Guns Need to Go

American culture has a disgusting and harmful love affair with guns, and once again the news is flooded with reports of not one, but two shootings less than a day apart from each other.  One took the life of a young girl just beginning an amazing career in music, the other took the lives of 50 innocent people on their own paths, injuring over 50 more.  

Of course we have the usual; outpourings of support from various places, calls for prayer, etc… Which are all well and good, but it’s sad that we even have a usual when it comes to shootings.  What sickens me though (besides the shootings themselves of course) are government officials who have voted time and time again, against common-sense gun regulations who still chime in with their “condolences” and calls for a “moment of silence”, as if they care even a bit.  As others have stated, the blood of the victims is on their hands, just as much as those of the men that held the guns.  

A Huffington Post article written by Nicole Silverberg calls for those tired of gun violence to petition their Congressmen and women to fight for tougher gun regulations, but I disagree.  My views line up more with another Huffington Post article written by Anjali Sareen.  Guns need to go!  Of course whenever anyone says something like that, you get the typical arguments from people who would rather cling to their weapons than see an end to large numbers of innocent people being slaughtered in cold blood in an instant.  Arguments such as:

  • Guns don’t kill people! People kill people!: Which of course is just a load of crap, plain and simple.  A gun’s sole purpose is to kill things.  Sure, some are used for hunting, but handguns and assault rifles are designed specifically to kill people in the most quick and efficient way possible, and as we’ve seen too many times to count, they are serving that purpose perfectly.  Studies confirm that states with higher levels of gun ownership have higher rates of gun homicides (go figure!)   

Besides that, Conservatives who cling to their guns like security blankets, frequently argue for bans on other things that don’t actually harm people; such as gay marriage or transgender people using the public restroom of the gender they identify with.  Because those things will supposedly harm our society, right? (In case you can’t tell, I’m totally rolling my eyes right now.)   

Here’s a note to Conservative gun apologists: When you ignore the actual threat that easy access to guns poses to American lives, you lose the right to comment about the imaginary threat that LGBT people will never actually pose.  No one believes for a second that you actually give a damn about the “safety of our society.”

  • But we need guns to protect our homes!:  Really? Does having a gun in your home really make your home safer?  The answer? Not according to study, after study, after study.  In reality, those studies find that gun ownership leads to an increase in gun homicide, with no decrease in homicides committed by other weapons.  Gun ownership also leads to a marked increase in successful suicides.  Not to mention the fact that you’re more likely to accidentally shoot yourself or a loved one than you are to shoot an intruder.

But what if someone actually does break into my home!? You might ask… But even should such a rare event actually occur, it’s unlikely you’ll even use the gun.  According to an LA Times article:

More than 42% of the time, the victim took some action — maced the offender, yelled at the offender, struggled, ran away, or called the police. Victims used a gun in less than 1% of the incidents (127/14,145). In other words, actual self-defense gun use, even in our gun-rich country, is rare.”  

If a robbery or home invasion actually did occur, it’s extremely unlikely that you’d use a gun to stop the intruder, even if you have one in your home.

So let me reiterate… The “It’ll keep my home safe” argument has been effectively debunked multiple times.  In fact, according to the same LA Times article:

“Almost two-thirds of the people in the U.S. population live in homes without guns, and there is no evidence that the inhabitants of these homes are at greater risk of being robbed, injured or killed by criminals compared with citizens in homes with guns. Instead, the evidence is overwhelming that a gun in the home increases the likelihood not only that a household member will be shot accidentally, but also that someone in the home will die in a suicide or homicide.”  

  • Criminals won’t follow gun laws!: Of course they won’t! Breaking laws is what makes a criminal a criminal.  But then again… It’s not your typical criminal marching into a movie theater, a school, or a nightclub to open fire on countless innocent people.  

James Holmes, the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, had no known criminal record.   He bought his guns legally because they were affordable, and easily available for purchase.  He had them delivered to his home!

Syid Rizwan Farook, murderer of 14 innocent people in California, bought his guns legally.

Christopher Harper-Mercer, murderer of 9 innocent people in Oregon, bought his guns legally.  

Vest Lee-Flanagan, murderer of 2 innocent people in Virginia, purchased his guns legally.  

