The Watering Hole, Wednesday 5/27/15: Running for President

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I’m Briseadh na Faire, and I’m running for President. Here are a few of my positions on issues important to the American People today. Between now and November 2016, I will post additional policy and platform statements.

Taxes. The problem with trickle-down economics isn’t that it doesn’t work. It is that we have not fully implemented it. We’re still taxing the very rich. We have to change our tax laws so that all income over $1,000,000 a year is not taxed at all. That’s not just wages, but unearned income, too, like dividends and capital gains and interest and rental income, etc. And corporations shouldn’t be taxed at all. After all, taxes on corporations just punish corporations for making a profit. So we must stop discouraging corporations from making profits. That way, everyone wins.

Speaking of profits, there’s lots of ways we keep corporations from making profits and creating jobs. Take the minimum wage. Seriously. Take it, and don’t give it back. People should be paid what they’re worth, not what the government forces job creators to pay. Labor should compete on the open market. Everyone should be free to market their labor, to set their own price. And that includes kids, too. Why force them to go to school. Hell, studies show most of them aren’t learning anything any way. Kids should be free to go out and make money for themselves, if that’s what they want.

Of course, women, on the other hand, were created by God for one purpose: to bear children. Men weren’t. Women need to return to the role God planned for them from the beginning: to be man’s companion and to bear his children. Once we take women out of the workplace, it will free up millions of jobs. Now THAT’S a jobs program that benefits everyone! Unemployment will drop to zero virtually overnight.

The environment. Everyone wants to regulate the environment. But I’m here to tell you it can’t be done. God controls the environment and you cannot regulate God. We need to stop trying. We need to get rid of all those laws that try to regulate the environment because that’s an offense to God. I mean, NO WONDER we’re having all kinds of weird weather lately. By trying to regulate God, we’re incurring God’s just wrath!

God gave man, man, not woman, mind you…God gave MAN dominion over all the earth – to subdue the earth and use its resources for our gain. If we tie up vast amounts of resources in public lands, lands owned by the government, we’re not following God’s command. We must take those lands away from the government and put them to good use creating jobs, giving us energy independence, and creating wealth and security for everyone. This is just being good stewards of the earth that God gave us.

And speaking of God…yes…it is about time we accept the fact that we are a Christian Nation. Now I know all about the First Amendment…and I quote, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, end quote. But we’ve got a long history of the President issuing executive orders. And, when I’m elected President, that’s just what I’ll do. I will issue an Executive Order establishing the One True Church as the official religion of the United States of America. I’ll keep the tax-exempt status for the One True Church. But all other churches will be shut down because they preach a false doctrine and that does nothing but incur God’s just wrath and punishment. And, frankly, I think the United States has been punished enough.

So, come 2016, vote Briseadh na Faire for President. I’m the only candidate for President who knows what’s best for America; the only candidate who acknowledges up front that I will break each and every one of my campaign promises, and, when I do, you won’t be disappointed!

[Briseadh na Faire – it’s hard to pronounce.]

I’m Briseadh na Faire, and I approve this message.

[BriseadhNaFaireforPresidentisnotaffiliatedwithanyPolitcalActionCommitteenorhasreceivedtheendorcementofTPZoonoranyotherindividualbusinessnonprofitorganizationorgod.]

OPEN THREAD

Non-sequitur:

Why is it that the strongest part of a roll of toilet paper is always the perforations?

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 25, 2015: Memorial Day and Its Disputed Origins

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Under different circumstances, after different choices, it could have been me. It wasn’t, of course, or I wouldn’t be here to write this. And by accident or design, depending on what you wish to believe, I was never in the circumstances, probably as a result of some of my choices, where it ever might have been me. But there have been more than one million three hundred thousand United States service members who died while serving in our nation’s armed forces, more than half of them (counting both sides) in our own civil war. I have never seen the honor of serving my country under combat, so I was never in a situation where I could expect to be killed. I honestly can’t say how I would have behaved in combat, but I’ve always thought of myself as the kind of person who would sacrifice himself to make sure others survived a situation. Maybe we all do, I don’t know. But I do know that because of the sacrifices those million brave people made, I can enjoy the freedom and luxury of being able to sit in my own home writing this blog post, and you can enjoy the freedom and luxury of reading it. Our nation, by and large, doesn’t treat the brave men and women who serve to protect our country (simply by being the biggest bad-asses on the planet) well enough, and we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice even less than we should.

