Monthly Archives: November 2012

If the United States Were Run Like Apple

The other day I was scrolling through my Twitter feed and came across something that I thought was really intriguing. The Tweet said that electronic goliath Apple now has more money than the United States Treasury. This is laughable, but true. Apple has $76 billion or so in cash, while the treasury has only $74 billion. Technically the treasury has no actual money, they only have $74 billion left to spend, but as soon as Congress raises the debt limit that $74 billion will get a lot bigger.

Regardless, borrowing mind blowing amounts of money to finance a government (or a company) is a terrible financial practice; so I got to thinking…if Apple is in such a good place financially, what would our nation look like if the United States government was run like Apple?

For starters our nation would obviously be hugely profitable, but profits do not tell the whole story. To meet the types of profit margins Apple is able to produce our nation would be fundamentally transformed. The bottom line would define the purpose of the government, people become secondary to finances. 90% of all our government jobs would be outsourced to save money on cheaper labor. The IRS, EPA, CMS, Department of Education, and many more federal agencies would be given to the lowest bidder. If we can find a conglomerate company that could specialize in each of these departments, that would be even better. Apple, for instance, uses Foxconn to manufacture their products; these facilities are shared with other electronic products such as HP, Dell, Acer, Toshiba, and others. So if there were a company that already handles the taxes for France, South Africa, and Malaysia they could also implement our revenue management with little overhead, thereby cutting costs and saving money.

If we ran like Apple we would tax at a rate far larger than other similarly developed nations. You may have already asked the question; if Apple uses the same manufacturer as other tech giants, why are their products so much more expensive? The answer is simple: people think their products are worth it. A recent study at Foxconn showed that an average worker worked over 60 hours each week and took home around $600 per month. For those of you doing the math at home, that means one new IPad or IPhone pays an entire month’s salary for a Foxconn worker…still wondering how they can have such high profit margins? If other Foxconn manufactured products can sell for one third that price and still make a profit, then immediately Apple has a 200% profit margin over their competitors.

So, to be like Apple, our nation would tax nearly three times that of our peers; that certainly helps create a healthy profit. We could most likely expect a minimum tax rate of 50%, and some brackets as high as 90%. There would be no citizenship, anyone who wishes to be part of the United States need only pay the hefty taxes and they will be a citizen with all the benefits of becoming such. If at any time a citizen is fed up with the ridiculously high taxes, they can stop paying and lose citizenship, and can go to another nation.

What would we get for our totalitarian taxes? Not much more than other nations that tax far less than we would, and not as much as nations that tax at a rate similar to ours. With every election (assuming there would be elections) or every tax payment each year we would ask when we were going to receive some of the benefits or capabilities other nations have. If our government were to try to implement anything new we could expect a lot of hiccups in the process requiring many updates and upgrades. Even something as simple as mapping our nation would cause fits for us and our nation’s outsourced employees.

We would allegedly steal some of our best features from other nations, then sue those other nations for having government structure that included a head of state, vice head of state, and separate legislative body. If this sounds ridiculous to you, you are not alone. Apple sued Samsung for patent infringement; what high tech strictly patented technology did Samsung “steal” from Apple? Among other nonsense, they had the gumption to make a rectangle device with rounded edges! Oh, the audacity of those buffoons! The judge in the case thought this was as stupid as you probably think it is, and removed the injunction on Samsung. This means that because the jury found Samsung guilty (which they technically were, because they do have a rectangle phone with rounded edges) they still have to pay the penalty to Apple, but they will still be allowed to sell their phones.

Meanwhile, lawsuits have been filed claiming that Apple stole actual development technology, technology Apple has used to advertise their products no less, such as the retina display and the push to talk system Apple calls Siri. If America were run like Apple, we could expect the same shenanigans from our government. Maybe Massachusetts would sue the federal government for stealing parts of the Romneycare health plan. Maybe the Federal Government would sue Arizona for modeling their immigration law after the federal immigration law…oh, wait, they already did that!

