I Kinnah Unnerstan Thees Pepal

jesus_with_dinosaurGod knows I try.

But it seems an impossibility. It’s like Jesus is said to have said, to gain your life you gotta lose it.

To understand the Tea Party People, ya gotta lose your mind.

It’s not that I’m such a great student of history, though I know my fair share. Not so much the dates and stuff, but the general threads of causation. I get the big picture.

The Tea Party is filled with deliberately false history. I mean that. It’s “history” designed to support the meme of the party, however that might be defined.

Let’s start with the “tea party” label. Who is a tea party person?  Well, the Koch’s envisioned a “populist” groundswell of people who hated government. Why would they do that? Oh because they are struggling economically and paying taxes has never been popular. So the Koch’s lassoed that common feeling, and then fed the flames that most of the taxes were going to the wrong places: i.e. poor “takers” who were not pulling their weight because the Democrats had found an endless supply of voters by giving them “stuff”–like food.

The Koch’s were willing to accept that a lot of these angry folks brought a lot of ideas of their own about how things should be run, and since the Koch’s vision doesn’t include them every running anything, they allowed for their anti-gay, anti-free choice, anti-immigrant, anti-not-white, pro-fundamentalism stuff to play in the mix. The Koch’s themselves? Who knows what they think beyond accumulating all the money in the world.

So basically the Tea Party contains a collection of economic super conservatives and/or social super conservatives. They can be all one or the other, or some mix of both. A bunch of grifters always rise to the occasion when they smell a mark. And the folks like David Barton step up and decide they will now call themselves “historians” and rewrite it to suit their new audience of gullible angry people.

We all know from a lot of studies that have been done, that to a degree, one is kinda born conservative or liberal. The latest entries in this growing body of work are Our Political Nature: The Evolutionary Origins of What Divides Us, and Predisposed: Liberals and Conservatives and the Biology of Political Differences. No doubt these predilections are not written in stone, and environment probably has much to do with it as well. However, it does mean that we enter the world with a certain “world view”. If we get the “liberal” gene we are predisposed to be curious about the world, open to new things, willing to explore changing our minds and our way of doing things. If we get the conservative gene, we are more frightened of the world, see it as dangerous, think it’s best to stay with what has proven good in the past, and stick with our “own kind”.

When the extreme Right decided on adopting a logo and meme to describe who they were and are, it was no doubt comforting to align themselves with the history of the country. Yes, it made sense to see themselves as much like those brave souls who gambled everything to stand against the Mother country and strike for independence. They became Tea Party Patriots, self-described. They took to wearing three-corner hats dripping with tea bags as their costume.

Although studies do show that overall, those who identify as Republicans are a bit more educated than Democrats, this has little to do with intelligence if anything. It merely suggests that to a slightly greater degree, Republicans in general have more education. They also tend to be grossly more white, and older.

Clearly it seems to education has not served them well as regards the history of their own nation. One has but to remember Sarah Palin’s famous explanation of Paul Revere’s ride:

“He who warned uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.”

While Palin was sorta right about warning the British (Revere was actually stopped by the British, and had his horse taken from him, and he did tell the British that they would make a mistake if they marched on Lexington, he this was not the purpose of his “ride”.), she added in ringing bells and warning shots, which have nothing to do with the story.

Similarly, Michele Bachmann helped us understand our founding by explaining our “founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery” and that our “founding father John Quincy Adams would not rest until he had eradicated it.”

Of course this was not true. Slavery was written into the Constitution, several of the Founding Fathers owned slaves themselves, and John Quincy Adams was a mere child at the time of the revolution, was not a founding father, and died well before slavery was abolished.

No matter that this sort of thing is common with the Tea Party, they also as we have said, claim to be of the same genre as those patriots. And this is odd indeed.

For if one were to conclude anything from studying that period of our history, one would conclude that the men who pursued independence for this country were anything but conservatives. They were men who were well read in the new theories sweeping Europe based on the writings of John Locke, Montesquieu,  and Voltaire, and scientists such as Isaac Newton who brought us to a new way of understanding the world around us. These men were not conservatives, but just the opposite, they were men of the Enlightenment, that amazing time when there was a burst of new ideas and new thinking.

