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MCCULLOUGH: Government, leave me alone

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

Why can't the government leave us alone?

Attempts by the government to regulate our lives seem to be at an all-time high, at least for my lifetime. Every time I turn around someone at some level of government is trying to tell me what to do.

Government has gotten so used to legislating every instance of everyday behavior that now the different branches are actually arguing about who gets to tell us what to do the most.

A federal appeals court this week took President Barack Obama to task for comments he made about judges' authority to rule on the constitutionality of laws, so much so that it ordered the administration, via the Justice Department, to explain itself.

Obama, who I think would regulate the sunlight so that everyone got an equal amount if it were in his power, doesn't think those activist judges should be messing with his healthcare law. And the judicial branch would like for the executive branch to keep its mouth shut. Only judges will decide what's right and wrong about laws the legislative branch made, they say.

Meanwhile, in New York City -- a place that is the epitome of a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there -- the Department of Education floated a proposal to ban an extensive list of words from standardized tests, including references to such inocuous things as personal computers, dinosaurs and birthdays -- birthdays!

That is where we are in this country. The leaders of one of the largest educational systems think it is so important not to offend anyone that they decided to ban birthdays from being mentioned on tests.

Luckily, these clowns at least had the sense to pull the proposal after the ensuing outrage. But where will it end?

The government listens in on our phone calls and reads our emails (Google NSA wiretaps to read all about that outrage). It spends tax money to campaign against behavior it sees as dangerous, morally reprehensible or otherwise against the "common good" -- despite said behavior being perfectly legal. (Don't smoke. Don't eat that. Don't do this to your body.) Lawmakers want to tell us who to marry and who to have sex with (and some would even tell us how).

Here's the proper way to discipline your kid. Here's how we think you should grow a garden. This is the best way to drive. The topic doesn't matter: Education, health, business, sports, recreation -- you name it and the government thinks it knows best.

What's even more outrageous is the hypocrisy it piles on top of the control:

Government: You want insurance? Go buy some. If you don't, we'll fine you.

Subject, er, citizen: Can't I just have the same plan you have?

Government: Absolutely not! You're on your own pal.

Citizen: Well, maybe I'll gamble a little. Then I can put my winnings toward insurance.

Government: Sure -- as long as you play our state-run lottery.

Citizen: But my buddies and I want to have a poker tournament at my hou-

Government: NO, NO, NO! We'll raid that and put you in jail.

Citizen: I don't like this. I'm going to protest.

Government: Sure. Just fill out all these papers, apply for a permit and pay for the security, traffic control and cleanup. Also, if you could let us know exactly who will be there and what you'll be protesting. And no signs bigger than 3 feet by 3 feet.

Citizen: Jeez. That's too much trouble. This is stressful. I need a smoke.

Government: Go ahead and light up. Make sure you're outside, away from all government and/or public buildings, businesses and people. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand and dispose of the butt in a government-approved receptacle. But first, watch this video of a guy with cancer having his lung removed.

I could go on, but you get the point.

The government should, of course, have some authority to regulate certain things to keep idiots and criminals from hurting us. But the government should put more energy into protecting us from foreign enemies, both the kind that would kill us and the kind that would kill our economy.

It should put less into telling us how to live.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.

Comments

notblind 2 years ago

This country won't be brought down by external enemies. It will be brought down by people living inside our borders most of whom are citizens .

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

When Reagan won the election of 1980, he inherited an economy in a similar state to that of the one Barack Obama inherited. Reagan's plan included cutting taxes and deregulating, or pulling government out of the economy and letting free market practices rule the day. Obama's plan took the opposite course. He's constantly called for higher taxes (especially on the top 1%, a group that earns 19% of the wealth in this country, but pays 38% of the federal income tax burden) and he's called for more government regulation. His idea of government involvement in the economy is best seen in the health care overhaul, a single move that would place 16% of the American economy under direct government control.

But it's not like the GOP is any better. Where the left wants government control over the economy and seems to care less about what you do in the bedroom, the GOP expresses a desire for limited government economic involvement, but they stress government regulation of social issues. Rick Santorum even basically said that government should have a presence in the bedroom or degenerate behavior would multiply.

