Conventional collectivist created authority is a deception in consciousness. You are your own Authority!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bill of Rights Circumcised in San Francisco

First it was right wing religious moralists who object to abortion, and want it banned. Now, it’s a group of left wing collective moralists who object to circumcision for minors, and want it banned.

What do these two diametrically opposing political groups have in common besides wanting to ban something? Neither possesses even the most basic understanding of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. Both would eviscerate your liberty by vote in a heartbeat.

Civilization is permeated with folks who believe that if other folks among them think or do something they don’t like, then it’s perfectly moral and proper to pass a law banning it by force. Kings and emperor’s did it all the time. Politicians do it all the time. Collectives do it all the time.

Most people today, even in America, are convinced that they can ban anything – even liberty -- by a simple democratic majority vote. They ignore the purpose of the Constitution, which expressly limits that power.

Anti-abortion proponents, referred to in my last post, are willing to pass one new law after another just to see how far they can go in their religious crusade to, at least discourage the exercise of a fundamental liberty, and at best to ban the liberty right altogether in satisfaction of their idea of God’s plan for humanity.

Now, anti-circumcision proponents in the city of San Francisco have demonstrated that they are perfectly willing to do the same.

A San Francisco political action group opposed to male circumcision has collected sufficient signatures to qualify a proposal on the November 2011 city elections ballot which would make circumcision of a male under age 18 a crime. To Hell with the Constitution, they reason; they’re just looking for a simple majority of voters to get their way in their city.

But, parents have been circumcising their sons for many thousands of years. Indeed, the practice is a religious obligation for many millions of people. When I was born post WWII, to a Protestant family in the heartland of Midwest America, most infant boys were circumcised regardless of religion because most baby doctors prescribed it for reasons of lifelong health. Any pain associated with the surgery was quickly forgotten.

Pro’s and con’s as to the value of circumcision are certainly debatable, but there are generally no harmful physical affects from it, and much evidence that it is beneficial. Moreover, I’ve never heard of a parent who decided to circumcise a child for the purpose of maiming him, disabling him, or inflicting pain.

If the practice of circumcision ever becomes scientifically ill advised in present day medicine, I’m confident that doctors and parents are capable of making the right decisions for the best interests of their own children.

Parents exercising individual liberty are concerned with the well being of their children far more than any government Authority!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Anti-Abortion Meets Civil Rights

Anti-abortion proponents either don’t get it, or they just love to see what they can get away with by chipping away at a fundamental liberty, new law by new law. Their ultimate goal, of course, is to make every abortion a crime, regardless of the circumstances.  

Some religious oriented politicians would even punish unintended miscarriages resulting from “bad” behavior. If God intended it, well, that’s OK, they reason, but if a pregnant woman intends it; they’re going to find some way to make that a felony.

Only if she prays to God for a miscarriage and God answers her prayer with a spontaneous miscarriage, I suppose, should she avoid the wrath of the criminal law, if anti-abortionists have their way. They want the law to decree what they think God wants. Their position is grounded entirely upon religious ideology.

Arizona passed a new first of its kind law banning abortions over ethnicity. In Arizona it is now a felony, punishable by up to 3 1/2 years in prison, to: “knowingly perform or provide financing for an abortion sought because of the race or sex of the fetus or a parent's race.”

"We are a multicultural society now and cultures are bringing their traditions to America that really defy the values of America, including cultures that value males over females," declared one of the anti-abortion lawmakers, a fervent “culture collective” absolutist.

And, just how, you might ask, will the Arizona State Pregnant Police find out the reason in a pregnant woman’s mind to seek an abortion? That’s right; the law actually purports to require every woman to state publicly her reason. The state can bring criminal proceedings to force her to talk. The state can convene a full blown grand jury investigation.

Thus, with the stroke of a state governor’s pen, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of the United States of America is rendered null and void in the State of Arizona when it comes to the authorities probing the mind and body of innocent pregnant women. The state can investigate, intimidate, and dominate vulnerable human beings – nothing new there.

If the anti-liberty folks can’t have their way in wiping out the liberty right completely, and immediately, they’re perfectly content to pass one unconstitutional law after another in a grand effort to put their metaphorical foot squarely inside the American cultural door.

Perhaps one day not so far off, they’ll find a majority of religious oriented judges on the SCOTUS who essentially believe as they do. Maybe someday the bible will trump the United States Constitution.

