Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reality Dawning

Many years ago, a group of disgruntled patriots, nationalists or terrorists - depending on your perspective - went into the Capitol building in D.C. and shot five congressmen. The assailants were four Puerto Rican nationalists who unfurled a flag of Puerto Rico and then fired thirty shots into the floor of the chamber. This incident happened on March 1, 1954.

As far as I know, nobody tried to claim that these people committed this act for anything other than political reasons or that "they hate us for our freedom."  One of the shooters supposedly shouted "Free Puerto Rico."
There was no talk of "3/1 changed everything." Everybody probably understood that the shooters wanted the US out of Puerto Rico. If someone had inquired as to why the assailants shot the congressmen, they wouldn't have been accused of "trying to justify the terrorists," it would have been recognized as a simple inquiry as to motive.

The same thing is true of the World Trade Center/Pentagon caper, but the public is discouraged from believing the perpetrators. Soon after the attack, Osama Bin Laden appeared in a video tape wearing his US issued Goretex camouflage jacket saying that he had nothing to do with the attack, but that he approved of it and congratulated the ones who pulled it off. He said (paraphrasing) that if the US continued to aid Israel and occupy "Holy lands,"  "I swear to God" it will happen again. After this the government made sure that the people weren't going to hear any more grievances from Mr. Bin Laden by prohibiting the showing of any more videos from him with the excuse that he "might be sending coded messages."

The video is probably on YouTube if it hasn't gone down the memory hole.

Immediately there was a propaganda campaign to assure the public that the attacks had nothing to do with American actions in the Middle East. All of a sudden it was discovered that these people hate us because we are good or because we are free. Has there ever been another case in history of one group being so resentful of another group that has not harmed them in any way that they are willing to kill themselves to inflict harm on the objects of their resentment? Would it be rational for someone to say to himself, "I'm barely eking out a living and my neighbor has millions of dollars and lives in a mansion. I think I'll crash a plane into his house to kill myself and perhaps kill him too?" The question answers itself.

If this were motivated by the Islamic religion, it would seem that all the disgruntled practitioners would not be concentrated in one area as I wrote about here.

Fortunately, there is a slow movement toward reality and now 43% of Americans believe that the attacks might have been motivated by something the US government did, according to this article about a poll by Pew Research Centre. According to the article:

"The shift, however, was mainly confined to self-described Democrats and independents, half of whom now believe US policies may have motivated Al Qaeda.

Republicans, on the other hand, remained steadfast, as on a number of other key issues, in their view that the attacks were not motivated by anything the US had done.

The survey also found major differences between age groups on this question. More than half (52 percent) of respondents under 30 said US actions may have motivated the attacks, while only 20 percent of respondents 65 and older were open to that explanation."

This might help explain why Rick Santorum and Rudy Giuliani claim to believe the party line. It's doubtful that anybody who has spent time in government would believe the "official" story. If these two are regular church-goers, they would have recited thousands of times the part of the Confiteor that says "...I have sinned through my own fault,... in what I have done and what I have failed to do..." i.e. taking responsibility for one's own actions. Why would governments be any different from individuals since people in the upper echelons of government are many times some of the worst people? The principle seems to be that whatever "we" do is fine and everybody had better like it.

Imposing sanctions and no-fly zones, supporting dictators, occupying territory, aiding one's enemies, toppling elected officials, etc, generates ill will from the victims of such actions. This is probably a universal rule.

When little Johnny keeps poking the rattlesnake with a smoldering stick we shouldn't be too perplexed as to why the rattlesnake bites little Johnny. It isn't because of Johnny's freedom or because he is good or any other kooky explanation. Sending out hordes of people to fight the rattlesnakes over there so we don't have to fight them over here is not the solution. The solution is to leave them alone and reprimand Johnny, although the latter would probably not be necessary since he has learned a valuable lesson on his own,

Trying to impose your will on another people is a sure-fire way to make enemies. Even if you have a benevolent intention - rarely the case - sending lots of armed men (usually boys) into another country is sure to cause trouble. Boys will be boys, and when they start drinking and fighting and whoring, the locals take a disliking to them and all who sent them.

Almost 2000 years ago, the Jews were preparing to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Jerusalem when a smart-alecky Roman soldier mooned them and uttered some insulting remark which resulted in a riot. Soon after the "mooning" episode, another soldier tore up the Jewish Books Of The Law and threw them in the fire. As everybody knows, things went down hill from there with the Temple eventually being destroyed.

