Happy Holidays!

November 12, 2012 at 8:44 pm (Uncategorized)

From Bloomberg to the homeless of a storm-devastated New York….

Happy Holidays!

New York City is no longer taking private donations to food pantries and homeless shelters.  Why?  Because they can’t properly monitor the salt, fat, sugar, and other elements of nutritional content in them.

So, did you bake some extra pies this Thanksgiving, hoping to bring a smile to the face of somebody who has damned little to be thankful for?  Tough luck.

Delis that have been donating fresh kosher bagels?  Gor!

That nice Polish family down the street who makes the kitchen pierogies every week?  Nie ma szans!

The food that you’ve been preparing for generations, from recipes passed down from one nation to the next, that you’ve spent the time and the trouble to prepare for charity, out of the goodness of your own heart, isn’t good enough for starving, desperate people out in the cold to eat.

So it’s Campbell’s for everybody, I guess!  Sure, the cans are coated with enough BPA to make even the manufacturers of those trendy metal bottles throw up their hands and shout “whaddaya want from us,” but at least you know that you’re getting a product primarily flavored with salt and chicken byproduct.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the reasons why I’m just a teensy, tiny bit leery of letting the government run my health care.  You see, part of the justification for this bullshit is always going to be “well, it makes people less healthy, which drives up health care costs!”  Or, alternately, “people can’t be trusted to make healthy decisions, so we need to make the decisions for them!”

That’s what they said in New York when they limited the size of sodas that people were allowed to buy.  That’s what they said when they limited the amount of salt that restaurants were allowed to use, or when they ban smoking, or trans-fats.

That’s what they say when they argue for spending a trillion dollars and thousands of lives on a War on Drugs that isn’t working.  It’s the basic argument behind virtually every attempt to create a new manner of “victimless crime.”

“You want us to pay for X.  Your bad decisions make X more expensive.  Therefore, in order to keep our costs down, we have to ban bad decisions.

“Oh, and please ignore the fact that after I retire from this job, I’m going to be getting a high-paying ‘job’ with one of the lobbying groups that put a lot of pressure behind passing these bills.  Also ignore that these groups are frequiently financed by industries that are forced to compete with whatever it is that we’re banning.  Because I’m doing this for the people, and you should be ashamed of yourself for even thinking otherwise!”

If we really want to go taking a trip down Slippery Slope, this same sort of logic was used to justify all sorts of other nasty behavior by the government.  Note the critical phrase in that paper:  “people supported in institutions or ‘maintained wholly or in part by public expense.’” (Emphasis mine.)  When the government is paying for everybody’s health care… or, for that matter, everybody’s anything, then everybody is maintained wholly or in part by public expense, which has been argued for years to give the government the ability to override whatever Constitutional concerns might be raised.

Now, yes, neo-eugenics is well down Slippery Slope Road.  But a federal-level ban on trans-fats?  Good bye, vegetable oil.  A federal level “vested interest” in fighting obesity on an all new level?  Hello, fat tax!

Ultimately, it all boils down to this.  How much are you willing to give up your liberty, in exchange for being able to say that it’s not your problem, because the government’s going to take care of it?

Just remember Sandy-ravaged New York City, and how it’s done so much to make Big Food thankful this November.


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I know I’m not the first…. (Though I may be one of the rantiest.)

May 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm (Uncategorized)

I know I’m not the first to talk about this. Hardly the first. I hope that I might be the last, because I’d like to pretend that after posting this that Pastor Charles Worley will realize what a hideous, bigoted waste of human flesh he appears to be, and recant what he said. And actually mean it. But I’m pretty damned sure that he won’t.

For those of you who haven’t seen the video yet, here you go. I’ll warn you in advance; this video almost made me physically ill when I watched it, and without a single offensive image.


Here’s the problem. As if I have to say it.

“Build a great big large fence… put all the lesbians in there… Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out…”
“…And you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out… Do you know why? They can’t reproduce.”

Now, before I go into my usual, vitriolic, rage-filled ranting mode that people like this put me into, let me politely and cogently point out the following. If you want to skip through the part where I’m trying to be reasonable, just search for the word “vitriol.”

Pastor Charles Worley… your plan won’t work. It really just… won’t. You want to know why?

History says it won’t work. This has been attempted multiple times in the past; the Church tried to kill off homosexuals with the Inquisition (and several other methods). Hitler tried your method. Dictators throughout history have tried your method. When Hitler tried it, it actually resulted in an *increase* in the number of gays and lesbians born in the following decade or so – fun fact! But this plan never works. And here’s the simple, undeniable, logical reason why.

All those gays and lesbians? Their parents weren’t homosexuals themselves, honest. At least not in the vast majority of situations. I mean… that’s kind of how it works out logically, right? Their parents had to have sex with each other, and your whole approach is basically built around the idea that homosexuals can’t do that.

Now, logically, this kind of raises the point that just rounding up the world’s gay and lesbian population won’t work. But, of course, I’m sure you would pose that all subsequent homosexual individuals born should be packed away too. And I’m just going to assume that you’d like to pack off all bisexual and straight transsexual individuals as well, on the basis of biological gender segregation since we pesky bis and those transsexuals still attracted to the biologically opposite gender would fuck up (words used *most* intentionally, I assure you) the whole “they can’t reproduce” argument.