That will be a sad day in America.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Government Cape-A-Bility Challenged

Government lies within an abstract conceptual zone where reality doesn’t matter. Since few government operatives actually produce any value in the course of their administrations, it’s easy for them to just piss taxpayer money away without a second thought. They’ll have money to spend whatever they decide to do. They know that. Taxpayer money just keeps flowing freely from the magic well.

Clear and convincing evidence now exists proving that no one in government has any idea of the value of money or how value is created. One might think that the person in charge of an operation having to do with working and jobs would understand a bit of the economics behind it, but no, that would be expecting way too much from our government keepers.

The following is a true story (Fox News; 4/20/11). I’m not making this up. Names remain unchanged. There are no innocent actors to protect here:

Officials at Workplace Central Florida, a federally-funded governmental unemployment agency, announced that, after 9 exciting days, and more than $14,000 taxpayer dollars spent, it will stop its "admittedly out-of-the-box creative campaign" to pass out red capes to job seekers to wear in a comic book-themed government "Cape-A-Bility Challenge" to make the jobless feel better about themselves in their battle against "Dr. Evil Unemployment," a cartoon character who must be vanquished.

The agency plainly can’t deliver employment opportunities to anyone so a fantasizing bureaucrat dreams up a party time way to make them feel good about themselves; you know; a red cape to remind them that they are “capable” – get it? -- The great "Cape-A-Bility Challenge."

 That’s a good one. They’re going out to vanquish "Dr. Evil Unemployment." And that is the sum and substance of their knowledge about labor economics. Unemployment, and every other societal ill, whether real or imaginary, they conclude, must be dealt with by force, and, of course, taxpayer money. Whoever thought of that is a genius.

This same government agency, Workforce Central Florida, received nearly $24 million in public money last year, and was ordered in 2006 to repay nearly $3.5 million to the federal government to settle claims that it misused public money.

Now they’re spending more than $14,000 on red capes for their make-believe jobless super heroes to wear, empowering them in the epic government struggle against "Dr. Evil Unemployment,"

Multiply this spending lunacy by all the federal government spending agencies in the United States, and you can begin to finally comprehend the $14 trillion plus debt hanging over us right now.

Don’t forget that all of it wound up in someone’s pocket.

When it comes to stealing values Cape-A-Bility, government agents do it best.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hunting Happy

There are people on this earth who hunt down happiness to kill for sport. They know who they are. Were it up to them, they’d suck every drop of joy out of life and replace it with misery. They hate individual freedom. They hate liberty. They hate the American dream. Their mission in life is to stifle your right to pursue happy. The fact that some people among us are actually happy drives them around the bend.

Now one of them is suing McDonald's to stop Happy Meals. That’s right; “McDonald's unfairly uses toys to lure children into its restaurants,” cries the Plaintiff, a mother of two obese kids who beg for Happy Meals. “[Their] advertising violates California consumer protection laws,” she whines. She wants protection from the monster corporation that causes her fat kids to beg for food.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group, is representing her. That doesn’t surprise me. No self respecting attorney at law in his right mind would ever take on such a transparently frivolous case with his own money at stake. Only an organization which advocates for human consumption a diet of recycled cardboard would champion this ridiculous cause.

My humble prediction: this turkey will be dismissed; booted out of court.

But wait a second; if the court won’t let her kill Happy, maybe the politicians will. Happy Meals, and other good stuff, have come under scrutiny lately from public health officials, parents and lawmakers concerned with rising childhood obesity and weak anti-obesity efforts from restaurant operators.

You see, these folks, most of who are obese themselves, think it should be up to the restaurants to keep their kids from getting fat. It’s the restaurant’s responsibility. They ignore the known fact that many normal sized little kids want Happy Meals so they can throw away the boring food but keep the toy.

The Plaintiff here admits that she frequently tells her children "no" when they ask for Happy Meals. Of course she does. The problem is that she doesn’t tell them “no” at the grocery store, the ice cream shop, or the 7-11. She doesn’t tell them “no” at the dinner table, for bedtime snacks, or treats between meals.

She doesn’t tell them “no” enough.

So now her kids are obese and she wants to blame it all on McDonald's. If she gets her way, your child will never enjoy a Happy Meal. She wants to take toys and fun away from little kids.