If America were run like Apple it is doubtful there would be any elections. Following the corporate model, the most successful Americans would be our CEO (rather than having a president), COO (rather than vice president), and board of directors (rather than cabinet/Congress). This means the likes of Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett would be running the show. These profit-first corporate tycoons would obviously care more for the national “company” than the people. As long as they can make our product appealing (even if we do drastically overcharge for it) so we can get people to become citizens, they are doing their job.

The United States of America is the greatest nation in the world. We have our problems, but it continues to befuddle me that people can run around talking about how bad our nation is at the same time they talk about how good Apple is. In the United States everyone has an equal opportunity, everyone can gain as much as they are able to achieve, our only limitations are our own imaginations and abilities. We fight for the freedom of others, and stand up for the daughter who is raped in the Middle East and killed by her family for it. We stand up for the girl who is beaten for learning to read. We stand up for those imprisoned for speaking their mind and wanting freedom; but somehow that makes us the bad guy? All the while, many of these same people that slander the nation for these things carry a religious commitment to Apple, a company that outsources as many jobs as possible, charges far more for their products than their competitors, is slow fixing errors they have with their systems, places their workers in harsh and dangerous conditions, and does not have the capabilities that many less expensive products have. But America is the one in the wrong here? If we ran our nation like Apple we would be far worse off than we are now.

Apple can have more money than the U.S. Treasury; that is fine with me. But I am proud to be an American, and I am happy to know that our nation is not run like Apple, or any corporation for that matter. We are the beacon of freedom to the world, and we stand up for that freedom for others, even when it may not be our fight. Of course we have our problems, and we need some fine tuning, but not any more than any other nation, or any Apple product for that matter.

–Matt Young

27 November, 2012

The Government is Violating the 4th Amendment and Spying on You

               Google, Bing, and Yahoo! all have it for free. Even Apple is attempting to develop it. We know that the private sector can often do things much more efficient than the government can, so why are we spending billions of dollars on a government agency to map the earth for the military? Our army has internet access…right? Or at least a smart phone, don’t they? So why is the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) syphoning billions from tax payers to fly drones around the world, and, more particularly, around our nation? Hasn’t the topography of the United States been mapped hundreds of times already? Don’t we have satellite capabilities to take detailed pictures of anything the government needs?

So why the drones? The answer is simple; the government is spying on you. Satellites cannot be everywhere at once because they have an orbital timeframe, but drones can be anywhere the government wants them. Wait, isn’t spying on an American citizen illegal? Of course it is; so what better way to break the law than fly hundreds of drones over and over to “map” the same nation that has already been thoroughly mapped? If the drones “happen” to be gathering data and surveillance on citizens while they do then there is really nothing the government can do about that. They figure they might as well use the intelligence to feed the top secret community. Read the rest of this entry

Is Obamacare Going to Work?

It is now a fact of life; the United States healthcare system will be reformed. With the Republican failures on Election Day, we now know Obamacare will take full effect in 2014. So, is it going to work?

We know it will raise taxes; in fact, the assertion from President Obama that he will not raise taxes on the middle class makes no sense; the tax increase on middle class families from Obamacare will be higher than going over the fiscal cliff. One wonders why President Obama is so worried about a recession from the fiscal cliff, but not from Obamacare? The tax increases under the fiscal cliff total around $600 billion; the tax increases under Obamacare total $700 billion, or more. This is all beside the point, because if Obamacare can save families money on insurance and medical costs, a tax increase may come out neutral on their bottom line. So the overwhelming question is the Affordable Care Act will be able to accomplish everything it is supposed to. The evidence says that this is a long shot.

Those who believe in the law point to the Canadian health system or the Swedish health system to prove that it will work. For starters, Obamacare is not a government healthcare system; it is a private system with Goliath amounts of regulation. Moreover, Patriotslog has noticed an interesting pattern with government healthcare systems: the larger the population of a nation, the less sustainable the system becomes; this is even becoming the case in Canada. For instance, to sustain the government healthcare system in Australia, France, or Britain taxes are over the 50% level (plus national sales taxes in many other nations). Have you ever wondered why the austerity measures in Greece and Spain are not fixing the debt issues? One would think that with all the pay cuts, pension cuts, and program freezes the debt issue would be well on its way out the door, but it is not, and healthcare is a major reason.

