Monday, February 27, 2012

ethecofem has moved!

ethecofem moved!  We also have a brand-new design, and increased functionality, as well as new features.  Head on over to the new site, take a look around, and register to use the forums!

This site will no longer be updated.


Thank you!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thoughts on Envy, Unions, and the Social Safety Net

This week last year, state workers in Wisconsin began occupying the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison to protest budget cuts and the all-out assault on union collective bargaining rights perpetuated by Governor Scott Walker and his Koch Bros corporate owners.  While union bargaining rights, as well as the wages and benefits afforded to union members, have been in the national discourse for decades, the severity of what Walker was doing to workers and the state as a whole, and the subsequent massive reaction to those measures, created a new discussion:  Why should unions have so much power over the wages of their employees?  Is collective bargaining fair to employers?  Why should union workers get such good medical benefits and pensions, when non-union workers around the country are having their wages and benefits slashed so drastically?  Even if labor unions "make sense," does it makes sense for those benefits to be afforded to government workers?  Aren't they somehow different?

Similar arguments are made about people using any part of our rapidly dwindling social safety net: Why should those people get to live off of me?  I work hard, and they should, too!  Those bums should just get a job (in this economy!).  It's not fair that they get to have all this money for food and help with rent and their utilities, and I work my ass off every day and have to shop at Wal-Mart and Aldi!  I saw this one guy use his EBT card and then get into a car that looked more expensive than mine, and he used a cell phone!  They shouldn't have those luxuries while they live off MY tax dollars!  They should be forced to sell everything of value before they qualify for anything!

What it sounds like to me is that the people most likely to complain about the very institutions and programs that exist to help people who are in rough situations are acting primarily out of envy.  It's not fair!! is a commonly-cited reason for opposing such things as welfare and union benefits.  What I think we're missing -- aside from, of course, a well-educated and critically-thinking population that isn't spoon-fed by corporate media, circus politics, and religious dogma -- is that we're placing the blame on the wrong group of people.  Why blame union members for their good benefits and pension plans, and their contractual ability to bargain for fair and livable wages?  If the problem you have with those benefits is that you don't also receive them and must scrape by as a result, then the appropriate target for such anger would be your own employer, who refuses to compensate you adequately for your labor.  The appropriate target for your anger about not being able to afford decent food and your rent or mortgage would not be those who are benefiting from government programs that exist to help people, but the system that allows you -- a presumably hard-working and self-sacrificing person, if one were to believe what you say amid your unceasing complaints about the so-called dredges of society -- to fall through the cracks, and the institutions and corporations who are benefiting from the budget cuts, wage cuts, and austerity measures imposed that are the direct cause of your economic downward spiral.  

A society based on greed and envy doesn't work for anyone, and neither does misdirecting blame when we're upset about an apparent injustice.  We need to think critically before judging the circumstances and motivations of people we've never met, whose shoes we haven't walked in, and whose lives are seemingly different from ours.  As Warren aptly notes:
I think about the two different ways political scientists conduct statistical polling for political contests. What we most often see on TV are the general preliminary polls that give us a rough notion of who's winning or losing the race overall. Then we see the more specific demographic stats done after voting is completed, commonly known as exit-polling. With the latter, the focus is on demographics, details that inform the candidates about who is voting for them based on age, gender, political leanings, race, etc.  The former is based on opinion only.
What I'd like to see us begin to do is to work on that second evaluation.  To judge others not based on the biases and stereotypes inherent to our own lives, but based on listening to their opinions first and our own second should be our collective aim.  Taking such action could seriously effect our long term evolution; a world where we would think before we act and consider others viewpoints whilst determining our own. After all, there is no one answer to decide how we should live our lives - there are millions of ways.  But if we choose to live only that life we were told or raised to inhabit, then we are limiting not only our own horizons, but also those that we love, those we share this earth with and those we want to see succeed as much as ourselves. 
If you see an economically disadvantaged person who seems to "have it better" than you do, or a person with a job that actually provides a decent wage, benefits, and a pension or retirement plan while you have none of these benefits, desiring for their standard of living to decrease is illogical and, if implemented, only further benefits the institutions and corporations that make your situation so difficult in the first place.  Fighting a symptom is never as effective as eliminating the cause of the problem.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On the Dole

So, I got food stamps the other day.  Well, in Minnesota, the benefit is actually called "food support," but you get the idea.  My experience applying and being approved wasn't terribly difficult or exciting (save for the fight that nearly broke out in the waiting area), but rather simple and, dare I say, almost pleasant, given the circumstances.  The folks I talked to and showed various proofs of things to were polite, friendly, and helpful.  I had to prove that I'm unemployed, and show proof of my last paycheck, as well as my lease to prove that I have to pay what now feels like an obscene amount for rent.  They told me I qualified for expedited support, since I haven't received any income this month (my last paycheck was January 20, and the only other money I received was tax returns, which they do not count as income).  Turns out I qualify for $200 a month, which made me just about pee in shock.  That's more money than I think I've ever spent on food for myself, ever.

