This will be my final article for 2010, and I’ve been pretty darn moderate my last few articles so rather than focusing on one specific issue here I’m going to give my opinions on a bunch of different issues that are making news the past few weeks.  I apologize in advance if I get a little too stream-of-consciousness.

Within the past few days it has been announced both that astronomers found an extra-solar system planet that has water vapor and a lifeform that uses arsenic instead of phosphorus for basic life processes.  This opens up the possibility of there being life in a lot more places out there (including outside of Earth) than we thought previously.  I already know the one question on every Republican’s mind:  Are these lifeforms willing to put a hold on everything just to keep an unnessessary tax cut for the richest of the rich?  (and if so let’s spin that to our advantage)

Ok, about that whole tax issue …

I’m going to break into a little comparison here.  Ok, a big comparison.  Pretend that you work for a big company that has a board of directors that chooses the CEO.  For some strange reason a new CEO gets chosen every 4 years and can only be CEO for a total of 8 years.  Anyway, your CEO announces that he’s giving an across-the-board temporary raise to everyone in the company, and he has it done in contract form so everyone knows it’s temporary.  He’s not entirely sure the company can afford it, but what the heck, it’ll raise company morale, right?  Besides that, it’s temporary and he’s set it to expire while on the next CEO’s watch, so even if it is a problem it will be somebody else’s problem.  Some years later there’s a whole lot of water-cooler gossip because those temporary raises are set to expire.  It’s a new CEO now and he’d like to continue the raise for everyone but the absolute top earners in the company, and those top earners have salaries absolutely dwarf yours (we’re talking quite a few magnitudes of order) scream to the point of holding up any plans to continue that raise and it all falls through.  Do you think it’s dishonest to call that temporary raise expiring, with all the circumstances, a pay cut? 

Welcome to the United States of Goldman Sachs.  I just don’t get how extreme right-wingers can act like Bush’s brand of capitalism is fair when everyone but the top 1% starts at a massive disadvantage.  It is a proven fact that one of the worst ways to improve the economy and create jobs is to cut taxes, and one of the best ways is to keep those without jobs on unemployment.  Why?  Virtually 100% of unemployment money is spent (the jobless don’t save, they barely survive) while the super-rich continually invest/save outside of America.

[Editor’s note: for a primer on income distribution in the US, check out this article – How many people make more than $250,000].

Every Republican and even a few Democrats have swallowed the cool-aid, though, and are calling what’s gong on here a tax raise.  Heck, what the taxes are going back up to aren’t even at Reagan tax levels and people were doing just fine, then.  Finally, why is no one pointing out that this is yet another mess Bush created and will have no hand in solving?  I sure didn’t see Republicans screaming about the debt or deficit when he was starting wars and not using correct accounting methods for their costs, and 1 of those wars was started based on information Dick Cheney knew was false.  I bet South Korea is wishing we invaded the real nuclear threat rogue state right about now.

Speaking of the military, I wonder where John McCain will move his goalposts to next.  2006 he said he’d be fine with repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell if the military was ok with it.  In 2008 he said he’d need a thorough study from the Pentagon saying it wouldn’t cause major impact and he’d be ok with it.  Now that the thorough study is out McCain is insulting the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and our Commander in Chief by saying they don’t really lead military men so this study is invalid.  I bet if by some miracle he had won the presidential election in 2008 he’d say he led troops as Commander in Chief.  Homophobia, like John McCain, is really old.  He froths at the mouth defending positions that not even 50% of Americans want, and then flip-flips on DADT when over 75% of Americans would be OK with gays serving openly.

About Wikileaks …  I’m still not quite sure what to think about Jullian Assange.  It is unclear to me if he is breaking the law or not, or even morally wrong or not.  On the one hand, I understand that government secrets are sometimes a necessary evil but on the other hand I feel like someone has to watch the watchman.  The US Justice Department is going all-out to try and charge him with something, anything – that feels like to me he might just be innocent.  We’re talking about a US espionage service that was able to infect Iranian nuclear processing centrifuges with a virus – and don’t think for a minute that the US didn’t have a hand in it, even if it was just helping Israel do the dirty deed.  If they really had some dirt on Assange, don’t you think they would have him being waterboarded at Quantico right now?

[Editor’s note: check our Squeaky’s article, What should we do about Wikileaks, for more commentary on Wikileaks and Julian Assange.]

Finally, I’d like to give a big middle finger to political correctness and say Merry Chrismas, Happy Hanukkah, and a joyful whatever else you celebrate.  Most of what we celebrate these days has Pagan roots anyway, and it’s all capitalistic.  I wish the world would stop being so greedy and just learn to love their fellow man.