The KKK and Antifa: They are The Same Goddamn Thing

So recently in the latest display of ignorance and cognitive dissonance from the left, the bigots have once again donned their masks to terrorize people who are different than they are. I speak of course about the ironically named “Antifa” or Anti-Fascists. They combat Fascism (anything other people believe that they don’t agree with) with righteous violent backlash (Fascist attempts to silence dissenting opinion with violence and criminal acts). HI-larious right? Well not really, since they attack people they know will not fight back, IE young women, the elderly, college students.

What is really funny is that this is the Democratic Parties new KKK. Yes indeed, they have once again in the face of total loss decided to resort once again to using small violent groups to terrorize the people responsible for their downfall. In 1865 the people they targeted were African Americans out of bitterness for the Democrats loss in the Civil War. Now in 2017, their targets are Libertarians, Republicans, and a few far-right extremists (though Antifa seems to be afraid to engage them when they are in large groups) all of whom are responsible for the Democrats loss in the 2016 election. What is funny is how a lot of people haven’t made the connection about why Antifa is so similar to the Klan. Then again these are the same people who think they aren’t fascists even though they are the ones who use violence to silence people they disagree with. It is sad really.

But Anyway, here is the good ole compare and contrast on these two shithead groups. Read all of this to your Ultra-Liberal friends and see what piss poor excuse they use to explain this stuff away.

 

Hiding Their Faces

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Antifa protester. Image from an Antifa terrorist site itsgoingdown.org

Both of these groups are known for Hiding their faces. In my opinion, this is motivated by two things, they are aware their actions are socially unacceptable and criminal in their nature and they are both groups of extremist cowards.

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Ku Klux Klan members. Image from dailymail.co.uk

The KKK as we all know are well known for their white hoods, however, Antifa commits their criminal acts of fascism wearing black face masks and scarves. Not a lot of difference really other than the fact the Antifa uniform is trashy street clothing they can easily explain away if cops show up at their door.

 

 

Setting Fires and Other Terrorist Acts

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Antifa Terrorist at Berkeley setting fire to a Trump supporters sign promoting free speech

Both the KKK and Antifa resort to violence and terrorist acts in order to intimidate people. For example, during the Berkley riots, Antifa were setting fire to private property in the streets. And again in the image to the left, we see an Antifa burning an opposing protestor’s sign after assaulting him to get it. Indeed arson, vandalism, assault, and disruption are what Antifa uses to spread their hate and intimidate the people they hate. The people they hate by the way is anybody who doesn’t agree with their extremist left-wing ideology.

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A clan member burning a cross.

This is Exactly what the KKK did as well. The Ku Klux Klan was well known for intimidating people who disagreed with them. It is well known they would resort to cross burning. They also firebombed churches, vandalized businesses, made bomb threats and committed lynchings. To be honest I expect very soon that we will be hearing about Antifa doing the exact same thing. After all, they are the new clan.

 

 

 

Both Are Reactions to Democrats Losing Power

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A political Cartoon from the 1800’s. It made the remark that the KKK was just the militant arm of the Confederacy/Democratic Party under a new label. Image from hubstatic.com

The KKK was first founded as a militant wing of the Democratic Party in reaction to the Democrats bitterness and anger over losing the Civil War. It was made up of former confederate soldiers, Loyalists to the Democratic Party and they directed their anger and hatred at African Americans. It was a real shot in the chops for them that African Americans now had their freedom thanks to the 13th Amendment and equal rights thanks to the 14th Amendment. Many Democrats these days like to pretend the Republicans are responsible for the Clan but this is totally untrue, most powerful Clan members held high seats of power in the Democratic Party whereas only 2 Republican Politicians belonged to the clan and only got elected by hiding their affiliation. Another fun fact is that David Duke, a well-known political figure and outspoken clansman was a registered Democrat till 1989.

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Antifa Terrorists on the morning of Trumps Inauguration. Over 200 people were arrested however the federal government has been slow to take action as a whole. Image from patdollard.net

Antifa took center stage after the defeat of the Democrats candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election and their loss of a majority in the Senate all while there is a Seat up for grabs on the Supreme Court. Angry that all the violence and attempts to rig the election for Hillary failed, Antifa appeared to take the next natural step for Democrats by getting violent and attacking people they don’t agree with. Aside from the attacks at Berkley, there was also plenty of assault and property destruction during the inauguration and there were attacks on peaceful demonstrators at the March4Trump in Berkely. This is quite in line with the clan and their methods, in fact in some ways more brazen. Pretty soon it will escalate if nothing is done, mark my word.

