Obamacare Pt. 3 & 4: Steal from the Young, Give to the Old

Medicare: Good for Seniors, Bad for Policy

Obamacare and Medicare go hand in hand. Medicare is the most covered subject in the new Obamacare law.  Title III covers improving the quality and efficiency of Medicare. Medicare reform is a hot topic issue under the Obama administration, and this law leaves many questions about how the Medicare Trust will be expanded over the next 20 years. Most of the reform to Medicare under Obamacare focuses on lowering costs to seniors and ending massive overpayments to insurance companies.  In order to understand the changes Title III brings to Medicare, let’s start with the basics of the Medicare program.

Medicare Basics

Medicare is a government-run program for seniors age 65 and over, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Rental disease (ERSD). There are different coverages under Medicare called Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. Part A is hospital insurance including inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some healthcare costs. Part B is medical insurance including doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventative services. Part D is prescription drug insurance. Private companies contract with Medicare to provide you with Part A and Part B benefits.

You may notice that I skipped Part C, as this is a private coverage option called Medicare Advantage (“MA”). MA plans include HMOs, PPOs, Private Fee-for-Service, Special Needs, and MMSAPs. Most MA plans also offer prescription drug coverage. MA is actually the reformed portion of Medicare that is covered under Obamacare. Most of the problems that need to be fixed come under MA, and this stems from where MA plans claimed to give “free” coverage to seniors. This “free” coverage in all actuality drove up the cost of the plans and subsequently drove up Medicare costs. Let’s look at how Obamacare plans to fix Medicare under the new law.

Medicare + Obamacare, Title III = Messy

Obamacare plans to reform Medicare to help seniors afford prescription medications (e.g., the Part D drug coverage limit where seniors must start paying out-of-pocket for prescriptions). In 2012, seniors received a 50% discount on brand-name drugs and 14% discount on generic drugs covered under Medicare Part D. This is continued under Obamacare, and increases coverage every year until the hole is filled in 2020. Seniors will only pay normal drug co-pays after that (whatever that is supposed to mean).

Additionally, Obamacare is supposed to stop excess spending on MA.  MA is currently causing a burden on the taxpayer that is disproportionate to the actual amount of people being helped by the program. MA is run by private insurers and costs about $1,000 more per person on the program. Obamacare plans to extend the life of the Medicare Trust fund to at least 2029. This 12-year extension is needed due to reductions in waste, fraud, abuse and program costs. In the end, Medicare beneficiaries are expected to save about $4,200 over the next 10 years due to lower drug costs, free preventative services, and reductions in growth of health spending.

You might be thinking, “This sounds great! I’m glad Grandpa Joe will be getting all of the coverage he needs with no further expense to anyone else.” Wrong. It is the younger generation that will be feeling the heat from this reform of MA and reform of Medicare under Obamacare – not the government. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at how Obamacare’s Medicare changes affect you.

Crushing the Younger Generation One Baby Boomer at a Time

I want to preface this section with the fact that I have nothing against the older generations.  These generations will inevitably be reduced to using the healthcare coverage associated with Medicare – how I wish our generation could be so accustomed to use in the future.  What I do believe is this – the older generation has failed the younger generation and we let them do it.  We are the reason Obamacare is occurring right now. We are the reason the older generation is getting away with this abomination of a law. The older generation has failed to run this country with the dignity and respect that an American politician/representative/Senator/Cabinet member/Supreme Court Justice/Vice President/President should – and we let them do it. When are we going to stand up and fight for what is truly right for our generation?

Rant over. Now let me show you exactly how Obamacare’s Medicare reform is screwing over the younger generation (i.e., you and me).  Obamacare relies heavily on the younger generation’s involvement in the healthcare exchange. As former President Bill Clinton stated recently, “This only works if young people show up.” He is right. And, Obama agreed with the former President: “The way pools work, any pool, is essentially those of us who are healthy subsidize somebody who’s sick, at any given time. We do that because we anticipate at some point we’ll get sick and we hope that the healthy person is in our pool so those costs and those risks get spread. That’s what insurance is all about.” Kind of, Mr. President. Health insurance is a completely different insurance from auto, home, or life insurance. We count on health insurance to cover those costs associated with medical expenses (i.e., check-ups and doctors visits). We do not expect an auto insurer to pay for costs associated with keeping a car maintained, though it would be a wonderful spectacle to observe. Insurance is provided in cases of unplanned instances – that is what insurance should be.

You would think in a capitalist market that shopping around would be a valid opportunity given to the younger generation, especially considering the younger generation is the most important participant. You would be wrong. In order to fund the ever-so-rising costs of Medicare, the healthy (young and old, but mostly young) are required to sign up for Obamacare and pay higher-premium plans. Sure, it covers more – but why do you need all of it? Simple answer: you don’t. But it is necessary for you to pay more into the system so that the older generation can pay less.