Libertarianism is the better course. We believe in limited government involvement in your personal life, basically to the point that, so long as what you do does not harm another person's life, liberty, or property, then you should be able to do it. We recognize that you cannot legislate morality, which many Republicans seem to think is a function of government.

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jack 2 years ago

At times, the society depicted in the "Mad Max" movies doesn't look all that uninviting.

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JV 2 years ago

Max: I've got skills, I could trade them The Collector: Perhaps you've got something to trade after all. Max: Keep talkin' The Collector: Twenty-four hours of your life, in return, you'll get back what was stolen. Max: Sounds like a bargain. The Collector: It's not. It's the law.

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JV 2 years ago

Nate forgot to mention you can't pack a lunch for your kid to take to school. It's not good for them so they have to eat what is provided by the school. Or, you can't drill for oil on land owned by the government which is about 30% of the total land area of the United States. It's not good for the environment so we have to pay more for gas.

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Jan 2 years ago

I was going to ignore such absurdities, but I see someone apparently supports your strange twists on reality. First, the only school in the nation that I was able to identify that did not allow lunches from home was a Chicago school, Little Village Academy. If you have reliable sources of others, I would like to know. As for public land, there are millions of acres of public land available for leasing of oil and gas rights and production of oil on these lands is up from the Bush administration. The only factual part I see is "...land owned by the government which is about 30% of the total land area of the United States". This includes national parks, military bases, national forests as well as land under federal buildings. Almost half of this land is available for potential leasing. Oil companies are choosing to reduce production on public land because they do not want to pay the 18.75%. mandated royalties. When the per barrel price of oil goes down, you will see production on public land increase.

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JV 2 years ago

Enjoy your pink slime. The governmnet says it's safe and you've earned it.

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Jan 2 years ago

Thank you! Once again you prove that those without facts resort to lame insults. I am a little disappointed in such a feeble insult but I will give you 1 point for originality.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

Jan, the key to remember when talking Obama and oil production is that he is basically taking credit and touting the upturn in oil production in the US, even though his policies have been keyed toward ending the industry, for all intents and purposes. He's blocked drilling off the coast and in the Gulf. On federally owned lands, oil production is down over the course of his term, and dropped over 10% in 2011 alone. His administration has stated a desire to get gas prices in the US to the same levels as Europe, where gas is around $8 to $10 per gallon. He has stated that his policies would bankrupt the coal industry. Before his election, he was on record as saying that under his energy policy, energy costs would necessarily skyrocket, Yet, many of the "green" energy companies that were highly touted by the administration and received boatloads of taxpayer money have gone belly-up. The Volt, a vehicle that some acted like would single-handedly save the planet, has been a miserable failure. (And that's not bothering to mention that Obama went into a private company and forced the removal of a CEO, a gross overstep of federal authority.)

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JV 2 years ago

As for absurdities and references:

Concerning school lunches please reference the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. It mandates the types of food and the proportions K-12 school cafeterias must serve (and sending the states a hefty bill for the cost of implementing the new requirements). Child nutritionists have testified that Washington’s food proportion requirements are likely to lead to increased waste in school cafeterias. And, the majority of U.S. citizens are against it.

Concerning oil production in the U.S. please reference a March 14, 2012 report “Sales of Fossil Fuels Produced from Federal and Indian Lands, FY 2003 through FY 2011” by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) www.eia.gov (a government agency). Oil production on federal lands fell from 726 million barrels in 2010 to 626 million barrels in 2011.

Hope the kool aid drinkers enjoy looking it up. Have some pink slime to eat with that kool aid.

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Jan 2 years ago

You should read the referenced act again. The 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was a re-authorization bill that actually delivers more federal assistance for complying with the nutritional expectations. It does not restrict lunches from home. Are you opposed to insuring our children nutritional meals at school? Good parents consider nutritional value of meals at home. Doesn't the school have the responsibility to supply the same at school? Concerning oil production on public lands, you stated "...you can't drill for oil on land owned by the government " and this is, by your own admission, a false statement. While we are in agreement that production was down in 2011, I explained the reason for this as a economic decision by oil companies, not a government mandate. Go back to the date you referenced and you will see that production on public lands for 2010 was higher than 2009. Production on public lands was slowed in 2011 because the per barrel costs went up.

