Friday, December 31, 2010

Hopes for the New Year

"Government is the problem."

On the contrary, government is the only thing keeping us from reverting to tribal warfare, where the richest and best armed among us rule with lead and fire.  The absence of government in our lives would not be a good thing, regardless of how rosy Republicans paint it.   We left the State of Nature in order to form this more perfect Union.  We are all in this together, and this a divided we fall endeavor.

I hope that this year will see Democrats stand up and explain that Constitutionally limited government, doesn't mean less government in your life.  Our Constitution simple divides which are state obligations, and where the federal government presides.  A 'more' Constitutionally limited government would simply shift the burden to state or county municipalities.

My hope for the new year is that an argument will rise in favor of fully funding government, so that it can meet or accomplish 100% of its stated goals.  Tax cuts demean this effort, serving only individual needs, while driving our nation into debt.  Someone somewhere has to stand up and say, "We MUST invest both time and increased taxes in our country, our Union, and especially our infrastructure."

It does not matter where these taxes are allocated or collected.  We have roads and bridges in disrepair, and it is going to take the raising of taxes to properly fix them.  Whether counties raise property tax, or the federal government sets a national gas tax, we have to raise revenues.  We are in debt and our crumbling  roads cause more damage to persons and property than drunk drivers do.

I hope that Democrats will stand up and state with certainty that meaningless platitudes like, "We are in favor of Constitutionally limited government." aren't a hinderance to our goals nor does it mean 'less government' or lower taxes.  Simply stated, We the People have basic needs, that must be met by the collection of taxes, be they by the federal government, states, counties, or cities.  We are in debt and our nation's infrastructure needs refurbished.

"I pay taxes because roads don't pave themselves."  (*A sign from the Rally to Restore Sanity.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Dead Dream

"No amnesty for law breakers, not now, not ever."

In this case, the law breakers are the children of illegal immigrants, and the 'amnesty' is the exchange for service in our nation's military for citizenship.  So, had the Dream Act passed, if you were a child of an illegal immigrant willing to put your life on the line to protect our nation, then you would be granted citizenship.  That the GOP managed to successfully filibuster this legislation is truly amazing to me.

Democrats failed to successfully argue that your willingness to fight and die for this country meant you deserved citizenship.  How is that?  Who really believes that your willingness to fight and die for the United States doesn't qualify you to legally pay taxes and vote?  The arguments presented against it were that it might encourage children to move here, and that it rewards illegal behavior.  The winning argument here was that it is bad to encourage young people to come here and fight for our country.

Being born here, is a passive act.  No one chooses where or when they will be born.  Well, I guess I'll say only that I don't recall having the option.   But this is the sole factor the Republicans are willing to consider, when deciding if someone deserves citizenship or not.  That someone is willing to join our military and defend you, me, and our Constitution didn't matter to Republicans.  The only thing at issue for them is the illegal nature of their arrival.  Republicans deem this to be an unforgivable federal crime.  Once you've arrived illegally, any process pointed toward citizenship has been successfully defeated as another "amnesty for illegals".

I too have a dream.  It is that, one day Democrats will stand up and make an argument good enough to convince not only other Democrats that it is a good idea, but half of the reasonable Republican voters, if not their Representatives.  Sadly, it is but a dream, because it seems these days strong convincing liberal arguments are a rarity at best.

How exactly does one fail to convince Americans that those who serve in our armed forces deserve citizenship?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Attacking Christmas

"Liberals are attacking Christmas, again."

According to Fox News, you'd think liberals were out stealing manger scenes and beating down anyone dressed like Santa in stores and on the streets.  The truth is the Pagans are the ones who got the raw deal out of Christianity co-opting their season and all of the things we know to be symbols of Christmas.  According to Biblical researchers, the Christ-child "Yeshua" (NOT "Jesus") was born around June 3rd.

It was the Catholic Church and its creation that borrowed all the symbols from the world's oldest and largest religion- Paganism, and then married them with gospel writings to arrive at "Christmas Trees."  The Pagans burned candles during all of their rituals, as Catholic do in all their ceremonies.  Pagans worshiped the female form, as Catholics still do the Virgin Mary.  During the winter solstice Pagans would bring evergreen trees, wreathes, or sprigs inside to decorate their home, as a sign of life's resilience over winter's icy grip.  Catholics just adopted all these things and stuck a Christian label on them and today we still kiss under mistletoe, and cut down 34 million trees every year to celebrate "Christmas."

That the vast majority of Christians have no clue as to what a Christmas tree has to do with the birth of Yeshua, isn't surprising.  They hide colored Easter eggs, and celebrate the Easter Bunny, completely unaware that the tale originated as the pagan goddess Ostara raising a dead bird back to life and then turning it into an egg laying hare.  Growing up my CCD teachers were always hard pressed to answer my questions about what Santa, the Easter Bunny, evergreen trees and colored eggs had to do with Christ.  Which is why I always say that I left the Church when I reached the age of reason.