But here is where the heart of your argument reveals itself as morally and theologically hollow. Your argument seems to work on the idea that children born to homosexual parents would themselves be homosexual, and that by preventing homosexuals from reproducing we can “breed out” the undesired trait. And yet, this poses the idea that homosexuality is genetic in nature.

In other words… God *made* homosexuals. So you’re entire argument is based around the idea that we need to gather together God’s children and wait for them to die off… because you think that God fucked up.

Now, I’m sure that you’re going to trot out the argument that God didn’t make homosexuals, and that it’s a choice. Or that, even if he did, Leviticus 18:22 says that he wants them wiped out anyway (by the way, how’s that shrimp dinner tasting? When *did* you last burn an oxen as an offering? And have you been sure to have that all the women who’ve been raped in your parish have been properly stoned to death if the rapist wasn’t caught in the act?)

All of this while claiming to worship and love a being who said to treat others as you would be treated. Who preached that a lowly Samaritan was a greater man than a fleet of wealthy churchgoers and priests, because he stopped to love his fellow man as he would be loved himself. Who preached that one must love thy neighbor *as* thyself, without saying “unless, of course, your neighbor sucks dick and doesn’t have tits.”

Oh, I’m sorry folks. The vitriol is coming out again, in case you didn’t notice.

All of this is, of course, invalid, because we live in a country where religion doesn’t dictate our legal structure, unlike such forward-thinking nations as Iran and Saudi Arabia. Because of this, you and your morally bankrupt brethen are theological scholars, not legal experts… though, frankly, I suspect that you at least have a better grasp on law than you do on theology, since you did at least recognize that you’d never get your plan past the legislature. The Republican-dominated (in the House, at least) legislature, so you might want to rethink casting this as a party-based issue.

So, your only options are to either pack every possible political post you can manage with people as far to the right as yourself, which won’t happen because, as I think you realize, you’re in the VAST minority in your opinion… or try a legal option.

Since the problem with homosexuals is that they can’t reproduce, I recommend the following.

You take yourself, and all of your devoted followers, and everybody else who agrees with your bullshit idea, and you build a great big large fence. Hell, if you want, I’ll even suggest that we pay for the materials! You electrify that fence, just to keep us dirty homosexuals and liberals from getting in, and we’ll airlift food and supplies in to you. After all, you offered to do it for us Godless heathens, clearly it’s only fair we do it for you.

We’ll even let you expand the fence when the population demands it. Just so, y’know, we’ve got the moral high ground over you.

But you see… I don’t think we’re going to need to expand that fence. Because I’ve got a feeling that, before very long, you bunch of hateful, bigoted fucks will slaughter each other with your bare FUCKING hands, because you said that God wanted everybody to butter their toast on the top, and one of the other pathetic, attention whoring sacks of shit that walks around preaching the word of the One True God who nobody else understands but him will say that God wants everybody to butter it on the bottom, because it’s Godless heathen butter airlifted in from the outside.

I predict that if you lot were forced to actually live with each other, to live with those sad, shattered reflections of your own innate evil walking around you, you’d murder each other within a year, and that’s being damned generous with you. Those who lived? I figure you’d be drinking the almond-flavored sugary beverage of your choice within another six goddamn days, so that on the seventh day you might rest as the Lord did.

And then when you get to the pearly gates to meet whoever it is who handles admissions to Heaven? Hell, I’d give anything to be there just to see your jaws hit the fucking deck when you realize that you’re the ones being damned, because you committed the single, solitary sin that the all-forgiving, all-loving God you pretend to love so much cannot overlook.

You twisted His words, His message, into one of hatred and intolerance, completely rejecting your supposedly beloved Christ in the process.

I would give anything to be there when you realize what you’ve done, and that no amount of backpedaling is going to get you out of it, because you are dealing with a being who knows your innermost heart. And I know that that’s a vindictive, petty thought, from a somewhat vindictive and occasionally petty soul. But you know what?

I’ll still have the fucking moral high ground over you.

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Can we please try this? Just for a few minutes?

January 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm (Uncategorized)

V's Governmental Tech Support.  Credit goes who the genius who thought it up.

V's Governmental Tech Support

Credit to whatever genius thought this one up.

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Social and Economic Justice

November 13, 2010 at 9:24 am (Uncategorized)

Since I’m crossposting this to my blog, I’m deleting prior messages, changing the subject line, and removing names, to protect the innocent. Short version, to catch folks up: There was a discussion of the ideas of social and economic justice, including the value of money, and whether or not it would be better to have the government supply everybody with what they need. I raised the ugly specter of scarcity, which brought about the following claim: Given scarcity, wouldn’t logic dictate that people should receive things they really NEED, like medical care, before people receive things they WANT, like a second mansion or a yacht?

I am now raising the issue that the comparison brought up is not an apples-to-apples comparison, and proposing that we start with one.

You have two people, both of whom have terminal cancer. Treatment is available, but you can only treat one of them due to available supplies (time, expertise, drugs, etc.). As an administrator, with no involvement with either person, which one gets treatment?

