Category Archives: government

SC and Video “Games” Shame on You!

OK. I have a burning question. How much longer before the venerable Supreme Court in our land strikes down the laws banning the sale of alcohol and tobacco to our underage children?

It seems that there is no reason to have these laws on the books any more. They only poison the lungs and the livers of their users. It is obvious we have no care about the poisoning of the  minds of our young anymore so why care about the bodies?

I’m very concerned about the recent ruling of the Supreme Court on striking down the California  ban on violent video games being sold to children.

The ban was lifted under the guise of “Free Speech” .

According to one definition from Wikipedia

“Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely without censorship. The synonymous term freedom of expression is sometimes used to indicate not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on “hate speech“.”

I contend that delaying the time that a child can be exposed to such horrendous violence is not censorship of free speech. It’s the promotion of common sense.

As much as I dislike some of the things being said today, I support the right of anyone to say anything at anytime without being censored. I don’t have to listen. I can walk away or change channels. But I am an adult. I am not an impressionable child. Children must be protected until old enough to think for themselves.

I was in college in the 1960s when I first was introduced to the topic of children and violence. At that time it was noted that children (preschoolers) who watched cartoons portraying violence were themselves more violent when allowed to play with the boxing clown toy.

We are so far beyond the violence of the Road Runner and the Coyote anymore. We are at the point where the children can control the violence being perpetrated on their victims. How much longer before the video gamers introduce snuff actions into their games like the underground snuff films being sold?  The kids aren’t allowed into theaters but the games are allowed to be brought right into their homes!

The military uses violent simulation games in preparing their soldiers to become killers. They call that “training”. My question: What are we training our children to do when they play the same types of games and worse in the guise of “entertainment”?

We can have the support of the law to help keep alcohol and tobacco out of teenager’s hands but we can’t have their support to keep violence out of their minds.  SHAME on you, SC! The video gaming industry is making more and more “games” intentionally targeted for children yet you ignore that and let their money from their aggressive, influential lobbyists influence your decisions.

One argument is that it is up to the lazy parents to get up off their butts and monitor their children. With parents needing to be out of the house working to support the children, there are too many hours when they can’t be there. There are times when the older children play these games right in front of younger brothers and sisters. All while the parent cannot be in the home.

There is the argument that children can’t buy these games without their parents providing transportation for them to the store. Evidently those arguers have never heard of malls  where dozens of stores await the money of their children. They’ve never seen the children on public transportation.

Yes, parents buy children the equipment for playing the games. That does not mean they intend to expose their children to such violence as found in these games. Teenagers have many ways to earn their own money for such things. They swap games back and forth among friends. One parent may prohibit such games but that doesn’t stop the child from playing it at a friend’s house.

One Supreme Court justice defended peddling violence to kids by stating that there has always been violence in the lives of children. He then cited the Grimm Brother’s story of Snow White. Come on, now! He sees no difference between Snow White and modern day video games? To me that’s like comparing vinegar to hydrochloric acid. Both can do damage but the hydrochloric acid does it much more rapidly!

To me this law reversal is one more in the path the Supreme Court is following. I strongly feel they are allowing the huge corporations to control their decisions. These are dangerous times. I cry for the children and all the others whose rights are being ignored in the interest of big money!

Namaste. Attic Annie

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Filed under Casual conversation, child abuse, childhood, diary, family, general topics, government, life, politics

Should We Be Rejoicing the Death of Bin Laden?

There is no shortage of blogs, newspaper articles, radio or television programming about Osama Bin Laden today. I am certain my one little blog will be totally ignored but I feel compelled to write about him anyway.

I was slightly turned off with all the shouts of joy, the dancing, and the flag wearing of people all over the United States and probably much of the world. People gathered and showed their ecstasy at the news that Bin Ladin was dead.

It bothered me that I could not muster the same joyful response as so many people were showing. It reminded me of the frenzy which occurs with the playing of the Super Bowl. I was troubled by thinking maybe there is something wrong with me when his death has made so many people happy. Why can’t I feel happy too?

Before leaving my house this morning, I checked the messages on Facebook and discovered ONE message from a former student of mine who echoed my sentiments. I really felt a connection to her.

This is what she posted this morning:

The only death in this world I am comfortable celebrating is the death of Jesus; while I support my country &, especially our troops, it’s still tragic that it ever had to come to the point that Americans would so gleefully celebrate the death of another human being.