The truth of the matter is that I enjoy the holidays.  I love the decorations, the music, the general cheerful mood most find themselves in, and of course the sales.  What I don't appreciate is that Christians claim sole ownership to this holiday, and tout "Keep Christ in Christmas!"  To which the historian in me just wants to shout back, "Christ's real name was 'Yeshua', not 'Jesus', and he was born in June!"  Then again, it's the holidays, and I don't want to yell at anyone.  I just want to smile and wish you season's greetings, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, or if you are a Pagan where all this started, I'll wish you life and good health in this time of want and woe.  Regardless, know that this isn't any one group's season to guard, but rather all of ours to share.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sarah Palin

"Sarah Palin is qualified to be President."

She may well have been born, and always resided in the U.S. and be over the age of 35, but that doesn't mean she is truly qualified to hold the Presidency.  I think that position should be filled by someone willing to lead us into better days through better ways.  I want someone with ideas, enhanced perspective, and a desire to succeed by our nation.

Sarah just does not seem full of new ideas.  She's great at turning out conservative voters, but that doesn't mean she is capable of speaking upon any topic with any real depth.  I can't say I've ever heard her wax poetic upon anything, besides how the media is attacking her.  The longest single topic speech I've heard her give was her resignation speech, wherein she went on and on about her leaving was the best thing for Alaska because people were attacking her legally.

So, apparently she is half of America's favorite target, and the other half's most adored darling.  Riding a media wave, she has recently written a book and is starring on her own reality TV show.  One thing certain, is that she can draw a crowd, but I don't think that in-and-of-itself qualifies someone to hold our nation's highest elected office.  Before someone claims this is another attack piece on her, I'd like to argue that claiming someone isn't qualified, isn't attacking them.  I can't fly a helicopter.  If someone points this out, they aren't attacking me.  They are simply stating as fact, that 'I' should NOT be given the keys to a Blackhawk.

Hunter S. Palin recently took and missed "5" shots at a caribou from around a hundred yards away with a scoped rifle and the animal never moved.  That's not "hunting" as I know it here in Texas.  If you rustle in your stand or blind, the game will hear you and bolt, let alone shooting at it multiple times with a rifle.  That said, what I take issue with her here is her completely missing the animal "5" times.  A hunter in our group would have been disqualified from shooting after missing a live target 3 times.  They'd have been sent back to the range until they could group together a pattern the size of the game animal's kill zone (heart & lungs).  Hitting an animal in the legs or stomach could ruin a lot of good meat, so one wouldn't be allowed to go on a live hunt, until they could prove proficiency with their weapon.

Like so many moments before this, she seemed unprepared for the task at hand.  We never saw the actual wound, but I am almost certain the animal suffered and there was meat lost or destroyed, simply because she hadn't done due diligence at the range.  Sarah Palin is not one to go into things totally prepared, so it would seem these past years.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Socializing Medicine

"There shouldn't be a federal take-over of the health care system."

On this I must say that I can find some agreement.  A huge, one size fits all, single payer system may well turn into the biggest government boondoggle of all time.  So, let's just localize medicine.  Local or County Hospital Districts should set a tax rate that fully funds their operations, and then they should use those facilities to offer residents in that area the care they need.  Simply cut out the federal middleman and keep 100% of those tax dollars right where they are collected.

Then have locally elected Hospital Boards be the deciders as to what gets covered, and which tests or procedures are offered.  If your district isn't fulfilling your needs, then you can vote out those whom you disagree with, run yourself, or re-locate to a district more aligned to your medical needs.

This said, I do think the federal government has a role to play in setting basic standards, as to the level of care all health care facilities have to provide citizens.  This should come in the form of an 'unfunded mandate'.  Now I know that phrase scares a lot of people, but it isn't the same as a 'federal mandate', which is the government telling you what you are going to do.  This 'unfunded mandate' is merely the government telling you what you need to do, and not telling you how you are to go about doing it.  This will literally be the difference of having a faceless disconnected Senate or Congress decide your health care and its costs, and having your local monthly Hospital Board hold public meetings deciding these issues, right in front of you.

At present a faceless for-profit insurance agency is deciding who lives and at what cost, and premium payers have no voice in those decisions, other than to buy insurance elsewhere.  However, with no government non-profit option, affordability escapes over 30 million Americans.

We have a duty to help provide and protect individual life, it is right there in the Constitution.  We all have the Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  The best most efficient way to deliver a health care system to protect 'Life', is to keep local taxes out of federal coffers, as locally elected officials work with citizens to deliver the desired level of care.

We should 'localize' socialized medicine.