angstzeit: (Default)
Dear Mr. President,

I am writing concerning the National Defence Authorization Act and its troubling provisions regarding detention of US citizens indefinitely without trial. I believe this is a dangerous and unconstitutional bill. I believe it goes against the fundamental values on which this country was founded. Further, I believe it does not protect the people of the United States from terrorism, but furthers the goals of Al Qaeda by crippling the very freedom we wish to defend and those like Al Qaeda want to destroy.

I understand that this bill does not clearly state that US citizens may be detained indefinitely, but it does make that a possibility. And I think you know that grey areas in law are where atrocious misdeeds find safe haven. The United States is based not on giving capricious power to its officials and hoping that they will exercise good judgement. It is based on laws, justice, and the reservation of all but necessary power to the people. A people hopefully protected by the constitution from abuse by its leaders. A people who hold the right of due process. A people who expect and deserve fair, open and just treatment by their government.

I hope that you will veto the NDAA as it stands. I hope that you will stand up for the rights of our children and grandchildren who, might otherwise look back to this time as the beginning of the end of this great experiment in freedom and democracy, the United States of America. For ten years our freedoms have been under attack from without and within. Please use the power that we, the people, have vested in you to do what is right and veto the NDAA until it makes clear that our constitutional rights to due process are secure.
angstzeit: (Default)
Just so we're clear here, I think burning Quran's, especially in a big, showy manner, is seriously fucking stupid.

But it is absolutely the right of any moron to do so in the USA. Just as anyone has the right to build a mosque where they want. There will certainly be people killed in the name of this event. But that doesn't make the people burning the Qurans any more responsible for those deaths than musicians are responsible for murders, or suicides, or rapes committed by their listeners. You don't get a free pass on murder because you heard a song, or didn't like what somebody said, or your religion was offended.

But, as I've said before, with freedom comes responsibility. Burning Qurans does have ramifications. These people are choosing to throw gasoline instead of water on a fire. Their actions are stupid, and selfish. Very selfish.

But selfishness is probably the ultimate American value. It is, I think, at its root, what the Tea Party is about. We prefer to call it independence, freedom, liberty, etc., but in the end it is the right to say "I don't care if you don't like it--I'm doing/saying/writing/painting/playing/reading/listening/watching it anyway." And we all partake of it and enjoy it in our measure. It is the American Dream.
angstzeit: (Default)
Just so we're clear here, I think burning Quran's, especially in a big, showy manner, is seriously fucking stupid.

But it is absolutely the right of any moron to do so in the USA. Just as anyone has the right to build a mosque where they want. There will certainly be people killed in the name of this event. But that doesn't make the people burning the Qurans any more responsible for those deaths than musicians are responsible for murders, or suicides, or rapes committed by their listeners. You don't get a free pass on murder because you heard a song, or didn't like what somebody said, or your religion was offended.

But, as I've said before, with freedom comes responsibility. Burning Qurans does have ramifications. These people are choosing to throw gasoline instead of water on a fire. Their actions are stupid, and selfish. Very selfish.

But selfishness is probably the ultimate American value. It is, I think, at its root, what the Tea Party is about. We prefer to call it independence, freedom, liberty, etc., but in the end it is the right to say "I don't care if you don't like it--I'm doing/saying/writing/painting/playing/reading/listening/watching it anyway." And we all partake of it and enjoy it in our measure. It is the American Dream.

Crazy shit

Mar. 4th, 2010 10:51 am
angstzeit: (Default)
Stone the whales!

Got this from [livejournal.com profile] rm.

I do so hate these sort of people. If Sea World told the trainer that the whale was perfectly safe, then the trainer's family should sue. But I'm pretty sure the trainer knew what the risks were.


People should be allowed to take risks. And they should have to deal with the consequences. It should not be the job of society to protect informed people from themselves. Nor should people be allowed to blame others for the informed actions of anyone.

Unfortunately, humans seem genetically incapable of simply letting other humans live their damn lives how they please. Sure, plenty of people say, and probably believe, they want people to be able to live how they want. But they almost always mean certain people and certain ways. How many of those freedom-loving, get-the-government-out-of-my-life Tea Baggers would support a federal ban on abortion? Support federal drug laws? Would support a federal gay marriage ban? Exactly.

