Thursday, July 22, 2004

States Of Confusion 

Someone Get Out The Clue Bat

There are two very different and very controversial ballot initiatives being discussed in the Western United States.

First, in San Francisco, there is a move to allow non-citizens the right to vote. That's right: lie, cheat, bribe or even legally make your way into San Francisco, and they want to allow you the privilege of voting for members of the Board of Education.

This is a rhetorical question but, Have They Lost Their Fucking Minds?

"The educational concerns of immigrant students are local to San Francisco, and the point of the home-rule doctrine is to allow San Francisco voters to decide what is best for the local educational system," said David Chiu, a former immigrants rights attorney who is working on the measure.

"Studies show that parental participation improves the quality of education for all students," Chiu said. "The more we can involve all of our parents, the better off all of our students will be."

Lofty goals, indeed. How about educating these same children on the difference between what is legal and what is not. Such as illegally entering a country.

How about a little education on California constitutional law? Like the one that says you must be a citizen to vote?

Maybe they could also have a class on economics. Yeah, so we could see the impact illegal aliens have on the cost of running our schools. And our welfare system. And our health care system.

Let's do some math, shall we? It is estimated there are 12 million illegal aliens in the US. Let's say one third of those are kids. Probably more, but let's go with it. That means 4 million kids.

In my area, a grammar school has around 1,000 kids, a middle school around 1,500 and a high school around 2,000. So we'll say the average school is around 1,500 students. That means we are paying for nearly twenty seven hundred schools unnecessarily across the country. An average of 54 per state. Think about that.

I don't know what the per-student tax burden is in other states, but here in California, it's around $7,500. If that were extrapolated across the country, that means our bill for unnecessary educational expenditures is $30 BILLION each and every year. I can think of at least a couple good uses for that kind of money.

Why does San Francisco continue to want to reward people for breaking the law? I guess we should ask whoever is the head of their Homeless department. Talk about money down a rat hole....

On the flip side, we have Arizona. They have a Proposition 200 on their upcoming ballots. One of the key provisions states to the effect:

This initiative would deny state and local social and welfare services to illegal immigrants and require everyone who registers to vote to prove they are U.S. citizens and to provide identification when voting.

Hmmm. Only provide state aid to those here legally, and require voters to be American. What a radical concept!

Now, this Proposition has some major flaws in it, such as the requirement for government workers to report to federal officials when they suspect an illegal may be applying for benefits. If they miss someone, they can get fined $750. These guys are bureaucrats, not cops. Enforce the law regarding who gets the benefits, not about who applied for them.

It also allows citizens to sue the state if the state isn't enforcing the immigration laws. While this may seem great on the surface, it would cause an unwieldy burden on the courts trying to sort through all of the complaints being lodged. We already have a way of fixing those types of problems: Vote the bastards out of office.

I think the Proposition is a step in the right direction, but it needs to be refined to simply disallow public benefits to illegal aliens.

Maybe San Francisco could take on Phoenix as a sister city. Ya think?


Thursday, July 15, 2004

Lawn Darts 101 

How Our Government Is Turning Jets Into Amusing Summer Toys

I was perusing Mad Mikey's blog and he had a link to this story call, “Terror In The Skies, Again”. I read it, and just shook my head.

Please take the time to read it, but to summarize the article, a writer for the Womens Wall Street Journal was on a plane trip with her husband. They had a stop over, and a group of Middle Eastern individuals boarded the plane for the final leg of their trip. No baggage checks, no scanning, no nothing. These guys do some pretty peculiar things while on the plane – clearly not things that have a rational explanation. The airline, the FBI and the Air Marshall service all get PC, and nothing happens.


The Bush Administration is just making it easier and easier for Americans to boot their collective asses out of office. Let's look at the press conference that would have resulted had this plane flight ended up as a lawn dart somewhere in the mid-West:

Reporter: Mr. President, it appears as though there were 14 Middle Eastern males that were allowed to board this flight with no secondary review of their persons or possessions. How is this possible?

Bush: Well, err, uhm, I'm a War President. We're staying the course. Gotta be firm.

Reporter: Right. How do you explain that on 9/11, there were 19 Middle Eastern males involved, spread over 4 planes, yet your administration has set policies that allowed 14 Middle Eastern males to board a single flight without a secondary check before boarding?

Bush: You see, in America, we don't discriminate against our fellow humans. Racial profiling is not the way to protect our American infrastructure. No siree, Bob. We have sophisticated, super-duper, top-secret methods for screening passengers on all flights. Can't tell you what they are so as to not compromise their effectiveness. Need-To-Know basis only. Gotta be firm.

