Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Don't mock a comic

   There's an old saying that says,
"Don't get into arguments with people who buy ink by the barrel".  
    This adage was aimed mostly at politicians and it meant that a newspaper has the resources to make you look really bad to a whole lot of people.  Therefore you should just leave them alone even if they are wrong in their assessment of you.   In our modern world I would modify this saying to include TV-comics who have their own daily one hour length show.   Namely, for this article, none other than Jon Stewart.

    It seems Jon cannot take criticism these days when he is called out for his mistakes on his show he will use his show to criticize the critics that he already has it in for...  Republicans.   

Check out the video for yourself here


    If I were to give any advice for politicians or other news media that wish to engage him it would simply be this.   DON'T DO IT!   For as in the old case of newspapers (which no one reads anymore), Jon Stewart has more writers (over 30 for his 1 hour show) and a daily opportunity to mock and deride you without the need to actually supply substantial facts and his use of video-clips so short they are hard to call them "clips". 

    A second reason I would not engage him is simply this.   Most of your viewers/followers are not people who frequent his show and vice versa not many of his viewers are frequently exposed to you either.  This is because most of his listeners are what Karl Marx referred to as "useful idiots".  They want sound-bite policy that is easy for their partially functioning drug infused brains to digest. They are more interested in tingling their funny-bone rather than stimulate their logic-processing parts of their brains.   So for the most part, your complaints will either go unnoticed or have no meaning at all and therefore a total waste of your time.

    So when Jon Stewart mocks you.... just move on and know his followers are a completely lost cause not worth the time saving.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Congress is merely window-dressing

   Here is a video of Congressman Trey Gowdy questioning an immigration official about the President's new executive-order/law on immigration.   One major thing you might want to notice is how Congress now must ask for information about what is in the laws the President is implementing and getting this information is extremely muddled and lacking any clarity.   The official (Marielena Hincapie) must discuss with the congressman to communicate exactly what the order will be and that much of the "details" have yet to be laid out and will be decided NOT by Congress, but instead by the Department Of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security.   They will decide who will stay and who will go and it seems that they will inform Congress on a needs to know basis.

     Congress has officially been moved to the capacity of mere "window dressing".   They no longer make the laws in our country but now only serve as figureheads to appear on camera for the media.   The real government now are the endless bureaucrats in countless government agencies taking their direction from the President.  We have noticed over the past 6 years a change in tone from these agency heads as they appear in Congressional oversight committee meetings.   They no longer fear Congress at all.  They will lie directly to their faces. They will hold back information and destroy government documents and equipment to hide their illegal actions.  They will plead the 5th amendment and walk away without a care in the world.   They will disrespect the members of Congress and show no concern.   They do so, because they know the DOJ has their back and will not prosecute them and even if they somehow get caught they will be either allowed to retire with full benefits or they will be put on administrative leave until the heat is off of them.

    Some say Congress can get their power back by managing "the purse" and de-funding various agencies that are involved in this debacle of executive overreach.   Maybe they can, but my bet is on the agencies.  Somehow they will either shuffle money around unbeknownst to Congress to keep those actions alive or they will find some way to keep Congress at bay through the courts. 

    But the real loser in this battle is the American people.   WE THE PEOPLE no longer have a say in the laws that are made.   First it started with the 17th amendment that took the power away from the States to have a say in the federal government when senators were no longer elected by the state legislatures but instead by the people of the states.    Without senators reporting back to their own state legislatures,  they no longer had a voice.   Now the President, without any Constitutional amendment, has usurped the power of writing and changing legislation from Congress.   OUR voice now in Congress is gone as well and we no longer have a say in our government.   Laws from now on , even if passed by both houses and signed by the President, will only serve has "hints" or "suggestions" which can be ignored if necessary.    Our FOURTH branch of government, the countless bureaucracies, will be our new masters.  
 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What would you do?

      A friend of mine was working as a cashier in a Walmart store when he saw a family come through with 2 carts loaded with every imaginable toy.  The boy (about 8 years old) was grinning from ear to ear while the mother looked a little sheepish and the father very unhappy.  My friend asked of the boy, "Is it your birthday?".   The boy exclaimed, "Oh no!  My birthday isn't for 3 months.   I am getting these because all my toys are all broken and I need new ones!".  My friend asked, "How did they they get broken?"  To which the boy replied, "I smashed them!"     "Why would you do that?" asked my friend.   "Because I was angry about not going to the movies with my friends" said the boy.    At this point the mother interjected and said, "He has a bit of a temper and he realized he was wrong to do it and says he will try to do better".   The father standing behind the mother said nothing, but only glared wide-eyed at my friend as if to say, "I don't agree to this at all!".


     Imagine if YOU were that father and you were paying the price for your child's temper-tantrum.  What is the likelihood that this child grows up to be a good, decent, well-adjusted, caring human-being?   Not likely at all.    Such a family where one parent allows all hell to break loose with no repercussions and the other wants to lower the boom cannot be good for the child.   The child will of course cozy up to the lenient parent to get their way in the future.   He will know who to turn to when life deals them heaps of problems from their bad choices and the lenient parent will never let the child grow up to be a responsible adult.  They will keep him in perpetual childhood living in their shadow to protect them from the big bad world.