Since this is my first time using such a benefit as an adult, I obviously have some thoughts about it.  I went to the website where you can check your balance and check to see which nearby stores accept EBT, and saw that -- ZOMG -- Whole Foods accepts EBT.  Then my roommate Googled "Whole Foods EBT," and the first result was the most vile, racist pile of crap I've ever read about people who have the nerve to use their EBT card for anything other than SPAM and Wonder Bread.  I mean, how dare these people want to eat decent food, or even treat themselves once in a while?  They should be eating roadkill, goddammit!  Save the steak and lobster for the privileged folk who have earned* it!

Conversely, there are people who complain instead about the low quality of the food people buy with their EBT cards, like using it at gas stations to buy Doritos and frozen pizzas.  How dare they? people say.  I don't give my hard-earned money to them so that they can live off junk food!  People have such an attachment to their tax dollars when they see individuals using them in ways that they don't specifically approve of, but a significantly smaller number seem anywhere near as angry with the way that governmental institutions use their tax dollars.  Personally, while I'd like everyone to make healthy decisions about food, I'd prefer my neighbor use "my" tax dollars on Doritos than for the government to use "my" tax dollars on hiring private contractors to make weapons to be used in a war that I am morally opposed to.

It's hard to know what to do, if you're concerned with pleasing the Hard-Working Americans[tm] who are funding your eating habits, as half seem to think that good, high-quality food should be reserved only for those purchasing their food with money from a paycheck, while others think you should only be eating the most nutritionally-sound foods available.

Why wouldn't someone want people to eat healthy, high-quality food?  I hear a lot about how people who are poor are fat, and therefore must not need food support, because they eat too much.  Or how people choose to eat crappy food, or how so many people choose to be unhealthy, and if they'd only eat fresh broccoli and tofu every day, they might get better and be healthy.  So... why is it that you want someone like me to be both unhealthy and unhappy?  Because I was fired from my job?  Because I'm unemployed, in general?  Because I'm using the social safety net that the last 14 years of my tax dollars have been paying into?  Because... why?  Because you think I deserve to eat crappy, unhealthy food?  Because you think I don't deserve good food?  Let's break this down a bit.  What is it that you think I do or do not deserve?  And why?  Because I don't have the money available to buy it on my own?  Why do you think that money is the thing that should qualify one for a healthy diet?  Why is money the thing that you think should qualify someone for a reasonably pleasant daily existence that doesn't require starving, begging, or shame?

I don't consider one's accumulation of green pieces of paper to be indicative of one's worthiness to eat and live in a comfortable way.  How better to judge such things (even though I think "judging" is a wildly inappropriate way to describe this) isn't something I'm going to get into here, but finding oneself in a situation where they are suddenly and unexpectedly without income does not mean that one does not deserve to live.  And that, "you don't deserve to live," is exactly what saying something akin to "you should not be living off me to get food" means for many, if not most, people in this situation.

What makes a lot of these folks so upset seems to be the fact that they, themselves, have a job, and they still cannot afford so-called "luxury" food items that recipients of food support seemingly can.

I've been there, in that place where I don't make enough money to shop at fancy healthy food stores, but I still don't qualify for food support.  And it sucks, because you want to be able to eat decent food, but you only have your own income to use, and you just flat-out can't afford what you would eat if you had more money.  You know what else I had when I was in that position?  A job; a place to live that, at the very least, I could afford to maintain because of said job; a vehicle that was both insured and working; a MetroTransit pass that I had as a benefit from my job that allowed me unlimited use of any public transit in the metro area for a payroll deduction that was so small I didn't even notice it was gone; the occasional ability to go out with friends and socialize at concerts, bars, wherever; fucking money.  The only thing that I, as a freshly-on-the-dole person have that you don't have is taxpayer-subsidized, designated money for groceries.  If I don't have a job by April, I'll be evicted.  I don't have a car, which is my own choice, because I live in the middle of the city, hate driving, and have had that wonderful MetroPass for years... until now.  But I sure as hell couldn't afford a car now if I wanted to, and if I did have a car, it wouldn't be insured anymore, because I can't afford it.  I'm a smoker, which I realize is idiotic, but I can't afford cigarettes.  I love some occasional wine and good craft beers, but I don't have an income, let alone a disposable one.  My phone bill is thankfully being paid by my soon-to-be ex-husband, with whom I share a plan, whose phone bill I paid while I was employed and he was not.  But if it weren't for that specific situation -- if we weren't getting along, if we didn't share a plan, if he hadn't just gotten a job and back pay from UI -- I wouldn't even have a phone to use to answer potential calls from prospective employers.  