Reporter: Apparently those methods weren't successful. Care to comment?

Bush: We're staying the course, and I'm a War President, don't you know?

Really, what could they say? How could they possibly justify allowing these men to board this plane without a thorough interview and search.

How could they explain to the American public that this administration has a policy in place that will fine an airline for pulling more than 2 Middle Eastern individuals into the secondary screening area? Are they out of their fucking minds?

We have this very real, very actionable problem in the US: Protecting our infrastructure, our waterways, our airspace, our borders. How does Bush address this? He invades a country half way around the world that never posed a threat to the American people, in any way, shape or form. At least they finally admit this.

And his idea of protecting our borders is to offer amnesty to the criminals that have already broken our immigration laws. Do you think that might encourage others to try to do the same? When some asshat judge tells him he has to protect these criminals trying to enter our country but putting WATER FAUCETS IN THE FUCKING DESERT, he complies. One of our greatest natural barriers compromised by an administration that doesn't have the backbone to stand up for what's right.

You Republicans out there need to stop making excuses for this guy. John Kerry is clearly not the best leader this country can offer up. But we have to make a change. If it gets worse, we can all vote him out of office in 4 years. We know what we have in Bush. He's shown his colors, and they have to sicken you in regards to his rampant spending (not just on the war), his cow-towing to special interests, and his blatant disregard for the safety of America.   I'm asking my fellow Libertarians to vote Democratic this election so that there is no way Bush is re-elected.

Simply, he's a danger to America.

Otherwise, we need to brace ourselves for another round of attacks here on our own soil. The thought of becoming a lawn dart should scare all of us.


Thursday, July 08, 2004

Time To Fetter? 

Are we being harmed by our free press?

I have a very strong belief in the unfettered press. I think of them as the trumpet that sounds the warning of government abuse. Watergate generally jumps to mind as a shining example.

Lately, though, I find myself thinking and posting about adding control over the press.

I posted a few weeks back about published, unsubstantiated accusations of rape and murder, and the harm they do. With only one exception – when the police are trying to find a fugitive - I can find no benefit to society by releasing the name of an accused defendant.

Not only am I unable to see the benefit to society, I am now coming across examples where it is becoming detrimental to us all.

The latest case in point is Jack Ryan. Until recently, his big claim to fame was being married to Jeri Ryan. She played the sexy borg, “Seven of Nine” in the Star Trek television series.

It's alleged that Jack has a bit of a kinky streak. In their sealed divorce papers, it seems that Jack had asked Jeri to perform various sex acts – at three different swinger's clubs. She declined to attend the festivities, and eventually divorced him. For his part, Jack says this never happened. Just part of the, “He said, She said” goings-on that were part of the child custody mud-slinging settlement.

Happens every day. No big deal, right? Wrong.

You see, Jack had political aspirations. This 44 year-old, self-made millionaire was running on the Republican ticket for the US Senate for the state of Illinois. He dropped out of the race almost immediately after the allegations were published by the Chicago Tribune.

Both Jack and Jeri requested that the records remain sealed. Jeri is quoted as saying that Jack was never unfaithful, never abused her and has always been a good father.

Why would the Tribune publish these records? For the sake of the child? Because the public has a right to know? No. They sued to publish these records because, “If it bleeds, it reads”. In other words, if it is gory, sensational or salacious, it will sell papers.

In his prepared statement, Ryan sharply attacked the media for its involvement in winning the release of sealed records.

"The media has gotten out of control. The fact that The Chicago Tribune sues for access to sealed custody documents and then takes unto itself the right to public details of a custody dispute over the objections of two parents who agree that the re-airing of their arguments will hurt their ability to co-parent their child and hurt their child is truly outrageous," he said.

So what's the big deal? Democrats will say that Republican's had it coming, after the fit they pitched about Clinton's little incident in DC. Turn about is fair play. The Republican's, for their part, didn't exactly come running to Ryan's rescue:

The state's GOP House members met privately on Thursday and officials said afterward the sentiment was unanimous that Ryan should step down. "There must be something to them, " said Rep. Henry Hyde, referring to the disputed allegations.

The pervert got what he deserved, and was given the bum's rush out of town, right?

Let's suppose that the allegations are true. What do they have to do with Ryan's ability to act as a Senator? How was it in “the public's interest” to have this information released?

What is happening is that good people are not going to run for public office. If you have made one mistake – smoked one joint, or got drunk and puked all over yourself, or got someone pregnant when you were 19 years old – that one mistake has the ability to disqualify you for running for office.