Dylan Roof, murderer of 9 innocent people in South Carolina, purchased his guns legally.  

Jaylen Ray Fryberg, murderer of 4 innocent people in Washington, used his father’s legally purchased gun.  

Adam Lanza, murder of 26 innocent people (a majority of them children) in Connecticut, used his mother’s arsenal of legally purchased guns.  

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murderers of 15 innocent people in Colorado, easily and affordably purchased their weapons from Mark Manes who obtained them legally.  

Time and time again we see these mass shootings on the news, and in a majority of them, the weapons were obtained easily, affordably, and legally by people with no prior criminal record.  Would these murderers have been able to purchase them on the blackmarket if guns were banned? Possibly… Possibly not… But as I’ve said; in nearly all instances, the weapons used were purchased easily, affordably, and legally.

If guns were banned and the murderers were forced to purchase them illegally on the blackmarket, at the very least they would have been much harder to obtain and they would be much more expensive; possibly even too expensive for the murderers to purchase.  (Source: New York Times: “How They Got Their Guns”)

  •  But the 2nd Amendment guarantees my right to own a gun!:  Does it though?  There are a few arguments against this.  Here is the actual text of the 2nd amendment:

    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.”

On the surface, it seems like it’s stating that Americans have the right to have guns, which it does… Sort of…  But what gun apologists ignore is the “well regulated Militia” part.  I’ll ignore the “militia” part and focus just on the phrase “well regulated.”  Inevitably, whenever you hear a gun-nut quoting the 2nd amendment they will almost always leave out the part that says “A well Regulated Militiaand jump right to the “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  Because it fits their agenda.  In reality yes, Americans are guaranteed the right to own guns, but… And this is a big one…  According to the actual amendment it is well within the boundaries of the government’s authority to regulate the hell out of them.

Based on the reading of the amendment itself (and not on some Conservatives selective interpretation of it) they could even say “sure, you can own a gun, but it can only hold one bullet, it can’t be more powerful than a pellet gun, and it has to be stored in a government facility and fitted with a tracking device.”  After all, it says you “have the right to bear arms”  but it doesn’t say that you have “the right to bear any and all the arms you want, with no limits and no regulations.”  Which is what gun apologists have turned it into.  No matter how much those apologists dislike it, REGULATION is just as much a part of the amendment as gun ownership itself.   

Occasionally you get those super gun-nuts who use the “necessary to the security of a free state” part and claim that they have to have guns in case the government tries to set up a dictatorship or something… But come on! The government has access to drones that can shoot a missile from hundreds of feet in the air, with no need to get anywhere near you, much less in range of your gun.  They have armored tanks, nuclear bombs, trained snipers.  I find it hard to believe that anyone is really dumb enough to think that their guns will be able to stop the government if they actually wanted to take over.  If they do, they’re probably not mentally fit enough to have a gun anyway.  Plus, I have to believe that our military men and women… men and women who just so happen to be our friends and family… would never agree to carry out such actions against the people they enlisted to protect (or in other words, their loved ones.)

Besides all of that… The constitution is meant to be a living document that changes with the times.  That’s why the founding fathers wrote in a process to amend it.  The 18th amendment, passed in 1920, banned alcohol.  Then, just 13 years later in 1933, the 21st amendment repealed that ban.  That’s the glory of the process that was established, and yes, even the 2nd amendment can be repealed.  

I’m not delusional enough to think that a constitutional amendment to repeal the 2nd amendment would ever pass, but it’s far passed the time to put in place bans on assault rifles, weapons that are capable of holding / firing large amounts of ammunition, and also weapons that are quickly and easily reloaded.  There are no valid reasons why a civilian needs those types of weapons… Not one… They aren’t used for sport or for hunting and they don’t protect people’s homes… They’re primary purpose is killing people. Period.

There are also no valid reasons, not even the 2nd amendment nonsense thrown around by gun-nuts, that bans such as those I’ve mentioned can’t be put in place.  