The true origins of the holiday we’ve come to know as Memorial Day are in some dispute, partly because there isn’t general agreement on what is meant by “first,” and also by “holiday.” Many of you reading this blog (because many of you are Liberals like me) know of the first official ceremony to honor the war dead, known then as Decoration Day, and that it was started by African Americans in May 1865 (the month following the Civil War’s end) and is recounted by Snopes here. But as the article indicates, there is no evidence that this ceremony, wonderful as it was, had any influence on the decision by Major General Logan to hold an annual holiday. I wanted to confirm that story before posting it here as the official start of Memorial Day, but I couldn’t find any mention of it on the History Channel website, the PBS website, or even the Department of Veterans Affairs website. I wonder why that is. The Charleston, South Carolina, ceremony was certainly the first observation of Decoration Day, and its purpose was largely similar to that of today’s Memorial Day (though it was restricted to remembering the Civil War dead.) But why it’s not credited with being the first Memorial Day is unknown. Instead, Congress declared that Waterloo, NY, was the site of the first Memorial Day observance (though other places claim the title, too.)

The important thing is not how it began but that it continue. You owe the freedom you still enjoy today to them. Remember them.

Here are some pictures my wife posted last year. Please enjoy a safe and happy holiday celebration. And if you see a veteran among the parade goers today, it wouldn’t hurt to stop and thank them for their service to our country. I promise you that inside it can really help make them feel their sacrifices are worthwhile.

World War I Memorial, Washington, DC

na-WWI-Memorial

World War II Memorials, Washington, DC
ww2memorialDC
ww2 marines-memorialpacific atlantic ww2

Korean War Memorials, Washington, DC
washington-dc-korean-war-veterans-memorialKorean-WarKorean War Memorial in the Snow 04

Vietnam War Memorials, Washington, DC
vietnam-memorial-three-soldiersvietnam-war-nurses-memorialvietnam-veterans-memorial-washington-dc-ilker-goksen

Tomb of the Unknown
an american soldier

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to spend time honoring the fallen close to you, or those who, as President Lincoln put it, gave the last full measure of devotion, or anything else you wish to discuss.

Sunday Roast: The Hubris of the Huckabee

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We knew it was coming, right?  Huckabee sticks up for those poor, poor Duggars.

Janet and I want to affirm our support for the Duggar family. Josh’s actions when he was an underage teen are as he described them himself, ‘inexcusable,’ but that doesn’t mean ‘unforgivable.’ He and his family dealt with it and were honest and open about it with the victims and the authorities. No purpose whatsoever is served by those who are now trying to discredit Josh or his family by sensationalizing the story. Good people make mistakes and do regrettable and even disgusting things. The reason that the law protects disclosure of many actions on the part of a minor is that the society has traditionally understood something that today’s blood-thirsty media does not understand—that being a minor means that one’s judgement is not mature.

Unless you’re Black or Hispanic…or from a broken home or unwed mother…or have gay parents, OF COURSE.  BTW, “mistakes” happen once or twice, not over and over again, leaving child victims in one’s wake.  A fourteen year old isn’t fully mature, but he should have a basic understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong — especially since the Duggar claim to be on higher ground than the rest of us in that area.

Those who have enjoyed revealing this long ago sins in order to discredit the Duggar family have actually revealed their own insensitive bloodthirst, for there was no consideration of the fact that the victims wanted this to be left in the past and ultimately a judge had the information on file destroyed—not to protect Josh, but the innocent victims.

Hmmmm, I would argue that revealing that Josh Duggar was (is?) a child molester was not to discredit the Duggar family, but to protect any little girls in his vicinity from being sexually abused.  Frankly, the “fact” that the victims wanted their sexual abuse at the hands of their own brother “left in the past” is suspect, since the parents who failed to protect the girls in the first place were the ones influencing such a decision-making process — AND they allowed the molester to return to the home.

