Tag Archives: states rights

A Pot To Piss In

The United States of America  has, in its long history, faced a number of issues of  massive importance. The debate over the very founding of the nation and the separation of powers.  The issue of slavery, debated by Lincoln and Douglas and finally determined by war. The issue of Jim Crow. The woman’s suffrage movement. Civil Rights.Various conflicts between the federal and state governments.

I remember George Wallace standing on the steps of the University of Alabama, pledging to deny entrance to young Americans of color. The federal government nationalized the Alabama National Guard  troops to move the governor aside. Momentous.

Now, we add to the list, the battle over bathrooms.

The greatest nation on Earth. The nation of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Reagan is facing another Constitutional Crisis.

To pee, or not to pee. That is the question. Shall the people of North Carolina be granted the freedom to pee in the toilet of their choice? Or should the iron hand of government compel them to pee in  approved lavatories? Shall freedom be taken away and driven into the night or shall all men, and women, and transgender men or women, be allowed to urinate and defecate in the restroom most fitting to them? Each to his or her own?

Can the great state of North Carolina demand a birth certificate as proof of one’s right to pee in a specific place?  Should the federal government join in and demand that all men, or women, or transgender men or women, have the right to eliminate in the facility of their choice? That, my friends, is the question facing America.

The intellectual titans of the USA, that beacon of freedom, are now engaged in a debate over the very hearts and souls of toilet bowls. To flush or not to flush? Put the seat down or leave it up?

Can you think of anything more humiliating or embarrassing than a government, whether local, state or federal, becoming enmeshed in where one goes to the bathroom? I can’t.

I know, sometimes major universal truths and rights are determined by small incidents. Does it matter where you sit on  the bus? Does it matter that a school closes it’s doors to you because of your skin color? Does it matter whether or not a baker has to bake a cake? I suppose it does.

At the same time, not everything needs to be a court case. Not every principle needs to be fought over . Sometimes we can let stuff slide. Even stuff that is wrong. Maybe a little perspective?

We are not talking about getting an education. Or a job. Or the right to vote. Or the right to dine in any public establishment. Someone just needs to use the toilet. Does the city of Charlotte and the state of North Carolina and the United States of America really need to get involved? Is this an issue worthy of a Constitutional crisis? Do we need a “law”?

Do we have more pressing problems?

I am reminded of the first time I traveled to Guatemala. Early in the morning  I was watching some man walking past a side street in Antigua. He must have already had his morning coffee. He stopped, glanced around (he didn’t see me), and proceeded to urinate against the side of a building. Zipped up. Walked on.

Problem solved.

 

 

 

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Filed under Constitution, government, governor, homosexual, North Carolina, Politics, Religion, Society, Supreme Court, United States, US

Speaking Ill of the Dead

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Evidently the ancient Romans did not know Antonin Scalia.

I have no problem writing ill of Scalia. He’s dead. He won’t read this. And if he did I could care less.

Scalia was not, as his supporters like to claim, the voice of “conservatism” on the court. More likely, he qualifies as the voice of the “reactionaries”. Those who want to return to an imaginary past. He was not, as his supporters claim, a “strict constructionist” devoted to the Constitution. He was, in essence, a “reactionary” devoted to the Articles of Confederation.

You may recall that the Articles of Confederation were the first plan of government after the revolution. It gave massive power to individual states and little power to the central government. It guaranteed no rights nationwide. It was an abysmal failure. It was because the “states rights” concept  failed so miserably that the Constitution was formed.

Scalia was more devoted to the Articles than to the Constitution.  Some examples.

In 2000, in Bush v Gore. Scalia sided with the 5-4 majority is overturning the Florida Supreme Court.That  Florida court had ruled that it was necessary to recount the Florida voted because under Florida Constitution and law a vote so close had to be recounted. The Florida Supreme Court wanted to get it right.