She wants to kill Happy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Public Education: Failing in America

Education programs, systems and methods in America today are ancient and obsolete. The university concept of colleges and degrees, for example, is a medieval invention. University graduates still wear the same cap and gown costumes of many centuries ago.

But graduation doesn’t mean a whole lot anymore. Almost everyone graduates now. We see kindergartners today wearing the traditional cap and gown for “graduation” up to the first grade. They “graduate” with cap and gown from elementary school too; but most of them still can’t read.

Compulsory primary and secondary public school systems in America took hold in the late 19th century. What began as a method to provide all children with a basic education in reading, writing, and figuring, has become a grand thirteen year daycare program to “socialize” children into the American collective. There’s more emphasis now on teaching kids what to think than how to think.

By most accounts, compulsory education isn’t working. Arne Duncan, Secretary of the US Dept of Education, admitted recently that this year, up to 82 percent of public schools could "fail" the government's "No Child Left Behind" standards. "No Child Left Behind” is broken and we need to fix it now," he declared. "This law has created dozens of ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed,"  "We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk."

According to Secretary Duncan then, President Bush’s law creating achievement standards for schools is responsible for the schools’ failure to meet the standards. He thinks that if we stop labeling schools as failures, they’ll no longer be failures. If the law were only fair, he imagines, the kids would do so much better. The obvious truth, however, is that 80% of compulsory American public schools can’t even meet basic academic achievement standards.

Meanwhile, in the land of perpetual fruits and nuts, The California Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act law is pending. It would require school textbooks and teachers to incorporate information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans into their curriculum.

I can’t imagine exactly what information they want to teach about that beyond the fact that lots of normal people, both gay and straight, like to tickle each other’s private parts now and then. Admitted, that’s an interesting subject, but surely not for a compulsory public school classroom. Public schools have no business instructing children on cultural values and preferences. Those are purely private matters.

School officials from a small district in the state of Maine have decided to purchase at taxpayer expense $200,000 worth of Apple's brand new iPad 2 tablet computers, one for each new kindergartner in the district, now and every year in the foreseeable future. I’m sure the little five-year-old Einstein’s will have a wonderful time with them before the majority of the delicate machines are kaput within a week or two.

Give a responsible toddler a $500 computer; he’ll likely use it as a hammer.

So I don’t think any of these crackpot ideas are going to work, but if they do, maybe they can pass similar laws requiring expensive equipment and information on how to read.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Public Safety Hypocrisy

Reasonable traffic laws are arguably necessary for public safety, but some politicians regard them as just another fat source of government revenue.

Speeding tickets give motorists a good reason to obey speed limits, ostensibly for the safety of all motorists using the roadway. Reporting tickets to the Dept of Motor Vehicles identifies chronic speeding violators who need additional encouragement to drive safely. Again, the concern is supposed to be public safety.

That’s why in South Carolina, like many states, all traffic tickets are required by law to be reported to the state DMV for the assessment of points which can lead to much higher car insurance rates and the loss or suspension of one’s drivers’ license. Government wants to root out bad drivers if possible.

It’s all about public highway safety, right?


It’s more about money than safety in South Carolina.

South Carolina is up against an $800 million budget shortage these days. State lawmakers there need to raise more cash. So they cooked up a bright idea to get it from small time speeders, caught driving less than 10 mph over the limits, who want to avoid DMV points on their drivers’ licenses.

Here’s how it works: A low-level speeder would be pulled over by the cops and given the option of paying a normal $15 to $25 fine, to be reported to DMV for the assessment of points; or a $150 fine, which is 10 times the current minimum, but no report to the DMV, and no assessment of points.

"If it doesn't get reported, most people don't mind paying," explained one lawmaker in an effort to rationalize the blatant hypocrisy.

So rooting out bad drivers in South Carolina to protect public highway safety is less important than the opportunity to collect 10 times the normal fine from prosperous traffic scofflaws who want to avoid deservedly high insurance premiums or the loss of their driving privileges. The poor guy who can’t afford a $150 fine will just have to face the normal legal consequences.

Not long ago in America, gambling, as a matter of public safety, was branded by public welfare minded politicians as a criminal offense in every state except Nevada. Gambling is addictive, immoral, and leads families to financial ruin, the story always went. Gambling is bad. Gambling is dangerous. People need to be protected from gambling.

