A true story - really.
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
Years ago, being tired of all the dumb jokes being bandied about at the expense of their state, the legislature of New Jersey passed a bill that was signed into law by the Governor declaring that all the dumbest people in the state should be rounded up and deported from the state. The problem was that no one else would take them until the State of Minnesota, wanting to build up the area outside of Minneapolis took them in. This became the 6th congressional district. And to represent them they needed to choose someone who most epitomized them. And that's how Michelle Bachmann became a Congresswoman.

More than ever the Media doesn't just predict but shapes elections
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
In the past, the media (newspapers, then radio, then TV) always had a part in shaping elections proportional to its prevalence. Now, with a 24 hour news cycle, outcomes of elections are often what the media says they will be. In the days of exclusives, vetting of stories and verification of facts, this was quite reasonable. Now with the quest for the sensational story, the reliance on pundits and the repetition of rumor, it is a perversion. Amid the polarization of the political populace there is no longer such a thing as an innocent comment. People have always believed what they were told by the media for they only had their neighbors opinions and their own situations for validation or disputation of what they heard or read. With the prevalence of TV, and now the internet, more and more people have no need to read newspapers. They get all their information from so called "NEWS" networks who have learned that if you make reporting more sensational, sarcastic, quippy and snide enough, those people will believe whatever is told them. After all, there is a belief that "they couldn't say it if it wasn't true". I often think "Who will stop them?" since many of these beliefs come from people who think government should stay out of people's affairs. When the media repeats rumors of "feelings" among the populace or guesses at the outcome of an election, people will use this in determining whether they should even bother to vote thereby ensuring their predicted outcome. People should realize that cleverness is often used to sell you something. If you say something in a clever enough way or in a way that makes what they are saying seem obvious, it doesn't have to be true for it to be believed. This is something that many politicians have learned very well and are perfectly willing to use to their advantage. They can say anything, no matter how ridiculous, and know it will be reported by the media. And they can quote nonexistent facts and statistics and know that few will ever check them.

More and more our legislators are failing to know the difference between morality and governance
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
Morality is a personal viewpoint. There are religions and churches whose prime function is to deal with morality. Governance is making decisions that are right for all the people not just those who share your morality. To legislate based on your morality is to impose your version of morality on all the people. The framers of the Constitution recognized the propensity of religious persons to try to impose their moral influence on those of a different mind. That is why they included passages to separate church and state. That is why they included passages to ensure equal protection for all citizens not just the ones with whom you agree. That is why it was written with consideration for the protection of the minority.

Why do people always point to Presidents’ administrations when complaining or praising?
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
 Why do people always point to Presidents’ administrations when complaining about or praising government accomplishments? Most of the time they are speaking of what laws were or were not passed during an administration. Unless I am sorely mistaken, the only power a President has over laws is to either sign or not sign them. The administration can, of course, propose laws but it is still up to Congress to enact them. And, yes, I know the President can issue Executive Orders but they still have to be funded by Congress and an Executive Order cannot contravene, never mind repeal, an existing law. Each time a weakened law is passed such as Health Care and Wall Street Reform, President Obama gets the blame. Granted, Presidents like Lyndon Johnson could bully Congress into getting what he wanted but Barack Obama has not been in national politics long enough to know where “the bodies are buried” like Johnson did. One thing I am painfully aware of is that Republican Presidents get more things done (be they good or bad) because of the Republican lock-step approach to politics. I guess, for Democrats, it’s a case of “if we do what they do, aren’t we just as bad as they are?”

We are becoming a defective communist country
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
Thirty-two years ago, when discussing a certain Presidential candidate, a co-worker said to me “I wouldn’t want my neighbor to be President. I want someone who is smarter than me.” The first obvious change to this attitude that I noticed was during the “Would you have a beer with this man” period. I thought, then, that this was a terrible criteria for the “leader of the free world”. But the trend has continued so that, now, as in comunist countries, I see the worker being elevated and the intellectual put down. Terms such as “elite” or “effete” or worse yet “liberal” used to disparage political candidates. More and more people are suspicious of those with an advanced education while some states elect people like Michelle Bachman who believes congress is rife with anti-Americans and Louie Gohmert (what a perfect name for him) who believes in terrorist babies. At the same time, people like Glenn Beck are calling our universities “indoctrination camps”. They use the word “they” to imply some centuries old conspiratorial cabal that has been controlling our minds by what has been taught in our schools. Since there have been several administrations and governments, both Republican and Democrat, over the years, then this must be a conspiracy of the educated. Certainly, that is what Pol Pot believed resulting in the “killing fields” of Cambodia which attempted to kill every educated person in the country. Is that where we are headed? Sharon Angle, Republican candidate for senate in Nevada says we may have to resort to “second amendment solutions”.