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JV 2 years ago

Getting back to the opinion piece provided here by Nate McCullough. The point he is making is that government has too much say so in our lives. Liberal/progressives such as Jan are just okay with that. Others such as Nate, myself and the others commenting here are not. We don’t want the government telling us what food our children should eat or having “nutritional expectations” dictated (at taxpayer expense). And we don’t like being told oil production is up when in fact that growth came from production gains on private lands. Oil production on federal lands actually dropped. 2010 had the lowest number of onshore leases issued since 1984. The government held only one offshore lease sale in 2011. Sure sounds like you can't drill for oil on land owned by the government.

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Jan 2 years ago

What an assumption! No, I do not want the government dictating how we live our lives. Get it out of the bedroom. If a liberal is someone that believes in liberty and equality for all, then I am a liberal. If a progressive is someone that believes in progress, then I am a progressive. Laws and regulations are legislated because of a problem. For instance, Nate says that smokers rights have been violated by not letting them smoke in public buildings, but they been violating the rights of non-smokers for years, spreading their pollution. The smoking bans inside public buildings and most restaurants is a compromise. Smokers are still allowed to smoke outside. We don't even require them to move away from doors with their drug addiction. I am surprised that you are going on record to indicate that you think schools should not be expected to serve nutritional meals with all the scientific research that has shown students learn better when the eat nutritional meals. I explained the reason that oil leasing is down. You should read the process for oil rights leases. Companies must initiate the process by submitting a leasing plan. The Obama administration has reduced the required paper work and cut the time required to process the lease application to 30 days. His administration did this even after it was discovered that some leases were illegally granted during the Bush administration. Remember the BP fiasco? That was the cause of slower offshore lease sales.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

The fact is both parties are spending us into oblivion. $4.3 Trillion or so was added to the national debt in eight years under Bush. $4.9 Trillion have been added in just three years under Obama. The Administrations super-committee of a few months back couldn't even figure out how to slow down spending, much less cut it. Now, Obama is telling us that our country is great because of government investments (investments being the new focus-group-approved word for spending). Until someone steps up and reins in both parties on their terrifyingly incompetent fiscal policies, we'll continue to drive straight toward the cliff.

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richtfan 2 years ago

when a leftist America-hating president is voted in, this is what happens. He surely has ":transformed" America, hasn't he? We went from relatively low unemployment of around 5% where most kids and adults, if they wanted to, could find a job to where many are struggling to find gainful employment of any kind. Overregulation is the product of people being duped into a false sense of security by leaders. While there are pockets of both major political parties that are overzealous about regulations, most of them are on the leftist side of things because they honestly believe that they know better than we do how to live life. They hate freedom and the free will to make choices (except for themselves) because only they are really smart enough to make informed decisions, nevermind the fact that we're the ones paying for our own lives. This is a classic example of government overreach, and there is only one way to rid this type of thinking from our borders----be wise about how you vote, and be involved in the political process. Do the homework--stop watching the network news every night. Stop listening to NPR--they are all in the tank for the left.

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Jan 2 years ago

Really? You want to encourage others to research when obviously you just echo some misinformation from some right wing pundit. Unemployment was 7.3 and increasing when Obama was sworn in. Almost double the 4.0% unemployment when Bush took the oath of office. Right now the unemployment is decreasing. It would be decreasing faster if the Republicans would cut out the partisan tactics and work with Democrats to improve the economy. Obviously, you believe any information that doesn't fit your preconceptions must be from some left wing conspiracy and I am sure that you make the same assumption about me. I do agree with you about doing the research, I hope you make some attempt to try this in the future and refrain from the echoing absurd insults that were dreamed up by Rush L. and his buddies.

