All posts by CaptnJak

Shrinking Tax Dollars

Shrinking Tax Dollars
by
Captain Jack

Expanding on David’s great post about Welfare for the Rich, I see services in our state shrinking and drying up. Snow plows are just one of numerous examples. Our entire country has been seeing infrastructure crumbling around us which is a direct result of lower tax revenues caused by tax breaks for the billionaires. Reagan’s and Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy are destroying our once-great country.

And, that was before the Bush recession.

Now that we’re suffering further reduction in tax revenue, the services we are paying for with yours and my tax dollars are shrinking. We’re getting less for our money. But, your taxes aren’t going down and neither are mine. So all you smart readers out there are probably wondering where your tax dollars are going since your services are being curtailed.

We’re seeing services stripped for the middle class and the needy but the services for the wealthy are still being provided, now, out of our tax dollars. That means there’s less left over to provide services to the real tax payers.

It is time to start expecting the wealthy to start paying their fair share.

Corporate America

Corporate America
by
Captain Jack

America is quickly turning into a country controlled by big business. We are definitely a country for the corporations, by the corporations, and of the corporations. And, even as you read this, the Supreme Court is contemplating a case that would remove any restraints on corporate influence in Congress.

Balkinization has a good post on this Citizens United case.

Giving corporations the right of citizens is a terrible idea. There is no limit to the corrupting influence wealthy corporations would have over our government. Look how much they already have and imagine what it would be without any restrictions.

Corporations could spend any amount of money on deceptive advertising and make or destroy a candidate regardless of what is in the best interest of the voters. Money could be used as free speech. That would quickly ruin the idea of one person one vote.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any control over the Supreme Court. It is currently controlled by former corporate lawyers. What kind of decision do you expect from such a court?

That is the biggest and most important reason the Corporate Republicans must be kept out of power. The Supreme Court must return to representing the people, not corporations.

It’s time to get outraged about Corporate Personhood. No Free Speech for money.

Hackergate and Climate Deterioration

Hackergate and Climate Deterioration
by
Captain Jack

The climate destroying corporate apologists are out there trying their hardest to make some sort of gold out of the hay they call Climategate. After all the lies about how Soros is behind the climate studies because he’s some sort of robot or how it’s a Liberal conspiracy to bring down the carbon based energy companies just out of spite and jealousy, or how maybe it’s some plan to make Americans love hippies, there is still no evidence. But that won’t stop them.

Now that they have the emails hacked from scientists, there isn’t a single bit of proof to their silly allegations. But, that won’t stop them from coming up with new lies. They act like it’s Christmas time for them because they can prove that the climate deterioration is a fraud, never mind all the obvious proof. Now with all these emails stolen, they should be able to find something, somewhere, right? Right? Hello?

There has been no evidence to show that the figures are incorrect or even inconclusive. There is some debate among the scientists, but, remember, that’s a good thing. If everyone just agrees on everything, then we’ll all be a wrong as the Republican Party has been on this issue. Wrong every time.

They did find one scary email where the data was massaged, but no evidence of any deceit or even wrong dong. And, most importantly, there is no evidence from these hacks and break-ins that the evidence is anything but conclusive.

But, we all know that the evidence proving that man is causing climate deterioration and the lack of any credible evidence to the contrary, the Conservatives and corporate apologists will continue to chant the chant, like some sick cult. Keep repeating it and sooner or later it’s bound to come true. Right? Right?

Now with new break-ins reported, will there be more issues that the Conservatives can make hay from? Probably. But it’s pretty doubtful that one to two points of data out of millions will change any of the conclusions.

But, we need to ask, who is illegally hacking into all these systems and trying to manufacture wrong-doing? And more importantly, why aren’t they in jail, yet?

Winning in Afghanistan

Winning in Afghanistan
by
Captain Jack

The USA is currently in two overt wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, and who knows how many covert wars like Pakistan. We’ve seen what it takes to get into a war, but no one knows what it takes to get out, these days.

Wars aren’t what they were 60 years ago when we had well defined enemies or opponents, when the only acceptable reasons for going to war were for self-defense or to defend our allies. . These days the opponents are fluid, such as with Saddam Husein. He was, at one moment our ally helping keep pressure on Iran. The next day, he’s a ruthless villain that we must rid the world of.

One day, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda are our greatest wedges getting the Soviet Union out of the middle east, and the next day, well, you know.

Without well defined opponents and well defined borders and without armies and soldiers, it’s really hard to apply the word “War”.

Even harder than applying the word “War”, is applying words like “finish” or “win” or “succeed”. Let’s consider what, exactly, it means to win a war like these. To know if we won we need to know what our purposes were for going to war. If we take Bush and the Republicans at their word, we are in Afghanistan because 1) they invaded us and are a risk (a lie), 2) we’re fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here (sheer foolishness), 3) they’re really really really bad people and we need to kill them, 4) who knows whatever foolishness has been offered?

