Tag Archives: NDAA

Grading Obama

There’s a tendency in this country to speak of ex-presidents with the same generosity one would use to speak of the recently departed. A “funeral parlance” (if you’ll forgive the awful pun) that leads folks to look on the old administration with rose-tinted glasses. Considering the replacement, that’s going to be doubly true this year.

Not at Culture War Reporters, though.

Here’s our final grade for Obama,

Note: The issues selected here are based upon the principles we here at CWR seem to touch on most frequently. We hope to make this a regular tradition, provided the United States still exists in four years and that this writer will not have been imprisoned or sent to work on a lunar penal colony.

Economic Equality:

Advocates of the president will be swift to point out that the unemployment rate at the beginning of the president’s term was in the double digits, and has since fallen to about 4.9% after years of slow but steady recovery. And there absolutely should be credit where it’s due- the Obama administration has seen the recovery of the economy. Can I whine about it not being enough though? You bet I can.

While many Americans are finally back to work, the positions they find themselves in are often low-paying with little to no security. While that’s not entirely the president’s fault, the president himself has been agonizingly slow (and bafflingly conservative) in advocating a raise for the minimum wage. While the extremely wealthy are paying slightly more in taxes, taxes have also risen for folks making less than $250,000 a year (which is the overwhelming ****ing majority of us) with the majority of the president’s proposed reforms having ended in defeat. All in all the extremely rich continue to enjoy unrivalled luxury and unchallenged control of US politics and wealth.

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Final Grade: D+

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Shame Day: Political Ignorance

Do you know what the origin of the word “idiot” is?

It comes from the ancient Greek for someone who is totally self-centered; someone without any interest in public affairs. To the inventors of democracy, “idiocy” was the opposite of “citizenship.”

Readers, we are surrounded by idiots.

When I was putting together yesterday’s post, the pictures I used inevitably had a host of comments sighing “It’s Washington, what do you expect?”, “Politicians have always been dirtbags,” and “This is why I don’t vote.”

The issues change, but the reactions remain the same. People throw up their hands and start spewing folksy, thought-cancelling truisms about how politics is inherently corrupt, or how it’s always been this way and always will be, or how it doesn’t matter who you vote for. Continue reading

Destroy CISPA

The vast majority of my generation was probably too young to remember the Patriot Act even being signed into existence. Hailed as a necessary evil in the so-called “war on terror,” this piece of legislation made sweeping attacks on the privacy of the people it was supposedly meant to protect. Rather than repeal the Orwellian hallmarks of the Bush administration, Obama expanded them.

Every time some new attack on our privacy is proposed, I find myself hoping that this, this, will be the line.

So far I’ve been hoping in vain. Continue reading

I Want My M16

Today, we’re going to be talking about guns.

Well, I am going to be talking about guns. I can’t speak to Evan’s convictions on the subject, other than that he favors the needler in Halo. I further understand that the word “Reporters” in our blog’s title may make my post seem like it is using journalism as a facade for promoting personal social and political views à la Fox News.

Your source for interchangeable blonde news anchors since 1996.

Despite this, the simple truth of the matter is that here at CWR, we do hold fairly strong views and don’t shy away from laying them out, be it calling out lousy comic book “artists” to demanding greater coverage of violence by the media. Granted, we have Fame/Shame Day here at CWR to more directly bash what we believe to be wrong with society and laud what we think is being done right, but the purpose of this post really isn’t either of those things. This is simply my own take on a current debate, submitted for your consideration.

Let’s get right to it.

I like guns.

And no, not in the obsessive way where I can tell you how many rounds a Beretta Px4 can hold, or why it’s important that the bullets from one hunting rifle travel marginally faster than those of another. I’ve never hunted anything bigger than a cockroach (which isn’t to say those weren’t some big roaches). I’ve never posted a photo of me and my gun on Facebook.

I don’t even own a gun.

So why do I like them? Why, in the face of all the recent atrocities committed with guns, would I voice any support for the alleged right to own a killing device?

I could spout all the old rhetoric and slogans of the gun-nuts.

If we take away guns, only bad guys will have them!”
Guns won this country’s independence!
“My right to  own a gun protects your right to complain about them!”

In addition to just being used-to-death, the simple truth of the matter is that all of those supposedly “tried-and-true” arguments have some holes in them.  There are countries out there with gun control laws more stringent than the US whose gun-related crimes are nevertheless low. Guns did help win this nation’s freedom, but so did the cannon and the battleship, neither of which could be found hanging above the average colonist’s mantle. And if we’re looking to face the facts, the same guns that supposedly protect my freedom could likewise take it away. Let the facts be faced, the gun owners of this nation are not some courageous bastion standing between me and an intrusive, all-powerful government.

So why support guns?

Because I like having a fighting chance.

Too often these debates get painted as black and white. Both sides point at each other and howl that a victory for their opponents would be on par with the rise of Cthulu.

I, for one, welcome our elder-god overlord…

Take it from any Black/Hispanic/Native American/Jewish/Etc. person living in the 1950s- access to firearms is not a guarantee of freedom, justice, and equality. And take it from someone who actually lived in a brutal dictatorship- a society without guns in no ways guarantees safety and security for you or those you care for. A gun is just a gun. It is not a magical freedom stick forged in angel tears and presented to you by the almighty. It is not an infernal, malicious, conscious beast that turns otherwise good people into psychopaths.

You’re thinking of board games

It is just a machine.

Cars kill people. Cars save people. Speaking for myself, I’d prefer to live in a world with cars. Dogs kill people. Dogs save people. I’d rather in a world with dogs. Hammers make good chairs. Hammers make lousy chairs, and I don’t care that it’s been years since I last used a hammer. For good or ill, I’d like to know that if I wanted to, I could walk into the garage and use one.

Same goes for guns.

They aren’t always safe. They aren’t always good. They don’t always protect me, but I nevertheless like to know that I can try to use them to do that.

It’s just something to consider.

This isn’t meant to offer all or even some of the answers- it’s just an alternate take on the situation I think wouldn’t kill us to discuss.

Think about it.