Healthcare will always take up a huge portion of a federal budget; this is why regular austerity cuts have not had the effect the people in Greece have expected. They continue to protests the deeper and deeper cuts to programs, pensions, and pay because cuts to these are not making as significant a difference as hoped for. We are not unique in the United States. Medicare and Medicaid alone take up over 21% of the federal budget–and this does not even include the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare! Not to mention the fact that the United States does not even have a national healthcare system…at least not yet.

Most of the costs of Obamacare are expected to be paid for by the $716 billion in cuts to Medicare. If the government can find $716 billion in additional revenue we may not see taxes go up as steep as many suspect; but the question has to be asked: if the government can find $716 billion in cuts to Medicare, why have they waited until now to do it? There are only two possible answers: first, the President was not being honest when he said Medicare benefits would not be affected, or the government actually cannot make those cuts.

               Patriotslog suggests it is a bit of both. President Obama has already made cuts to Medicare Advantage; are these cuts to “Medicare”? Not in the most strict interpretation. Medicare Advantage plans essentially replace Medicare parts A and B (which are technically the legal definition of Medicare), so the president has already shown he will disrupt benefits to many Medicare beneficiaries, though as long as he leaves part A and B benefits as they are he is not technically lying. Moreover, those who will have their Medicare benefits cut might just have the same benefits restored on Medicaid. Seniors benefits might not be affected because they will be shifted under the massive expansion of Medicaid.

Even all these cuts will not amount to the $716 billion in cuts the budget calls for. The remainder will be from cutting waste and fraud, and the amount doctors and hospitals are paid by the Medicare program. The government already expends so much effort to combat fraud and waste; does the president actually expect a sudden change in fraud and waste, or better policing against it simply because his law says so? I know politicians have egos, but that impressive narcissism. So we are left with cuts in payments to make up the rest of the cost. History shows this will not work. The government has attempted to cut payment amounts under the Medicare program 34 different times, and all have failed. Most of these actually resulted in higher costs. Moreover, a bill was also passed in the Clinton administration to cut physicians fees; Congress has subsequently passed a waiver of that bill every year since it was passed. Why?

If you cut the amount Medicare pays physicians they will stop accepting Medicare; ergo, Medicare becomes irrelevant. If Medicare is irrelevant it does not matter what we do to the benefits, because they cannot be used. The solution to this would be to force doctors, by law, to accept Medicare. This in turn would raise the cost of providing care for the rest of the nation. This is clear to Congress, which is why they pass the waiver each year.

Another aspect of Obamacare is to penalize employers who do not provide healthcare to their employees. With the cost to insure an employee running about $6000 per year, forcing an employer to take on this expense is an economic deadweight. An employer could pay the $2000 fine for not ensuring an employee, give the employee a $3000 per year raise, and still come out on top as compared to providing

insurance. This will push scores of thousands more onto the expanding Medicaid program, adding an additional expense to the government. The other consequence is that businesses can (and have said they plan to) push employees

down to part-time employment. Every person in the nation might have to have two jobs just to keep a 40 hour work week. Another popular idea among businesses is to lay off employees. If a company has 50 employees they have to pay a $40,000 fine for not providing insurance. This seems extreme, but there are already nearly 2.5 times as many businesses with 49 employees than there are with 50. This uncertainty is one of the biggest reasons the economy has been so slow in recovery. Companies have been sitting on their money; now that they know exactly the uphill battle that faces them, they will invest, and the economy will grow, but Obamacare certainly makes that hill a steeper incline.