Let me turn to Obamacare supporters’ arguments to the above: subsidies. Most of the younger generation will get taxpayer-provided subsidies for those premiums. This is true. However, they will not get subsidies on the deductibles. This means that the younger generation will still be paying thousands upon thousands each year before the insurers will pay their first dollar of benefits.  What does this mean? The younger generation will never get benefits.

Let me turn to my argument against Obama supporters’ arguments: taxes. I am a tax gal, and I look at whether there is redistribution in taxes in general. You will be surprised to learn that there is already a redistribution of funds from the younger to the older generation through the tax system. Elderly households receive more government benefits and pay less tax. Younger households receive less government benefits and pay more tax than they receive back. After doing some research on the actual number for redistribution, it is assumed that over $9,000 per household is transferred from the younger to the older generation.  Obama just accelerates this redistribution. In addition, many of the young people under Obamacare will not qualify for subsidies (which cut off at $48,000 for a single adult).

My Overall Thoughts (and Final Points) on Obamacare

Obamacare is bad policy and will not work in this crippled American economy. On the surface, it only screws over the rich and the young. In depth, it screws over everyone (young, old, rich, poor, white, black). Even the politicians tried to exempt themselves from the policy to no avail. This law was thrown together too quickly so that President Obama would have a lasting legacy. Obama needed something to cover up the failed economy, high unemployment rates, and tragic Benghazi scandal. Obama needed this to propel him into being a rockstar President.

Obama pushed this law for what it could not afford – you can keep your doctor, you can keep your healthcare plan, you will have reduced premiums, you will pay less taxes. Obama could not promise these and in fact had no right to promise these items to the American people. Obama was not a businessman – he was a lawyer. Think about that.

Obamacare fails to work because it pits the young against the old. The younger generation is taking the brunt of the economic failures from the Obama administration. Job creation is extremely important at this time, yet the President failed to mention this topic during the 2014 State of the Union address. Most of the jobs available right now are part-time positions with no advancement (thank you, Obamacare). Most of the younger generation, though educated, are having to work two part-time jobs unrelated to their degrees just to get by in this economy. This isn’t the younger generation Obama wanted for his Obamacare plan…in fact, I don’t believe he knew how bad the economy was until the roll-out of Obamacare occurred.  Remember, Obama was not a businessman – he was a lawyer. Lawyers look at the outcome, businessmen look at the growth. If Obama was a businessman he would have found no potential for growth under Obamacare, thus no outcome would occur. Obama, just like our Congress, was blinded by an unattainable outcome.

It is important that our generation understands that we must be the change we want to see in this world. We cannot rely on the politicians in office to do this for us anymore. Get involved in politics and reading law – it might help you one day. My four-part Obamacare segment is complete. If you have any other questions, feel free to drop me a line here or on any other social media outlet. Also, if you want, follow my blog through email! You will get all of my posts earlier than I post them on social media. Thanks for reading!

Are You a Racist, Bigot, or Bully? Maybe… But Probably Not: Understanding Misused & Overused Terms in Society

RACIST. BIGOT. BULLY.

Let me start this post by saying that this might be a sensitive topic for most people.  I am sure at one time in your life you have been called one of these terms or dished out the term as an insult to another.  If you are easily offended by the use of these terms, you should probably stop reading this post. I’m serious… don’t read this. You will be even more offended by my outlook on these words and I don’t need any of your negativity ruining it. Still reading anyway? Prepare to be offended even more than you probably were by reading this post’s title.

You may have noticed the terms above – “racist,” “bigot,” and “bully” – are in “strike-out” form. This is because these terms in our society are misused and overused.  The terms are not even given their intended meaning anymore.  We loosely throw out these words on a daily basis and have no idea what they truly mean. I want to change this. I want to change the way you think about these terms. I want you to use them sparingly and when they make sense. I want to open these terms back up for usage.

In order to make you understand these terms better, I have to start with a background on each.  After giving a brief synopsis, I plan to give you the reasons our society makes us believe we embody these terms.  And, finally, I want to tell you how each of these reasons is either misused, overused, or both and how our generation can fix it (because I truly believe we have to be the change in this world now – our fathers and theirs cannot do it for us anymore).  Let’s start with my favorite – “racist.”

RACIST.

“The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.”