And, before you start claiming that the injustices of the system don’t lie in these situations, humor me and follow through the logic of all this before doing so. Which one do you treat? Do you make a value judgment that one of the patients is worth more than the other? If so, what gives you the right to make that choice?

If you offer the treatment yourself, you have the right to say who you’re going to treat, granted. But that’s making yourself into the one who decides what happens to others, on a purely subjective basis.

If you try to treat both of them, then you’re saying that it’s more fair to give out subpar treatment to both (increasing the likelihood that neither survives) than to give proper treatment to one.

An exchange system permits an external deciding factor – Person A can offer more than Person B for the treatment, therefore, Person A gets it.

Now, granted, this assumes they’re offering something you want, but that’s the entire basis behind an exchange economy, and a monetary system (which creates a universal commodity of exchange).

So, we’ve got a system of exchange. Some people have more of what’s of value than other people do. Now… what happens if they have enough to supply all of their needs, while others don’t?

This is where the question of “social and economic justice” comes into play. One school of thought says they’re free to do whatever they want with it – it’s their resources, they’ve gotten them one way or another (even if they inherited them, at some point somebody earned them and started passing them down), and if they want to give some of the resources away to other people, that’s great, but it’s not mandatory. This is typically the “right wing” school of thought – the school of thought, incidentally, that gives the most money to charity, even above and beyond what can be claimed for tax write-offs.

There’s another school of thought that says it’s more fair and just to take the resources of those who have more, and give them back to the people who have less – typically under the logic that either they deserve to have them taken away from them (having been a leech on the system in order to acquire an abundance of resources) or that the people who don’t have the resources deserve to have more (having been unlucky or otherwise, through no fault of their own, come out on the short end of the stick.) This is typically the “left wing” school of thought – the school of thought, incidentally, that gives less money to charity, but supports the government giving other people’s money out as charity.

Those two little incidentals, of course, sound like value judgments – the fact is, that’s what they actually do seem to support in the real world.

The problem with the “left wing” school of thought is this – you’re giving *somebody* the authority to arbitrarily take property away from one group of people, and give it to another. I can come up with several other problems, but ultimately, it boils down to that – what gives Person X the right to say “Person Y doesn’t deserve what they’ve got, Person Z does?”

Because the people who qualify as Person Z outnumber the people who qualify as Person Y?

Because Person Y has too much, while Person Z doesn’t have enough? Again – what gives Person X the right to say that?

If I were to break into Bill Gates’ house, rifle the couch cushions for a few million bucks, and give it all to charity, what have I done? I’ve just committed a burglary. But when the government does it, it’s social and economic justice.

If I were to break into Bernie Madoff’s house, swipe a few objetsd’artes worth a few million, fence them, and give it all to charity, what have I done? I’ve just committed a burglary, even though the person who was robbed was morally reprehensible and himself a lawbreaker.

And yet, when the government does it, it’s social and economic justice.

Why? Because the government knows better than I do, as an individual? I think pretty much everybody here has agreed that the government is vastly corrupt, and corruptible. I don’t see how that’s going to change because the government has begun playing Robin Hood (and what happened under the Soviet system kinda supports this theory.)

I have yet to see anybody justify giving the government the right to take from the rich and give to the poor without falling back on one of two arguments:

1: The ends justify the means. This includes all those little gems like “the good of the many outweighs the good of the few,” and even the very terminology of “social and economic justice” – which basically exists to claim that you’re actually achieving justice, not highway robbery.

2: The rich are Bad People. This includes all those little gems like “the more you take out of society, the more you ought to put back into it” and such.

Now, before the Usual Suspects come in and accuse me of being in favor of a corporate oligarchy for favoring a “right wing” approach to ‘social and economic justice’ – guess what? Both systems support a corporate oligarchy. Again, look at the Soviet system. Look at socialist nations around the world, and the names who are typically in charge of them – you still get corporate masters, they’re just disguised as governments.

Binary thought disorder affects all of this greatly, of course – all right wing folks support X, all left wing folks support Y. This is why I’ve long thought that we need more than one axis – even more than two.

Right now, folks will say we’ve got two axes to choose from – social and fiscal. Hence the view of Libertarians as “social liberals, fiscal conservatives.” Others simply lump them all into one – right vs left. At this point, I’m inclined to say that we’ve got at least 4 axes – social, fiscal, equality, and policy.

The social axis moves from liberal – do as you please – to conservative – you should do X, Y, and Z, but not do A, B, or C – EVER!

The fiscal axis moves from liberal – the government should spend freely, typically using taxes to fund it, in order to accomplish its goals – to conservative – the government should spend a bare minimum of what’s necessary to accomplish its goals properly.

The equality axis starts getting more interesting. It defines how the individual views the people around them. It moves from liberal – all people are inherently equal no matter what, and should not be judged any differently except by their actions, if even those – to conservative – people are not created equal, and should not be considered such.

And the policy axis is where we start seeing real trouble. It defines how much influence the individual believes the government should have. It moves from liberal – the government should make whatever rules or controls are necessary to enforce the rest of the axes – to conservative, which would advocate that the government that governs best governs least.

