Monday, September 30, 2013

Your Vote Please

A few months ago I fell for the Republican line about their “reaching out” for the African American and other minority votes and wrote a serious letter debunking their plan. In retrospect the whole thing was an act. I don’t think even Republicans have that kind of chutzpah. A major political party works openly to create obstacles to voting, financial and otherwise, that diminish the participation of the less affluent who tend to be people of color who vote for the opposing party. They then approach the very people they’ve been trying to disenfranchise and say, in effect, “If you are able to, please vote for us so we can make it harder for you to vote the next time.”

I started this effort as an attempt at humor, but this is as far as I can go in that direction because after all, we’re dealing with preserving a semblance of representative government, sometimes known as democracy. The game as played under our current rules is in the process of marginalizing and possibly eliminating the Republican Party as it now stands because the national complexion is growing steadily darker. That party’s only hope for survival is to change the rules, in the long run drastically.

Selective voter suppression is only one of several ways of doing this. It would be perfectly legal and not without precedent for Republican state legislators in swing states like Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin to apportion their delegates to the Electoral College by Congressional Districts as is now done in Maine and Nebraska. Conducted nationally this system would have elected Mitt Romney president, given the gerrymandering following the 2010 elections. There was open talk by some Republican Governors recently of doing just this which was quickly put to rest when cooler heads realized it could only work as a surprise if kept secret until after the 2014 mid-term state elections. Don’t expect to hear more about it till then unless Democrats treat the next mid-terms more seriously than they did the last.

This country cannot survive as anything resembling a democracy if these people, as they are now constituted, produce the kind of government their long term survival demands. There’s no trusting the morals of this Republican Party’s Wall Street establishment or the sanity of its Tea Party base.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Number Two

The second of the Ten Commandments opens with, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I the Lord am your God………”

It’s obvious that guns would qualify as such an idol, most gun butts having been literally carved. And it’s my view that some of the more avid gun worshippers who claim to be observers  of a Judeo Christian faith are in in fact worshiping guns to a greater degree than the deity of their choice. Certainly few of them would admit it. But I hear more intense passion for unregulated and hence unlimited gun possession coming from missionary types than I do enthusiasm for their Lord. I suppose Christians could argue that the Ten Commandments are Old Testament stuff.

They proudly think of and refer to themselves as Conservatives, strict constructionists and the like. They are helped in this by the five of nine Supreme Court Justices having ruled that the words “well-regulated militia,” with which the writers opened the Second Amendment, were irrelevant.

OK. When I was about twelve I fired a BB gun at a sprinkler, it ricocheted and glanced harmlessly off my mother’s arm. That was the end of the BB gun for me. Now I call that conservative! People now proudly calling themselves conservative have made possession of guns free choice in public places, like bars where you always have the calming influence of alcohol. Is there something wrong with this picture?

It can be easily argued that a twelve year old boy is not mature enough to be entrusted with even something as small as a BB gun which can under certain circumstances inflict physical damage. Thank God, and our guns, that we have a group of responsible adults running the show now.

Monday, September 9, 2013


I’ve been asked on several occasions recently what my take is on the situation in Syria, about which I didn’t consider myself sufficiently informed at the time. But the passage of time and more information can be a big help, except to some of the more enthusiastic Tea Party members. I had no strong opinion on the subject then and still have some ambivalence because the arguments on both sides seemed quite reasonable, even Rand Paul’s.

Enough has been heard publicly so I’ll briefly summarize the arguments. The president and his people feel that an international treaty, agreed on by enough nations including the United States to constitute a quorum, should be honored. To allow this blatant violation to take place without reprisal, would amount to tacit approval of the use of chemical weapons. The most convincing of several opposing arguments concerns the possible ramifications, including an international war of unknown dimensions. Based on political Ideology the Congressional response to the president’s request is unpredictable. One could conclude that making wars is in the Republican DNA had it not been isolationist before World War II. Maybe they just considered Hitler a lesser threat than Stalin. On the other hand it’s hard to imagine them supporting anything that might help Obama politically.

In Groucho Marx’s words I’m now against it, “it” being unilateral action against Syria. I’m skeptical about this nation’s concern over the use of chemical weapons. Ronald Reagan knew that Iraq was using them against Iran during their 1980s war. But that was OK because we were with Saddam on that one. But then in the buildup to the First Gulf War we were told that Saddam was “gassing his own people,” as if he considered the Kurds his people. Later we learned the war was all about the sovereignty of Kuwait and the commodity that went with it. But most important is that Barack Obama’s claim that any action he might take would be enforcing “world” law rings hollow when one considers that only we would be doing the enforcing.

Either Way the international law in question will be effectively null and void. And punishing the slaughterer of 1400 people by damaging his nation’s ability to wage war is not exactly an eye for an eye. It looks to me as if regime change is the only sure fire solution. Now don’t say it can’t be done. Just remember Granada!