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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Is it Safe?

Is it safe? Is it safe?
The villainous character in the 1976 movie suspense thriller, Marathon Man, played by Sir Laurence Olivier, kept asking that loaded question over and over again as he drilled without anesthetic into the teeth of his captive, the Dustin Hoffman character.  
That’s the first image which came into my mind Monday while watching Mitt Romney’s speech to an audience of military vets at the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center in San Diego.
“The world is not safe,” warned the Republican Party candidate ominously as he made his inane pitch characterizing the 2012 presidential election contest with the Democrats as a “choice” between “a nation that is weakened militarily” versus "a strong America."
Any critically thinking American would surely think about that utterly stupid statement: When in the 4.5 billion year history of planet Earth has the world ever been safe?
As we all know, the answer is simple: never.
And clearly no amount of military buildup will ever make the world safe. It will make the world less safe. The nuclear arms race between the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union, for example, has made the world less safe. Every military adventure since the dawn of civilization has made the world less safe for human beings.
But Romney’s message completely ignores that obvious reality.
Americans "have two courses we could follow" when it comes to the direction of the country, he declared:
"One is to follow the pathway of Europe, to shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs… and hope for the best … But if we followed that course, there would be no one stand and protect us … The other is to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world."
What kind of nonsense is that? The U.S. could slice its military spending in half right now and still easily preserve the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world. Surely he must know that.
Right now, our military forces are more powerful than all the other military forces in all the other nations of the world combined. It’s the main reason why America is nearly $16trillion in debt with no substantial reduction in sight.
Since when is supporting an enormously bloated and unnecessary military more important than securing the financial stability and viability of the country? Since when is wasting money on bullets and missiles and bombs more important than protecting the general welfare of the citizens?
There are plainly more than just two courses we can follow. Right now we need more than ever to stop the unnecessary spending on both domestic and military pork.
Romney, referring to a laundry list of potential “risks,” including "Iran rushing to become a nuclear nation" and the growing military strength of China, opined that protecting America's military strength isn't just to "win wars and prevent wars" but to deter wars. "A strong America is the best deterrent to war that ever has been invented," Romney declared.
Oh, yeah?
Well, I’d like to remind Mr. Romney, (not that he gives a shit), that our bloated military strength didn’t prevent or deter the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Iraq War, the Afghan War, and every other minor conflict and foolish war in-between.
On the contrary, the fool’s errand of our military buildup and military adventurism all over the globe was responsible for starting wars – including the present never-ending War on Terror which has gutted the liberties and financial security of every America loving United States citizen without exception.  
There is absolutely no conceivable military threat to the people of the United States posed by any other nation in the world now or in the foreseeable distant future. That is not just my opinion; it is the informed and educated opinion of U.S. military experts.
The scattered ill prepared ragged bands of terrorists who wish to harm America and other first world nations do not pose any military threat. They are simply criminals who pose a criminal threat. Osama Bin Laden was not a military leader. He was a common criminal, no more powerful than the likes of Timothy McVeigh, who pulled off a brilliant suicide attack with the help of a small band of criminals.
All Americans should realize and accept these solid facts. But politicians hate to let facts interfere with their irrational visions of glory and American exceptionalism.
Romney was joined at the Memorial Day event by his former 2008 rival John McCain, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war whom Romney referred to as "a national treasure."
McCain praised Romney as a candidate who believes in "American exceptionalism" and would make a great president.
Sadly, from my humble point of view, it is precisely that attitude of "American exceptionalism" which is mostly responsible for the trouble we find ourselves facing in the world today.
If the world isn’t safe, it’s because of them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Compulsory Education in America: More Tales from the Gulag