The point is, just because I can afford some groceries doesn't mean I am getting some awesome free ride, getting to eat gourmet food on your dime, and living the high life.  Think about what actually qualifying for benefits like this actually means.  Had I still been employed at US Bank, I wouldn't qualify, but I would know that I could pay rent, go out once in a while, buy my stupid cigarettes, and maybe even afford a new book once in a while.  And I could cut down on those other things in order to afford gourmet food, if it were that important to me.  

I used my EBT card to go grocery shopping on Saturday.  I bought eggs, cheese, olive oil, fake meat, a ton of frozen vegetables, peanut butter, bread, tortillas, beans, pasta, tomato sauce, and a bunch of other, similarly boring-but-reasonably-healthy things.  I spent $135, and it's going to last me a long time.  I couldn't help but consider what Hard-Working Americans might think of my purchases.  I figured the Morningstar Farms fake chicken and fake ground beef were too luxurious, as they were only once-in-a-while purchases when I was buying food with money from my own paychecks.  The cage-free, organic eggs at $3.50 a carton would probably be similarly scoffed at.  But, you know, I don't care.  And I honestly look forward to the possibility of debating this with some ass in the checkout line, should they be so bold as to loudly judge my purchases.

Incidentally, Minnesota Public Radio ran a story today about how only 65% of Minnesotans who are eligible for food stamps actually receive them.  The related Facebook thread is (so far) mostly supportive, but there are, of course, the folks who would rather see people die of hunger rather than lazily live off of their neighbors -- and those who can't seem to agree on whether folks using EBT cards should only buy healthy foods, or only buy garbage.

The best part, though, is that yesterday, I needed some butter, and just went down the street to my local market and got some, because I could.  That was nice.

*"Earned," in this context, is such a heavy statement.  How does one "earn" the right to eat foods they really like, and foods that are nutritious and healthy?  By getting a paycheck from a company?  Because I think I "earned" my right to use this EBT card by being hungry and unable to afford food.  And also because I have been unemployed for a cumulative total of about one year in the 14 years since I got my first job, when I was 14, and obviously paid taxes that go to fund these programs that whole time.  These programs exist to help people who need them, and if you're opposed to helping people who need help, then I think you're an asshole, and more than likely have an ignorant and misinformed perspective on life, people, and the world.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Its like folks don't even think about it anymore

So it would seem that in all the rush to make a quick remark about Jeremy Lin showing signs that he may not be the second coming of Kareem Abdul Jabbar (or whatever famous past player that played the same position as Lin) someone decided to say something that in this day and age they should know better than to say about an Asian person.

Apparently ESPN's mobile site ran a headline that said "Chink in the Armor" about a less than stellar performance by the rising star.

Honestly more than likely the person that ran this (its already been taken down an and apology has been issued) didn't even think about the implications of using that word in reference to an Asian person. I bet its not the first time someone has used "Chink in the Armor" to describe a rising or current star athlete that's on a hot streak that shows a little bit of imperfection.

And that's the problem. They didn't think.

You have to take that stuff into consideration when writing. If this had been LeBron James and DeWayne Wade back when the Heat lost the NBA finals how well do you think it would be taken if someone had said, "Boy I bet the folks in Miami are ready to hang LeBron and Wade for losing the Finals."? That shit would not have flown. And I bet one could think of more examples but let's not get bogged down in that.

As I said the problem here is that the writer didn't even stop to consider, "Is it okay to use that word in reference to an Asian person?". Racism hasn't just disappeared and now people are free to use whatever words they want under the impression that they no longer hurt people. Its still there, it still hurts (in fact that Huffington post I linked to mentions that Lin has said that he was called that during his college years at Harvard), and we still have to think about it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

ethecofem's Getting A Brand-New Look!

That's right, folks, we're movin' up in the world... back to Wordpress!  Only this time, we'll be self-hosted through iPage, a fancier, nicer, and greener web-hosting service!  And not only that, but ethecofem will soon feature a community and forum, where you can chat away with other registered users about any topic you'd like, and a new streamlined guest-post submission process!  Needless to say, I'm pretty excited.  We'll be using BuddyPress, which allows all sorts of fun features to make ethecofem a great place to argue with each other about the political, ethical, topics of the day.