The term “racism” started as a scientific study in the 1800’s to determine the racial classification of human existence. Most documents from this era claim that whites were good and blacks (or African Americans, if you prefer this terminology) were bad. If you don’t believe me, reference the book “The Outline of History and Mankind” by Christoph Meiners (who was, in my opinion, the definition of “racist”). If you have not read this book, this next sentence alone should have your blood boiling. This book not only classifies the difference between whites and blacks, but also considers the whites to be the superior race because their skin is more beautiful. I just don’t even know where to begin with this guy, so I will leave it at that.

Moving forward, racism was used to describe a number of historical events including The Trail of Tears and the Holocaust. The most notable form of racism during our country’s time is that of slavery – which resulted in the tearing apart of both the white and black races in one swift movement. Slavery led to segregation, and segregation led to the Civil Rights Movement. This is as much of a background on racism that I want to provide. I know there are other circumstances in which racism has impacted this country, but I want to focus more on the term “racist.”

Possible Reasons You Are Called a Racist.

As noted above, the term “racist” means “the belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.” Nothing more, nothing less. I am going to list a couple of recent examples that show why people are called “racist” today. After the reason, I will list as to why I disagree with the reason. You might agree, you might disagree. That’s the point of this post. Have an opinion. Either way, you can find my examples below.

1. You disagree with Obamacare (or you disagree with Obama in general).  In December of 2013, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry stated that the term “Obamacare” itself is a racist word. According to Harris-Perry, “the word was conceived by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man — to render him inferior and unequal and diminish his accomplishments.” Continuing on, Harris-Perry dug herself into a deeper hole after admitting that President Obama himself had used the term – but only because “if you can’t beat them, you’ve got to join them.” If this is true, then I guess the “wealthy white men” that coined “Reaganomics” in the 1980s should be ashamed of themselves, too. The fact is that President Obama pushed for this socialist form of healthcare – therefore, his name is on the finished product (whatever that is.. like I said in one of my past posts, Nancy Pelosi is still reading it).  It would be no different if another President (white, black, or both in the President’s case) had pushed for this healthcare policy.

As far as merely disagreeing with the policy and being called a “racist,” that you are not. Anyone that disagrees with this policy is right to do so – it is bad policy. Do not let the media fill your head with junk either by pushing Obamacare on you or calling you a racist for resisting the policy. I do not want to go too far into Obamacare as it will be my topic of discussion over the next 4 weeks (you’re welcome…), but just know that because you disagree with a particular policy it does not make you a racist. You have not had a “belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.”

2. You comment on Florida State University’s Quarterback’s Speech… and he happens to be an African American (cough.. A.J. McCarron’s mom.. cough). This was the major focus after FSU’s Jameis Winston gave his post-game interview with a newscast regarding his team’s BCS Championship win. During this post-game interview, a tweet surfaced from A.J. McCarron’s mom asking the following: “Am I listening to English?” The media had a field day with this twitter post and blasted A.J.’s mother for being a “racist.” What? That is illogical at best. Personally, I could barely understand the kid. Nothing against his race, and everything against his dialect. I could not believe that someone with poor speech was allowed to represent FSU in the media. I don’t care that he is the QB and played a “wonderful” game. I hope he is smarter in the classroom than his dialect shows on the football field.

As for A.J.’s mother, she apologized if she offended anyone in the process of expressing her opinion of the post-game interview speech.  As for me, I will do nothing of the sort.  FSU, as many other universities in the United States, should really focus on prepping members of sports teams for the press in order to avoid inevitable backlash.

Get it Right – “Racist” Means…

The above reasons are just an overview of what this country associates with the term “racist” today.  I actually had a larger list than just the two above.  However, I don’t have the time or the brain power to continue to move forward through all of them.  There are more pressing issue to get to, like the term “bigot” (which is next).  Just remember, “racist” means “the belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others.”  Let’s stop using the term to define situations that do not fit. If you are having a tough time trying to discern the difference, look back to history and find where the term actually does fit.  Use the word to your discretion – you might just realize the term disappears from your vocabulary altogether.  If you still cannot find similarities from events in history, the word probably doesn’t fit in your vocabulary.

BIGOT.

“One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.”

There is not much history to cover when it comes to the term “bigot.” The word was first associated with the religious word “hypocrite.” The term has since evolved to encompass intolerance based on ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc.  So, if we are keeping score with the last term, all racists are bigots but not all bigots are racists.  Good, now that I have gotten that off my chest, let’s move forward to an example seen in today’s society of how this term defines people and their actions.

Possible Reasons You Are Called a Bigot.

For this word, I have one recent event that shows why a person might be called a “bigot” today.  There are many others (including the recent Meryl Streep speech designating Walt Disney as a “gender bigot” – read it if you haven’t), but I am going to save the time and space in this blog to address the most obvious event. Agree, disagree, stay indifferent – I don’t care. Just make your own educated opinion.