The reason I characterize the direction we are heading as “defective” is that communist states actually put their citizens to work. They ensure everybody has a job. While here, in our country, jobs are being shipped overseas. We actually have laws that will assist a corporation that wants to move a facility out of the country by giving them financial assistance in case they can’t sell their facility here. Which brings me to another point: if corporations are “legal persons”, why are they afforded greater benefits than regular citizens? Why doesn’t the “equal protection” clause of the Constitution apply to them?

It took a while but many of the goals of the 9-11 attackers have been realized.
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
 The 9-11 attackers wanted to collapse our financial system. Seven years after the attacks, the policies implemented after 9-11 brought us to the edge of financial collapse and we are not out of the woods yet. The attackers hated (and continue to hate) our freedoms and civil liberties and many of the policies implemented since then have put quite a curb on those freedoms and liberties in the name of “keeping us safe”. We have decided it is OK to be more like them in order to fight them. The attackers hate our religious tolerance and since then we have become more intolerant of those who do not share a religion that we practice. Nine years after the attack nothing has replaced the twin towers they destroyed.  The country is more divided and polarized than, it seems, it ever was before. People are being attacked simply because of how they are different. People who claim not to be racist wish that those who feel racially oppressed would just get over themselves. We elect politicians who only want to see the other party fail. I hear talking heads and politicians say everything changed on 9-11 and things can never again be the way they were before. And I can imagine Osama bin Laden saying “My work here is finished.”

If you have principles only when it's easy then you don't have principles
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
If you hold to your principles only when it is convenient, only when you approve, only when it is not painful, if you say, "I believe in the freedom of religion but, come on!", (Mr. Eric Cantor) then you don't have principles and your morality is most probably one of convenience as your self proclaimed principles are.  I have heard a commentator say "If they want to come in peace, then why are they pushing this against all the opposition?"  Ghandi came to the British in peace and when faced with hostility he did not turn around and go home.  He continued to peacefully resist the hostility (and violence) until the those who were being hostile recognized the error of their actions and the rights that they were trampling upon.

Turns out Rep. Louie Gohmert is one of those "ignant" babies.
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
He was "raised up" in Texas to be "ignant" and then sent to Washington to foist his "ignant" ideas on our government.  

Why doesn't Obama issue an Executive Order to stop Don't Ask Don't Tell?
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
“Why doesn't Obama issue an Executive Order to stop Don't Ask, Don't Tell?”  I hear this over and over.  Often the people who ask this point to how easy it was for President Truman to issue an Executive Order to integrate the Army.  What they fail to note is that, when President Truman issued that order, there was no Federal Law mandating the segregation of the Army.  The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was enacted by Congress and signed into Federal Law.  The President does not have the power to repeal or modify any law.  And, if he issued an Executive Order that contravened a law he would be in violation of the law.  I heard calls for the impeachment of President Bush when he simply failed to implement a law.  Can you imagine the outcry for impeachment if President Obama did anything to impede the enforcement of a law?  So, let’s correct our focus to where it belongs: on the U.S. Congress where all President Obama can do is to exert influence; which is something he is already doing.   

This week Rachel Maddow points out the careers that are being destroyed while the President (and the Democrats) consider the political implications of terminating "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".  I say, consider the careers that will be destroyed if we end up with a Congress that thinks "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is working just fine.   

Once again, if you have a valid position why use falsehoods to support it
Mighty Mouse
passionatmodrat
I see this time and time again.  People in the public eye using misleading phrasing, false statements or just plain making things up when arguing their position on an issue.  Most recently, I heard Brian Brown, who is Executive Director of NOM (National Organization for Marriage), whose speech against the Federal Court ruling finding California's Prop 8 against same sex marriage as unconstitutional, was broadcast on NPR saying "By one stroke of the pen an activist judge has denied us our civil right to vote."  You have to have a very extreme position (which I'm sure he does) to see any connection with the decision and voting rights.  On the contrary, this decision was about rights in general.  It determined that no one can vote away someone's civil rights.  It is clearly stated in the constitution, one of the responsibilities of the congress is to "protect the minority" from the vote of the majority.  But "denied us our civil right to vote" sounds REALLY scary.  Yes, I understand that you can't rile up the populace to your side with moderate speech but if your position is so strong, can't you come up with extremes that are also true?  

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