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richtfan 2 years ago

Jan, you're simply not credible. Unemployment is NOT decreasing right now if you're honest about it. If you include people who are NOT looking for a job right now, the figure is more like 10%. It's more like 18% if you include people who are underemployed. So, you advocate the GOP just marching along like robots behind Obama. is that what you wanted the Dems to do when Bush was president? I think not. There is a reason it's called the "opposition party". Obama has had 3 yrs to prove that his policies simply do not work. And he's done a good job of proving that they don't. There is no reason the GOP should go along with him based on his dismal track record. even he makes Carter look like he's not at the bottom of the barrel anymore. And please don't start talking about believing this person or that person. The media are generally operated and managed by leftists these days with CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, PMSNBC, NPR, most major newspapers etc. all being run by leftist America hating types. They do nothing but rig elections, claim "disenfranchisement" when they're losing and incite violence against anyone who is not a leftist. Nice company to be in, isn't it Jan?

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

Jan, really? I'm so tired of the liberal line that "life would be great if Republicans would just get out of the way." Woody Allen said that the GOP should stop trying to hurt Obama, and that he thought Obama should be made dictator in order to accomplish more at a faster rate. You want facts, not spin? Here you go. Nearly 88 million Americans are out of work. Unemployment is dropping because we don't count those who simply give up. If you counted those who gave up looking for work, along with those still looking but unemployed, then true unemployment is around 19%. Even then, unemployment just dropped from 8.3% to 8.2%. Big time stuff there. In the black community, under 57% of men over the age of 20 have a job. Around 14% of the nation is on food stamps. Less than 60% of college graduates are able to find a job. More debt has been added to this country in three years under Obama than was added in eight years under Bush. 25% of US homeowners are "under water." Grocery prices are rising at an alarming rate. When George Bush left office gas was $1.84 per gallon, down from its high of about $3.65 or so, and every Democrat who could fins face time blamed Bush for the gas prices. Now that gas is $3.94 per gallon (and $7/gallon in places in California), we're told that it is not the President's fault. Even though this Administration's own Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, said that we needed to get gas prices here to the same levels as Europe ($8-$10 per gallon). Obama himself stated that under his energy policies, energy costs would necessarily skyrocket. Then again, Valerie Jarret told us that Obama would be "ready to RULE from day one" (emphasis added). I guess this is what Democrat rule looks like. Of course, all you ahve to do to see what Democrat rule looks like is look at Chicago and Detroit.

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Jan 2 years ago

Please accept my apologies. I did not realize that you were tired of facts. I will leave you to your lack of understanding of how economics works. If you change your mind and would like me to explain the problems with your assumptions let me know.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

Oh, please, explain. I'm always willing to learn. I'd love to know how 88 million people out of work is a faulty assumption. I'd love to know how adding nearly $5 Trillion in debt in three years is a faulty assumption. I'd love to know how quoting the Administration is a faulty assumption. Please enlighten me. I'm not tired of facts. I'm tired of both parties twisting facts to fit their agenda at the expense of the American people.

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Jan 2 years ago

First, you must understand that there is nothing anyone can do to create employment overnight. Most options for improving employment will require a minimum of 6 months to achieve significant results. You need some understanding of history to grasp this concept. The greatest job creator was FDR. When he took office in 1933, the unemployment rate was 25% among all workers and over a third non farm workers were seeking jobs. By 1938, this number was still 19% among all workers. The results might have been better if he had not been blocked. Even with this slow beginning, the unemployment was 1.2% when he died. The Bush administration policies were paramount in starting a domino effect. He started unfunded wars, reduced taxes for the wealthy and reduced bank regulations and eased enforcement of remaining regulations. Because of the pressure to tighten belts instead of plugging loopholes that allow billionaires to pay a lower percentage of tax than median income people, the states are receiving less money from the federal government and forced to lay off workers or raise taxes. Republican governors will not raise taxes and so government workers get laid off, offsetting much of the private sector job gains. We still have more jobs being created than are being lost. I don't have the time to give you a full economics course but suggest you do a serious study of the economy under Reagan as he lowered taxes, so his mistake in doing such deep cuts and then raised taxes. The rates he realized were too low were higher than are being paid now by the wealthy and they have been given more ways to hide money from taxation with such things as off shore accounts. Don't be fooled. The If you give the wealthy another billion dollars, they are not going to use it to create a significant number of jobs. You will only create private sector jobs by giving the economically lower half more confidence and willingness to spend, increasing demand and thus companies will react by increasing production. You are now enlightened but, like the proverbial horse, I cannot force you to understand.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