So what can I do?:  Whether you agree with Anjali Sareen and myself and believe guns should be banned, or if you agree with Nicole Silverberg and think regulations need to be more strict; if you care and you’re tired of mass shootings, you have to contact your Representatives and tell them how you feel.  Both Sareen and Silverberg provide good sources for finding your representatives, finding out their views on the issues, and also ways to contact them:

Find out who represents your state and how to contact them here:

http://www.contactingthecongress.org/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi

Find out your representatives views on the issues here:

http://www.ontheissues.org/default.htm

If you’re not tired of seeing these horrors and you make pathetic excuses about gun ownership, then you’re heartless and I have no patience for you.

No more Orlandos…  No more San Bernardinos…  No more Auroras…  No more Newtowns…  No more…

Guns need to go!

Enough is Enough!
James Garcia: June 13, 2016

Still Proud

To those people that would carry / have carried out violence against the LGBT community I have this to say:

Chances are good that if your religion teaches you to hate other people, so much that you’d murder them in cold blood, simply because they’re a little different than you, then the problem is with your religion, not the other people.  

If your “god” tells you to hate people simply because they love a little differently than you, then you don’t worship a god at all, you worship a monster.  No all-intelligent being, supposedly capable of creating the universe we live in, would ever sanction the kind of atrocity that happened in Orlando today.   

Your actions, and the actions of those like you, only make me more proud of who I am. They make me more proud to be a part of the LGBT community. You see, the LGBT community, in spite of petty government employees refusing them marriage licenses, in spite of hateful business owners refusing to sell them cakes, in spite of discriminatory “religious freedom” bills, in spite of ridiculous bathroom laws that seek to dehumanize them, and yes, even in spite of all the physical violence that has been carried out against them, they keep on fighting.  Why?  Because the LGBT community is built up of people from all different races, religions, cultures, and backgrounds. It’s built up of people that are brave, caring, and accepting; while you and those like you, are nothing more than sick, pathetic, cowards.  You’ll never win.  In fact… You’ve already lost.
#StillProud #Pride2016 #Orlando

 

James Garcia:  June 12, 2016

Disenfranchised… Disenchanted… Disgusted…

Angry… Upset… Saddened… Fearful about our country’s future…  Absolutely disgusted…

These are just a few ways to describe how I’m feeling after the remaining primary elections.   Bernie Sanders fought a great fight, he packed arenas around the nation, he mobilized young and Independent voters like no one before… But let’s get real here. The Democratic nominee was decided long before the Primary even began.  The Democratic establishment had Hillary Clinton crowned since President Obama was chosen the last time and they’ve been running this faux-election that way ever since.  It didn’t matter who ran against her… it could have been Elizabeth Warren… and it didn’t matter how many Independents or how many votes her opponent won; Hillary was going to be the nominee no matter what.

Under that premise, Hillary and the DNC that she bought, played the game in the most underhanded way possible to ensure there wouldn’t be another “upset” like there was in 2008.  They’ve used voter fraud, they’ve disrespected and disenfranchised Independent voters, they’ve used ad-hominem attacks like calling Bernie supporters sexist and misogynistic for not supporting her and spinning false claims of violence, they’ve used an unscrupulous, easily bought media to slander and downplay Bernie’s movement while praising Hillary and downplaying her corruption every chance they got, and they’ve continuously added Superdelegates to the counts all along (even though they don’t vote until the end of July) to make it seem like any real challenger didn’t stand a chance.  The reality though, is that after the first week or so of the contest, everyone expected it from Hillary and the DNC.  As we seen with her contest against Obama, she fights dirty, morality be damned, and everyone knew it.  Do I like it? Of course not…

Since the Supreme Court ruled on the disastrous Citizens United case, Democrats have railed against it, and rightfully so. Yet the second it benefited their establishment candidate Wall Street and Super Pac money was perfectly fine, even though they had a truly Progressive candidate promising to fight the fight they’ve claimed to want.  

Democrats have stated they want to break up the “Big Banks” since they crashed our economy, yet they ignore the fact that their chosen candidate has taken millions in “donations” from those banks for private speeches, pretending that there is no conflict of interest, pretending like it won’t affect her decision making process.  All the while a candidate promising to get money out of politics, like Democrats claimed to want, was ignored and insulted by them.

Universal Health Care has been a token Progressive wish for almost as long as the Progressive party has existed, but because their candidate doesn’t want to fight for it suddenly it’s a “pie in the sky” dream that’s “not possible”, even though a perfectly good Progressive candidate has been saying he’d fight for it with everything he’s got.

