of my favorite collections of intellectuals – a database of enlightened speakers working their trade on current issues.

This particular TED talk is from 2007, by one of my intellectual heroes, James Randi.

Enjoy. #

– adh

Arizona’s Mass Murder

You’ve probably heard of the shooting that occurred in Arizona – if not, here’s the CNN article.

One thing before I write what I’m getting at – as humans, we look for patterns, we want to see correlation. Since a congresswoman was severely injured, and a federal judge was killed, we of course look at politics to find the cause.

However, since most of us aren’t there now, we need to read news, and I’ve found an interesting disparity in reported causes.

The LA times reports political vitriol as the cause – a valid, non-partisan claim.

AlterNet, a progressive news site, specifically points out the over-inflammatory rhetoric of the right, something I’m sure we’ve all seen. They back it up with plenty of evidence, and also make a valid, but partisan, argument.

WorldNetDaily, everyone’s favorite conservative conspiratorial bias machine, wrote a short article on how one of the gunman’s former classmates called him “more left”, and from this (and only this) evidence, decide that the shooting was due to leftist thinking.


Interesting how news can report so many different viewpoints. Can we yet believe in our mass media, or has everything been corrupted past the point of saving? Look at the articles, look at the evidence; you decide what makes the most sense. #

– adh

On Nonsense.

You, WorldNetDaily, have gone too far.

When I look at your stories on my reader, I expect conspiratorial nonsense, overblown theories, hoaxes, lies, etc. What I do not expect is blatant ad hominem attacks, but that’s what you’ve given me.

This is unacceptable. WorldNetDaily’s exclusive commentary is just searing, empty hate rhetoric. It’s definitely not what I expected from them, and I take personal offense at its publication. Let’s examine the text.

First, the title. “Liberalism is a progressive disease”. Without even reading the rest of the article, you can tell from the thinly veiled sarcasm here that it’s not going to be civil.

The introductory paragraph. “I simply cannot fathom how so many people manage to be wrong about so many things…” (cue laundry list of disputed topics). Okay, that’s valid, I think conservatives are wrong about a lot of things. But to publish this on a news site simply destroys any remaining piece of the site’s credibility – no longer can I expect (not that I did before, believe me) any instance of non-partisanship. Congrats.

The second paragraph. Here we get a nice little discussion on every misconception the writer can throw at us. Liberals find capital punishment far more abominable than the criminals it is performed on, because capital punishment is a sane collective populace and government doing the exact same thing that the criminal was incarcerated for. If we’re trying to get rid of murder, by murdering people, we’re accomplishing nothing. No amount of moral justification can take us off the hook for committing the same crime the now-deceased criminal has. The rest of his paragraph is blatant racism. I’m not even going to touch that.

Next paragraph is also blatant racism. It surprises me that men like this are allowed any say in any news agency – although, I suppose, they are only exercising their constitutional rights, seeing as they are members of the Constitution party, although they seem to have no idea what it says. More on that later if I think of it.

The next paragraph is about racism, torture, and more racism. Disgusting.

Of course there’s the obligatory mention of WikiLeaks, since it is, of course, attacking this man personally.

Now the next paragraph actually includes a couple facts, surprisingly. He mentions that liberals are less likely to donate to charity, or volunteer in their church or community. Perhaps, but to brand the entire political philosophy as heartless and cruel? That’s a logical fallacy; do not believe a word of it. The reason conservatives tend to give more to charity is because conservatives are more likely to be Christian, and giving money to their churches is a tenet of the Christian faith. This accounts for a very large portion of the disparity. The reason liberals view themselves as better, nicer, and more compassionate, is because liberal policy advocates compassion. Quick, think of a topic. Now, think about what conservatives think about said topic, then what liberals think about it. Which policy is the most humanitarian? Answer: the liberal one, in nearly every case. This is why liberals view themselves as compassionate. To take only donations and time into account isn’t looking at the whole picture, another logical fallacy.

“To liberals, the words published in the Times constitute Holy Scripture. They regard the paper as the Newest Testament.” I wouldn’t go that far, but liberals do expect non-biased, truthful news, which they will not be getting at your site, sir.