Personally, I identify myself on these axes as follows: Social liberal, fiscal conservative, equality centrist, and policy conservative (*very* conservative).

I would identify the Republican party as follows – Social conservative, fiscal liberal, equality conservative, policy liberal. The Republican party as it currently exists seems to have been taken over by the folks who would be ID’d as “socially conservative, fiscally liberal” – some of the worst of both worlds, from my line of thought. They firmly believe that there’s one proper way to live, that people should live that way, and that the government should do whatever’s necessary to establish that.

Here’s the interesting problem – so do the Democrats, who I would consider social conservatives, fiscal liberals, equality liberals, and policy liberals. Here’s the thing – the Democratic party doesn’t subscribe to a “live your life, just don’t hurt anybody” school of thought. Rather, they subscribe to a “live your life, as long as you don’t disagree with us” school of thought – the mark of a social conservative. Consider the numerous policies they seek to establish that govern how people live their lives – more stringent environmental standards, limits on what you can use to travel, limits on the rights of people to engage in potentially harmful consensual behavior (smoking, eating the ‘wrong’ foods), the Political Correctness patrol… think about it, folks. If they said “God says you should do all this” instead of “We say you should do all this because It’s the Right Thing to Do,” we’d be calling them a bunch of religious nuts. Just like the extreme right wing.

So we’ve got a government that’s run by a bunch of social conservatives who are fiscally liberal, who believe that the government should do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. The only real difference between them is what those goals are. Of course, most of the people *there* actually have the goal of “being in power as much and as long as possible,” rather than ideological goals, but the ideological goals underlying them are equally scary.

Of course, you could split that whole “equality” axis down a Hell of a lot more – religious, racial, gender, ideological, behavior, just as a short example. But I’m looking at a broad stroke with that one, which is why I put the Dem’s down on the Liberal side of the line (they tend to support equal rights lines – as long as you agree with their social goals).

Now, given all this, perhaps you can see why I can’t really stand either major party. I’m still hoping for the day when folks realize that we’re dealing with dueling fascists – assuming we’re not just dealing with a corrupt ruling class that doesn’t give a shit about how things are run as long as they’re running it – and throw both the batch of bums out.
But that’s all for another day, and roaming rather far from where I was starting things, so I’ll just wrap up here, and be off to enjoy a little time away from the mines.

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A good clean race….

October 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm (Politics)

You’ve gotta love clean and honest politics.


The sad thing is, that’s probably as close as we’ll come for a long, long time.

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Wisconsin was properly prepared!

September 28, 2010 at 9:05 pm (Politics) (, , , )

I work in Madison, WI. Today, on my way home from work, I noticed six dump trucks, empty, parked along the side of the major artery that leads out of the city. As this was causing a little bit of extra congestion, I was wondering what the heck was going on.

Okay, I wasn’t using language that polite, but allow for a *little* poetic license, please? This is a family-friendly post, after all.

Then I remembered the six (six!) police cars parked off the road at the end of the block near my workplace, which is the major route leading from that traffic artery to the capitol.

And the three parked at the entrance/exit ramps to that route. And the indicators of even more parked closer and closer to the capitol.

And then I remembered the folks are work talking about the President coming to give a speech at that capitol building. And it all became perfectly clear!

They figured they’d need the six dump trucks to haul off the bullshit when he was done! It all makes sense!

I keed, I keed… sort of.

Before anybody accuses me of being a Republican stooge, allow me to say that I plan on voting for at least one Democrat in the coming election, assuming he doesn’t say something that royally screws up my respect for him before then. And that’d take a lot, since we’re talking about the respect earned by being the only person who stood up to the PATRIOT Act, something I’ve covered before.

I’ll also probably end up voting for a Republican or two, though I tend to vote Libertarian when I have the chance….

No, not librarian, Libertarian. You know, the people who profess to believe that the Founding Fathers did a pretty good job when they wrote that 10th Amendment thing, and that the government should stay the Hell out of peoples’ lives unless they give the government a reason to get involved, like actively hurting somebody else.

At least that’s my interpretation of the ideology.

Now, back to the topic… Obama’s visit to Wisconsin!

He had a few interesting things to say, didn’t he?

Yeah… I guess he did!

That’s right.

The liberals? They’re not demotivated because they voted for Hope and Change, only to find out that apparently change meant “more state secrets privileges, more wiretaps, the CIA can assassinate US citizens, and expanded Special Rendition privileges,” and that hope meant “hope you don’t notice all of that.”

They’re not demotivated because they gave the Democrats a majority that could pass whatever they wanted with the mere requirement of having to listen to the Republicans bitch until their lungs got sore (and hey, most of them are old – how long could it take?!?) only to see them not stand up for a single significant issue.

They’re not demotivated because they somehow thought that electing a superstar Chicago politician would mean an end to business as usual politics – only to find that Chicago politicians practically taught Washington what business as usual was.

They’re not demotivated because they’ve seen the administration waste its time trying to affect massive changes, only to settle for relatively tiny ones after wasting large amounts of political capital, while ignoring the smaller changes that could lead up to the bigger ones later on.