Upon reading that, I responded, “Well put. I do not sense any joy in my heart over this. I fear Bin Ladin’s work is not over. Revenge and vengeance are double edged swords”.

When I got home and logged on, she had added a Bible verse. Maybe I’m not so wrong in not feeling any sense of jubilation.

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice” Proverbs 24:17

She is quite the Biblical scholar. I would never have been able to find a quote from the Bible but she had memorized much more than I will ever take the time to do.

One song in the Wizard of Oz that has troubled me since I first saw the movie on TV many years ago was the one sung by the Munchkins, “Ding dong the witch is dead.” Is the celebrating of the death of someone what we should be teaching our children? Even though the story is fiction, the lesson that children learn from that is not one I would prefer they learn.

However, in doing some research before I started to write this, I discovered that our pleasure at seeing someone else punished may be hard wired into our brains. I had difficulty in believing what I was reading in the article called “Revenge is Sweet.” There is a German word, “schadenfreude” which is the pleasure felt over someone else’s misfortune. This is the second time this month I have run into that word. I do not understand how people can find it pleasurable or funny seeing someone else get hurt. (America’s Funniest Home Videos comes to mind.) The article actually states that “Fehr and his colleagues suggest that the feeling of satisfaction people get from meting out altruistic punishment may be the glue that keeps societies together”. I guess that means the more we find pleasure in punishment, the tighter our society will be.  I cannot wrap my mind around the phrase “altruistic” punishment, since altruistic means unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness.

There is also the English proverb quote ,“Vengeance is a dish best eaten cold” According to a Wikipedia article, the proverb suggests that revenge is more satisfying as a considered response enacted when unexpected, or long feared, inverting the more traditional revulsion toward ‘cold-blooded’ violence. In early literature it is used, usually, to persuade another to forestall vengeance until wisdom can reassert itself. This sense is lost in recent presentations.

I was always brought up thinking it was not right to seek revenge. Vengeance was not supposed to be taken in our own hands. Some people interviewed today expressed concern that Bin Ladin’s followers will try to seek revenge for his death. To revenge the revenge that we felt. Enter karma and the never ending cycle of retaliation. That was my first thought also, a feeling of “Uh oh. Here we go.”

Because I always seem to have to know the verses which come before and after those that are quoted, I googled Proverbs 24:18. or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him.  The parallel commentary then added, “The meaning is “Thy joy will be suicidal, the wrath of the righteous Judge will be turned upon thee, as the greater offender, and thou wilt have to bear a worse evil than that which thou exultest in.”

I fear we may be entering into the second phase of the conflict with Bin Ladin and his followers. I never fully understood the motive of Bin Ladin when he attacked. It seems it was because the USA and Israel are allies.

 In 1998 Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, (a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad), co-signed a fatwa (binding religious edict) in the name of the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, declaring:

[t]he ruling to kill the Americans and their allies civilians and military – is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Makka) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty Allah, ‘and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,’ and ‘fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah’.[37][38] 

It also seems to be because Manhattan has a very large Jewish population and is also our nation’s financial center. He wanted to hurt the USA as much as possible because he hated this country.

As a result, today he is dead. But is it over? I honestly don’t believe so. The Golden Rule is nowhere in this picture. I am uneasy about the future. I pray my thoughts are without merit and this will be the end.

Namaste. Attic Annie

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Filed under Casual conversation, diary, general topics, God, government, life, politics, relationships

Congressional term limits? I hope so!

I have never been much of a political person. Perhaps that stems from my childhood when I felt much the outsider during most of my school life. I figured that those who wanted power could pretty much fight for it among themselves. As long as I was not physically or mentally affected by their antics, I let them go for it.

I am beginning, if certain Congress persons get their way, to feet mentally affected by proposed cuts just when I am eligible to receive them. Not that I am greedy. I, like millions of others, are no longer living on a “fixed” income. I am now living on a “diminishing” income. There are some days when stress raises its ugly head. What affects me mentally eventually affects me physically.

In my humble opinion:

People need to lead for a while and then step down. Organizations need fresh blood. I don’t see much difference between a local group and a national group. I no longer believe our leaders should serve as long as they are elected. There, to my thinking, is too much buying of elections by people (individuals and corporations) who want payback when their candidate reaches Congress. I feel that much of what is wrong with America today could be partially fixed by term limits.