One of those new ways of thinking was a serious questioning of theocratic and monarchical forms of government. Britain represented both, and those soon-to-be Americans who supported the conservative position were holding with the Brits were called “loyalists” or “Tories”. They were the conservatives of the day, while Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin and those who declared for independence were liberals.

Our Tea Party adherents are not in any way aligned with the kinds of thinking that motivated the Founding Fathers. To claim such a joining is simply intellectually indefensible. Frankly I suspect the average Tea Bibber of today has no clue, has never thought seriously about any of this, and would be shocked if you tried to explain it. They seem to be satisfied that their willingness to argue against taxation automatically puts them in league with the Founders.

That might work if we didn’t have pages of subsequent history to prove otherwise. Those who decided to bring armed rebellion against the new country in the form of the Whiskey Rebellion soon found that the 2nd Amendment was used, not to insure their private right to bear arms against the government, but for the government to put them down as an illegal rebellion against a duly passed law.

I suspect this is all too confusing for the average Tea Bagger. It’s just feels better to wave “Don’t tread on me” flags and feel that you are in the tradition of such great men. Alas, that ship won’t float.

stoopidity172

 

The Social Compact Revisited

bnwIt occurs to me that I may have too much time on my hands, or on the other hand, this is what retirement should be all about–unfettered hours to wonder about “things”.

Preferring the latter conclusion, I wonder forward.

Once upon a time in a land far from here, or not, men (let’s be honest that women were seldom asked their opinion and mores the pity for that undoubtedly) gathered to discuss an important topic. Was it fruitful to continue in an “every man for themselves” mode or was their value in grouping together in mutual associations. Such associations of course presupposed that some individual freedom would be lost for the common good of all.

Thus the concept of government was conceived.

At first the common good was no doubt safety from marauding bands of bad guys from other tribes, but it soon led to giving up all kinds of individual rights for all kinds of common ends. If Babor’s extra production of wheat was needed to feed more than just his family, than Manduk’s herds of sheep need be fenced from trampling those fields.

Things went along in that fashion with different systems being tried out, eventually that led to strong men and rule by might rather than agreement. Rebellions and re-formations resulted in a myriad of different systems by which human beings organized themselves into larger and larger entities.

Lo and behold, a bunch of folks made their way to a “new world” which was quite old to the people who already lived there, but new enough to them. After pushing indigenous folks out of the way, they then threw off the yoke of king and Parliament, and found themselves with a country to set up.

Our illustrious fore-fathers, mindful of the social compact ideas of Locke and Rousseau and Montesquieu, set down in Philadelphia and over some months of wrangling and persuasion, arrived at what we call a Constitution, a document that sets out with some generality the rights and duties of citizen and government.

Ask about anyone and they would say, that this phenomenal document has served us well since 1789 or so. That seems to be based on the fact that we are still here as a country. Any cursory look at the document itself suggests that a good deal of the language is antiquated and now unclear. Do we really think in terms of militias any more? What is cruel and unusual?

The world has changed a lot since those days. We are increasingly a global society. We are a people who has grown in size from something in the area of 3 millions to over 300 millions. Our land has tripled or quadrupled since 1789. Our demographics are vastly different. Our ability to travel has increased exponentially. Our ability to get news on almost any subject has as well. Our technologies threaten to out pace our understanding of them or how they will impact on our daily lives.

Government systems are always a compromise of sorts. When we talk about “free” governments, or “elected governments” we speak of the ever-present tension that exists between the individual and the common good. Our political parties seem to split along those lines and have now hardened into an extreme on one side, and a “common good” leaning at least on the other.

Is it not time to rethink who we are, what we want and what we are willing to give up to continue in this great experiment?