1. You are an opponent of same-sex marriage (a.k.a. the “Phil Robertson”). Everyone has heard of the Duck Dynasty controversy (or, if not, you could read one of my past posts on the subject) and Phil Robertson’s statements regarding same-sex marriage.  As far as I am concerned, after reading the GQ article I can confidently state that Phil is not a bigot. How is he not a bigot you ask? He seems to be extremely partial to his religion (Christianity) and intolerant of those that commit the sin (according to the Bible) of homosexuality. If everyone stopped reading at this point in his interview, we would all believe that Phil is a bigot – which is what all of the media sources wanted you to believe.  If you continue on with the article though, Phil claims the following: “However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.” This does not seem to be the hatred or intolerance that we would see in an actual bigot. If you want to see a bigot, look to those vile creatures at Westboro Baptist Church and then look at what Phil said. Nothing can compare.

Not all opponents of same-sex marriage are bigots. Furthermore, characterizing such opponents as “bigots” might not be the right terminology to use when trying to win people over on the same-sex marriage issue.

Get it Right: “Bigot” means…

Just remember that “bigot” doesn’t always mean someone who is intolerant of someone else’s beliefs. This term also associates someone who has an unconditional hatred or intolerance of someone else’s beliefs – someone who has no respect for that other party due to that hatred and intolerance. Learn this and learn how to use the term properly. If you cannot use it properly, do not use it at all.

BULLY.

“A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.”

Last but not least, I want to talk about the most abused word in the English language – “bully.” The word itself was coined in the 1500’s to mean “sweetheart,” but changed in the 1700’s to a negative connotation. There are many circumstances in which this term is used including cyberbullying, gay bullying (or “gay bashing”), school bullying, etc.  Bullying results from an act of repeated, aggressive behavior on the bullied, or the victim, in order to gain power over such victim. The reasons for such behavior stem from differences in class, race, religion, gender, sexuality, appearance, size, strength, etc. So, if we are keeping score with the last two terms, all habitual racism and habitual bigotry is bullying but not all bullying is racism and bigotry. Let’s move on.

Possible Reasons You Are Called a Bully.

For this section, I have three short examples of recent complaints of “bullying” within this society. Agree, disagree, stay indifferent – I don’t care. Just make up your own mind.

1. You disagree with someone about something (a.k.a. Real Housewives of Some City Syndrome). Most people call these “opinions.” Disagreeing with someone is not bullying. Being told something you do not want to hear is not bullying. Being criticized by your friends for dating a loser is not bullying. I could go on and on and on and on – but I won’t for your sake. If someone disagrees with you, this is simple social interaction. Learn to stand up for yourself. Stop calling this situation bullying when it obviously is not deserving of such a word.

2. You choose not to invite someone to an event that occurs in your life (i.e., wedding, bar mitzvah, baby shower). A nonverbal action that does not result in an intended gain of power of another person is not bullying. End of story.

3. You punch someone once in the hallway of your school, at a bar, or walking down the road. Like I said before, bullying is a habitual pattern of activity. One punch is not going to result in bullying. However, just because it isn’t bullying doesn’t mean it cannot be labeled something else (ahem, assault and battery for one).

Get it Right: “Bully” means…

Just remember the words habitual, pattern, aggressive, and intentional when it comes to defining “bully.” With all of the wolves crying out “bully” it is no surprise that so many people that are actually being bullied have been overlooked.

FINAL THOUGHTS.

Even if you do not agree with a word I just said, I can at least hope that you learned something about each of these three terms – “racist,” “bigot,” and “bully” – that you did not know before you read this article. I believe that our generation must be the change we see in the world. A minor change can have major results.

I will be doing a 4-part segment on Obamacare starting next Sunday. If you have any questions you would like for me to try and answer about Obamacare within my posts let me know. If you have any comments about this post, leave me a message below. I promise I won’t construe your disagreements with bullying.

The Second Amendment – Gun Rights vs. Gun Control: Good Luck With That

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

I briefly spoke of the Second Amendment in my last article while simultaneously criticizing the writer of another article for an oversight error in numbering the Amendments.  I do, however, want to touch on the subject of the Second Amendment because it is a hot-button issue around both campaign and election season.  The language (above in bold) is kept simple by our forefathers so as to not construe the message of an individual’s rights.