Crazy shit

Mar. 4th, 2010 10:51 am
angstzeit: (Default)
Stone the whales!

Got this from [livejournal.com profile] rm.

I do so hate these sort of people. If Sea World told the trainer that the whale was perfectly safe, then the trainer's family should sue. But I'm pretty sure the trainer knew what the risks were.


People should be allowed to take risks. And they should have to deal with the consequences. It should not be the job of society to protect informed people from themselves. Nor should people be allowed to blame others for the informed actions of anyone.

Unfortunately, humans seem genetically incapable of simply letting other humans live their damn lives how they please. Sure, plenty of people say, and probably believe, they want people to be able to live how they want. But they almost always mean certain people and certain ways. How many of those freedom-loving, get-the-government-out-of-my-life Tea Baggers would support a federal ban on abortion? Support federal drug laws? Would support a federal gay marriage ban? Exactly.
angstzeit: (Default)
I'm sure most folks, in America at least, are familiar with the taser incident at a Senator Kerry speech. (If not Google: kerry taser.)

Personally, I find the taser use a lesser issue. Cops often use inappropriate force--just not when several cameras are recording it.

What I find amazing is that no one seems to be addressing the fact that a person asking a question in a public forum can be silenced and drug away by police. This is a chilling violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, and all we care about is police brutality (not that we shouldn't care about it, but in perspective). I know it isn't in style in these times of warrentless wiretapping and the "Patriot Act" to pay much attention to the small erosions of our liberties. But that is the real danger of such grand attacks on liberty--we focus on them while the rest of our liberties are eroded.

Unfortunately, I think America is like the second generation of wealth. We have no respect or understanding for the struggle and work of our ancestors to secure these freedoms. So we spend them frivolously.

I think our history classes need to spend less time teaching us about the Revolutionary War dates and more time teaching us why those people went through so much suffering.
angstzeit: (Default)
I'm sure most folks, in America at least, are familiar with the taser incident at a Senator Kerry speech. (If not Google: kerry taser.)

Personally, I find the taser use a lesser issue. Cops often use inappropriate force--just not when several cameras are recording it.

What I find amazing is that no one seems to be addressing the fact that a person asking a question in a public forum can be silenced and drug away by police. This is a chilling violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution, and all we care about is police brutality (not that we shouldn't care about it, but in perspective). I know it isn't in style in these times of warrentless wiretapping and the "Patriot Act" to pay much attention to the small erosions of our liberties. But that is the real danger of such grand attacks on liberty--we focus on them while the rest of our liberties are eroded.

Unfortunately, I think America is like the second generation of wealth. We have no respect or understanding for the struggle and work of our ancestors to secure these freedoms. So we spend them frivolously.

I think our history classes need to spend less time teaching us about the Revolutionary War dates and more time teaching us why those people went through so much suffering.
angstzeit: (Default)
60 Minutes last night had a story on Rick Berman. As Morley Safer said, "He's a lawyer and a lobbyist and for some people that may be bad enough." As a class I dislike lobbyists more than politicians since lobbyists are the food (well, they provide it--they're sort of like the zookeepers) that keep politicians alive. But, of course, every lobbyist excuses their existence by citing the lobbyist on the other side of the issue.

But his issue is the “Nanny State.” This is an issue near and torturous to my heart.
As many have guessed, I’m fairly libertarian, idealistically. The less anyone, including the government interferes in my life the better. And my philosophy requires that I desire that for everyone else too. But, as I’ve stated often before, with freedom comes great responsibility. Responsibility that most people, at least in this country have shirked. However, I will agree that people generally don’t go looking for responsibility, so when the government takes it away they tend to just give it up and go on.

But I guess I should explain the “Nanny State.” Banning and regulation has become the norm in America. It seems weekly there’s some new threat to people and a new law needs to be made to protect people from making a choice to harm themselves. And as people have choice and responsibility taken away from them; the more the government “looks after them;” the more dependant they become. People drop personal responsibility and expect someone or something else to take care of them. The State becomes our protector, a nanny, and we, its impotent infants.