It seems we should be having this dialogue (whatever that means). Does this constitution any longer adequately deal with the problems that confront us? Are we beginning (or have we for some decades now?) tortured the language to achieve the outcomes we believe right. Of course the next Court then sees things very differently and they torture it in other ways to achieve quite different outcomes.

bnw1

Here are some questions I have thought about:

  1. Is our current federal government divided into an executive, congressional, and judicial branch with serious checks and balances, a useful system today, given the complexities of our global world? Would a parliamentary system work better, given our intense polarization?
  2. Do we really want an unfettered right of individuals to own and carry firearms? Is the ability of people to “redress” government by arms a viable option in this day and age?
  3. Given our capabilities in technology, what is the meaning of “search and seizure” for the individual today? Where do we draw the line in terms of our ability to spy on each other? Given the threats of terrorism, should we give police more or less ability to fetter out criminal behavior. Does the ability of some to hack into sensitive systems change our opinions? Does the ability of terrorist elements to get ahold of nuclear material change the equation?
  4. If we respect the right of people to believe in God in the fashion they choose, does it make sense to grant tax benefits to religious organizations? What constitutes religious objections to a law? Does one have a concomitant right to be free from religion?
  5. What are the duties of citizens? Should all be required to vote or pay a tax? Should we have a federal holiday on election day? How should we limit the influx of money from exceedingly wealthy individual toward either controlling who is the candidate or which party wins? Should we limit the time of electioneering? Should there be only federal registration of voters, and only federal requirements for eligibility?
  6. Should everyone be called to some time of “public service”, either through the military or other “public corp” work? What constitutes a “conscientious objector”?
  7. Does the government have the right to require education to a certain level, and are certain basics required? Are they reading, writing, and arithmetic, or might they be parenting, basic civics, conflict resolution, critical thinking skills? Should every person have the right to as much education as they desire, and free of charge?
  8. Do people have a natural right to life? When? Can or should the state take it away under any circumstances? Which ones?
  9. Do people have a natural right to food, IF the state at large can provide sufficient quantities?
  10. Do people have a natural right to medical care regardless of their ability to pay if we have the technology to treat them? If not, then what limits attach?
  11. Given the costs of incarceration, mental health treatment, and various other costs incurred, does the state have the right to set standards of who can be a parent? Is being able to be a parent the right of being human? Why? Does the state have the obligation to clean up the messes created by those who are not suited to parent properly? What standards would you suggest? Who would set them?
  12. Should we allow “professional” politicians? Should citizens be required to “serve” in government for a specified time?
  13. Do we wish to set limits on the growth of private business? How big is too big? Should corporations be people? Should they be allowed to control multiple divergent areas and thus virtually control a market?
  14. Do individual states serve a purpose in the world today? If so, what? What things should be left to local “governments”?
  15. What constitutes free speech? What constitutes speech?
  16. Given the technology that is close to approaching an ability to monitor the brain and determine “truthful” statements, do we still wish to maintain a right to remain silent? What constitutes “being a witness against oneself”? Are bodily fluids private? Are brains waves private?
  17. Are our bodies ours to do with as we wish? Does the state have a right to deny the use of drugs or other substances? Abortion? euthanasia? How can it, if it can, regulate such things? How does this impact personal privacy?
  18. Should there be limits on individual wealth? What kind of tax system do we envision that is fair to all?

It seems to me that these are just a very small number of questions we might ask. Many would argue that some of these are so well established that they should bear no discussion. Is  this true or right? What things would you want to add? What opinions do you have on one or more of the above?

Is it time to rethink this social compact?

bnw2

Meet the Original Libtards!

ConstitutionOur friendly Tea Party “Patriots” often tell us that they love the constitution. In fact it takes second place only to that timeless book, the Bible–the one God wrote to tell us how to behave. Probing, (as I am always wont to do), I discover that it’s not only the constitution that is revered, but of course the “founding fathers” who, as you know, among other things, brought us the constitution.

That always amuses me ever so much.