Scalia, siding with the majority, supported the very odd decision that counting all the votes fairly would impact negatively on the Bush campaign. The vote count was stopped. The right of the state of Florida to follow its own election laws was overturned by the SCOTUS.  Justice Scalia had a son who was in the lawfirm directly involved in the Bush appeal to the SCOTUS, which should have been a reason for his recusal.

Scalia opposed the right of citizens to health care under the ACA. He used a rather foolish broccoli analogy to suggest that the federal government had no right to implement any law requiring people to..well..do anything.  (Actually, Scalia was the prime target of a 2012 blog post on this matter….    https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/scalia-and-the-broccoli-conundrum/)

Scalia opposed the rights of gays to marry. He took the position that only the individual states can decide on whether or not an adult can marry. State’s rights, ignoring the amendments guaranteeing equal protection under the laws.

Perhaps the strangest case ever for someone who claimed to be a “strict constructionist”  was the Citizens United fiasco. Overturning federal law to regulate money in politics. The decision basically created a new class of citizens, called “corporations”. According to Scalia, corporations had first amendment rights to spend money on candidates. No where in the Constitution is there any indication that the founding fathers sought to make corporations “persons” in the same sense as you and I are persons. this was a complete contortion of the reason for the Bill of Rights in the first place. To protect INDIVIDUALS from governmental power. Another example of Scalia claiming to be a “strict constructionist” and then ignoring the Constitution.

And, adding to this fantasy. A corporation called Hobby Lobby was granted “religious” reasons for not providing adequate health care to its employees. A total perversion of the meaning of the First Amendment. And Scalia was there. Leading the charge.

Scalia consistently refused to support individual rights. He opposed a woman’s right to abortion He supported overturning the Voting Rights Act. He supported the idea that individual states could deny classes of citizens certain rights. He was the most reactionary justice since WW2, perhaps since the Civil War. There is no doubt that he would have been very comfortable voting with the majority in the Dred Scott case. After all, slavery was a “state’s rights” issue.

So. I speak ill of the dead. But, in fairness to me, I spoke ill of him when he was alive. His death does not make his decisions any more palatable. The fact that he has passed from political power can only be seen as a positive step for individual rights. His loss is not one to mourn.

 

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Filed under ACA, Conservatives, Constitution, Dred Scott, gay marriage, gay rights, gays, GOP, government, healthcare, Hobby Lobby, logic, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Politics, POTUS, Republicans, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

Secede, Please

Every time the Supreme Court rules against bigotry  (as in gay marriage) some members of the right wing go banana shit. Every  time Mr Obama talks peace instead of war they go bat crazy. Every day we hear how their “state’s rights” to be bigots or fools or worse are being trampled by “big government”. They want out of the union.  OK.

They have even collected petitions in many states  (at least 20) to support seceding from the USA.

I , for one, welcome the idea. Lincoln’s big mistake, in my opinion, was in not letting the losers leave. After all, most of the secessionist states are those that are now on the welfare roles. States in which the federal government pays more than it takes in in federal taxes. The states most dependent on the federal government tend to be the biggest complainers about the federal government.

For example? Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Montana, West Virginia, Arizona, South Carolina, and Tennessee, are all heavily dependent on the feds. See a trend here?

https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/

Let them go. Please, secede. We are certainly not going to fight a Civil War to keep Alabama in the union. In fact, although I tend to be a pacifist, I would support  fighting one to get South Carolina OUT of the union.

Here’s my plan. Give each state a 5 year moratorium. If you want to leave, let us know.

As soon as you decide to leave you lose all representation in Congress. People in your state have 5 years to decide to stay or move into another state. All federally-owned land must be purchased at fair market value. In US currency.

The same is true of all military bases and federal buildings. We will move out the military and you can pay for the buildings. They now belong to you.

The US will no longer spend a cent in your state. No money for roads, bridges, education, border patrol, welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment compensation, etc. You have the freedom to do what you want. But the US will not pay for it.

Of course, you will have to set up your own border control. And you will need a passport to enter the US . With background checks required.