The next paragraph works against itself. Basically, it says that the newspaper advocated free speech to the highest level when publishing the Pentagon Papers and the WikiLeaks documents, but did no such thing when presented with the so-called “climategate” scandal emails. I wonder why that is? Oh, wait, it’s because those “scandal” emails weren’t, and because global climate change is directly due to man-made causes, and the science behind it is sound. WND is criticizing a news agency for refusing to tell lies? Now, that doesn’t make any sense at all. You’ve taken your credibility and spit on it, WND. Do not come running when you’re called out on such.

The rest is more racism, extra filth to fill out an article about nonsense.

Have a nice night. #

– adh


Legality, Morality, and Abortion

Abortion is one of the most hotly contested issues in our political system.

Since this blog is still relatively new, it makes sense to lay out a great deal of our ideology and beliefs, and even though abortion debates can make people angry, we’re not going to shy away from expressing our (or at least my) opinions.

What follows will be my opinions on the legality of abortion in the cases of incest, rape, and the endangerment of the mother, and one other case, which, due to its difficulty to express in few words, will be discussed shortly.

I will not discuss my opinions on the legality of abortion in extreme cases as birth control; I find this to be somewhat morally objectionable, but I will refrain from legality talk on this because government should not legislate on morality. I will discuss my opinions on the morality of this, if the question arises in the comments, but legality will remain untouched.

Onto the main argument. Abortion in cases where incest, rape, or the endangerment of the mother is involved, should by all means be legal. It simply does not make sense for citizens to be forced to live with negative circumstances, or circumstances with negative consequences, when the circumstances or the consequences of the circumstances are entirely avoidable. If a child is conceived due to rape or incest, and the child is not wanted, the mother should not be required by law to go through an enormously painful birthing process, and then go through a further adoption process, simply to accomplish something that could have been accomplished much sooner, with a fraction of the time, hurt, and cost.

I could invoke overpopulation arguments, arguments about children of incestuous relationships being far more prone to genetic defects, arguments about the children of rapists, but I do not find this necessary. Only the very basic argument is needed to make a very effective point; a woman who has conceived under unwanted or harmful circumstances should not, under any circumstances, be legally required to give birth to a child conceived under said circumstances.

Endangerment of the mother is another case entirely. I’m not below using anecdotes, as they can effectively prove a point to some that would otherwise ignore opposing arguments. I gave you fair warning, so here’s one:

Imagine a young mother. She’s twenty-seven years old, still young, still full of life. Her name is Amelia. This mother has a ten year old daughter. Tragically, Amelia develops cancer, which metastasizes in her brain, lungs, and breast. However, there is some hope – this cancer is treatable. The doctors who diagnose this cancer are ready to treat her – but there’s a snag – Amelia is currently pregnant, and to treat the cancer would require termination of the fetus. Amelia lives in a country where abortion is illegal in all cases, and thus the cancer, the treatable cancer, must be left to ravage her body, because saving Amelia’s life is effectively illegal.

This is no run-of-the-mill story, something cooked up in an attempt to convince holdouts – this actually happened. Amelia lives in Nicaragua, where abortion is illegal in all cases.

Despite petitions from numerous websites and organizations, the mother’s case was ignored, and Amelia will die, possibly even before the baby is born, because in Nicaragua, the life of an unborn fetus is valued over the life of a twenty-seven year old mother, her ten year old daughter, her husband, her family, her friends.

Should we allow this to happen? Is it responsible to let families be torn apart because it’s illegal for a mother to seek treatment for a curable illness?

Note that I am not saying this happens in every case; however, to ban every case of abortion catches every single occurrence of similar cases.

Earlier, I mentioned one case that was difficult to express in few words, but I’ll do so here. First, it’s best for this article to be read.

The case is that where the fetus is aborted because the fetus would otherwise be severely disabled to the point of total disability, in cases where the fetus would have an extraordinarily debilitating defect, or in cases where the fetus would have a zero chance of survival.