 

Both Suffer from Delusions of Superiority

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A KKK recruitment poster promoting “White Power”. Image from http://3.bp.blogspot.com

Both groups have a supremacist ideology they use to justify their violence. The KKK was quite simplistic about theirs, they believed whites were a superior race. They felt that they had a right and duty to attack African Americans and “put them in their place.” The idea of racial equality was poison to them and they vehemently fought the repeal of Jim Crow, desegregation, and the Civil Rights Act. So pretty much all of that is an indication of severe mental illness as well as a lack of empathy for other human beings.

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An Antifa poster. It promotes violence against people they label fascists. Image from http://i2.kym-cdn.com

Antifa is very similar. They have the delusion that anything they do not agree with is fascist. They believe as a result they have a right to silence these people with violence and somehow still believe that they themselves aren’t the fascists even though they practice fascism. They will attack anybody remotely right of left, including Libertarians and Republicans. They convince themselves that anybody they do not agree with is a white supremacist or something, even if they happen to be a gay immigrant jew who is primarily attracted to black men. (AKA Milo) Their monochromatic view is highly problematic and it is startling that many of these people fit into daily life. Despite their claim to fight fascism, Antifa despises the concept of free speech and claim that not everyone has an equal right to free speech. (Coincidentally the people they believe don’t have that right are the people they don’t agree with. Funny that, since they believe they are fighting white supremacists yet they don’t seem to be aware of the 14th amendment.

 

Both Are Affiliated With Democrats

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KKK Grand Dragon and Mentor to Hillary Clinton, Senator Robert Bryd (D-WV). Image from pinimg.com

Yes, both of these are related to and supported by the Democrats and the members come from their ranks. We all know the Democrats founded the KKK, and even very recently high ranking people in the party were affiliated with it. Take for example Hillary Clinton’s close friend and mentor Senator Robert Byrd. She even went as far as to call the KKK Grand Dragon the “Heart and Soul” of America. This is not real surprising though coming from the mouth of a woman who called African American youth “Super Predators” and recently had racist remarks she made via email leaked.

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Known left wing institution ACLU is apparently training Antifa, likely in how to get away with their actions. Image from funnyjunk.com

Antifa’s backers aren’t too different. So far I cannot say for sure whether any politicians of the Democratic Party are part of any Antifa groups, but their near silence is a form of support. They are however getting visible support from known funders of the Democratic Party. For one thing, it seems the ACLU is encouraging and training Antifa and I can only assume we will see them providing legal support in the future. And known Left Wing financier George Soros has been funding Antifa groups, with one disgruntled Antifa spilling the beans on how Soros said he would pay him $2000 a week to set up Antifa Groups and organize protests.

 

 

So next time someone tries to justify Antifa to you, by all means, I encourage you to point out that they are just the new clan. Who they target doesn’t matter. And if they still don’t realize this you will just have to accept that your acquaintance is extremely mentally ill.

Calexit: Why it Will Never Happen But it Would Be Good for The Rest of Us if it Did

I think I have typed this so many times since November 8th, but as we all know Liberals have been throwing tantrums since their staggering loss on November 8th. It is true, and one of the funniest tantrums comes from one of the smuggest cesspools on the Pacific Rim. I am of course speaking about California. There has been a movement there to secede from the United States for many years now but ever since a successful Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump it has gained new energy and a new name. They call it Calexit and it is a huge joke.

The same lies they tell to get support also spook some Conservatives who fall for them. But the fact is despite their claims to the contrary, their economy is not really the 6th largest in the world, they would not be better off without the US, and besides all that, they do not have a legal right to secede. Which is a shame actually, them seceding would be better for the 49 other US States. California looks so grand and important but they are really a big leech propped up by tax money from other states. But I am getting ahead of myself, I want to start from the beginning and break this down for you bit by bit.

It Ain’t Gonna Happen

There is an extreme reason we will not see Calexit, it is because California does not have a legal right to secede from the United States. California was Purchased by President James K. Polk from Mexico for 15 Million US Dollars after the Mexican-American War. The war was actually sparked in part by the Mexican Government’s Refusal to receive US Diplomat John Slidell who was authorized to buy the California Territory from Mexico for 20 – 40 Million US Dollars, a costly mistake on their part. So what is the significance of this little history lesson? Well Unlike voluntary signatories to the US Constitution like Maryland or New York or any of the other 13 Colonies, California has no right of cessation because they are a purchased territory. Californians are free to pack up and leave the United States on their own, but they cannot take federal land along with them, which I submit to you that California is since they were purchased with currency from a foreign government. In order for them to secede they would need consent from the Federal Government which I highly doubt they would receive.