So where is the government going to find the money to pay for all of this expansion of Medicaid given the unlikelihood of the government actually being able to cut $716 billion with their current plan? Taxes; lots of taxes. Mitt Romney may have been right when he called Obamacare the single largest tax increase in history; time will tell. One wonders if it would not simply be more efficient–particularly with the amount of taxes we will have to pay–to initiate a government healthcare system. Maybe that was the plan all along.

 

–Matt Young

18 November, 2012

Mandates and Compromises

                In 2008 it was hope and change. The buzzwords flying around Washington after this election are mandate and compromise. Does the President have a mandate? If so, for what and how strong is it? Patriotslog has two specific take-aways from this election: 1. most independents that we have spoken with did not vote for Barack Obama as much as they did against the radicalism of the Republican Party. 2. Mitt Romney was right; 47% of Americans were always going to vote for President Obama. However, he was wrong in saying who they were. Socioeconomics have little to do with the division of our nation; the 47% were not those who felt they were victims and were looking for a handout, it was the 47% that were default liberal, the MSNBC 47%, the 47% that never question Democrats, and never believe Republicans. But Mitt Romney had his own 47%; they were the polar opposites, the Fox News 47%. Read the rest of this entry

Suicide of the Republican Party

It was never 1980. Barack Obama was not Jimmy Carter and, of all the uncertainties in this election, one thing was always certain; Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan. People liked Reagan as a person. As a person, Romney was very unpopular, he was not trusted, and he was generally viewed as out of touch. Republicans told themselves it was “1980 all over again” to provide hope. When I heard this become a common phrase in right wing political circles I know the GOP was fishing in the dark for something to keep their supporters enthusiastic. It was never 1980; that was clear to anyone that looked below the surface. In 1980 winning 62% of the white male vote (60% of the overall white vote) meant almost a certain victory; Mitt Romney won that demographic, and was not nearly enough. The demographics continually shift against the ultra-conservative base of the Republican Party. Regan had a history of raising taxes; Romney said out right, the rich need to pay less in taxes.

The Republican Party is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds. If someone does not step in, they will bleed to death. There are already whispers that Mitt Romney lost the election he was not conservative enough . This is just the bitter excuse of a party that is becoming irrelevant. The national elections show that, if anything, the Republican Party is to blame for the defeat of Mitt Romney; Mitt Romney is not to blame for the defeat of the Republican Party. While the wild swing of the base of the Republican Party to the right won House seats in the 2010 election, the nation has now seen the fruits of the tea party; and it is a bitter drink. There was more dysfunction from this last Congress than any time since the Civil War era. The nation has seen that the Tea Party does not govern, they just protest and oppose.

                The Republican Party did not fix anything after the 2010 election, and their blatant opposition to everything pushed them out of favor in the national scene. If Ronald Reagan were to run today he would not even make it out of a Republican primary. The base of the Republican Party has forced politicians to become more and more conservative in order to run. Mitt Romney, a middle of the road politician for his entire political career, had to shift so far to the radical right in his primaries that rather than highlight his inconsistencies and flip flops, the Obama campaign decided it would be more effective to paint Mitt Romney as a far right extremist. This was not an asset to the party, it was a liability. For the GOP to insist they need a more conservative candidate is to plunge the dagger back into their own belly.

                For evidence we can first look at Indiana and see the most obvious example. First it must be made clear: Indiana is a lock for Republicans. It was sure from the beginning that Romney would win Indiana, and the President did not even campaign there. So logic would dictate it would also be a lock for Republican Senate. Six months ago the Democrats would not have even hoped to win; Dick Lugar was a 36 year senator who had been instrumental in many major events in recent United States history, including winning the Cold War. But nobody voted for Dick Lugar on Tuesday. Why? Richard Murdock, a tea party candidate now infamous for saying that a pregnancy resulting from rape is the will of God. There is sound logic in that, if one believes that God chooses when a woman gets pregnant; however, the comment was interpreted as cold and chauvinistic. The radical right wing elected Murdock as their candidate when they defeated Lugar in a primary. How did the independents and sane republicans reward the tea party for this? By electing a Democrat to a Senate seat that has been 36 years Republican. Murdock was so far to the right wing that the rest of Indiana could not see fit to vote for him.