Sadly, it seems common to the PayTREEots not to dig too deeply into the mantras they are taught by Fox and people like pseudo-historian David Barton. If they did dig a bit they would find that their adulation is ironic to say the least. Barton of course would have them believe that the FFs were all deeply religious men and that they basically made the Declaration and Constitution tracts which God hopefully would  approve of wholeheartedly. The truth of course lies quite a ways left of Mr. Barton’s imaginative ramblings.

We all know that many of the founders of our fair republic were anything but religious in their leanings. Jefferson is notable for his refusal to believe in the truth of any of the bible’s miracle stories, actually editing them out of his personal bible. (You can see his bible with all the little cut-outs somewhere, probably at Monticello). The other giant, Franklin might be defined as a deist at best.

This should not be surprising since all the FF were the rich elites of their day, and were well read. And what they read and what inspired them (oh you must remember this from high school) were the likes of Locke, Rousseau and Voltaire. All were “men of the enlightenment”. You could easily add Isaac Newton and Spinoza to the mix as well. They were men who started to see that the world could be explained through normal observation and reasonable deductive conclusion. Some, like Newton, were men of science, who were uncovering the physical laws that governed the universe.

In all cases, they were the heretics of their day as well, rejecting the church’s claims that the bible was the only resource needed to explain the world. Some professed a belief in God, but not in the traditional sense of their day.

The explosion of new thought spread across Europe and Britain, and eventually to America where it inspired Jefferson, Franklin, Madison and others to reject the “god-given” circumstances of both colonialism and monarchy. They were “enlightened” to perceive the world differently and their place within it differently. They could finally conceive of themselves as in control of their own destinies.

They formed a government based on enlightenment principles of freedom, democracy, and most of all reason as the basis for rule. They ushered in the concepts of capitalism, markets, the scientific method, religious tolerance (read tolerance to practice what YOU believed, or be free to believe nothing). It was a movement based on equality and commonality and shared responsibility.

In effect, they were the liberals of their day. They were the heretics to the religious right with all their talk of reason and science. They brought forth a new type of government.

The conservatives of their day? They were Tories.

It thus is so very ironic to think of Tea Party adherents touting their love and admiration for our Founding Fathers, today. In the time of our founding, such people would have been sending their sons to stand with King George III.

But of course Tea People never think that deeply.

I can see why.

It is just too embarrassing.

Are You Crazy People EVER Going to Listen?

DailyNewsIs there nothing these people won’t do for a buck?

It strains credulity, it strains common sense, it strains one’s assumptions that there are no aliens among us.

Was it not just a couple of weeks ago that the NRA told us that everything BUT guns was responsible for gun violence? Did they not pin some of the blame on video games that glorified shooting at people? Did they do that? Huh? Or have I simply slipped as I am wont to do into another universe again?

This is THEIR new video game. If you can believe it, it is “suitable for children age 4 and up”. The initial game is free, but to go up in firepower, you gotta pay a buck for each level of deadliness you are wanting to use. Yes you can get the AK-47 version. Yes, there are a few “safety lessons” squeezed in between the shootin’, and no there are no “people” just strangely shaped objects that resemble COFFINS and a red zone where a heart or head would be. This according to Forbes Magazine, hardly a bastion of liberal ranting.

Is this the last straw yet? Is it? Okay, let us proceed though the FACTS and let us do it slowly so the most moronic of people, if they read slowly with a dictionary for the big words, might finally GET IT. As to the 2nd Amendment:

  1. A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
    Okay, what does that mean? The Founders did not like the idea of a standing army. They wanted every man to be part of “state militias” that would be ordered up to repel any attack upon the country. Get that? the militias were the best means to PROTECT the STATE, not to protect people FROM the state.  The fact that the Founders did not want a standing army is reflected in Art. I, Sec. 8 where in Congress has the power to raise money for an army but ONLY for a term of two years. No such appropriation restriction is placed upon the militias.
  2. New Hampshire offered an amendment that would have confiscated the weapons of anyone IN REBELLION or who WAS IN REBELLION to the fledgling government.
  3. It was REQUIRED that each man in the militia buy his OWN weapon and his own ammunition (for all those who claim that it is a horror that they may have to purchase health care–how’s that strike you?)
  4. During the first administration, some citizens took up weapons against what they considered a tyrannical government. President Washington called up 13,000 militia men to put down the rebellion. It was called the Whiskey Rebellion and it occurred in 1794.
  5. Today in the case of Washington DC v. Heller, the Supreme Court has held that 2nd Amendment protects the rights of individuals to own guns for their protection. Justice Scalia admitted that that did not mean that guns could not be otherwise regulated and the types of weapons might be controlled. Although I don’t see this as proper under the “original intent” argument, at least the most conservative Justice agrees that control of weapons is appropriate.

