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Populist Anger

The healthcare debate is the tip of the iceberg in what will soon become an onslaught of populist anger. The arrogance and greed of the people in charge are so out of control that they need to be PUNISHED.

This completely falls along partisan lines. Here's some history as I see it, this is my subset of important points:

  1. Deregulation of the financial industry by conservatives
  2. The economy bubbles, people begin to trust financial "experts" empowered by conservatives
  3. People buy homes they can't afford because the status quo and the experts say it's ok
  4. Financial decisions were made by a subset of the wealthy elite (often in insurance industries) to bankrupt the entire country
  5. Millions of lower/middle class families are put out of work, combined with an unexpected sudden burden of adjustable rate mortgages readjusting, people go bankrupt
  6. To save the economy, a first bailout is planned by a mixed congress and republican president
  7. A democratic president is elected with a left-wing congress
  8. A second bailout is planned by democrats in both branches of government
  9. The bailouts help stabilize the ship, but do not fully right it...It's not leaking bad enough to sink anymore
  10. People still are unable to get loans/jobs; the deregulated industries don't trickle the money down
  11. Executives at financial and insurance companies demand million dollar bonuses on top of their million dollar salaries after their actions put millions out of work, and they get them
  12. Healthcare is proposed, conservative outrage ensues about not wanting to be taxed to pay for lazy sick people
  13. A weak reform passes that allows private insurance to continue at the outrage of conservatives crying about freedom

And now we hear people crying and complaining about "oh, I don't want to be taxed and punished to pay for someone else's healthcare." Yup, seems pretty unfair. You know what else is unfair? When the rich make decisions that put people out of their homes even when they worked hard for years. That's pretty unfair. When the powerful elite demand 100-million dollar bonuses after their work literally bankrupted people. That's the person they want you to feel sorry for, poor them getting robbed by the big bad government.

Tough shit. Seriously. 30 years of getting fucked by the people in power, and now when the government tries to do something to help those who are out of work by no fault of their own, what do we see? Rambling and lies, pity parties, and an all out clusterfuck of misinformation and self-interest. It's over. It's time for robin hood. Want to talk unfair? The auto worker that joins a union and works hard for 20 years making $70,000 a year to feed a family of 5 loses his job because some exec making millions tells him to make a car they designed that doesn't meet market demands. Want to talk unfair? A person buys a house because the bank tells them they can afford it, and when they worry they're assured it'll be ok because values always increase, while in reality even the government regulators can't figure the system out it's so complex, then when some banker gambles their mortgage away in some packaged clusterfuck of debt, they're the ones kicked out of their house and their tax dollars (supposed to be going to helping out the housing market) go into the bonus-stuffed pockets of the bankers. MOST OF TARP IS STILL UNACCOUNTED FOR.

It's time for unfair to work the other way. If someone is making $200,000 a year and they have to lose $75,000 of that in taxes today, FINE. FUCK THEM. You can live on $125,000 a year, and don't tell me you can't. I don't give a fuck what you're used to, I don't give a fuck how hard you worked. Many people worked hard and they have NOTHING, you think you have a right to complain when you would be left with RICHES. It's sick that someone like that needs to feel sorry for them selves; if I had my way, you'd be taxed 50% and then if you complained another 25%; that's 2 for flinching.

Because of the decisions of the elite few, more people than in DECADES are barely able to survive with the money they make. This is not the time to feel sorry for the wealthy; complain all you want about "why are you punishing people for doing a good job," when people are literally becoming homeless because they lost their job and got a mortgage they didn't understand they couldn't afford, the last concern should be the person making $400,000 a year having to find a way to make ends meet after an extra 3% tax.

The arrogance of the upper class has gotten completely out of control, it's the french revolution all over again. "Why don't they just get a job" or "why not just get a good education" and "why should i have to pay for their healthcare" are the modern day "let them eat cake." Democracy is the tool of self-governance for the informed populous, but we have transitioned into a society that values misinformation and emotion over rational discussion, and I believe that democracy is now an ineffective system of government. How many people are against the health care bill because "it has death panels" or "it pays for abortions" or "my insurance is going to go through the roof" or "it takes away my freedoms."