I received an email today. I’ve seen it several times before. It concerns term limits for our national leaders. Although I consider myself apolitical, I must agree with most of what is said. I have forwarded this email many times but nothing seems to be done with it. It is time for people to step up and demand that a vote be taken on these ideas as a Constitutional Amendment. What do you think? Do you agree?

I decided to fact  check and eliminated those statements which were false.

“The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3

months & 8 days to be ratified!  Why?  Simple!  The people demanded it.

That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to

become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

I’m asking you to forward this email ( refer this blog) to a minimum of twenty people on your address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the

message.  This is one idea that really should be passed around.*

It has been passed around for years. I wish something was now done about it.

*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*

*1. Term Limits.*

      *12 years only, one of the possible options below.*

       *  A. Two Six-year Senate terms* 

        *  B. Six Two-year House terms*

         *  C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms* I prefer this option the best. I think six years is enough. 

*2.  No Tenure / No Pension. *

        *Congresspersons collect a salary while in office and receives no pay when

         they are out of office.*

*3. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise.  Congressional pay

will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.*

*4. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the

       same health care system as the American people.*

This is misleading. However, I found this quote interesting. “On average, the government pays 72 percent of the premiums for its workers, up to a maximum of 75 percent depending on the policy chosen. For example, the popular Blue Cross and Blue Shield standard fee-for-service family plan carries a total premium of $1,120.47 per month, of which the beneficiary pays $356.59. Washington, D.C.-based employees who prefer an HMO option might choose the Kaiser standard family plan. It carries a total premium of $629.46 per month, of which the employee pays only $157.36.”

They pay Blue Cross $70.00 more per month for a family of four than I pay for only myself. For the HMO, I pay more than $100.00 more.

*5. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American

people.*

I learned something new today. The e-mail I received complains that Congress shouldn’t be an “elite that is above the law.” But that’s not the way the authors of the Constitution saw it. They worried that presidents might try to bully House or Senate members by threatening to arrest them on trumped-up charges. So to preserve the separation of executive and legislative powers, the founders gave elected lawmakers a certain degree of immunity.

U.S. Constitution

Article I, Section 6  They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

*6. All contracts with past and present Congresspersons are void effective

1/1/11.  *

I am not certain to what contracts this refers but I’m leaving it in anyway. I don’t believe Congress persons should be able to financially benefit from their positions if that is what is happening.

*The American people did not make the current contract with members of

Congress.  Congresspersons made all these contracts for themselves**.*

*Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career.  The Founding Fathers

envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go

home and back to work.** *

*If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take

three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. *

*MUCH OF WHAT WE FACE IN TERMS OF PRIVILEGE AND SELFISHNESS IN THIS COUNTRY  MIGHT BEST BE CHANGED STARTING FROM THE TOP DOWN.** 

 I INVITE YOU TO KEEP IT GOING. WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE –

THANKS!

There you have it. I took out the point about social security since members of Congress do participate in SS, but I doubt there are any persons presently in Congress who will have to rely on any payments from those funds in order to survive, unlike the millions who will suffer if it is eliminated.

I firmly believe in term limits for Congress. I never have understood why the term of office was controlled for the President and not for Congress. It is time lobbyists had less time to corrupt honest citizens (hopefully at one time they are honest) who desire to serve our country just for the sake of serving our country. Perhaps more of them can remain honest if it is only for six years. I surely hope so.

  …deserve to be served by a Congress interested in the good for the people, not themselves, not corporations, not the billionaires trying to buy our country.

 Namaste. Attic Annie

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We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore: Women, where are your voices?

If you see a smily face on this blog, I didn’t put it there and I don’t know how to get rid of it.

There are so many things happening in the US that, if the Republicans have their way, will push American women back to the time right after WW II until the early 1970s…and in many ways back even further than that.

Although I am not a dues paying member, I do get e-mails from Move On Organization which seems to focus on many of the same issues I support. Since I try to keep an open independent mind, I do look at all sides. I’m not seeing much I like these days from the other side.

This is a list that was most recently compiled concerning the Republicans and women. On the surface we hear, “We must balance the budget”, but when one more closely examines the cuts they wish to make, it appears the great majority of cuts directly affect women or children the greatest. I am glad I am not a legislator having to deal with this issue, but I do believe reexamining tax obligations of corporations and the top echelon of US citizens might be a prudent thing to do.I also believe it is time for the Republicans to open their eyes and see the real world of the women who do not live in the top 3% of wives of Republicans. They refuse to think of the millions of women in the US who are below the poverty line, or are struggling because they are not much more above it.