Two things:

We've got the domain transfer costs covered, but the annual hosting fees are kinda up there.  They're not due until June, though, so we've got time-- but if you'd like to help contribute to the awesomeness that will be ethecofem's brand-new look and funtionality, your donations of whatever amount are greatly appreciated, because we're broke.  Also, what would you like to see on ethecofem?  What would make ethecofem easier to comment on, more engaging, or any other damn thing?  Let us know in the comments!  And stay tuned.

Well since this doesn't involve walking off a cliff...

I'll follow April's lead.

Top L: "What my friends think I do."
Top M: "What my mom thinks I do."
Top R: "What society thinks I do."
Bottom L: "What my boss thinks I do."
Bottom M: "What I think I do."
Bottom R: "What I actually do."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bank Fraud Investigator -- What It's Really Like

You know that meme going around Facebook, listing occupations and states and scores of other things, showing pictures of what someone thinks of it, what society thinks of it, what you wish it was, what it really was, etc.?  I made one about my old job at TCF:

Captions: "what customers think I do," "how they make the job sound,"
"what I wish my job was," and "what it's really like."

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Video of the Day - More than just dreams

Because its not like the man was sleeping during all of his time in the Civil Rights Movement.

I particularly enjoy 0:35 - 1:10.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Olympics 2012: The Search For More Money

I'm going straight to the point.

This is disgusting.

Long story short with the Summer Olympics coming up in London, England this year rental property owners are actually evicting people from their homes so the owners can offer them at skyrocket prices. And the ones that don't leave could be facing "penalty" fees (translation: since the landlord couldn't kick you and charge some tourist ungodly levels of money they are going to squeeze as much as they can out of you as a form of pouting).

That's fucked up on all levels. And this isn't just a London phenomenon by any means. This has happened in most of the venues that have served as the stage for the Olympics going back quite a while. I am glad however that it seems its getting talked about more.

So we have property owners kicking people out of their homes for a money grab, London law enforcement getting the power to enter homes to remove signs that basically the International Olympic Committee doesn't like (and they tend to think "what they don't like" = "illegal"), the possible suspension of the presumption of innocence for unauthorized trading near Olympic Park, and the International Olympics Committee threatening to sue ICANN if it doesn't get the special trademark protections it wants.

And we're supposed to believe that the Olympics are all about friendly competition and unity?

If I see the smallest hint of Occupy Olympics they will have my support (well at least moral since I live a few thousand miles from the UK).

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Occupy Common Sense

This is a guest post by Tony Boicourt.  Tony was one of the founding organizers of OccupyMN, and is active in politics in Minnesota.

First to the friends I've never met, I'm Tony. One of the founders of OccupyMN, using that experience to assist early logistics of Occupy Duluth.  I then started Occupy Black Friday  & Remove Mayor Bloomberg.

Making my affiliations known not to inflate my ego, but rather to establish my connections and ensuring my motives. The following document contains more than 40 of my last 78 hours spent either writing or researching its contents. Admittedly, this started as a way to correct some misconceptions about Ron Paul.  It has, however, evolved into something greater.

 It is a final appeal of sorts, to all Americans those who occupy, and to those who don't. Liberal, Conservative, Marxist, Democrat, Republican, Left, Right, Up, Down, our ideologies matter not. I, for one, desire liberal policies, but that would be difficult to infer lately. Coming to you now not with what I want from politics, but what I feel would be common sense, if it weren’t for the Ameristocracy trying to blind and divide us. If we cannot stand united, we will fail. George Washington warned not to allow parties to divide us:
"patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume." 

The Following Sections Will:
  • Highlight the ways in which freedoms that men and women die to protect are being stolen from beneath our feet.
  • Educate about Wall Street corruption of our government.
  • Show why electing the same types of politicians and adopting more regulations/policies will not work to restore the United States. (You can't build a working car when all the pieces you're electing to use are broken)
  • Clear up misconceptions about presidential candidate Ron Paul.
PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.       -Thomas Paine

What Has Obama Done? What Else Would He Do?
Obama has either deceived us with brilliant charisma, or he has in fact changed since becoming president of The United States. This is not a matter of opinion.

One of the most unconstitutional pieces of legislation ever passed. A clause within the Act includes that if you have over seven days of food in your house, or if you're missing a finger, you can be put on the terrorist watch list. What has worried many civil right experts is that the rest is written vaguely enough that it could be applied to U.S. citizens. The Military now has jurisdiction over U.S. soil, and INDEFINITE DETENTION without due process of the law is completely legal. 