There also is not enough support to get Calexit passed. While there was a huge uptick in support for the misguided attempt at forming their own nation, there is still only 32% support among Californians for the independence movement which was doomed to fail before it started. And let’s face it, even if they had all the support and they attempted to secede illegally they would fail. After all, this is the gun control state full of liberals waving dildos, how long do you think they would last against the US Military or military action from states that respect the right to bear arms? But honestly, there are more reasons they cannot leave that also show the rest of us would be better off if they did.

Aquae Vitae

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A Map of the Colorado River. California, as well as Arizona, Utah, and Nevada, are dependent on this as a source of fresh water. Image from wikimedia.org

A major reason California’s Calexit would flop is the massive humanitarian crisis it would trigger. California, and especially the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, is dependent on the Colorado River for their source of fresh water for drinking and crops. While there are Desalination Plants in places like Santa Barbra, due to massive incompetence on the part of the state as well as the massive cost to run them these plants sit idle most of the time. California is already having a dispute with Colorado over water supply from the Colorado River, and if California leaves the US Colorado has no incentive whatsoever to resolve the dispute. California claims they feed America and threatens to cut us off from their agriculture, but the reality in that is that the US can survive without Almonds and Wine as long as we have Midwestern Meat & Grain and Florida Oranges as well as Wisconsin Dairy. They need our water simply to survive more than we need their luxuries which can be purchased abroad anyway. Sadly for them, the only reason we rely on them for these things now is the convenience that comes from buying American products, and once that is gone we really have no need to put up with them.

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A view of a Dry Riverbed in California viewed from a bridge. Image from CBS News

As I said earlier, California getting cut off from Colorado Water would result in a Humanitarian Crisis of biblical proportions. As is already stands, California is just now recovering from a 5-year drought that ravaged the entire state. The only reason they could survive these last 5 years was the fact that water was pumped in from Colorado and other states. If California were cut off from that water supply and they were hit by a drought it would spell doom for California with the death toll potentially reaching tens of millions of people. Those who don’t succumb to drought would just end up coming to the US again anyway as refugees with the exception of celebrities who would have left at the first sign of trouble. Honestly, I am sure many of these celebrities already have houses in other states. And if they don’t, unlike the rest of the population of Southern California I am sure they can afford to buy one.

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Free

Many people claim that California is the world’s 6th largest economy. This is not in the least bit true, not really. If indeed California is as big an economy as some claim it is that is only because of the massive funding it receives from the federal government. Despite getting the most federal funding of any state,  they only pay 16.6% of their GDP in taxes to the federal government. Compare this to Texas which pays 17.1% or Illinois which pays 20.5% of their GDP or roughly 158,000,000 USD while they only receive roughly 105,000 in funding from the federal government for basic programs. And yet California insists they need these funds they receive all while they boast about how well they do.

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Aerial view of the largely unused Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant in Santa Barbra CA. image from water-technology.net

If that isn’t enough, there is the fact that they squander this money and expect more while they levy high state taxes as well to keep their heads above water. As is the state is on the hook for over a Trillion Dollars for its unfunded pension liability, and they are failing to fund a doomed high-speed rail project and a botched Medicaid expansion rollout, all while the middle class flees because of high taxes and the homelessness rate skyrockets. There are crumbling highways in San Fransisco as the politicians pocket the money meant to fix the roads. There are desalination plants that have sat unused for 30 years. Hell, considering 48% of California’s Tax revenue comes from the top 1% of earners who will flee the state when the shit hits the fan it is quite clear an independent California would fail.

Nobody Likes a Fair Weather Friend

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An aerial view of Silicon Valley California. The US Tech Industry is largely based here. Image from wikimedia.org

Some people say without California the US will lose its tech and movie industries. I really don’t see that happening though in the case of a Calexit. While Silicon Valley investors and movie stars are more than happy now to trash America and fund this hopeless endeavor, the second water becomes scarce and taxes skyrocket these people will quickly disappear. Silicon Valley alone made up 14.5% of California’s GDP in 2014 and in addition, Government Employment, the Housing Industry, and Transportation/Trade/Utility Industries make up a combined 51%. California is like a fragile Ouroboros.