Free / affordable college tuition? Raising the minimum wage to $15?  Strengthening Labor Unions? Expanding Social Security? Ending the use of fracking (which Hillary doesn’t seem to have any issue with)? The list goes on and on… All of these things are foundational Progressive causes that Hillary and the DNC are now claiming aren’t big deals or are impossible to achieve (they wouldn’t want to make their donors angry after all!)

So to me, the Democratic party has proven, without a doubt, that they are an establishment party just as much as the Republicans and that they will go where “Big Money” tells them to go.  To Hell with struggling poor and middle class Americans.  I don’t like it, but as I said, it’s expected.  The thing that really makes me sick though, is that we had a truly Progressive candidate in the running, and supposed “Progressives” picked the Neo-Liberal, nearly Republican candidate as their nominee, all with a smug, self-centered, arrogant attitude (for the most part… There are exceptions of course).  If anything, the Democrats have shown me that they are nothing more than sham-Progressives with claimed values that are all a lie.  They had a chance to really push Progressive values forward with this Primary and instead they turned a blind eye and did what they were told to do by the Oligarchy.   They bought the lie that their candidate cares about Progressive causes and turned their backs on a real Progressive who has been fighting for Progressive causes his entire career, not just when it became politically expedient to do so.    

So what will I do now?  

First off, I’m changing my party affiliation to either Independent or No-Party-Preference.  Going forward, after this year’s presidential election, I will no longer support a party who only claims to be Progressive.  I will try and get involved in as many Progressive causes as I can feasibly get involved in, and I will vote for truly Progressive candidates regardless of party affiliation, and I urge all true Progressives who are pissed off with this Primary election to do the same.   

Secondly, for this election, which has so much on the line, I will most likely bite the horrible bullet and vote for Hillary in the general (supposing Bernie doesn’t run as an Independent…), regardless of how sick to my stomach it makes me.  Some will say I’m just solidifying the establishment stranglehold on our democracy by voting for Hillary and ask why I would vote for her if I feel the way that I do, and the answer is simply “Supreme Court Nominees.”  In my view, the next four to eight years (hopefully only four) will be a disaster either way… We will most likely be stuck in more long, drawn out wars regardless of whether Trump or Hillary wins, because they are both unapologetic warhawks (although there is a big chance Trump just puts on a show for his voter base… Here’s hoping…)  But at the very least, with Hillary, we won’t lose any Progressive gains that have been made.  In all probability, with a Hillary presidency, things will likely just stay the same.  She is establishment by the very definition after all.  She doesn’t want things to change.  LGBT rights won’t be rolled back, environmental protections won’t be dismantled (except for the fracking issue of course…) we won’t see millions of Latino families broken apart, she might even fight to close the gender pay gap,  and she most likely won’t nominate Conservatives to the Supreme Court (of course we might get moderates like Merrick Garland, which is still far better than any truly Conservative nominees…)  That is the most important thing in my view.

Progressive Supreme Court nominees are the only silver lining I can see to a Hillary Presidency, but I honestly hope I’m wrong.  As for a Trump presidency, there are absolutely no positives. Not even one.  

So it once again boils down to voting for the “lesser of two evils.”  It comes down to considering which candidate will turn my stomach the least, and in all honesty, I can never… Ever… See myself voting for a blatantly homophobic, misogynistic, greedy, racist, fraud.  At least Hillary will pretend to be Progressive. Heck, maybe we’ll even get lucky and some minor Progressive gains will be made.  At this point all I can hope for is that we won’t lose any ground with Hillary Clinton, and that if we do, America will finally wake up and realize that establishment candidates like Hillary Clinton don’t care about the American people; that they are in it for their own power, their own wealth, and nothing more.

Here’s hoping this nomination is just the dying gasp of the establishment and that the Political Revolution Bernie Sanders started will just be the beginning of a real Progressive movement that will sweep future elections.  For better or worse, it looks like we’re going to find out.

 
James Garcia 6/8/2016

President Trump: A nightmare for Americans

A great article about how a Trump presidency will impact the economy, not just in the U.S., but worldwide.