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Rationalism, Reason, and Logic

Questions -> Speculation -> Assumptions -> Adopted as facts -> Beliefs Instead of: Questions -> Fact Finding -> Facts -> Beliefs
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Atheism and Homosexuality

I'm passionately in support of LGBT rights, and I was trying to think about why. It's not because I'm at all LGBT, could it be because growing up I was called "gay" all the time? Is it because it's the right thing to do? I really couldn't pinpoint it for a long time, but then I started thinking about Fred Phelps and his WBC (no link) and all his "God Hates Fags!" signs, and it made me realize that atheism and LGBT folks are completely linked.

Why is that? There's obviously the biblical arguments for "homosexuality is wrong" and maybe rejecting the bible means rejecting that antagonism? (By the way, Mark 7:15; 1Sa 18:1; plenty of others) But nevertheless, I don't really think that's it. I had to go back through my own development as an atheist to figure it all out.

I remember being raised Catholic and going to church, and going to CCD twice a week after school, and being told to pray every night and stuff. I used to be sad about things, or want things, and I would be told "ask god for it and maybe you'll get it." And I used to go through the motions, but it was more about the procedure than actually thinking I was talking to anyone. Then you find out the tooth fairy, and Santa Claus, and the easter bunny aren't real. I think the Santa thing was very instrumental for me; you take this great person everyone thinks about that has the power to watch you all the time and can give you things if you're good, then POOF surprise they don't exist. It's a very short leap between that and god. For the record, Santa had a better track record for coming through for me.

I don't remember the exact point, but there was a time where I actually thought someone was listening, then a time where I went through the motions so I didn't get yelled at. But that was the thing; I still had to go to church on Saturday nights, I still went to CCD, I had very high-pressure friends, all that crap. I just stopped believing, but didn't say anything, probably at the age of like 10-12. Then talk of confirmation came up, and I didn't really feel like the work of it, so I told my parents that I didn't want to pursue it. I had a time after that where I had some high pressure friends try and recruit me to other christian faiths, and while it was with the best intent, I think it made me resentful. I started questioning a lot of things. God gives loaves and fish to hungry people, and we have hungry people now, but our church is undergoing an expensive renovation. Why does god forgive people; it's like it's ok to do bad things as long as you're sorry in the end? I can be sorry for anything, can I do anything? Jesus was humble and lived modestly yet we build these huge temples and have priests driving Mercedes wearing gold hats, would jesus want this? People always say it's a lesson when something bad happens, but a blessing when something good happens, how is that different from just having bad and good things without the meddling of a god?

Basically, I stopped believing very early, then started questioning the establishment on top of those non-existent beliefs, then finally chose to embrace the disbelief. The disbelief happened, and wasn't a choice, but instead the choice was to embrace it and be public about it. For me, I was very antagonistic towards my parents, and also grew up in an area with a lot of diverse belief (I had Hindu friends and such) so the pressures of christianity were at least not overwhelming, it became very easy to just be like "I don't believe and I don't want to go anymore."

But while it was easy for me, I can just imagine what it's like for someone living in an oppressive place, with oppressive family, surrounded by non-sympathetic beliefs. It must be terrible. And I think this is where my compassion for LGBT causes comes from. I draw huge parallels between what Atheists go through and what LGBT people go through. There are differences, and LGBT people have totally different struggles, but I feel there are a ton of things in common. There are state constitutions that say a belief in god is required to hold office, people are amending state constitutions to prevent LGBT people from expressing their relationships.

So yea, I think that's why I relate so much to the LGBT plight. Atheists and LGBT folks need to stick together; we're all just trying to live out our lives in the face of a majority that thinks we don't have a right to exist and need to be fixed. Fight the power!

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The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act

This amendment, attached to a defense spending bill which was guaranteed to pass, extended the definition of a hate crime to cover crimes against LGBT people. The people who opposed this somehow believed that the bill would prevent people from having the religious freedom to oppose homosexuality. If the only way you can express your opposition to something is by acting in such a way that would be otherwise classified as a hate crime, your argument is invalid and you’re a fucking toolbox that needs to be slaughtered, but that’s just my passionate support for equal rights speaking.