As for the USA? Well, we will save BILLIONS of dollars every year. In addition, the more obnoxious members of Congress will now be gone, so maybe we can make progress. No more Ted Cruz’s whining and trying to shut down the government. No more “You Lie” cries from little men in South Carolina. No more millions wasted on Benghazi committees. Best of all for the US taxpayer, we will no longer be carrying all that dead weight.

Of course, this will not happen. The representatives of the “complainer” states would rather complain than make it on their own. They have a good deal going so why kill the Golden Goose of federal aid?

But just imagine a nation WITHOUT Mississippi,  South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, etc.  We can dream, can’t we?

Please…SECEDE!

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Filed under GOP, Radicals, Secede, Secession, tea party

Gays: Religious Freedom To Marry?

The Supreme Court will decide later this year whether or not the government of an individual state can prevent homosexuals from marrying. No matter where you stand on the issue, recent decisions  would seem to render any negative decision by the SCOTUS as a moot point.

If the SCOTUS decides that states can interfere with the rights of adults to marry whom they choose they will be facing a problem that they, themselves, have created.

Recent decisions, (Hobby Lobby,  for example) have made it clear that religious beliefs take precedence over the law. Irregardless of how absolutely insane that concept is, the SCOTUS has judged it so. If your religious beliefs are opposed to paying full medical benefits  to your employees, so be it. Don’t pay them. This Pandora’s Box will be used over and over again to avoid various laws.

Which brings us to homosexual marriage.

Currently there are a number of religious groups which do marry homosexuals. And more bless homosexual unions.  For example, the United Church of Christ performs and recognizes gay marriage. Some Quaker meeting houses do, some don’t. The Unitarian Universalist Church performs and recognizes gay marriage. Rabbis of Reformed Judaism perform and recognize gay marriage, as do some conservative Jewish synagogues.

This raises the question. Can the SCOTUS on one hand claim that a private business like Hobby Lobby has religious rights, while denying religious rights to legitimate religious organizations? Can the SCOTUS , on one hand claim that private businesses and individuals can evade the law while on the other refusing to allow churches to practice freely based on religious beliefs?

I would think that the next step, if the SCOTUS decides to deny individuals the right to marry, would be for those individuals and their churches to return to the courts under the auspices of religious freedom. This would be especially true in many of the states that have passed “Religious Freedom” laws directed specifically at undermining gay rights. Those laws may, in fact, be used to assure the religious rights of gay Americans.

Can those decisions and laws now be used as a doubled edged sword to guarantee those same individuals the right to be married in their churches and synagogues. If there is any logic to SCOTUS decisions they will decide that preventing people from marrying is a violation of the First Amendment and freedom of religion. A right they CLAIM to hold so dear.

We shall see.

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Filed under Christianity, Churches, Conservatives, Constitution, gay marriage, gay rights, Hobby Lobby, homosexual, SCOTUS, Supreme Court

Contestant #2: Dr. Rand Paul’s Prescription: Take A Vague and See Me in the Morning

(This is the second in a series of biased reports about the potential candidates for the presidency. As these giants among men proclaim their desires to be the most powerful human being on the planet I will attempt to file a short report on each).

Rand Paul, son of former Texas congressman Ron Paul, announced today that he was willing to serve as president of the US. A major surprise to all Buddhist monks still alive in Tibet. To anyone else, not so much.

As with all candidates the best thing to do is to start with their own websites. On his website Dr. Paul stresses the fact that he is a doctor. A doctor of ophthalmology and that he does good works. That is very noble. And humbling. But for some reason in his bio he fails to mention his board certification. Dr Paul was certified once to practice his “doctoring” by the ABO (American Board of Ophthalmology). But something happened. And he let that certification lapse. So, he was then certified by the NBO (National Board of Ophthalmology), a group NOT recognized by the (ABMS) American Board of Medical Specialties, the national group that certifies the legitimacy of boards. Why not? It was just a board made up by some doctors. UH. Actually, Rand Paul was the president of the group that certified Rand Paul, with Kelly Ashby Paul (Rand’s wife) as vice-president of the group and Rand Paul’s father-in-law as secretary. But, he WAS certified to practice, at least by his kinfolk. (For some reason that NBO was dissolved in 2011).

