Friday, June 30, 2006

If you watch as much news as I do, and if you don’t you’re probably far saner than I am, you’ve noticed a trend. It seems that every time a Democrat brings up the idea of pulling the troops out of Iraq and redeploying them the right-wing noise machine kicks into overdrive. They seem to have a few catchphrases they are brandishing about. As with all pre-manufactured catchphrases they are of no real use. They bring zero clarity to the debate. Of course the use of these catchphrases has been around for a long time. They have always been half-truths at best. Let me explain using some newer examples and a classic model.

First off is the phrase, “cut and run”. You just know some Republican strategists sat around in some conference room thinking up this trite little phrase. They probably had a really big board with lots of different phrases and they set out to pick the best one. They needed something simple so everyone could remember it, even the Republican base. So they needed something brief with small words that had some real kick to it. It would have to be like the Fifth Commandment, “Thou shall not kill” but something that Republicans would actually retain and get some use out of it. I’d like to think at some point they had “Shit and Get” on the big board. But they decided to drop it after they asked “What Would Jesus Do?” So they came up with “cut and run”. Cut is a nice violent word for a nice violent bunch of people. When you’re responsible for the deaths of about 50,000 people you qualify as violent. It also has run in it, which has the connotation of being a coward. Never mind that neither the President nor the Vice-President has ever served in combat. They just want the people who oppose their war to look bad. So they settled on “cut and run”. Of course no one that has suggested leaving Iraq has wanted what the Republicans would like everyone to believe. They Republicans are trying to paint those who want us out as unpatriotic and cowards. Rep. Murtha and Sen. Kerry merely want the troops out of the chaos of Iraq and used elsewhere, like maybe finding Osama Bin Laden. Republicans don’t think our mission is complete however. They want us to “stay the course”.

OK may I be so bold to ask a few simple questions? Do we even have a course? What precisely are our goals in Iraq? Does Bush even know? Would any of these steadfast “stay the course” Republicans even recognize this so-called course? Would they recognize it if it crawled up their asses and bit them on their sphincters? I sincerely doubt it. You know what this “stay the course” translates to? What they are really trying to do is save face. These egomaniacs with neither their own personal safety or the well-being of a loved one at stake don’t want to leave Iraq looking like anything less than a conquering hero. They can’t stand the thought of having to admit, even if it is just the mere insinuation of it, that this war was fought for the wrong reasons and we should have never went in the first place. So we are left to “stay the course’, no matter how far away from the truth, justice or the American way that course leads us.

Please stop comparing this war in Iraq to World War II. World War II was a just war against two powerful nations that both sought to become an empire. We had to fight in World War II. There wasn’t an alternative. Also the people that point out how iron-willed we were in World War II need to study the Lost Division. The Lost Division, the approximately 19,000 soldiers who went AWOL while fighting in Europe. Not everyone was a hero. Some cracked under the pressure of fighting a brutal war. War is never glorious. War is Hell. So please stop bringing up World War II every time you want to justify a war.

Republicans seem to be good with these little catchphrases and comparisons. They must have better marketing people. It seems like about an election rolls around a new phrase of two pops up. Do you remember “family values”? There’s a nice vague piece of language. Aren’t the values of a family variable from family to family? Do you really think the Manson Family had the same values as the Brady Bunch? Well do you?

There’s a perfectly good reason I loathe these precious little catchphrases. It is because the people use them and then have nothing else to offer to the debate. The next time some on drops a “cut and run” or a “stay the course” press them on it. I guarantee they will go silent. We’re a sound bite culture. We seem to have the superficial nonsense down to a tee. But when asked for deeper meaning there is usually very little there. This is why politicians can get away with murder. People only retain the little blurbs and never look deeper. These catchphrases are at best half-truths. If you scratch away at a half-truth long enough you’ll always find the lie.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Here’s a perfectly good example of why I don’t watch a whole lot of political shows that rely on talking heads. I’m flipping through the channels tonight and I notice on Scarborough Country they’re discussing global warming. Who do they have on to discuss this issue that could potentially alter the fate of the human race? Could it be scientists? Nope. They have on two talking heads. One of who was John Stossel. I find Stossel about as useful as a tit on a boar. He claims to be a skeptic but all he is a polemic. He never fully examines both sides of the issue and always sides with people on the political right. Tonight, and I’ll admit I didn’t see it all, but he claimed that the reason people back global warming is that they have something against capitalism. He could have had other shoddy science like he has in the past when he attacked people that support the idea that our planet is getting warmer and we are at least partly to blame. He usually finds the three or four scientists who have doubts and acts like that proves him right, but enough about John Stossel and his asinine attempts at skepticism. Let me move on to my original point, talking heads are useless.