Private secotr jobs are created when businesses recognize a need for a product or service. They then hire as needed to fulfill said need. If you raise taxes, you run the risk of two adverse effects. 1. The community, with higher taxes, cannot pay for said product or service, and therefore businesses eliminate jobs that are not needed. or 2. Those that would produce the job no longer have the financial means necessary because they are now paying more to the government. I have an understanding of history. I get that FDR created jobs. FDR also greatly expanded the size and scope of the federal government and he instituted policies that haunt us to this day. And yes, George W. Bush spent too much money and started wars that were not good for us. But he also wanred of a housing crisis that Democrats ignored or plowed on through, thanks to Barney Frank. While you admit that both parties are doing this country no favors, you seem to think that Republican answers are all bad. Higher taxation leads to less tax revenue. Higher minimum wage leads to fewer jobs or higher prices for goods and services. If the federal government could cut it's budget by 1%, we'd see savings of $33 Billion. That is, if we could get the Democrat Senate to pass a budget. But as Harry Reid told us, it would be foolish to pass a budget.

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FordGalaxy 2 years ago

Also, you didn't exactly explain how 88 million people out of work was a faulty assumption on my part. Nor did you explain how I was making an assumption when I stated that nearly $5 Trillion has been added to the deficit in the last three years.

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jack 2 years ago

"You will only create private sector jobs by giving the economically lower half more confidence and willingness to spend, increasing demand and thus companies will react by increasing production."

I'm curious. How do you give the economically lower half more confidence and willingness to spend? The lower half already have the incentive of paying no income tax. Does raising taxes on the rich make the poor feel so much better about themselves they begin to spend their money, thereby increasing demand? Or do we take the increased taxes on the rich and just give them to the poor so they can spend it, thereby increasing demand?

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Jan 2 years ago

First, your statement the the lower half pay no taxes is incorrect. Even people on welfare and unemployment pay taxes. Now to answer your question: If you look back at history, you will see that every time the minimum wage has been increased that unemployment goes down. When minimum wage goes up, so does the wages of those near the minimum wage. Soon, people that kept a second job to make ends meet decide they can make it on one job, opening these positions to others. In addition, more money in the hands of low wage consumers will increase consumption. Bush senior got a bill passed that sent out a few hundred dollars to all tax payers, like a short term interest free loan to be repaid with taxes and we immediately saw an increase in spending. Of course his action was short term and economy reverted when taxes had to be paid. Reducing the deficit will also give more confidence to buyers. The way to do this is to end the tax cuts done during the Bush administration and cutout personal and corporate loopholes such as the ones that allowed a multibillion dollar company like GE to avoid paying any US income taxes. Since many politicians have demonstrated their fiscal irresponsibility by singing no tax increase pledges, we have no choice but to vote this group out of office to get this country back on the right track. Personally, I would like to see some strong independent contenders. I do agree that Democrats are not much better than Republicans.

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jack 2 years ago

Jan- I did not say the lower half pay no taxes, I said INCOME taxes. Please pay attention. A graph showing minimum wage increases vs. unemployment shows in 17 times it has been raised (1948-2005), seven times unemployment went up, seven times down, and three times with no discernible effect (Waldo Jaquith-2006). Somewhat different results than you offer. I will agree with you that corporate loopholes should be closed, however, raising taxes without cutting spending will do nothing to reduce the deficit. I also agree that Republicans are not much better than Democrats.