So, what would a Rand Paul Presidency look like?

Rand Paul’s’ website (www.randpaul.com) has about 16 issues. I will focus on only 4. You can read the rest. Good luck.

Sanctity of Life. Rand believes in the sanctity of life. Well. That is good news! He defines “life” as existing at conception. He says that American women have murdered over 50,000,000 CHILDREN since Roe v Wade. (Did I forget to mention that he is doctor, yet he thinks an embryo is a child?). He opposes all abortions. Period. He thinks states should be able to make any laws they want in this regard . So, I guess you might say that Rand is not a real fan of the US Constitution. A Dr. Rand Paul presidency would not enforce Roe v Wade. I think. He is vague on that point.

Health Care. Dr. Paul wants to repeal Obamcare. And replace it with…. what we had before Obamacare…only better. A market driven system. He knows that a market driven system works because…uh…it left 40,000,000 Americans (real people this time, not embryos) without health insurance. He is rather vague on details. But a Dr. Rand Paul presidency would put the patient first, by eliminating the ACA.

Taxes. President Dr Paul hates taxes. He will institute a 17% tax rate for all businesses and people. His plan is called the EZ Plan. It is EZ to understand because he has no other details. It is EZ Vague. Would current tax breaks for corporations remain? Would breaks for agribusiness remain? Personal deductions? Long on vague, short on details. But, the plan does call for the elimination of Social Security taxes for the middle and lower classes (Not sure where the income levels fall on middle class. That part is…uh…vague). So, no more payments would be going into Social Security from younger workers. So, depending on his exemption plan, a Dr Rand Paul presidency would see a significant decrease in taxes for the super rich. Not so much for the poor.

Which leads us to….
Social Security.
Dr President Leader Rand Paul has a plan for Social Security.

He wants to fix Social Security by increasing the retirement age and means testing. OK. I’ll bite the means testing. I agree that millionaires like John McCain should not be dipping into the pot. Postponing retirement? Doesn’t that just prevent younger workers from getting started? This would apply only to younger workers, so us old fogeys would still get our benefits. …But…wait…In Dr President Excellency Paul’s TAXES plan (see above) he called for eliminating billions of dollars in payments to Social Security. How does that work? Billions less coming in but more going out? Does Mr Dr His Holiness Paul know how Social Security even works? Does he know that payments made today go to today’s retirees? By what magic will SS take in billions less and pay out more? THIS is how he “fixes” Social Security? With magic?

Dr Paul’s lack of real solutions comes through loud and clear. He attacks the “Washington Insiders”, of which he is a part, but offers no real alternatives. Lots of “plans” and ideas and slogans.

All in all, Dr Mr Rand seems to have the same “prescription” for America as other GOPers. Not all that different. Gives homage to the religious right. Wants freedom from paying taxes but not freedom for women to control their own bodies. Has magical thinking when it comes to Social Security financing. A man who will keep it vague in hopes of not exposing the shallowness of his thought processes. Or, who has a real agenda he refuses to share.

Once, in order to be “certified” to practice medicine Rand Paul simply created his own certification board. I suspect the only way the doctor will ever be POTUS is if he “creates” his own country. Then his wife could be vice president again.

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Filed under ACA, Congress, economics, Elections, GOP, healthcare, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Obamacare, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Senate, Taxes, tea party, US

Gaydar Sale… Finally A way to Know For Sure

Hi. This is Ron Popeil for Ronco. The makers of the Ronco Potato Peeler and Car Sponge. Here to help you once again with a household problem. Now that Indiana has become the 21st state to make Gay hate legal there is a real need for discovering who really is gay. Can you tell by the way they walk? Sometimes. Can you tell by the way they talk ? Maybe. But in today’s world so many gays look and talk and act like normal people…how can you REALLY know.

