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Baja Canada del Sur: Comedy and Comment in the Age of Occupation

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Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

found done in needlepoint on Mel's Front Porch: I Pledge Alligence to the Constitution of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it guarantees, One Nation, Undeniable, with Liberty, Truth, and Justice for All.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Shake, Rattle, and Roll -- This Week in History

Along with Tax Day (long considered a Day of Infamy in its own right), this week in April is notable for many anniversaries. Tuesday was the day, one hundred years in our past, that the City by the Bay experienced a catastrophic earthquake, followed by a fire that virtually wiped out the town. My hat's off to the resilience of that town long ago, and its fairly quick rebuilding in that long ago time.

And the news is not all bad...this Friday is the kickoff of Fiesta San Antonio, a ten-day city wide bacchanal celebrating the Battle of San Jancinto -- an event in the Texas calendar only slightly less important than the first sighting of bluebonnets. It's the acknowledged date when the Republic of Texas was born. I lived in San Antone for six years, and during Fiesta, if you show up for work WITHOUT a hangover people inquire about your health. It ain't quite Mardi, but finding eggshell and confetti in unexpected places, on your person or otherwise, is not odd.

Mid-April has brought many things; the first American auto in 1892, and the introduction of the Mustang in 1964 (suggested price $2368 - that makes me tear up). Shirley Temple debuted in 1934, and eleven years later Hitler died by his own hand. Another ten years brings us to the death of Einstein, probably already dismayed at the steady perversion of science in the service of war. Then there's Columbine, which is evidence of nothing except there's some kids who have no hope. I remember being a nerd myself, chronically picked on. Then I started to smoke pot from time to time. It taught me to be mildly irritated at people who wanted to harsh my real. Sorry, but I can't report it made me quit paying attention.

This is also the anniversary week of the Bay of Pigs adventure. Speaking of other miscalculations, the end of that one, the 19th, is the anniversary of final assault on the Davidians just outside Waco. From the start in February of federal involvement to the fire that gutted the compound, the word STUPID resounds. The locals, maybe not entirely supportive of the religious intentions of Koresh, still to this day ask "why didn't they just arrest him when he came into town?" Probably an attitude that figured into the rationale of one Timothy McVeigh, the fiend who two years later blew up the Federal Building in OK city, murdering 149 adults and 19 children. Unless I am mistaken, an act of terrorism of the highest order.

Isn't it interesting, in the name of national security, that the domestic separatist movement has fallen completely off the radar? Do you believe groups that advocate the overthrow of the American Goverment such as the mini militias and the white supremists have simply ceased to exist? But we should be more worried about the Mexicans, and our southern border. My mom down in Arkansas, who is so unpolitical it hurts, mentioned lately to me she hadn't noticed any Mexicans flying planes into buildings. Then was tickled to tell me what a good job the Latino crew did two years ago reshingling the family home. She says she has yet to have a leak (and this is a house with a 50 history of being a sieve). Mom was just sorry she didn't have more than the Sesame Street Spanish she learned with her kids to be able to say gracias to the crew.

At least Mom's feelings are FOR people who want to work. The arguments so far are the alarmists who think we need to build a Berlin style wall (there are those who think, go ahead. And exactly who, in that area, is going to be supplying the labor? it is ha ha to laugh). The only thing that is wrong with the labor supplied by illegal immigrants is the fact they are being taken advantage of. It is not morally wrong to want to work. Having lived in Texas, which has always been ground zero of immigrant labor, these folks aren't ALIEN. They are just relatives. Sometimes of people who are here, sometimes of just people back home. And they are not taking jobs from Americans; the sucking sound you hear of jobs going away are the white collar jobs being outsourced to Asia, India, and Ireland. Myself, I'm considering working on my brougue!

Monday also brought us the first declaration of intent for President 2008. A real outside horse, Mike Gravel. His motto is "Let the People Decide", and among other things, he advocates complete withdrawal from Iraq, immediate measures to diminish the national debt, and progressive actions to take the money out of politics. He observes quite correctly that until the people have a direct means of forcing federal policy, none of these things will happen...so like a madman, he proposes an amendment to the Constitution allowing a FEDERAL Voter Iniative.

What a weird idea! It's something that would put the power of the government for the people, by the people, and of the people into the filthy, hardworking hands OF the people. Us. We would be able to propose.

DC is terrified of this idea...which in itself is weird, but predictable. Many in DC are irritated by Hollywood (not enough to quit venerating Reagan, the first arguably braindead leader of the free world), but I ask you. The People are going to do what they are going to do. Hollywood exists to entertain and reflect. Washington, DC is an anomaly in our entire body politic. Why in the world do we keep letting politicians who are supposed to represent us slide back in every election, to turn around and do things that actively hurt us?

I got some "Gravel in my Craw"; Mike announced his intention to run on Monday...the same week, in 1775, Paul Revere got on his horse, and gave the real Minutemen the heads up.