Looking at #1, they didn’t invade us. Read the 9/11 Commission Report and you will see that Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11. Osama bin Laden may have helped fund it but al Qaeds is not and was not the government of Afghanistan. Still, if we use this as a reason to invade, then we’ve already toppled the government and it’s time for us to get out. Since we’re still in there, it’s obvious that this is not the reason we’re there.

Looking at #2, we’re much stronger and much better off fighting them over here, in our courts. If people see that the criminals are being dealt with fairly we will make fewer enemies. By killing them over there, we are creating a perpetual supply of warriors intent on hurting America. The more we kill, the more there will be to take their place.

#3 is the only real reason we’re there. Well, that and because Bush needed a war in order to be a war president. Yes, there are many small groups of people who hate America. By killing more innocent bystanders, though, we are making more people intent on destroying us.

If you have one country bombing you into submission and another helping you rebuild your country, which one will you despise and which one will you appreciate and defend? The answer is obvious. Killing people over in Afghanistan is not helping, but is hurting our cause.

If this is really why we’re there, then war was not the solution. We need to find a way to change their hatred of us into appreciation. Now is the time to help rebuild their country. Remember how we helped rebuild Japan and much of Europe after WW II? The hatred of America dissolved when we quit killing them and started helping them.

Since it’s obvious that we’re done with the military invasion, the next question has to be, how do we get out of there, now?

We can’t just pack up and leave or all the hatred of America will just expand as they suffer, unaided, from the effects of our invasion. It should be quite obvious that we need to provide enough security to allow for a peaceful transition into self-governance, but no more. We need to help them build a respectable court system so the murderers can be brought to justice.

In conclusion, we’ve already “won” in Afghanistan. Now it’s time for us to fix the mess we created over there.

How about #4? What other excuses have you heard for our being over there killing the Afghan people?

Dean Heller Has No Brain

Dean Heller Has No Brain
by
Captain Jack

I wrote a letter to Nevada’s Dean Heller explaining the need to support Pelosi’s Health Care Legislation HR3962, oppose the Stupak amendment, and how important it is that safe abortions be part of America’s healthcare. To this, Heller responds.

To begin with, I want you to know that I share your concerns and deeply respect your advocacy on behalf of the unborn. You will be pleased to learn that I joined my colleagues in supporting the Sutpak-Pitts amendment.

Not only is the man a moron for voting for this woman killing legislation, but he obviously doesn’t even have a staff that can read. Or, then again, maybe that’s just his way of getting more votes.

Nevada! Wake up! The Republicans you’ve elected are destroying this country and dividing the people. Pretty soon, we’ll all be as smart as Heller.

Another Escalation

Another Escalation
by
Captain Jack

Obama has decided that he is to be remembered as a war president. This single act will do the most to lose him the support of those who voted him in. He was quite up front about finishing the job when he was campaigning but I, like many others, hoped that it was just rhetoric.

Well, here we are, killing more people and wondering why we’re losing support around the world. There are around 100 al Qaeda in all of Afghanistan. For this it takes America 100,000 or 200,000 or 300,000 soldiers and mercenaries and support personnel?

What are your thoughts?

[poll id=”26″]

Quiz

Quiz
by
Captain Jack

Let’s have a little fun with a short little quiz. It’s more of a personality test, but it’s fun just the same.

1.   How susceptible are you to deceptive marketing and sales techniques? A lot? A little? Not much? Not at all?

I can predict with 90% certainty that if you replied “Not at all”, you are the most susceptible. It’s a proven fact that those who know they need to be on the lookout for deception are best able to spot it and avoid it. Those who feel they aren’t at risk don’t watch.

I can also say that the majority of you who said “Not at all” are Republicans. More on this shortly.

2.   Does the term “War on Drugs” mean more to you than saying “A concerted campaign to fight drugs”?

3. Does the term “War on Poverty” mean more to you than saying “A concerted campaign to fight poverty”?

What is the “war on drugs”? What is a war without boundaries and armies? It’s nothing but a deceptive marketing campaign.

Now for the kicker…

4. Does the term “Global War on Terror” mean more to you than saying “A concerted campaign to fight terrorism worldwide”?

If you said yes to either #2 or #3, you certainly said yes to the last one.

What is the War on Terror? What are the boundaries? Where are the armies? There is no war, it’s just another marketing campaign.

Being susceptible to deceptive sales schemes has little to do with intelligence. The smartest people can fall prey to deceptive campaigns.

So why do I say Republicans are more susceptible to deceptive sales pitches? The answer lies in a well known research known as “The Authoritarian Followers“. It’s rooted in a Conservative’s need to follow orders and respect authority.