Shrey's Notepad: The Quest for Knowledge

Despite outrage from the general populous at the bombastic Donald Trump’s campaign for President, a great number of Republicans continue to support him, and shockingly, he remains the overwhelming favourite for the Republican presidential nomination. This confounding support of Trump can, in truth, be narrowed down to a few key reasons, one of which is a disturbing lack of knowledge regarding actual policy, and a misguided focus on political rhetoric. In my honest opinion, the way to defeat Trump is not to simply slam him for his admittedly asinine stance on immigration, but to deliver a systematic breakdown of his economic policies, and explain how malevolent they would indeed be to the US economy. That is what I seek to achieve in this article; to provide a brief respite from his nauseating rhetoric and to inform the average American what a President Trump could actually mean for their day-to day lives…

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California’s New Minimum Wage and the Fear Based Freak Out (Part 2)

So I wrote a post yesterday regarding the complaints I’ve been seeing about California’s new minimum wage increase.  I’ll admit that that post was largely a knee-jerk, irritation, based write-up, so today I’ll attempt to correct that by calmly addressing some of the more common arguments against raising the minimum wage.  

1) Inflation:  One of the most common arguments I’ve seen against raising the minimum wage is that it will cause rapid inflation.  Let’s ignore the fact that inflation happens regardless of a minimum wage increase, and pretend for now that it doesn’t.  While much higher prices would most certainly happen in an environment where a business is the only provider for a specific product, it ignores the fact that competition will not cease to exist simply because the minimum wage is increased.  Sure, prices may go up, but because competition still exists, they won’t go up so drastically that it will cause serious problems.  To use an example a friend of mine gave, if McDonald’s decides to raise the prices of their hamburgers from $5.00 to $12.00 overnight… Well, guess what?  People will go and buy a Whopper from Burger King instead.  

A more likely scenario than businesses jacking their prices up by exorbitant amounts is that the wage increase will come out of their profits.  And let’s get real here… When McDonald’s is making profits of $1.31 billion (that is billion, not million…)  while at the same time advising their employees to apply for Food Stamps, is that really such a bad thing? Besides that, the average pay for a Costco employee is $21 an hour and their prices aren’t substantially higher than Wal-Mart’s, who pays minimum wage.  It seems logical to assume that if raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will cause rapid inflation, then surely Costco’s already high wages would show the same effect on their prices, right?  Strangely, however, Costco only marks up their prices by 15% while other retailers typically mark them up by 25%.  So not only does Costco pay their employees more, they also have lower prices.  Funny how that works isn’t it?

As with my last post, I would argue that increasing the minimum wage would increase the spending power of the general public.  Increasing the spending power of the general public would lead to increased business.  Increased business would lead to lower prices, not higher prices.  While there may be an initial system shock of slightly higher prices (if the wage were increased to $15 overnight), in time, the increase in the spending power of the general public would only help the economy and businesses at large, not harm them.  

(Thank you Jesse Marlin for bringing the competition point to my attention.)

2) Unemployment: The next most common argument is that unemployment will lead to mass layoffs and high unemployment rates.  But again… This doesn’t hold up to the historical or current effects of minimum wage increases here, or in other states.  In fact, the Economic Policy Institute had the following to say on this subject:

In recent years there have been important developments in the academic literature on the effect of increases in the minimum wage on employment, with the weight of evidence now showing that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market. Research suggests that a minimum-wage increase could have a small stimulative effect on the economy as low-wage workers spend their additional earnings, raising demand and job growth, and providing some help on the jobs front.”  

In addition, as I pointed out in part 1, Seattle recently raised their minimum wage and they haven’t seen an increase in unemployment as the naysayers predict.  In fact, they’ve seen the exact opposite effect.

3) Automation:  One of the more strange arguments I’ve been seeing is that increasing the minimum wage will cause employers to replace their human employees with machines.  An idea that seems to be perpetuated by the following meme (and many like it):

15-minimum-wage-replacement

What these memes seem to ignore is the fact that these machines already exist and businesses like McDonald’s began using them before any increase in the minimum wage occurred.  The invention of automated kiosks had nothing to do with the minimum wage.  It’s just the nature of technology.  If humans can, they will come up with ways to make life easier, and that includes inventing machines that can accomplish menial tasks for us.  Kiosks like this have existed for years now in a variety of different businesses.  At movie theaters and airports they have automated ticket kiosks, at grocery stores and department stores they have self-checkout lines.  At my own job, the airlines are more and more often using a system called CPDLC which allows them to send messages to air traffic control via text, without the involvement of a radio operator like myself.  Heck, the planes even have autopilot.  In spite of automation, what do all of these businesses have in common?  They still have human employees selling tickets, taking your money at the checkout line, radio operators that take information from flights and deliver it to air traffic control, and human pilots that fly the planes. 

