This blog will try to lay out the different philosophical viewpoints on controversial American political issues. The goal is to provide relatively unbiased information to enable us to understand/respect opposition, rather than perceiving them as stupid, evil, insane, stooge, oppressors. Posts will feature the prominent perspectives on each issue represented by "Mark" or "ME" or "Ellis", and end with my take, under the guise of "Mark Ellis". The arguments are numbered for convenience, but they vary in validity and value. I'm going to do my best considering I have limited knowledge, data, and intellect and limited time and effort to devote to research and writing; I have to pay the bills. Do not expect stats, although the links I provide may lay out relevant stats. And sure, I have my own biases; I am a married, mid-thirties, male, Jewish (non-Orthodox), New Yorker, and the product of Soviet bloc immigrants and Holocaust survivors who forged a middle-class family. I graduated from a math/science high school, majored in History and English at a Philadelphia college, and earned a degree from a Brooklyn law school where I trained in prosecutors' offices. I have been practicing criminal defense (often white collar) and (commercial) litigation for small law firms (while aspiring to be a novelist). I like debating politics, history, religion, philosophy, and science, but not nearly as much as I like talking television, movies, sports, podcasts, and books. And generally, I like making people laugh more than I like making people think or feel, but you did not luck out today. I welcome thoughtful or passionate comments, debate, or discussion. I'm open to change, but I'm rather stubborn, so don't expect change. I can be manipulative, but in the most passive way. I don't expect to change your mind because the words on a blog post (especially my blog) have limited value, and even if my words ring true, these analyses will be shallow as I don't want to get bogged down on (often competing) statistics, and in part because delving into the details of some of these positions can rapidly get confusing, boring, or pointedly biased, which is not how I intend to spend my spare time. Mostly, I guess I am trying to rationalize my views to myself - and to a lesser extent, to justify my views to you. So, here is what I think I feel on these issues.