The State of Texas has a law on the books criminalizing a child’s failure without official permission to attend more than 10 days of school within a six month period.
So 17-year-old Willis High School junior, Diane Tran, a minor child and national honor student, was arrested and sentenced by a judge without the benefit of counsel or a trial to spend 24 hours in jail and pay $100 in fines for the heinous “crime” of truancy.  
"A little stay in the jail for one night is not a death sentence," croaked Lanny Moriarty, the statist judge from his Justice of the Peace court bench. If one student was allowed to avoid jail then they would all "run loose," he added.  
"In such cases, resolution of the issue is entirely in the hands of the court," declared the Willis Independent School district on its website.
This honor student helps support two younger siblings with both a full time and part-time job after her parents were divorced. "She goes from job to job from school," said one of her classmates. "She stays up until 7:00 in the morning doing her homework," involving AP Spanish, college level algebra and dual credit English and history courses.
That’s the way Texan’s teach honor students to appreciate the benefits of compulsory education. They put them in cages and steal their hard earned cash regardless of the circumstances if they miss a few days of school.
Compulsory education in America presents a clear cut violation of the United States Constitution First Amendment freedom of speech and association provisions, and a clear cut violation of the Fifth Amendment because it amounts to a taking of liberty and property without due process of law.
Punishing truancy as a crime makes a mockery of the constitution.
Elsewhere in Texas, the elementary school daughters of a soldier paralyzed in Afghanistan were punished for wearing t-shirts that bore the logo of an organization that provides homes for severely wounded veterans.
The girls, in first and fourth grade at Masters Elementary School, were wearing t-shirts provided by “Homes For Our Troops.”
Their father, Army Spc. Justin Perez-Gorda was injured by a road-side bomb in Afghanistan, and their mother, Perez-Gorda, said they had recently received word that the organization might be offering the family assistance in building a home that would be safe for her husband.
The school district said it has absolutely nothing to do with the logo — and everything to do with the dress code.

“We have a standardized dress code,” explained a spokesperson. “Had the shirt had a collar, it would have been totally fine.” “It was never about what was on the shirt. It was the type of shirt.”
Punished for not wearing a collar? They have to be kidding.
A group of Illinois high school football players were thrilled recently when NFL quarterback Colt McCoy for the Cleveland Browns dropped by to speak about his faith and toss the pigskin around with them, prompting a complaint to the Illinois High School Association and investigation into whether the visit represented an illegal, off-season practice for the boys.
"The crux of the issue doesn’t revolve around Colt McCoy’s appearance or involvement, but rather the IHSA by-laws that dictate the types of activities a coach and team can organize and participate in when a sport is not in-season," said the assistant executive director for the Illinois High School Association.
Kids can be punished for that? Unbelievable!
A Gibson County Tennessee High School senior was denied permission to attend her senior prom because the design of her dress in red, white, and blue – the school colors – resembled a Confederate battle flag. School officials told her the dress was “offensive and inappropriate.”
It appears that Gibson County Tennessee High School officials have never heard of the First Amendment, of if they have; they regard it as just a sheet of toilet paper to be ignored.
Legislation banning teachers from promoting or condoning “gateway sexual activity” was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam after approval by the Tennessee state House of Representatives. The law requires all state sex education classes to “exclusively and emphatically” promote abstinence. The measure says that sex education teachers cannot discuss “gateway” activities that stop short of sexual intercourse.
That’s compulsory education for you. Now they’re telling their captive audiences what they can and can’t do with their own minds and bodies even when they’re not at school. It doesn’t sound much like education to me. It’s more like indoctrination.  
New Jersey education officials will no longer use a standardized test question that asked third-graders to reveal a secret and write about why it was difficult to keep.
The state Department of Education says the question was reviewed and approved by it and a panel of teachers. They said it was only being tried out and would not count in the students' scores.
The nerve of these statist bastards is appalling. They actually wanted to compel little kids to reveal their personal secrets; Only in America.
A North Carolina high school teacher was suspended with pay after she was captured on video shouting at a student who questioned President Obama, suggesting he could be arrested for criticizing a sitting president.
"You are not supposed to slander the president," she screamed during a class discussion during which she was criticizing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. "There is no comparison," she insisted, "He's running for president," she said of Romney; "Obama is the president."
The student argued that both candidates are "just men …"He's just a man. Obama is no god."
"Let me tell you something ... you will not disrespect the president of the United States in this classroom," yelled the teacher, insisting that the two candidates are "not equal."
I suppose that political discussions are just fine with some teachers in North Carolina as long the student’s don’t try to contradict the teacher’s opinion; a wonderful lesson about the First Amendment.            
An upper Manhattan public elementary school will be the first in the city to require that students study Arabic, officials said yesterday, putting that language subject on equal footing with science and music courses.
Principal Nicky Kram Rosen selected Arabic as opposed to more common offerings, such as Spanish or French because it will help her school to obtain a prestigious International Baccalaureate standing.
You see, in upper Manhattan public elementary schools, it’s not about what’s good for the kids; it’s about what’s good for the principal and her school.  
Meanwhile, almost half of Florida high school students failed the reading portion of the state's new toughened standardized test, education officials said recently.
"We are asking more from our students and teachers than we ever have, and I am proud of their hard work," Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson said in a statement. "As Florida transitions to higher standards and higher expectations, we can expect our assessment results to reflect those changes."
Maybe they should be teaching the kids Arabic.
That’s life in the gulags of American public education.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Church and State: They Want it Both Ways

