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Left Turn Only

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Member since: Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:45 PM
Number of posts: 74

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Selective Perception

Is everyone missing the first half of the sentence in the Second Amendment? "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The states' rights-conscious Founding Fathers of our country wanted to make sure that each state could protect itself against any possible intrusions of tyranny from the new central government they created, which is why in times of war the state militias had to be organized into a national army instead of the standing national army we have today. It would not have been possible to have state militias without the rights of individuals to have guns; therefore, the main thrust of this Amendment is to preserve the states' rights to having their own armies. How this sentence has been cut to eliminate the first half (even by the Supreme Court) is a constant source of amazement to me. Also, if the goal is to infer the deeper meaning by the writers of the Constitution, keep in mind that the only guns available were single-shot weapons. Does any sane-minded person really believe that the Second Amendment taken in its entirety means that people are allowed to carry around assault weapons? Some people say they just want to own these weapons of mass killings; maybe we should be allowed to have shoulder-fired missiles since they're arms too?

What's the point? If someone really believes they need these weapons to protect themselves from our own government, do they really think they could hold off attack helicopters and missiles from drones and all the other really cool weapons of the military? You don't have to be a Constitutional scholar to look at the COMPLETE 2nd Amendment to realize that the gun industry has taken its meaning a bit too far. In reality the 2nd Amendment has become outdated since the writers of the Constitution would never have imagined that "arms" would turn into what they did, not to mention, we no longer have state militias.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Mon Apr 15, 2013, 10:28 AM (3 replies)

The Ties That Bind

Today was one of those days that I felt the 95% or so of the American voting public was never going to realize that liberal/progressive policies were the only politics that represented them, and that all the corporate money would always be able to lie the best and most often, convincing people to vote for conservatives and against their own interests. So, I'm leaving politics behind to talk about a strictly male concern: the suit and tie. Why have we, the past and present male populations, persisted in this idea of proper attire? Unlike women, who are able to blame men for many of the injustices that they endure, we have no excuse; men have created and controlled the social institutions of our societies since day one, and one of those institutions we've developed along the way is, unfortunately, the suit and tie.

Now I know there are some men who do not feel complete unless they are wearing a jacket and tie, but these guys are the vast minority, and I can only suggest that, maybe, some form of psychoanalysis might solve the problem. But herein lies the enigma: if it is merely the lunatic fringe that enjoys dressing for discomfort, why hasn't the suit and tie gone the way of powdered wigs? Could it be that there are more men out there than are letting on who actually enjoy looking like some sort of android?

I suppose it is the irony that bothers me the most, in that women, who are subject to many of the limitations of a male dominated society, actually have more freedom over their appearance than men have. Take a typical job interview situation as an example.

Decorous attire for a woman could include everything from slacks and a blouse to a dress. She would also have a wide assortment of shoes to pick from, and even her hair could be almost any style from very short to very long. On the other hand, men have to look like a bunch clones from a bad science-fiction movie.

It's bad enough having to wear those horrendous dress slacks and funny shiny-leather shoes, but it is the dress shirt and tie that lends a masochistic slant to men's attire. Think about it: it's not sufficient to button a shirt tightly about our throats; no, we have to complete the process of slow suffocation with a knotted piece of cloth around our necks.

Could it be that the shirt and tie routine is a subconscious collective attempt at seeking atonement for the wrong that men have done in this world -- a sort of mass hanging? Well, I don't want any part of it. I think it's time to remove our ties to a tradition of ludicrous attire and hold a ceremony to celebrate our individuality...that's right: a tie-burning party. Just the thought of all that burning polyester lifts my spirits.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Sun Apr 14, 2013, 02:18 PM (4 replies)

"Liberal" Is Not a Dirty Word

Of the many colorful words that come to my mind when thinking of conservatives, dumb is usually not one of them. In fact, the way in which the rhetoric of the political right targets the mainstream's thoughts and slips away without anyone seeing a source to shoot back at is a constant source of amazement to me. A good example of this is how so few Americans in a recent poll knew next to nothing about the Affordable Care Act except the lies promulgated by the Republican think tanks; this stealth rhetoric is responsible for qualifiers such as "tax and spend" and "bleeding heart" that are on the lips of most Americans when the word "liberal" is brought up. While everyone knows that President Obama has increased the national debt more than anyone before him, few people seem to know that President Reagan, the conservatives father figure, increased the national debt more than all the previous administrations combined by initiating the largest military build up the country has ever seen in times of peace. And, while we were at war during the Bush years (and we won't even get into the efficacy of those decisions), cutting taxes while spending those prodigious amounts of money, which doubled the debt once again, was a strange form of economics, to say the least, but the American people castigate Obama for wanting to raise taxes back to levels before the Bush fiasco. The point of all this is that no one is calling the Republicans "spend and spend" conservatives, and only liberals get a derogative name tag.

