Saturday, May 29, 2010


The Top Kill plan proposed by BP was a dismal failure. Oil is still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, and it could very well be unstoppable. It is time for the American people to take action. Boycott BP, contact your representatives and call for the immediate prosecution of Transocean and BP officials responsible for this assault on our planet, as well as a full ban on all BP operations within the US. It's taken over a month for any sort of action by BP, and they need to be held accountable NOW.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


As a supplement to my last post, here are my thoughts on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. British Petroleum needs to be held accountable not only for the loss of life on the rig, but also for the cost of cleaning up this mess. There is currently a $75 million cap on how much oil companies can be forced to pay to clean up an oil spill (thanks to Bush), and it certainly doesn't take Newtonian mathematical skills to know this spill will cost far in excess of $75 million to clean up. While I firmly believe the federal government should step in and assist in the clean up, BP should have to front the cost of all the resources and personnel necessary to get the job done. I also believe that other oil companies should be called in to help because they have resources that can speed up the process. In addition, BP needs to be fined for the damages done and the executives in charge of safety and operation of this oil rig need to be prosecuted for their negligence, and the agents of the Mineral Management Service who are known to be in bed with the oil companies need to be, at the very least, fired and charged with negligence and taking bribes (corruption). Transocean, the company from whom BP leased the rig, needs to enforce their safety standards or terminate their contracts and find lessees who will follow the rules.

But it doesn't end there. Many of us have already pledged to boycott BP, however, this is probably not going to be enough to teach this company a lesson. Because of their history of negligence and lax safety regulations which has lead to massive loss of life on multiple occasions, British Petroleum should no longer be permitted to operate within the United States as a petroleum provider.

We must ask ourselves, as I have previously stated: is offshore drilling worth the risk? This catastrophe could very well be irreversable and unstoppable until the well runs dry, and there is no way to tell how long that could take. This disaster is not only destroying the ecosystem in the gulf, but is also having a huge effect on the economy of the Gulf Coast.

Folks, enough is enough. Unless we eliminate our dependence on oil, we are doomed.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Offshore Drilling

The subject of offshore drilling is heated and controversial. Proponents claim that offshore drilling will lower the price of oil and allow us to sustain our current energy needs without funneling money to foreign countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Proponents also claim that offshore drilling is environmentally sound and safe for the men and women who work on the rigs.

Unfortunately, none of these claims are true. Let's briefly analyze each of them.
1) Cheaper oil and energy independence - the price of oil has continued to rise even as domestic drilling has increased. Ten years ago, the average price of a gallon of gas was $1.52, according to the Energy Information Administration, an independent study and analysis group. Today, that price is nearly double at an average of $2.864. As demand has increased, so have prices. Fact: offshore drilling does not lower cost. Additionally, 51% of our foreign oil comes from Canada, with Mexico and Venezuela following just behind it as our second and third largest suppliers. So, while a small fraction of our oil does come from the Middle East, it is not a significant quantity. The Middle East does, however, hold vast untapped sources of oil, which of course is why we must invade and conquer as many countries as we can... which in turn, has caused prices to increase. As far as energy independence goes, oil is not the answer. There is a finite amount of oil out there, and when it's gone, we're in big trouble. We are at a point of no return should we continue down our current path of blissful ignorance and complacency. We need to insist that Congress invests in renewable, sustainable, clean sources of energy; not just for our wallets, but for our planet. Corporations for far too long have held the puppet strings of our country.
2) Environment - the recent events in the Gulf of Mexico have demonstrated that not only is offshore drilling unsafe for workers who end up getting killed because of a lack of oversight, but it is also akin to environmental rape. As we have learned from the recent spill and from past catastrophes such as the Exxon-Valdez incident, oil spills not only cause widespread environmental damage, but also can create massive disruptions in commerce, as is being seen in the south with the seafood industry. If we are to protect and preserve our planet, we need to begin to renew our energy sources. Solar and wind power are the most readily available and easily accessible sources of energy on Earth. It's time we harness them and truly become energy independent.

