Lately everyone seems up in arms about bullying. Whether it’s schoolyard shenanigans or online bitchiness people want to see the kids protected. I for one think these people are dead wrong. Before you go and judge me let me assure you I wasn’t a kid who didn’t get bullied. I got beat up by four different bullies in my neighborhood. I went to a school where my pale Irish pallor made me a definite minority and was beat up for that. I also had this strong desire to be accepted and tried my damnedest to get people to accept me which of course resulted in rejection. In general my life sucked for a few years. I don’t mean sucked a little bit, I mean sucked like I couldn’t ride my bike on my own street without getting bullied. I was that kid. My dad didn’t go chase off the bullies, my mom didn’t call the cops, the school didn’t punish me for getting beat up and I survived. I survived because I learned to be tougher every time something happened to me until one day I had enough and got a “dad sock”, dropped in a couple or three bars of soap, tracked down the neighborhood bullies and beat the ever-loving shit out of each one of them in turn. I made my stand and was a better person for it. Now my mom wanted my dad to get involved but he told her that he wouldn’t and I needed to learn to deal with things myself. I hated him for it at the time. I hated him for it right until the day I stood up for myself and learned the lesson he wanted me to learn; I understood what he wanted that day and I loved him all the more for it.
In this day and age we have schools with zero tolerance policies that are enforced by punishing everyone involved in a physical altercation. This only amplifies the bullying. The bullies know that if they take someone’s lunch money and a physical altercation is the result then the bullied kid is punished as well. So the bullied are cowed by the rules as well as the bullies themselves. If they stand up for themselves they are punished, if they defend themselves they are punished and the only way to not get in trouble is to allow themselves to get bullied and rat the bully out and hope like hell there’s enough evidence for the bully to be punished and then hope even more that the bully cares about the punishment to begin with. We are teaching an entire generation to let anyone walk on them that wants to do so! We aren’t even teaching them real life for God’s sake! I can defend myself against a drunk in a bar but at school a child cannot defend himself against a bully! The educators and administrators have it all wrong. Zero tolerance is only hurting our children. It is no protecting them at all. If a kid goes through school under these ill-conceived policies and then steps out in to the real world they will be unprepared to deal with life. They will look for someone else to help them and no-one will be there.
And the recent outcry against online bullying is even more bullshit. I learned from a young age that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. People talk shit. Period. Full stop. I don’t care if they are talking shit online or gossiping over backyard fences it’s going to happen. Kids are especially evil when it comes to shunning and saying mean things. The kids on the other end of these verbal assaults don’t need laws to protect them. They don’t need the government doing an end run around the First Amendment just so they don’t have to see some kid down the block say mean things about them on Facebook. What they need is parents there with them letting them know that WORDS DON’T HURT. Sure words can sting at times but they are just words and moving past them is as easy as ignoring the person speaking them. If you ignore someone who talks shit then you take away their power over you. Parents should be teaching their kids this instead of teaching them, and letting the schools teach them, that they need someone to filter other people’s bad intentions towards them. The direct assaults on the First Amendment taking the form of laws against online bullying are sickening to say the least. Teaching our children that they have a right to not be offended is taking away the tools the real world requires if they are to succeed.
In short we need to teach our children to have thicker skins and to stand up for themselves. A “dad sock” filled with bars of soap may be a little overkill but back when I was coming up parents didn’t call the cops on kids fighting. They let the kids sort it out and we did. I am actually still friends with one of the bastards that used to kick my ass. All it took was some fucking self confidence (and not this bullshit unfounded self esteem they are teaching in schools but that’s another post altogether) and I took control of my life. The current educators’ direction will saddle us with a generation that’ll be fucking lucky to feed themselves much less take care of a country.