If your restaurant does not want to serve gays, how can you be sure that burly muscle man is not a secret gay?? He may not be lisping, but is he eyeing your manhood from behind those bifocals? And how can you know if that “birthday cake” you are baking for that 5 year old might be going to house where her lesbian aunt might show up and have a slice ? Well, you don’t know. And you didn’t bake that cake for gay taste buds to enjoy !
Gone are the days in Germany where gays were forced too wear pink triangles. And Jews had to wear the Star of David. Life was simpler then. The good old days.
But Ronco solves your gay problems. With the new Ronco Gaydar. The Gaydar exposes gays, even those not out of the closet. For only $ 19.95 (plus a small shipping and handling fee) Gaydar takes the worry out of bigotry. Never again have a doubt about that customer. Or strange “Uncle John”. Gaydar takes the worry out of homo identification. Be sure too bring it to “Meet the Teacher Night” at school.

How does Gaydar work? Sorry, I can’t reveal the impressive technology. But here’s all you need to do. Point your Gaydar pistol (Yes, it is shaped like a German Lugar so no one will even know it is a Gaydar) at any person and pull the trigger. Gaydar shoots out a specially developed “gay-detecting formula” that registers on your Gay detector. Just check the Rainbow Detector. The farther to the left, the gayer the guy…or gal. Easy to use. Even a child cn use it. Let the little ones start early!

But does Gaydar really work? Some very famous people seem to think so.

Michelle Bachmann says “WOW, what a surprise. Just for fun I pointed the Gaydar at my hubby. WHOA. I sure never would have guessed.”
Adolf Eichmann the third (grandson of Adolf Eichmann) says “” Grandpa would have loved this . It would have made is life’s work so much easier. He would have killed for a machine like this”
Ted Cruz says” I took it to the Senate. Just as I figured on the liberal side of the aisle. A perfect score. Tested everyone but Lindsey Graham. He disappeared.”
Ben Carson: “As a highly educated doctor I can tell you that this device really works. I went inside the State Penitentiary during visiting hours and WHAMMO. This baby went off like fireworks on the 4th of July. Even some of the guards were “infected.”

Don’t wait. Don’t let “those people” into your public accommodation. Only $19.95 (plus shipping and handling) and you and your family can be gay-proofed forever.

But there’s MORE. Act now and Ronco will throw in JEWDAR absolutely free. Works just like Gaydar but for Jews. Instead of a Rainbow dial the Jewdar has a Star of David that lights up like a Hanukkah candle any time a Jew is detected. Tested at the Wailing Wall. It WORKS! I know. You are thinking. JEWS. Aren’t they all lawyers? Won’t they sue me? NO. Remember, the religious freedom laws do not demand that you justify your bigotry by belonging to any organized religion. You can just be a stand up, stand alone bigot and the law protects you. The law says you don’t even have to practice any religion at all !

That’s right. Gaydar and Jewdar BOTH for only $ 19.95. But wait. There’s more ! Order now and you will get Gaydar, Junior. Just for kids. This handy little Gaydar miniature gun will allow your child to tell which of his classmates has gay tendencies. A lot of power in a tiny package. Start your loved one early in detecting deviants. Feel secure that none of “those kinds” of kids are accidentally invited to junior’s birthday party.

That’s Gaydar, Jewdar and Gaydar,Junior. All for only $ 19.95. But wait, there’s MORE. Yes, the first 100 callers will also get ObamaDar.

Is that guy REALLY white or is he “passing”? Is that a good tan she worked on or was her grandmother’s mother a darky ? Not sure whether or not your child’s classmate is a “mix” of races, part Negro? ObamaDar will give you the answer. Comes with an easy to read Black or White dial. No shades of gray on this dial ! Act now. Call 1800-BIGOTRY.

Only available by phone or at a Bigots-R-US near you. Gaydar. Don’t take a shower in a public place without it!

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Filed under blacks, Christianity, gay rights, government, homosexual, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Mormon, Neoconservative, obama, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Senate, Society

Contestant #1: President Ted Cruz and Liberty

(This is the first in a series of articles about the contestants for the presidency in 2016. As they throw their hats (or toupees) in the ring I will be attempting to figure out what kind of president each would be. Keep in mind, of course, that many of these candidates are actually auditioning for jobs on Fox News and are not really serious about the presidency).