The adroit verbal maneuverings of conservatives have to be admired even beyond the economic arenas with the "bleeding heart" label, which elicits feelings of disgust toward those on the left. Notice how it is a bad thing to take an active interest in the disadvantaged in our society but a good thing to say "I've got mine, now, you get your own." In today's political climate, candidates have no qualms saying they are conservatives, while others are bending over back-wards to prove they are not liberals. And, while the cut-throat politics of capitalism have to be as far from the the teachings of Christ as a Satanic ritual, even most Christian groups are proud to call themselves conservatives.

The main difference between conservatives and liberals in not how much money each spends, but what the money is spent on. Should we cut money on Welfare and Social Security programs while we spend billions on corporate welfare? The true strength of a country comes from within, and I do not believe the market place can or will solve our deepest social inequities, but please forgive me -- I'm a liberal.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Sun Mar 31, 2013, 12:10 PM (3 replies)

We Must Believe in Magic

The economics of capitalism appears to be predicated on an ever-increasing number of consumers through growing populations, opening new markets such as Asia, and developing new consumer products that people cannot live without. Is it just me, or does this line of thought bring to mind the metaphor of the periodic mass suicide of lemmings? No matter how you look at it, growing populations and selling more and more needless consumer products is going to catch up to us like a bad hangover. If fixing the Great Recession is dependent on the global-economy dream of the corporate elite by making all of the world's economies more like our own, wouldn't that be similar to taking a stiff drink to quell those not-so-pleasant feelings the morning after a good party?

Americans waste (even by conservative estimates) thousands of pounds of resources per person every year. Billions of pounds of things like carpet, polystyrene, food, chemicals, and other resources annually end up in landfills (if we're lucky). In addition, even more waste is produced by industry in the making of all those precious items. And, when you stop and think of all the electronic items, batteries, etc. that we all discard during our lives, each of us has a very personal involvement in the garbage and pollution produced in this country and around the world.

This seems hard for many to grasp, but, believe it or not, all the resources we waste and consume are not being continually replaced by god, and the earth really does have a limit to how much pollution it can absorb and recycle. Obviously, we cannot turn back the clock, so we need an economy in which everyone can contribute where a balance is struck between realistic needs, available resources, and inevitable waste production. Instead of producing so many products that end up in landfills, we need to be producing jobs in all kinds of research to expand the knowledge of human-kind, which will produce benefits in health, food production, energy, infrastructure, housing, etc.. Also, expanding scientific knowledge for no apparent immediate use other than the understanding of the earth and the universe could provide more than just jobs. Having everyone gainfully employed on a sinking luxury ship is only good while the party lasts. All the air, water, food, shelter -- everything that keeps industry and ourselves alive -- is provided by the living systems of our planet. As the Biosphere II fiasco in the 90's had shown us, science and 200 million dollars could not even produce a three-acre living system to keep eight people and some animals alive for two years.

If we are to rise above our lemming-inspired leap of faith, we must coordinate our hard-earned intelligence and technology toward real solutions. Earning money to stay alive is a concept developed by humans; and, since we created the system, we can alter it to fit the reality of the world we live in. It is time to stop trying to pull rabbits out of a hat and accept the fact that to take more than can be given even goes beyond our own laws of physics.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Sun Mar 24, 2013, 10:20 AM (1 replies)

Notes from Above Ground

To those of us who seem to hold the word faith to a much more stringent definition, there is a tendency to stay away from the anesthetizing effect of any concretely designed religion. But, just as there seem to be certain individuals that are more prone to become drug addicts, some people have to have religion to stave off the umbrage of mortality. Believing in everlasting life and the idea that there is a centralized form of celestial government within or without the myriad universes can be a comforting thought (as long as you lead a circumspect life and remain politically correct); however, it appears that people either have this "gift" of faith or they don't.

It's obvious that I am not one of the faithful. I have this stubborn tendency to require, at least, some very strong circumstantial evidence before I can believe in something. Now, I realize that the devout feel the evidence supporting their beliefs is strong, so it would seem that the difference between believers and their counterparts must lie in their respective perceptions of what constitutes evidence -- something that will not be easily changed in an individual.