     Now I must confess to you that the above story, never really happened.  I wrote it as a parable to show what has happened in the city of Ferguson and what will transpire in the coming months and years.

The child:
Represents the rioters who took to the streets after not getting an indictment for the death of Mike Brown. These "boy-men" did not get what they wanted and rather than accept the answer given them by a jury of 12 citizens who heard eye-witness testimony from 50 people (6 witnesses who were black said Mike Brown charged at the police and did not stop coming at him until he was shot dead).   These "boy-men" had an adult-sized-temper-tantrum and destroyed everything in their sight with arson and looting.
The broken toys:
The businesses in Ferguson that employ the people of Ferguson and the city vehicles burned by the protesters.  
The mother:
Represents the politicians (Republicans AND Democrats) that will seek to sooth the rioters anger with "new toys" in the form of buildings, parks and maybe a new school or town hall.  They will call for endless committees and conferences (mostly in Vegas) to discuss white-on-black crime even though most crime in their are is black-on-black.   Main street will be renamed Michael-Brown-Avenue and schools will have an additional holiday added to their list of days off.   
The father:
Represents the private-sector business-owners and taxpayers.  They are stuck with the bill for all the new toys that need to be bought.   Their employment and property taxes will go up to fix the buildings and pay for all kinds of social programs.  Their insurance premiums will go up.   Their labor costs will go up (minimum wage hikes).   They will pay for security services to protect their properties from future assaults.   They will restock their shelves with new merchandise to replace the looted items they lost and fix the broken windows and burned down walls.    They like the father will have their anger burn quietly inside them as to open their mouths would be unleash more pain and suffering from the mother who can make their lives a living hell.
    I know that all parables fail at some point.   I know that not everyone who rioted in Ferguson was FROM Ferguson and that many came from other cities just to have a "good time" at others expense.   I know many in Ferguson stayed home on that night, but as the famous anti-Hitler German Pastor Bonhoeffer said, "Not to speak is to speak, Not to act is to act"  and so those who stayed home rather than than stand up to the protesters and protect their homes and businesses are just as guilty as those who showed up to create havoc.  When we let those with evil intents to outnumber the good people we deserve what we get. 

    This is the hidden danger when we see our government swoop in to "save the day".  Whether its a man-made disaster like a riot or a natural-disaster like a hurricane or flood, government patching it all up after its done to make it all "good again" only encourages others to not be responsible.   I think people begin to expect the government to fix it all up at no cost to us so we in turn do nothing to protect ourselves to make sure it never happens again.   Like people who continue to build their houses on Florida beaches and in flood areas by major rivers, so also people of riot torn areas learn nothing and become less willing to stop the next riot from occurring as they know the riot will be followed by more government funding and loans.

   How do you think the people of Ferguson would have reacted if they knew that no one was going to come to their aid after the riots?   Maybe Ferguson should be left in tatters as a reminder to everyone that this is the price of rioting and looting.   Like the broken toys strewn around the boy's bedroom all broken and smashed, the burned businesses and police cars will be a constant reminder to the people that there is a price to pay for bad behavior and maybe the next city faced with the same angry mobs will do more than just stay home and let evil have its way.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mike Brown and the Boston Massacre

   Karl Marx once referred to religion as "the opiate of the masses" because to him it placated the people to not rise up in violent revolution which is why he advocated for the removal of religion from the world and the adherence to atheism.   In some ways, Marx was right but even a broken clock is right twice a day and so he is as well.  He is correct that Christianity in particular calls for us to pray for our leaders, respect those in authority, and love those who persecute us.  These ideas are very anti-violent-revolutionary and run completely counter to those who advocate such behaviors.  Secondly its followers have hope in a better world yet to come and know this world will always be a far cry from our future one.   Thirdly, we believe God is ultimately in control and will have the final say in what happens on this earth and no one ever really gets away with murder.  Because of these ideals and principles, it's hard to stir people up into a frenzy when they see that no matter what you promise to do to reform their current situation it will never ever be perfect.

      However it's not completely impossible to rally the Christians to revolt.  First,  your cause must first be seen as just and second it must be the only card left to play.  Take for example our own revolution in 1776.  The leaders of this revolution were pious and very religious yet they came to the conclusion nothing else could be done.  But because of their faith, they did not rush into revolution or war.  They sought other means for many months and years.  They wrote countless letters of opposition to the King to seek compromise yet time and time again they only saw the British increase their clamp on their throats.  Some tried to use violence to push the Colonists into war but these methods were short-lived.  Take for example the so-called "Boston Massacre" in 1770 in which 5 people were killed in the fight when an unruly crowd (some drunk) ran into a group of British soldiers.  While many tried to capitalize on this event, others used reason to see their way through it.  One such person was none other than John Adams (our future 3rd president) who, as a trained lawyer, represented the British soldiers in court.  Even his own wife Abigail pleaded with him to not take the case as it was a lose-lose proposition.  If he won the soldiers their freedom he might be ostracized by the people of Boston and never have another case to take.  If he lost the case and the soldiers were hanged, he would have the king and his army to deal with.  Yet he decided to take the case anyway and was able to get them acquitted because the call to "fire" came from the crowd and not from regiment leader (as witnessed by a person in the crowd).   Justice was served and the flames of revolution were squelched for the time being.

