Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gay Marriage Attacks?

"A marriage, as my religion defines, is between a man and a woman."

So, why is the government involved in the affairs of religion?  The government shouldn't be issuing  marriage licenses, at all.  What the government should do is issue Civil Union Licenses, which would allow couples to share resources, grant access to each other in emergency situations, and any other thing afforded legal couples in America.  Then you could take that license to whatever church you'd like and have it sanctified or blessed with a ceremony of some kind, so that it a recognized 'marriage'.

I'd have no problem with a church deciding which licenses to sanctify, and which ones it wouldn't.  There are already some churches willing to bless same sex unions, so if you don't like a religion's doctrine, you can shop elsewhere.  In the same respect, I don't think anyone should be able to force a church or religion to bless every union they are presented with.

What I've never understood is how allowing homosexual couples to share their lives with one another, is an attack on traditional marriage?  The only way I can interpret this action is they, those who oppose gay marriage, are attacking someone's lifestyle by denying them equal protection under the law.  Moreover, these attackers are claiming to be victims, and no one is calling them on it.  They are claiming they want to "protect" traditional marriage, but from what, exactly?  Moreover why do they find the need to deny people civil rights, to protect theirs?

Why liberals are so bad at branding, and how conservatives get away with blatant misbranding, is beyond dumbfounding to me.  The problem with democrats is that they are on the average more passive, and not forceful with their agendas or arguments.  They sit back and allow the opposition to set the stage and lighting, and even give stage directions.

Not only are we allowing the other side to run the show, but we haven't even offered a clear Constitutional compromise- a Civil Unions Law, that recognizes all unions equally without prejudices. We should leave it to churches to sanctify those unions as marriages, and end this debate once and for all.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Community Activism

"People need to take more individual responsibility."

I stand on the other side of that fence, where people believe that 'individualism' is a relic of state of nature, and that we left that state in order to form this more perfect union.  Conservatives will rail on and on about how, if people would just be more independent, and wasn't so dependent on government, that everything would be just fine.  Civilized people a long time ago abandoned that concept, because they realized that this is a united we stand and divided we fall world, that we live in.

This weekend, my hometown suffered a severe wind storm, that left power-lines and trees strewn about, and most of the town without power.  Rather than each individual taking care of his or her own property damage, I saw a community become one super-efficient tree debris clearing machine.  It didn't matter if you didn't personally own a chain saw, flatbed trailer, or a tree shredder, if you had limbs down in your yard it was mostly cleared by the end of the day.  There was no need for someone without any of those tools or the ability, to lift logs that weighed hundreds of pounds or worry about hiring a tree clearing service, because with the whole town's resources combined, there was all of the personnel and equipment we needed at arm's length.

It was easily one of the most impressive sights I have ever seen.  Without electricity, burdened by heat and humidity, those who had the means and ability, helped those who didn't.  They did so without chastising those not doing as much, with less.  No one required the disabled or elderly to brave the clutter, and if you didn't own a chainsaw you weren't required to 'rent' one from your neighbor.  Without elongated thought or consideration, and without instructions or orders, people realized that there was something that needed to be done, so those who could, banded together and got the job done.

It was the best example of liberalism that one could demonstrate.  Had conservatism won the day, half of the town would still be waiting for private contractors to clear the roads, people's yards, and local market areas.  Thankfully, individualism had no place here, this weekend.  People accepted the notion of community and outreach without hesitation, and we are now the better for it.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Misplaced Conservative Activism

"We are against regulation."

So, that means here in Texas, you can buy as much land and the mineral and water rights to it as you want, and basically do what ever the hell you damn well please, with it.  There's literally no limit to how much water you can draw from the underground aquifer, even if it causes all your neighbors' wells to go dry.  If you want to start a hog farm so big that it taints the entire water shed, have at it!  Texas is a Republican State, and when election time rolls round, Texas is "red" indicating our Conservative voting nature.

Tonight, I attended a local information dispatching gathering, where a group of local land owners were voicing concern over a well known energy company setting up shop, to mine and distribute fracking sand.  They were concerned that released particulates could cause health problems, and most importantly that once fully operational, the processing plant would consume some 3,700 gallons of water EVERY minute...  In fact, total estimated usage would easily surpass all current local municipalities' use combined.

The presenters of the information were clearly liberal activists, well versed in corporate tactics, and offered those in attendance good contact information to offer some stumbling blocks for the incoming sand mining company.  However, I left with little hope that anything could ultimately be done to stop the operation from continuing forward.  

The reason is that those in attendance tonight have all voted for Republican, for a long time.  They voted to ALLOW people to rape and pillage the land and our natural resources.  If we had proper oversight and regulations, there should be nothing wrong with any business moving in and setting up shop.  Those in attendance were mostly old wealthy land owners, who don't want to see another large industry move into their countryside landscape.  The irony is that these people are the same ones who would decry the E.P.A., as tree huggers who need to get out of businesses way to create jobs.  