They’re not demotivated because they’ve seen the world swooning over a man who hasn’t done a danged thing, giving away one of the most prestigious awards out there to that same man for the mere accomplishment of saying he wants to do great things.

They’re not demotivated by being told that the economy’s going to get better – but only if we stop digging our national fiscal grave with a shovel, and start digging it with expensive mining equipment.

They’re demotivated because they wanted too much.

And the Independent voters who made that massive “mandate” possible? They don’t really count, now do they?

Guess what, Dem’s – and Obama in particular – they do count. And they, along with the liberals you count on to make sure you get to keep filling the pork barrels, aren’t deserting you because they expected miracles, and they’re not getting them.

They’re deserting you because they expected things would be different – and they’re seeing that just because you turn the board around, you haven’t changed the game.

Take heart though. There’s at least some chance (one I’m praying for) that this won’t actually benefit the Republicans too much either – because I’m hoping that enough people out there will realize that putting the Repub’s back in power would only be turning the board back around yet again.

Of course, I also realize that that’s the absolute last thing you want to see happen. You’d rather see the House and Senate both go under Republican control than see the rise of the third parties.

Because as long as the same people are always the only ones playing the game, you know that nobody’s going to try and change the goal – lining your pockets and running the nation the way you see fit, Constitutional limits be damned.

As soon as a third, or even a fourth or fifth player starts to be involved, then you start having to worry that maybe somebody’s going to start calling shenanigans when you try to run roughshod over the nation. And they might start getting more popular than you are when the next elections come around.

And then you might have to actually come to terms with the one choice that makes you lay in bed awake at night.

Govern in the nation’s best interests, under the limitations presented in the Constitution, and let people run their own lives?

Or actually have to get a real job?

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April 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm (Politics) (, , )

I thought I’d make a clarifying statement, since there seems to have been a little confusion:

I don’t really think that Obama was born in Kenya. I think that the First Lady mis-spoke (intentionally or through poor word choice) when using the phrase “home country.” However, I do believe that there are reasons, beyond racism, to question whether or not he meets the “natural born citizen” qualification for POTUS. For the record: I believe the same about John McCain. My belief is that, barring clarification by the courts of the definition of “natural born citizen,” both main parties ran, likely without realizing it, unqualified primary candidates.

Y’see, all legal usage of the term “natural born citizen,” in this country and in English Common Law (where the term was taken from), suggest that a Natural Born Citizen is somebody who, by virtue of birth, owes no loyalty or fealty to any other nation. In other words: You hold no other citizenship at the moment you are born.

At birth, citizenship is acquired in one of two ways (and, bear in mind, my legalese is horrible, so I may be misspelling these). jus soli or jus sanguinis. IE – through location, or through blood. Put simply, when you are born, you are considered a citizen of the nation in which you are born, and the nation to which your father is a citizen.

So, if you were born in Panama to a US military man, you are considered a born citizen of both Panama and of the US.

If you were born in the US to a Kenyan father, you are considered a born citizen of both the US, and of Kenya.

Now, this can be complicated when no treaties exist to govern dual citizenship. In those cases, there can be contradictory laws. For example: the 14th Amendment states that all people born on US soil are US citizens. Simple, right? Well… the Kenyan constitution states that all children born to Kenyan citizens are Kenyan citizens. Who wins?

Similarly, US military bases are not actually considered US soil for the purposes of the 14th Amendment, according to the State Department. So being born on a US military base does not automatically make one a US citizen (though jus sanguinis, presumably, still applies). The bigger problem for all these arguments, however, is that very few, if any, of these laws state that one is a natural born citizen – merely a citizen. So the question exists: What’s the difference?

The courts have never decided. Indeed, nowhere in the Constitution is any branch of the Federal Government told what constitutes being a natural born citizen, to this date – nor is it given the power to determine what does. Therefore, by the 10th Amendment, it falls on the states to define what a natural born citizen is for that state… which, to the best of my knowledge, no state has ever done.

Therefore, the question still exists, what constitutes being a natural born citizen? Without governing legal precedent in this nation, there are a handful of arguments:

1: All individuals who are born with US citizenship.
2: All individuals who are born only with US citizenship, and have no ‘natural’ loyalty to another nation, via jus soli or jus sanguinis.

If we assume 1, then we assume that it is possible to be born in a foreign nation (say, oh, China), be raised there, come to the US on your 35th birthday (already a citizen via jus sanguinis), and become President the day you arrive. Highly unlikely, but legal according to the Constitution.

However, it is not possible for any naturalized citizen – even one who sought political asylum here because of the oppressive regime of your native land – to become President, because it is assumed that you cannot escape having a natural loyalty to the nation of your birth, even if you hate it deeply.

If we assume the second, then it is only possible for people born with no other citizenship status – ie, only those with no “natural” loyalty to any other nation – to become POTUS. This would still have allowed, say, Lee Harvey Oswald to become president, but there you have it. This interpretation is also the one that seems to have been used historically, in the precedent of the legal system from which we established the term. Therefore, without further precedent to draw on, this is the interpretation that must be presumed to prevail.

What’s the point of all this? There are legitimate questions regarding the eligibility of both major candidates that ran in 2008. These questions have been consistently avoided by the courts. There are “birthers” who agree with my general thesis – that neither candidate was qualified, under the Constitution, for the job.