While Richard Murdock lost because of his right wing extremism, his rape comment was at least understandable. Todd Akin is a different story. In Missouri the Republicans expected to pick up an easy senate seat; first time Democrat Claire Mccaskill had become hated for her antics, which included the use of a private jet which she tabbed to the tax payers. Then Missouri heard Todd Akin speak. He stated that if a woman is “legitimately” raped, her body can shut down the reproductive system, and keep her from getting pregnant. You cannot make this stuff up. Patriotslog has wanted to ask Mr. Akin, if somebody is “legitimately” shot, does your body have a way to shut that down so you will not bleed? Needless to say, if his recent medical discoveries did not cost the Republican Party the election, his ultra-right wing mentality did.

Scott Brown, the Senator from Massachusetts who won the special election in 2010 during the Tea Party honeymoon also lost his race to challenger Elizabeth Warren. The Tea Party momentum that swept him into office in a rigidly Democratic state had become his burden. Moderates that have seen the effect of the tea party on government voted for Elizabeth Warren, and the GOP lost another Senatorial Race.

In Utah, gerrymandering had so thoroughly negated the Democratic vote that it was widely assumed Mia Love, the far right candidate in the Utah 4th district, would be able to finally unseat long time sitting Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson. Matheson’s previous district had been spilt into thirds, all heavily offset by Republicans in their new district. Salt Lake, the only remotely Democratic area in Utah was now voting in three separate districts; Love had good reason be optimistic. In the end, she too was too conservative for even Utah voters (many Republicans, and most independents voted for Matheson) and Matheson is once again representing Utah.

Throughout the entire nation citizens largely voted their disapproval of the Tea Party and the ultra-conservative Republicans. Rep.  Joe Walsh (R, IL), former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, Rick Berg in North Dakota, George Allen in Virginia, and Josh Mandel in Ohio are among the many seats the republicans had hoped to pick up or maintain this election. It was being too conservative which cost them the Presidency, and possibly the majority in the Senate. If the Republican Party decides their problem is not being conservative enough, it will diminish into total irrelevance. If their base continues to put unqualified, radical candidates into the general elections the nation will continue to reject them. In a nation where less than half of Democrats approve of Obamacare; in a nation with higher unemployment than on this day four years ago; in a nation that is statistically recovering from a recession at a pace slower than the great depression; in a nation $16 trillion dollars in debt; in a nation headed toward a fiscal cliff, Republicans still could not make any gains on election day because the voters clearly do not approve of the radical conservatives the GOP had to offer.

For the Republican Party to have a chance in the future they need to make three distinct shifts from their ideology. First, they must agree to raise taxes. The assertion that we do not need to raise taxes to balance the budget is asinine and ignorant. A majority of Americans would support higher taxes because they are logical enough to see that, while spending is the majority of the problem, our historically low tax rates also contribute significantly. Second, they must be first to immigration reform. Patriotslog predicts that President Obama will propose immigration reform that will be rigidly partisan and hardly beneficial to the nation, intentionally designed have a hard time passing. This is because he broke his promise during the first term, when he had a Democratic majority in Congress, and now can blame a failure of immigration reform on the GOP House.

He will design the bill to fail because not having immigration reform actually helps the democrats. They make immigrants believe the Democrats are on their side, because Republicans talk tough on immigration, but Democrats do nothing to help immigrants. If the GOP proposes an immigration bill before Obama, and heavily press the message that they are the party to reform immigration, thereby ensuring immigrants do not work below minimum wage, live in overcrowded housing, and can have healthcare outside of the emergency room, while the President lied to immigrants and did not help them and deported record numbers of immigrants, they can make huge strides in the changing demographics. Third, they must nominate Reagan style candidates, not Paul Ryan, for president.