Ted Cruz announced that he is, by the grace of god, going to become president of the USA. And the key word in Cruz’s philosophy has been LIBERTY.

He wants liberty for himself. Liberty for those who follow his fundamentalist religious beliefs. It is all about freedom and god.

For starters, he made his announcement at Liberty University in Virginia. What could be more appropriate than to announce a Liberty campaign at a Liberty University? And the entire 10,000 member student body showed up to hear him. Well, actually they were forced to see him. You see, at Liberty University students are not free not to attend campaign speeches. Any student who failed to show up was going to be fined $10 and given official reprimands (demerits?) on their record. I guess you might say that where Liberty University is concerned “Freedom Isn’t Free” !

Cruz’s web site (www.tedcruz.org) has four major areas. First, he supports the US Constitution. That is certainly commendable. Second, he supports a strong America. So far he has my vote. He believes that life and families are good things. And finally he wants people to have jobs. With those ideas he should win by a landslide!

The devil, always, is in the details. So, based on his actions and the details of his website these are the kinds of things President Cruz would be in favor of.

1. Eliminate the ACA. And replace it with nothing at the federal level. While he opposes the ACA his only response to the chaos that would cause is to make all health care insurance the responsibility of the individual states. The bill he sponsors (you can find it on his Senate website) provides no guarantees for consumers. None. It is, in fact, nothing more than a repeal the ACA along with some vague idea of maybe giving people some vouchers. Under a Cruz presidency we go back to having massive numbers of uninsured. With no consumer protection.
2. Stop gay marriage rights. Cruz, the defender of liberty, would take away the freedom of a significant number of Americans to marry. Because it offends some people. He is very clear that only states have the right to decide who can marry. Based on his view of liberty a state could institute laws preventing blacks and whites from marrying. Or Jews from marrying non-Jews. It all depends on what the current state government decides. Liberty to take away liberty.
3. End the constitutional right to an abortion. A woman would no longer have the right, (guaranteed under the Constitution) to have a medical procedure if the state was opposed to it. Again, the king of liberty would take way the liberty of others. This man devoted to the Constitution would allow individual states to void decisions of the Supreme Court. President Cruz, not the SCOTUS, would decide what the Constitution says. Liberty.
4. Allow anyone to defy any law if that person had a “religious” objection to the law. Once again, while Cruz talks the talk of supporting the Constitution, he walks the walk of destroying the Constitution. Liberty.If I don’t like Jews I don’t have to serve them in my restaurant. If I don’t think homosexuals deserve to eat I can refuse to sell them food in my grocery store. Of course, the SCOTUS long ago established the Constitutional principle that if you are a commercial enterprise you must be open to all citizens. Not Ted. Not Mr Constitution.
5. Finally. What if President Cruz does not get his way? TANTRUM TIME! As a Senator he has abused his power to try to shut down the government because the rest of the Senate would not go along with is ideas. What would a President Cruz do? Would he simply abolish Congress? After all, he does have a pipeline (pun intended) to god.

A president Cruz, the defender of “liberty” would take away liberty from all except a fundamentalist few. He would throw folks off of health care, tell state governments that they can decide who can marry (marriage is not a federal right), tell pregnant women that big government will control their health care decisions, and allow people to use their personal beliefs to avoid following the law in any area they deemed “religious”.

Orwell would be smiling.

Or, as an American hero once said, “Give me liberty or give me Cruz.”

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Filed under ACA, blacks, Christianity, Conservatives, Elections, gay rights, GOP, healthcare, homosexual, Neoconservative, neoconservatives, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Senate, tea party

Why Do We Gotta Learn This Stuff?

Billy Bob Baker, sitting in the back row picking his nose in US history class: “Why do we gotta learn this stuff?” What history teacher has not heard that refrain from some of his or her students ?

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama.