Huck wraps it up with a brand new shovel:

It is precisely because we are all sinners that we need His grace and His forgiveness. We have been blessed to receive God’s love and we would do no less than to extend our love and support for our friends. In fact, it is such times as this, when real friends show up and stand up. Today, Janet and I want to show up and stand up for our friends. Let others run from them. We will run to them with our support.

Awwwww, Huck didn’t really want to be presidunce anyway, but don’t worry — he’ll keep up his folksy snake oil sales/sham campaign as long as he possibly can.

Huckabee’s self-satisfied assholierthanthou attitude has caught up to him, and his minions are not amused.

Oopsy.  Huck forgot to consider that some of his followers had been in the Duggar girls’ position.  Of course, he’s pretty consistent in forgetting unpleasantness.

Brava, Carisa!!  Critical thinking!  Keep up the good work.  Huck’s going to miss your subscription to “Learn Our History” most of all…

Montel Williams chimed in with this tweet:

And continued on facebook, with a nasty dose of Tony Perkins, as seen on RawStory.

In short, Mike Huckabee thinks he’s a brilliant, intelligent, compassionate Christian, who’s promoting excellent family values and sticking by his friends in hard times, but he’s actually a slimy bigoted skeev, who thinks anyone who DOESN’T believe what he believes is “less than,” and anyone who DOES believe what he believes can molest little girls (including his own sisters) and it’s just a “mistake” awaiting forgiveness from “god,” and we big meanies just need to get over.  He doesn’t give a shit about the harm done to John Duggar’s sisters, and I highly doubt he cares about the Duggar family at all, except for the weird political boost and associated publicity attached to them, and he’s stupid enough to believe we don’t know it (I’m pretty sure the Duggars are completely clueless when it comes to Huck — and everything else, except money).  Even worse, Huck KNOWS most of his followers are stupid enough not to know it, but is too filled with hubris to see past the end of his self-centered, hateful, bigoted agenda.

Buh bye, Mike.  I’d ask that you return to the underside of the rock from which you crawled, but I know the money’s just too good for a “good” “Christian” “man” like you to resist.

This is our very late daily open thread — I’m cranky.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, May 23rd, 2015: From One to Infinity?

Last night I was doing an extremely necessary cleanup of my emails, and was about to delete some recent ones from our local Republican NYS Assemblyman, when I decided to take a look to see what he was writing about. Here’s one of them:

Cuomo’s Undemocratic Minimum Wage Hike Will Kill Jobs

East Fishkill, NY – (5/7/15) – Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I – East Fishkill) issued a statement today criticizing Governor Cuomo’s decision to unilaterally move to raise the minimum wage for some businesses without legislative approval.

“Dictating new regulations outside the legislative process is a recklessly undemocratic decision by Governor Cuomo,” said Lalor. “We have a process for passing new laws and the governor has chosen to bypass it because he was only able to get part of his job-killing minimum wage through the legislature. It seems he’s taking a page from President Obama’s playbook and simply dictating new laws when he can’t do what he wants through the legislature. Impaneling a wage board gives Cuomo’s action a veneer of unbiased approval, but is there any doubt that the board will simply follow Cuomo’s directions? We know how closely Cuomo has controlled previous ‘independent’ commissions.”

Lalor added, “This isn’t just undemocratic, it’s a job killer. San Francisco’s recent minimum wage hike is pushing small businesses to the brink of closure. [emphasis mine] This will hurt minimum-wage earners when businesses that can’t afford the increase start cutting jobs. Studies have shown entry-level job opportunities decline with minimum wage increases. The governor can’t simply mandate a better economy. Small businesses are struggling with New York’s high taxes and never-ending regulations. New York’s economy is struggling because of those taxes and regulations. The only way for government to increase wages and opportunities is to cut taxes and regulations across the board. We need to open up opportunities for businesses to thrive and create jobs in New York.”

“It’s also inappropriate for the governor to target just one industry,” Lalor added. “Governor Cuomo says he wants to raise fast food wages because fast food CEOs are millionaires. But, many fast food restaurants operate as franchises. They’re small businesses. This isn’t just hitting big corporations, Governor Cuomo, this is hitting small businesses. Cuomo’s dictate is so vague, we don’t even know how far this will go. It’s up to his wage board to decide what jobs will be defined as within the ‘fast food industry’. Pizzeria and deli owners, among other small businesses, don’t know if they’ll be included. They might not even know that this regulation could affect them until it’s already passed, missing the chance to voice their opposition.”