I Haven’t done much commenting on the current US political miasma because even if the Dems suffer the November bloodbath the media is predicting the current Republican party isn’t any better so there hasn’t been much to say about this either way. However there are a couple of non-government semi-political things I want to get my thoughts out on…
Some group is planning to build an Islamic center, that includes a mosque, on a site mere blocks from Ground Zero in a building that was, in fact, damaged during the 9/11 attacks. I am wholly opposed to this being built. I highly approve the union workers who have said they won’t build it, I approve of a lot of the folks speaking out against it. I think that building any Islamic center, of any sort, on that site is a show of complete disrespect for the pain this nation endured on that horrific day. I don’t care if the center is built by forward thinking imams or liberal Muslims it is what it is and a majority of people in this country would really like them to stop pushing the issue. If you ignore the fact the folks who want to build the mosque may not have enough of a stake in the property to do so and ignore that they have been involved in shady real estate deals before it looks like this could go ahead and that is painful for me to think about. However with all that said if the government tried to stop them by passing laws or underhanded tricks I would stand shoulder to shoulder with the Muslims and draw a bead on the government for violating their freedom of religion. I hate the fact they want to build this center where they want to build it but the fact is that if they have all their ducks in a row, and it looks like they might not, then they have every right to do so and all I and others who feel like me can do is plead with them not to do it. The government has no right to step in here and should they choose to do so the people should rise up against the government and resist. In short: Please don’t build it there but if the government tells you that you can’t give me a call and you’ll have my hands for your defense.
On that same front some pastor, and I use that term loosely, down in Florida is threatening to burn Qurans unless the imam involved in building this center changes its location. And again we have much the same situation. I am ashamed that this pastor claims to follow the same God I follow. I am horrified by his lack of understanding of scriptures that command us to turn the other cheek, to do good to those that harm us, pray for those that hate us, love our enemies and so many more that completely say to do the opposite of what this so called pastor is doing. This man in Florida is a total fool and I don’t mind saying it. His congregation should rise up and tell him that he’s insane. If we look to Paul’s example he preached to non-believers using their literature as well as their God’s in his “sermons” and this pastor is doing nothing more than trying to incite hatred on both sides of the issue. It appears, if you believe the hype, that his actions here on US soil may even endanger our troops overseas and that alone should be enough for a sane person to stay their hand. This man is obviously not sane and that’s easily seen by his ties to the Westboro Baptist church, who are also threatening to burn Qurans but considering no-one really takes them seriously I don’t know how much their threat endangers anyone. However the situation is the same as above in that if the government passed laws forbidding this pastor to carry out his threats or acted against the laws we have in place and tried to stop him from doing so I would defend him until the last cinder of the Quran had gone out and would do so with my life.
That’s about it for the current quasi-political/pseudo-religious goings on in the US at the moment. I wish they would all just friggin’ stop but, much like our current political miasma, there are idiots and morons everywhere you look and it ain’t getting any better. So instead of concentrating on the idiocy being foisted on us why not just watch the videos I took at a recent concert: http://www.youtube.com/user/mobilersv
Well I made it to Austin without incident. The new route I took shaved off some of the drive but it was still murder. The roads are good, the directions accurate, but driving for three hours plays hell with my back. I love Freddy and absolutely appreciate his couch but it wasn’t what my back needed. I will probably opt for the floor tonight so my back isn’t pre-murdered before I start walking the festival tomorrow. Of course this promises to be a great time but, as always, the dark specter of finances is looming along with family stuff so I may be forced to cut this trip short. It’s starting to look like it’s either that or not eat for next five days and that’s not really an option. To clarify the family stuff is not stuff I would have to cut the trip short over but it is weighing on my mind and with the other I might feel more relaxed cutting this trip short and spending some time with the clan over the rest of my vacation.
