Monday, February 27, 2012

Santorum, and religion vs. "the religious right"

The NY Times has a article today, on comments made by Presidential candidate, Rick Santorum.

“What kind of country do we live in that says only people of nonfaith can come into the public square and make their case?” Mr. Santorum said on the ABC News program “This Week.”

The part that bothers me the assumption that there is only one body of Americans that hold faith and vote, is this:

the question for both of them is how Mr. Santorum’s provocative and assertive outreach to the religious right will resonate with voters

. . because that isn't the message I got from Santorum. Santorum didn't espouse the doctrines or tenets of faith of any faith. He appealed to all who hold any faith.

No right-leaning Christian believer or organization is going to look at Rick Santorum, hear his words, and acknowledge Rick Santorum's faith and dedication to the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, and immediately conclude, "Hey, he wants to make my faith prevail over the Godless!" Not because Santorum despises or opposes, or champions, for that matter, any particular faith or belief.

The statement made, as I understand it, is to acknowledge that we have made the Christian festival of Christmas a national holiday. And to call it Christmas. That the Biblical Ten Commandments inspired those that wrote the laws that were the basis for many American laws, and acknowledging those roots is right and proper.

As for the Kennedy speech that Santorum mentions from 1960, espousing the separation of state and church, we must remember -- Kennedy faced an enormous obstacle of prejudice and fear -- over his acknowledged faith and membership in the Catholic Church. He faced tremendous opposition by those that feared having a Catholic President would necessarily mean that the Pope of the Catholic Church would be indirectly (or directly) ruling America.

Kennedy had to lay those fears to rest.

One of the other steps that Kennedy embraced to overcome resistance to voters wary of his Catholic faith, was to make a declaration. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, JFK, vowed to be a President to all Americans, to everyone living in America.

Santorum should echo that pledge from long ago, to be a President to all Americans.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

We have police, so guns shouldn't be allowed. Susan said so.

Tam at View From The Porch noticed a little blurb from a well-meaning (probably, at least I hope so) lady.
When the Second Amendment was created, we were a nation of far-flung farmers. There weren’t any police departments, sheriffs or National Guard. The head of the family was all of those. He had to have a gun.

But today, we have law enforcement. Hunters use rifles, not guns. Now, no one is safe.

... Susan M. Kloepfer, Linden

One of Tam's commenters took issue with the statement right away.
Anonymous said...

"Far-flung farmers"??

How did they fling farmers back in the day--with trebuchets??

I have this image of colonial farmers zinging westward overhead like hefty cannonballs.

Makes about as much sense as the rest of the article.

Tam stated there were so many problems that she didn't have the breath to start. I started, anyway.


I recall the James Stewart, Lee Marvin, John Wayne movie, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance".

The theme of that movie was that "winning" the Wild West meant laying aside all those nasty weapons and relying on the rule of law, like "civilized" folk (affluent, influential Europeans, I guess). This is nearly the same as Susie's argument.

Of course, it was private men acting in defense of their community that actually dealt with the bad guy. Settled it using guns.

Back to Susan's plaint.

First, we aren't as affluent as the premise of "those that count", white, affluent folk, that is, as those folk were coming into economic and political prominence. Putting away the firearms for the Obamas, while they live in the Secret Service-secured White House, just makes sense.

For those making the news by being victims of random crime, house break-ins, and drug dealer riddled neighborhoods, that doesn't seem like such a winning argument. But then, those victims are often not white, or not influential, or not affluent. Gack, I hate how the anti-gun argument turns racist, so very quickly.

Second, the writers of the Constitutions, those working with and serving those far-flung farmers (I think at the time that the farmers wanted a piece of ground someone else wasn't using, thus achieving a social distribution as if they had been flung by some instrument of random and far-reaching dispersal. Anon 6:30, I think you mis-read the far-flung phrase. At least, I hope that part of the lady's story wasn't bent and twisted, and glossed over, like much of the rest of what she wrote.), those back then, looking at the newly formed nation, had two major worries of the time. First, was that it was the individuals, armed with their personal weapons, that supported the armies when armies clashed in Revolution, and the armed citizenry that denied the countryside to the enemy. Of course, that status of armed citizenry worked in California, restricting the initial Japanese attack to Hawaii, instead of the Golden Coast. I think Californias, like this lady, forgot that part of "national security".

The other primary concern of the survivors of the American Revolution was the reason for the Revolution -- tyrants. Unbridled rulers ignoring the good and will of the people, trampling rule of law, disregarding limits to authority. In the case that the government they designed failed to serve the nation in a reverential fashion, they intended that the same arms that launched the revolt against England would be in place. The purpose of this was not just to overthrow a future tyrant, but to give potential tyrants pause, to keep both foreign and home grown tyrants honest.