How can these questions be remedied? Fairly easily.

A: The Courts can rule on what a “natural born citizen” is.
B: The States can pass their own interpretations of what a “natural born citizen” is.
C: The Constitution can be amended to define what a “natural born citizen” is. Yeah, that’s a harder one, but it’s a simpler amendment to pass than most – you’re not creating new rights, you’re not taking rights away, you’re simply saying that “these words mean this.” Similar to an amendment requiring that the VP, since he could end up serving as POTUS, must be qualified to serve as the POTUS as well. Which we’ve already got.

I would prefer the solutions in the reverse order of what I’ve listed them, honestly, but I’ve listed them in the order I suspect is most likely to happen.

Alternately, you could ’simply’ amend the Constitution to remove the word ‘natural born’ from the Presidential requirements, as many people would like to.

But the fact is: None of these have happened. Therefore, there are legitimate questions that need to be answered. These questions are not motivated by racism – as you’ll see, I question the legitimate candidacy of both Obama and of McCain. I am not alone in this concern. I suspect that the vast majority of the “birthers” would be satisfied if any of those solutions were to happen – if somebody were to say, in law, “this is what it means to be a natural born citizen, and Obama does count,” and therefore establish what the heck the words mean. I certainly would be.

The interpretation of law is all about the interpretation of language. I give you another President, who famously quibbled over the definition of the word “is.”

Racial motivations are behind some of the people who would like to see Obama retroactively DQ’d for office, I’m sure. Political motivations are behind even more of them. However, to paint all the people who are simply insisting that some proof be given that he meets the current given understanding of what “natural born citizen” means legally as racists is to demonize them – to suggest that their motivation is simply because he’s black, and that no other evidence exists to suggest he might not actually be a natural born citizen.

Current legal understanding of the phrase, combined with US and Kenyan law, suggests that there is a need for clarification.

Things like the video I linked to prove that there are things that must be explained, even if they can be explained easily. For example: “I was trying to burnish my husband’s ’street cred’ as being ’suitably black,’ despite not sharing a history of ancestral slavery with the majority of the US black population. I misspoke.” There. Done. Explained away. Hell, how about this? “I was reading the speech I was given. The guy who wrote it was a moron. Kenya is not his homeland, never has been – he wasn’t born there, his father was. It’s his ancestral homeland, but not actually his.” There. Done.

Still leaves us with questions as to the legal definition of ‘natural born citizen,’ but that’s something that the First Lady can’t explain away herself.

However, it’s easier to create an “us versus them” mentality – more politically expedient. That’s why Joe Stack was obviously a right-wing conservative nutball who flew his plane into an IRS building. Despite being a card-carrying registered Democrat. That’s why the Hutaree are all, to a man, right-wing conservative militia whackjobs. Despite at least one of them being a registered Democrat. That’s why it was impossible that Nidal Malik Hasan could have been motivated by radical Islam, despite shouting “Allahu el Akbar” while he was shooting down soldiers. That’s why James von Brunn was only a white supremacist, not a white supremacist with a long history of radical socialist/communist writings. It’s why “tea party” protestors against the health care bill reportedly shouted racial and homophobic slurs at lawmakers… despite absolutely zero evidence of that happening, including the statements of other black lawmakers dealing with the protests. It’s why “Tea Party” supporters are ‘obviously’ in league with the militias, despite the fact that they simply aren’t. It’s why the militias are inherently bad and evil, despite the fact that they’re called for in the Constitution. It’s why blacks are universally anti-white, dangerous, unintelligent drunkards… despite the fact that the vast majority of them that *I* know are highly intelligent, reasonable, friendly people who’ve made more of an effort to get to know their employees – mostly white employees – than any of my previous employers have – including the white ones.

For the record – refuted statements up above do not reflect my politics, they reflect the politics of the people that I’ve been dealing with for the last few months. Especially that last one. Gyeah.

“Us versus them” is politically expedient. It’s easier to manipulate people who you’ve convinced are On The Right Side, when the other people are people that they’ve been convinced are On The Wrong Side. Last administration did it, current administration is doing it, every administration has been doing it for over a hundred and forty years.

It’s binary thought – We Are Right, They Are Wrong. Read back in my archives a ways if you want my opinion of this – I call it binary thought disorder for a reason. If there’s one thing that I wish I could do, it’s break down the freakin’ monoliths that people have created. Not all Republicans are God-fearing homophobes washing their white sheets on the weekends before the Klan meeting – the majority of them aren’t! Not all Democrats are atheistic heterophobes who want to destroy Capitalism – the majority of them aren’t!

The majority of the people in power, either party, are people who want power, for whatever reason. Generally, I’m afraid, for reasons they believe are good ones – they sincerely believe that they know better than the people who chose them. Now, you figure that one out. “I was selected by the people. Therefore, I know better than they do. The morons who elected me are actively wrong about how the country should be run. That’s why they chose me.” What sort of messianic arrogance does attitude require – whatever party you belong to?!?