Brief History of the Second Amendment

I don’t want to spend too much time on this area (considering it is plastered on the internet for you to find elsewhere), but I do want to look at the Second Amendment to the extent that our forefathers cover it in the Constitution and other documents.  It is important to remember that the Constitution was not the only document in history that spoke of the Second Amendment’s contents.  Each forefather had a specific reason for placing this in the Constitution, and that reason was exemplified in other documents during that time.  For example, The Federalist Papers by James Madison spoke of “the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.” Madison, Hamilton, and Jay, The Federalist Papers 299 (Arlington House ed. n.d.).  As an additional example (just to show merit), Patrick Henry argued during the Virginia ratifying convention that “the great object is, that every man be armed…. Everyone who is able may have a gun.” 3 Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions 386 (1836).  This (along with other framers’ thoughts not mentioned herein) shows that the framers of the Constitution meant to protect an individual’s rights to bear arms.

Gun Rights: No Government Should Take Away MY Guns

After reading the framers’ intentions, it is easier to transition into the argument to protect American citizens’ right to bear arms. The Second Amendment obviously covers the issue on gun rights, but what other arguments are being used as a catalyst to propel gun rights to the forefront of a political debate? Here is a list of those rights, and why it might be a reason to entertain the discussion.

(1) Criminals will find a way to obtain guns through illegal measures (like they already do today).  In my humble opinion, this is a valid point. What will stop the criminals from bypassing legislation put into place and finding (through No. 5 below) these guns on their own? Criminals already break the law by committing crimes, so what is one extra notch on their gun-toting belt?

(2) Victim gun possession will deter criminals from committing their crime. If you don’t believe this argument, you haven’t read the story of Jan Cooper of Anaheim, California – the gun-wielding grandma that shot at an intruder to protect herself and her wheelchair-bound, WWII veteran husband from potentially inflicted harm.  Here is the article if you don’t believe me (also covered on NBC and CBS if you have something against Fox News): http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/06/12/grandma-72-shoots-at-intruder-misses-in-calif/. This is one of my favorite arguments for gun rights.  There are numerous stories out there like Jan Cooper’s, and I am not sure the ending would quite be the same if Jan did not have her firearm in hand.

(3) Police are often too busy to protect citizens from (all) crimes committed. I’m going to add another mitigating factor – police officers are too damn lazy to answer all calls for crimes committed. Please see the above link re: Mrs. Cooper if you don’t believe it.  If the police do not get there in time, the police are not held responsible for the crime committed. Protect yourself.

(4) Ban my guns? You are a socialist or totalitarian. This seems to be the most used line by the Republicans (or those supporting gun rights) against the Obama administration’s legislation on gun control.  By restricting a right professed in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution, anyone that would dare take away one of those rights either must be a socialist, a tyrannical leader, or an idiot. Taking away an Amendment requires another Amendment to rectify that situation (e.g., Prohibition and the 18th/21st Amendments).  As that is a whole other argument, I will leave our congressional leaders with four words: Good luck with that.

(5) Banning guns will create a “black market” excursion for these items (i.e., more organized crime; “War on Guns”). As I stated in No. 1 above, criminals will find other means to being criminals.  Just because a criminal cannot find or purchase a gun on the free market does not mean that the same criminal cannot turn around and purchase that gun from an underground, or “black,” market. This black market would lead to additional problems for the government (which is dealing with figuring out what ObamaCare is) and police officers (who already don’t have time to answer your calls about an intruder).  Again, four words: Good luck with that.

Gun Control: Eh… Some Regulation MIGHT Work Today

Now that I have completely blown your mind about gun rights, let’s look at the five opposite arguments for gun control.  Here is the list as to why you (and our government) should entertain the discussion for gun control.

(1) Most violent crimes are committed with guns. Take away the gun, take away the criminal.  This is a valid argument for those entertaining the thought of gun control.  If there are no more guns in this world, then there will be no more criminals.  A new utopia.

(2) Victims holding guns may be in more danger than before as the criminal could kill the victim in self-defense. I’m honestly not sure how I can defend this ill-worded argument, but I will try because I have to remain neutral for now. Scratch that… I can’t.  That’s just stupidity. But if you have an opinion on why this is a valid point, leave me a comment below.

(3) Crimes that were once less dangerous can now be more dangerous with the addition of a gun.  This argument is geared toward drug crimes. A person selling drugs is more than likely using a gun to protect himself or herself from harm in the event that the drug deal “goes bad.” The drug crime itself is a less dangerous crime.  If the drug crime goes bad and the gun is used it is a more dangerous crime.  Reducing or eliminating the gun by gun control laws will in turn keep the drug crime just that – a lesser crime. This could also correlate with No. 1 above of the gun control arguments.

