Category Archives: Politics

Retirement City and its social messaging

My work has its retirement plan through Wells Fargo. Our VP of HR invited us to play “Retirement City” which is an edutainment game to encourage people to save more for retirement by playing a game with questions, random events, and the like.

So I got to playing it a bit. And the social messaging started to rankle. The “You should save 10% of your pretax income” is smart advice. But the game deducted me more points for buying a used car than buying a bike, and deducted me more points for not having a wedding with the County Courthouse.

And then there was the question of kids. It asked how many kids our family was going to have. Now clued into the game’s social messaging, I chose “No Kids for us”:

You can see that you gain points for having NO children and and you lose more points for selecting to have kids. Period, end of story. Sure, Kids are expensive–but to suggest its more responsible not to have kids so you can save for retirement better?? I am not convinced of the efficacy, or the quality of this social message–and I say this as someone unmarried, without children.

Self Defense and John C Wright

A quote for today

In the rightwing view, each man is or should be mature and able to defend himself. More than this, it is his duty to defend himself and his family. The role of the police is limited to avenging wrongs after they are done, not preventing them. Police are not bodyguards and have no enforceable, legal duty to protect citizens.

_ John C Wright

I disagree. What of those citizens who have no capacity or talent for self defense? Not everyone is a Heinleinian uber competent. And this doesn’t even get into physically challenged citizens. So, a blind head of household should be able to defend himself and his family or else he’s a failure as a man and a citizen?

The post talks about examining assumptions and a failure on the left to do so. The same might be said of you, John.

300 Million guns–a response

Hello all.
I received the following response to my 300 million guns post from Brian Dewhirst.
If gun ownership is correlated with gun violence, and we own ~300M guns, why are there so few gun fatalities? (We own on the order of the same number of cars, and cars are associated with far more fatalities. Vastly more accidental fatalities as compared to accidental gun fatalities.)
What proportion of gun fatalities are older Americans ending their own lives due to debt and/or health situations? (Of the approximately 30,000 annual gun fatalities, what proportion are suicides?)
What proportion of gun fatalities are due to drug prohibition? Of that proportion, how many do you believe would be stopped if the firearms in question were illegal? How many of those firearms used in drug-related shootings were obtained illegally?
What is the psychological profile of a mass-shooting shooter? What measures do psychologists recommend to minimize the frequency of such incidents on account of that profile? Would banning some/all guns/weapons increase or decrease the attractiveness of firearms to such an individual? How likely is it that a ‘ban on all guns’ would result in an Oklahoma-City-style bombing, or bombings, or other acts of terrorism by self-styled ‘patriotic’ domestic terrorists?
Assuming mature 3D printing technology becomes available, how would a total ban on guns be enforced? Which is more important, banning/heavily regulating mature 3D printers, or the improvements in the material existence of ordinary people that said printers might bring (as compared to the numbers of lives which would be saved by said bans/restrictions)?
In what other circumstances do you advocate prohibition? When/where do you believe prohibition has been successful when significant demand for an item exists?
In your opinion, how skilled are police officers with firearms? Are you advocating banning police from owning firearms? How might the behavior of American police officers change were firearms illegal (for civilians)?
What other rights, apart to the right to own firearms, does the second amendment protect? What other consequences might there be to a repeal on the 2nd amendment?

300 million guns–a thought experiment

I heard a figure quoted that there are 300 million firearms extant in the United States.That is, roughly, a gun for every man, woman and child in the United States.
However, as a nation, we are so wrapped up in the Second Amendment and the Myth of the Gun that this basic fact is not examined or faced.
Think about it. We’re awash in these things. Modest proposals to restrict the more devastating firearms are treated as impeachable offenses, or opportunities for the NRA to use Obama’s daughters as political weapons. We’ve gone to more than 11 on the insanity dial.
Think of this. Imagine if we had 300 million broadswords lying around the country. Just think about that. 300 million dangerous sharp objects that are designed to deliver death. Would you want a guard in a school with a broadsword? Would you think teachers should have broadswords to protect their classrooms?
If we take the word gun out and substitute swords, which aren’t as deadly as guns, does that clarify the situation? Do you see the problem with a society that is too permissive with the possession of deadly tools?
But since its guns, people lose their minds. We’ve lost our minds to the point that we do not even recognize that we’ve lost half of the amendment’s words in the current interpretation:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
I don’t think that we can come to terms with guns in our society as long as the Second Amendment remains the law of the land. So I still hold to my controversial belief.
“…and further, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States Must be Repealed”
Comments are closed.If you wish to contact me, you can contact me via email, or on the social media I inhabit.