    Today is no different.  We see people trying desperately to use the Mike Brown case as a cause for their own revolution.  They stand with their hands up saying "Don't Shoot" after which they loot and burn local businesses.  To them, Mike Brown is the new Boston Massacre and hate mongers like Rev. Al Sharpton inflame their hatred of the police and people who don't stand with them (I guess Jesus words of "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" never made into the Al's Bible reading list).  Like the Boston Massacre justice was sought.  A grand jury was convened and after 50 eye-witnesses (many of them black) and even testimony by the police officer who was allowed to be questioned for over 4 hours (also note, grand juries do NOT have defense attorney's present.. only prosecuting attorneys) a ruling of non-acquittal was reached which meant the jurors did not feel a crime had been committed by police officer because:
  • Mike Brown performed a strong arm robbery and the police officer received this account when he detained Mike Brown for walking in the middle of a busy street.
  • Mike Brown initiated the attack by punching the officer  through his open window
  • Mike Brown tried to shoot the officer with his own gun (autopsy confirmed with shot to his hand at a very close range)
  • Mike Brown was shot ONLY from the front (and not from the back)
  • Mike Brown was fatally shot in the head with the bullet entering the top of his head as he was leaning towards the office when he rushed him.
  • No witness testified that Mike Brown was ever on his knees with his hands up saying "Don't Shoot"
   While I am sure there were many in Boston who were angry at John Adams for getting the British soldiers "off the hook"; they ,as a mostly christian nation, did not retaliate with burning Boston or British barracks.   Instead, they allowed justice to be served by the courts.  Could the courts have been wrong?  Of course they can.  No system invented by man is perfect.  Mistakes will be made and good people will sometimes be sent to jail and bad people released to the streets.  However, we entrust real justice to be delivered by a just God when that time comes and so we leave it to him even if we think our system has failed.

      The best example of this in the Bible I can think of is the story of David and King Saul.  Saul was hunting down David because many people loved David and Saul saw him as a threat to his throne.   While hunting David down, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself not knowing David was in the cave as well.  Some of his followers wanted David to kill Saul right there in the cave while he was unprotected.  Instead, David took Saul's cloak and cut a large piece off of it and later yelled at Saul from on top of hill showing Saul that he had the chance to kill him but he did not and he wanted peace with Saul and not war.   The reason David did not take Saul's life was because, to him, Saul was still God's anointed king and he was going to leave it to God when Saul would be replaced rather than usurp it himself. Now imagine that for a second!  Here is a person, with a large following of men wanting him to be the king, who has the opportunity of a lifetime to kill the current king and thus allow himself to ascend to the throne. Yet, he holds himself back because murder is not the right way to gain power.  He respects the kings position and God who has placed him there.      

     I fear that as we lose these basic principles and more people equate JUSTICE with REVENGE we will reach a tipping point where the clear-headed will be overruled by the ignorant, hate-filled crowds and those who manipulate them for their own purpose and want to take power by force.  


Monday, December 1, 2014

Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?

   Any time someone wants to point out the "obvious" they sometimes make a reference to an old riddle that says, "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb" ?   The answer is obvious!  Grant of course!   Some times in life things you take for granted for so long all of a sudden changes and you see something you should have seen a long time ago.  The reason you didn't see it before was because it was too obvious.  It was hidden in plain sight.

    Take for example, the Statue of Liberty. 

    We have all seen the iconic pictures of her standing in the
New York harbor beckoning newcomers to her.  I, like many, always saw her as a symbol of America and her famous poem engraved on her base was a call of immigrants to our shores.  Then last week as I was contemplating this poem (in regards to the Presidents immigration executive order to ignore congressional law) I suddenly realized how wrong I was was.  Like the iconic "Grant's Tomb" riddle the Statue of Liberty is NOT the Statue of America.  She does not represent the United States, but instead she embodies an ideal. A concept if you may.   Her poem is not meant to be a dinner bell to all the world's poor to come to THIS land.  In fact, it would be physically impossible for the United States to assimilate the entire world's poor here in this one small country.  Instead, her call is a CHALLENGE to all the other countries in the world to release their tired poor and their huddled masses to her, LIBERTY.  Her words echo the demands of Moses to Pharaoh some 4000 years ago when he said : "Let my people go!".   She tells them to forget their "storied pomp" as it has not worked and to leave it all behind.   She tells them to try freedom instead.  Her resources and borders are boundless and she will accept any all who come to her shores "yearning to be free"

Given then this insight, now read the famous poem attributed to her with liberty replaced for the statues pronouns (original words in parenthesis)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and liberty is its (her) name
Mother of Exiles. From liberty's (her) beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; Liberty's (her) mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries liberty (she)
With silent lips. "Give liberty to (me) your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to liberty (me),
Liberty (I) lift its (my) lamp beside the golden door!"