(4) Suicide and crimes of passion are easier to commit with a gun on hand.  This is true. Both suicide and crimes of passion are committed in the “heat of the moment.” It seems that eliminating the gun would reduce the amount of crimes of this nature.  It is important to keep in mind though that most women attempt suicide by overdose or cutting of wrists, which would not eliminate the amount of suicides for women at all.  This is more geared toward the number of men that commit suicide by lethal weapon (which is extremely higher than women). If you want the statistics on this, visit The Community Counseling Service’s page at http://www.hsccs.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=13737.

(5) Insane people, children who have been bullied, or other disgruntled people could use guns for the wrong reason. This argument stems from the number of mall shootings, school shootings, work shootings, and every other possible shooting of a nature in which the person was angry or upset.  Let’s take school shootings since it appears to be the most recent.  From Colorado to Connecticut, these shootings are stemming from the fact that somehow children and teenagers are getting their hands on firearms. A link to most of these situations is not the fact that the children had guns, but that these children and teenagers were suffering from psychological problems before reaching for the gun. I’m not saying that bullying or being treated unfairly is right. What I am saying, however, is that these children should stop and reach out for help before reaching for the gun. Most children and teenagers do not know there is an outlet for help at all.  If you or someone you know has been bullied and you are thinking there is no other way out, please go to http://www.stopbullying.gov for more information or to get help.  Either way, I could see how this argument would be a major focal point of the Obama administration during a time such as this.

My Thoughts on Gun Rights vs. Gun Control: My Guns ARE My Right

After going through the arguments for and against gun control, I am happily content in stating that guns are my right and my right is found under the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights.  Gun control is a nasty subject – as it is an “all or nothing” analysis.  I do not like a government that takes away the rights of the citizens without so much as a blink of an eye.  Our forefathers would be ashamed.

If the guns are not necessary, take away Obama’s guns that are protecting him. Oh… that isn’t going to happen? Some criminals might still get to him with their illegal guns? Then there is no need for me to remain unarmed if the President refuses to disarm his Secret Service.  Is my life not as important as the President’s? Also, look at what happened in Chicago. Chicago has one of the most restrictive gun control laws in the nation and still winds up with not one but four of the “Top 25 Most Dangerous Neighborhoods.”

Our government, however, continues to believe that Chicago-like gun control laws are the answer to the gun problems we have in our country today.

Four words: Good luck with that.

First Amendment + Duck Dynasty = Gossip Column News?

A week or so ago I wrote a piece entitled “V.E.E.P. – It’s a Movement, Not a Sitcom,” where I set out a pretty easy guideline of how to evaluate and understand a piece of news or legislation in our country today. I stressed the importance of four key methods (i.e., validate, educate, extrapolate, politicate) and why you should use them in your everyday life. However, I failed to give an example of how these four methods work together and give you the correct answer you need. Thankfully I was able to experience first-hand these methods in action through a gossip column website called Crushable.com.  Crushable.com prides itself on producing “unapologetically pop culture obsessed” material that is “smart, funny and genuine, combining celebrity news, style and a wide spectrum of content that appeals to an engaged, entertainment-obsessed audience.” Additionally, this site claims to have editors that are “skeptical but never mean.”  

On Crushable.com, however, I was surprised to find a piece on politics and the Constitution within the four corners of this website. A site that prides itself on celebrity news and gossip should focus on just that and not dwell on other aspects that the website’s editors know nothing about.  Either way, I was interested in what the young woman, an editor at Crushable.com, had to say.  The piece, entitled “Here’s Your Constitutionally-Mandated Update on the Duck Dynasty Controversy,” seemed to be argumentative from the start.  This editor, who shall remain nameless until you find the link to the gossip column’s editorial piece on this blog, was in no way a peach in dealing with this controversy.  I would label this editor more “liberal” than “skeptical.” In any sense, this girl knew nothing about the Constitution, the politics surrounding the controversy with Duck Dynasty, or the information about what had actually happened within the controversy itself. So, I thought I would take what I know about my last article’s methods – V.E.E.P. – and have some fun with the editor.

Please read the following before continuing this blog entry, as it will help you to understand my arguments better: http://www.crushable.com/2013/12/20/entertainment/duck-dynasty-homophobia-official-statement-response-freedom-of-speech-second-amendment/  Finished? Okay, let’s begin. During my first of many reviews of this article, I realized she had made many mistakes that are common to those that are not familiar with the law. I labeled them out clearly for you below.