As to the reports that one of Hitler’s first acts to gain control of Germany was to disarm the population, and implying that gun control is the first step to confiscation and thus dictatorship:

  1. At the end of WWI, as part of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was ordered to disarm COMPLETELY. Everyone was ordered to turn in their guns. The Weimar Government, in 1928, relaxed those restrictions to allow for limited ownership of rifles and shotguns by hunters. The Nazi party did not come to power by force. It was ELECTED by the population.
  2. In 1938, Hitler and the government amended the 1928 law, significantly relaxing it again, lowing the age for gun ownership and allowing guns for more purposes and with less exacting background checks and reducing the need for yearly re-licensing.

As to the history of Gun Control in this country:

  1. In 1934, Congress regulates fully automatic weapons.
  2. in 1938, the sale of all firearms is regulated. Sellers  were required to obtain a license and to keep records of all sales. Sales to felons was prohibited.
  3. Gun control act of 1968, designed to keep guns out of the hands of felons, the underage, and incompetent. Importation is regulated, record keeping by sellers is enlarged. Handguns are restricted and the list of  ineligible persons is expanded.
  4. The bureau of firearms, alcohol and drugs is created to oversee in part, gun law enforcement in 1972
  5. Federal penalties for illegal possession are increased in 1986. “Cop-killing” bullets are banned.
  6. Semi-automatic weapons are banned, and gun-free zones are created. in 1990.
  7. A 5 day waiting period and background checks are required in 1994.

The NRA as the protector of the 2nd Amendment:

  1. The organization began in 1871 in order to train marksmen in preparation for war.
  2. In the 1920’s and 30’s the organization is instrumental in helping to write gun control legislation.
  3. For the vast majority of its existence, the NRA was a sportsman’s club dedicated to the environment, wildlife preservation, and the safe enjoyment of guns for sporting purposes. They had NO interest in political matters other than those that pertain to hunting.
  4. The NRA indorsed fully the legislation enacted in the 30’s. Then leaders of the NRA saw absolutely no conflict between reasonable gun control and the US Constitution.
  5. NRA leaders endorsed the 1968 law in its totality, though they thought some portions were overly onerous. Still they supported the bill and then law.
  6. Up until the Presidential race involving Ronald Reagan, the NRA had been non-political, endorsing no candidates. But a growing minority within its ranks wanted to take the organization in a new direction.
  7. When in the late 60’s Black Panthers in California began openly carrying loaded weapons, Reagan and the NRA supported legislation that disallowed the carrying of loaded weapons. (Mulford act of 1967.)
  8. A bloodless coup was accomplished in the NRA, just as it was preparing to close its DC office and return to Colorado and the original purpose of the organization. Under new leadership under Harlan Carter, it became an active lobbyist and began the argument that the 2nd amendment prevented any controls being imposed upon gun ownership.
  9. Law enforcement is now seen as an arm of the government and suspicious for that reason alone.
  10. The NRA is now largely a lobbying group who speaks for the benefit of gun manufacturers and sellers. It is the purveyor of scare tactics, always warning that confiscation and dictatorship is “right around the corner” and that therefore everyone should buy up all the guns they can while they can. The gun manufacturers and sellers are pleased with this.