My comments are in Italics.

Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP’s War on Women

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t yet. Shocker.

2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.” Does that include male victims of rape or just female?”

3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.) Let’s kill the “killers”. Makes a lot of sense, uh huh.

4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids. It has taken government intervention to keep the most basic of food on many families’ tables. Don’t we have enough problem with feeding the needy already? How many more babies and children do we want to die in the United States?

5) In Congress, Republicans have a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life. I am so proud of Rep. Jackie Speier who spoke out in the Representative chamber about her traumatic experience concerning having a D & C to save her own life. Am I in favor of abortion? Not if alternatives can be found. Do I believe I have the audacity to tell another woman what she can and cannot do with her own body? Hell no and neither do any of the other Republican gentlemen who want to keep their wives in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant. (Often times with no desire to be a care giving father for their own spawn.)

6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said.Women should really be home with the kids, not out working. It was OK for women to work in huge numbers during WW II but not now when two incomes are needed for a family to survive or their is no second income and she is the sole provider.

7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool. This at the time when we are being flooded by undocumented workers who can’t speak English.

8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens. Let’s just put them all on ice floes like the natives did in times of famine the polar regions.

9) Congress just voted for a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country. Planned Parenthood does so much more for the community than just provide abortions. There was a time early in our marriage after we moved to Texas that my ex would not stop using his credit card and therefore spent all the money except enough for food and utilities before his paycheck ever arrived. I went to Planned Parenthood for financial reasons because they were cheaper than going to a doctor.

10) And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can’t make this stuff up).

Sources:

1. “‘Forcible Rape’ Language Remains In Bill To Restrict Abortion Funding,” The Huffington Post, February 9, 2011  http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206084

“Extreme Abortion Coverage Ban Introduced,” Center for American Progress, January 20, 2011  http://www.moveon.org/r?r=205961

2. “Georgia State Lawmaker Seeks To Redefine Rape Victims As ‘Accusers,'” The Huffington Post, February 4, 2011  http://www.moveon.org/r?r=206007

3. “South Dakota bill would legalize killing abortion doctors,” Salon, February 15, 2011 http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2011/02/15/south_dakota_abortion_killing_bill

4. “House GOP Proposes Cuts to Scores of Sacred Cows,” National Journal, February 9, 2011 http://nationaljournal.com/house-gop-proposes-cuts-to-scores-of-sacred-cows-20110209

5. “New GOP Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Let Women Die Instead Of Having An Abortion,” Talking Points Memo, February 4, 2011 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=205974

6. “Republican Officials Cut Head Start Funding, Saying Women Should be Married and Home with Kids,” Think Progress, February 16, 2011  http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/16/gop-women-kids/

7. “Bye Bye, Big Bird. Hello, E. Coli,” The New Republic, Feburary 12, 2011 http://www.tnr.com/blog/83387/house-republican-spending-cuts-pell-education-usda-pbs

8. “House GOP spending cuts will devastate women, families and economy,” The Hill, February 16, 2011 http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/144585-house-gop-spending-cuts-will-devastate-women-families-and-economy-

9. “House passes measure stripping Planned Parenthood funding,” MSNBC, February 18,2011 http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/18/6080756-house-passes-measure-stripping-planned-parenthood-funding

“GOP Spending Plan: X-ing Out Title X Family Planning Funds,” Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2011  http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/02/09/gop-spending-plan-x-ing-out-title-x-family-planning-funds/

10. Ibid.

“Birth Control for Horses, Not for Women,” Blog for Choice, February 17, 2011 http://www.blogforchoice.com/archives/2011/02/birth-control-f.html

I talked with a very knowledgeable friend Sunday about this all out attack on women. She reminded me of the rise of the feminine that is taking place all over the world. The patriarchs are scared stiff of the power the feminine is gaining and will do all in their powers to take as much power out of the hands of women as they can. It is evidenced in Wisconsin, in Texas, and in the federal government. I do not doubt it is happening in all the other states too.

It is time for women to stand and say enough is enough! It is time to stop denying our spirits and gather together to stop all these attempts to turn the clocks back. Do you agree?