Because many members of Congress receive financial endorsements from oil companies, and the corporate lobby machine has so much influence, representatives have stood idly by while oil companies bring in record profits, escape accountability for accidents and take advantage of tax loopholes. It is time we hold oil companies accountable for not only damaging the environment, but causing loss of human life. We need a government that is concerned not about corporate well-being and money, but a government which is solely acting on the behalf of consumers and the tax-payers, not the tax-avoiders. Please discuss.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rand Paul

One of the featured guests on the Rachel Maddow Show earlier this week was US Senate nominee and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul (R-KY). He and Rachel were debating his, well, unique stance regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, about which he said he support 9 of the 10 main provisions within the law and that he considers any form of discrimination "abhorrent." The provision that he opposes deals with private businesses not being allowed to discriminate against patrons based on race, as well as eliminating segregation within the workplace. So, basically, private businesses should be able to post "no blacks allowed" signs, according to Dr. Paul's frightening position. Even more disturbingly (but not surprising as we constantly learn from the GOP), he opposes marriage equality, yet considers himself to be completely against any type of disrcimination in the "public sector." Oh, and let's not forget the 10-lane super highway that is going to connect Canada to Mexico and eliminate all Mexican, American and Canadian sovereignty in North America.

Within the past few days, Dr. Paul has been attacking the media, asserting that they are twisting his words to fit their agenda. Unfortunately for Dr. Paul, video records of him spewing his insane rhetoric go back years. Sarah Palin has also jumped to his aide (which is even MORE unfortunate for him), claiming that the media loves to use "gotchya" tactics. The tactics to which she is referring including grilling, horribly complex questions like, "which magazine publications do you read," "do you agree with the Bush doctrine" and "which of the Founding Fathers do you most admire." Not only could Palin not answer these questions with anything close to resembling a rational thought (cue Billy Madison's explanation of the Industrial Revolution), but even Glenn Beck called her out and said "BS" to her response of his Founding Fathers question... GLENN BECK!!! Of the many candidates in recent years who have emerged into the race for national offices, Dr. Paul could very well be the most frightening. I have great respect for his father, Ron Paul, but this guy is an embarassment to his father's name.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Brief Overview on Issues

Here is where I stand on major issues:

Abortion - I support women's right to choose, however, I do not believe abortion should be used as a form of birth control.

Budget - I believe the national budget needs to be rewritten from scratch and programs that do not work need to be eliminated. I believe we should be spending more on education and social programs than on weapons.

Civil Rights - I support marriage equality. I believe that Affirmative Action is outdated and that everyone should have equal considerations for job and school placement regardless of race or gender. I support the Second Amendment, however I believe that rigorous background checks should be required in order to purchase any firearm.

Crime - I believe that prisons should be places of rehabilitation and contribution to society. I do not support prison sentences for non-violent offenses. I believe that incarceration should require prisoners to contribute to society. I do not support the dealth penalty. I support the legalization of marijuana, as this would lead to a dramatic decrease in drug-related crimes.

Economy/Business - I believe that small businesses are the backbone of our economy. I do not support tax-payer bailouts of companies that are deemed "too big to fail." I believe that American companies should have to pay workers a fair and equal wage regardless of gender or location operation. I believe that companies that hire illegal immigrants in order to save money should be penalized. I believe that banks and businesses need to be held accountable for any wrongdoing.

Education - I believe our public education system needs to be reformed to ensure that students everywhere get the same quality education regardless of where they live or what their socio-economic status is. I believe that two years of community college should be provided in exchange for community service in order to ensure that every high school graduate has the chance to succeed. I believe that public school teachers should have a national starting salary of $60,000.

Energy/Environment - I believe America needs to regain its energy independence by investing in renewable and sustainable sources of energy, such as solar and wind. I believe in stopping the purchase of all foreign oil, and thus reducing and eliminating our dependency on fossil fuels altogether. I believe in protecting and preserving the environment. I support higher emission standards for all modes of transportation and believe investments in clean sources of fuel need to be better funded.

Government - I support term limits for members of the House and Senate and believe we need to eliminate the opportunity for career politicians to emerge. I believe we should have more than two major political parties. I believe that former members of Congress should be paid a pension after completing their service. I believe that Congress does not deserve annual pay increases while denying American workers an annual increase in the minimum wage.