###
Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a former teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel…”

I started to search for any information regarding what problems have been caused by San Francisco’s recent minimum-wage raise. The Google brought up several articles referencing “a San Francisco newspaper says that some restaurants and grocery stores in Oakland’s Chinatown have closed…” Okay, that’s Oakland, which, as far as I know, is still a separate city across the bay from SF. And my search for even that one “San Francisco newspaper” story yielded nothing but references to it from right-wing sources, i.e., The American Spectator and World Net Daily. As you can see, Thomas Sowell of The American Spectator has apparently coined (or at least emphasized) a new buzzword for the right, “ruinous compassion” – don’t be surprised if you start hearing that phrase in conjunction with any minimim-wage-raise arguments.

I finally found one article from Yahoo! Finance titled “Minimum Wage Hike Closes San Francisco Bookstore.” Although I had seen other stories from 2011 on about several booksellers such as the Borders chain losing business or closing, none of those seemed to be as a result of minimum wage hikes; it’s been pretty much a given for several years now that any bookseller would be in tough competition with current technology, with which one can access any book one wants with a few clicks. However, even this particular bookstore in San Francisco isn’t exactly going out of business entirely:

“Borderland Books, which specializes in science fiction and horror, says it has withstood a host of challenges since it opened in 1997, including the rise of Amazon.com and e-books, a landlord who supposedly doubled their rent while dotcoms were first booming, and a deep recession that the owners say “hit us very hard.” A higher minimum wage, though, would take the business from being modestly profitable to being a money loser, the owner says. “Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in principal and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage.”

But according to the article:

“The blog post went on to say that the Borderlands café business will stay open and should have “no difficulty at all” with the new minimum wage because it will be able to raise prices as needed. The bookselling business is different, the blog post argued, because book prices are set by the publishers and clearly printed on the books.”

So, although the owner wasn’t making much of a profit anyway from selling books, he’s still going to do just fine with the cafe associated with his bookstore. The last paragraph of the article itself links to this survey of economists who are mostly supportive of minimum-wage raises.

Hmm…So why is this one bookstore being used as, it appears, the definitive argument against all minimum-wage hikes, and why does it sound like the Ronald Reagan “Cadillac-driving welfare queen”? And since when does ONE = ALL?

I think I’m going to have to write to Assemblyman Lalor about his research team – if he has one.

This is our (very late) Daily Open Thread–what’s on your mind?

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 18, 2015: Bryan Fischer Threatens Violence

There are some male opponents of same-sex marriage who desperately need for it to remain illegal lest they leave their wives and follow their hearts to find the man of their dreams and settle down to a life of happiness. I’m beginning to wonder if Bryan Fischer is one of them. The very idea that the Supreme Court might actually strike down all bans on marriage equality and declare it a constitutional right (thanks, in part, to Justice Antonin Scalia’s own opinions, in which he suggested the strategy to use for marriage equality proponents to win) has Fischer scared. Very scared. But what does he have to fear if his own marriage is solid and loving? In what way would the right of people (who have no interest in him) to marry each other affect him? Is he afraid that the last thing to stop him from leaving his wife to shack up with another man is a law making that relationship with that man illegal? What else makes sense? Unless he means the violence.

Fischer is pretending that what he fears is the civil unrest that a ruling in support of marriage equality would make inevitable.

“The Supreme Court can be slapped down through a deliberative and representative process,” he said, “rather than through chaos and civil unrest which I and a lot of other pro-family leaders fear is the alternative. If the Supreme Court continues to overreach and they aren’t checked, we are headed towards civil unrest, I don’t think there is any other way around it. If it’s not stopped and reversed, the tyrannical overreach of the Supreme Court, we are to have social dislocation and I believe we are going to have violence as a result. And that is simply because freedom is too deeply ingrained in the DNA of the American people to permit tyranny to continue unchecked forever. The solution: state legislatures rediscovering their constitutional authority under the Ninth and 10th Amendments. “