That’s always the government rationale for banning something. But when the same politicians discovered how much money can be made with gambling, all the public safety hypocrisy was casually shunted aside, and new lotteries created by the score. The most outrageous sucker bet ever invented has to be the lottery, but the state feels they’re fabulous for making money as long as they have a monopoly on them.

Now gambling is great harmless family fun, under state control, of course. The history of liquor laws is similar. If recreational drugs like marijuana are ever decriminalized in America, it won’t be to further the cause of liberty, but for the collection of money.

It’s called public safety hypocrisy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cutting is “Spending” in America

Cancer cells grow and multiply like normal human tissue cells, but unlike normal cells, cancer cells suck up body resources without doing anything beneficial for the body. They eventually kill the body.

The abnormal growth of government and government spending does exactly the same to civilizations. In the United States, government growth and spending has multiplied to the point where the draw down on productive contributors is starting to kill the host.

There is little incentive to contribute values in the market place when the federal, state, and local governments are taking more than 50% of a taxpayer’s income in many instances. Why work hard to create if the value will be confiscated?

There is little incentive to contribute values in the market place when the federal, state, and local governments are regulating and harassing hard working risk taking businessmen out of business. Why open shop in America and put up with all the red tape hassle, when a decent profit and risk to benefit ratio can be had with a shop in Mexico or Thailand?

There is little incentive to contribute values in the market place when the federal, state, and local governments are spending their cut on things which provide little or no benefit to the vast majority of individual Americans. The $1 trillion squandered so far on the Iraq war alone has resulted in far more losses to American taxpayers than the financial damage to the Japanese from the recent earthquake and tsunami. It’s just another huge government “investment” with no expected return.

Speeding spending trains do not slow down, much less stop, easily. Just the interest on U.S. debt is now into the hundreds of $billions annually. The latest government budget shutdown averting deal would cut only 38.5 billion from next year’s budget, and most of that would be “savings” from money otherwise appropriated for this or that boondoggle of the past, but not yet spent. In any case, that kind of money is like crumbs on the table left over after a marauding swarm of cockroaches have finished.  

Hell, the Pentagon can’t even put a halt to out of control spending on its own worthless projects without congressional approval. Legislation was necessary to permit termination of the Marine Corps’ multi billion-dollar amphibious Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program, which required the purchase 573 new monster military vehicles, at a cost of $12 billion. Certain fat cat beneficiaries of the government military industrial complex mentality are hopping mad about it.

General Electric Corp. has vowed to press forward with development of a controversial second engine for a futuristic jet fighter using its own funds despite the fact that the Pentagon has issued a stop work order on the project, which has already cost billions, calling it a "waste of taxpayer money."

GE has aggressively grown to become one of the nation's top corporate spenders on lobbying for government contracts, taxpayer dollars, and political influence in Washington. ABC News reports that GE has a stable full of former congressional leaders from both parties on their payroll, including such well-known figures as former Sen. Trent Lott and former Rep. Dick Gephardt. They also hired Barack Obama's former campaign manager, David Plouffe, as a consultant, and GE president Jeffery Immelt is intimate with the Obama administration.

Spending habits of Republicans and Democrats nowadays is mostly the same; the only differences being in what items they want to spend taxpayer money on and how much they want to spend on them. One thing is for sure though: both parties strive to benefit their own political advantage seekers first and foremost. Neither have the intellectual guts to fix the present debt and deficit crises.

That’s where the problem with government overspending lies. Those who benefit the most from it naturally want it to continue. Lobbyists and political influence peddlers want their moneys worth from politicians. They will do what is necessary to protect their spoils, and the financial health of the nation may be damned. Those of us who contribute the least to the overspending problem will end up suffering the most in financial consequences. We’re the ones who have to pay off the debt.  

AP reports that both the U.S. and Afghan governments have agreed that the American military should remain involved in Afghanistan after the planned 2014 end of combat operations to “help train and advise Afghan forces.” The U.S. wants a long-term relationship with Afghanistan and President Karzai desires U.S. security guarantees and commitments to enhance stability and prosperity for him and his government – a sweet deal for political advantage seekers on both sides of the ocean at the expense of American taxpayers. The same thing will happen in Iraq.      

Our own president is "committed to cutting spending,” but won’t support “deep cuts that will undermine our ability to out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world." In short, President Obama won’t support any cuts which might offend his following of political advantage seekers.