Obama threatened to veto the legislation, which actually wasn't because of the civil rights issues, but rather because: 

Yes, you read that correctly: the president was going to veto the bill because it restricted his power too much. So much for "preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States."  The details of the NDAA should be the only reason anyone needs to hear to realize Obama does not stand with or for "The People." But don't worry he said he wouldn't use it against U.S. citizens, oh thank god... Wait, just like he said he'd make government more transparent? Or how the public will have 5 days to look at any bill before he signs it? um..... uh oh.

Also, why is he having the U.S. Military &   police in L.A., Boston, and Little Rock perform joint exercise? And barring the public from observing. Not only do the military now have jurisdiction on U.S. soil, it’s supposed to be conspicuous in major urban areas?


The Federal government has gotten so big, so corrupt, that our representatives listen to the few rather than the many.  If we don't choose to change our ways and our leaders, then, soon, there may never be another choice. 

Why Ron Paul? He's NOT a Corporate Pawn

What many hear about RP is that he'll "deregulate everything." Firstly as the president, he doesn't have the power to deregulate everything. Secondly, most people don’t realize many of those ‘regulations’ he would remove are actually benifeiting big business as laws. Corporate powers don’t want RP, because many regulations/policies of the two parties in power prevent negative things to happen. Like what?

"Too Big to Fail" - Ron Paul was opposed to the bailout of the major banks that many people have been protesting for months. Had their been no bailout, YES, many of the banks would have failed. However, at that point the banks that didn't run poor business practices would have become stronger. CEOs who ran our country into the ground wouldn't have recived exorbitant bonuses from taxpayer money.
  • Our Money would have been safe regardless. We pay FDIC with every paycheck to insure our money. Banks got bailed out, we got sold out. Our government chose to help the few over the many.
  • Many regulations are championed by major corporations and pushed on congress in order to create more stringent and expensive hoops any competition would have to face, thus allowing the eradication of "real" competition. Competition drives innovation, and forces prices to lower without they can stay high and give you an inferior product. Who/what are the regulations actually for?
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co., which received $391 billion in secret bailout money from the Federal Reserve and another 25$ from congress in 2008, was able to scoop up other companies that making it the largest bank in the country. Do you understand that? The Federal Government chose to give money to one bank that was supposedly "failing," but not the other that had been absorbed. I'll leave you with an excerpt from the article so you can get a better understanding.
  • Not only that, but did you know that JPMorgan actually makes higher profits the more people are in poverty? It turns out the JP is the largest provider of food stamps in the nation.  For every single person who needs food stamps make JP more money. Doesn't that give incentive to keep jobs low?

Remember: corporations are required by law to maximize profits for shareholders. Can you see how the companies have a strangle hold on our current system? Ron Paul was against the bailout and is calling for weaker regulations.

Now if this is exactly what the corporate Ameristocracy wanted, ask yourself the following question:

Why Ron Paul?: Less Federal, More State 
The heading is Ron Paul's central tenet regarding U.S. politics. To many, "power back to the states" often sounds odd, especially to my generation. Most of them only ever knowing federal law as supreme. Since 1776 the states have become weaker with each passing year.

What people need to realize the original definition of a state, which is still used on an international level was: 

A nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government 

When the constitution was ratified, it formed a union from pre-existing sovereign states. By doing this, each state gave up a piece of its power to the new federal government. 

The Constitution specifically states what powers each branch of government has. Article II. Section 8 along with the 13th, 14th, 16th, 19th, 20th, 24th, 25, 26th amendments dictate the powers of congress.

The Signing of the Constitution, by Thomas Rossiter (public domain)

If something isn't defined by these powers the federal government has no right to legislate it. Throughout our nations history, there have been laws passed of questionable constitutionality that for one reason or another upheld. It's important to note that the 10th amendment states:

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. 

The 10th amendment is very clear; any power not granted to the government shall belong to the states, or to the people. However, the power of the states, and therefore, the freedom of the citizens, have continued to shrink. The federal government has bent its power to tax, and to regulate interstate commerce to literally control the states and the lives of individuals.  Examples follow:
  • Wickard v. Filburn (1942)  , decided fed regulations could apply to wheat grown for "home consumption" – if farmers were allowed to consume THEIR OWN, instead of buying, they'd affect interstate commerce.
  • Gonzales v. Raich (2005)  decided Because the fed's desire to have no marijuana available, Congress is allowed to restrict homegrown medical marijuana. As it could effect supply & demand of the commodity's "market."
  • South Dakota v. Dole (1987) decided Congress could restrict funds to a state for not setting 21 as drinking age, because Congress was is just "pressuring" for a policy, not forcing.
  • The Maximum speed limit law & No Child Left Behind would be two other examples of the states being coerced.