Tell us something, Bryan. Who would be committing these acts of chaos, these acts of civil unrest, these acts of violence? Would it be the people who support marriage equality? Or would it be the people like you and the other “pro-family leaders” who will be taking to the streets to spread chaos, be civilly unrestful, and commit acts of violence? I think we who support marriage equality are the ones who have something to fear from the people who oppose it, not the other way around. When we start hearing we might lose, we start taking action to elect Democratic Senators and Presidents who will make sure these socially deficient rulings are reversed. When your side starts hearing it might lose, you talk about taking to the streets and committing violence. Who are the real domestic terrorists in this scenario, the ones who want a peaceful remedy to our disagreements, or the ones who talk casually about violence?

Lastly, I think you States Rights’ advocates don’t seem to have gotten the memo yet. The Constitution is not the Articles of Confederation. You keep talking about how the States have the power to enact these same-sex marriage bans because the Constitution doesn’t give the federal government the right to regulate marriage. You frequently refer to the Tenth Amendment and how it means the States have the power over things the federal government doesn’t. But that’s only partly correct. First, you’re deliberately misinterpreting the Ninth Amendment as having something to do with States’ Rights. A plain reading of it proves it doesn’t. Here it is.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

You have to read the Tenth Amendment in conjunction with the Ninth to understand why the People have rights even the states can’t take away.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In all your States’ Rights talk, you leave out the rights reserved to the people, the ones who have specifically have rights not mentioned in the Constitution. And one of those rights reserved to the people is the right to marry the person of your choice. Not people, not pets, not some perversion I don’t wish to name, but person. One person. So stop the polygamy and polyandry claims, stop the bestiality claims, stop the perversion claims. Nobody has ever seriously argued that marriage should be between anything other than two, and only two, people. (Some nutjobs might have, but they are few in number and can safely be regarded as totally without public influence. In fact, if you never brought them up, we’d never hear about them.)

You also leave out the Fourteenth Amendment, one of the most important constitutional amendments in human history. Without the 14th, your 1st Amendment rights mean nothing. If you read the Bill of Rights carefully, it says nothing about the States not being allowed to infringe upon your right to freedom of religion, or free speech, or a free press, or free assembly, or the freedom to petition the government. The 14th Amendment does. It says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That means the rights you have as a federal citizen are now the rights you have as a citizen of your state. So your state can’t block your right to freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly or petitioning. What never ceases to amaze me, Bryan, is how you States’ Rights advocates get all up in arms about freedoms you claim the federal government is taking away from its citizens, but you are perfectly happy with your own state taking away those same freedoms. So why are you so opposed to the federal government saying the states can’t deny citizens within its borders their right to marry? What is it you’re so afraid will happen. Bryan? That you’ll run out into the streets to commit acts of violence against your fellow citizens, or that you’ll leave your wife for another man? I’ll support you 100% on the latter, but not on the former.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to make fun of Bryan Fischer’s paranoia, how my interpretations of the Constitution are off the mark, or anything else you wish to discuss.

Sunday Roast: Mt St Helens anniversary

May 18, 1980, thirty-five years ago tomorrow, Mt St Helens in Washington State went off like a bomb, killing 57 people and turning hundreds of square miles of beautiful forest into a wasteland.

Here’s a handy dandy graphic from the Wiki page of what happened during the blast:

I was living near Lake Shasta at the time, and working at the K-Mart just off I-5 in Redding.  I was amazed at the uptick in the numbers of travelers going north; we could tell who they were because they were buying stacks and stacks of crappy K-Mart air filters for their cars.  My thought was, “Why drive into that mess on purpose?,” but I guess they had their reasons — maybe selling crappy air filters to the masses.  :D

Thankfully, no one in my family was living in northern at the time.  My parents and younger sister moved to Moscow the next year, so they could establish residency before my dad started law school in 1982.  To hear the old people around Moscow tell it, they received anywhere from a couple inches to 12 feet of ash.  As much of a nightmare as it was, I’m pretty sure it was closer to a couple inches than it was to a foot — let alone 12 feet.

Exciting times!!  My inner geology geek was pinging like mad…

This is our daily open thread — where were you the day Mt St Helens went off?