Religious leaders in America have been whining a lot lately about the government interfering with their churches and their beliefs. They don’t want the government telling their flocks that they have to do something which is against their faith. They don’t want government meddling with their religion.
They don’t want the government telling them they can’t discriminate against students at public universities; or telling pharmacists they must provide certain products which they find objectionable on religious grounds.
But wait a minute.
On the other side of the coin they desperately want the government to support and promote their religion. They want “In God We Trust” to be America’s national motto engraved upon all government coins and currency. They want the Ten Commandments posted prominently in every courthouse and government building.
They want government displayed nativity scenes in front of public buildings at Christmas time. They want Christian crosses erected on public property. They want a government God; a Christian government God; they don’t believe in any separation between church and state; they don’t like the First Amendment Establishment Clause.
They want every little public school child to pledge allegiance to “one nation under God.” If they had their way the government would go back to sponsoring prayer and teaching creation from the Book of Genesis in public schools like it did not so long ago. They cried pitifully when the Supreme Court struck that down. That’s because they want the government to teach all the kids religion.
Can they have it both ways?
Hell yes, the preachers and the Bible thumpers demand from their pulpits.
Right now they are meeting in Washington, D.C., for the National Religious Freedom Conference and their Rising Threats to Religious Freedom event organized as part of what they call a battle against the trampling of religious liberties in the public sphere.
"This debate is not just about contraceptives, but about coercion. It's not about Catholics it's about conscience," declared Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. "It’s about principle, not pelvic politics."
"This is the uniting of the faith community to declare that we're going to fight back to defend religious freedom," proclaimed Former Utah Gov. Michael Levitt. The conference announced plans to create religious freedom caucuses in every state, an effort designed to bridge the gap between politics and religion.
They’re demanding to have it both ways.
They want the government to promote their God to everyone, believers and non-believers alike, Christians and non-Christians alike, but they don’t want the same government to mandate that their hospitals and universities offer insurance coverage to employees for birth control.
They want “In God We Trust” on the government currency but they don’t want Christian pharmacists ordered to carry birth control products at stores open to the public.
They want public school children to recite the “one nation under God” pledge, but they don’t want public school sponsored student religious groups to be open to all students. They demand the right to discriminate in public schools.
In Texas they issued a government license plate that declares Texas "One State Under God." The plate also features the words and image of the Crosses at Calvary, the site where the Crucifixion of Jesus is said to have occurred.
Kelvin Wade, assistant director to Glory Gang, a group that works with underprivileged children, where some of the license plate proceeds will be going said that “To have the government’s hand too deep into the church would change the very nature of what the church is all about,” but added: “I have a problem with the separation of church and state here in this area and worldwide.”
"We believe the new plate will appeal to a lot of Texans who believe as we do – who will like knowing that sharing a Christian message from their cars will also help kids in need," Glory Gang board member Matt Rocco told The Christian Post.

They want it both ways and don’t mind saying so.