But wait, the Constitution says: 

and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

Sadly, this clause is rarely brought to light. If this piece of the constitution were being upheld as it should, the federal government wouldn't be able to withold funds from one state, only to hand them to another.

Ron Paul wants to give power back to the states. I only make that statement with confidence because, if you look at his voting record, the man actually says how he's going to vote. He would work to get the power back into the hands of the people, and that's exactly what we need.

Don't we need those departments/agencies? Short Answer, NO.
Ron Paul wants to eliminate:
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Education
  • Eviromental Protection agency 
Our energy policies are seriously troubled. Green energy is important,  but we've created an artificial market. Without the grants & subsidies for green energy both/demand is low.

Now we've created a market with high supply/demand, which is causing companies who had started out in this area to fold or merge, creating less jobs even though green energy was supposed to help unemployment.

Who's benefiting? Who's paying? The usual suspects, of course, according to the NY Times excerpt below.

It's already been covered that when corporate interests get into bed with politics, the people lose. Example, Henry Ford was going to run the Model T with Ethanol; yup that's right, ETHANOL.  

One problem, Rockefeller didn't enjoy that idea too much because his oil monopoly was just beginning. So what happened? Rockefeller promoted, and possibly funded the Anti-Saloon League.  The group wrote a resolution which later became the 18th amendment. Prohibition lasted for 13 years, giving Rockefeller plenty of time to make people dependent on oil.

Ethanol wouldn't be mentioned as a serious fuel alternative for 50 years. 20 years after that Ethanol finally saw an increase, but not for the reasons we'd like. Methyl tertiary butyl ether n (MTBE) was contaminating groundwater. High MTBE use was caused by the Clean Air Act.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 granted subsidies to produce ethanol. Adding an expected 6-7 billion annually to the deficit. These programs ended last year, but there is already consideration to bring back the corporate welfare. 

It's plain to see that government investment in the aforementioned areas have done nothing but hurt us as a nation. Just follow the chain of events.
  • Regulation lead to Rockefeller’s monopoly, stifling Ethanol investment for nearly a century.
  • Environmental policies resulted in environmental damage.
  • Use of ethanol increases to meet EPA regulations. (If only we had Ethanol the entire time, and we wouldn't have put nearly as much stress on the environment, wouldn't that have been great?)
  • U.S. Taxes spent for nearly 30 years to develop product, AND stifle competition to try and spur people to buy an inferior fuel.   

Those issues all involves multiple regulations/agencies/regulations overlapping, let's look at some more.
  • The Department of Education currently has a testing system which tests schools throughout the nation for a fictitious "Standard knowledge"
  • This same system has defined both pizza & French fries as a serving of vegetables
  •  ‎The same system in which about a third of students have NEVER studied the constitution by the time they graduate high school. 
  • The department of commerce mission statement states "promote job creation and improved living standards for all Americans by creating an infrastructure that promotes economic growth, technological competitiveness, and sustainable development." (They must be REALLY effective)
  • The Village Voice  Ranked the Department of Housing & Urban Development as New York’s worst landlord because of poor living conditions & questionable eviction practices. 

Why Ron Paul? SAFE Foreign Policy

Section 6 of the following article would have you believe Ron Paul's foreign policy would be a disaster with Ron Paul promoting isolationism. 

The author proves to know little of what they describe. Mentioning the ICC and how Ron Paul wouldn't honor its authority like Bush didn't (Obama also doesn't). Stating Ron Paul wouldn't honor the Rome Statute, even though Clinton signed it. However the signature means nothing, as the senate never approved it. 

Leaving the U.N. would actually be good for the U.S. We would stop being pulled into international conflicts, because of unnecessary alliances.

In his farewell address in 1796, George Washington said the following:

"Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice? It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world..."

Long-term treaties are what inflated the World Wars to their massive size. Our one-sided intervention during WWII caused Hitler to declare war on the U.S. Linked is the declaration of war: Hitler speaks of how we had no right meddling in European affairs. 

Our interventionalism helped bring about 9/11. The U.S. Trained Osama Bin Laden & armed the Taliban in the early 80s to promote removing the Soviets from their land. So then what? We build bases, filling them with troops, resulting with Bin Laden declaring war on The U.S. in 1996  because we occupied Saudi Arabia & Israel. Two separate pieces of Muslim holy land. Yet we stood, and still stand by our decision of ignoring international sovereignty to create a Jewish state. 

