Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fool Me Once - Fool Me Twice

One of my Dad’s favorite sayings was “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  I think he was making the point that we have to take some personal responsibility.  We need to think about this.   
Our government makes a joke of our gullibility.  They raise taxes with the promise of cutting spending and balancing the budget in the future, and it never happens.  The debt ceiling is raised with the promise of balancing the budget in the future and it never happens, and the national debt continues to increase. 
Politicians continue to pay off their campaign donors and special interest groups in order to get reelected.   Politicians buy votes by promising free stuff.   The working people, and their children and grandchildren will have to pay for this free stuff, assuming they actually work for a living. 
I don’t believe many politicians have any intentions of controlling the growth of government at any time while they are in office.  Every time I hear the word invest, I cringe because I know a large portion of the money is a payoff and will be wasted with little or no benefit to the country. Politicians must think the public is really stupid.  Maybe we are.  We keep letting them continue to fool us with promises for the future that they have no intention of keeping.
Immigration is another great example.  Politicians continue to pass legislation to make illegal aliens legal citizens with the promise of controlling our borders and enforcing the laws sometime in the future.  We have been here before.  The borders are never secured.  The immigration laws are never enforced.  We never fix the real problem, and we start all over again.  We are fooled again.
How many times are we going to be fooled?  After the first time there is no excuse.  Shame on us.  It is time we take some personal responsibility and demand the same of our elected officials. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Frost/Nixon Play

One of our community theaters just put on a production of Frost/Nixon.  President Richard Nixon had covered up a break-in of the Democratic National Party offices in Washington DC.  He faced impeachment for this cover-up and resigned the Presidency. 
David Frost was a British talk show host that later arranged an interview of Nixon where Nixon finally admitted to the cover-up.  The play was based on the interview and what happened off stage before, during and after the interview.
The play received some good reviews.  I played Colonel Jack Brennan, Nixon’s Chief of Staff.  The play was given without an intermission in order not to interrupt the flow.  There were refreshments after the show so the audience could interact with the performers.
The most common remark I heard from the audience was that people felt politicians before and after Nixon probably did a lot worse than Nixon and were never held accountable.  This does not speak well for the public image of our politicians.
I recognize that the break-in was probably a felony, but I almost consider it a political prank.  No one was hurt and nothing was stolen.  I pulled pranks that were a lot worse in high school.  Some were pretty funny.  I never thought I was committing a felony. 
The cover-up by Nixon was stupid, but probably fits the above-the-law mentality of many high level politicians.  I agree with the comments by the audience that a lot worse has happened by high-level politicians both before and after Nixon. 
A look at recent history shows the Fast & Furious incident and the Benghazi incident.  In both cases people died.  Americans died.  In both cases the people in charge were incompetent or worse.  The obvious cover-up continues and no one has been held accountable in either incident. 
What is wrong with our priorities?  Why don’t we hold our politicians and bureaucrats accountable?  We seem to have less and less respect for our politicians, but we don’t hold them accountable.  If we don’t get more involved, get the facts, and demand the media actually report the facts, maybe we deserve what we get.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Political Placebo
The health and welfare of kids is important to us all.  The shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school by a mentally sick individual makes everyone emotional.  I hear comments like, “We have to do something.  We have to try.”  I agree.  Let’s do something, but let’s do something that can actually make a difference and not just a political placebo.
I hear comments that we have to make assault rifles like the Bushmaster AR-15 and large capacity clips illegal.  This type of legislation has zero chance of doing any good.  Current demand and sales of these items have skyrocketed.  People are now buying guns that never would have considered owning a gun before.  A law banning them will just drive them underground creating a new market for criminals just like drugs, and booze during prohibition. 
This type of legislation will make many law-abiding citizens criminals just as prohibition did.  My maternal grandfather never drank to excess until prohibition.  He said, “Nobody can tell me that I can’t have a drink.”  He drank until he was committed to the state mental hospital for “Alcoholic Psychosis”.
Many semi-automatic guns can be easily modified to be fully automatic, and banning large capacity clips is a joke as these clips are not high tech and will be made in many home works shops.  Additional legislation banning certain types of guns has zero chance of success unless the real objective has nothing to do with public safety, and is actually about increasing the size and control of the federal government. 
I think almost everyone except the criminal element in our society wants to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed.  This can make a difference, so let’s concentrate on that and forget about specific weapons. 
We should start by examining and enforcing existing gun regulations.  I don’t think many honest citizens buying a gun of any kind will object to a background check to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.  Some holes in this check like gun shows need to be closed, but this requires very little legislation. 
What is required is a pro-active police department, and an involved public, that does not worry about being politically correct.  We can’t have situations like the Fort Hood shooting where most people in contact with Major Hasan knew he was an Islamic extremist and a potential danger, but were afraid of speaking out and being perceived as politically incorrect.  The public must assume personal responsibility and get involved.  
There are some things we know don’t work.  Gun free zones don’t work.  We know most mass shootings occur in gun-free zones, and the perpetrators only stop when guns arrive on the scene.  Does this mean we should eliminate all gun-free zones?
Chicago has some of the strongest gun laws in the country, and the highest gun deaths in the country.  Makes sense, when only the criminal element have guns.  Criminals don’t care about the law.  Some kids in gangs have a Glock before I got my first Red Ryder BB gun. 
Australia tried to eliminate guns in the private sector with horrible consequences.  Violent crime is up significantly.  These are facts, but how we interpret these facts is something else. 
Some people say let’s ban assault rifles and high capacity clips anyway.  What can it hurt?  It can hurt a lot.  It may be an infringement on the Second Amendment.  It increases the size and control of the federal government.  It provides a new market for criminals, and criminals will now have an armament advantage.  As novelist Robert B Parker said, law enforcement has Glocks, and the drug gangs have low air support.
The biggest problem with talk of banning specific guns is that it is a political placebo that has zero chance of reducing violence and takes attention away from things that can actually make a difference in gun violence.  It also is a political football that takes attention away from other serious problems like government debt and spending.  This debt will seriously affect and hurt all our children and grandchildren.  I thought we were concerned about the future of kids, or is that all just BS political and media hype?