Monoliths do not exist in politics. People are individuals – they have their own values that they place on things. Person A values the environment, therefore he wants to see a forest protected. Person B likes trees and animals well enough, but he places a higher value on money and the things it can buy him – therefore, he wants to see the forest clearcut so a factory can be built there. Person A isn’t “right” and Person B isn’t “:wrong.” Similarly, Person B isn’t “right” either. They simply have different goals, different desires. That’s where compromise comes into play – Person A could, for example, pay Person B for the land. Using that money, Person B can then go buy other land, build there, and possibly make a profit on the whole deal – everybody’s happy. Alternately, if Person A owns the land already, Person B could offer him enough money to overcome his desire to maintain the environment – enough to overcome the differential between their values. Or, if the differential is too high, Person B realizes that it won’t be profitable and moves to another piece of land.

Of course, these days, one side or the other would resort to lawsuits or eminent domain laws to pull it off, forcing their desires down the throat of the other without any serious efforts at compromise, probably with a group of other people on their side. It ends up taking years, pissing everybody off, and nobody walks away really happy… except for the trial lawyers involved, who’ve made a bundle off of it. Whoever ‘won’ would be gloating, but that’s not really being happy with it – that’s mugging for the camera and getting your 15 minutes of fame in the worst way you can, short of flying a plane into a building.

Yeah… you might notice I’m a little fixated on the Joe Stack incident. Blame the fact that I work in a tall building for the state tax agency, it’s got everybody a little edgy.

Anyways, I’ve rambled on long enough – off to go take another hit of Ny-quil and hope it’ll knock my sinuses back into alignment.

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Oh dearie me….

April 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm (Uncategorized)


Ladies and gentlemen? Can we now get somebody to admit that those of us who question ed the man’s eligibility are more than just a bunch of racist assholes who refuse to acknowledge that a black man could possibly be qualified as the President? That, just maybe, there are reasons out there to question it?

At the very least, this is a hideously poorly chosen set of words.

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We want your money back!!!

January 14, 2010 at 4:03 pm (Politics) (, , , , )

Take a look at this.  A very close look, particularly at the fifth and sixth paragraphs.  For your ease, they’re quoted below.

“The proposed 0.15 percent tax on the liabilities of large financial institutions would apply only to those companies with assets of more than $50 billion — a group estimated at about 50. Administration officials estimate that 60 percent of the revenue would come from the 10 biggest ones.

“They would have to pay up even though many did not accept any taxpayer assistance and most that did have repaid the infusions.”

The emphasis on the sixth paragraph is mine.

Now, take a look at that again.  Very, very carefully.  I’ll break it down part-by-part, along with implications.

“They would have to pay up…”  The biggest banks would have to pay to the government…

“…even though many did not accept any taxpayer assistance…”  …Even though most of them don’t owe the government a damned thing…

“…and most that did have repaid the infusions.”  …And most of those that do owe the government anything have already paid back what they owe.

In other words, over 60% of the revenue the government expects to take back from this, if it passes, will come from the government insisting that they be paid by people who don’t owe anything or, if they do, have already repaid.

To put this in context – this would be like the credit card companies going out and strong-arming people on the street to take their money.

Even if they’ve already paid their cards off, interest and all.

Even if they’ve never had a card with the company.

And what makes it okay to do this?  Well… it’s the banks!  The banks are EEEEEEVIL!  So it’s okay to do this to them.  Besides, the Government wants to do it, and the Government are GOOOOOOD!  So… that makes it all okay, doesn’t it?

If your answer is anything other than “Hell no!”… we’ve got issues here.

Speaking of having issues….

Thank you, Vorex, for your take on the filibuster issue.  However, I think we’re dealing with a serious case of “different environments.”  In conversations with you, you’ve told me that heated political debates in Australia tend to resemble two nerds in suits arguing on a stage.  By contrast, we have accusations of treason lobbed at each other in heated political debates in the US.  I also find myself wondering how often any one political party actually has the party-line strength to pass whatever it pleases – and no track record of being able to backtrack on its bad decisions.

If the US government screws up, we might throw the bums out (but see my prior complaints about a 90% retention rate of a group with a 20% approval rate – something here just doesn’t work.)  But the screwups almost certainly won’t be reversed unless they were written with sunset provisions.  Anybody who believes otherwise?  Take a look at the PATRIOT Act, which was renewed when it did hit its sunset provisions… by the people who’d cried out that it really shouldn’t have been used.  Including, might I add, The One, who said he wouldn’t have voted for it in the first place.

Social handouts are even more extreme here – taking them away is perceived not as getting the government out of something it shouldn’t have been doing in the first place, but rather as the government taking away something the people are entitled to receive – hence the phrase, entitlement programs.  My particular opinions on entitlement programs… well, I’ve been over them already.  I don’t say “they lead inevitably to socialism,” but rather, they lead inevitably to an increasing reliance on Somebody Else to do something for you – which makes you increasingly indebted to and controlled by that Somebody Else.

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Checks and Balances people!

December 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm (Politics) (, , , )

Now, first off….


There.  That’s a link to a little piece on the Huffington Post explaining how Joe Lieberman’s willingness to vote against health care reform illustrates that we need to fix the rules for filibusters.  Why?  Because filibusters give “outsized power” to single individuals to hold up legislation – because Lieberman is saying he might vote against it, making the potential vote 59-41 (assuming party-line votes), he holds all the cards and gets all the attention and say-so on the bill.