The Same Sex Amendment, and God

Okay, enough.
Listening to an MPR story about pastors urging their voters to support the same sex marriage ban amendment here in Minnesota has gotten me mad.
Look, you can pick and choose a lot of things “banned” in the bible. A West Wing episode had the President do this to a conservative God-botherer better than I can.
And if you really think that God has condemned homosexuality? Then your God is a sadistic F*ck. Why does your God allow
Homosexuality to exist, then, if he has condemned it? Do you really think that people choose to be gay?
And if they didn’t choose to be gay, then God is a sadist.
“Oh, let’s make Billy gay and let him live a life where if he gives into his nature, he is going to hell. He he. Let him
live a life of unhappiness. That’s his cross in life. Ha ha.”
As I said, sadistic f*uck. That’s more the God that Al Pacino’s Devil in The Devil’s Advocate describes.
Is that your God?
How does Jenna and Penny marrying affect YOUR marriage, YOUR life? It doesn’t. It doesn’t.

Where do you stand on requiring Minnesotans to produce a photo ID to vote?

Today’s question from MPR News got me to thinking:
Where do you stand on requiring Minnesotans to produce a photo ID to vote?
I have extremely conflicted views about this question.
In theory and in the abstract, it sounds like a good idea. Who doesn’t want more security, more reliability in elections.
But the more I dig at this question, the more it becomes a mess of a question.
The amount of voter fraud proven over the years is minimal if not ancedotal. So why
That’s what bothers me. Why do those, mostly of the conservative persuasion, want these voter ID laws so badly that they spend all this time and energy across the nation to address this non-issue.
The answer has to be–to discourage voting by those who aren’t of their stripe. Minorities. The poor. Those who don’t necessarily have a driver’s license and might have a birth certificate…somewhere, usually forgotten.
It is that motive, that desire to reduce turnout of those of different political leanings that poison the well for me.

A Modest Proposal: Patents of Nobility

In keeping with my previous Modest Proposal, another one to raise revenue. This one would require a Constitutional Amendment but the Republican party, in particular, seems willing to amend the Constitution.
Section One, Articles Nine and Ten of the U.S. Constiution include the following passages:
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person
holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

It’s time we faced facts, friends. The One percent are a de-facto Nobility, and its going to stay that way. Why don’t we formalize that, and make some money in the process. My previous Pyramid Tax Plan already shifted the tax burden away from the rich and onto the numerous teeming poor. This plan would raise revenue from the rich, but in a completely voluntary way that is also capitalistic and free-market oriented.
This proposal would amend the Constitution to remove the language not allowing the States and the United States to grant titles of Nobility. It would work as follows:
The United States Government would establish a hierarchy of national nobility ranks as follows:
2 Grand Princes/Princesses (Grand Princess of the Eastern United States; Grand Prince of the Western United States)
4 Archdukes/Duchesses (Archduchess of the Southwestern United States, et cetera)
9 Princes/Princesses
12 Dukes/Duchesses
20 Earls/Count/Countesses
20 Peerage titles revolving around the personages of Congress and the White House, in the same way that French Kings once granted ranks to nobles in their courts. People already call Washington “Versailles on the Potomac”. Let’s leverage that!
In addition, each State would be allowed to establish nobility ranks as follows:
1 Marquis/Marchioness (Marchioness of the State of Minnesota)
10 Barons/Baronesses
20 Baronets/Baronetess
The noble titles would be sold by means of auction. I bet the bidding would be rather fierce, and raise a significant amount of revenue.
The titles would not be merely ceremonial. A noble who had state nobility would be entitled to a vote in that state’s legislative chamber. The federal nobles of Prince and below would be entitled to vote in the House of Representatives, the Archdukes and Grand Princesses would be considered Senators. They would also have the right of High Justice.
(It occurs to me that repealing the 17th Amendment and merely making the Senate a House of Lords like in the United Kingdom might be for something down the road)
These titles would not be heritable, as a holder of one of the titles passes away, on that sad day, the title would be resold. The first born child of the deceased noble would have the first right to buy the title at the cost, adjusted for inflation, that their parent paid for it.
The revenues brought by the selling of these noble titles would definitely help America stay strong and free, and the oppressed, wrongly hated wealthy would finally have some formal recognition of how important they are in society.
God Bless you and God Bless America