Why is that?  If a machine can do the job just as well, why have humans there also?  There are a couple of different answers that I can think of… The first, and I feel, the most important… Humans like interacting with other human beings more than they do machines, especially when they’re out in the world.  Secondly, machines break down! Who will take peoples orders if all of the employees have been replaced by  machines that have broken down?  I know from experience, machines aren’t always reliable, even with multiple redundancies in place.  Even if, some day in the distant future, all minimum wage workers are replaced by machines, you will still need human beings to service those machines when they have problems (and they will have problems).  

In summary, my point is that all of the fear-based talking points that come from the right, while not without any merit, are just that… Fear-based.  It’s reasonable to have uncertainties, but these fears do not stand up to history, research, or consensus from economists, so we cannot allow them to direct policy.  Especially when it comes to the livelihood of the American people.  In reality, these same talking points have been used nearly every single time the minimum wage has increased (including when it was first instituted).  I would even go so far as to argue that these predictions are nothing more than attempts by greedy corporatists who don’t want their profit margins to decrease because of mandatory wage increases for employees that they have taken advantage of for far too long.  The American economy has bolstered corporate profits for long enough.  It’s time for the economy to once again start working for the American people, and raising the minimum wage is a great place to start.  

James Garcia – April 7, 2016

California’s New Minimum Wage and the Fear Based Freak Out

Ugh… I am so sick to death of hearing people complain about California raising the minimum wage… Sick… To… DEATH!!! Anyway… This latest post (that I am going to pick apart presently) is the straw that broke the camel’s back… And it sums up all of the fear-based, right-wing talking points all in one ignorant post.

“The sound of $15/hr sounds great at first, but let’s think a little more into this.”  

Oh please wise economic genius… Wow us with your astounding thought processes!

Argument: “If a company has to pay each employee $15/hr. the costs for their product rises. Of course the cost is put on the consumer. Duh.”  

Sure, this might be true, but let’s think on it just a little further.  First off, let’s consider something:

Question: What makes a business successful?

Answer: Aside from a good marketing plan, good management techniques, and hard working employees, the answer is a large customer base that is willing to spend money on the products the business offers.  This is what is called “demand.”

Argument: “Say good bye [sic] to small, family run businesses, large corporate businesses that will soon be moving out of state, and your local restaurants and farms.”

Again… This might be true, but let’s go a little further with our thinking and leave emotional, fear-based predictions behind.

Question: What happens if that business does not have a large enough customer base to support it?

Answer:  There are a few things that can happen.  They raise prices to counter the lack of demand.  They cut costs by cutting corners on their products (which isn’t necessarily honest, but who are we kidding? We know they do this!) They could also lay off employees, downsize, etc… However, if the demand they have available isn’t enough to cover their basic cost of business, they eventually close their doors.

Question: So what happens when a large portion of society barely has enough money to cover basic necessities like food, clothing, rent, insurance, etc?

Answer:  Well for starters they don’t spend money at small mom and pop businesses that typically charge more (considering they don’t have the vast resources available to them like companies like Wal-Mart do) that’s for damned sure!  So where do they go instead? They turn to large corporations like Wal-Mart, who can afford to completely undercut any mom and pop business, where they can buy cheap groceries in bulk.  So the argument that “mom and pop businesses will close down because the minimum wage will increase” is just flat out ridiculous.  Mom and Pop businesses are closing now because the middle class is quickly being absorbed into the poor class because they more and more often don’t have money to spend!

Also, if you honestly think that every business is suddenly going to pick up and move out of state, abandoning a large customer base like California (that will now have a lot more money to spend I might add…) then you are even more naive than I originally thought (and I thought you were pretty naive to begin with…)

Argument: “If large chain stores stay in this state, they are forced to choose one of two things. Raise prices considerably or cut jobs. WAIT?! What loose [sic] jobs, yes, jobs will be cut because people can’t afford to pay them.”  