How wasteful must we be? We've destroyed cities. Then, funded with American tax dollars, we feed, clothe, and rebuild. We've funded and armed a new government, with U.S. money, and for what? 10 years later, still there's no peace. We've come full circle, completely ignoring what happened the last time we intervened like this.

Ron Paul's proposed foreign policy  is a solid one. Pulling troops out of foreign countries would do great things for the image of the United States. It could help ease tensions throughout the globe, save money, and bring our fellow Americans home. We would stop spending endless amounts of money on foreign issues, and we could deal with our own.

Why Ron Paul?: He'll Work to Repeal the Corrupted Health Care Law

I would like to note that I am actually a big proponent for UNIVERSAL health care. You know, that thing Obama kind of focused his entire 2008 campaign on?  This was one of the definitive issues that all nearly all of his supporters got behind.

He promised transparency for when the bill would be negotiated so lobbyists/special interests couldn't have their way the American people. Well, most of the meetings were done behind closed doors with lobbyists/special interests.

Look what we got, a healthcare bill that could hardly be called "universal," which has a mandate that REQUIRES U.S. citizens to buy insurance, or be charged a fee. Because of this mandate, the insurance corporations will be able to thank Obama for forcing an additional 30 million customers their way when all pieces of the act are in place.

Not only does the above just once again fall in the favor of the corporations that are using regulations and our government to secure the highest profit, it restricts the personal liberty to choose, and goes against everything Obama had promised. He had compared forcing a mandate on people to making a homeless person buy a house. 

Another issue with the plan is it could very easily have the same effect on the nation as RommneyCare did in Massachusetts. There were many lower middle-class families that made enough they wouldn't qualify for any government assistance, but they didn't make enough to afford coverage for their entire family. There is no way of knowing until the law is fully implemented. We do know, however, that nothing has been done to stop the rising costs and price gouging millions of people face.

Ron Paul plans to attempt to repeal Obamacare, and even as a proponent of universal healthcare I realize that is not what we got, Obama sold us out, and Ron Paul actually has some interesting ideas on the matter.

But isn't Ron Paul racist/Anti-gay/anti-feminist?: NO

 The only reason I highlight this up is because it's such a high point of contention for some people. CSMonitor Article Excerpt Below: 

In a 2008 TV interview, he responds to a question about racism by asserting that libertarians like himself "are incapable of being a racist" because they view "everybody as an important individual" rather than identifying people in groups.

There are people who think he's racist because he has said he wouldn't have voted for The Civil Right's Act of 1964; not in the form that was passed, anyway. I can understand how people would jump to conclusion on this matter, but if you listen to him speak, his reasoning comes without stutter or any moment of rethinking. 

Everyone should realize how volatile of a conversation this is, if he TRULY racist and just making up excuses, why ever bring up the civil rights act in the first place? Not only that, but everything I've heard him say on the matter has been nearly identical.

I am personally happy that 1964 act did in fact become law, but I do want to say that I completely understand his viewpoint. Let's use a Catholic church as an example the church has every right to not allow a member of another religion to its services, because it's their property. It's an interesting point, however I honestly do believe the only way to change people's mindset was by forcing desegregation. I have in no way found any other sources which state he would try to repeal it, I think he's wise enough to know that it would never happen. 

You'd think Black -- a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard -- would know whether the presidential candidate he supports is a racist. It takes one to know one, right? Well, it seems that neither Black, nor any of his n-bomb-dropping followers thinks Paul's a racist.

"...I respond to media by simply noting the obvious truth," Black writes. "Paul's not a White Nationalist and he doesn't address the problem of White genocide, but we support his strongly held positions opposing foreign interventionism and wars for Israel, government welfare and 'affirmative action' programs, police statism, the Federal Reserve scam and immigration."

 Amid the incoherent ramblings of self-admitted racists -- "racialists" is their preferred term -- the Stormfront users vehemently deny that Paul is "pro-white" like they are.

**Doesn't PROVE anything interesting to note all the less.

The newsletters have been all over the news today, and he has released an official statement saying his assistances statement is absolutely incorrect. The first article I read on the matter today even played with the notion that with the timing of it all it could easily be a fabricated story.

Ron Paul wants to end the war on drugs, and upon being sworn in as president, release ALL non-violent drug offenders from prison. LARGE majority of those people would be African-American. If he were racist why would he do such a thing? He's also already done the following:

  • Voted NO on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
  • Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
  • Voted NO on barring transporting minors to get an abortion. (Jun 1999)
  • Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
  • Voted NO on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
Even if he doesn't like homosexuality, or if he's pro-life so what? He's voted for gay rights, and he's voted on numerous laws that would restrict abortion. BECAUSE IT'S IN LINE WITH THE CONSTITUTION, he doesn't believe it's the federal governments power to dictate such things.

