Thursday, October 28, 2010

Call to Action

We the People are not presently well represented by our elected officials.  Our basic needs are often times left to what we can muster between ourselves.  Government at all levels fails us daily.  Redresses for these outright crimes against civility are met with courts and bureaucracy that are impenetrable to appeal or petition.  From state and federal down to our county and city levels, government suffers shortcomings.  Our government has become the hindrance upon our pursuit of happiness, basic freedom, and even equality under the law.  People, this is not what government was intended to be.  Government is merely People realizing that problems can best be handled by people working together, rather than against one another.  You are not alone.  We the People left the State of Nature, in order to form a more Perfect Union.  We levied claims that We would work together to see to it that certain Rights were inalienable. Moreover, We claimed that when government failed, that it was Our Duty to fix it.  The problem is that We have become complacent, and unaware of our governments’ actions.  We don’t see, or hear reported their everyday doings, dealings, decisions, or deliberations.  More often than not, these meetings take place in executive session, behind closed doors, and well beyond the eyes and ears of the public.  Local governments fare no better holding meetings, courts, and councils in rooms not large enough to accommodate a score of public attendees.  And those charged with reporting on these events, that Free Press, being necessary to secure a Free State is woefully inadequate.  They are as bought and paid for by these officials, as can be expected.  We the People simply don’t see, or know about the shortcomings of our elected officials.  More sad, is the fact that We just don’t care.  Only about two-thirds of us are even registered to vote whom qualify, only half actually show up to vote on election day.  If there is no federal election, local and state elections' turnouts fare far worse.  The point being that, most of us are staying out of and or are completely unaware of the election process, and this is why government is so unresponsive to our daily needs.  There are no checks and thus no balances.  We have to know more about those we elect.  We have to know how they vote each and every day, on each and every issue.  We have to be the watchdogs upon our own government, lest they stray from their true purpose, to serve the Will and Needs of the People.  

This is a Call to Action.  I entreat you, reach out and lend an ear to the movements and daily actions of those whom you have and are to vote for, see for your own eyes if they represent your values and ideas, or those listed in the Constitution of the United States.  Show up at these public hearings, meetings, or councils and witness the utter and complete incompetence, as I have.  You have to see, to know and understand the depth of this problem I am calling attention to.  I have met a water board President, who couldn’t tell me and or didn’t know the Environmental Protection Agency’s safety level for lead contamination in drinking water.  I have encountered a library board President who had never heard of the Library Bill of Rights, or the American Library Association.  I have seen judges and courts ignore their own sanctioned Policies to limit the rights of citizens, merely because they had to cover for one of the officials they appointed.  Almost every time I have attended a board or counsel meeting, I have seen or heard arguments for or in favor of limiting public access to government services, the very things our tax dollars fund.  These elected officials forgot, or never initially understood, that it is their first duty to protect the individual’s right to public services, and to indeed help us gain access to these resources.  It has become far too often that I have seen the opposite.  I call on you now, to see and bear witness to the same.  Then I call on you to VOTE for those who would act in line with standards you care about.  Bear true witness to these things, and hold elected or appointed officials accountable for their shortcomings.  Governments’ failure to act, is merely our failure to oversee their actions as voters.  Politicians are re-elected most of the time, so either We don’t know or We don’t care.  Regardless, We have only ourselves to blame.  That said every passing moment is an opportunity to turn it all around.  Help me, help us, to elect a government responsive to the needs of it’s citizenry.  Let’s re-make government what it was intended to be, a State not of competitors, but teammates, intended to help and look out for one another.  We are a Community, and when We act together there is nothing We can’t achieve.  It is only when We act as individuals, that We separate ourselves from the communal goods and services that We’ve already paid for through taxes.  We are that more perfect Union, or We are merely individuals acting as competitors stuck in the State of Nature, where the one with the strongest arm and biggest stick, makes all the rules.  We Left that State, in order to form this more Perfect Union.  American Democracy may very well be the best of what Government has to offer,  but today that’s like being valedictorian of summer school. Our inaction, inattention, and general unawareness and ignorance has given us our government induced problems.  As a Democracy, We get the government we deserve. 

Today, our best is just not good enough.  Yet, all that is needed is that those who vote, to do so in an informed manner.  With that, I ask you to now, to Vote Smart, or don't at all.  Know not just the names of those who you would vote for, or what party they represent, but be able to boast of the actual votes they’ve made in line with your own beliefs.  Stop voting for incumbents who haven’t done their job, and don’t represent you or your stances. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Juan Williams

"Muslims on airplanes scare me, and make me nervous."

My wife is the same way, about spiders.  At some point in her past, she 'had a bad experience', with a spider.  Now she has an irrational fear of all spiders, even though the vast majority of all the spiders are completely harmless.  The spider she encountered didn't even bite her, it just wouldn't 'get off of her'.  If she encountered a spider today, she'd freak out.  And the bigger the spider the bigger her reaction would or will be, even to a point of completely disabling her.  She can't even look at a picture of a big hairy tarantula without getting creeped out.

In my head, this is a weakness of hers.  She's allowing one bad interaction, to affect all future encounters with arachnids, even though most of them are there to help rid her world of unwanted insects.