Usually on these political talk shows they have guests on that are far from experts. If you want to talk military strategy then having someone on who served in the military, preferably a commander of some sort would be a good idea. If you want to discuss the environment might I be so bold as to suggest a climatologist or a meteorologist. If you want to discuss the economy an economist would be a sound decision. See where I‘m going with this? If these shows want to have truly informed debate then they need truly informed people. They need to stop booking people trying to sell their books and get people to attend their lectures.

Is Ann Coulter really any better informed about current events than most of the people on the blogosphere? I doubt it. So why aren’t they one CNN and Fox News? Well some people think Ann’s 5’9” 98 lb frame with her 9 lb Adam’s apple is sexy, but I digress. Then again other than the fact she is an insane pain in the ass, can think of no other reason to allow her such a large public forum. She is in spite of really being of no exceptional value to any discussion on my TV all the time. Isn’t there anyone else with a valid opinion out there? Couldn’t someone else better discuss the current administration’s policies? Yes they could but because Ann is such an insane pain in the ass she draws ratings. So Ann gets to hee-haw like a jackass on TV and real experts are almost never heard.

There is a danger to this, a very real danger. You see because people are chosen because they are entertaining or because their corporate overlords approve of their message people never get to see the whole picture. Real debate is dead presently. Even Presidential debates that ought to be intellectually stimulating exchanges between to people well versed in rhetoric have become little more than simultaneous campaign speeches. The public never sees real scientific debate that never really makes into the newspaper and has to be found in magazines devoted to science. Political debate is a shouting match burdened with hyperbole and platitudes. It’s no wonder why no one cares about politics or science.

People like John Stossel and Ann Coulter and the countless others who are “Talking loud and saying nothing”, to quote James Brown, ought to be largely ignored. These noise machines are in it largely for their own egos and bank accounts. There are many real experts out there who have real information based on tireless work and very tedious research that could make us all smarter and make the world a better place. But they are hard to find because they avoid inflammatory language and don’t look like they want to be on the cover of a magazine. If the talking heads keep being placed out there as if they are real experts on anything other than how to be on talk shows then I fear we may keep sliding in the wrong direction. We may keep sliding away from reason and towards ignorance.

“Reason and Ignorance, the opposites of each other, influence the great bulk of mankind. If either of these can be rendered sufficiently extensive in a country, the machinery of government goes easily on. Reason obeys itself; and Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”-- Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man: Being An Answer To Mr. Burke's Attack On The French Revolution, Part the First, Conclusion

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I’ve got good news and I got bad news. Well by the end of this post it will look like mostly bad news. So I got to give you kids a little sugar to help the medicine go down.

First the good news, I believe soon they may very well be a unified Iraq. Yes you heard it here first. Little old anti-war me thinks that there will soon may be a unified Iraq. All the Sunnis and the Shiites and the Kurds will all be in this together. They will function as one unified Iraq.

Well hooray for our team right? What possibly could be bad about a unified Iraq? What could there possibly be that could make that a bad thing? It would really be “Mission Accomplished”. Wouldn’t it?

Well I haven’t said yet what I think will unify Iraq. I haven’t told you what just might bring all Iraqis together in spite of their religious and tribal differences. What force could unify Iraq? They might all soon unify to kick the Americans the Hell out of their country. If we thought the insurgency is bad now just wait until Iraq unifies. If Iraq comes together with one mission and that mission to kick the American military and contractors dead square in the ass, then we will soon long for the days of only 2,500 dead American servicemen and women.