As soon as water runs out and taxes skyrocket in a frantic attempt to buy water or build and run Desalination Plants it will either bankrupt the California Middle Class or force them to flee back to the United States if we will take them in. All of those Silicon Valley Companies will most likely be proactive and seeing the writing on the wall they will most likely flee California for the US. As it is due to high prices for housing and an inadequate transportation Infrastructure in Santa Clara County which does not meet the burden of growth, the city of Austin Texas is catching up to Silicon Valley in the “Innovation Industry”. These industries are just in California as a matter of circumstance, the fact is they can be moved to any area of the United States and still do just as well and that is exactly what will happen at the slightest sign of California’s Collapse. As is Facebook has offices all over, including an office in New York City. Google has offices all over the world as well. If it becomes a burden to operate in California, which it will when the water dries up and taxes skyrocket to combat a severe debt, the tech industry will be leaving faster than you can imitate the Windows login noise.

And let’s not forget the movie industry. I can’t imagine celebrities will pay high taxes and watch their lawns wither when they can move to Colorado. I am not sure exactly where Hollywood will drift to but I doubt the film industry will stay in California. No water and high taxes would make producing a movie impossible for actors and directors alike, which would require them to relocate to somewhere more temperate but with better access to water. A few possibilities would be Texas, Arizona, or New Mexico. Knowing what fair flowers actors are though, they will no doubt migrate back to America since they need a free-ish society that also provides comfort.

It’s Falling Apart

Another concern of the water deprived, debt-ridden and jobless independent California will be their deteriorating infrastructure and their inability to pay government workers. I have seen firsthand just how bad California’s infrastructure is. My clearest memory of my trip to San Fransisco with my Grandmother back when I was 17 was not just my Trips to Chinatown or Alcatraz nor the bit of sexual experimentation I did in Berkely (not gonna get into that one), it was the ride from Oakland International Airport to where we were staying in Berkeley and how crappy the highway was. It was totally falling apart and according to our host, my grandmother’s college friend, it was because the city politicians pocketed funds to repair the road. This was nearly 10 years ago and of course, if she hadn’t told me then I would have just assumed it was because of earthquakes or something.

This makes me think that the Oroville Dam incident was a result of similar corruption. On February 7th, 2017 due to concerns about the stability of the dam and fearing a collapse, state workers released the gates of the dam’s spillway. This caused a collapse in the middle of the spillway and rushing water eroded the ground surrounding the spillway, pouring mud and sediment into the river below. Residents below the dam were evacuated for two days after the incident. Despite this incident which could have been avoided with timely inspections and which it would take federal funding to fix, California Democrats still decided to badmouth the president in response to his criticism of the Berkeley Riots. Possible corruption aside, it is very clear the priority of California Democrats is to make political statements and badmouth the man who decides whether to bail them out or not rather than solve the issues facing their own state. Post-Calexit it would be a lot of the same except these nutjobs would be doing it from a UN Seat.

Their Loss is Our Gain

In the 2015 Fiscal Year, California contributed nearly 406 million USD in Income Tax to the US tax revenue which was only 16.6% of their GDP. The total US Income Tax collection is 3,283,920,138 USD. If you take out what California contributed we would still have 2,878,068,843 USD. Losing that 400 Million isn’t a huge loss, especially considering how much California costs us. California receives the largest amount of federal funding despite their high taxes and they keep asking for more. As I mentioned above they are soon going to be over 1,000,000,000,000 USD in debt because of their pension liability as well as failed transportation projects and social programs but in addition, their Governor Jerry Brown who is openly critical of Trump has, all the same, asked him for federal assistance 4 times since he took office. And the trouble doesn’t end there.

Illegal immigration costs American Taxpayers a net loss of 54.5 Billion USD annually. In response to this, President Donald Trump has promised deportations and a border wall. However, some cities and jurisdictions in an illegal act of defiance have pledged to make themselves Sanctuary Cities and the like where law enforcement will refuse to cooperate with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. California is one of these as they have threatened to become a sanctuary state. Their lawlessness could continue to be a burden to the US Taxpayer.

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Illegal Immigrants protesting Donald Trump and Flying the Mexican Flag. Image from commentarymagazine.com

In addition, California has been registering Illegal Immigrants to vote in an attempt to influence the electoral process. It is estimated at least 2,000,000 Illegal Immigrants were illegally registered to vote in the 2016 Election. California which voted overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary Clinton boasts 25% of the population of Illegal Immigrants in the United States. Pretty much this makes California a liability to our Democracy since their 55 electoral votes have gone blue in recent elections because they allow illegal immigrants to vote knowing they will vote Democrat.  I think we are better off without that.