Personally, I want my representatives to have a few chinks in their armor. I want someone who has actually lived life, made some mistakes and learned from them. Someone who can empathize with the common citizen because they've been there, too.

I can't stand much about President Bush. One of the few things I did like about him was that he had had problems with drugs and alcohol when he was younger. He pulled himself up by his bootstraps – probably with a swift kick in the ass from his father – and built a career for himself. He showed character in his ability to fix his life, and put it on the right path.

The thing is, none of that is any of our business. It was between Bush and his family. Between Bill and Hillary. Between Jack and Jeri. It was personal.

In the end, we're all going to suffer. There are a lot of good people out there that would be excellent public leaders. Most are currently leaders in the private sector, as was Ryan. Why would any of them put themselves and their families through the torture of the public strip search that has become a common part of politics?

The sad truth is, they won't. As I said earlier, I have a very strong belief in the unfettered press. I think some "fettering" may be in order.


Thursday, July 01, 2004

Piss & Vinegar 

Oh, Steve....

I had prepared an entry today that dealt with the almost palpable anger that seems to be pervading the websites, blogs and mass media that cater to the fringe of the American political landscape. It has become apparent that the extremes of the right and the left have upped the ante in the war on words.

The view has become, "My way or the highway." Courteous discourse on volatile issues seems no longer possible. What has been lost, is the ability to even consider the point of view of "the other side".

Now, a number of these issues are important ones: The presidential election; Abortion; The war in Iraq. The list expands daily.

Passion is to be expected. For instance, if you believe the war in Iraq is just, so be it. State, and restate your position. Be firm in your convictions. But why must the mud-slinging appear?

Consider Michael Moore and Ann Coulter. Michael's movie, Fahrenheit 9/11 is so intellectually dishonest, it's insulting. On the other side of the coin, Ann sounds like a spoiled child, spewing falsehoods and half-truths, expecting her daddy to come and pat her on the head with a, "Whatever you want, Princess".

So imaging my dismay when one of my favorite blogs, Hog On Ice, crossed over to the dark side, so to speak.

Steve is a very intelligent guy. Funny as hell, too. For the past year or so, we've had our "moments" where we vehemently disagreed on a subject, usually revolving around Iraq and the truthfulness of the Bush administration with the American public.

With this post, titled, Pro-Choice or Pro-White?, Steve crossed the line.

Do me a favor, and read the post before continuing. It will put what follows into context.

I posted a reply (the second one, at the time). Steve promptly deleted it. Now, this is his right, obviously, as he is the owner of the site. He can do as he pleases. That's not my point.

My point is that this is not something I would expect from someone with a mind like his, and it simply firmed my belief about what is happening on the Internet: Dissent will be silenced at any cost.

I figured Steve would do this. Here's my response in it's entirety:
Wow, you've reached a new low. Kind of reminds me of the research and bias that Michael Moore puts into his movies.

I know it would have been a stretch, but do you think you could have actually gone to the Planned Parenthood site (or just Googled 'Sanger") to see if the bullshit these guys are feeding had any merit? I guess not. Just like your BushCo buddies took the word of folks like Ahmad Chalabi without verifying his "facts", you seem to be doing the same to support your agenda.

There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger's early efforts. . . . Our sure beginning in the struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her.

Uhm, that was a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. Apparently she wasn't a racist, at least in his eyes. Or in the eyes of many of the leaders in the Negro Project, whom were black.

Also, unlike the Black Genocide folks, Planned Parenthood actually cites the sources of their information, so that it can be confirmed and put into context if necessary.

the fact that many, if not most, abortion supporters base their position in the hope that convenience abortion will prevent black Americans from increasing their numbers.

That is quite possibly the most preposterous, asinine thing ever to come from your keyboard. You need to cut back on the consumption of your high-fat recipes, as the blood flow has clearly been cut off to the "thinking" parts of your brain.

Steve, I know this is going to break you up, but I won't be coming back here. Your vitriol and sheer arrogance are moving so far to the fringes, your site as a whole is no longer entertaining. Your desperation to make the world think as you do - in regards to Iraq, women, morality - allows no room for discussion. Don't confuse principle with myopia.

Was my post rude? Clearly. Most of my "opening salvo's" are that way, and I make no apologies for that. But it offers the chance for discussion, dissent and learning, albeit in a heated manner.

What it doesn't contain is vitriol, hate and loathing. And that is what has become of the Internet of late. So sad. Good life to ya, Steve.


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