Wrong… What they will do is possibly raise their prices, once again passing the buck on to consumers so they can continue to make billions of dollars in profits.  Eventually, when that consumer base has more money to spend, and their customer base grows, prices will return to a level that meets the demand.  That is how economics works.  It’s called “supply and demand.”  You should probably look it up.

Also, companies like Costco have been paying higher wages for years, and they are doing quite well.  In fact, Costco pays significantly more than Wal-Mart but for some strange reason (that’s really not so strange at all…)  They make more money than Wal-Mart does! But how can this possibly be true!?

Answer: Happy employees = higher productivity + better customer service = happy customers who will then be more likely to return and patronize the business again! What a surprise!

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/03/12/costco-vs-wal-mart-higher-wages-mean-superior-retu.aspx

Argument: “Who pays for unemployment? You can guess my answer to that.”

And? We’re paying to subsidize Wal-Mart and McDonald’s profits now by allowing them to pay their employees less than a living wage, which in turn requires their employees to collect Welfare and food stamps.  Is that what you want? McDonald’s even encouraged their employees to apply for Welfare because they know they aren’t paying their employees enough to live on! What you’re essentially arguing for, is for the government to use our tax dollars to subsidize the profits of large corporations, all so they can pay their employees garbage wages! How ridiculous is that??? As I’ve said before in other posts, I would much rather have our tax dollars go to things like education, infrastructure, and universal health care, instead of going to subsidize greedy corporations so they can continue to pay their employees shit!

http://www.businessinsider.com/mcdonalds-mcresources-hotline-tells-nancy-salgado-to-get-on-food-stamps-2013-10

“For all of you that think this minimum wage increase is another “fantastic” thing that Jerry Brown has done for us, please unfriend me.”  

Oh trust me, if you were on my friends list, I would have unfriended you a long time ago.  I can’t handle fear-based, ignorant arguments that don’t point to any actual facts or logic.

“You are an idiot and I honestly can’t handle it anymore.”  

Perhaps before you question the intelligence of others, you should make sure your rants use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.  I can’t imagine how you’d expect anyone to take advice from you on a complex subject like economics when you can barely get through a few paragraphs without a slew of spelling errors.

“People really need to start thinking about the larger picture.” 

You’re right.  You should probably try looking past your fear-based initial reaction and actually research a topic before you open your fat mouth.

“I am so not sorry for this rant. This is real life, and people need to start getting real.”  

And I am so not sorry for soundly destroying your ridiculous rant for the nonsense that it is.  You’re right, this is real life, and in this day and age, no one working 40 hours a week (sometimes even more than that) should have to go on Welfare or collect Food stamps because they don’t have enough money for basic necessities, all while companies like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s make millions of dollars in profits.

“We all need to think long and hard with this upcoming election, this nation needs to start electing people that can see the larger pictures.” 

If you mean people that will continue to line the pockets of the already rich, then I gladly have to say I disagree.  We need to elect government officials that will look out for the vast majority of the American people who have been sadly neglected for far too long.  People like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

“We are headed down a dark road, and I for one am scared to death of our future.”

With uninformed people like you voting based on their fear instead of facts?  I have to say, I agree completely.  I just hope those that bother to actually look into issues outnumber those like you.

Finally, the fact of the matter is, there are other places that have already raised their minimum wages.  Seattle is one that comes to mind, and they aren’t experiencing the effects on the economy that you are so scared of.  Businesses aren’t fleeing the city or closing down in record numbers, there hasn’t been a plague of mass layoffs.  None of what you’re claiming will happen here has happened there.  Why? Can you answer that?

Besides all of that, the minimum wage will not reach $15 an hour for 6 years.  If a business can’t properly prepare for the adjustment in that amount of time, then they need to find a new accountant!

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-no-the-minimum-wage-isnt-20150316-column.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/10/1/1425663/-Seattle-Raises-its-Minimum-Wage-Jobless-Rate-Drops-Fox-Scrambles-for-a-Ladder-to-Pick-Cherries

For those that are interested, here is the entire Facebook post that I responded to in its entirety:

“Well California, you sure have done it now. $15/hr. Minimum wage, you sure thought this out. Say good bye to small, family run businesses, large corporate businesses that will soon be moving out of state, and your local restaurants and farms.