The best hope for the Republican Party is the politician a most similarly resembles Reagan in policy: someone like former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman. Because of his policies Utah has been named the best managed state in the Union. Because of his policies Utah was among the states least affected by the recession. Because of his policies, a state that ranks about 30th in population is now 7th in financial services assets. Utah is rivaling Wall Street. If the Republican Party continues to insist on radicalism they will die. Unfortunately, most of the party will not realize this, or they will refuse to believe it. Biased talking heads worshipped as idols in the conservative world like Shaun Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the Fox Propaganda crew will feed the fire of unyielding conservatism, insisting Mitt Romney lost for being too moderate. If the party does not turn off their propaganda, they will die. Remember, it was Reagan, not Carter, that raised taxes and granted amnesty.

 

–Matt Young

8 November, 2012

Cable News Propaganda; November, 2012

                Patriotslog makes no secret of the low regard we have for Fox News and MSNBC. Skim through our blog for just a few minutes and it becomes clear we have as much respect for these scum bag propaganda stations as we have for Bernie Madoff, Warren Jeffs, and Benedict Arnold. Fox and MSNBC are not news stations, they are propaganda hubs. The biased information coming out of these stations would make fascists proud. Big Brother cannot do a better job at brain washing. Patriotslog will continue to run a column on the ramblings of these useless stations. Not only are they the two the least informative “news” sources in the nation, they are constantly negative, and only function to divide the nation.

                This week, it almost felt like I was watching Will Farrell cut a scene from Anchor Man with raw sewage that spews from their mouths. It probably would not surprise anyone to hear Fox propaganda say that President Obama knew about Hurricane Sandy for days, and did nothing to stop it. At least no one has made the ridiculous accusation that he owns a weather machine, or he hates white people…yet. With these stations one never knows the lies they will conjure up to keep their junkies inebriated.

                This week, in their continued attempt to blame the Benghazi attack and subsequent tragedy of Ambassador Stevens’s death on President Obama, the Fox and Friends mourning crew essentially said that there did not need to be an investigation into the attack! Of course, this makes sense…why would we need to know what actually happened? As President, it is the civic duty of Barack Obama to ignore the facts and that he was responsible for the attack, and even admit he wanted this to happen. The facts do not matter, and no matter what they are they do not change the fact that everything in the world that goes wrong is to be rightfully blamed on President Obama.

                To even make the asinine suggestion that we do not need an investigation into the Libya attacks illustrates perfectly the lack of credibility Fox should have; unfortunately, like a dog to its vomit, conservatives return to this time and again. But of course Fox would not want an investigation, the facts point to the President actually doing the right thing in Libya. Patriotslog has made no secret of our opinion that President Obama does not deserve a second term, but that does not mean he was responsible for the failures in the Benghazi attack. The saddest part of all of this is the bigger picture of just how far from the American dream propaganda channels like this have taken us.

                Fox actually wants the President to be responsable for this. They have divided the nation so thoroughly that they have made people actually hope the Commander in Chief is conspiring against the success of his own nation, his own government, his own people, and his own friends. They have created such a hatred that they have made people think it is a good thing, because it might help their ideological battle, that the President is killing his own citizens and friends. We need no investigation, we need no facts; Obama is guilty because Fox wants him to be. Then they have the nerve to call themselves patriotic. Disgusting.

Watch:msnbc-ridicules-romney-collecting-food-and-supplies-sandy-victims

                MSNBC is no better. According to the propaganda channel that tells us it is bad to be rich, to be successful, to work hard to earn the American dream and provide your kids privileges you never had, it is also bad to help people. Believe it or not, MSNBC had the gumption to go on air and say what a bad person Mitt Romney is for helping people. When Mitt Romney sent his campaign bus into the path of destruction left by hurricane Sandy, MSNBC criticized him. When he and his campaign organized relief efforts, providing much needed food, clothing, hygiene supplies, and blankets to thousands of victims displaced by the hurricane, MSNBC tried to tell their viewers how awful he is for not following the Red Cross guidelines for relief aid. Watching the video you would have thought he had given them the small pox blankets that were once given to Native Americans, and that he was doing this all in an effort to cut the Liberal base down in the north east, steal a state, and win the election.