Today it was reported by Newsweek that the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has plan. That plan wants a timetable for US troop withdrawal from Iraq, amnesty for Iraqis that have killed American troops, compensation for victims of coalition military operation and release all security detainees in US and Iraqi prisons. I somehow doubt the Bush Administration will be happy to see this plan. This really doesn’t seem like it fits with this administration’s new mantra of “stay the course”. I’m pretty sure this is not the mission they wanted to accomplish.

Things in Iraq continue to remain hellish. Go read this report from The Detroit Free Press. Baghdad is currently under a state of emergency, in spite of an attempt by Iraqi soldiers to restore peace to Baghdad.

Killing Al-Zarqawi wasn’t a deathblow to the insurgents. This was not a case of chopping the head off of the serpent. Al-Zarqawi wasn’t that important to the insurgency. These insurgents will keep fighting no matter who dies, be it Al-Zarqawi or even Bin laden. Think about it. If one of our leaders died would we expect our troops to stop fighting? The dead leader will simply be replaced and the fighters will keep on fighting. That’s just how wars work.

So here’s the decision that President Bush has got to make. The Iraqis clearly want us out. Iraq is a violent out of control civil war. So will he start working with Congress and the Iraqi government for us to leave? Will he defy all the neo-conservatives and oil companies that wanted this war? Will he take a stand and do what is not only prudent but what is right? Well he stand down as the Iraqi government stands up?

I fear that he won’t. After over five years of watching this New England born, Ivy League educated, heir to old money pseudo-cowboy operate, I’ve lost all faith in him. He didn’t act quickly on 9/11, he didn’t act quickly after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and I doubt he will show any real eagerness to act here.

If the President or Congress doesn’t agree to work with the Iraqi government and start allowing them to control their own destiny, I fear the situation in Iraq may worsen. The Republicans must drop this macho nonsense of not “cutting and running” and start to give the Iraqis what they want. Which is obviously control of their government, the right to self-rule. Wasn’t that our mission anyways?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Lately with the release of Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth there’s a bit of chatter in the media about global warming. So let me get in my two cents worth.

First, no matter what people like John Stossel try and sell you global warming is very real. The planet’s average temperature is rising as is it’s oceans’ temperature. We are clearly in the midst of a trend. There is no denying it.

Now there are those who will debate as to why the Earth is getting warmer. Maybe there are other factors. I know the Sun is getting more energetic. I know the Earth’s magnetic field is weakening and soon will reverse poles. I know the Earth has endured some pretty brutal climate changes before. However the scientific consensus is that people are a significant portion of the problem. Meaning if we weren’t burning fossil fuels like madmen the problem would be substantially less.

I know why fossil fuels have remained popular. They have remained in favor because a bunch of greedy bastards got rich off of them. They then went and bought some politicians and the fossil fuels kept our vehicles running and electricity generating. So because some gaggle of greedy little men had to get greedier and more gluttonous we now have a planet increasingly hostile to our existence. This is why greed and gluttony are among the seven deadly sins.

How anyone could put self-interest ahead of the condition of this precious blue and green ball is bewildering. This greatest gift we could ever be given. This wonderful world is teeming with nourishment and remedies and awe-inspiring beauty. Yet we treat it like an unwanted birthday gift. We ignore it and pile our crap on it and forget that it was even a gift at all. If we forget what a precious gift this planet and forget what precious gifts this planet has given us then this planet will forget us.

This planet is in no danger. This planet will survive all our greed and excess. We won’t survive it, but Earth will. So if all out pollution makes the planet inhospitable to people, then we will go away forever. Earth will simply put pennies on our eyes just like she did to the dinosaurs and dodos. Earth does not need us. We are totally dependant on it.

This glorious third blue-green rock from the Sun is the only home we have. It is the only place we know where we can survive. We must not forget how much we need planet Earth. We are not the demigods we imagine ourselves to be, capable of conquering any foe. We are but small helpless children sheltered in Mother Earth’s warm embrace.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Just a quick note the letter you are about to read was originally intended for the editorial page of the local newspapers. Then Divine Strake got cancelled. One of the peace groups I belong to wanted me to pursue the issue anyway. Well, since most papers have words limits and reserve the right to edit your submissions I decided to throw it on my humble blog. I wasn’t able to edit to length that would makes the papers happy. I also didn’t want to trust my baby to some editor who doesn’t give a damn about my viewpoints.