This is the list of people who voted against the bill. Democrat Russ Feingold said he voted against the bill because he opposed the spending bill as a whole for what it would mean for extending the time in Afghanistan. Noble idea, but given the bill was guaranteed to pass it seems that this was a wasted opportunity to do something positive when something you disagree with was resigned to happen. All of these people’s names should be published and I encourage you to re-post this list.

Alexander (R-Tenn.)
Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
Bennett (R-Utah)
Brownback (R-Kan.)
Bunning (R-Ky.)
Burr (R-N.C.)
Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Coburn (R-Okla.)
Cochran (R-Miss.)
Corker (R-Tenn.)
Crapo (R-Idaho)
DeMint (R-S.C.)
Enzi (R-Wyo.)
Feingold (D-Wis.)
Graham (R-S.C.)
Grassley (R-Iowa)
Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Isakson (R-Ga.)
Johanns (R-Neb.)
Kyl (R-Ariz.)
LeMieux (R-Fla.)
McConnell (R-Ky.)
Risch (R-Idaho)
Roberts (R-Kan.)
Sessions (R-Ala.)
Shelby (R-Ala.)
Thune (R-S.D.)
Vitter (R-La.)
Wicker (R-Miss.)

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00327#position

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Comcast + NBC = BAD

This is something that will no doubt go completely unnoticed by the mainstream media, and it will probably happen eventually. But why am I the only one I've talked to outraged by this??? Read here: Comcast in deal talks with NBC Universal (This has since been denied, but still worth talking about.)

This is a HUGE problem. The people providing the conduit for content to come to the consumer should not have a competing stake in what content you are watching. This is the CORE issue of net neutrality; the communications pipe should be CONTENT NEUTRAL. Obviously it already happens all the time; Time Warner clearly has a huge stake in the CW and so on, but it's outrageous and has consequences.

Just to clarify what I mean, think about this: Comcast owns NBC, which plays a national news program that competes with those on ABC, CBS, Fox, etc. As a partial owner of the station, Comcast could profit form the ad revenue that the NBC program pulls in, meaning they have a vested stake in having eyeballs choosing NBC. Now, Comcast owns and controls the pipe that channels come through. In America, there's essentially a non-compete setup going on; where I live, it's against the community rules to have a satellite dish, AT&T is considered really poor, and Comcast is the only cable provider (due to crappy and outdated laws). Doesn't this seem like a HUGE conflict of interest? There's laws in place somewhat preventing this, but it's pretty generally agreed upon that they're super weak laws.

This has happened before. In 2000, Time Warner and ABC got into a spat and for 36 hours ABC was shut off. And the way it works now, most content providers have their hands in content creation: Time Warner owns CNN, CW, and a ton of cable networks, NewsCorp owns DirecTV and all the Fox crap, etc. Imagine if this translated to what people fear is going to happen to the internet: GE, which owns NBC, also owns Hulu. If Comcast had a stake in Hulu, it's a HUGE conflict of interest and the technology exists to make you pay more for other video providers; picture "Basic Comcast Internet - Hulu Included, youtube for $5/MB, Intermediate Internet - More Money, Hulu Included, Youtube Downloads Included, Uploads $5/200kb" etc.

To me, this is complete crap. It's about revenue sharing. In an ideal world, content conduits make their revenue through subscriptions and should be able to compete FREELY on available infrastructure. They have made back their infrastructure investments by several times and Cable backbones should be government owned and licensed out JUST LIKE AIRWAVES. The whole structure for content agreements is broken; like how now DirecTV customers can't get VS. and have no recourse but one of the other limited carriers. Carriers then compete for who can provide the best to-the-house service. Content creators then make their money on the ads; that how it should work, they're rewarded by revenue for making content that attracts eyeballs.

Anyway, this news is disturbing to me and people should be thinking about it on these terms. It's bad for the consumer for all these FCC protections and exclusivity agreements to be in place.

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