As you can see this is quite contrary to my gut feelings. I don’t endorse Berman, his methods, or his backers (mostly large industries hurt [aka making less profit] by this regulation). But the premise is enticing.

Obviously, the government has some responsibility for the people. To protect them from those things it controls, from each other, from natural disaster, etc. But at some point freedom and government regulation come into conflict. Should government set education standards? Should government regulate pollution? Income? Health? Abortion? Food? Everything? Nothing?
For many an instant yes or no is easily given for these and countless other issues. But I don’t find it so easy. The thing is that an ideal, free, responsible, thoughtful people would control all these issues (presumably for their betterment) with their choices. However, an ideal government could regulate many things in the least restrictive ways and people needn’t give up responsibility by making choices about government. Obviously, neither of these ideals exists. So do we steer a middle course or, with hope, go to one side or the other?

The ideal in my heart tells me to trust freedom and humanity. My reason tells me this is noble but in reality it is a folly. Thus I come to that odd place where liberalism and conservatism cross and cease to exist. Where both are left with a choice of hoping for the future or sticking with the past or present. Roll the dice, or accept the status quo?

Again, you can probably guess my stance. I choose hope and I choose freedom. Not without trepidation. Not without realizing that the costs will be high and the pain great. But I believe the possibility is worth it. And, I guess, truthfully, the only other choice I’d make is hedonism, (feigned) capitulation, and an attempt to not care. The world will continue on its present course without my help so why strain myself? No, I’ll stick with my first choice.
angstzeit: (Default)
60 Minutes last night had a story on Rick Berman. As Morley Safer said, "He's a lawyer and a lobbyist and for some people that may be bad enough." As a class I dislike lobbyists more than politicians since lobbyists are the food (well, they provide it--they're sort of like the zookeepers) that keep politicians alive. But, of course, every lobbyist excuses their existence by citing the lobbyist on the other side of the issue.

But his issue is the “Nanny State.” This is an issue near and torturous to my heart.
As many have guessed, I’m fairly libertarian, idealistically. The less anyone, including the government interferes in my life the better. And my philosophy requires that I desire that for everyone else too. But, as I’ve stated often before, with freedom comes great responsibility. Responsibility that most people, at least in this country have shirked. However, I will agree that people generally don’t go looking for responsibility, so when the government takes it away they tend to just give it up and go on.

But I guess I should explain the “Nanny State.” Banning and regulation has become the norm in America. It seems weekly there’s some new threat to people and a new law needs to be made to protect people from making a choice to harm themselves. And as people have choice and responsibility taken away from them; the more the government “looks after them;” the more dependant they become. People drop personal responsibility and expect someone or something else to take care of them. The State becomes our protector, a nanny, and we, its impotent infants.

As you can see this is quite contrary to my gut feelings. I don’t endorse Berman, his methods, or his backers (mostly large industries hurt [aka making less profit] by this regulation). But the premise is enticing.

Obviously, the government has some responsibility for the people. To protect them from those things it controls, from each other, from natural disaster, etc. But at some point freedom and government regulation come into conflict. Should government set education standards? Should government regulate pollution? Income? Health? Abortion? Food? Everything? Nothing?
For many an instant yes or no is easily given for these and countless other issues. But I don’t find it so easy. The thing is that an ideal, free, responsible, thoughtful people would control all these issues (presumably for their betterment) with their choices. However, an ideal government could regulate many things in the least restrictive ways and people needn’t give up responsibility by making choices about government. Obviously, neither of these ideals exists. So do we steer a middle course or, with hope, go to one side or the other?

The ideal in my heart tells me to trust freedom and humanity. My reason tells me this is noble but in reality it is a folly. Thus I come to that odd place where liberalism and conservatism cross and cease to exist. Where both are left with a choice of hoping for the future or sticking with the past or present. Roll the dice, or accept the status quo?

Again, you can probably guess my stance. I choose hope and I choose freedom. Not without trepidation. Not without realizing that the costs will be high and the pain great. But I believe the possibility is worth it. And, I guess, truthfully, the only other choice I’d make is hedonism, (feigned) capitulation, and an attempt to not care. The world will continue on its present course without my help so why strain myself? No, I’ll stick with my first choice.

March 2016

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