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The Political and Religious Views of a Not Quite Normal Citizen of the Greatest Country in the World

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

You Better Watch Out...

I would like to wish all of you a very joyous Yuletide this year.  I would also like to thank everyone who believes in Santa Claus for keeping Odin in your hearts.
I'm interested in seeing if they track any clicks on this back to a pagan blog. :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Message for Political Groups

Doing my research for today's election I came across the website for the Burlington County Democratic Committee, which is helpful since that's where I live.  They have some nice write ups on the candidates that they are backing but nothing, really, on the positions that they are taking.  So, wishing to get more information, I clicked on the Chairman's Message.  That's where it all fell apart for me.  Does this message speak to taxes, marriage equality, jobs, or other items important to the people of Burlington County?  Nope.

In fact, it seems like their overwhelming issue, which is the only one I can find on this entire website, is "We need to make sure that Chris Christie does not even think about running for President in 2016."  Really?  There is nothing else that you could possibly think to run on?  There are no issues affecting New Jersey or Burlington County that could possibly make any difference?  Apparently not.  Apparently they think that an election that is 3 years away is the only possible thing that any voter could care about in this election.

This is the kind of thing that really makes me want more than two (or sometimes less on this ballot) choices for any position.  The "we're good and they're bad" mindset really ticks me off.  I, for one, am more concerned about what can be done about the outrageous property taxes in the state, the passing of useless (or at least, wrong headed) laws and wasteful spending than I am about who may or may not be running for President in 2016.

We (NJ residents) have a choice of 8 candidates for Governor, which is great!  But that's it.  Every other office has only 2, and my school board election has only 2 people listed to fill 3 positions.  It's at times like this that I admire people like Kevin Bott, who are willing and able to run as an alternate party candidate.

So, what's my message to these groups?  Try stating what you are for and what positive items you want to accomplish rather than what you are against or what political power moves you plan on making.  Not only does it turn voters off from what possible good you might do, it makes you the poster children for the worst in American politics.

Now stop reading this blog and go out and vote!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How I Vote

No, this is not a "I always vote for this party" post, this is a step by step procedure of how I cast my vote in elections.  Considering the amount of posts I see on a daily basis which consist of nothing but a re-post of a political image or slogan, with no added commentary or just a "Yeah", I am forced to conclude that many people don't do much research on their own.  Hence a little guide for those of you that might just go into the booth and cast your ballot for people with the appropriate (to you) letter after their name.

1. Register to Vote - You would be surprised how many people forget this, especially if they are moving.  The simple fact of the matter is that if you aren't registered, you can't vote.

2. Obtain Sample Ballot - In the vast majority of cases, this comes in the mail a few weeks prior to the election.  If you don't get one, you can call your municipality or local board of elections and see if they can get one to you.  This is a crucial step, since everything from here on is dependent on having this piece of paper.

3. Determine Incumbents - Also know as "Determine who has one strike against them."  All things being equal, I vote for new comers over incumbents.  I just have an innate problem with career politicians.  Public Office is not supposed to be a career, it's supposed to be service to the community.  For example, the mayor of my home town is a paid, elected position.  The person that holds the office, though, has a day job because the pay is worth it for their time, but not enough to make a living off of.  That just keeps them honest, IMHO.

4. Research Candidates - Here's the hard part, especially as one gets more local.  Take the ballot and look up all the candidates.  See where they stack up on issues that are important to you.  My general rule of thumb is that if someone agrees with my position on more than half of the things that are important to me, they are worth voting for.  I know that no one will be with me on everything, but 51% is good enough to make me consider them.  And I don't just mean those in the R or D columns, I mean research everyone.  You might just be surprised on how much you might like an alternative viewpoint.

5. Research Ballot Questions - If there are any questions to be voted on, take a look at them.  Don't just go by the ballot says, look into what impact that would have on you and your family.  There is usually enough information out there on these questions that you can form a decent enough opinion on it ahead of time.