Gun Control - I support the Second Amendment. Ownership of a handgun should be subject to a background check and psychological evaluation. I would also support the creation of firearm insurance.

Health/Wellness - I believe that our education system should include nutritional instruction as part of the required curriculum. I believe that just as math, reading and writing proficiencies are required to graduate high school, so should a physical fitness test be incorporated. I support tax rebates for individuals who lose weight, quit smoking and/or regularly use fitness facilities. I believe that health insurance should be provided to every American citizen.

Immigration - I support finding a way to end illegal immigration. I believe that legal immigration and the path to citizenship should be readily available to anyone who is willing to put in the work.

National Security - I support reasonable spending on national defense. I believe that every American should have to contribute at least two years of service to their community in order to graduate from high school. I believe that our military should be called into service for defensive reasons only. I believe veterans should be paid a lifetime pension.

Religion - While I believe that everyone has the right to practice whichever religion they so choose, or not practice any religion at all, I believe that these practices should remain private. Despite being raised Jewish, I do not support any major religion. I believe that religion should remain completely separate from politics, and that politicians who use religion as a means to a political end are in violation of the US Constitution. I believe that religious institutions, should they wish to participate in the political process, should be subject to taxation.

Science - I support stem-cell research. I believe funding for organizations like NASA and NIH needs to be increased. I support the theory of evolution.

Taxes - I support ending corporate tax loopholes. I support abolishing the federal income tax and establishing a national sales tax.

General Politics

Are Republicans and Democrats all that different? Interestingly, no. They both stem from the Democratic-Republican party of the early 19th century. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President, but by today's standards, he would be a Democrat. Let us not forget that both the most basic American ideal is limited government controlled by the people. Recently, major disagreements have gotten extremely heated, like the issues of socialized medicine and government sactioned morality (gay marriage, abortion, sex ed, etc). It is important to note that people within both parties disagree on these key issues. In my opinion, government has no right to dictate morality, but it DOES have the responsibility to make sure that every American is taken care of.

And then arose the Tea Party (yes, it's time for a brief rant)... an ultra right-wing faction of the Republican party that threatens our government with violence, which began because of health care reform. Here is a group of people protesting legislation that makes health care more affordable and makes it harder for insurance companies to cancel or deny coverage. Here is a group of people, many of whom live off Social Security and medicare, use public transportation to travel to protest in public parks while calling for government to stay out of their lives (yet demanding that abortion and gay marriage be outlawed) and abolish "socialism" and government-run health care. Icons of the Tea Party, including Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann and Eric Cantor not only support "taking up arms" against the federal government, but blatantly lie and deceive in order to do nothing more than increase their own publicity and further their careers. The point here is simple: should some extremist within the Tea Party lash out violently against the government (and it probably will happen), what should the consequences be and whom should the American public hold accountable? While I fully support the First Amendment rights of these people, the Tea Party is blurring the line between peaceful assembly and, for lack of a better term, a political cult... and that's without even touching on what I call the "God Factor."

Sadly, many of the ideals of our Founding Fathers have been lost and in some ways, reversed. We have surrendered freedoms in the name of freedom, and as Benjamin Franklin so wisely stated, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security deserve neither and lose both." We have invaded countries in the name of freedom. We continue to allow persecution of certain groups of people IN the United States: people who are hard working, productive, honest, and kind, and who only want to live their lives in peace. Perhaps one of the most chilling predictions from Benjamin Franklin seems to be unfolding, "This is likely to be administered for a course of years and then end in despotism ... when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other." How true these words are.

I implore you, President Obama, to live up to your promise of true reform. Do not let political climate clout your judgement or force you to abandon your core beliefs. It is time to the end these wars. It is time to reform and improve our education system. It is time to ensure that every American citizen has access to quality, affordable medical care. It is time to stop partisan politics. It is time to stop bailing out banks and multi-national corporations using tax-payer dollars. It is time to reclaim energy independence. It is time, sir, to take care of the people.