Even though the test has been cancelled the threat is still very real. That’s why I posted it here for your reading pleasure. Much more information about Divine Strake can be found here.

On June 23rd 700 tons of ammonium nitrate fuel oil will be detonated in the Nevada desert. This test, codenamed Divine Strake, is to test the class of weapons called bunker busters. The purpose of these bunker busters is to penetrate and destroy underground weapons caches and other underground installations. Bunker busters carrying conventional explosives have been used before and have been less than effective. In fact those used in Afghanistan were said to have hardly damaged the targets at all.

So the United States is now testing a large amount of explosives in the Nevada desert. It’s not that the fact that they are testing explosives that is disturbing. It is the sheer amount that they are using. The 700 tons of ammonium nitrate fuel oil that they are using have the explosive force equivalent of 593 tons of TNT. The size is so important because no aircraft known has the capability to deliver a payload that large. No military aircraft, including the immense cargo planes, has the capability to deliver a payload in excess of 500 tons. The C5 Galaxy, an immense cargo plane, can only get airborne at about 837,000 lbs or 418.5 tons. That is less than 60% of the weight of the Divine Stake test. The C5 is not a bomber and would be a poor choice to drop bunker busters. The B-52, our largest bomber has maximum take off weight of 488,000 lbs or 244 tons.

So why test such a large amount of explosives if we cannot deliver them? There is only one logical solution. It is preparation for the construction of a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator or RNEP. An RNEP is simply a bunker buster that uses a nuclear payload instead of conventional explosives.

According to the Department of Defense’s own analysis a 1-megaton nuclear weapon dropped in Iran, the most likely target for these weapons, would kill about 3 million people and expose another 35 million to levels of radioactive fallout that could cause cancer. The fallout would no be restricted to Iran however it would spread through Afghanistan. Pakistan and India. To put that 3 million number in some sort of perspective it is approximately equal to twice the population of Columbus, Ohio or 1000 times the number of lives taken in the September 11th attacks.

Nuclear weapons are horrifying. Every President, from Eisenhower to Clinton, did something to either limit their testing or reduce their numbers. President Reagan even eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons, medium range missile launched warheads in Europe.

The effectiveness of these nuclear bunker busters is under scrutiny. The Union of Concerned Scientists has reported that an RNEP would lack the destructive power to destroy a target that is fairly deep underground. Also unless the strike was a direct hit the detonation of the nuclear warhead would not completely destroy whatever nuclear or biological weapons components present.

Divine Strake and the testing and proliferation of all nuclear weapons must be opposed. Nuclear weapons are too destructive to be ever be used again. No nation on Earth, including our own, can be trusted with this terrible weapon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

At a forum I like to frequent a new term as thrown out, pseudo-Christian. I do love new words. The thread was about that most explosive issue, homosexuality. Of course this term pseudo-Christian was used in the heat of disagreement like any other put down. But are there really pseudo-Christians out there? I think so. Well as my mind got to think I decided to write about my topic today, which is a little bit of both issues, pseudo-Christians and homosexuality.

As I have said before religion is based on faith and therefore it is difficult, if not impossible, to prove anyone right or wrong. This is why I dodge a lot of religious arguments because they tend to lead to some very ungodly behavior. That being said I think most faiths tend to come from a place that is good and pure. I bear no malice against mainstream faiths. I believe there is goodness in Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, Methodists, Muslims, Buddhists, Quakers and many other wonderful faiths. There are many pathways to Heaven. However there are not infinite paths. Some religions are bothersome. Scientology is fascinating and all but is it really a religion? It seems from what I am able to understand to be more of method of self-help than a religion. Anything founded by a mediocre science-fiction writer probably isn’t worth worrying about anyway. Well they are a bunch of goofy bastards but that’s another essay. I shall also spare the leader of these so-called mega-churches. You know these slick looking ministers in their big ostentatious monuments to their religion. They may be over the top and have a shaky understanding of religion at times but they’re not that bad.