6. Mark Sample Ballot - Now that you have all of your information collected, weight it all for each office/question.  Look at each choice you have and make a decision on what is best for you.  Once you've come to a decision, mark that on the ballot.  I refer to this as my cheat sheet, since I bring it into the booth with me and cast my vote based on those choices.

7. Vote at Designated Polling Place - I am always surprised by how many people just don't bother to vote, or vote for the wrong reasons.  There was actually someone that posted on Facebook something along the lines of "I wasn't going to vote, because I really don't like Candidate A, but now that Public Figure B has endorsed Candidate C, I'll go out and vote for A."  Not because this person felt that A most represented what they thought would be good for the office, but because they didn't like B, that meant they had to vote for A.  I try to ignore endorsements as much as possible, and simply vote on the issues that matter to me, for just this reason.

See, it's just that easy.  Yes there is some work involved on your part, but considering that we elect people who will be crafting laws that will affect all of the residents of this great country, is a little homework really all that bad?  I hope I have helped some of you out there with this process.  It works for me, so I thought it would be useful for others.  Just do me one favor, vote intelligently.  Don't go by party, but by what issues are important to you as an individual.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Marriage Opinion

I'm going to say this once, and I think that should be enough.  If your marriage or faith are so tenuous that you feel people of the same sex getting married, with all the same rights and privileges as any other married couple, would completely shatter either, then you are fighting the wrong battle.  If you would devote the same amount of energy that you waste on what other people do with their lives and focus on your own, everyone would be in a better place.  That is all.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kevin Bott for Mayor

I recently became aware of a campaign by Kevin Bott to become mayor of Syracuse, NY.  I have visited his website and watched his video (see below), and I have to say I'm impressed.  Here is someone willing to take a shot at being Mayor of a major American city who realizes what it's like to be a normal person in this world.  The fact that he's going about it outside of the two party system that has gotten way out of control is wonderful.

Do I agree with him, or the Green Party, on everything?  Nope.  Some of the issue are pretty much the opposite of what I would want.  However, I want to give him a shot.  What we need more of in our government is outsiders.  People that do not look at politics as a career, but as a civic duty.  I believe that Kevin is one of these people and I would like to encourage everyone in Syracuse to vote for him and for as many of the readers here as possible to donate to his campaign (I have pledged $10 myself).

It's my opinion that the two party system is one of the major reasons for this country being in the mess it is currently in.  Whether I agree with the candidate/party or not, I want to encourage as many alternate party candidates as possible to run for as many offices as possible.  Once real people get control, rather than career politicians, I think we'll have a better chance to turn this around.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Social Media

Just so you know, dear readers, I have created pages for this blog on both Facebook and Google+.  Please feel free to add them for all the latest updates.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Required Viewing on Economics

These videos should be required viewing for all, but especially politicians.

Basics of Capitalism (aka It's OK to go into business)

Running a Buisiness (aka Profits are NOT necessarily evil!)

Investing (aka The rich are NOT necessarily evil!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Unpopular Bullying Opinion

I'm sorry, but all the stuff I'm hearing recently on bullying in schools, etc just makes me sick.  Bullies are not, by nature, reasonable people.  Treating them like misunderstood, rational beings is as illogical as thier own actions.  You know what stops bullying?  Standing up and letting them know you won't take it any more.  If they can't keep picking on you without resistance, they'll move on to easier targets.  Once all easy targets are gone, they aren't able to be a bully anymore.

Personally, I think this video should be mandatory viewing for all students (and administrators).

Before you ask, no, I was not a victim of bullying.  I was lucky to be both one of the biggest kids in the class and blessed with the "I don't care what other people think" attitude.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I’m Just Fed Up

OK, this has been building for quite a bit, and I have touched on this before, but I’m a really fed up with government.  The over-reaction to the deplorable Sandy Hook Shooting, the gridlock in Washington, etc., it’s just too much.  So, not being one to curse the rain without opening an umbrella, here are my thoughts.