Namaste Attic Annie

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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Listen to Our Side!

In order to be a good teacher, you have to be patient, understanding, “professional” and compassionate. You have to have the best interests of your students at heart. You have to be motivated by more than just money. Chances are more than three out of four of you are women. According to the uproar about Natalie Munroe, you also must at all times keep your mouth shut and your hands off the keyboard.

It is also probably statistically significant (based on thirty years worth of participation in education) that a clearly large majority of teachers are probably Type B personalities. In other words, they try to do their jobs while paying for supplies out of their own pockets. The Type A teachers usually rise to positions in the administration.

“In 2008, the National Education Association released data on male and female teachers. Men accounted for less than 25% of all teachers in United States Public Schools. More men than women stated that salary is a significant factor in them pursuing other, more lucrative careers than teaching.”

“Because research shows that young boys may learn best with male teachers, the educational field has been stepping up efforts to recruit male teachers.”

This is at a time when state and national legislators are trying their hardest to economically attack the field of public education, targeting the economic welfare of their teachers by trying to strip them of their bargaining rights first and then going after their salaries. They are also going after nurses where men made up 5.6% in 2005, and public employees. I was unable to find a ‘net source of the ratio of men to women in that sector, but I understand there are much higher numbers of women than men in the fields that are not upper echelon management.

In other words, I see the men in the United States in the state and federal legislatures directly targeting mainly women in the search to balance the budget and, for another blog, their reproductive rights. I say men because like, in the state of Texas, the legislatures are composed primarily of men. It’s 80-20 in Texas. In the national legislatures the Senate is 83-37, the Representatives are 360-75.

The battle in Texas does not include bargaining rights because Texas is conveniently a “right to work” state. Teachers do not have unions. They have two main educational associations. Since I am retired and have no grandchildren, I am no longer directly involved in the education cuts. However, the state of Texas is not content with stopping with the working teachers. It also has its eyes on the pension funding of the retired teachers and their health care benefits. It’s not enough that they have used every excuse known not to give retired teachers a cost of living adjustment in ten years. Now they want to completely take over the pension fund seeing it as a great cash cow due to its high record of prudent financial management and its steady growth toward reaching the levels that were invested pre-recession.

This battle has been waging in Texas for years. They want their teachers to be self-sacrificing for thirty or more years, then they wish to be penurious when it comes time for the teachers to retire. This at a time when the average salary for Texas teachers is ranked 42 in the U.S. according to 2009 statistics.

Now another state is bursting upon the scene. Wisconsin is actively attacking the three above groups mentioned…nurses, teachers, and public employees. There is a vote at hand to deny these groups any bargaining rights. The main reason isn’t even financial.

This cause is not going to go away. Nurses, educators, public employees who generally generation after generation bend over and take it are saying “I will speak up this time.” The governor says that there are more affected people who are at home because they really support his cause. Don’t bet on it. The people are not there because they are still afraid to speak up. They are still taking it. I hope they get the courage soon. This is too important to try to placate those who think they have more power than American teachers, nurses, and public employees. That means in their own minds, probably everybody. “On, Wisconsin.” Namaste. Attic Annie

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The Ghost of Thanksgiving Yet to Come

Tofu Turkey….Yum?

I usually prefer to write my own blogs, but once in a while I get emails that I feel I really do wish to share. I have no idea who wrote this article, so at present I am unable to give any credit.

The older I get, the more I seem to be leaning politically towards being a progressive liberal in my thinking. I still consider myself a die hard independent but the more I see the injustice in the world, the more I think about wanting to see it rectified. My attitude began changing more quickly a year ago when I began volunteering at the county hospital. The stories some of the patients have shared with me are truly heartbreaking and scary. They are scary to me because “There but by the grace of God go I.” I often reflect on the path I’ve taken in life and how often I know that things could be different now. But I digress.

The following is a tale of the traditional November holiday some time in the future perhaps ten plus years from now. I tend to feel if “the people” won’t behave decently and considerately by themselves, the government should step in. Perhaps I need to re-examine how wise that attitude may be. Perhaps as imperfectly as Americans act, they should continue without big brother stepping in. It may be the lesser of two evils.

