Friday, September 01, 2006

Common Nonsense

I really miss the old school Democrats. I'm not talking about the racist Southern Democrats who legislated an "equality" that became just another form of segregation, but the Statesmen, who spoke with reason and common sense; Statesmen such as Scoop Jackson, John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Harry Truman, and Hubert Humphrey. These men were willing to discuss and negotiate issues, and though I often disagreed with most of them, their voices were important in the overall balance of the government. Human rights, equality, and liberty were important to them.
With the exception of Joe Lieberman, who, though rejected by voters from his own party in Connecticut will likely retain his seat, that voice of reason has all but disappeared. Winston Churchill, who once said, "A man who is under the age of thirty and is not a liberal has no heart, and a man who is over the age of thirty and is not a conservative has no brain," would be appalled at some of those who call themselves "liberals." There is no heart in many of the Democrats in Congress.
Consider an issue that was once dear to the Democratic Party--minimum wage. So intent were these Senators and Congressmen on politicizing every issue, they all but abandoned their principles in order to set themselves at the extreme opposite of anything proposed by the administration. There was no chance of compromise. But it is not only the fault of the Democrats. The Republicans tried to tie it to an issue they wanted to pass, thinking that the Democrats would hold to their principles. They did, but not the ones the Republicans thought they would. There was no honest discussion about it, and neither the tax cut nor the minimum wage increase was passed. Not that it broke my heart personally, since I believe "The government that governs least governs best," but it is disturbing that we have to pay out of our own pockets to pay these people to basically do nothing.
An important issue, Social Security, came up last year. But the Democrat faction of Congress rejected the President's proposal without any counter proposal to offer. It seems they just want to wait until there is no more Social Security program before they act on it. After all, it won't affect them, for they have their own privatized retirement program.
That's correct, Congress is so interested in playing politics, they have lost sight of the issues on which they were elected, and the people who have elected them. Never, in modern times, has the legislative branch been so self-serving.
The news media in general has its part in creating this situation. Rather than reporting factual news events, the media has become a stenographer for anything anyone says, be it based on fact or not. The people who are supposed to be presenting fact to the public have become so opinionated, they are not just spin-doctors, they have become the Surgeon Generals of spin. The only way you can glean facts from the media is to watch or listen to at least seven different media outlets--I listen to NPR, and watch Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and CBS--find a common thread and pick it up and shake off all the debris. Otherwise, you're just getting opinions and sound bites.
It is this practice by the news media that gives these people incentive to spout off whatever they feel. One, thankfully small, faction in the House of Representatives actually believes that it is better to publicly support a regime that imprisons people for disagreeing with the government, one that deals the death penalty to women who have been raped, than to give the appearance of agreeing with the President on anything. The media has given Representative Conrey and the others incentive by giving them a public forum without questioning the reason they turn their backs on human rights. In short, it is the presentation of the news which makes the news, and hard fact has very little to do with it.
In journalism, there is a rule that says, "Perception is reality." So the media manipulates reality. For example the press and the television journalists act as if the "democratization" model is unique to President Bush, and therefore is a new and unproven theory. That is the perception the media feels will create sensationalism, and sensationalism sells newspapers and television advertisement.
But nothing could be further from the truth--democratization was practiced successfully in both Germany and Japan after World War Two. Senator Scoop Jackson, who protested the idea of detente with the Soviet Union as being non-productive to the goal of establishment of world peace, proposed, and passed, a resolution that tied technological and trade relations with the Soviet regime to human rights reforms in that country. Jackson's policy was adapted by President Reagan, and the Soviet Union fell behind in technology and trade. The Soviet Union's withdrawal from Angola, then from Afghanistan were a direct result of US trade policy with the Soviet regime. The fall of the Soviet regime resulted in the birth of a democracy and the end of the Cold War. We may be at odds with Russian President Vladimir Putin on many issues, but we have free and open societies in common, and a dialogue on these issues can be established. One need only to look at the successful democracies of The Republic of Georgia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Indonesia to see that democratization is a tried and true policy.
Another gross misconception authored by the media is that of "Warrant less wiretapping." A warrant is needed in the conduct of a criminal investigation, not in the conduct of war. Imagine that, in a life or death situation, that someone was firing mortar shells at you, and you couldn't do anything to defend or protect yourself without a warrant. It doesn't make much sense, does it? In addition, the entire misconception of wiretapping is that someone is listening in on random telephone calls. I am familiar with the equipment and method used in this type of surveillance, and--trust me on this, because I will not compromise national security--that is not only untrue, but it is actually impossible.
The whole concept of the Presidential power grab is also untrue. By Constitutional Law, whether the President's name is Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, Carter, Gore, Clinton, Kerry, or Bush, the President is the Commander in Chief-of the military. This means that the conduct of war is ultimately the responsibility of the President, not of Congress or the Supreme Court.
I could go on, but my point has been made. What we hear from politicians and pundits is based on what the news media wants us to hear, and what we hear forms the public opinion of politicians and pundits. Research what you hear, and take everything with a grain of salt. And never, never, jump to conclusions.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