In much of Alabama Negroes could not vote. African-Americans and blacks could not register to vote. The state of Alabama had systematically and intentionally prevented minorities from taking part in elections. State’s rights.

The federal government was doing nothing to guarantee this right.

So. People marched. Peacefully. And the local and state authorities responded with violence. With billy clubs. With dogs. With tear gas. With beatings.

Because people marched for the right to vote. Peacefully. For the right to vote.

Today we have seen a resurgence of the “state’s rights” propaganda. In the 1950s and 60s it was a code word for racism. For keeping minorities powerless. For making laws about marriage, schools, drinking fountains, restaurants and even where a person could sit on a bus.

Take a moment to digest that. The state of Alabama,under the doctrine of “state’s rights” decided that some working, tax paying citizens could not drink at a public drinking fountain. Or use a restroom. The state of Alabama, and many others, decided that even though a person bought a ticket to ride a bus he or she could not sit in an empty seat on that bus unless it was in the back of the bus. Even though the law abiding working citizens paid taxes , the state of Alabama decided that these same taxpaying citizens could not participate in elections.

Let it sink in.
It is not ancient history. It is modern America. It wasn’t 1695, it was 1965.

“Why do we gotta learn this stuff?” Because ignorance breeds racism. Because ignorance of recent history allows one to be lead by the nose into another era of “states rights”. Another code word. Because your ignorance condemns you to be a pawn. Because the world is more complex than Fox Entertainment would have you believe. And to help you understand that no battle for civil rights is ever finished. Because if you remain ignorant you are easy pickings for the demagogues and racists. There are always politicians who will use the codewords to gain power over others.

Yes, Billy Bob. You gotta learn that stuff. Not just for yourself, but so the rest of us can live knowing that your ignorance will not help reactionaries turn back the clock of progress.

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The Slippery Slope of Slippery Slopes

As I walked out to the mailbox on this wintry day I fell 33 times on the ice. Very slippery. A veritable slippery slope of slippery slopes. Which got me to thinking.

Many arguments about “rights” from my conservative compadres these days seem to hinge on the slippery slope idea. The argument is that if you allow the government to do “A”, then the government will do “B”. then the government will do “C”…all the way to “XYZ”. And that, my friends , is the end of civilization as we know it. Doom awaits us.

Take gay marriage as an example. Those who want to ban gay marriage (now declared legal and constitutional in 35 states) have a state’s rights argument. The philosophy behind the argument for not allowing gay adults to marry goes something like this. (Hang on to your hat, it is gonna get slippery)

If you allow gays to marry, then what next ? The government will allow polygamous marriages. Then it will allow animals to marry people. The slope is fast and very slick. Gay marriage leads to human-animal nuptials. Want to be the flower girl at the wedding of Uncle Jed to Barb the Burro ? I thought not.

Another controversy rife with slippery slope reasoning (?) is gun control. If the government can regulate my use of a gun, what next? The government will ban all guns. To everyone. For all times. Then the jackbooted thugs will take over my house. (Usually Obama’s jackbooted thugs, but not always).The end of civilization as we know it. After all, what is more civilized than an AK-47?

It is hard to argue with such unreasonable reasoning. If “A” occurs…then “XYZ”. So, instead, let’s play the game of slippery slopes. In reverse.
Gay marriage. If the state government can prevent two adult citizens from getting married, what next ? Can the government prevent blacks from marrying whites ? Swedish-Americans from marrying Chinese-Americans? Eventually the states will prevent heterosexuals from marrying each other. No one can get married. Or worse, the state (I’m thinking Alabama here) will make it mandatory for cousins to marry. Or for brothers to marry sisters. Or for humans to marry animals ! Slippery slope.

On gun control. If the state cannot regulate guns, what next. People will be able to carry guns anywhere. Into the mall. Into church. Onto airplanes. Into Congress. And people will be able to carry any kind of weapon. AK-47’s in the front row at Xmas Midnight Mass. The wealthy can afford their own nukes. And children can have guns as well. Playgrounds will become realistic battlegrounds with real bullets instead of pretend ones. And animals ! Do you really want to be confronted by a hungry, armed squirrel. They go nuts. A slippery slope from not allowing reasonable gun control to every felon, child, airline stewardess and nun being armed , locked and loaded. The slippery slope.