In the posted article, the writer’s unborn child had a zero chance of survival, due to a congenital defect, and writer and his wife choose to abort early, rather than go through the (especially for them) painful process of stillbirth and burial.

In what can only be described as adding needless insult to incredible injury, the couple are attacked by a pro-life group calling them “murderers” and “baby-killers”, the sort of juvenile nonsense that one might expect on the school yard. These advocates for life, the self-proclaimed saviors of the children, are shamelessly insulting women at the most difficult points in their lives, for the purposes of what? Feeling better about themselves?

I’m not one to criticize free speech, but when people are allowed to attack others for life-changing, necessary decisions, we’re going too far. Insensitivity is blatant and widespread. To borrow from the video the author posted, what these people are doing is despicable, it is completely uncalled for, and it is nearly criminal.

Abortion should be legal in cases of rape, incest, endangerment of the mother, and in cases like that of the video above. To ban it in all cases is insensitive, needlessly painful, and utterly nonsensical – should the government be able to impose a flat ban that causes unnecessary, preventable harm?

Absolutely not. #

– adh

“Are you serious? Are you serious?”

Thus goes the famous quote by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when asked to indicate the constitutionality of specific parts of the health care bill.

Now, as WorldNetDaily reports, the incoming GOP congressmen and congresswomen are pushing for legislation that will require an outline of constitutionality for proposed bills. This commitment will “require every bill to cite its specific constitutional authority”.

This is sickening. We are continually missing golden opportunities for beneficial change, because a few men and women can’t get their heads around the fact that the Constitution, written over 200 years ago, was not actually intended to remain a static document, to be followed to the letter. The Constitution was written to be flexible; the writers knew that they could not possibly guess what would happen in future years. The founding fathers (I’m using this for the sake of avoiding redundancy, although I find this to be an overused phrase, generally for fear-mongering and the very static interpretations I disagree with) didn’t even expect the Constitution to last for very long. We are not living in the late 1700s any longer; this is 2010, and we need legislation that is not specifically called for.

The United States of America has the some of the worst health care coverage on the world, yet attempts for reform are continually shot down in the House. The offending members of Congress cite unconstitutionality, socialism; all utter nonsense. Granted, the proposed health care bill would be more socialistic, but to say that it is socialism is unfounded idiocy. Political systems are not pure democracy, pure socialism; they are in a continuum. To say that passing a health care bill that would benefit millions of Americans unable to afford health care, a health care bill that would benefit millions of Americans with preexisting conditions, would bring our government into socialism is selfish, arrogant, and downright stupid.

Progressives, by nature, stretch the Constitution in the way that it was intended to be stretched, because they realize that we cannot function solely on what is outlined in a document over 200 years old. This proposal for a bill that requires the outlining of constitutionality is not a simple means to protect American freedom, it is a political attack aimed at  completely removing the power of any other political party. The definition of “conservative” should be noted here: “a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas”, from WorldNet, a Princeton University lexical database. The House of Representatives will soon be dominated by these, and they will do everything in their power to force their views into every inch of our government, barring any forward motion by any forward-thinking individual. They, if anything, are attacking our freedoms, because this bill is a flat-out denial of anything except that which follows their own political agendas. #

– adh

Where do you get your news?

Faux- sorry, Fox News, tops out the cable news rating by a factor of nearly 3.

A large audience isn’t terrible; people can watch what they wish, but when a news agency deliberately misinforms viewers, and then has the audacity to call itself fair and balanced –  that’s going too far.

I could cite studies, lawsuits, news agencies, polls, etc., etc., etc., but the list would be far too long for this margin.

Instead, I’ll leave you with one in addition to those above, in which Fox News is denounced by the L.A. Times.

As the article states, perhaps the corporate media is beginning to realize that the network with the highest ratings is blatantly lying to its constituents.

To extrapolate a bit, this is one of the main reasons why Democrats fared so poorly at the midterm elections; fear-mongering by conservative media powerhouses falsely informed the millions of moderates, and incited them to vote against their wishes.

No news agency is entirely free from blame, but Fox has far overstepped the line between bias and falsehood. #