Like Patrick Henry, "Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death";
and quit harshing my real!

*m

3 Comments:

Blogger Robert Carmichael said...

Mike Gravel and The National Initiative for Democracy

First of all I would like to say that I support the basic ideas behind the National Initiative for Democracy, and many of the other ideas that Senator Mike Gravel is championing I especially like the ideas of internet voting and national voter registration.

Having said that, I must say that running for President is probably an unnessessary step to getting national attention for these ideas. Senator Mike Gravel has only been a candidate for President for a few days, and already he is embroiled in a scandal because he attended a meeting in 2003 that included holocaust deniers. Internet voting and national voter registration are now on the back burner while he discusses Middle East politics and whether or not he is anti-semetic.

The approach that Senator Mike Gravel is taking to achieve the goals of his National Initiative for Democracy also seem strangely rigid and partisan. Are we really ready for a nationwide vote on a law that will cast in stone this new form of democracy? The internet is evolving very rapidly.

Rigid

Shouldn't we experiment with some prototypes to see how well this type of system will work, before we make it the law of the land? My personal view is that it does not need legal standing to be effective. When the prototype system has evolved into a well understood voting system that has worked over a period of years, most voters would then be more than willing to support making it the law of the land. The system Senator Mike Gravel and The National Initiative for Democracy are advocating reminds me of the California Ballot Initiative system, an old fashioned hard to use system that does not help voters understand what they are voting on. I personally have voted several times for initiatives using this system without really understanding what I was voting for.

Partisan

Some of the provisions of The National Initiative for Democracy sound like Vietnam era utopian pipe dreams. I think we should start with the premise that the present system works. We eventually reach the right answers with our present system of government, but the present process just takes too long. Making big changes to the system at the same time as we move to the internet seems risky. The section below of the Democracy Amendment would completely change our present system.

Section 6. Only natural persons who are citizens of the United States may contribute funds, services or property in support of or in opposition to a legislative initiative created under the authority of this Article. Contributions from corporations including, but not limited to, such incorporated entities as industry groups, labor unions, political parties, political action committees, organized religions and associations, are specifically prohibited. Such entities are also prohibited from coercing or inducing employees, clients, customers, members, or any other associated persons to support or oppose an initiative created under the authority of this Article.

Trying to understand the long term effects of such sweeping changes, would be difficult if not impossible. Why make so many changes? And why make the changes into Federal law?

Bob Carmichael
http://directvote.blogspot.com/

12:32 PM  
Blogger meldonna said...

Robert,

Thanks for taking the time to comment; I'd like to respectfully address some of your concerns.

I notice that you seem especially focused on the concepts of National Iniative and internet voting. I too find these ideas intriguing, but I also find many other aspects of Senator Gravel's platform and political history not only equally admirable, but actually inspiring. His stalwart environmental record, as well as his gutsy stand re: the Pentagon Papers are but two of the reasons I think the man would make an excellent, if somewhat unlikely, leader of our country.

I'm not surprised by the flap about his supposed anti-Semitism, a label misused many times these days, especially against those of us who some find less than adequately pro-Israel. Oddly enough, in Israel itself, there are many who oppose their own government's actions, as you would expect in any healthy democracy. Bring that up in a discussion in this country and you are likely to be instructed on the concept of "self-hatred", something I find disgustingly condecending in this context. Senator Gravel is clearly an underdog candidate, and I highly doubt that "anti-Semite" will be the last slur hurled by those who for whatever reason prefer the status quo to a new direction for a country sadly and self-distructingly off-course.

I also find Senator Gravel to be decidedly non-partisan, especially in view of Section 6, to wit: removing money from the federal legislative process. This would effectively eliminate the current K Street perversion of Congress, and give the elected representives incentive to represent the *people* of the United States, not the corporate entities and PACs favored by the right, nor unions and PACs favored by the left. In other words, incentive to do the job that the people hired them to do. At the risk of sounding like a starry-eyed later-day hippy, who still believes in the concepts of liberty and justice for all, I myself cannot describe a system completely awash in monetary slush and corporate cronyism, where only them that has, gets, as working.

Indeed, that is the attraction of the National Iniative -- the Constitutional imperitive of government of, by, and for the People. That California's iniative process may be outdated and in need of reform is a problem of California's responsibliity, not a reason to throw this baby out with the bathwater. If we need prototypes of ballot iniatives, we might do better to look at examples of such across the nation, in many locales. By and large, this is a system that I believe does work. I would say that sweeping changes are indeed in order, in light of those made by the predominately Republican Congress and Administration in such a few short years. Perhaps I am somewhat starry-eyed, but I'll take "we have nothing to fear but fear itself" over "staying the present course" any day.

We need progressive change, and balance brought back to this country so dear to me. That's why I like Mike.

With warm regards,
*mel

5:00 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

great post and great response....you said it like it needed to be said....thank you

1:57 AM  

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