Ditto, says a group of California’s Camp Pendleton marines who planted two 13-foot Christian crosses atop a remote hill in the middle of California's Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base.
Ditto, say the Bible thumping government authorities in the small Alabama town of Sylvania, population 1,800, who insist on posting four welcome signs on the public highway which display Bible verses: “Sylvania Welcomes You; Ephesians 4:5 – One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the town demanding that they remove the signs because they violate the First Amendment Establishment Clause. The town removed them but put them back later.
“We’re putting the signs back up and we’ll see what happens,” said acting mayor Max Turner ”If we don’t stand up for something, it won’t be long before we’ll have to go to the woods to have church.”
It’s time to draw a line in the sand and fight back against the FFRF, he declared. “I had itchy feet to start with… But we’re ready to have it. I’m not afraid to take a stand. We as Christians have got to stand up regardless of what the world might say about us… We as Christians should stand up for what we believe in as much as them people stand up for what they believe in,” he said, noting that he was prepared to “go down trying to defeat the Devil.”
The United States of America is a Christian nation says the Mayor, and Sylvania Alabama, our American town is a Christian town. There ain’t no separation of church and state in Sylvania; ain’t no First Amendment Establishment Clause here, but they’ll be Hell to pay if the government tries to meddle with our religion, he proclaims out of two sides of his mouth.
To Hell with the United States Constitution, the law books in some Bible thumping states still mandate.
To Hell with the “No Religious Test Clause” in Article VI, paragraph 3, that provides:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.
Maryland, Article 37:
That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.
North Carolina, Article 6, Section 8
The following persons shall be disqualified for office: Any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God.
South Carolina, Article 17, Section 4:
No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution.
No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall anyone be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being.
I ask you: What is better proof that “God” is imaginary than a state government constitutional declaration that you are persona non grata unless you believe in the government God?  Why else would such a provision in a government constitution be necessary except to confirm the existence of that which is certainly imaginary?
Church and state in America: The Bible thumpers definitely want it both ways.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rape is Not Part of the Sentence

As a lawyer and officer of the court for more than 40 years, few events cause my blood to boil more than incidents of rape, violence and rampant abuse against defenseless inmates within the vast American jail and prison systems.
Rape, violence and abuse are not part of any prisoner’s sentence no matter what he or she did to deserve incarceration. When the state puts someone in a cage it assumes a serious responsibility for the safety and general well being of that human being. Inmates in jails and prisons are at the complete mercy of their jailers and the prison environment.
You wouldn’t take your dog to a place to stay where it might likely be abused. You wouldn’t put your pet inside a locked cage with a vicious pit bull for a cellmate. But that kind of horror happens to human beings every day.
Many people think it’s hilariously funny the prospect of a convicted person going to a place where he will likely be abused by other inmates, or worse yet, by the guards. They actually think that abuse should be part of the punishment, that the convict deserves it. That’s why prisoner abuse is so common today and why it seems that so little is done about it.   
Now we learn to no particular surprise that male guards at an Alabama women's prison have been conducting widespread sexual abuse of female inmates for years, according to The Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit group which recently filed a formal complaint with the Justice Department.
"In interviews with more than 50 women incarcerated at Tutwiler (Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama), EJI uncovered evidence of frequent and severe officer-on-inmate sexual violence," between 2009 and 2011. "This troubling cycle of abuse and lack of accountability has established a widespread pattern and practice of custodial sexual misconduct," said Bryan Stevenson, the group's executive director.
Stevenson blames the Alabama Department of Corrections for under-reporting the alleged attacks, which include rapes, and for responding inadequately. More than "20 Tutwiler employees have been transferred or terminated in the past five years for having illegal sexual contact with prisoners." Several imprisoned women also allegedly became pregnant after being raped by guards, giving birth while in custody.
A 2007 Justice Department report found that Tutwiler maintained the highest rate of sexual assault among prisons for women and 11th overall of those evaluated across the United States.
"It's an ongoing thing, a daily thing," said Stefanie Hibbett, 31, a former Tutwiler inmate. "You see women raped and beaten, and nothing is ever done."
Hibbett said she was the victim of sexual assault in November 2010. She said she told the prison's warden about the assault, but no charges were ever filed against the prison guard she says attacked her. An Alabama judge dismissed a civil suit she filed in the case in August.
Prison staff who abuse inmates should get life imprisonment in solitary confinement with no possibility of parole for their rightful legal punishment. That’s what they should get which is far better than what they deserve.
They deserve to have their finger and toe nails pulled out one by one with a pair of needle nose pliers. They deserve to be branded by a red hot iron with the word “rapist” across their foreheads. They deserve cruel torture daily for the rest of their miserable lives for what they’ve done to defenseless human beings confined against their will.
The morons who decided in the first instance that there should be male guards over female inmates and female guards over male inmates deserve to be taken out behind the barn and shot. At the very least they should be fired and never be allowed to have anything to do with the prison system again. They’ve provided an engraved invitation for mayhem.
No person who has yet to be convicted of a crime, including accused persons awaiting trial, should ever be incarcerated with convicted criminals. Any prisoner who commits unprovoked violence or intimidation against a guard or another prisoner should be put in solitary confinement until they no longer present a danger to others.
Persons who have committed non-violent crimes – including Bernie Madoff -- should not be put in cages unless they refuse to comply with the terms of their sentences. Far better to put a color coded collar around their necks corresponding to the nature of the wrong they did, a GPS bracelet around their ankles for the purpose of keeping track of them, and house them in dormitories without guards for a portion of their sentences.
But no matter what we do to them, rape is not a part of any sentence.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Judging the Judge in Virginia