While I am relaxing and getting some well needed mental floss I see that the Chicago machine goes to Washington has resorted to outright strongarm tactics to try and get their doomed healthcare plan to pass. While they accuse the Republicans of being partisan out of one side of their mouth the other side is telling their own part members that if they vote against this bill the President won’t campaign for them! I think there’s a pot calling and it appears to be for the kettle in the White House. Wow Political Correctness has really run amok. I almost didn’t use that phrase because it might be considered racist. If it is: So be it. But I digress. So the White House is applying typical Chicago politics to try and get on-the-fence members of their party to sacrifice their careers while public opinion of the bill, the methods, and the whole of the White House dips lower and lower. While I don’t approve of this so-called health care reform, or any other at the federal level, I am highly amused at the process. At this point they are using tactics that might even go against SCOTUS rulings and be enough off the farm that the whole bill gets struck down without ever going into effect. The Democrats are throwing people under the bus on an almost daily basis and Pelosi’s suicide squad likely won’t even gather enough votes to pass this. We’ll have to wait and see but at least the circus is amusing. And, hey, the nation gets to see how they do it in Chicago.
The more I learn about church politics, not churches being political but politics internal to churches, in restoration movement churches the more I am convinced we have failed to restore anything. We don’t operate anything like the first church much less like a family. When a church board is all businessmen and they run the church like a business the only thing I can think about is Christ’s reaction to moneychangers in the temple. The church members are not customers of the church and if we treat them like such we practice not charity, longsuffering, or any other good quality mentioned in the New Testament. That venerable rabbi we claim to follow would have been appalled at the modern church especially at Western church with our seeker-friendly branches, our complete and utter lack of unity, our backbiting, and so much more then we top off the slap in the face to everything Christ taught by having businesses masquerading as churches. As time passes I become more and more disillusioned with the whole of Protestant churches and look toward the East and Orthodoxy. I am not there yet. I remain unconvinced on the one single verse necessary for me to convert. Who knows, an epiphany could be just around the corner.
Well that’s what was on my mind this morning along with Austin traffic sucking almost as bad a Houston and the former’s drives being worse in the rain that the latter with a few sprinklings of excitement while poring over the artist directory for #sxsw.
So if you are in Austin drop me a note and we’ll hook up. I may even let you buy me a drink or a taco. Remember to follow the whole 9b crew through our Austin adventures. You can find us here:
And of course whatever we manage to actually post to ninebullets.net.
Be sure and hit up our party tomorrow night as well!
It doesn’t matter whether or not you think the current plan will help the medical system in this country. It doesn’t matter if you believe that there is a right to health care or how far you believe that right extends. It doesn’t matter how you feel about the issue at all. In fact most of my readers probably disagree with my stance in the issue and that’s fine. What matter is the fact our elected representatives are elected to represent us and they are not. They public, overwhelmingly, opposes any attempt to use reconciliation to shoehorn in a health care plan. The fact our representatives are considering it shows that they do not care what we want and believe that they know better what we need than we do. The fact they claim this deserves an up or down vote is also patently insane. Our government was designed to do what the people want regardless of whether it is good for us or not. The protections laid out in the Constitution all protect us from the government and not the other way around. The senate rules, filibuster included, were designed so that 51% of the elected representatives didn’t get piss in the other 49% coffee. These things are in place to insure not only that we, the people and the government, act as a Constitutional Republic but so that we don’t get bulldozed. Right now that’s exactly what our government is trying to do to us. The reconciliation rules were designed to streamline the budget process and not to allow legislation that a majority of the population opposes to be enacted. The MSM is saying, and correctly, that Republicans have used reconciliation a lot in the past while and it is true. However what they don’t tell you is that it has been used for items related to the budget an overwhelming majority of those uses. Tax cuts are a valid use of the reconciliation process as they are part of the federal budget. The changes that the powers that be want to make using reconciliation go beyond items that affect the federal budget. Some items are actually valid but, in this case, a majority of them are not. And for the record I do not approve of the few times that Republicans used the process to sneak in changes that weren’t directly related to the federal budget and would oppose the use of reconciliation by folks I agree with just as vehemently because I firmly believe the government does not have the right to act outside the will of the people. The will of the people is obvious here folks. It’s in every poll.