As to public opinion:

  1. 88% favor background checks for all buyers whether from brick and mortar sellers, gun-show sellers or private sales.
  2. 75% believe similar checks should be made for ammunition buyers.
  3. 71% agree that we need a federal data base to track gun sales
  4. 65% favor banning high-capacity clips
  5. 58% favor banning assault weapons
  6. 55% favor armed guards in classrooms
  7. 51% favor banning semi-automatic weapons
  8. The first 4 categories include majorities who live in gun-owning households.
  9. Majorities confirm that their support can be categorized as “strong”.

NOTE: Forgive the inordinate length of this post, but I thought this information was important. You know how I feel about this issue, but I have endeavored in every way to state the actual facts. While a few of the references are decidedly left of center, I have double, triple, and quadruple checked the actual facts stated and confirmed that they are correct insofar as to records kept and quotations.  I hope the facts speak for themselves. I hope the conclusion is clear.

If there is one lesson we should learn from our history it is this: peaceful protest has changed America. It ended segregation, it ended the Vietnam war, and whatever ills are perceived will be ended not by the 2nd amendment, but by the 1st–the right of free speech, a free press, and the right to freely assemble.

REFERENCES:

The SmirkingChimp

The Fifth Column

The Rude Pundit

The Atlantic

US Govt Gun Legislation (the record)

The Nation (history of the NRA Pt 1)

The Nation (history of the NRA Pt 2)

ABC News (Polling)

Oh Let the Finger-Pointing Begin!

Well, it seems that the crazies in the GOP, and there are surely a bushel of them, are already writing up the scenario of how they lost. Or how they are losing. Or how they were duped, or cheated, or had the wool pulled over their lyin’ eyes.

It got a real boost the other day when the GOP en mass decided that it would claim that the polling (all of it, including darlin’ Fox’s) was skewed (deliberately I might add, but just out of pure stupidity presumably on the part of Foxy NOT) in favor of the Democrats. There are lots of silly theories as to why this is, but the most prominent seems to be that they poll “too many Democrats”.  *Yawn*

Of course that flies in the face of logic, much as the argument that there is a massive conspiracy to sell evolution–people’s entire careers are based on doing peer-reviewable work and who is going to waste a career to prove  a lie just for the joy of being a conspirator? With polling, the peer-review is rather obvious–the election results.

One of the reasons that Rasmussen is ignored by and large is that they are so wildly wrong in the outcomes, sometimes missing the winner by 40 or more percentage points. That’s not as good as my dog can do by random selection.

The reason for the GOP foul calling is because they are facing the danger that their base may conclude that the game is over and there is no reason to get out in the snow/rain/heat/traffic/couch-potato-mode to vote when it will make no difference. They need every precious vote they can get if only in the hopes of preserving the down ticket GOP slate.  Of course the same is true of the leader, who must keep his base fired up, because people conclude, “my vote is unnecessary, he’s winning by a mile.” But you don’t see the insanity of claiming the polls are a sham from the left.

Now we have Jack Walsh, former head of G.E. claiming that the jobs numbers and unemployment numbers just released a few minutes ago are, “cooked” in some desperate attempt by the “Chicago guys” to steal the election from the rightful heir and king Mr. MY, MY, I CAN LIE, ROMNEY.

I mean really. Jack Walsh is a douche.

But get this, another GOP douche, Conn Carroll who ostensibly writes for the Washington Examiner, says it wasn’t the Dems themselves (meaning Party) but actual Democratic voters who lied about being employed. Yeah. I hear that. Oh wait, I just saw a pig fly by my window, fancy that.

Others just find the “timing” too convenient, without offering any explanation because they are TOO FRACKING STUPID TO COME UP WITH ANYTHING THAT EVEN SOUNDS PLAUSIBLE TO A PERSON OF 70 IQ POINTS.

Speaking of douches, Mr. Romney comes back to the mind quickly. I loved his line that “you know I have five sons, so I’m used to the idea that if you keep saying a lie over and over, somehow it becomes true.” Well as I’ve said before Willard, that is what the psychiatric community called projection–for that is the ploy par excel-lance of the GOP and has been since the Rovian invasion.