Republican Virginia state delegate Robert Marshall insists that sodomy is not a civil right. That’s why he says he’s fighting to block an “extremely qualified” Virginia prosecutor who happens to be gay from becoming a judge of the General District Court in Richmond.
But he claims his opposition has nothing to do with the man’s sexual orientation. He’s only concerned about “bias” in cases between “a homosexual and heterosexual.”
“Sodomy is not a civil right. It’s not the same as a civil rights movement,” Marshall responded to a question from a CNN reporter comparing the gay rights struggle to racial discrimination against blacks as to why he opposes the gay man’s nomination.
“You bring up sodomy,” said the reporter. “Is the reason why you voted against him because he’s gay, pure and simple?”
 “Sorry, you’re mischaracterizing that,” Marshall replied. “I said sodomy is not a civil right, and there’s an effort by homosexual lobbyists to equate the two. That’s wrong. It’s a pattern of behavior.”
Despite the fact that one of Marshall’s Republican colleagues characterized the gay man as being extremely qualified for the bench, Marshall disagreed. “We don’t accept everybody who is nominated. Moreover, he would preside — he could preside as a district judge for a marriage of two guys if he wanted to, in violation of the law,” he opined. “Moreover, if you have a bar-room fight between a homosexual and heterosexual, I’m concerned about possible bias.”
Asked why he thinks a gay person would more likely be biased than himself, Marshall countered: “I wouldn’t apply to be a judge, I am an advocate… When I was in public school, we all went through a ritual. I know you may find it strange, that said keep us from temptation. This was because we said the Lord’s Prayer. Nobody – nobody should go where they’ll be tempted. That includes me, that includes you, that includes a prospective judge.”
That’s interesting. It sure looks to me that by becoming a lawmaker he’s gone to a place where he’s clearly given in to temptation. He’s a raging homophobe on a legal crusade against gays. “I’ve got strong beliefs, I can’t change them like a coat,” he told the Richmond Times Dispatch last week. Now he’s running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
He’s absolutely certain that sodomy is not a civil right in spite of the fact that nine years ago now, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Lawrence v. Texas striking down sodomy laws in Texas and 13 other states, including Virginia, as unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said there is “no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.”
But Section § 18.2-361 of Virginia Code, which bans sodomy, has never been repealed. “If any person carnally knows in any manner any brute animal, or carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth, or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge, he or she shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony,” says the law.
Whew! It’s a good thing that the Supreme Court was wise enough to declare sodomy laws unconstitutional. Otherwise, the State of Virginia would be obliged to lock up just about every married and unmarried couple in the entire commonwealth, gay or straight, for felony violation of this statute, i.e. engaging in oral sex.
I’d be willing to bet that Mr. Robert Marshall himself is guilty as sin.
He’s definitely unfit to judge the judge.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Great American Bonuses for Parasites Program