Now they are upset that a business is going to move in, suck the place dry, and leave a fine powder over everything.  Well, of course "Enron" is going to do this, that's what energy companies do.  They identify a natural resource, then they go in and exploit that resource.  A strong E.P.A. and rigorous oversight is our only check against corporate greed and their willingness to destroy our world for a buck.

I just wish Conservatives understood that corporations don't care about them, and tree hugging progressive liberals, who want meaningful regulation, are looking out for everyone.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Progressive Plan Forward

"Democrats don't have a plan, to create jobs."

We don't.  There is no massive relief plan, who's purpose it is to direct America's potential, its market forces, and indeed its people.  America doesn't have a plan for future greatness.  We are in a financially unstable period, and we've already tried tax cuts, and stimulus packages, to what result?  We have an unemployment rate of around 9%, but actual under-employment, combining those who are working part-time and those who have stopped looking for work altogether, well that number is +20%.

So, with so many unemployed or under-employed what is the plan?

There isn't one, or at least liberals are utterly failing to deliver, mention, or otherwise indicate that there is.  The Republicans' seem to think that the cure all is "more tax cuts", that people need to be able to keep more of their money, as though 'individuals' would use their personal wealth to repave roads, repair bridges, or build the transportation system of tomorrow.  The really rich people in this country mostly just put their names on planes, helicopters, and buses, and travel around telling people how great they are.

So, my "progressive" plan is to update our rail transportation infrastructure, to build a high speed rail system, powered by renewable energy sources, that is earthquake resistant, and tornado proof.  We should be able to load both people and vehicles onto it, and it should showcase the American landscape.  This high speed rail system should have at it's core, a basic building principle of 'sustainability'.  It must be designed to support itself.

Of course, this means that we are going to have to raise taxes.  We have to make and win the argument that we need to invest in America again.  Individual wealth does not help 'us'.  Revenues are down, raising taxes is the only way to gather funds necessary to both repair and improve our the very systems we depend on.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

SWAT Kills Marine in His Home

"SWAT was returning fire."

That is what the first official press release said anyway, about a search warrant being served on United States Marine LCpl. Jose Guerena, by SWAT Officers, while he slept.  54 seconds later, he was bleeding out through 60 bullet holes.  Then it would then take an hour for SWAT to allow paramedics access to him, to confirm his death.

The second story released by Pima County Officials was that the point SWAT man 'fell' backwards, and they thought he had been hit, so they opened fire.  

Most recent, is a 54 second video that clearly features a siren sound for about 8-9 seconds, a team of SWAT officers standing at a front door, there's some muffled yelling, and banging on the door, then a breach of the door.  Once it swings fully open, a full 5 seconds elapses, then the SWAT team opens fire on the Marine, missing 11 out of 71 shots fired.

The question is what did this two tour combat hardened Marine actually DO to cause the SWAT team to open fire?

Well, for starters, he was asleep at 9:30 A.M. when the raid began, as he had just finished working a night shift.  He awoke to his wife saying, I think someone is trying to break-in the front door.  By this time, there are no more sirens, and SWAT is at his front door.  At this point, it is important to note that some of the Marine's extended family members had suffered a break-in about a year prior, in their home at a different location, and had all been shot and killed.  With potentially armed intruders at his doorstep, the Marine's training took over.

If you wake up a sleeping Marine, and tell him someone is trying to invade his perimeter, he will grab his weapon, shoulder it, train his sights on the point he expects to receive hostile forces from, and make his weapon ready to fire.  Upon SEEING the targets he will take aim and begin firing, IF the Marine concludes they are indeed hostile forces.  That the door was open for a full 5 seconds is evidence that the Marine did NOT perceive a threat.  Further investigation found that not only had the Marine NOT fired a single round, but his weapon was safetied.  So, upon SEEING Uniformed SWAT Officers, the Marine did exactly as his training dictated.  He put his weapon on safety, disengaged the target, and probably raised his weapon and hands and began to make himself visible.

SWAT Officers opened fire on a Marine actively surrendering...   We know this is what happened, because these are the actions the Marine's training would dictate.

As the Marine laid bleeding to death, this same SWAT team barred medical personnel from administering first aid for the length of an hour.  

Mistakes within this operation by law enforcement occurred at each and every level, with each and every step, and sealed the fate of a law abiding citizen and Marine Vet, who had no history of criminal behavior, and possessed nothing illegal on his person or in his home.  

Marine LCpl. Jose Guerena is dead today, his wife a widow, and his children left fatherless, because law enforcement officials failed to serve and protect him.