Instead of getting serious about cutting government spending, President Obama claimed that “we can’t afford to keep the [Bush] tax cuts.” He actually regards a tax cut as spending as though the taxpayer is spending government money by keeping some of his own money in his own pocket.

The president has repeatedly said that “we can’t afford to cut” this or that project or program as though a reduction or cut in spending is somehow translated into spending, which is exactly the opposite of a cut in spending.

Calling tax and spending cuts "spending" -- That kind of rhetorical nonsense has to be at the absolute pinnacle of statist government arrogance in the history of political deception.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Capitalist Communism

Capitalism is not the opposite of communism. China is proof that the two go together well. The Chinese government finally discovered and embraced what the Soviet, North Korean, and other hard line communist nations of the world have ignored for so long at their peril – the wonders of capitalism for growing a sustainable national economy.

Private enterprise does business better than government every time. Now they’re getting rich on a diet of capitalist communism.

But capitalism is not the same as freedom either. China is also proof that those two concepts aren’t mutually exclusive. Freedom means free markets, free association, and free thinking. So while capitalism is thriving in China, freedom still lags a long way behind.

The communist ruling class in China has learned how to get the most out of their golden goose without allowing it liberty, for individual political and social liberty would most definitely jeopardize their power.

Only recently have China's Communist rulers permitted some small degree of individual freedoms in matters of religion, but religious worship is strictly limited to government approved churches. By far, however, most Chinese Christians prefer to associate in unregistered churches, thereby exposing themselves to constant state harassment and oppression, rather than attend a state approved church. 

Last week, as part of a growing crackdown across China targeting artists, lawyers, writers, freethinkers, activists and intellectuals, police arrested about 200 Christian worshippers from an unregistered church, and confiscated their cell phones, when they tried to pray outdoors at an open air public platform. There will be no First Amendment anytime soon in China.

The death penalty follows as a matter of course for scores of non-violent crimes in communist China. To their credit, though, they did recently drop capital punishment for a dozen or so non-violent offenses, and also, out of the goodness of their hearts, gave criminals over the age of 75 a reprieve.

“The revulsion is so strong that there would be a potential political cost to eliminating the death penalty for corruption,” said one Chinese official. “Because there still is a very strong sense that corrupt officials must die among the Chinese population at large.”

Well, at least they got that part right.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sex Crimes Dissonance

Sometimes child rapists in America go free while masturbators go to prison. Of course, the same is true with murderers and pot smokers. Law in America, especially criminal law, is arbitrary, capricious, irrational, and unpredictable.   

Nowhere in the criminal law is this dissonance more apparent than in matters of human sexuality, where the distinction between predator and non-predator is almost non-existent, and the “crimes” often have more to do with what the accused was thinking than what he was doing.

Sex “crimes” don’t always involve “victims,” and many “sex crime victims” are willing participants involved in normal harmless human behavior. On the other hand, there are sexual predators out there that do devastating harm to others. Those are the ones who should be in prison. A true sexual predator uses force on unwilling victims.

Few would argue that sexual predators should go free. Yet that is exactly what happened in Utah this week when a convicted child sex predator was freed from a state mental hospital, deemed incompetent for trial, but no danger to society. 

In 2006, this same guy was convicted of raping a teenage girl; sent to prison for less than a year; and by 2007 was facing multiple new charges of aggravated child rape and sexual abuse; all first-degree felonies carrying life sentences.

But in Utah, a criminal defendant is incompetent to stand trial if he suffers from mental illness, can’t understand the charges against him, or is unable to participate in his own defense. A trial judge found him incompetent under this standard in 2008 because of a “cognitive disorder,” and institutionalized him at a state mental hospital.

Miraculously, today this legally “incompetent” serial predator of kids is “no longer considered any danger to society,” according to his Utah State Hospital shrinks, so the state, under that standard, had to let him loose. He’s still considered not guilty under the law for all his new offenses, and he won’t be facing trial anytime soon, if ever.

I must say in somewhat grudging admiration: if this child sex monster can manage all of that, being mentally incompetent, just imagine how well he could do when he’s competent.

Seriously though, we don’t ask whether a rabid dog is mentally competent enough for society to decide whether it bit someone. Why should we do so with human predators?  Competent or not, they are always dangerous.

I’ve said this many times before: Insanity and incompetence have no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether a crime was committed and who committed it. Those are ancillary issues, which, in a more fair and logical justice system, would be considered for sentencing and disposition after the trial. (See: Reliable Justice: Must it Cost Us a Fortune?)  