A new database compiled by The Asbury Park Press via a Freedom of Information Act request, reveals that federal workers, many of whom are nothing short of parasites, in the United States government are raking in $billions in salaries and $millions in bonuses on top of that while the private sector suffers through the worst economic meltdown since the great depression.
Of course, the U.S. government is by far the largest employer in America. The taxpayers shelled out more than $105 billion in salaries last year for most of the federal civilian workforce, and bonuses totaling another $439 million.
It’s no secret today that government parasites in general now receive higher pay and much better job security and fringe benefits than their private sector equivalents – a clear cut case of the parasite commanding more nutrients than the host.
The average salary for New Jersey's federal employees was $83,749 last year and numerous senior executives among the government parasite class are sucking up six-figure annual salaries.
Infamous suspended GSA administrator, Jeff Neely, the current poster boy for federal government parasite activity, culminating in the Las Vegas convention scandal, for example, was enjoying $172,000 per year in annual salary on top of the fabulous travel, entertainment, and other outrageously expensive perks which eventually contributed to his demise.
Some of these parasites have been receiving annual bonuses in the tens of thousands of dollars range on top of their generous salaries. The top annual bonus dished out to a fat parasite in the Department of Agriculture was $62,895. Some of the biggest parasite bonuses were doled out to the lucky recipients from a special presidential award program.
Now an Obama administration spokesperson for the Office of Management and Budget, is saying that they’ve "eliminated bonuses for all political appointees," and have also "directed agencies to adopt more rigorous personnel management processes, and set a cap to reduce spending on awards for career staff, saving taxpayers an estimated $200 million this year alone."
While some of these bonuses and pay raises are being handed out on the basis of merit, the "vast majority" are automatic, "just for sitting in their seat," says James Sherk, senior policy analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation. "They could be playing solitaire all day and still get the same pay increase as the best and most productive workers."
It’s about time some of these obese parasites went on a strict diet. It used to be in this country that a civil servant government employee was not paid at the same level as his private sector counterpart. The idea was that the civil servant traded better pay for better job security. After all, they weren’t exposed to the risks of the free market like private sector employees. They could count on keeping their jobs through thick and thin.
Those times are long gone. Now the civil servant has become a parasite enjoying both higher pay and better fringe benefits while doing less work and contributing nothing to the health of the free markets.
The United States of America would prosper once again if only federal, state, and local governments were reduced to a proper fraction of what they have become today. These excesses in governments are responsible for all the financial problems plaguing the people. They suck up valuable resources while contributing next to nothing in return. Then they scream bloody murder when a fed up host renounces his citizenship in order to escape the parasites.
It’s time to eliminate the great American bonuses for parasites program.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Nuking the Nukes