What about Obama's Racial Discrimination?

Many saw the election of Obama as The United State's move into a "post-race" era. This however not true, yes racisism exists. ON BOTH SIDES, yet no one seems to notice:
  • The Department of Defense is ignoring Racial disenfranchisement in Guam an article states:      
Citizens of Guam ARE U.S. citizens and are supposed to be protected under the 14th amendment

But He's a Gun Nut? No, He's a Constitution Nut

This was part of our Bill of Rights in case the national government became to powerful or tyrannical we would be able to defend ourselves

Thomas Jefferson said:

"The beauty of the second amendment is, we won't need to use it until they try to take it away"

There are countless studies that have shown violent crime has gone down while conceal and carry rates have gone up, think about it someone is planning on a robbing a bank, you think gun laws are going to stop them from getting one? no... but allowing people to carry guns means when that robber runs in he doesn't know who's packing heat. By restricting guns you only hurt the law-abiding citizens. Admittedly debate on the cause-effect relationship is one that ebs and flows, one study says one thing and the next say another.

In the 1980s and ’90s, Americans were killed by others with guns at the rate of about 5.66 per 100,000 population. In this decade, the rate has fallen to just over 4.07 per 100,000, a 28 percent drop. The decline follows a fivefold increase in the number of “shall-issue” and unrestricted concealed-carry states from 1986 to 2006.

The highest gun homicide rate is in Washington, D.C., which has had the nation’s strictest gun-control laws for years and bans concealed carry: 20.50 deaths per 100,000 population, five times the general rate. The lowest rate, 1.12, is in Utah, which has such a liberal concealed weapons policy that most American adults can get a permit to carry a gun in Utah without even visiting the state.

The decline in gun homicides also comes as U.S. firearm sales are skyrocketing, according to federal background checks that are required for most gun sales. After holding stable at 8.5 to 9 million checks from 1999 to 2005, the FBI reported a surge to 10 million in 2006, 11 million in 2007, nearly 13 million in 2008 and more than 14 million last year, a 55 percent increase in just four years.

Gun Control is a touchy subject, but we should NEVER underestimate our need to protect ourselves, and our loved ones:
  • From criminals
  • Possibly Animals
  • MOST importantly, should our government become a 1984-esque form of "Big Brother"
As cliché as the old saying is: "guns don't kill people, people kill people" 

Final "Hope"

So many elected Obama with the "hope" he would "change" everything; well, some things have changed, but by and large, they have all been for the worse. Our freedom is being restricted more every day; our founding fathers would be appalled as to the way our government behaves.

The final straw that pushed America into revolution was a BAILOUT for the East India Trading Company. This company was given giant tax breaks, and was given the right to monopolize vending in the American colonies. Sound at all familiar?

Our founding fathers fought for freedom declaring independence. We needn't go that far, we however MUST take our country back from the Ameristocracy that has taken hold. I present you with some passages from The Declaration of Independence. Sadly, much of it feels all too relevant today.

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…
  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
  • For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
  • For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people

-Declaration of Independence

Closing Statement

George Washington made it clear to not let differing ideologies divide us; I see that very clear today. We must stand together if we wish to take back our country.

Most who know me would usually call me a "bleeding heart liberal"; I, however, do not present liberal ideas above. I don't see the next step we take as a nation as one that should be taken divided by party lines. 

Every passing day that we choose to adhere to the status quo is another day opression's roots are allowed to grow beneath all of us; if we blink now, it may be too late.


Even if a shrinking of federal government would make changes some of us don't completely agree with, it is a better outcome than the complete dissolution of our nation and the rights its supposed to stand for.

The Bald Eagle may be our nation’s icon,
but I truly believe the mystical phoenix is our nation's spirit. 

Americans have before us, during revolution, during civil war, reconstruction, progression, and depression embraced this spirit, and we shall too.

Let us reduce the corruption we face to ash 
so the fire which lady liberty holds in her hand
may shine brighter and burn hotter than ever before.
Wherefore, instead of gazing at each other with suspicious or doubtful curiosity, let each of us, hold out to his neighbor the hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissention. Let the names of Whig and Tory be extinct; and let none other be heard among us, than those of a good citizen, an open and resolute friend, and a virtuous supporter of the RIGHTS of MANKIND and of the FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES OF AMERICA.

-Thomas Paine from "Common Sense"