And the perfect response would be: Hey Willard if your boys lied to you a lot, you might remember that children imitate their parents. Duh.

Oh I gotta go back to the jobs numbers, because the wall building GOP is simply apoplectic. They were waiting with glee for more bad economic news, because they really don’t care about people, just winning. Instead as we learned, the numbers are amazingly good. Unemployment is down to 7.8% from 8.1%.

Nat Silver points out why this all is quite reasonable given the manner in which these numbers are arrived at. Oh and don’t be taken in by the old GOP argument that the only reason it went down is because even more people have “given up” and left the job seeking force. Not true. Four hundred and thirteen thousand new workers ENTERED the work force last month, so the fall in the unemployment rates reflect actual jobs obtained, NOT people dropping out.

This all led the lying Right to simply do what they do best: LIE SOME MORE

I was stunned into silence by this morning’s ridiculous unemployment report, showing a magical drop in the unemployment rate from 8.1% to 7.8% despite not one single other economic or employment indicator suggesting that such a gain was possible.

So says American Spectator‘s, Ross Kaminisky.

And I cannot let this moment pass without a gush of sympathy for my good friend, David Barton, the man who knows zero about history, but is determined to bamboozle you into thinking that black is actually white. (his latest is that the bible talks about DNA! Remember Cain and Abel? Where God says to Cain, “your brother’s blood is calling out to me from the earth?” Well need I say more? Obviously God was referring to DNA)

Okay, so David, dear boy has raised himself to that rarefied plane where he now compares himself to Job. All those pesky real historians who are criticizing him, are nothing more than Satan’s pets, sent to test him. But I’m here to tell ya that good old boy David, why he is up to the task. I can’t wait for the boils to arrive. Oh, and by the by, David is real sure that his new “Founder’s Bible” available no doubt on Amazon, will soon replace the Geneva Bible as the go-to Good Book. OH, wait, I just saw another pig fly by!

Reading Between the Lines

 

 

The Contrarian often accuses me of being too partisan. Well, maybe I am, but frankly it’s very hard not to be. The clear and unadulterated fact is that all politicians mislead. The Democrats do it from time to time. The Republicans, on the other hand, do it as a matter of course. They seem so sure that their true intentions are so out of line with what any human would agree with, that lying is the only way to get us to “take our medicine.”

And believe me, medicine is what they are offering from their strange world view. I think it goes something like this–Rome fell in part because it let every Tom, Dick, and Harry become a citizen. They then fed them free of charge. They became entitled from their point of view. Rome became lazy and bloated with a welfare mentality and was ripe for the picking.  And they were picked.

They would claim that the US is falling behind in everything because the government and Democrats want to grow a nanny state, which is what Europe did, and look at the mess they are in, powerful and mostly bankrupt. We are too lazy, and we expect the government to provide for us, so why bother?

Okay, the medicine. Drastically reduce all controls on business and let it be a free system where the successful will rise to the top and the not so successful won’t. When business has freedom to do what it wishes, the economy will flourish, employment will rebound to  offer a job to all who wish one. Those who don’t wish one–not their concern. All government programs that support the poor? Slashed drastically or gutted completely. The only safety net is temporary and for those who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.

Religion by the way, will pick up the slack for the truly poor who are unable to work permanently. That’s called charity and you should be damned glad we just don’t throw you into the furnace.

Of course, such a plan is silly, and misses the biggest ingredient of all–GREED. It depends on the good intentions of the business community, and frankly we see way too little of that these days.

Anyway, that’s my take on what they want to do and why. And that it sucks is why they lie about everything and try by hook and crook to win the day rather than tell the truth and let average people decide.

Take one idiot–Joe Walsh–a name not to be bandied about for long, since he is surely to lose his seat in Congress come November. His pronouncements become more outlandish every day. He sees Al Qaida behind the recent shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin. He calls the President “boy” and claims that Jesse Jackson wants to return all African-Americans to the plantation–which if you didn’t know, is code, for “he’s an uppity Negro”.