It’s time to nuke the nukes.
I mean get rid of them, or at least reduce their number to a reasonable level which would still guarantee mutual assured destruction (MAD), i.e. deterrence, to any rival nation which might possibly threaten us in the future with nuclear war.
Nukes are not defensive weapons; they are strictly offensive weapons of mass destruction to be used only in the event that one or more of them is used against us. They are like an insurance policy to make sure that the devastating destruction is mutual in case another nation is foolish enough to use one against us.
Nukes have been used as an offensive weapon of war only once, and that was 67 years ago when the United States dropped two of them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan for the purpose of forcing the Japanese to surrender at the end of WWII.
Since then, the Soviet Union acquired an arsenal of nukes in a cold war arms race with the U.S., but the concept of MAD was sufficient to deter either side from using them offensively against the other.
By the late 1980’s the United States had either stockpiled or deployed more than 12,000 nuclear weapons, each far more powerful than the ones that annihilated hundreds of thousands of innocents in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
These included thousands of huge intercontinental ballistic missiles sitting in silos all over America pointed at targets in Russia; thousands of powerful Hydrogen bombs and long range B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers; together with thousands missiles fitted with nuclear war heads carried by U.S. submarines.
It was a perfect example of military spending overkill which still very much plagues our nation today. The possibility that any of these powerful weapons of mass destruction will actually be used is extremely remote so the billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars spent on them has been a complete and total waste.
Now they are simply rusting and deteriorating in their silos and the radioactive materials used to manufacture them in the first place present an unacceptable level of danger to humanity. So not only were they a waste of money, they are now albatrosses around our necks.
What the hell are we going to do about all these nukes?
Now the cold war has ended and presently the only conceivable nuclear threat lies with a rogue nation or terrorist organization with the potential capability of using perhaps one or some small number of them effectively against an enemy.
After all these years of military paranoia, cold war, arms races and wasteful spending on expensive items which no one ever expected would actually be used, finally an influential group of retired U.S. military experts known as  Global Zero is calling for an 80 percent reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons and an elimination of all nuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM’s).
They maintain that that the U.S. needs no more than 900 total nuclear weapons for its security in a post-Cold War world. We still have at least 5,000 of them now. So does Russia, and the two nations have arrived at a treaty which will reduce those numbers somewhat.
I personally think that the number could be strategically reduced to 100 or even less while our national defense remained effective, but admittedly I’m no expert. The prospect of an 80% reduction is like music to my ears. That’s the kind of serious cutting which should accrue to all military spending in my opinion.
But none of this reasonable cutting is going to happen if the Republicans and their military industrial complex confederates have their way. An earlier report stating that president Obama was considering such steep cuts, has already elicited Republican criticism in this hotly contested election year.
Sadly, this is so even though the level headed military experts say that U.S. ICBMs are of little use against any likely adversary except Russia, because the flight paths from silos in the United States all pass over or near Russia and could trigger a response from Russia's massive arsenal.
Nuclear weapons have no role in major security threats of the 21st century, such as terrorism, the experts say. A 2010 nuclear policy review by the Pentagon said the U.S. nuclear arsenal also is "poorly suited" to deal with challenges posed by "unfriendly regimes seeking nuclear weapons" -- an apparent reference to Iran.
Responsible cuts in nuclear forces by the United States and Russia could open the way for the two countries for arms control talks with other countries, including China say these experts. "There is no conceivable situation in the contemporary world in which it would be in either country's national security interest to initiate a nuclear attack against the other side," their report says.
And they estimate that the cuts would save the U.S. $100 billion over a decade.
But the Pentagon isn’t seriously interested in cutting military spending. Even now, defense secretary Panetta is begging Congress for a more powerful bomb after acknowledging that the largest bomb we possess, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, is not capable of destroying Iran's most heavily fortified underground facilities.
"We've long said we need the capability these weapons will provide us," Capt. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman said. "We're committed to their development and comfortable that they will contribute to all the capabilities our military can bring to bear against hardened targets."
Last November, Kirby said the new weapon, or "bunker busting bomb," would give the U.S. "a far greater capability to reach and destroy an enemy's weapons of mass destruction that are located in well protected underground facilities to a magnitude far greater than we have now." But he denied then that the bombs were designed to target Iran, the only country known to have buried its nuclear weapons.
Now, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "acknowledges shortcomings in the development of the weapon," according to a senior U.S. defense official. The request for a more powerful bomb is part of contingency planning for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear program.
I say it’s high time to stop the reckless military spending on wasteful projects like this one.
t’s time to cut military spending to the bone leaving only that which is necessary to defend our nation.
Responsible reduction of the current deficit and $16 trillion in national debt should rightfully start with military spending which has spiraled out of control since the end of WWII.
It’s time to nuke the nukes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cruelty by Constitution, Part 2

My last post chastised the landslide majority of voters in North Carolina who elected to amend their state constitution for the sole purpose of denying the civil right of gays to marry.  It was a wholly irrational display of religious bigotry directed against ten percent of their fellow human beings who simply want equality under the law.

Gay marriage is shaping up to be a central issue in the November 2012 presidential election. Americans appear to be evenly divided on the issue. Older voters tend to be against the concept while younger voters generally support it.  

President Obama and the Democrat Party, to their credit, have claimed the high moral ground in this controversy. Gays should have the same legal right as straights to marry they argue. Marriage is a civil right. Republicans are taking the low road, having been trapped and dominated long ago by the irrational ultra right wing religious conservative segments of their party.

If Republicans have their way, the Constitution of the United States of America will be amended for the sole purpose of denying the civil right of marriage to gays. That would nullify the Fourteenth Amendment and its promise of equal protection under the law for gays who want to marry those they love like anyone else.

It would amount to cruelty by constitution.

Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee Chairman, insisted this week that same sex marriage is not a civil rights issue. The Republican Party, he declared, stands by its position allowing dignity and respect for gay Americans, but those sentiments do not change the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage.

"People in this country, no matter straight or gay, deserve dignity and respect. However, that doesn't mean it carries on to marriage," Priebus said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

He supports equal rights for gay’s, including fair treatment in the workplace and hospital visitations, but claims that same-sex marriage doesn’t fall into the same "civil rights" category.