The lesson from this - or one of the lessons - is that people don't like foreigners coming into their country and pushing them around. This is something that Rick and Rudy and all others "in denial" should ponder.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

SWAT Team Raids: Overkill Fit Only for a Police State

"Back in the heyday of Stalin’s USSR, the very hallmark of its totalitarianism was the dreaded “midnight knock on the door,” in which the police simply hauled people away, sometimes never to be seen again and often for reasons unrevealed to relatives and acquaintances of the person abducted. To this terrifying scenario, the American state has added the excitement of flash grenades, broken windows, battered doors, and often unnecessary gunfire."

Read full article.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Walking Into Tyranny

Lawmakers in West Dakota are floating a trial balloon to license travel by foot. Senator Joseph Ambulabis (D 84) came up with the idea after a constituent complained to him about having to obtain a driver's license to operate a vehicle on the public roads.  Ambulabis said he was unaware that anyone could drive a car without a license in most states until the 1940's.

The idea came to him almost as an inspiration he told Mendax News Service. If the states could turn what had theretofore been a right into a privilege, why not license walking also? One would not need a license to walk on his own property or any privately owned property (such as shopping centers) as long as they had the owner's consent. Ambulabis has received an avalanche of outraged calls about his proposal, but he has also garnered substantial support.

Briefly his proposal is this:

1. All people, regardless of age would have to obtain a license to walk or operate a wheel chair on any publicly owned property.

2. A minimal fee would be charged for the license ($10.00 proposed) which would be good for five years.

3. All money from the licenses would go toward installing sidewalks where there are none and maintaining those that currently exist.

4. Any surplus funds from the licenses would be allocated to hiring more police and street sweepers.

5. In order to obtain the license, applicants would provide their name, social security number,
date of birth, height, weight etc. and fingerprint or retina scan (to prevent fraud) and submit to
a drug test.

6. Anyone caught walking without a license would be subject to fine and/or imprisonment and have their walking privileges revoked for 6 months on first offense, five years on the second offense.

7. The license would be a waiver of rights as regards search, sobriety and drug testing.

Police officials hailed the idea as a way to catch criminals and terrorists. Police could set up license check points and catch public drunks and drug-crazed criminals much the same as they do at driver's license check points. 

"We've needed a law like this for a long time," said Keith David of the Elkhead Coalition. Mr. David has lobbied hard to get speed breakers and stop signs installed throughout the Elkhead area and says he's delighted that someone has finally realized that neighborhoods need a revenue source to maintain their sidewalks and streets. "Non-drivers have been given a free ride as far as infrastructure maintenance, this makes them pay their fair share, it only makes sense," said David.

Civil libertarians have protested the proposal as a police state idea, and sarcastically called it a "your papers please" proposal. Ambulabis is not deterred however, and believes that if his bill doesn't pass this session, it will in the next one or the one after that. He says many of his constituents are tired of not having sidewalks and having to roll their children's strollers in the street, creating a hazard for them and motorists. He also argues that it would give police a way of identifying people who walk their dogs and let them tear up other people's property. As the situation now stands, there is no way to identify the offenders since they can refuse to give their names and claim that they have no driver's license or none with them.

Ambulabis is encouraged that the governor and many mayors back his proposal. He sees it as a way to protect a free society while maintaining order. Ambulabis says his proposal is an idea whose time has come.

Representative Arnold Benedict (R 42) of the Conservative Republicans Against Paternalism has proposed a compromise. His bill would require a license only for those walking more than one mile from home. "Most of my constituents don't travel by foot for more than a mile anyway so they won't be affected," Benedict told critics of his bill. Benedict told cheering supporters at the capitol that the Republican party would continue to be "the most vigilant of watchdogs against government encroachment of liberty."

Meanwhile, George Mason of the Libertarian party, a perennial candidate for office has denounced Benedict's proposal as an abandonment of principle. "Once you admit the principle that pedestrians can be licensed by the state you have given up your right to walk" thundered Mason to a handful of supporters at a downtown motel. Benedict, when questioned about Mason's opposition told Mendax News that he "didn't want to get bogged down in an argument over principle. We have been elected to make government work for the people; that's what I'm trying to do; we've got to work out some kind of reasonable compromise" said Benedict.

Critics say that once a right has been turned into a privilege the state can raise the price of exercising the privilege so high as to be unaffordable. Ambulabis counters by pointing out that no one would be forced to obtain a license as long as they stayed off of public property and asks how his proposal differs from licensing drivers.

Whatever the outcome, this promises to liven up this legislative session.