Just read that our favorite pseudo-historian David Barton, has had his book pulled off the shelves and all publication stopped because the publisher became “aware” that it was full of errors.

His newest book, Jefferson Lies, turned out to be just chock full of them.

Irony is sweet at times doncha think?

Aww, and Barton is always saying that the only people who disagree with his books are dirty liberals.

Speaking of crazy out of this world lunatics, consider Dick Morris, mouthpiece of Foxy Noise who is almost always wrong in his predictions but enjoys the drama so much.

Morris has a new book out called Here Come the Black Helicopters which he claims is code for attacking Washington. In this case he means Obama, who he claims will impose a world government through the UN if re-elected.

Remember that crazy guy who predicted the end of the world recently? I think he should pick the day after the election, cuz Republicans sure say a lot of bad stuff is gonna happen should the Prez be re-elected. Hang onto your hats–and guns!

Another paste eater as a kid for sure.

One could go on.

Endlessly.

Until the sun implodes and becomes a white dwarf.

Until Ying meets Yang.

But I have a Cobb salad to make for dinner, so that’s all for now.

 

 

 

“THE American People” Think You Are All NUTZ

We hear it from all quarters: “The American people. . .” We want and don’t want tax raises, we do and don’t want universal health care, we do and don’t believe in global warming at the hands of ourselves, we do and don’t believe in creationism, evolution, this or that war, this or that light bulb.

It’s enough to make you wretch.

The fact is, it’s pretty unclear whether anybody speaks for me at all, most of the time. I seem to be yelling out my instructions and positions to a mostly deaf government.

We have individuals who believe they have a mandate to do X simply because, often by only a few thousand votes, a minority or bare majority has voted them into office. They seem to believe that everyone voted for the exact same reasons. They shrug off concerns for minority opinions (which our Constitution was developed exactly to protect!), and pontificate about what they are going to do, giving it that stamp of imprimatur every few sentences, “The People of the US want us to . . .”

Which of course begs the question. What do we have a right to expect? Should our representatives run on a platform and then if elected, even if only by a plurality, set about putting it in motion? Or should they be forced to “compromise” to include their minority position. At what point does an individual “win” be so overwhelming that the minority can be ignored? Are there moral considerations that make this wrong on some issues no matter how small that be?

Of greater question is just what type of representation are we expecting? Was that different at the countries political inception than now? Should it change? Why? For both Houses or just one?

Philosophically, there have been two general ways of representing one’s constituents. In the first, the elected official, by way of town halls, questionnaires, office hours, and such makes every attempt to discern the general desires of the majority of his district or state. He or she then acts according to those perceptions. Kind of like a referendum on every issue approach.

This probably worked pretty darn good in the 1800’s when we weren’t so darned diversified by occupation, religion, ethnic background and all that. Today? Is it truly possible to know? Are you not simply gauging the “very very interested” who participate in polling, questionnaires and town halls and e-mails?

Is there anything special about the representative? Does she have some greater knowledge on issues, or at least certain of them, that make it unwise to trust in the mob?

This brings us to the second method. This theory claims that implicit in the election is the acknowledgment that the official is in fact specially informed, and thus is in a rare place to make the “best” decision for the “most” people. And certainly only she has the special knowledge reserved for “high clearance” information and certainly the relative merits of tradeoffs with other representatives. Shouldn’t this count?

This also worked pretty darn well in the 1800’s where your Senator might well be the rancher on the spread next to yours and a person you might reasonably share similar interests with.

So it all comes down to what do we expect? Do we know? When is the last time you had THIS discussion with yourself or anyone else? Does it matter what the answer is? If is doesn’t then heck, I’ve just wasted your time. If it does, then we are wasting our time arguing until we determine just how many believe what.

We haven’t even got to the question of K Street and it’s influence. We pretty much all agree it shouldn’t exist. I think we do at least. If our politicians are owned already by another entity, than what kind of representation we believe in is pretty much a dead issue, until we have plucked off the parasite clinging to our elected official.

I have no answers. I seldom do. Do you have an opinion? Let it fly.