I can not believe we actually elect these stupid ass people. The sound of $15/hr sounds great at first, but let’s think a little more into this.

If a company has to pay each employee $15/hr. the costs for their product rises. Of course the cost is put on the consumer. Duh.

Let’s think farther, the property management company is also going to raise their fees, passing on the buck to the tenant. That tenant now has to raise the prices of their products also to the consumer.

How about food? Farmers have several farm labor workers. You all should get excited for things such as strawberries, peaches, or cherries. Hand picked and soon to be unaffordable.

If large chain stores stay in this state, they are forced to choose one of two things. Raise prices considerably or cut jobs. WAIT?! What loose jobs, yes, jobs will be cut because people can’t afford to pay them. Of course no one will say that out loud. Well, y’all should start thinking about this. Bye bye jobs. Hello unemployment.

Who pays for unemployment? You can guess my answer to that.

For all of you that think this minimum wage increase is another “fantastic” thing that Jerry Brown has done for us, please unfriend me. You are an idiot and I honestly can’t handle it anymore. People really need to start thinking about the larger picture.

I am so not sorry for this rant. This is real life, and people need to start getting real. We all need to think long and hard with this upcoming election, this nation needs to start electing people that can see the larger pictures. We are headed down a dark road, and I for one am scared to death of our future.”  

 

 

Remembering Justice Antonin Scalia

scalia_3

With the news of the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, I will admit, I didn’t feel bad in the slightest.  My first emotion was excitement that the Supreme Court would no longer be controlled by a Conservative majority.  A friend of mine even said “I cheered when I heard… Then felt bad for cheering…”  But I, for one, am not sad that he’s gone.  I’m glad that someone who wanted to deny me basic human rights, who wanted to sell our country to whoever would write him the biggest check, who’s misogyny plagued women’s rights since his nomination, and who would be a wrench in the works at any attempt this country would make towards stopping catastrophic climate change, is no longer a member of the highest court in the nation. No… I don’t owe Justice Scalia any respect, or any grief at his passing and here are just a few reminders of what makes me feel this way:

On LGBT People:

Calls LGBT people “immoral and destructive.”: “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”

Homosexuality is like Murder: “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

Compares LGBT people to murderers and animal abusers: “I had thought that one could consider certain conduct reprehensible—murder, for example, or polygamy, or cruelty to animals—and could exhibit even ‘animus’ toward such conduct. Surely that is the only sort of ‘animus’ at issue here: moral disapproval of homosexual conduct, the same sort of moral disapproval that produced the centuries-old criminal laws that we held constitutional in Bowers.”

Compares homosexuals (and minorities in general) to pederasts and child molesters:  “What minorities deserve protection? What about pederasts? What about child abusers?”

On Minorities: 

Claimed African Americans should go to “slower track” schools: “There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas, where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well. One of the briefs pointed out that most of the black scientists in this country don’t come from schools like the University of Texas. They come from lesser schools where they do not feel that they’re being pushed ahead in classes that are too fast for them.”

On Gender Discrimination:

Claimed the Constitution doesn’t prohibit discrimination based on sex: “the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that. If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws.”

Said it’s “intelligent” to treat women differently: “There are some intelligent reasons to treat women differently. I don’t think anybody would deny that.” 

These are just a few of the horrible things Scalia has said.  His decisions on his Supreme Court cases show that he wanted to deny me and my fellow LGBT people basic civil liberties, he believed women should be treated differently,  he believed minorities were less than white people, he frequently spoke in favor of stripping away the separation of church and state,  he was part of the deciding factor in the Citizens United case which threatens to destroy democracy as we know it,  and he stood with those who would keep the U.S. from doing their part in stopping catastrophic climate change.  His beliefs, his policies, and the fact that he sat on the highest court of the land put him in a unique position to harm countless Americans.  So do I owe him any respect?  Should I mourn his loss?  Should I be ashamed that I am happy he is no longer in a position to harm any more lives with his toxic views?  No… I don’t think so.