1. First (not Second) Amendment

The first, and most obvious, mistake is that she replaced the First Amendment language with the Second Amendment heading. You only missed this in the article because this was NOT her first draft – this is actually her second draft thanks to me. Here is the reading of the text that you did not see, before I informed the editor of her mistake: “Turns out that according to some of our commenters, even writing about this controversy is violating the Second [underlined emphasis added] Amendment, aka Freedom of Speech.” A simple validation of the difference between the First and Second Amendments would have helped this editor to understand the Second Amendment was incorrect.  Even her prior high school education could have told her that this was the incorrect Amendment. The editor quickly apologized after I pointed out this mental mistake to her, even though the website is supposedly “unapologetic” to its readers. If anything, this editor should apologize to the readers that are taking this garbage seriously.

2. First Amendment Language & Actual Meaning

The second error in the above statement is that the First Amendment is about “Freedom of Speech.” The editor believes that the First Amendment was “initially designed to protect members of the press and individuals from persecution for sharing their opinions.” Persecution? Are we being burned at the stake like witches? No. The First Amendment has nothing to do with persecution and everything to do with legislation passed by Congress.  The First Amendment does not guard against all free speech. I repeat, the First Amendment does not guard against all free speech. Now that this is clear, the First Amendment does guard against Congressional legislation that abridges free speech (subject to certain limitations, like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater).  The First Amendment has nothing to do with persecution or lack thereof when it comes to freedom of speech. So, in the case of Phil from Duck Dynasty and the A&E network, A&E had a right to tear up Phil’s contract and pull Phil from the television show. But, Phil still has a right to speak his mind – this is after all a “free country.” Just as he is entitled to his religious-based opinion on homosexuality, the American people are entitled to not purchase A&E products or to not watch the A&E network.

3. The 2010 Video of Phil’s Remarks on Homosexuality

The third error the editor makes in this argument is providing the video of Phil preaching against homosexuality in a sermon. Duh. Of course he is going to do this. This is a religious-based belief that Phil and I am sure the rest of the congregation in that room on that day held. However, this is not merely the mistake in her argument. The main mistake is that she doesn’t put any blame on A&E’s involvement in the controversy.  All of the blame goes on Phil, and the blame is still being placed on him today by this editor.  The editor throws the video out there just to spark hate and anger toward Phil, but doesn’t exactly explain why this video matters.  I will tell you why it matters – it matters because this gives cause that A&E knew about Phil’s beliefs prior to putting Duck Dynasty on the air. Though the editor does not want to “buy into the argument” that I provide regarding A&E, I buy into it and this is my blog. So, here it goes. The A&E network and its executives knew Phil Robertson and the Robertson clan’s view on religion and The Bible. I am suggesting that A&E was not being honest with its viewers (along with others not watching the show) by terminating Phil’s contract at this point.  The network knew his views were no different from 2010 to now. It just seems odd that A&E would cave to the public turmoil now that Phil’s views are on paper, even though Phil’s views have been on video even before the airing of Duck Dynasty’s first episode.  Additionally, someone from the A&E network had to sign off on Phil’s involvement in GQ magazine. This person should be fired from his or her position – not Phil.

4. Fox News Target

The final error I want to discuss in the editor’s article is the targeted anger toward the Fox News network. By this point in her argument I am now fully aware that she is a liberal trying to spread her liberal agenda to the mass market. However, I am not buying it. Apparently this editor believes that Fox News “tells people how to act and what to say on their program, frequently even giving viewers the tools to register their own disapproval, like contact information and complaint lines to oppose the supposed War on Christmas.”  This poor girl is either clueless or brainwashed by the liberal mass media. She cannot see that EVERY news network (i.e., CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News included) pushes their political agenda on its viewers.  That is the reason why Republicans watch Fox News and Democrats watch CNN. Like I pointed out in my last argument, no one should fully take everything a media piece has to say with any merit – or at least without educating yourself and doing your own research. If someone would have done that with this editor’s piece (before edited), we would all think that the Second Amendment is about freedom of speech. This editor needs to start thinking for herself and not what CNN tells her to think.

 

I will leave you with this last line, which is actually my favorite line, from the editor’s piece:

“Look at me, I’m used to it! I know that when I write a post, people aren’t legally entitled to firebomb my house, but they are entitled to leave nasty comments completely misunderstanding the law.”

Though we are not legally entitled to firebomb your house, Ms. Editor, you have firebombed our minds into the next oblivion. Your lack of validation, education, extrapolation, and politication has definitely blown my mind. I only misunderstand the law because you have taught me to do so. Congratulations – YOU are making your readers stupid. Next time, stick to the gossip and leave the politics to the political bloggers, like myself. Now, go take a government class and firebomb your mind with knowledge.

 

 

To all of my readers, I will be writing every SUNDAY from now on about any hot topic issue that is in the news that week. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from some of you soon.

 

 

V.E.E.P. – It’s a movement, not a sitcom.

