Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: September 2006 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Friday, September 29, 2006

Politics as usual

With elections little more than a month away, politicians are pulling out all the stops to make it look like they’ve done something this term. In the process, they’re going to strip away many of the freedoms that this country was founded on.

Last night, Congress approved legislation that would effectively deny any semblance of fairness or justice to anyone that authorities deem an "enemy combatant". Once suspects are in custody, they can be detained without charges and tortured until those authorities either prosecute them or release them. Although the bill clarifies acceptable "interrogation" techniques, it doesn’t define enemy combatants; kinda leaving it up to our ever-so-trustworthy government to decide.

The Senate's 65 to 34 vote marked a victory for Bush and fellow Republicans a month before the Nov. 7 elections as their party tries to make anti-terrorism a signature campaign issue. Underscoring that strategy, House Republicans pushed through a bill Thursday night authorizing Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, adding it to their list of accomplishments even though it has no chance of Senate passage before this weekend's scheduled adjournment. It passed the House 232-191.

So in addition to taking away detainee rights, they are also attempting to legitimize the Bush administration’s illegal wiretapping activities that it attempted to keep secret (national security, and all that) and then tried to marginalize. Although there isn’t time for the Senate to pass anything before they adjourn to campaign for re-election, it gives them fodder for their "tough on terror" campaign speeches.

Also in the campaign rhetoric department, Houston’s own less-than-favorite congressional wannabe, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (minus a few more hyphens that she conveniently leaves out), stepped into it with both Gucci pumps when she used the tragic death of a Houston Police officer to stump for the CD-22 spot vacated by the soon-to-be-convicted Tom DeLay. As you may recall, Shilly is a write-in for the race after the Texas GOP’s shenanigans were denied, leaving the district without a Republican on the ballot.

Anyway, Shel used her allotted time in Houston’s City Council meeting on Wednesday to grandstand and call for a review of what she calls the city’s "sanctuary" policy, in which police don’t ask to see the green card of every Hispanic-appearing person they encounter. Before she threw her hat into the congressional ring, she opposed a review of the policy, but now that she’s trying to woo Sugar Land Republicans (i.e. white, well-to-do suburbanites) she’s changed her tune. And she chose the day of the funeral of slain HPD Officer Rodney Johnson to step up on her soapbox for some pre-election sound bites.

Needless to say, most of the City Council walked out during her speech.

Where I’m going with all this, is that it’s time to stop listening to these clowns, whose only interest is to become elected. To paraphrase an old axiom, anyone who has the desire to become an elected official is inherently unsuited for it. Some leaders are born to greatness, others have it thrust upon them. When the mediocre try to thrust themselves into power, or keep power, it usually involves self-inflation. And that’s exactly what we’re currently experiencing.

Gas prices conveniently went down dramatically just before the election. I still feel the pain from the pumps, but I’m sure there are plenty of sheep out there who think all will be rosy from here on out, and they’re not mad at their Republican leadership anymore.

Also conveniently, the foreign intelligence community recently foiled a plan to blow up some planes using liquid explosives, and the sheep rallied behind the GOP, even though it was proven that the plan was impossible. There's that pesky physics again; yet another liberal conspriracy to prove Republicans wrong.

My challenge to you is this: challenge everything. If the Democrats say they're going to solve the immigration problem, ask them how. If the Republicans claim they're the best choice to protect the country, ask them what they're going to do differently - because obviously they're not doing too good of a job of it now.

Last election, I naively voted for those I thought were the most qualified for each job. I did research, and voted for some Republicans, and some Democrats, based on their qualifications. I now see that that was a mistake. Now I see that I have to vote for a party that shares my overall views, because everyone in that party is going to tow the party line, and vote for legislation that promotes their views.

After careful consideration, it seems that the Democratic Party is my party of choice. Until I'm convinced otherwise, Democrats are going to get my vote, and I'm going to do everything in my power to convice others to do the same. Call me a "librul" if you will, but the party that promotes corporate greed has nothing on the party that is trying to look out for the little folks on the "values" issue.

All I'm saying is to evaluate where you want to be as a human being, and vote your concience. I'm sure that when you get past all of the "my country, right or wrong" rhetoric and can see that it's your patriotic duty to question your government's intentions, you'll feel the same way that I do.

Come November 7, please vote. And vote your heart. Not what you're told to vote.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Awright, Willie!

My heroes: Willie and the boys

Willie's bus went through a commercial checkpoint on a highway in Louisiana and the inspector smelled marijuana. The bus was searched and a pound and a half of marijuana was found, along with three ounces of mushrooms.

Normally, this is enough to nail someone with distribution (e.g. major prison time), but since five people fessed up to owning it (including Willie), it turns out to be a misdemeanor for each of them.

Wingnuts aside, it's logical to think that all of the groceries were being shared, so it's not like anyone's lying (which can't be said of our current administration). So when asked whose it was, they all raised their hands.

Whether or not they all could claim legal right to the stash, it was still a way-cool thing to do. If they blamed it on one person, that person would have been incarcerated in the Great State of Louisiana for a long, long time. Instead, they thought of their friends and took one for the team.

That's the kind of loyalty we look for in our friends. That's why we can't trust the current administration to act in our best interest. Everything they've done has demonstrated to us (the common people) that their primary loyalty is to their benefactors - big business lobbyists.

Anyway, I digress. Yes, laws were broken, and the perpetrators will pay the piper. But in standing up their buds, Willie's crew demonstrated the mindset of the modern American progressive: consider other's needs, and then your own comfort.

Okay, I lost about 40% of you there (according to the latest polls), but still; circumventing the law while standing up for your moral values, and still rendering unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's (look it up) is a pretty clever trick in my book.

My cowboy hat's off to you, Willie, and your crew, for demonstrating what selfishness is not about.