No if you want find true pseudo-Christians you have to look to Topeka, Kansas and the Westboro Baptist Church. The Westboro Baptist Church is led by Fred Phelps, who hates homosexuals. The Westboro Baptist Church even has a website called “God hates fags”. I could just sum this up in one little phrase, “God loves, man hates”. But, I know you humble reader expect me to be chattier, so I shall do my best. Phelps goes so far to claim tragedies like Hurricane Katrina were caused by America’s tolerance for homosexuals. Members of his church also protest at the funerals of soldiers who were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. They protest there because Phelps and his followers believe the soldiers died because of America’s tolerance of homosexuality. A brief side note, I have protested the war in Iraq many times but I would never protest at a funeral of a fallen soldier. The families and friends of these soldiers deserve their time to heal.

Getting back to Phelps and his followers, I can imagine nothing less Christian than hating in the name of God or Jesus. To understand this a little better let’s examine the Roman Catholic Church’s stance on the issue of homosexuality. As usual I use Catholicism because its what I am so I understand it the best. Roman Catholicism does not condone homosexuality. The Roman Catholic Church does not however preach hatred towards those who commit this act. They regard in the same regard as other sins of the flesh, such as pre-marital sex. The sinner must ask forgiveness but there is never hatred towards the sinner. Hating someone who is a sinner is a most un-Christian thing to do.

Oh by the way, Phelps also hates Catholics with a passion. He took full advantage of the sexual abuse scandal that still hangs shamefully over the church. He claims a third of all priests are gay and they are seducing innocent children and women. Why would a gay man seduce a woman? That seems like a poorly thought out insult. Most of the pathetic shameful venom that Fred Phelps regurgitates is less than well thought out.

Now people like Fred Phelps aren’t big threats. By their own admission, the Westboro Baptist Church has about 100 members and roughly 80% of those are related to Phelps by either blood or marriage. Plus they all live in walled off compound. So I doubt the Westboro Baptists are likely to overrun us all anytime soon. What is troublesome is however is that they know how to draw attention. Their protests have gotten them on the cable news stations on a pretty regular basis lately. Why they bring these people on is totally beyond me. What do they hope to learn? How will this make the world any smarter? Are they that desperate for ratings? I’m not for suppressing these followers of Fred Phelps. It’s a free country to believe whatever you want, no matter how loathsome. But giving these idiots attention just emboldens them. I fear what a truly emboldened Fred Phelps might be hateful enough to attempt.

Enough about Fred Phelps and his doctrine of hatred let me return to my original thoughts. They are many paths to Heaven. Just remember that any church that preaches hatred or intolerance or fear isn’t one worth following. Remember that one of the most important things in the Bible is how we shall be judged. It is not based on how many people we convert or how many sinners we point out. But rather, we will be judged on how we treat the least of God’s children. Don’t homosexuals who are outcast in most cultures and forced to live out their love lives in secrecy for fear of the repercussions among those most in need of kind treatment? I tend to believe so.

Friday, June 09, 2006

I love it when I learn new things. I’m fairly curious by nature so I’m always looking around and hoping to discover something new. So I’m just surfing around and I find this article by Eric Alan Beltt entitled, “Liberalism is a Psychology”. It’s bad enough I got Michael Savage trying to convince people that liberals have mental disorders and Ann Coulter saying liberals are Godless now I find this. Please read the article if you can make it all the way through.

Oh by the way, I was going to copy the article and annotate it but alas Eric Alan Beltt is a bigger windbag than me.

The most nauseating thing is says is that liberals believe things that are “patently wrong”. Of course he offers no evidence he gives no substance he just says that liberals are wrong. Liberals never have a good damn idea. That seems a bit arrogant. So was Social Security wrong? Is wanting everyone to have access to health care wrong? Are civil rights wrong? You can’t just say the other side is wrong and offer no proof.

Also I think Mr. Beltt should understand that in a democracy it functions best when it has a diversity of opinions. There must be ideas from all sides to make this country as strong as it can be. I bear no malice against traditional Republicans who want smaller government and fiscal responsibility. Those are sound notions and they belong in the national debate.

But to call a school of thought patently wrong is just arrogant and shows a lack of ability to really debate the issues.