2,996 is filled!

I will hold off on a major rant for a while--the 2,996 project has been successfully filled. The 2,996th blogger signed up the 28th of August. follow the link for more info.

Yes, We Can All Get Along

I just had to do it. I'm am about to go off on everybody, particularly the media and the politicians, so I thought I'ld share a little warmth with everybody first.

South American Socialist States Failing.

This item is linked to an item posted by Sandmonkey.
I wonder how many people in consensus reality still believe that socialism works. It has failed and made ruin of the economy in every state it has been tried. There is no incentive for production in a socialized state, and the economy collapses. Sorry friends, but capitalism is human nature.
Please follow the link for more. I'm letting Sandmonkey and his posse take the pulpit on this one.

Could the arrest of Warren Jeffs set a precedent?

On August 29, 2006. Warren Jeffs, leader and Prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), was arrested on charges of fleeing prosecution, bigamy, and sexual molestation of a child, among many others. He was on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list.
The FLDS, not to be confused with the LDS (Mormons), is more than a cult, for it has thousands of members and has been in existence for nearly one hundred years.
One may ask if this isn't persecution of one's religious beliefs. To answer that, one must be familiar with the concept of natural law. Natural Law is that law pertaining to the rights we were all born with, no matter where we live or what form of government we live under. Those rights, in the words of Thomas Jefferson are "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." When one's expression of these rights infringes on the rights of others, it is a crime of Natural Law.
Natural Law makes it a crime to enslave women, which is basically the practice of the FLDS under Warren Jeffs. Girls are treated as property, and at the age of twelve, are given to grown, married men as wives. They are basically bought and sold among FLDS families as slaves, and are barred from contact with anyone outside of the community. In short, the FLDS treats women much the same way as Taliban did in Afghanistan. This is a violation of human rights under Natural Law.
Therefore, Jeffs is not a criminal because of his religion, but because he has violated and advocated violation of human rights. This case will probably go all the way to the Supreme Court.
In the same vein, there are some schools and mosques in the United States, financed by our "friends" in Saudi Arabia, which indoctrinate students and worshipers in the Wahadi discipline of Islam. Wahidi is the jihadist and fundamentalist view of Islam that teaches that all infidels must die and that women are property. This is the philosophy followed by the likes of Usama Bin Ladin, the Taliban, Hezbollah, and Hamas, and which justifies such acts as suicide bombings, the 9/11 attacks, and the public stoning of women. If the arrest of Jeffs is a precedent, then the same rules should apply to the leaders of the Wahadi mosques and schools. If a Wahadist Imam cannot be arrested for his beliefs, he could be arrested for inciting others to take the lives of innocent people.
Though CAIR (Center for American Islamic Relations) denies that there are jihadist factions of Islam, refuses to condemn Al Qaeda or Hezbollah for their actions, there are other American Muslim groups which are more mainstream. It has been reported by both CNN and Fox News that these groups are working to counteract the influence of Wahadists and Jihadists in the United States. The mainstream Muslim activist movement is growing, and has shown some success in Las Angeles, where Islamic citizens are assisting the authorities in identifying those who are a threat to the lives of others. Several mosques in the US have banned politics and incitement against other religions from the pulpit. This movement could be awarded and aided by the arrest of those who incite violence against others.
It is a fine line, between rights and violation of the rights of others, so we most likely will not see such action as that taken against Warren Jeffs, but the precedent should be kept in mind. This would go a long way, with the help of mainstream Islam, in protecting us from jihadist violence within our own country.