The straw that breaks the camels back in my opinion though is the social trash they spread. Sure they send obstructionist candidates to DC and that sucks, but the politically correct culture of “Trigger Warnings” and “Micro-Aggressions” does 10 times more damage than any manchild politician. And the fact that they now trash free speech is disgusting too since at one time the epicenter of the movement to preserve that right was Berkeley. Certainly, they would have less opportunity to spread their filth if they were another country. And to be honest, because of that filth I don’t care how much they would suffer if their stupid idea came to fruition. They can reap what they sow when they make the next bad decision in a long line of them. And the rest of the country will benefit with the weight of California’s burden off of out shoulders.

Que Sera Sera

So sadly it is pretty certain we will not see Calexit. It’s a shame though, contrary to their threats and their hype, without California we would be better off as a nation. We would lose some luxury foods and a few theme parks but we would also lose 25% of the illegals burdening our country as well as the cancerous liberals trying to keep them here to further their agenda. People who want to stay American will move away from that cesspool and I imagine idiots who want to be in their fascist paradise (which they will quickly learn is their private hell) will move in. America will lose a financial and social burden that holds back the rest of the country. Honestly, that’s what Calexit would be if it were possible but in the end, I have to accept that whatever may be will be.

The Importance of Social Security

This is a piece I am sure nobody will be happy with, so that is exactly how I know I am 100% right. The fact is despite Conservative criticism of it, the Social Security Administration and the existence of Social Security Benefits are important to our society. Some call it Socialism, but if it has become that it is because Republicans have spent more time trying to dismantle it than they have trying to fix it and improve it. Because of this, what should be a useful Government Agency/Program has become a chew toy for the Democrats to further their agenda. Caught in the crossfire, the true use of this program has been largely forgotten.

Criticism and Misunderstanding

There are many critics of Social Security. Some people see it as wealth redistribution seeing as how money for Social Security is taken out of paychecks. A lot of people argue, “Instead of taxing us they should just allow us to decide how much money we put in our own retirement accounts.” While this sounds true it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what Social Security is. To emphasize, Social Security is like a Retirement Fund and Life Insurance and a Rainy Day Fund all rolled into one.

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If for some reason your child were born with clinical depression, schizophrenia, or mental retardation they would be covered under your benefits. Image from miamivalleyassessments.com

Most people withdraw their own Social Security when they retire, that is true. They get Medicare along with that as well, but did you know your benefits also extend to your children? If your child became disabled before the age of 22 and never worked to pay into this system, they are qualified to receive disability benefits based on your income. Children of parents who never worked do not get this same benefit, so by paying into Social Security, you benefit yourself and your child and nobody else. And if for some reason you die before your children they will receive Survivor Benefits from the Social Security Administration.

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Spousal Benefits protect the one you love if the worst ever happens to you. Image from sciencenordic.com

Social Security Protects both you and your spouse as well. If for some reason you become disabled and unable to work before you make it to retirement age, Social Security will begin to pay out benefits to you based on how much you made before you became disabled. Unlike Workmans Compensation, this is indefinite or as long as your disability permits you to work. Your benefits also extend to your spouse in the case of your death or their retirement. Spousal Benefits help reduce the financial stress on your husband or wife if the worst should ever happen to you.

Identification and Other Uses

When a US Citizen is born and their parents apply for a birth certificate they are usually assigned a Social Security Number. This number is unique as your very fingerprint and not only does it work as a form of identification for bank accounts and such things, it is proof that your child is an American Citizen. Only people born in the US are supposed eligible for a Social Security number and the benefits associated with it. It is also used as identification for when you pay taxes that fund our military and schools and such things. This unique combination of 9 numbers helps our society run smoothly.

Social Security as identification streamlines the process for things like opening a bank account or getting a cell phone plan. Most major financial institutions or companies require a Social Security number to verify your identity. Employers also require you to provide a Social Security number for identification and tax purposes as well. You cannot get a US Passport without a Social Security Number and it is associated with your credit score. Having one is essential for day to day life.

Why Reform is Needed

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With control of both the House and Senate, Republicans have an excellent opportunity to reform Social Security. Image from uvm.edu

I opened my article by implying that Republicans should spend more time reforming the Social Security system. This is not an understatement in the least. Besides the fact that the Social Security Administration is being heavily misused by the left, it is also a solution to many immigration issues our country is facing. Social Security needs to be viewed as a solution rather than a problem. It needs to be improved.

