Friday, July 28, 2006

the REAL governmant

Sure, you took a course in school about the 3 branches of our national government. Maybe you were given a merit badge for knowing all about "checks and balances". That's pretty much over with., whatever they're teaching these days in Poli Sci 101. I'm the REAL government, the executive branch.
Think not? Think your vote for congressman or senator makes a difference in how the country is run or what the headlines say? Think again. I can stir up fear amoung the people so great that they go against their own natural tendency to be AGAINST war. I can point to "threats" out there, then claim that keeping secrets makes it necessary to say almost nothing about the threat itself, like the old horror movies that kept you in suspense as to what the monster looked like, which made you even MORE frightened. This fear makes people line up to give away rights to privacy they'd never surrender under ordinary circumstances. If anyone complains, I just have my friends in the "news" business make fun of them until they're shamed into silence. They hate being called "liberals"so much that they censure themselves! The New York Times knew for a year (!), and before the last election that I was snooping into phone records, but they kept their mouths shut about it.
That's just the start. They said somewhere that I had to get a warrant before doing these things. They set up a little court so powerless that I could even start snooping BEFORE getting the warrant, but I showed them. I don't ask for warrants at all now. It's better that way, because the fewer people know (and the less any ONE of them knows) what I'm doing, the better I like it.
I don't have to draft anyone. I just make promises to make the recruits "experts" in running computers and they sign up. Pathetic! I don't need a declaration to make war, just some little resolution exploiting that fear will do fine. I appoint the people in the courts, in fact they were very helpful in putting me in office in the first place. If they get out of line, well, they can be made to look like fools as well, and they don't like it either. Right now, most of them are Catholics, so they're used to taking orders from the ones who are REALLY in charge. One call to "Nino the Fist" gets the message across pretty well.
I don't have to raise taxes. We just defer the bill for the next generation of citizen/suckers. Hey, NOBODY wants a tax increase, right? And deficits? Most people aren't even sure what the word means, and if they do, they also know we've had those before. So what do they care?
And they don't care if we torture a few of these pitiful Towelheads either. We just keep that part more out of sight even though they know we're doing it. If Cuba's too close, there's the whole continent of Europe, where we can take turns, then simply deny anything goes on. Does torturing help? We haven't decided yet, but I'm not telling the prisoners it DOESN'T because I may want to really put the screws to one or two special customers. Sadly, this does mean that when our people are captured it can be rough for them, but so far they're still lining up for 'computer training" at the recruiting offices.
Things have worked out pretty well. The vice president is a guy so rich and loyal that he'll say ANYTHING we tell him to, though usually we just have him speak in front of audiences like the NRA. You know, friendly crowds who think like I do. The guys who make the voting machines (and hold patents on the software!) are friends, as are lots of local folks in charge of elections. We treat them right. Just ask what's-her-name in Florida, Harris? The Israelis are taking bullets for us again. Sure it's costly, but not to the friends WE have, the ones about to be exempted from estate taxes. Think they won't remember that? Think again.
There's always another election down the road, but that Clinton guy was so easy to bash that the old hate machine is intact, greased, loaded and ready to roll anywhere we tell it to. Yep, hate and fear is what got us to this level. A hundred years ago we got lots of mileage off of "waving the bloody shirt" reminding people who the good guys were in the Civil War. Now we just wave the GAP dress and people know what to do. If we think they'll forget, we just start talking about gays and abortion as if none of OUR people ever had one. They line up like lemmings, totally forgetting that we're letting their jobs go across the border.
Man, this stuff is easy, and almost as much fun as cutting brush at the horseless ranch. See y'all at the barbeque. We'll have the TV on switching back and forth from watching Condi tell people to give war a chance to NASCAR and back. Hooowee!