"I don't think it's a matter of civil rights. I think it's just a matter of whether or not we're going to adhere to something that's been historical and religious and legal in this country for many, many years," he opined. "I mean, marriage has to have a definition, and we just happen to believe it's between a man and woman."

Gay marriage prohibition isn’t comparable to Jim Crow laws, which enforced segregation, says Priebus. "I think there's a big difference between people that have been murdered and everything else that has come with Jim Crow, than marriage between a man and man and a woman and a woman," he said.

Well, just exactly what is that difference? I ask.
Gay people have been murdered in America simply for being openly gay the same as blacks have been murdered for simply being black.

I was born and spent my first nine years of childhood in the Northern Midwest City of South Bend, Indiana and can still vividly remember the separate “white” and “colored” drinking fountains next to each other at the local playground just blocks away from my home. My public primary grade school was all white.

Vicious, mindless, and totally irrational racial discrimination against blacks was rampant in my American youth. Jim Crow laws operated everywhere. It was not until 1964, the year I finished high school, that the federal civil rights laws were passed. It took a long, bloody and tortuous civil rights movement in this country before blacks in America were accorded equality with whites under the law.

Today, well into the 21st century, homosexuals, who make up fully ten percent of the population, remain one of the last segments of society still suffering under the heavy yolk of bigotry, hatred, and irrational discrimination.

During biblical times and well afterward, the mere fact that a person was homosexual was a potential sentence of death if discovered by the authority. Persons found guilty of masturbation and other innocent conduct during those terrible times were also subject to execution, but somehow the stigma of masturbation has faded into nothingness today; perhaps because there is hardly anyone alive who has never done it at least once in their life.

Sadly, the stigma of being gay in America remains indelible in the minds of mostly religious conservatives. Gay sex between consenting adults was considered a criminal offense in most American states right up until the United States Supreme Court declared sodomy laws unconstitutional in 2003 – less than a decade ago.

So before 2003, straight consenting adults enjoyed the right to sexual activity while gays were denied that right by law. If that sounds like Jim Crow it’s because that’s exactly what it is – irrational bigotry and discrimination by the force of the law -- cruelty by law.

The anti-gay Republicans understandably don’t want to be labeled bigots but they can’t escape it for that is exactly what they are. A bigot is a person who is irrationally intolerant of others, usually on the basis of religion, politics, or race. Irrational means without reason and logic.

Denying fellow human beings the civil right of marriage simply because they are gay is the result of bigotry, the irrational intolerance of others based solely upon religion and without reason or logic.

During the dark days of Jim Crow laws discussed above, some states had laws on the books which prohibited heterosexual mixed marriages. Whites could not marry blacks in many American jurisdictions. These laws weren’t based upon reason and logic but solely upon bigotry and hatred.

No one has articulated a logical reason upon which to deny gays the right to marry just like everyone else. If someone out there has done so, I’ve not heard it yet. The reasons they put forth are entirely based upon the religious definition of marriage.

But marriage is a civil institution under the secular law as well as a religious institution under the dogma of the church. If a church wants to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman and deny that sacrament to persons of the same sex, that’s just fine and dandy with me, but it is clearly not appropriate that religious bigots employ their religion for the purpose of dictating the secular civil laws applicable to everyone, religious and non-religious alike; gay and straight alike.

Marriage, of course, usually involves a man and a woman but that is only because 90% of humanity is heterosexual. The core concept of marriage, however, refers more broadly as the social institution under which two consenting adults establish their decision to live in a legal commitment as a union; a relationship in which they have pledged themselves to each other into the state, condition, or relationship of being married.

Any close or intimate association or union can be described and defined by the dictionary as a marriage, i.e. the marriage of words and music in a hit song; the blending, merger, unity, oneness; alliance, or confederation between two separate entities coming together.

If marriage between humans were solely for the purpose of procreation, then straight couples who are unable to conceive children should likewise be denied the civil right of marriage.

So procreation is not a logical reason to deny gays the right to marry. Gays can still procreate, if not with each other. Gays still can make excellent parents of children. Mitt Romney and many other conservatives admit that fact. So to argue that gays can be great parents but shouldn’t be married is irrational and illogical.

It’s cruelty by constitution.