How much control should we really relinquish? This article gave me something to think about. Are Norman Rockwell’s “Thanksgiving” portrayals really a part of days gone by? Namaste. Attic Annie

The Ghost of Thanksgiving Yet to Come

“Winston, come into the dining room, it’s time to eat,” Julia yelled to her husband. “In a minute, honey, it’s a tie score,” he answered.  Actually Winston wasn’t very interested in the traditional holiday football game between  Detroit  and  Washington  .  Ever since the government passed the Civility in Sports Statute of 2017, outlawing tackle football for its “unseemly violence” and the “bad example it sets for the rest of the world,” Winston was far less of a football fan than he used to be.  Two-hand touch wasn’t nearly as exciting.
Yet it wasn’t the game that Winston was uninterested in.  It was more the thought of eating another Tofu Turkey.  Even though it was the best type of Veggie Meat available after the government revised the American Anti-Obesity Act of 2018, adding fowl to the list of federally-forbidden foods, (which already included potatoes, cranberry sauce and mince-meat pie), it wasn’t anything like real turkey.  And ever since the government officially changed the name of “Thanksgiving Day” to “A National Day of Atonement” in 2020 to officially acknowledge the Pilgrims’ historically brutal treatment of Native Americans, the holiday had lost a lot of its luster.
Eating in the dining room was also a bit daunting.  The unearthly gleam of government-mandated fluorescent light bulbs made the Tofu Turkey look even weirder than it actually was, and the room was always cold.  Ever since Congress passed the Power Conservation Act of 2016, mandating all thermostats-which were monitored and controlled by the electric company-be kept at 68 degrees, every room on the north side of the house was barely tolerable throughout the entire winter.
Still, it was good getting together with family.  Or at least most of the family.  Winston missed his mother, who passed on in October, when she had used up her legal allotment of live-saving medical treatment.  He had had many heated conversations with the Regional Health Consortium, spawned when the private insurance market finally went bankrupt, and everyone was forced into the government health care program.  And though he demanded she be kept on her treatment, it was a futile effort.  “The RHC’s resources are limited,” explained the government bureaucrat Winston spoke with on the phone. “Your mother received all the benefits to which she was entitled.  I’m sorry for your loss.”
Ed couldn’t make it either.  He had forgotten to plug in his electric car last night, the only kind available after the Anti-Fossil Fuel Bill of 2021 outlawed the use of the combustion engines-for everyone but government officials.  The fifty mile round trip was about ten miles too far, and Ed didn’t want to spend a frosty night on the road somewhere between here and there.
Thankfully, Winston’s brother, John, and his wife were flying in.  Winston made sure that the dining room chairs had extra cushions for the occasion.  No one complained more than John about the pain of sitting down so soon after the government-mandated cavity searches at airports, which severely aggravated his hemorrhoids. Ever since a terrorist successfully smuggled a cavity bomb onto a jetliner, the TSA told Americans the added “inconvenience” was an “absolute necessity” in order to stay “one step ahead of the terrorists.” Winston’s own body had grown accustomed to such probing ever since the government expanded their scope to just about anywhere a crowd gathered, via Anti-Profiling Act of 2022.  That law made it a crime to single out any group or individual for “unequal scrutiny,” even when probable cause was involved.  Thus, cavity searches at malls, train stations, bus depots, etc., etc., had become almost routine.  Almost.
The Supreme Court is reviewing the statute, but most Americans expect a Court composed of six progressives and three conservatives to leave the law intact.  “A living Constitution is extremely flexible,” said the Court’s eldest member, Elena Kagan.  ” Europe has had laws like this one for years.  We should learn from their example,” she added.
Winston’s thoughts turned to his own children.  He got along fairly well with his 12-year-old daughter, Brittany, mostly because she ignored him.  Winston had long ago surrendered to the idea that she could text anyone at any time, even during Atonement Dinner.  Their only real confrontation had occurred when he limited her to 50,000 texts a month, explaining that was all he could afford. She whined for a week, but got over it.

His 16-year-old son, Jason, was another matter altogether.  Perhaps it was the constant bombarding he got in public school that global warming, the bird flu, terrorism or any of a number of other calamities were “just around the corner,” but Jason had developed a kind of nihilistic attitude that ranged between simmering surliness and outright hostility.  It didn’t help that Jason had reported his father to the police for smoking a cigarette in the house, an act made criminal by the Smoking Control Statute of 2018, which outlawed smoking anywhere within 500 feet of another human being.  Winston paid the $5000 fine, which might have been considered excessive before the American dollar became virtually worthless as a result of QE13.  The latest round of quantitative easing the federal government initiated was, once again, to “spur economic growth.”  This time they promised to push unemployment below its years-long rate of 18%, but Winston was not particularly hopeful.