                Never mind the fact that the Red Cross is not a government organization, and only has the authority to issue guidelines, not rules; never mind the fact that Mitt Romney and his campaign did everything in their power, taking personal risk along the way, to help disaster victims. Mitt Romney is a terrible person because he chose not to do exactly what the Red Cross suggested, and went ahead and helped people. MSNBC has divided the nation so thoroughly that they have brainwashed their viewers into thinking that helping people is a bad thing.

                I have even heard liberals suggest that Mitt Romney is a bad person because of the amounts of money he gave to charity. It was pointed out that Mitt Romney gave a large portion of his charitable deductions (which by note, were more last year than President Obama has given in his entire life) to the Mormon Church. The suggestion was made that Mormons only help Mormons, so his charitable giving does not actually reflect his character. Patriotslog has made no secret of the fact that we are not big fans of Mitt Romney, but it is ridiculous to make the suggestion that giving to charity is bad. There are a few facts that need to be addressed about giving money to the Mormon Church: 1. Nobody gets paid. Unlike other churches, giving money to the Mormon Church will not be paying for a new Cadillac for the pastor; the church uses all of the money to help people. 2. There are two different funds for charitable contributions to the Mormon Church. The first is called tithing; the church members are asked to give 10% of their income to the church to help with functions such as building churches, sending out missionaries, and helping other Mormons. The second is called fast offerings; members are asked to give as much as they can possibly afford to fast offerings. This money goes directly into providing relief from hunger, war, and natural disasters for anyone in need. 3. Studies have shown that the Mormon fast offering program is one of the most efficient charities on the planet. While even the best charities can only guarantee around 85% of donations go to relief, almost every penny of Mormon fast offerings go to relief. If you want to make a charitable donation that has the most impact, go find your closest Mormon church, and give the pastor money for fast offerings.

                Fathom a nation where half of the citizens actually hope their President conspired to kill his own people because they believe if he did, it will be good for the nation; move to Syria, then tell me this would be a good thing. Picture half a nation that actually hopes their President is guilty of treason. Fathom a nation where the other half of citizens disdain a rich man for using his riches to help other people. What he does is not important; if he is rich he is evil. It is a bad thing for a man to give to charity. Sadly, this is the nation Fox News and MSNBC are trying to create.

–Matt Young

5 November, 2012

Patriotslog Apology

Recently, following the Congressional hearings on the attack on the Benghazi consulate in which Ambassador Stevens was killed, Patriotslog wrote an article about the hearings in which we stated that it appeared the White House and the Executive branch were either incompetent, or orchestrating a cover-up. While incompetence is always up for debate with any elected official, in this situation, Patriotslog was wrong. Now it is time to eat our crow.

It has become apparent that there was no cover-up orchestrated. The failures from the administration to indicate that this was a terrorist attack appear to stem from intelligence failures, and not from any fault of the administration. The President took two weeks to indicate that this was a terrorist attack, but it is now apparent that, while slow, the delay was not entirely his fault.

Side note–I know the President said he called this an act of terror in the Rose Garden the day after it happened. Patriotslog has listened to that speech multiple times, and it seems that the President was referring to acts of terror in general, and did not indicate that this was a planned, intentional attack that did not stem from a protest over a video. That took the President two weeks.

Regardless, Patriotslog’s primary criticism was that the administration continued to assert that the attack was in response to the YouTube video that insulted the Prophet Muhammad. We now know that during the Sunday talk shows, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was making her statements almost directly from a CIA Intelligence report. The failure, then, is not with the administration, but with the intelligence agency. It is not clear if it took a full two weeks for the CIA to give the President information that this was indeed a terrorist attack; because of this we need to know whether or not the President immediately told us it was a terrorist attack after receiving this information. But because it appears that the information we were given came from an intelligence report, we cannot fault the administration, assuming they gave us the information they had as they received it.