Juan Williams is also suffering from an irrational fear, and the closer to Fox News he gets, the more this irrational fear will be enforced.  O'Reilly himself has crowed that "Muslims attacked us on 9-11!", as does the rest of Fox News.  And then they herald, 'Williams is free to express his opinion here', as they just gave him a big fat contract.  Which also means that about 40% of the country is leaning in this direction, because it would seem you don't have to drink the kool-aid, to be affected by its fumes.

The problem here is 'generalizing' based on a stereotype.  "Rag-heads attacked us on 9-11."  While Juan didn't say this directly, that's what he's thinking.  We were attacked by terrorists, who seek to expel our military from their homeland.  The Muslim religion didn't attack us.  There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.  If Americas' 380 million were indeed at war with them, I'd say the odds are against us.

It is wrong to fear an entire group, based upon the sins of a few within that group.  It would be not be acceptable to treat every Catholic Priest like he was a pedophile.   Yet, Juan is now being welcomed with open arms into the Fox News family.  "Fox News, We accept broad generalizations and irrational fears!"

While I was indeed a Juan Williams supporter, I think he needs some mental health care, maybe some direct exposure therapy.  Feed him his favorite food while meeting and speaking to kind and happy Muslims.  This behavior can be overcome, but if I were to daily toss rubber spiders at my wife, while someone poked her with a sharp needle, I doubt she'd ever get over her arachnophobia.  In fact, those actions would probably make it worse.  So, Juan heading to Fox News to a full-time position may well see him bombing a mosque, in the end.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Legalizing Pot

"Why would we want to make it easier for our children to access marijuana?"

Because we are losing tax revenue now, while making a bunch of gangsters rich, and at the same time wasting law enforcement officers' time and resources by chasing, prosecuting, and then feeding, clothing, and housing non-violent offenders.  We are wasting valuable resources trying to tell other people what they can and can't consume.

Children with parents who lack the time and energy to provide adequate supervision, are those who find themselves getting into things they shouldn't.  What is or isn't legal has little to do with it.

Rather than trying to tell adults how to live their lives, we should focus our law enforcements' energies apprehending actual criminals- those who have infringed upon another's life, liberty, property, or pursuit of happiness.  Liberty and freedom are supposed to extend to everyone, so long as they aren't hurting anyone during their pursuits.

California spends over $8 billion, prosecuting and housing marijuana offenders.  While estimates are that  legalizing and taxing cannabis could generate close to $10 billion in revenues.  Then there's the added resources  that will be available to law enforcement, allowing them to focus much more time to catching real criminals.  Fewer criminals on the street mean fewer crimes.  Fewer crimes mean fewer home insurance claims, leading to even more savings for everyone.

Proposition 19, even if passed, won't stop federal officers from enforcing federal law.  So, while the Administration threatens to veto the will of the people, we lose tax revenue, waste resources, and jail Americans seeking solace in a harmless herb.  No one in the history of the world has died from THC overdose, and doctors are prescribing it as medicine.  Yet the federal government resists any and all efforts to use sound reasoning or judgement of any kind.

When will this reefer madness end???

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Health Care Reform

"Over 60% of Americans are not happy with Obama Care."

I, for one, am one of them.  However, the reason I am displeased is that we didn't get Universal Health Care or even a strong Public Option.  What we got instead was a bill watered down by health insurance lobbyists and their conservative cohorts, that lacked serious reform.  While Republicans claimed,  "No one reached out to us."

This is the oldest of plays ran by conservatives, since the legislation began.  The Democrats want to enact a project and say that it will cost $1 million dollars.  Then the notion enters the process, where Republicans say they will only fund the project at $500,000, and needing their votes, Democrats relent.  The result is legislation that is ineffectual and not supported by the public because it doesn't do the job the originators said it would.  This is exactly what happened to the Health Care bill.

The issue isn't that we shouldn't fight the notion of Universal Health Care.  We already have it, except that the current problem is that it is the most expensive care one can purchase.  People without health insurance don't just stay home and die.  They wait until they are in pain, and then they show up at the E.R., where Doctors provide them care, as their oath dictates.  The two problems with this system are first, that E.R. care is super-expensive, and second, that it is oftentimes too late to affect positive results.  So, patients don't pay their huge bill, and they don't get the results they could have with an earlier diagnosis.  In the end, taxpayers and insurance holders get the bill, anyway.

What we should have done was allow everyone access to clinical care, where illnesses can be treated both inexpensively yet effectively.

The Democrats' problem is that they can't or won't make the argument that "We" have a duty to our fellow citizens, and that when one of us falls to injury or illness, "We" are supposed to be there to help one another.  That Republicans were able to successfully argue that: "Money = Medical Care" & "Rich = Head of the line.", is just loony, to me.  Where in the world of medicine, other than America, do you get to demand that you get to move to the head of the line, because you have more money???  In the medical world, there's a term called "triage", meaning literally 'sorting of patients'.  If you come in with a gunshot wound, you get to go ahead of someone with an ingrown toenail.  The worse off you are, the more immediate your care becomes.  Your ability to pay isn't part of the medical equation, nor should it be.

The notion that the poor don't deserve basic health care is inhuman, not compassionate, and is the very definition of incivility.  That Republicans successfully defeated both Universal Health Care and the Public Option baffles me, especially when Democrats control both the House and the Senate, as well as the Executive Branch.

What else can be said, other than Democrats are weak, ineffectual, and lacking in an ability to construct and deliver good arguments.