Law “A” leads to…well…Law “A”. Nothing more. So, beware of slippery slopes. Throw down some salt on the ice. Tread carefully. In the end, all slippery slope arguments end up leading to a fall. Wear extra padding on your butt and use your common sense.

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Filed under Conservatives, gay rights, gun control, homosexual, logic, slippery slope, Society

Women and Children First

What has happened to our cowboys?

News item summary: A “rancher” named Bundy has been grazing his cattle for free on federal land for 20 years. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has taken him to court a number of times trying to collect. The fees,  by the way are incredibly cheap. The BLM charges $1.35 per animal per month. Try to feed a cow for that. (Private businesses charge $10-28 per month for the same grazing rights) But this cheat refuses to pay. And when, after 20 years and court cases the BLM finally did come to take his cattle, he called on his cowboy friends relatives to take up arms. And the BLM backed down. For now.

I am not even going to bother with whether or not this guy is legally entitled to use land that does not belong to him. The courts are clear. He doesn’t. And his claim that he does not recognize the “authority of the US government” may give him a leg to stand on in an insanity plea. But not good for much else. I prefer to focus on another aspect of the case. Cowboys and how they have changed.

Those who support Bundy with their guns and philosophy present themselves as heroes. Tough talking hombres. A couple cowpokes I saw on camera said they were ready to “give their lives”. Give their lives so a guy who Romney would describe as “wanting something for nothing” could continue to mooch off the government. OK.  I guess that is worth dying for.

Or, well, maybe not give MY life, exactly, but somebody’s.

As the story unfolded a former Arizona sheriff, Richard Mack , talked to Fox News (sic) about the strategy he intended to use. I am NOT making this up. Mack said that if things heated up the Bundy faction intended to put women in front of the men. Unarmed women. To be used as shields. To take fire from the federal “rogue agents”. To be casualties. This would prove just how evil the federal government was.  Can’t argue with that “reasoning”.  The cowboys would hide behind a human shield. What has happened to our cowboys?

Maybe it is time to remake some of those old westerns I watched as a kid. Try this:  “Shootout at the Nevada Chicken Ranch”, starring John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.

John Wayne: Well,pardner, I see the evil Land Management Goons are coming to try to take away our grazin rights. Gonna meet em at 12 noon at the Nutcase Corral for the big shootout.”

Clint Eastwood: (spits) There’s 10 of them and only 2 of us. But I’m a willin’ to die so Uncle Buck can continue to graze his 7 herd of longhorns for free.  How about you?

JW:Hmmmm…. I know a better way out of this mess. How many womenfolk do you have?

CE: Well, there’s my wife, Lilly Sue and daughter, Rosey Sue and the baby. Aunt Gertrude and my niece Mandy Sue.  That’s it.

JW: Well, lemmee see. I have my sister Honey Sue and she has 4 little uns, Sue Sue, Gunna Sue, Wanna Sue and Lets Sue. There is my Aunt Nelly and Aunt Kate. Oh…don’t forget Granny Grumplin. If we can git her started in her walker she’ll be fine. Hardly ever falls over. We can prop her up if needs be.

CE: Well,what’s yer plan?

JW: Here it is,  pardner. We’ll git all those womenfolk down there and stand them up between us and the feds. Then, when the shootin starts we’ll have good cover. Reminds me, how about the Pork Belly twins? Seen them around?

CE: I…I…don’t know, pardner. That jest don’t seem right. To use the womenfolk like that. It ain’t manly. It ain’t the cowboy way. It’s kind of cowardly, ain’t it?

JW: Aw, go on pardner.Times are changin.  This is a deadly situation. And you know what they always say. If there’s trouble it’s always “women and children first”.

Cowboys just ain’t what they used to be.

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