1.       Military
a.       Step One, GET OUT OF AFGANISTAN!  Sorry, was that not forceful enough?  We have no business there, we are not doing anyone any good and it’s Freaking Expensive in both money, and more important, LIVES!  Just be done with it.
b.      This goes down to point 5, but I’ll say it here.  If the military doesn’t want something new, don’t push it through anyway!  I tend to trust the people that have done the job for years and years, and if they don’t want a shiny new <fill in military tech here>, then that should be the end of it.  “But people in my district/state/whatever need work.”  I’m sure that these companies can find something else to build.  Sorry if that’s harsh, but we’re a little beyond sunshine and rainbows in the country.

2.       Domestic Issues
a.       Very simply put, see the 10th Amendment.  The Federal Government really needs to stop worrying about regulating the states and deal with the Big Stuff that is their responsibility.
b.      Gun Control is not either banning all guns or using a second hand to hold your gun, it is a responsible way for States (see 2a) to control who can legally own a firearm and what kinds of firearms are legally available.  Personally, I don’t see the reason for anyone to own a fully automatic weapon.  There are better ways to make deer pâté.  That is not to say that semi-automatic weapons should be banned, just the full auto.  On that note, I would like to point out that any responsible citizen, who wishes to, should be able to buy any legally available firearm they can afford.  Heck, let’s require everyone who wants to own a particular firearm to pass a 6-week course on how to use it.  Believe or not, criminals don’t obey the law, so no matter how strict your gun restrictions, criminals will still have guns so people will still have to protect themselves.
c.       Please, PLEASE give the President a Line Item Veto.  Just look at the recent Sandy Aid Bill and listen to the oinking.  All these amendments to bills that have NOTHING to do with them is part of the problem in Washington.

3.       Foreign Issues
a.       Can we PLEASE stop being the world’s police force?  Isn’t there a group of countries, who all send representatives to a meeting yearly, which could take over this function?  I don’t know, some kind of United Nations?
b.      Again referring down to point 5, let’s cut all foreign aid, yes I said all, by half.  I know we can’t responsibly get rid of it all, but we kind of have a cash flow problem here, so let’s trim what’s leaving this country.
c.       Speaking of foreign aid, let’s enact a law/regulation/what-have-you that states “If a country receiving US foreign aid is found to be harboring a wanted enemy of the US, all foreign aid immediate stops and cannot be restarted for 10 years.”  Osama Bin Laden anyone?

4.       Elected Officials
a.       I would like to see a Constitutional Amendment implemented that states “No individual may hold elected office on any level (local, state, federal) more than a cumulative total of 20 years.”  Career politicians just annoy me on how out of touch they are and limiting how many terms of a particular office they can hold just isn’t going to deter them.  This would not apply to appointed offices, such as cabinet positions, just elected.
b.      The House of Representatives has been so f’d up for the past decade or so (yes, both Republicans and Democrats are to blame) that we should really think about implementing the Greek method of choosing.  Take all the names of all constitutionally qualified candidates in a congressional district and pick one.  That’s your Congressman/woman for the next two years.  Can anyone really argue that we’d be in worse shape?

5.       Budget
a.       First thing to do, get rid of all automatic increases in spending.  I don’t get a raise every year just because time passed, and neither should government agencies/employees.
b.      You want to raise taxes on the “rich” to increase revenue, be my guest.  But this won’t solve the problem.  There is no way that was can tax our way out of this mess we’re in.  Severe and across the board spending cuts are needed.  It’s not going to be pretty or fun, but it needs to be done.
c.       Speaking of taxes, let’s close any and all loopholes in the tax code and implement a flat sales tax.  No deductions, no tax shelters, nothing like that.  You owe X% of your purchases to the government and that’s it.  Basic necessities, such as produce, dairy, clothing, diapers, etc, would be exempt, but you want a 72” 1080p TV, you’ve got to pay the tax.  Personally, I think this is fairer than taxing income, since it doesn’t punish success, just luxury.  Yes, there could be a Scrooge out there who makes a lot of money but lives like he’s poor, but I think that’s far more the exception than the rule.