Now… let’s take a more careful look at what they say there, because it’s very telling.

“To pass the most important elements of the progressive agenda, the Senate must change its filibuster rules.”

If the Republicans had 59 votes, and were saying that the filibuster rules needed to be changed for the purpose of passing the most important elements of the conservative agenda, the Dem’s would be screaming bloody murder.  They don’t want the filibuster rules changed – that’s the last thing they want… except when they’re in power.  Then change the rules all you want – get those d#$%ed dinosaurs out of the way and let us at the levers of power, because that’s the way things should be!

Because we’re right, they’re wrong, and there’s no possible way that this could ever go wrong.

Those of you who are long-term readers might remember that I had words about this in my previous diatribes about binary thought disorder.  I’m confident that I’m right in saying that the Democrats would scream bloody murder if it was a Republican bullet point that was going to be pushed through for one simple reason.

They did, just a couple years ago.  Again, this isn’t a Democrat thing – the Republicans grumble about needing to change the rules every time they want to do something that the Democrats want to filibuster too.  And then?  Then the Democrats and the lib’s in the media and the blogosphere start screaming as though the world were about to come to an end.

There y’go, folks.  Think about it – the filibuster is meaningless if the rules to break it are adjusted willy-nilly by a simple majority (which they can be).  That very fact has meant that changing the filibuster rules is often referred to as the nuclear option – using it is a court-of-last-resort move, because it lets the proverbial genie out of the bag.  It’s true – the Constitution doesn’t say a thing about filibusters being allowed.  You can change them however you want… but guess what.  It doesn’t just change for you.

Of course, there’s a simple way around that too.  Just change the rules back before you lose power.  Of course, that makes it an even more baldfaced power grab, but is that a bad thing?  After all, it’s really only a symbolic gesture, one that lets you scream at the other guy when he changes the rules back so you don’t have a say in anything.

The filibuster exists for the purpose of making sure that the minority can stop the majority from pushing things through without an overwhelming majority.  That’s the entire reason it exists.  And that’s why, for very well over a hundred years, it has remained an option in the Senate.  There is only one reason to change it – because you want to take more power.  Forget the fact that they’re talking about health care.  That’s not what they’re talking about. 

Changing the rules of the filibuster has nothing to do with health care reform.

It’s just a smokescreen.

Changing the rules of the filibuster is something that you only do for one reason.  Because you’re trying to ram something down the throats of the public, opposition be damned.  If the Democrats go and change the rules for the filibuster, they’ll allow themselves to force a simple majority vote on anything that goes through.  Don’t kid yourself about Point #3 in that little article calling for the change – do you really think that the change wouldn’t, effectively, mean that a simple majority of democrats can vote anything through?  Even the system suggested there simply makes the filibuster a formality to wait through – go ahead and go home while the other guys rant and speechify to keep you from voting.  Then come in a week later, and push for cloture with 51 votes, before you go ahead and pass whatever legislation you want with 51 votes.

Health care would be the first thing pushed through, sure.  But would it be the last?  I don’t think so.  They’d promptly push through every single liberal talking point, one week at a time. 

Gun control restrictions?  There y’go.  It’ll cut down on the bill for our health care reform, after all.

Expanded welfare?  Well, hey, we just put you all on Government health care, why not on the Government payroll too?

Gay marriage?  Well… no, probably not, since The One has come out saying he’s against it.  But, if he’d agree to sign it, why not?

On-demand abortion?  It’ll be harder, but we can probably pull it off.

A special Presidential police force, to make sure those dangerous Right Wing lunatics stay in line?  Well of course!  We’ve taken away their chance to do anything through the system, we’d better make sure they don’t do anything outside the system too.

The list can go on, getting increasingly ridiculous all the way along.  Eventually, they’ll probably lose power… at which point, blast it.  The Republicans take over, and use the same rules to go ahead and change back parts of the system (abortion and gay marriage, probably… maybe gun control.)

Congratulations.  The system has become completely controlled by whichever side scores 51 votes, unless the Constitution specifically says you need more.

Yes, that’s a slippery slope argument.  It probably wouldn’t go that far, that fast.  But it illustrates the way that it could go.  If you think that pushing through those points, 1 week at a time, by virtue of having temporarily claimed a slim majority, is a good idea?  Congratulations.  You’re not a Democrat. 

You’re a fascist.

And I mean that by the real definition of a fascist – somebody who believes that the government should control the people, that the people exist for the service of the state, not the other way around.  You just only believe it when the government agrees with you, and you’d be screaming that every one of your rights is being violated if the Republican flavor of fascist were doing it instead.

So don’t go getting hacked off about the other side wanting a little control even when they’re the minority… because one of these days, you probably will be too, believe it or not.  And when that happens, you’ll bitch all the louder about any attempts to further limit your power.

That’s just how politics seems to work these days.  And that’s why the important question isn’t Republican or Democrat, it isn’t left or right – it’s politician or civil servant.

And those of us on the civil servant side have a smaller number of representatives than any other party you could name.

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