Yet the family had a lot for which to be thankful, Winston thought, before remembering it was a Day of Atonement.  At least he had his memories.  He felt a twinge of sadness when he realized his children would never know what life was like in the Good Old Days, long before government promises to make life “fair for everyone” realized their full potential.  Winston, like so many of his fellow Americans, never realized how much things could change when they didn’t happen all at once, but little by little, so people could get used to them.

He wondered what might have happened if the public had stood up while there was still time, maybe back around 2011, when all the real nonsense began.  “Maybe we wouldn’t be where we are today if we’d just said ‘enough is enough’ when we had the chance,” he thought.

Maybe so, Winston.  Maybe so.




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Mr. or Ms. Smith You are Needed in Washington

It’s Sunday evening and I’ve just finished watching one of my favorite movies of all times, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” starring Jimmy Stewart and Jean Arthur. It was produced in 1939 and won nominations for eleven academy awards. Unfortunately, it was released the same year as “Gone with the Wind” which of course blew away every other movie produced that year when it came time to hand out the trophies.

I love that movie because, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, there is a part of me which continues to want to believe that there are men and women in our country who are still willing to stand up for the truth. There is a part of me who desires to be Pollyanna in a world of Lady Gagas, Lindsey Lohans, and Paris Hiltons who thrive on reflecting what has become the worst of us in our society. I would name government officials but the real people who are running our government are most often content to keep their names out of the news. They prefer a “shadow government.”

Perhaps you have never taken the opportunity to watch Mr. Smith. Jimmy Stewart is selected to fill out the remainder of a term left vacant when  a senator dies in office. He is the head of a group called the Boy Rangers. He believes all the stuff school children are taught about doing what is right and honest. When he gets to Washington, he soon learns about a powerful corrupt man, Taylor, who, with his political machine, controls the entire state.

Mr. Smith learns about the corruption and graft taking place. He begins a filibuster in the senate to give time for people back home to learn about a Taylor land deal. Of course since Taylor owns most of the papers in the state and controls the radio stations, Mr. Smith’s voice is never heard. Instead, he is smeared and branded as a corrupt man himself.

Corruption in government of course is not new. There is evidence of abuse of power as far back as written records can take us. Government seems to bring out the worst in those who are elected to serve. “Compromise” can take the leaders down roads they never intended to travel. The love of power is a terrible temptress when it comes to those who wish to rule.

Our government, in my humble opinion (IMHO), has not changed a whole lot since 1939. Backroom deals are still alive and well. If you’ve been alive the past several years, you already are aware of that. Our government is not run by Congress. It is run by special interests with deep pockets who pay lobbyists to remind the Congressional members who actually owns them. I know that…in spite of all the stuff I was taught, and ended up teaching myself, about truth, justice, and the American way. The longer I live, the more I learn about the American way, and it is something which deeply troubles me. It’s hard to be Pollyanna the more I learn.

It takes courage to stand up against corruption in any of its forms. In the movie the only thing that happens to Mr. Smith is that he gets laryngitis from talking for over twenty-three hours during a filibuster and faints from fatigue. Today in the senate someone in the gallery would probably smuggle in a plastic gun somehow and shoot him. The whole world would then blame the terrorists and we would have another excuse for yet another war.

I don’t know if there is a larger percentage of corrupt people now than there was in 1939. It seems to me that there is. I fear we would need more than one Mr. Smith in our Congress to turn that government entity around. I can only pray that there are people who are running for government offices next month who are naive enough to think it can be done. And then have the courage and strength to do it.

Americans are rising up to say that we want change. I hope that means a change to more responsible, honest leadership, but that would be very Pollyannaish of me. There is a line in the Pollyanna book that I like. “When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will.”

I try not to look for the bad in anyone. I try to look for the good. That is why I can still hope that there is enough time to wrest our government out of the hands of the corporate CEOs in our land who now appear to have more power than God. Is there any chance that someone in our country who is running for office is a Mr. or Ms. Smith? Is there a chance that when they go to Washington to the national government, or the state government, or the local government that somehow they can honestly make a difference? I can only pray. Care to pray with me?

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