Furthermore this unprecedented use of the reconciliation process will open it up to further abuse by sides of the corrupt political spectrum. This cannot and will not be a good thing. It will embolden both parties to use the process in ways that it was never intended to be used whenever partisanship rears its head and they want to bully the other side.
Right now the Democrats are crying about the filibuster process but they seem to forget that it was a Democrat that changed the rules to make it a procedural thing that is quiet and bloodless. Prior to the 1970′s a filibuster required continuous speeches on the floor of the Senate and then Mike Mansfield (D-MT) led a charge to change the rules and make the filibuster a quiet little paper blockade and at the same time changed the cloture requirements from 2/3 to the current 3/5. So the procedural hurdle that the Democrats can’t overcome is one that they put into place. By my count they have enough votes in the Senate to meet the 2/3 requirement that they changed. Now they want to use reconciliation, a tool both parties have used incorrectly in the past, in a manner that it has never been used and possibly in a manner that is not entirely legal.
So if you agree with nationalized health care you should still oppose this process that the President appears to be ready to order his lackeys to follow because it will open up any legislation passed to even more lawsuits beyond the already present problems. It will open the floodgates for either side to shove legislation through that couldn’t have been passed any other way. It will make mockery of the Senate rules and a further mockery of our Senators actually representing us. None of these things is healthy for the country regardless of how you feel about the law they are trying to slide through this back door. This process almost insures that if the legislation makes it through it will be brought before SCOTUS even faster than before and very likely struck down for violating the process necessary to pass laws in this country. It will sign the political death warrant of most of the people involved and power will change hands in a head spinning manner.
Obama is a one term President. He knows it. Congress knows it. The public knows it. He is trying to push his agenda, right or wrong, by any means necessary during that term. He knows that this is an election year. He knows he is leading his party to a slaughter on election day but all he cares about is his legacy and agenda. More and more Democrats are realizing this but with Pelosi doing the same thing they are afraid of being thrown under the bus at any given point. It’s not safe in Washington right now and the powers that be want to make sure they push their agenda down our throats whether we like it or not before they lose the power to do so. It is sickening to be honest. I don’t care what party is in power. This pushing of agendas through back doors and loopholes is wrong.
Call your representatives. Call your congressman. Let them know you do not support them refusing to represent their constituents. Let them know their jobs are on the line. Make your voice heard. I firmly believe that even with reconciliation that health care reform, at least this iteration, won’t make into law but this is a good time to let Washington know they are supposed to represent us and not do what they believe is best for us whether we want it or not. Let them know they are getting too big for their britches and maybe we can change something come election day. I don’t care what letter a person has by their name. If they swore to vote the will of their constituents regardless of their personal beliefs, and I believed they meant it (like that would ever happen), I wouldn’t think twice about voting for them.
The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected. – G.K. Chesterton
Let me preface this little diatribe with something: I believe everyone should be able to get health care when they need it. It makes me ill to think about people who can’t get treatment for their illnesses. However I do not think it is the job of government to provide this care. I believe we have a responsibility as a society to care for the ill among us but I do not believe it is the government’s right to mandate this responsibility to us in any manner. I firmly believe that the only reason the government even has a chance to get involved is because the church has fallen down on the job. The church should be making sure everyone receives the care they need and it should end there. No I don’t mean just those folks that are members of the church and really do mean everyone. I do not believe, nor support, the government getting involved just because the church isn’t living up to her responsibilities. As long the Joel Osteens of this world drive their new cars and teach how to feel good the church in the west will be sick. As long as we tolerate the government stepping in and doing the job of the church we are failures as Christians. That said lets talk about the current push for global health care in the US.