Now, conservatives and conspiracy theorists will highlight that this was obviously not from a protest and there was someone in the CIA covering for the President by giving him that report. To this I respond that George Bush blew up the twin towers. If you can find evidence that the CIA did this, Patriotslog will be happy to write an article and highlight this scandal and we will hold the President accountable for it. Until then, when one considers the evidence (without a bias) there is no more reason to assume this has happened than there was to assume George Bush blew up the Twin Towers.

                The CIA has also released a detailed timeline of the events which is reportedly backed up by video evidence. Since Jason Chaffetz and Darrell Issa, two of the most unrelenting anti-Obama Congressmen, have not refuted the time line, Patriotslog feels it is a safe assumption to say the timeline is accurate. Moreover, it is corroborated by the emails released by Reuters and eye witness testimony. There was immediate action taken. As soon as the CIA annex was alerted they began to organize a response team. After 24 minutes when they had organized the counterstrike, and it was clear they could not get support from the Libyan militias, they left and cleared the compound. Unfortunately, by then Ambassador Stevens was missing. Three other response teams were sent as well; one from Tripoli which arrived shortly after the attack ended; one from Sicily, and one from Fort Bragg.

The drone that witch hunters Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Fox propaganda have said the President watched the entire attack on, implying that he knew about the attack and did nothing, did not actually arrive until a few minutes before the attack ended. Nobody was told to “stand down”; they may have been told to wait for the task force to organize, but not to “stand down” and leave those at the consulate to die as Fox Propaganda has suggested. The AC-130 gun ship that was reportedly in the air over the CIA annex during the 11 minute attack in which a few mortars were dropped was in fact nowhere near the annex. Every step along the way it appears the right decisions were made, and the outcome was not a conspiracy, but a tragedy.

Moreover, the criticism on the administration over the refusal to provide additional security may not be very well founded either. There was clearly enough security at the annex a mile away to fight off the terror attack. Furthermore, the Ambassador was not based in Benghazi, but in Tripoli, where there was certainly adequate security, evidenced by the response team that was immediately sent. Benghazi was a consulate, not an embassy. It was a place Ambassador Stevens would spend only limited time, then return to Tripoli. It is understandable for the state department to feel there was no need for heightened security at a place that was only visited, not inhabited by the Ambassador. A better question is why the Ambassador did not bring a security detail with him from Tripoli?

We do need an investigation into the intelligence failures, as well as the report that an outpost of the CIA did confirm within 24 hours that this was a terrorist attack, not in response to the video. We also know that a phone call was intercepted that would have helped determine the nature of the attack, but apparently this was not known to the CIA. We need the President (both to help clarify his innocence, and to give the American people the truth) to order an investigation into why these intelligence agencies did not communicate with each other. If one intelligence agency concluded it was a terrorist attack, all intelligence agencies should have been aware of this IMMEDIATELY. The fact that this apparently did not happen is very concerning to Patriotslog. It is certainly possible that the intelligence was shared, but was deemed by other intelligence agencies to not be credible evidence. In light of what we now know, that evidence clearly was credible; so the question still needs answered: why was credible intelligence ignored?

There is still so much we do not know about the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, and we need to know the truth; there were clear failures, but they were intelligence failures, not failures from the administration; we now know the administration was swift in their response. We also need to know what the President knew, and when if he told the nation what he knew as soon as he knew it. But with the evidence we now have, it is clear that Patriotslog owes the administration an apology. It is relieving to learn that the administration is not pulling the wool over our eyes. I hope new evidence does not prove our initial impression to be correct.

–Matt Young

3 November, 2012

Politics in the Office

                Its election season, and everyone has become an expert on public policy. It seems everyone knows exactly what will happen if either candidate wins, and this or that is why each person should vote for someone or the other. The thing is, with 330 million political experts, everyone wants you to listen to their point of view. It is unavoidable that political discussion will spill over into the office, and with the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, your company may actually have endorsed or given public support to a particular candidate. Unfortunately, they did not consult you–the political expert–before supporting this candidate. Read the rest of this entry

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