Friday, July 21, 2006

southpaw tackes a big one

I started this little spot last weekend, and realized that I should first make a little introduction. Big issues to follow. My name is Mark. I've spent most of my life in the Midwest, and have lived in northern CA for a year. Highs just in the 60s, but it is known to rain here in the winter. I'm not a journalist or a reporter, so what follows is strictly opinion. What else would you need to know? First-wave Boomer? Grandfather still clinging to a tennis game? Yup, left-handed, but the name has more to do with the political spectrum. Remember, I'm speaking just for myself. And thanks to son Jake for his help and encouragement.
Abortion. I've never been around one, wouldn't want to be. Told our daughters it's wrong. Is it safe? Nothing is perfectly safe, not in a medical office or a hospital, for that matter. Is it violent? I believe it is. It's not really even birth control, but the failure of birth control. Wasteful. Sad. A pity, considering that many aborted babies could have had adoptive homes.
Would you expect someone who thinks this way to favor the reversal of Roe v. Wade, or to pray nightly for a solidly pro-life Supreme Court? Nope. Not me. I believe that until we all choose something else, that we're stuck with legal abortion.
Here's why. When our friends on the Right talk about saving babies, what the are talking about is simply re-criminalizing a precedure that's now been legal for over 30 years. Making something criminal doesn't mean it won't happen since we can't simply forget the technology that makes it happen more-or-less safely. My problem with the Right is that they never talk about this. If it's a crime, then there must be a criminal. Criminals must be punished, or there's no point in having a law. So who all is guilty? The aborting mother? Sure, but what about the aborting father? The abortion providers? The parents of a minor? They (the Right) never talk about this part of it.
Here's another question. Do we want one standard for the entire country opposing abortion, or will 50 separate standards suffice? If it's the former, we'd need legislation making abortion a FEDERAL crime. That puts the FBI in charge, literally, of the bodies of all the nation's pregnant women. Is that really what those folks who always talk about SMALL government want? Maybe we'd need an entire new branch of criminal justice just to cover this one crime, and it would have to be VERY powerful to succeed. If 50 different laws prevailed, it would inevitably lead to state line reproductive clinics in states with liberal, bordering states with restrictive, standards.
Just what would the criminal penalties be for those who refuse to save the unborn? Would we be willing to kill to show that killing is wrong, Texas style? Who's eligible for the chemical needle? If it's a prison term, wouldn't it be counterproductive to put women in prison during the prime of their child-bearing years if it's babies that society wants?
One more little problem. Even in an "abortionless" society, such as they're attempting to create in South Dakota, a FEW abortion procedures would be approved under extreme or rare circumstances. Who would have the authority to approve an abortion? The governor? The Reproduction Czar? The president? Or could the local HHS bureaucrat simply put a stamp of approval on it, maybe in return for a bribe? The Right NEVER talks about all this because the DEVIL (literally in this case) is in the details. Not to drift too far from the subject, but you might recall that Romania had a dictator who simply outlawed all forms of birth control in order to help the nation's population grow. But he couldn't make all those children wanted and loved, and so the government had to provide "orphanages" for all the unwanted infants, a horror story that symbolized the worst of all conditions in the old Iron Curtain countries. You may also recall they shot the dictator and his wife in the street.
So I'm not advocating abortions, and advise all of you to advise your families accordingly. Some things that are legal aren't good, and this is one of them. But until something better comes along, freedom is going to have to be the standard. Of course while all this is being discussed, the Right and its army of Christian lawyers is trying to chip away at abortion rights in such a way as to make the procedure legal, but unavailable for a hundred little reasons. It's not so much that they love children, since they are working hard to keep the children of the poor in that condition. They're also against ALL forms of birth control, with the possible exception of a locked chastity belt. About all you could say about these good folks is that they are "pro-birth". After that, you're on your own, kid.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

In Sunday School

I'm a church guy. I really am. I'm there every week doing all the things which go with our church, though today I had to do it in tennis shoes because I forgot to pack the nice ones for our vacation. Nobody said anything (I was a guest), though none of THEM had sneakers on of any color. It was in Utah, so draw your own conclusions. One hundred degrees and ZERO humidity. Sandwiches dry out before you can even eat them.
Anyway, to Sunday School. The Old Testament is packed with interesting characters. Sure, they had some sins which we now find bizzare, like human sacrifice, but people don't seem to have changed much in 3000 years. Some of those people would seem right at home on the Springer show.
Today we were talking about good leaders, and bad. Rehoboam was a poor one. He became king after Solomon's death. All Israel approached him with a suggestion we can appreciate. "How about a tax cut, sir?" The idea seemed to take him by surprise and he asked for three days to answer the request. That part was probably Solomon's fault. A good dad will teach the family business to the kid before it's too late. Anyway, Rehoboam goes to his father's old advisors, who say, in effect, "Give them what they want, kid, and you'll have them in your pocket forever." This, for some reason, doesn't satisfy the rookie monarch, who goes to his old pals, the guys he used to party with in the Jerusalem hot spots of the time. Their advice is completely different: "Dude, you have to show those dopes who's in charge." When it comes time to answer the people, the new boss not only rejects the request, but adds a measure of vulgarity that doesn't translate well to english. This little rant leads directly to the division of the country into Israel and Judah, a poor circumstance for the people of BOTH countries.
So much for background. Bad leaders make bad decisions, which lead to bad results. But is the opposite ever true? Can bad people be good leaders? What about perfectly fine people who turn out to be poor leaders? I would suggest two things here. One is that certain leaders can BECOME well thought-of by the circumstances in which they are obliged to lead. So Lincoln becomes a great leader for freeing the slaves AND saving the union, and Buchanan is a poor one for doing neither. Secondly, the style of leadership is determined by the culture. In this regard, Stalin comes out as great since his country (the USSR) makes it out of WW II (barely) despite Stalin's screwups. In a totalitarian culture, the end really does justify any means necessary. Not so for Mussolini, whose country (Italy) just couldn't see itself as a global bully, a la Germany. So they killed him in the street.
I think bad people can be good leaders, at least for awhile. Nixon had a grasp on foreign policy that seemed to leave his rivals gasping. And good people can flop. As a native Iowan I would vouch for the often-mocked Hoover as a good man, if you see his whole life. Jimmy Carter is my relatives' favorite guy to make fun of as a president, and maybe they're right, but I can't see him as anything but a good person with good intentions. Of course, we didn't talk about any of these people in Sunday School, but we should have.

Testing the political waters

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