So, if the Global War on Terror is a hoax, then how can we be saying anyone is an enemy combatant? The world is full of crazies like Timothy McVeigh who want to kill lots of people to bring about one change or another, but by the end of the day, they’re all just common criminals, sure some are more deadly than others but murder is murder. And criminals should have their day in court in order to save the innocent from years of confinement and torture.

Trying Terrorists in Criminal Courts

Trying Terrorists in Criminal Courts
by
Captain Jack

So Obama wants to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in America’s criminal courts like Clinton tried McVeigh in criminal courts. Should we? Isn’t he a terrorists? Isn’t he supposed to be tried like an enemy combatant?

I must ask you, if he’s a combatant, what war is he a warrior of? Iraq didn’t attack us on 9/11 and neither did Afghanistan. So, who is he a warrior for?

I’m sure you’re not going to say he’s a warrior for the enemies of our war on terror. There is no “war” on terror just like there’s no war on drugs and no war on poverty, it’s just a marketing brand.

Should he be granted the rights defined in America’s constitution? He’s a terrorist for crap’s sake.

Well, for anyone who graduated elementary school, you’ve certainly read the constitution and you know that our freedoms apply to “persons” not just American citizens. So, the answer is, yes, of course he gets his day in court, and a real court, not a kangaroo court or military tribunal.

But the thing that pains me the most is that he’s been imprisoned for about a fifth of his life, much of it accompanied with torture and he has never had his day in court. This is so against our laws that whoever put him in Guantanamo should certainly be shot. Of course, not before he gets his day in court. What makes you think I’m talking about Bush? 🙂

This is a big step in the right direction for America. We’re beginning, just beginning to get some sensibility back in our government. We’re beginning to honor the constitution after 8 long years of criminal administration.

So why is there such a vocal opposition to this? Do so many people really hate what America stands for and hate what’s in our constitution or are they just scaredy pants? Shame on them.

Compartmentalized Thinking

Compartmentalized Thinking
by
Captain Jack

Extrapolating some on David’s earlier post regarding deficiencies in logic and reasoning, I’ll cover a specific shortfall in human thought.

To begin with, humans have a natural curiosity and a natural tendency to group our thoughts and learnings into compartments and to link these compartments together. In other words, once you learn that one stovetop hurts when it’s hot, you don’t have to learn the same for every other stovetop but rather can believe that everything in the compartment is the same.That’s compartments.

The next step is to link these compartments so since you know stovetops are hot and ovens are like stovetops, they just might be hot, too. That’s linking.

When a child learns too many things that can’t be reasonably linked, they learn to skip the linking part. As a simple example, a child may learn repeatedly that Jesus loves us and Jesus is Lord. He also learns, repeatedly, conflicting data, such as examples where God is hateful and destructive. [This isn’t about religion, so don’t get too excited.]

In order to believe the two conflicting compartments, the child learns not to try to link, or to give up easily on the task of linking. This condition makes it easier for the child to learn falsehoods and outright lies because there is no need to link and to reconcile the differences.

This is a mental deficency that is often a learned behavior.

This condition also arises when a child believes that he cannot question the authority figure that is lying to him or unknowingly misguiding him.

So you should be asking, “what does this mean to an adult?”

Let’s take a look at another example. Ask yourself, are you pro-life? [No, this isn’t a rant on abortion rights.]

If you said yes to this question, then it is most likely (statistically speaking) that you also endorse capital punishment. Capital punishment is not pro-life so why do you say you’re pro-life? Okay, maybe you’ll argue that I’m pro-life for everything except for that.

Is that really true? Are you pro-life? Do you think all American, better yet, all people should have free health care? If you’re pro-life, I’ll bet you are saying absolutely no to that question. Now we have three different compartments and you have no way to link them. How can you be pro-life and be against the majority of things that reflect a respect for life?

It’s natural for humans to interpret new data in the context of his understanding of the world around him. Things that don’t fit into this model of the world are rejected or forgotten. When there are too many things to reject, he finally stops and re-evaluates his model of the world.

If he has become an expert at not linking the categories then he can have any number of conflicting beliefs and never lose a night’s sleep.

Obviously this is not only bad for our hypothetical thinker, but for the world around him as well since he is constantly making decisions that are not only wrong but often dangerous.

If you find yourself wondering how to get out of this ditch, it’s easier than you might think. Just start trying to link your compartments. Start slowly and work from what you see to be true around you. For example, are you a kind person? Do you consistently make decisions that demonstrate that you are kind? When you catch yourself demonstrating otherwise, then stop and ask yourself if you’re really a kind person. Every day is full of opportunities to learn and grow.

Take the poll:

[poll id=”18″]

Diversions and Deception

Diversions and Deception
by
Captain Jack

America has two major political parties and one is trying to address issues that pertain to all Americans and the other is trying hard to distract us from the important issues that affect all of us and lure us away with issues that divide us. Can you tell which party is which? Tell me, what is important to you and and your fellow Americans and what is your party’s position on the issue?

[poll id=”16″]