Thursday, June 26, 2008

James Madison: Patriot or Paranoid?

James Madison was a Founding Father, the 4th President of the United States, and the "Father" of both the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. By all accounts, a man who understood what individual liberty and freedom were all about.

It's interesting then that based on some of the things he said, by today's standard Madison would probably be considered a paranoid, a terrorist sympathizer, and an "America Hater".

Personally, I don't think 200 years has diminished the warnings implicit in his words one bit, regardless of what might be said against them today. We should ignore the wisdom he shared at our own peril:

“If Tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”

“Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.”

“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

“The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.”

“There are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”

“We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.”

Friday, June 20, 2008

Our Insane Little World

One my high school teachers used to have a poster in her room that said, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.” I know that some of my “Contrarian Views” may seem a little paranoid at times, but I also think it's better to be safe than sorry.

We joke about how our elected politicians will say anything to get elected (i.e., lies) and about how they are bought & sold by whichever lobbyists have the most money to throw at them, but are we really joking when we say those things?

As of today, 12% of Americans have confidence in the US Congress. Twelve percent. (By comparison, our fearful Presidentionator looks absolutely spectacular with a 26% approval rating).

So if we do not have faith in our leaders, if we do not believe that they have any integrity, if we do not believe that their actions reflect the best interests of the people (and in fact represent the agendas of corporate lobbyists), is it paranoia or is it prudence that we question what we read in the news, especially if what we read in the news isn’t widely reported by the mainstream media markets?

Here’s some news over the past few weeks that you might have missed. The stories are all very real, and if I may be so paranoid, are all eerily similar to events that take place in the heart of the story at the center of What So Proudly We Hailed:

Microchipping schoolchildren

Cell Phone Monitoring in School (it wasn’t the story itself that caught my attention as much as the quote "The constitutional rights inside school are not the same as out in the street." Did any of you parents out there know that?)

Government Sanctioned Assisted Suicide (isn’t this “compassionate” program essentially how the Nazis started out manipulating public perception so effectively that it would later yield acceptance of the death camps?)

Universal Healthcare (were you aware that state government could force you to be a customer of a private corporation? If you live in Massachusetts you are. Just imagine what the Federal Government could do with this. I especially liked this quote from the article: “Monthly penalties for those who can afford health care but refuse will jump and could total as much as $912 for individuals by December”. That’s right, $900 per month.)

Laying the groundwork to force universal health insurance on everyone else? (remember, it’s those idiots who won’t buy health insurance that are making your premiums go up and up, not the ever increasing corporate profits of the insurance companies)

Newborn DNA Harvesting (I just like the sound of the word “harvesting” when I think of an infant)

See Something, Say Something (if this ain’t straight out of “1984”, I don’t know what is.)

Joint Military/Police Practice for Martial Law Enforcement (for our own protection, of course. I don't know about you, but my neighborhood is absolutely infested with them there Al-Kida fellers)

I’ve added two website links to my blog; one is for Infowars, the other for Rogue Government. Even if you don’t subscribe to a lot of the ideas that they promote on their sites (9/11 conspiracy, New World Order, etc.), they are both pretty useful in the fact that they provide a collection of real news stories – and in some cases, opinion - that you probably did not even realize had taken place. So after you watch the news that ABC/NBC/CBS/FOX/CNN has to offer, you may enjoy finding out about some topics & news that obviously weren't important enough to make it to primetime.

On a lighter note, I’ll leave you with this little piece of insanity. It’s a British thing, but it could just as easily be a California thing, or a New York thing, or a Florida thing, or a . . . .
"Brainstorms" replaced with "Thought Showers"

What were those crazy slogans that Orwell penned some 60 years ago?

War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength.

They almost make sense now. Say it enough times, it becomes true.
But I'm being paranoid.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Darth Cheney & Friends

As a Christian, I try to love – or at the very least, care about – everyone that I can. Some people, however, make that very hard for me to do. And in truth, there are those where just the thought of them conjures up nothing but darkness in my mind. Such is the Vice President of the United States. I can think of nothing good to say about Dick Cheney. I'm sorry, I just can't. A more arrogant, elitist, and pompous individual would be hard to find.

Yesterday his arrogance was on display again, as he made the below incestuous joke while describing his personal ancestry:

"So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family, and we don't even live in West Virginia."

He has since apologized, of course. Well, not him, exactly. That would be asking a little much. But fortunately his spokesperson Lea Anne McBride found the humility to say, "The Vice President's offhand comment was not meant to hurt anyone. On reflection, he concluded that it was an inappropriate attempt at humor that he should not have made. The Vice President apologizes to the people of West Virginia for the inappropriate remark."

“On reflection.”


Well, I feel so much better now.

You know, I’m not even from West Virginia, but I’m offended by his remarks. Not even by the actual remarks themselves either, but instead by the underlying attitude that created those remarks in the first place. West Virginia just happened to be the joke of the day; but I promise you, it could have been any other group just as easily, because what motivates that kind of comment about any group of people is the sincere belief that you are above them all.

And I do not accept his apology either, because it was simply a necessary political statement, a statement that he didn’t even bother to make himself. Of course he didn’t; that would be beneath him.

Some people get fired for making “inappropriate” comments. Not our Dick.

His arrogance is constantly showing its face. Most people are aware of the recent exchange between Cheney and ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz when she said during an interview, "Two-thirds of Americans say it's [the Iraq war] not worth fighting, and they're looking at the value gained versus the cost in American lives, certainly, and Iraqi lives."

To which Cheney replied, "So?"

And, because birds of a feather flock together, it was no surprise that an equally arrogant comment came during an exchange between White House Press Secretary Dana Perino and columnist Helen Thomas when Perino tried to explain the context of Cheney’s “So?” by stating that President Bush is determined to do what he believes is necessary for the good of the country, regardless of what other Americans might think or what opinion surveys might indicate.

To which Columnist Helen Thomas asked: "The American people are being asked to die and pay for this, and you're saying they have no say in this war?"

Perino: "No, I didn't say that, Helen."

Thomas: "Well, it amounts to you saying we have no input at all."

Perino: "No, the — you had input. The American people have input every four years, and that's the way our system is set up."

Every 4 years. I’m glad Perino cleared that up, because many Americans have been under the misunderstanding that our government was supposed to represent the people, if not all the time, than at least on a quasi-frequent basis; you know, “by the people, for the people” and all that jazz. Not so.

When it comes to supporting her bosses, Dana is what the corporate world would call a “team player.” I’m sure she & Cheney get along well.

More Cheney arrogance on display . . .

On his five – count ‘em, five – draft deferments: “I had other priorities in the sixties than military service." – April 5, 1989

On protecting the environment:
"Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy." –April 30, 2001

On statements from Sen. Patrick Leahy regarding Cheney’s connections with Halliburton: "Go f*** yourself." - the Senate floor, June 2004

There’s plenty more where those came from if you have the stomach for it; just search on “Dick Cheney quotes” and bask in the glow, knowing that this man is the Vice President of the United States of America.

They say that the true character of someone is who they are when no one is watching. If that is indeed true, can you imagine the things this man must say when he is alone?