And that all goes before her argument falls against the results that the FBI has published, that in the last decade the communities and states that have increased gun presence and permissions, have each seen reductions in crimes. Including accidental shootings. Against crime it is the presence of armed citizens, usually meaning handguns, that is having an impact. Long guns would meet the national security and tyrant-repellent concerns, but not the national need to keep people of good will and good character in charge of their own community.

Friday, February 24, 2012

12 more died in Afghanistan protest, despite Obama apology

According to MSNBC, the protests in Afghanistan continue despite President Obama's apology for the burning of qurans at a military base there.

We certainly don't believe B. Hussein (where was he born, again, and why can't anyone find the birth certificate? Which treaties were negotiated in secret like AFTA? What do you mean, US agents and citizens are being killed with weapons hurried on their way to drug cartels by the BATFE?) Obama. Why should he expect people with deeply held convictions to believe his apology?

This is a simple but excruciating measure of the lack of presence of our American President in world affairs. Ignore him at your leisure (but guard your back), like the rest of the world does.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I hope Hillary learns something, here. has an article on Poland's rejection of the ACTA international treaty. That was the SOPA/PIPA debacle that Obama and company wanted so bad they could taste it, only the truth interfered.

The US Secretary of State has been up to her eyebrows in these secret treaty negotiations. None of the contents of the ACTA treaty were made public until most nations had signed onto it. Here in the US, the secrecy was considered necessary to prevent "grave damage to the nation".

I hope that Secretary Clinton learns that adhering to honest negotiation, in full public view and with full disclosure, means that surprises like this angry rejection can be avoided.

The blame, though, goes to The One that sets foreign policy. President Obama has gone behind so many backs in his career, he doesn't understand how to be honest. And he doesn't see a reason to be honest.

I hope that Secretary Clinton takes this failure of the negotiations of the last four years to heart. And I hope the Republicans bring it home to roost on both of their doorsteps.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Why don't the Republicans . . .

I read today in the NY Times that the Republicans are planning to attack President Obama's oil and energy policies over the rising cost of gas at the pump.

Since 2005 the price of gas has varied almost entirely because of speculation. The ability of oil producing nations to increase production to meet price changes -- hit limits. Old fields take more work, more time, and more money to produce the same amount of oil, and new fields take a long time -- 10 years -- to bring production to market. The production limits are real, the speculation is often political, often whimsical or manipulative or both.

The part that I don't understand is why the President hasn't been called on his relentless and continuing apparent disregard for limits of law and the US Constitution on the authority of the office of President of the United States.

Why are the Republicans so reluctant to decry apparent disregard of required Senate oversight of important nominations, of manipulating or inventing Congressional recesses to "deam" recess appointments? What about carrying on implementation of ObamaCare after the law was ruled unconstitutional in Federal courts? What about unilaterally declaring CO2, a naturally occurring gas required for plants to grow, a hazardous waste in order to unilaterally, without Congressional oversight or concurrence, expand the powers of the EPA? What about continuing financial sleights of hand, forging on to increase the national debt in despite of Congressional mandates and discord?

What about disregard of bankruptcy law, in the gifting of GM to the labor unions while stealing the due possession of legitimate creditors and stock holders?

It seems to me that the Republicans, if they care about rebuilding a strong nation and strong economy, have a lot of important targets to aim at. Gas prices at this point are based on whim, not the physics of pumping a diminishing amount of oil from the ground.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The voting poor, vs. the poor

Tam wrote about Mitt Romney's crude words, "I don't care about the poor."

I don't feign concern for the poor, either. Well, unless you count myself; I'm pretty concerned about me, after all.

One comment to her post, Anonymous 3:56 wondered:

I have to wonder how many of these candidates would be worried about the poor if the poor couldn't vote?

I think the poor would still be on the agenda, if the poor couldn't vote.

Let any segment of the population get too irate, and bad things happen. Women, unions, minorities, they all were capable of disrupting "business", all capable of destroying property and injuring or at least inconveniencing "voters".

The alternative to letting poor people vote is to define a class system, to restrict privileges and legal penalties by class. To use laws and government attention to control "undesirables". Wait, we already do that.

But at least the good poor people can vote, as long as they don't get convicted of a felony. And keep a residence and voter registration current. Even if that makes it look like we call "poor" those middle class people that can barely afford to live like middle class people.

And that those actually poor, that have given up trying to live like middle class America or never could, can't vote. Maybe what politicians refer to as poor voters is really just a scare tactic to sway middle class voters that fear losing more income, facing higher prices, and losing more ability to afford a middle class or wealthy life style.