Are you suffering from irony deficiency, humorrhoids, truth decay, or even irregularhilarity? This site is devoted to the ironic, humorous, twisted, hypocritical, and bizarre side of politics.
If you see something I should post, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
(if you send me questions, I’ll try to answer them here)
Q: Why are you doing this blog?
A: Two main reasons: first, I kept seeing funny or ironic political news articles. I started saving them for myself, so I thought it would not be too much harder to just put them into a blog to share them with others. Second, I was inspired by The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, which had become a primary source of news through humor. It seems like humor is a very good way to both deal with politics and to report on it. I’m not sure why there are not many other blogs like this. I would welcome them (and put them into my Links list).
In addition, most political coverage seems to be partisan, coming from either the far right or the far left. But many Americans at least think of themselves as moderate, so they tire of news that has an axe to grind. Humor is a way to give voice to the passionate middle.
Q: What are your politics?
A: I am a moderate, albeit a fairly progressive one. Like many moderates, I tend to be a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.
Most people who call themselves fiscal conservatives only want to limit the size of government. That doesn’t go far enough. If you are a true fiscal conservative, you want to conserve all money, period. To me, it doesn’t matter if that money is being taken by the government, or by large corporations (like banks or insurance companies). Republicans who want to take money away from governments just to give it to the wealthy are not fiscal conservatives, they are just greedy.
I don’t like ideology or ideologues. Czech dissident and later president Václav Havel wrote “Ideology offers human beings the illusion of dignity and morals while making it easier to part with them.”
I prefer pragmatism, so even though I have much in common with libertarianism, I don’t agree with ideologue libertarians who believe that government should stay out of virtually everything. I think government should do what it does best and what won’t get done by anyone else, and stay out of everything else. Figuring out what are those things that government should do, and how best to do them, is the hard part.
I completely believe in capitalism and I’m pro-business and pro-free markets. But unfortunately those terms have been co-opted and have thus become dirty words, mainly because capitalism as it is practiced by large, multinational companies looks more like fascism than true capitalism. You cannot have a truly free and open market without significant regulation and law, because otherwise you just end up with robber barons. So it is better to say that I’m in favor of small business and free — but fair — markets with simple but strong rules and regulations.
I believe in the constitution. If you don’t like something in the constitution, you have to change it, not try to do an end-run around it. That means I believe in the separation of church and state, the right to own guns (but with regulations and limits), the right to privacy, and freedom of speech.
If I had an overarching political viewpoint, it would be that small is better. Not just small government, but small businesses, small unions, small media, etc. I think that the Internet is one of the best things ever to happen to politics, as it enables the small voice.
Q: What is your position on typical hot political issues?
A: I am strongly in favor of a single-payer health insurance systems; I’ve lived in several countries that have them and have seen the benefits firsthand. Single payer would save tremendous amounts of money, improve the economy, and save lives.
I think people have the right to own guns. But I also think that government should ensure public safety by requiring gun safety training (like they do for driving), required background checks, and other reasonable limits. The Second Amendment ensures the right to keep and bear arms, but that doesn’t mean anyone has a right to own a nuclear weapon.
I am emphatically pro-choice. I do not like abortion, but believe it is absolutely none of the government’s business. It should be between a pregnant person and their doctor.
I am strongly in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry, but I never imagined that it would come about during my lifetime. I think gay people did an absolutely amazing job of normalizing homosexuality, especially getting good role models into movies and TV shows. I believe that other groups that want to give rights to other marginalized groups should follow their lead. You don’t change people’s minds by yelling at them or calling them bigots.
I believe in the separation of church and state. For example, a church has the right to decide if they want to perform marriages for same sex couples (even though I think they should all perform such marriages). But I also believe that giving tax breaks to churches violates the constitution. At the very least, even if you do give tax breaks for church donations and for the church building itself, businesses owned by churches should be fully taxable (unless that specific business qualifies as a nonprofit). Otherwise you are asking taxpayers to subsidize organized religion, which is hardly a separation of church and state.
I think we should end the embargo with Cuba and start to normalize relations with them. Government has no right to tell me not to visit Cuba, or anywhere else. The cold war is over, and Cuba is hardly a threat to anyone.
I think recreational drugs should be decriminalized and taxed, just like we do with alcohol and tobacco. Portugal did that, and it has worked brilliantly.
I think software patents are wrong, and that copyrights should be more limited.
I think giving corporations the rights of people (but none of the responsibilities) was a huge mistake from which we may never recover. The Supreme Court ruling that corporations can spend unlimited amounts on political speech is deeply flawed.
It should be unconstitutional for any level of government to give tax breaks to any specific company. That is legalized corruption.
Q: Are you a Democrat or a Republican?
A: I don’t really care. I vote for people who are honest and whose positions are closest to mine. I’m really not into party politics. Both parties are heavily influenced by corporate interests (currently by necessity, given how our political campaigns are financed). Philosophically, I’m probably closer to being a (traditional) Republican, but I think that current Republicans abandoned their philosophy a long time ago and became the party of greed and corporate interests, so lately I’ve voted for Democratic candidates. I think political parties are inevitable, but I wish the US could have more than just two viable parties.
Q: Are you a Liberal or a Conservative?
A: See the answer to the previous question. Are liberals in favor of gun rights or pro-business? Are conservatives in favor of gay rights and abortion rights?
I was a strong supporter of Obama, not because I thought that he is a liberal, but because he was a moderate. The conservative movement lost me when it kicked out all the moderates.
Q: What is your day job?
A: I work with computers. I have had two computer books published, and I have started or helped found a dozen companies. Enough of them have been successful to give me a bit of free time to spend on writing this blog. I have also worked with two organizations that help start-up companies (I was director of one of them). Yes, I’ve been a CEO, which you may find ironic since I have ranted against some CEOs in this blog (but mainly CEOs of large companies). Obviously, there are good CEOs and bad CEOs. I hope I’m one of the former.
Q: Do you have any pet peeves?
A: Giving companies tax breaks, usually in the name of “creating jobs”. I think giving tax breaks to large companies to locate factories in a particular place is one of the stupidest things that governments do. It doesn’t create jobs, it just shuffles them from one place to another, and it is one of the major reasons our government at all levels is going bankrupt. It destroys the infrastructure that is required to create new jobs, and it doesn’t help small businesses, which is where jobs are mainly created. I think it should be unconstitutional.
Furthermore, it galls me that we had to bail out the banks, or even the auto industry. It would have been much better to have used the money to encourage and help smaller businesses, or for education. What’s the point of keeping a dinosaur alive? Any business that is too big to fail is too big to exist. We used to understand that companies can get too big for their own good. Where are the anti-trust laws when you need them? If corporations are people, then they should die just like people do. Death is part of life, including for corporations. The best thing we can do when a corporation starts to die is to encourage new ones to be born and grow to replace the dying.
I also don’t like inheritance. I think it should be severely taxed, as close to 100% as possible. If you haven’t given your adult children everything they need while you are still alive, having them ghoulishly sitting around waiting for you to die so they can get your money won’t solve the problem. There are exceptions, of course (remember, I’m a pragmatist), like for minor children. But arguments about family businesses (most notably family farms) being lost because of inheritance taxes are mostly crap (ask any family farmer). There are easy ways to protect family businesses that don’t require eliminating inheritance taxes for everyone.