Another annoyance is the notion liberals do things to help people because they feel superior to them. I cannot pretend to speak for all liberals but in all honesty I feel superior to no one. We are all in this together, created equal in the eyes of God. To call liberals arrogant in this regard shows how little Mr. Beltt really knows about liberals. I wonder if he has ever talked to a Quaker or a Catholic Worker or a humanist. I wonder if the words empathy and sympathy have any real meaning for Mr. Beltt. I wonder if Mr. Beltt has any concept of being a humble servant of God and man.

Mr. Beltt also tries to demonstrate that liberals are elitists. He claims the liberals that dominate the legal, academic, entertainment and media professions choose to go into those fields just for their egos. He claims they have elite social circles. So apparently all the wealthy conservatives that belong to country clubs that won’t admit blacks or Jews are just common folk. All the wealthy conservatives that pour money into the Republican political machine are regular Joes. All the Republicans in their gated communities are just the salt of the earth. It’d be funny if weren’t so sad.

One more thing before I put this puppy to bed. This is just one more example of someone slamming liberals. Liberals are so marginalized in this current political climate it’s hard to find any of them at all in power. Liberals have been the victim of a two decade long plan to mold the USA into a country that pleases them. I remember back during the 1984 Presidential debates Reagan called Mondale “a card carrying member of the ACLU” and a liberal. The crowd cheered like Reagan just landed a really good yo momma joke. Liberals are under attack because they stand between the Christian-Neo-Conservative-Corporate right and their agenda of running America with an iron fist.

OK I lied. I have one more morsel for you to chew on. It would have been so easy for me to attack Eric Alan Beltt in the same fashion he attacked liberals. But I took a pass. I could claim to know the conservative mindset and make a lot of generalizations and take about 150 cheap shots but I passed. Trust me it wasn’t easy. This country will not ever get anywhere if we lose the ideal of real debate. We have gone from the classic Lincoln –Douglas style debates to the less civilized Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage shouting matches. I think we can do better.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Recently I was sitting at Mass when the priest said something that would shock a lot of Christians. He said that not all the answers are in the Bible. That you cannot find the solution to every problem that life throws at you in the pages of the Good Book.

The Bible is wonderful thing. It is a tremendous guide in how to live a loving, humble and charitable life. It is not however a textbook. It says nothing of nuclear weapons. It says nothing of cloning. So what is a good Christian to do? A good Christian must you the gifts of reason and compassion that God was kind enough to give us. Just because you can’t fine a Bible verse that specifically backs your ideas or decisions doesn’t necessarily make them any less close to God’s ideal.

People have unfortunately used the Bible for less than noble purposes since Guttenberg started printing them. Hideous and despicable things like slavery and gay bashing have been justified by Bible quotes. The Devil has been citing Scripture to get away with his evil ways, to paraphrase Shakespeare. So it’s always best to question Bible-thumpers who use biblical references to justify immoral behavior. The Westboro Baptist Church comes screaming to mind, with their repulsive “God hates fags” campaign. If someone could be kind enough to show me where in the Bible anyone preached hatred, especially Jesus since this is in name at least a Christian church.

Speaking of things that are repulsive, Ann Coulter has a new book out. Godless: The Church of Liberalism is maybe the most ironically titled book ever. Ann Coulter herself could be no farther from God if she were to masturbate with a crucifix in St Peter’s Square during Easter Sunday. Just because you proclaim God is on your side does not make it so. Ann Coulter who has made a career of being spiteful, hateful, fallacious 98 lb bag of monkey crap is no closer to God then all the rest who lie cheat and steal in His name. We must always remember what Abraham Lincoln said, “I can't say whether God is on our side, but my great concern is to be on the side of God.”

I must also bring this up because it irritates me so. The Bible though wonderful in its own right is not a science text. God was kind enough to give us free will and reason to think and solve problems. Just because one of those solutions does not appear verbatim in the Bible does not prove it untrue. So just relax. The Bible never bothered to tell us about medicine or transportation yet that doesn’t mean you’re free to ignore advances to does it? Yes I know about the ironically named Christian Scientists but they are in a minority. It just always confounds me when people take the Bible oh so literally. If you do take it literally may I ask you the same question Bill Hicks used to ask? What about dinosaurs? If the Bible is the only book you need to understand everything then where are the dinosaurs? If man existed at about the same time as all the animals why didn’t someone write about a T-Rex or a raptor? You’d think if oh say Moses saw a big old sauropod it would have made the Good Book.