No, this isn’t related to the political comedy of the same title with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  If you have never heard of this sitcom, don’t look it up.  It really isn’t that good. This acronym is meant to be more motivational – a lifestyle that every Millennial should follow.  As I sit writing this blog I am an unemployed attorney living with my parents because I am unable to find an attorney position in this current economy.  You read that right – I blame the economy.  I also blame our current administration for letting our economy fall to pieces.  I can say this because I have done my research.  I developed the acronym ‘V.E.E.P.’ as a guideline to making an educated decision on whether you agree with the current political, legislative, or judicial rulings being made in our country. In order to understand V.E.E.P., looking to the following verbs to guide your way:

Validate. Educate. Extrapolate. Politicate.

I know what you’re thinking: “‘Politicate’ is not a word, Nikki. That is absurd. I am clicking the ‘x’ button on the top of the screen. This is obviously a joke.” You would be wrong to say that.  You would be wrong to click out of this blog. Keep reading – I explain myself quite thoroughly.  Let’s take these verbs one at a time.

Validate: “to check or prove the accuracy of something”

This is by far the most important step in your process of researching political, legislative, and judicial rulings.  Let me repeat: this is by far the most important step in your process of researching political, legislative, and judicial rulings.  Okay, now that I have made myself clear, it is important to start by validating the sources you decide to use in making your educated decision on whether to support or not support a certain issue our country is facing today.  Here is a rundown of what is valid, what is not valid, and what can be valid if you make it valid:

Valid:

  1. Westlaw or LexisNexis websites: most non-attorneys do not have access to these, though.
  2. Non-fiction political library books: yes, I said books – you have to learn to like to read.

Not Valid:

  1. Wikipedia: Some people do not understand that this website is run by every single person in the United States.  I consider Wikipedia as follows: Wikipedia is to the United States community as the Green Bay Packer’s organization is to the Green Bay, WI, community.  Some football fan somewhere out there understands me.
  2. Your friend’s social media status: Just don’t.
  3. The Onion: Oh please.

Valid if You Make it Valid:

  1. News Media Sources: I know you may think that all news media sources are correct… they aren’t.  They are only valid if you yourself do your research on the piece of news, too.  They only make sense if you yourself do your research on the piece of news, too. FoxNews & CNN are NOT valid sources unless you do additional research. I don’t care if you live by the words on these news channels – it is always better to do your own research and make your own educated decisions. You will be a better Republican or a better Democrat if you do so.

Once you have validated your sources, move to the next letter in the acronym.

Educate: “to stimulate or develop the mental or moral growth of”

There are many definitions of “educate” that I could have pulled off of the internet. This was my favorite. The next step after validating your sources is educating yourself on the material you find within those sources. I’m not saying you have to rely on every single article pertaining to the subject you are inquiring about – that is not even possible. Take these articles and learn as much of the information as you can about the subject you are researching. Take notes, write in the margins, get excited about the subject.  Okay, the last part is going a bit too far. However, by the end of this acronym you will get excited about a piece of the political, judicial or legislative pie because you researched it to the best of your ability.  After you have educated yourself with this information, move onto the next letter in the acronym.

Extrapolate: “to form an opinion or to make an estimate about something from known facts”

After all of the reading, you must extrapolate upon such information.  Form an opinion.  Make estimations on where you believe that legislation/policy/judicial decision to be going in the near future.  This provides for your best educated opinion on a political matter – something that you yourself has come up with and no one else has interfered with your judgment.  You have an opinion now.  Congratulations.  After you extrapolate, move onto the next letter in the acronym.

Politicate: “to answer questions in ways that politicians and political leaders do”

Now, I am not saying that politicians or political leaders are the BEST people to look up to when spreading (or politicating) your validated, educated and extrapolated knowledge.  In fact, I quite enjoy Urban Dictionary’s definition of politicate: “to answer a question in an evasive, roundabout way – the way that politicians do.”  Politicians do not always answer questions.  More precisely, politicians are spreading their (hopefully) validated, educated, and extrapolated knowledge of the law by way of creating bills and signing legislation to become law. Think of yourself as a mini-politician.  You may not ever want to become a politician or even think that you could do so.  However, you do have a voice and you should be heard.  At this point, if you have followed my acronym completely, you have a validated, educated and extrapolated voice – no matter your overall opinion.  Whether Republican or Democrat, you have a voice all your own and you are ready to use it.

Remember: Validate. Educate. Extrapolate. Politicate.

I welcome you to the world of politics. I welcome your voice and I cannot wait to hear it agree or disagree with my beliefs and opinions on this blog.  Thanks for reading and I hope to hear more from you all in the very near future.

– Nikki, beingpoliticatelycorrect [find me on twitter: @nikkimccain]