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Jan 2 years ago

Even limiting the tax to income, a single person making $11,500 taking standard deduction will owe taxes. Note that with rent and health insurance, this would leave nothing extra for food and is far below the median income. I chose to point out that taxation goes beyond income tax and many pay more in other taxes than they do in the income tax category. To suppose that the only tax that should be discussed is "INCOME TAX" is a bit narrow in scope. I googled your reference to Waldo Jaquith-2006 and could only find a graph that, because of the size of the dots, was difficult to determine actual effects. In quick searches, I was unable to find a definitive table. I did find some analyses of minimum wage versus unemployment which clearly indicated that, not only national minimum wages but state minimum wages set higher than national should also be considered in such an analysis and results did indicate a strong correlation between higher minimum wage and reduced unemployment. I will agree that raising the minimum wage too rapidly can have adverse effects. In 1968, the minimum wage was $1.68. Accounting for inflation, this is the equivalent of about $10.00, well above the current $7.25. Glad to see you believe in closing corporate loopholes. How about individual loopholes like off shore accounts? How about caps on mortgage interest for individuals or do you believe we should supplement the purchase of 5 million dollar homes? I am curious about what kind of logic makes you believe that increasing income for the federal government cannot reduce deficit unless spending is also cut. I'm not against reducing spending but not an arbitrary across the board, irresponsible cuts. We should stop allowing states money for projects that were not done, like the New Jersey Hudson River rail tunnel money that Governor Chris Christie took even after killing the project and the bridge to nowhere money that Governor Palin took after killing that project.

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jack 2 years ago

Jan- In terms of debt reduction, if every government agency made do with 99% of their current budget, it would generate six times the savings than that of raising taxes under the so-called "Buffett Rule". My logic in believing in spending cuts as a part of deficit reduction is much the same as denying a morbidly obese child an increase in cookies, candy and cake.

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JV 2 years ago

Interesting that a certain commenter here consistently demands references and yet provides none to back up their own misguided opinions. Then picks apart those references provided by others to suit their own agenda. Said same commenter accuses others of insulting them and complains yet consistently uses insults in their own words.

Liberalism

A normal state of a healthy person whose brain developed under the caring guidance of the progressive establishment. A Liberal/Socialist/Democrat brain is hard to map because it undergoes perpetual reshuffling of its centers and synapses. Generally it can be characterized by a compassionate concern for not taxing the rich enough, combined with generosity in spending other people's money.

A liberal brain is known to have a well-developed "blame-America" synapse, a benign "Smarter than Thou" tumor, a Global Warming Panic Center, the Entitlement Synapse, Moral Relativity Gray Area, and a "P.C. Lobe" responsible for speech codes, multiculturalism, racial quotas, and alternative lifestyles.

The underdeveloped areas of a Liberal Brain usually include those that handle common sense, personal responsibility, sense of humor, patriotism, and work ethics. The eternal motivational force that keeps a liberal going is typically a daily dose of Starbucks coffee combined with the dialectical struggle of the opposites - the feeling of being a victim of oppression and the feeling of guilt for oppressing the others at the same time.

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jack 2 years ago

JV- Don't be too harsh on our liberal friends. Afterall, they would gladly give you the shirt off someone else's back!

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Jan 2 years ago

Thank you, JV! That was good for a chuckle.

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NewsReader 2 years ago

JV, ignore the idiot behind the curtain disguised as a wizard! She[sic] has issues, the very least of which is a distinction between fact and opinion. Anything she[sic] says isn't gonna be much. She[sic] is quite the little communist with a burning desire for a socialist agenda here in the USSA (United Socialist States of America). Alex, she[sic] would like to buy a clue!

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FRegistryTerrorists 1 year, 12 months ago

McCullough, please.

You love big nanny governments. It wasn’t long ago that you were running your mouth in support of the nanny SEX OFFENDER Registries. Don’t people like you need your nanny governments to tell you who to harass? How would you get by without them?

And of course it doesn’t stop with just the Registries. No, that is just the beginning. They are what have enabled the criminal governments and media people like you to run wonderful propaganda campaigns in order to get even more laws created. Can’t have enough laws, can we? Well, as long as they are affecting other people. And especially people who fill your need to hate and make yourself feel better.

You will be happy to know that, just as all experts say, the Registry are just as counter-productive today as they were a decade ago. Contrary to the propaganda campaigns of your nanny criminal governments, the Registries are negligibly beneficial. Yet on the other hand, the negatives they bring are huge, not the least of which is increased sex crimes. The Registries are immoral and un-American. They will be at least until all the other Registries are created. As long as they are immoral, the people listed on them should do everything that is legal to retaliate for them. Not just negate the Registries and the rest of the idiotic, tag-along laws, but retaliate for them.

But no one really cares of course. Your kind are just happy to be “getting them there SEX OFFENDERS!!!” I just wish you people would pay a little bit for your nanny governments. You terrorists have a war to pay for.

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