Contrast that legal nonsense with this:

A typical 18 year old kid in the American heartland is caught enjoying sex with his 17 year old girlfriend; found guilty of felony statutory rape; sentenced to hard time in prison; and required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Who is the victim here?  Where is the damage? How is the cause of justice the better with this?

A silly 15 year old girl sends a nude picture of herself in a text to her boyfriend; she’s charged with felony “distribution” of child porn; and her boyfriend with felony “possession.” There’s another gross overreaction here; and two bright young innocent lives ruined over a victimless “crime.”

Innocent women are prosecuted with the “crime” of prostitution for voluntarily selling sex, and innocent men for the “crime” of voluntarily paying. These are not predators. We’re talking about imaginary “crimes” here – not crimes against victims, but “crimes” involving normal and natural human behavior.

A Michigan man, who admitted to masturbating a few times inside his van near a day care center, is charged with aggravated indecent exposure, punishable by up to two years in prison, even though no one saw him do it, much less one of the kids.

The harmless dupe admitted to doing it to himself there more than once so he’s also charged as a sexual delinquent, placing him in jeopardy of serving from one day all the way up to life in prison. A conviction of sexual delinquency allows the Michigan Department of Corrections to hold a convict as long as they like for “treatment.”

Another Michigan man, a talented and much loved physician and family practitioner, was devastated after his wife was involved in a car accident that left her in a wheelchair and functioning at the level of a child. Rather than leave her, he turned to porn on the Internet; first adult porn, but later children. Now he’s serving 46 months in prison for “possessing” child pornography on his computer.

No one disputes that this Dr. always provided excellent professional care in his medical practice without any complaint or hint of impropriety. That doesn’t matter. His personal and professional life is ruined because he looked at some pictures of naked kids on his computer.

At the risk of punching a political hot button and offending the national sex police, I have to say that this kind of ‘justice’ is grossly out of proportion to the wrong. These guys didn’t rape, molest, take indecent liberties with, or otherwise exploit any child. They are not predators -- obsessed with thoughts of kinky unnatural prohibited sex maybe -- but not predators. They’re guilty of no more than private “thought crimes.”

If things ever come to a point in America where our deepest and most private thoughts may be discovered and revealed by the law, I swear, we’ll all have to go to prison.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Barking Crimes in the Buckeye State

Few aspects of professional police work are more admirable, in my mind, than reasonable cops using kindness and restraint to keep the peace in response to verbally recalcitrant citizens. It used to be in those halcyon days of old that a drunk or a smartass wisecracker could call a cop “pig,” or otherwise insult and revile him in a thousand different ways, so long as it was only talk.

That was once the American way. People were allowed to vent a little steam when confronted by an officer of the law. Some cops even respected the First Amendment. But that was long ago, before the United States started down the path to a police state.

Now, there’s not even First Amendment protection in the Buckeye State for barking back at a police dog. That’s right. Once upon a time it was ok to curse at a cop. Now you can’t even hiss at his dog. In the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio, that’s against the law.

It seems that a highly intoxicated young man was reportedly walking past a parked police car when the K9 police dog inside began barking viciously at him. His drunken response was to hiss and bark back at the creature, causing it to go berserk. The poor lad has been charged with a misdemeanor for teasing a police dog.  

"The dog started it," protested the criminal as he as was handcuffed and led away.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blasphemy and the First Amendment

I hate book burners. What they do is disgusting, despicable and un-American.

I hate them especially when they burn stuff I like. Back in the ’60’s, for instance, a bunch of Americans made a bonfire with thousands of Beatles records because John Lennon had the audacity to offhandedly compare the skyrocketing fame of the Beatles to that of Jesus Christ. It was like Lennon blasphemed their Lord, so they blasphemed Lennon and his Beatles right back with a big bonfire.

Suppose that, after hearing about that bonfire a few days later, a mob of angry British Beatles fans in Liverpool went out and murdered a dozen or so innocent American tourists in reprisal for the insult. That kind of violence over a perceived blasphemy doesn’t happen in modern times, does it? That’s more like 12th century mentality, isn’t it?

Maybe not.

Back then, one had to be mighty careful about expressing one’s thoughts. Minor insults could be fatal in those days, especially if it had anything to do with religion. Freedom of religion and speech; the very idea of such a thing was considered blasphemy in medieval times; and punishable by death. Forget about the First Amendment; no one ever heard of it, or anything like it, until centuries later, and even now it is not a universally accepted concept.