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Illegal Immigrants protesting Donald Trump and Flying the Mexican Flag. Image from commentarymagazine.com

Since a Social Security Number is essentially proof of citizenship it would be a good way to crack down on illegal immigrants abusing the welfare system or illegally voting in our elections. In a study comparing the use of Immigrant use of Welfare to that of Natives, they found that Illegal Immigrants claim an average of 5,700 US Dollars per household in Government Benefits. It has also been reported that Millions of Illegals cast fraudulent votes in the 2016 election, contributing to the appearance of Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote. This puts a huge burden on our taxpayers and undermines our electoral process. If Republicans who are now in control of both the House and Senate simply passed a bill making it mandatory that Social Security number be provided when applying for any government program, service, or document, this would eliminate the issue especially if we begin to keep fingerprint records as part of the Social Security application process.

What Do We Need to Fix?

This here is going to be a long section. Thanks to Democrats being the only ones interested in Social Security, the agency faces severe issues of accountability and mismanagement of funds. On top of that Democrats have used the Social Security Trust as their own private slush fund. Even though the money was earmarked for Social Security for American Citizens, over the years Democrats moved the money to the General Fund, raised the percentage of taxed income from 1% to 7.65%, changed the rules so it isn’t tax deductible, made up to 85% of the income taxable, and extended benefits to Immigrants who don’t pay into the system. Then they claim Republicans are the only ones trying to destroy the program.

To fix things, Republicans need to bring the program back to its basics and then make a few adjustments. This means making Social Security payments tax exempt, gradually reducing the collected tax back to 1 – 2.5%, and cease making payments to immigrants and anybody else whose family has not paid into the system. There also needs to be an intense review of personnel. There is a lot of waste in the system. But the greatest review needs to be of people already drawing benefits.

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Kiara has been on welfare for 15 years and says she does not intend to search for work. Image from truthuncensored.net

A large and persistent problem has been the prevalence of welfare abusers. While there are welfare abusers of many races and of both genders, the ones that get the most attention are female welfare abusers or “Welfare Queens”. These women choose not to work because they get assistance from the government. Many get help with Housing, Food, and they receive cash checks from the Government. They get this money usually because they have multiple children or are vastly overweight, but they draw ire when they spend the money on nonessential items instead of spending the money on said children or to improve their health problem.

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This woman who is on welfare for her weight claims she needs more welfare to lose the weight. This kind of transparent manipulation is commonplace. Image from dailycaller.com

Sadly a stereotype has formed that welfare abusers are mostly African Americans, but there are plenty of white welfare abusers both here in America and across the pond in Britan. The most outrageous abuse, however, is from Illegal Immigrants collecting welfare. There are simple ways to fix this though. As I said earlier we need to stop giving funds to illegal immigrants but we also need to cut off benefits for people without an actual disability (cause gods know being fat isn’t a disability when the person chooses to constantly eat biscuits and crisps) who refuse to work. And as for the children of the ones who abuse their children’s welfare payments, their children should be entrusted to the state because they would surely be better off with foster parents than with a mother or father who puts their wants over their child’s needs.

There needs to be a detailed review of personnel as well. Most staff of the Social Security Administration are very dedicated and well meaning so it is regrettable this even needs to be considered. However due to a scandal involving the Veterans Administration every social agency is suspect. And considering the influence of Democrats on Social Security, the imperative to perform a review just deepens due to the high likelihood of corruption. Throwing money at the issue is ill advised anyway, but it is even less effective till the rot is cut out so to speak.

Important Still

In the end, the people Social Security is meant to benefit are the elderly and disabled as well as their families. Any reform should be focused on making sure the system benefits them and them alone. The money we pay towards Social Security should be earmarked for just that, security for those who engage in and contribute to society and their families as well. I hate quoting that asshat FDR but he characterized the purpose of Social Security best in his statements upon signing it into law, “We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.” That is all Social Security should be, beneficial to the average working citizen and their kin.

App Comparison: Countable Vs Congress

So this week I am going to bridge two subjects I like to cover in this blog. I have the pleasure of reviewing two separate apps that both provide news and information about Congress. Both apps have their pros and cons so in the end whichever one you choose to use is left up to your personal preference. They really are decent apps though. I am going to start with a review of the app Congress.

Congress

Congress” is an app developed by Sunlight Foundation. I have been using it for a few months now so I am much more familiar with it and to be honest, I prefer this app. I will say however it is not for everybody. It has a minimalist layout that I really prefer.