First and foremost every plan that has been presented is a plain violation of the tenth amendment to the Constitution. That should be the end of the argument but it is not. The current administration wants to shove a plan, any plan at this point, down the throats of the American people. Whether it’s mandating that private citizens purchase a product from a private company or pushing a public option on to the taxpayers they want to have something in their win column. This is despite plummeting poll numbers, members of the ruling party quitting, public outcry, and even Mass. electing a republican to a seat that had been filled by a Kennedy for almost half a century. And they are willing to do this by any means necessary and even if it means completely losing power in the next election. They are going for broke and it appears there is nothing the American people can do to stop them. They are threatening to attempt to use reconciliation, a tool for fixing budgets differences between the houses, to get something in place that even their own people don’t like. Behind the smoke and mirrors analysis shows that the American people will pay for this for three years before any benefits begin and in ten years the current plan will be running over a trillion dollar deficit. It’s not a happy thing to research to be honest. Furthermore all of this is happening while the administration continues to spend more than any administration ever has. I mean they have already spent more, and created more deficit, than any full term administration and we aren’t even two years in.
The federal government has no authority to mandate that I purchase anything. Period. End of story. I don’t care what your reasoning may be the plain fact of the matter is that the authority does not exist, is not granted in the Constitution, and has never been recognized by any federal court. States are another matter as their powers differ so there’s no reason to even delve into that discussion so I will keep this at the federal level. You may think that everyone having insurance would be a good thing, and I don’t disagree with you, but having it mandated by the government is a slippery slope that I have no intention of going down. If they can tell me I have to purchase insurance then they can mandate what level and from whom as well. They can also mandate I must purchase my next car from GM if they so choose or that I buy all of my milk from Promised Land Dairy. There is nothing to stop them, once this power is granted, from mandating everything we purchase. There is no check or balance once a mandate like this is in place. It subverts the free market, subverts individual choice, and provide the government a wide open door into every facet of our lives by mandating purchases for the the public good. If you don’t think this administration would mandate farther than health care I suggest you look very closely at Washington right now and think again.
The latest proposal from the White House expands the Senate version to cost 950 billion more, extends the union member exemption from the Cadillac tax, creates a “rate board”, and more. The rate board is the most worrying piece. Through this board the federal government will either approve or set rates for the insurance industry. It is a mechanism by which they could bankrupt private insurers and force a government controlled medical system. They leave out any tort reform, they don’t eliminate the state line boundary for competition, but they do allow some federal money to pay for abortions. In other words the answer to the public’s outcry against the previous plans is to give us more of the same. Never mind that I, personally, will be penalized for making enough money to pay for a decent insurance plan for my family by way of a tax on my health plan, but that my union friends will not be. The problems with this plan, and indeed the plans before it, are that they don’t solve any problems. They are all based on models that have failed or are failing very visibly in other countries. It’s almost like the administration is ignoring history and current events and just wants to push something they have faith will work. It has to be faith because no rational analysis shows these plans working, history proves them to be failures, and even the public doesn’t want this to go forward.
I think they will push something through. I also think the day it’s signed into law there will be lawsuits filed in every federal district court in the country, stays issued, and everything overturned by SCOTUS in the future. This power grab and interference in private industry is unprecedented in American history and won’t stand Constitutional scrutiny. From mandating purchases by private citizens to the “rate board” the federal oversteps of authority won’t stand SCOTUS scrutiny. The ruling party may think that once this is passed it will stand but I am willing to bet that the law is struck down either through the court system or by the next administration. Pushing this through will be the death knell for the Democrats and they will lose power in such a manner they won’t have it back for a very long time. The people of the US won’t stand for it and the politicians are, quite frankly, not listening.
All that said I pray that the Republicans don’t gain power as easily as it looks like they will. They are morons for a whole different set of reasons. I would love to see the Libertarians gain enough power that forces the voice of the people to be heard. A contingent of independents and third parties large enough to break the two party system and marginalize the morons we have in our two major parties right now. I would love to see the people be strong enough to make sure our representatives actually represent us. I doubt that will ever happen but one can dream.
In case you missed it in my diatribe: The reason we don’t need global health care is that it has never worked, won’t work, and will degrade the quality of health care we currently have.