In America, there are also those who would punish political and religious expression, e.g. flag burners and blasphemers. There are still blasphemy laws on the books in many states, and federal lawmakers have not stopped trying to criminalize flag burning.

There is something about injuries to feelings which brings out the worst in some people.

A small time preacher from a tiny American church finally made good on his attention seeking threat to burn a copy of the Holy Book of a rival religion. When news of this blasphemous insult reached the ears of rival followers overseas, they went out in a rampage, murdering 21 foreigners, and injuring 80 others so far, who had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Now there’s religious outrage world wide over it; angry rival followers are demanding the U.S. punish the book burning pastor; freedom of speech be damned in the bargain, they cry, since they simply “cannot accept” his irreverence. The pastor claims that the murderers are responsible for the killings; all he did was express his religious opinion in America.

I have to admit, as much as I can’t stand book burners, he’s right.

Burning that book was a stupid, bigoted, and pointless thing to do, but no one was injured; only feelings. Anyone on the planet who cannot accept the necessity for free expression in this century is a clear and present danger to us all.

Those murderers should be dealt with severely for killing 21 innocent people.

That pastor should be held up to good old fashioned American ridicule for acting the fool.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Pocket Change in Washington

Five million dollars is pocket change to the U.S. government. If a million dollars in 100 dollar bills were dropped in the middle the House floor tomorrow, none of the Congressmen would bother stooping to pick any of it up. They no longer think seriously in terms of millions of dollars, or hundreds of millions. Now it’s billions, and hundreds of billions; even trillions.

News reports reveal that the Pentagon has spent $550 million so far in Libya, mostly for bombs and missiles. Within the first 10 days of the conflict, the U.S. forces had flown 983 bombing sorties, and launched 192 long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles from ships in the Mediterranean Sea at a cost of about $1 million to $1.5 million each. To them it’s like you or me shooting off Roman candles in the backyard on the 4th of July.

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, in a recent analysis, estimated that the Libyan no-fly zone could cost $100 million to $300 million per week, or as much as $9 billion for 6 months.

Meanwhile, Astronauts at the International Space Station had great fun showing off their new $2.5 million dollar humanoid Robonaut, recently delivered by the space shuttle Discovery. The toy is intended as an “astronaut helper,” except that its legs won’t arrive until next year. No word yet on the cost of its legs.

Then there are the extravagant traditional pen signing ceremonies at the White House every time the President signs some new piece of legislation into law. Anyone who had anything to do with it is there; Congressmen, Senators, officials, bureaucrats, lobbyists, sponsors, and all kinds of other hangers on, to watch the great historical moment.

On the signing table there are always dozens of identical fancy high quality fountain pens, all bearing the official Presidential Seal. The President picks them up one by one in turn, using each to write a small bit on the document. Then he passes the expensive collector items out to his adoring followers so that each one of them can show their grandchildren the pen the President of the United States used to enact their favorite new law. Later, the pens can be sold at historical memorabilia auctions for a nice fat payout. 

It’s thousands upon thousands of little things like this, together with all the big stuff, that bleeds the taxpayers drop by drop until all of a sudden its $14Trillion.

The federal government is still subsiding automakers with incentive programs to support the electric car market. Nine cities across the country are set to receive thousands of free charging stations this year courtesy of Uncle Sam.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has described the government support as "critical" in achieving the government’s goal of a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Each lucky buyer of an electric car will receive a $7,500 rebate from the taxpayers.

The U.S. State Department’s Narcotics Rewards Program was created by Congress in 1986 to help catch drug traffickers. Now the Obama administration is offering a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of a drug suspect who killed a U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement agent last February in Mexico.

Why not? Who cares? It’s easy to spend other people’s money. Money is no obstacle when it’s not yours. They borrow money from you and me; then make you and me pay it back. They print it on paper, which is what it will be worth some day. They spend it like confetti.

I hope they catch the crooks, but wouldn’t $5,000 be just as effective a reward for the purpose? Does it really have to be $5 million? Better yet, just end the Drug War and there wouldn’t be such killings, not to mention all the $billions in wasted taxpayer money.

I wonder how much the U.S. government would offer if the victim were you or me.

That’s right – not even pocket change.