You can get a lot of good stuff from the Bible. But it is not the solution to everything. You must use the good sense and compassion God gave you. As the old Indian proverb says, “Call out to the Lord, but row away from the rocks.”

Monday, June 05, 2006

June 6th, 2006 is fast approaching. In fact as your read this it may have already passed, but that is neither here nor there. If you pay attention to the media some people think that June 6, 2006 will be a very bad day because it’s date can be written as 6/6/06 or 666. For those of you who or missed the movie The Omen or aren’t big Iron Maiden fans, I’ll try and help. Some people claim that the number 666 represents Satan. It is the number of the beast. This overlooks the fact that a lot of biblical scholars disagree. The number 666 was probably just code for Caesar Nero. Also the Book of Revelations was not a book of prophecy rather it was a coded critique of the Roman Empire’s treatment of early Christians. But while all that is an interesting argument there is a greater evil taking place. It has nothing to do with Satan or religion. It has to do with your eroding rights.

Florida recently passed a law that fines organizations for turning it forms late. It is currently being challenged in court as being unconstitutional. These fines would make it next to impossible for organizations like the League of Women Voters to register voters. The League of Women Voters has been doing this for decades.

Washington has a law denying anyone the right to vote if their data does not match a state database. We all know how efficient and accurate our government is. This will disenfranchise potentially thousands of voters in Washington.

There is some talk of a national voter ID card or requiring photo ID to vote, but this is slow moving. Apparently even Bush, who seems to love needless bureaucracy, has rejected it. But it does bear watching.

Never mind the long standing practice of gerrymandering, which divides districts into regions of invincibility for the incumbent. Yes your district is more than likely been nicely divided into something that has the demographic makeup to always favor your incumbent politicians.

So this brings me to the scary part. Why are these moves being made to make it harder to vote? Isn’t voting essential to a representative democracy? Which is what we really are.

I know there has been talk recently that the 2004 elections, especially in Ohio, were less than earnest. But this is going deeper than that. It’s bad enough we have no national standards for voting, even in national elections. Are we going back to the days when voting was restricted to the white and wealthy?

Sadly I know why this is happening. It’s not totally the politicians’ fault. I mean sure they have seem to forgotten that their job is not that of divine leader but rather it is that of public servant. It is the politicians’ job to best serve the welfare and interests of the citizens. It is the right of the citizens to remove those politicians who are not fulfilling that obligation. Sadly in a lot of places that’s more difficult, because of gerrymandering, than it ought to be.

But as much as I’d like to sit here and write a thousand words or so on what a bunch of worthless snakes inhabit our halls of power, I won’t. I mean sure it’s true but they’re not who needs the swift kick in the pants.

It the American people who have to burden the bulk of the blame. I’ll say this early it’s a shame the mainstream media doesn’t get as angry with this as they should. It would make the citizen’s life a lot easier. But unfortunately this is the information age and being informed has never been easier. Sure there’s a large amount of crap that has to be sifted through but the truth is out there. You just have to willing to find it. So I can’t totally blame the mainstream media.

It’s the American people that have let the government do this to them. American’s are totally apathetic about their government. Recently an election in Israel had a 63% turn out. It was considered low by their standards. If 63% turned out in the USA it would be cause for celebration. The American people are also woefully ignorant of their own civil liberties as guaranteed by the Constitution. Most aren’t even aware of who represents them in government. If you want to see it for yourself start asking people who is the Representative in the United States House of Representatives. I’d bet that most couldn’t tell you even that. Or ask them to name the five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment. You’ll get blank stares.

The people of this wonderful country need to realize that freedom is fragile. It can be broken and taken away quite easily. You have to defend it. The people need to vote, educate themselves and make sure that those is government never forget who the real boss it. It is not they or their donors. It is the American people. We must never allow ourselves to forget that or let that change.