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“Congress” Home Screen

Upon opening the app you are immediately provided with a list of upcoming bills and resolutions. It provides the index number of the item as well as the title. The menu to the left also lets you explore more bills as well as track Congressmen, the status of votes, and many other things. You can also open the Bill menu and view active bills being considered

When opening information on a bill it provides you with the title, the congressman who submitted it, a log of changes and a summary of the Bills Contents. By pressing the 3 vertical dots in the top right corner you can access a link to the exact text of the proposed bill. The app also gives you the option to share it or save the bill to your favorites so you can follow its progress.

The app also lets you search for your own congressional representatives and create a favorites list of congressional representatives you want to follow. The bios for each congressman contain links to their social media accounts and their personal website, a map of their jurisdiction, as well as the phone number for their DC offices and a shortcut to the pages for the committees they serve on. It also lets you track the votes of the congressman you are following.

“Congress” also provides a schedule of committee hearings as well as a list of the committees and the congressmen on them. This can help you keep track of what committees are doing since this doesn’t always make the news or get widespread attention

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Log of events on the floor

My favorite thing about “Congress” is that it allows you to see a log of events taking place on the House and Senate floors. For some, this makes for very dry and boring reading, however, I find it important to know how they are using their time while on the taxpayer’s dime. It also is the next best thing to actually watching C-Span.

The downside to this app is that it is a little glitchy. It also isn’t really the best for everyday users as it is heavy on legalese. Unless you took Poli-Sci in college or went to law school you may become easily by descriptions of regulations and such things.

So to summarize the Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Detailed information on Bills and Committees
  • Minimalist Layout
  • Log of events from the House and Senate
  • Ability to form custom list of Congressmen you want to follow\
  • Optional Push Notifications

 

Cons:

  • Glitches and Lags
  • Heavy on Legalese

 

Countable

Editors Note: Since this article posted I have noticed a disturbing trend in the news pieces this app chooses to share. Namely that they share click-bait titles designed to cater to the perceptions of Liberal users. This does not affect my opinion of the apps ability for people to share opinions on public policy or to contact their representatives, however it does call into question again the impartiality of the writers of the app. I would encourage the writers of the app to steer away from this behavior and question the way they word things.

Countable” is an app I recently found out about. It is an app designed to simplify politics. They try to make the issues understandable and simplify connecting people to their representatives. Now initially upon reading reviews about the app, I had some major concerns. It was encouraging when I actually got a response after reaching out to the PR department for countable. I brought up some of my bigger concerns and here are the responses from the CEO of Countable, Bart Meyers:

Q: My first question is about Bias. Many reviews claim that your app is biased. Out of the complaints to this effect which I read over, 4 of them claimed there was a left wing Bias. One did claim a pro-Trump bias but in light of the other reviews and recent behavior from former Hillary supporters I dismissed that as an ignorant reaction to hearing an opposing opinion. And one of the reviews with claims of left wing bias admitted he might have been reacting to other commenters. But yet another review claims the list of political organizations you connect people with has very few conservative groups listed. Of course Bias is a serious accusation, so how would you respond to this claims and how do you ensure the information on your application remains unbiased? What efforts do you make to market this app to people on all levels of the political spectrum?
A: Other than reviews, on our facebook page, and on Twitter, we get people saying we’re too left leaning, and then those who say we’re a right-wing trap.  It’s actually pretty even.  It just depends on what bills or articles people might be looking at.  For instance, it is pretty easy for someone fairly liberal to look at a bill that would kill the EPA, and think we’re too far to the right, because we don’t write up the bill in a way that gives all the points opposed that they want to see.  We actually have writers that check each other, and have various personal political views, to ensure that we’re avoiding bias.  But, naturally, if anyone feels like something is biased, we want to hear from them on what, specifically, they felt was too far right or left.  If they have a good point, we’ll change the writeup, absolutely.
Q: My second question has to do with bugs in the app. There seems to be persistent complaints of the application not keeping people logged in. There are basic complaints that the app makes it complicated to earmark information or articles. So my next question is how often do your developers read over reviews to figure out what needs to be fixed?
A: We want to give our users the best experience possible. We watch our reviews in real time. Any time a negative review is written, it’s felt by the team. We haven’t met our commitment to our users recently with the surge of new use. We now have those issues in hand and are eager to get more feedback.  We’re continually rolling out new features and fixes with a new version of our iOS and Android apps in the works.
Q: My third Question is about information security and hacking. One review claims that you mine peoples personal information. He also claims that a email he sent to a congressman in your app was rewritten to fit a liberal point on view. Now to be very honest these are wild claims, but in a time when cyber security is in the headlines how do you respond to these accusations? What efforts do you take to secure the information of your users?
A: We take our users privacy very seriously. We do not mine or sell users information.  At sign up, users can enter where they live, so we can match them up with their Representative or Senator.    Messages are sent immediately and automatically after you write them or vote on a bill.   Our lawmakers use legacy software tools to sort the emails that come through. It’s possible that the lawmakers software could mis-classify a message. For this reason, we encourage our users to send a video message in addition that carries the full weight of their message.
Q: My last question goes back to the matter of Bias. One review accuses you of bias because of ties to NPR. Now I did check your website and while there is a former NPR reporter working there, I can see no solid affiliation to NPR. I am concerned though because your staff lacks diversity. All of your staff listed are affiliated with the Democratic Party or with left leaning media outlets. There are no Republicans or Libertarians. Is there any way you can explain to me why there are no conservative leaning members of your team? Has any effort been made to reach out to or hire somone with conservative views?
A: Our team includes people from both sides of the aisle who believe in our mission that everyone should have a voice and be able to “get the facts”. In fact, our best “defense” against bias is that anyone can use Countable to have a voice and express their opinion. If you think we’ve got it wrong, correct us in a comment or opinion. You have the power.
Our team includes, or has included, many notable conservatives including Ed Feulner, the founder of the Heritage Foundation, Marc Shot, Trump’s Legislative Affairs Coordinator, Jon Runyan, the former Eagle and Congressman.
We don’t have any ties to NPR. We are, however, thrilled to bring aboard Andrea Seabrook, as our managing editor.  Andrea is an award-winning reporter in DC, who has a real talent for making information and bills a lot more accessible to non-wonks.  We actually do have libertarian-leaning conservatives working for us, including our chief writer, Eric Revell.