Actually, I have the utmost respect for truly religious people when they're not trying to effect government, which correspondingly effects all of us. The self-sacrifice, control, and inner peace of true believers is most admirable. On the other hand, when people in this country proclaim to be Christians, while knowing little about the religion, I cannot help but view these "faithful" with derision. The fact is most people would not want to live in a Christian society, so let's cut the pretense. We are not "one country under God." In fact, if there is a god, I seriously doubt that He/She (or whatever) would care about a political entity like a country. When Romney lost the election, did that mean that God supported the political ideologies of Obama, including drone strikes that accidentally kill innocent civilians (oops!)? Or better yet, did God support Romney, but He just wasn't strong enough to beat Obama? Face it: there is no deity involved with countries; they are created and destroyed by human hands.

And what about on a personal level? Women's rights, religious freedom, and sex before marriage are all things that are not in tune with Christianity. How about the great American institution of divorce? The next time someone you know marries someone who is divorced, be aware that both people are adulterers under Christian values. When people begin to pick and choose what they want to believe in a religion, they can no longer say that they truly believe in that faith and have, in reality, created a new one.

To people like myself, faith is a word that should be used sparingly. I am not an atheist because it would be just as large a leap of faith to believe that there is no god as to believe there is one -- both require evidence that I am not capable of acquiring. Religion, if accepted at all, is a personal experience, and that is the way it should remain. We must maintain the wall of separation between church and state that Thomas Jefferson spoke of, and it should never be brought up in an election or influence the laws of our country.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Sun Mar 3, 2013, 11:36 AM (5 replies)

It's What You Value

With the season of "good will toward men" (women are included by association) still relatively fresh in our memories, maybe it's a good time to talk about something basic to a caring and civilized society: taking care of the sick. Why, then, does it seem so impossible for a country with one of the highest standards of living to provide high quality health care to all its citizens?

Now, keeping in mind all those religious and altruistic thoughts of just a few weeks ago, rationalize why we as a people cannot afford to give quality health care to any citizen who is in need of it. I would expect that those who suffered a deficiency in those previously mentioned warm holiday feelings to be the first to charge me with promoting socialized medicine. I stand accused -- so what?

The socialization of some institutions does not make us less democratic; in fact, the socialization of certain basic needs can often strengthen a democracy. Social security, unemployment insurance, subsidized housing for the elderly, and many other programs are socialistic and have only enhanced our freedom to live dignified lives in the face of a private sector, which, by its very nature, is forced to ignore human feelings in favor of a bottom line.

It must be remembered that in a capitalistic society it is not only government that needs to be kept in check, but also the very real power that businesses have over all of us. By transforming economic powers like health care from corporations to our government, we at least have some say as to how those powers are used, and, in this way, we increase the power of the people and strengthen the democracy that we are a part of.

Universal health care would cost an enormous amount of money, but when the money we are spending on health care from our pay checks and from employers' contributions are added up, would it cost any more to have a government-run system where people never have to worry about selling their houses to pay hospital bills? And if the cost would be a bit more, couldn't that money come from some of the enormous costs of being the world's police and maintaining bases all around the world?

All worthwhile endeavors have costs; it all depends on what a person's values are that determines whether or not a cost is considered valid or not. It is amusing when people complain about how taxes are so high in a country where there are so many $30,000 cars and trucks on the road, and so many people are able to buy the most frivolous of luxuries. Maybe when we are proud to flaunt our humanity instead of our wealth, something like true universal health care will become a reality.

Posted by Left Turn Only | Sat Feb 2, 2013, 03:49 PM (0 replies)

Flunk the Electoral College

Every two years I write my representatives about having a Constitutional amendment to scrap the electoral college even though I know class is out on that subject in Congress. While I sign the petitions to repeal Citizens United, I am left wondering why there isn't as much anger over an oligarchy choosing who our president should be.

All the reasons that the founding fathers had for having the electoral college are no longer valid. We now have a population that can read and write (for the most part anyway), and we live in the age of mass communication, so everyone has access to information to make good choices; therefore, the time for needing wealthy, well educated, white men to know what is best for their ignorant citizens is well past.

It seems to me that getting rid of the electoral college would be something that people of both parties could agree, so the argument shouldn't be framed as a partisan debate. I am asking for those who are knowledgeable about internet petitions to get this together. Remember, Congress would never take this on without water-boarding committee chairs because the two-party system loves the way the electoral college keeps out those pain-in-the-arse third parties and independents.

The president should represent all people of all the states and should be elected by a majority of those people. And by demanding a true majority, run-off elections would be possible, meaning third-party candidates would finally have to be listened to.
Posted by Left Turn Only | Sun Jan 27, 2013, 09:27 AM (0 replies)
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