Now I didn’t like the answers to all these questions personally (Like Andrea Seabrook. Ugh), but it is encouraging to see a company willing to reach out to people. They also cleared up my concerns about bias as well as information security. So with all of that out of the way, I began a week-long evaluation period of the app. I was reasonably pleased with what I found as well.

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Countable provides a news feed with current events happening in the capital.

The first thing I noticed about countable is that it seems to rely more on news based presentation of legislative issues rather than just raw information and events. When you first open the app you get a news feed which shows you current issues.

In these news stories, it allows you to read opinions for and against a piece of legislation and then make a vote on whether you are for or against this issue which shows up on your profile. You can also publically comment on issues sort of like social media.

The app enables you to follow key political figures as well as the issues that concern you. It also provides you with ways to connect to non-profits that advocate for causes you believe in. Some of them I recognized, for example, I had an ex who worked at No Labels.

Now when you first sign up for the app it asks you for your zip code and then instantly adds your congressional representatives to your follow list. (whether you want to follow them or not) Countable provides you with a more diverse set of options for contacting your congressmen including email, fax, phone, and the app allows you to send a video message to your congressmen. It doesn’t tell you what committees they serve on.

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An example I caught of BOT posting

Now there are some downsides. For me it is the lack of detailed information, however, most would find that to be a Pro. Another goes back to one of my initial concerns of bias in a way. One review complained that most of the comments were from biased liberals and that he believed that was the general makeup of the app. Well, that apparently could be attributed to BOTs, programs that run automated tasks. In this case, it looks like someone programmed a BOT to repeatedly post inaccurate remarks disparaging the new health care bill. Obviously, this is not something Countable can really totally prevent. They were however extremely grateful that I brought this to their attention which is another great thing about the app.

Here are my Pros and Cons for Countable:

Pros:

  • Lush layout
  • Simple and easy to understand information
  • Provides a number of ways to contact your representatives in congress
  • Very responsive technical support
  • Highly interactive and allows you to share opinions

 

Cons:

  • Small BOT problem
  • Lack of detailed information on committees
  • Sends e-mail notifications rather than push notifications

 

Summary

So both of these apps have their good qualities and bad ones. Countable is simple to understand and their responsiveness and willingness to answer questions definitely scored them points in my book. I would definitely suggest it for someone who wants to get involved in the political process but isn’t a political or legal expert. I personally prefer Congress for its minimalist layout and its detailed information but its glitches are extremely frustrating. Both of these apps, however, are very enjoyable in their own rights. I recommend trying them both and seeing which suits you better. As for a final determination though, I would say based on the way it simplifies information that Countable is probably the preferred app for most users.