Monday, December 20, 2010

On the subject of lawlessness...a letter to my pastor.

I know that Romans 13 commands us to obey the "lawful authorities".

This is where the trouble begins for me. Throughout the bible, I see passages showing me that God wants us to live free. I’ve always been what many would refer to as an “anarchist”, I guess, being the type of person who refuses to serve a master as a matter of force. All service to God is a performance of my own volition, as are my adherence to his commandments to the best of my abilities.

Likewise, so is my adherence to the laws of man, whenever possible. I’ve long-since believed that the greatest gift man was ever given by God in a post-Adam & Eve world was not salvation, but the knowledge to understand what is required for our salvation and the ability to freely accept it.

Is this not the only path to salvation as believed by the Christian? It is not through good works, or by birthright, that we obtain salvation, but by our willingness to accept Christ as our savior and allow him into our lives.

Now, getting back to what I was saying about lawlessness, I remember sitting in your garage one evening a while back when the question of self-defense was brought up…and your answer involved your own personal departure from the defenseless pacifist upbringing to your current belief of self-defense. While the discussion involved a robber in the middle of the night, I ask if it matters any at all if it is one man or a uniformed gang of several thousand men perpetrating the robbery? Does it matter if the robbery occurred inside your home in the middle of the night, or on a public street in broad daylight in front of anyone who might be passing by?

Does a government’s power over everyone within a given jurisdiction not exist solely upon the basis of force (or the threat of it)? For example, let’s take taxation, since a government cannot exist without funds. Assume, for instance, that a person has a conscientious objection to paying taxes, because that tax money will be used to fund things said person disagrees with (i.e. war, abortion, illicit drug interdiction, public schools, et cetera).

Now, assume that this person decides to not pay taxes, because he doesn’t want to pay for one man to kill another, be it in the form of abortion, war, capital punishment, or any other form. What happens when he doesn’t pay? He is threatened with prison. If he does not choose to pay taxes OR go to prison and actively refuses, he is met with government force in the form of IRS agents carrying firearms. Should he defend himself from kidnapping, they will shoot him.

I cannot see much difference between this and an armed robber that breaks into the home in the middle of the night to steal your television so it can be pawned for crack money.

Throughout the bible, we read stories of men who stood on their faith in God while doing what is right, even though it went in opposition to the law. One of my personal favorite passages is that of Daniel 6, and reading it has brought me strength in God’s word many a time while waiting to see a judge after standing my ground in what I’ve known to be right.

Even in the NT, we read of how fallible men and their regulations are to be shunned, in favor of our understanding of the law of God…and yet, we are also told to give Caeser what is his, even though it pays for things that bring anger to God. We are told to obey our worldly masters (in our case, everyone from the lowest city cop, all the way up to the President of the United States), because they are ordained by God according to the book of Romans.

I’ve never studied Greek, but something I found rather odd about the ancient Romans was their use of the word “licentia”. It has several translations into the English language, with the two standing out most vividly to me were “anarchy” and “freedom”. When I think about it, I cannot see any true freedom in the presence of any law that infringes upon it, when such laws can only be sustained by force or threat of force. Much of the book of Galations is devoted specifically to the concept of freedom, with verse 5:1 specifically stating “For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

The “direct” law of God, this master I choose to serve, is rather explicit with his law. It’s when we get into the laws of the middleman known as “government” that I get a bit confused.

On one hand, we are told to obey these worldly masters. On the other hand, we know that the dictates of these masters directly contradict the commandments of God on a very frequent basis…and obviously, we should obey the laws of God before the laws of man when they don’t reconcile. With that being said, how are we to determine when and where to stand our ground?

Imagine if the will of the state had been resisted in Germany, circa 1933. There would have been about six million Jews that hadn’t been slaughtered, in addition to the countless millions of others who lost their lives as a result of Hitler’s rise to power…and yet, all the law said was that the German government had the right to rule as it willed. More importantly, the Enabling Acts were passed via lawful means, through a lawfully-elected government. However, they were used to provide for the wholesale slaughter of God’s “chosen”…in addition to a whole host of other crimes against God. At what point do we cease to view tyranny as an ordained mechanism of God, and begin to view it as a violation of the laws of God?

If Christ tells us to “sell our cloak and buy one” in reference to owning a sword (the ancient equivalent of owning a decent firearm), what is the purpose if we are not supposed to resist unjust laws because the laws were put into place by those elected via majority vote? Would it not serve a better purpose to oppose such laws through non-violent means, and to do so prior to the point where we have no other means at all? If so, how are we to oppose such laws once they get past the “debate” stage on the congressional floor and are made into actual laws, if we are to submit to our duly elected leaders?

I’m having a difficult time understanding what I currently view as a contradiction in teaching within the bible (definitely wouldn’t be the first time!). If the bible tells me “Thou Shall Not Steal”, am I any less of a bank robber if I don’t actually go into the bank but I do knowingly drive the getaway car? What are we to do when obeying an unjust law does not directly violate the law of God, but we also know that obeying such a law enables our government to violate the law of God?

At what point do we take a stand, and say, “NO! I will not obey this law!”?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just another shitty day in paradise...

So, the purpose of tonight's post isn't anything really meaningful. It's more of venting. In less than an hour, it will be my brother's birthday. Were he with us, he would be turning 36 tonight.

Today generally sucked donkey balls. I miss my girlfriend. I had a very disappointed customer that I'm sure to be dealing with tomorrow. To top it off, I had to ask my boss if she needed a flashlight...because the view from up my ass (where her head was at for the last four hours of my workday) had to have been pretty dark.

Then I get home, and a friend sends me a link about how "The Reverend" Al Sharpton is calling for Rush Limbaugh to be hauled before a congressional committee to explain his "racism" comments. Apparently, I'm supposed to be up in arms about this bullshit 1st Amendment soap opera between two talking heads that still play the "left v. right" game, as if it matters.

In the grand scheme of things, it's nothing more than an idle threat at this point.

My boss can't continue one of our most in-demand services, because she built a new shop on her own property instead of continuing to rent one less than two miles down the road...and because of "environmental regulations", her new shop isn't grandfathered like the shop she was renting. That's several thousand dollars a month we AREN'T making.

A customer of mine recently told me of how "city regulations" required him to spend almost twenty thousand dollars to stucco the front of a commercial building he owns, simply because he decided to lease part of it to another business...and it's no longer grandfathered.

A few months ago, the city council of the town I live in banned a particular species of mint plant that my ancestors have used for centuries to combat all manner of ailments from constipation to depression...because of the fact that if you eat or smoke enough of it, you just might get high (if, of course, you're in a very controlled environment without any lights or loud noises to distract you!). If you do grow this plant, which used to be available for purchase in the Lawn & Garden section of the local Wal-Mart, you're now subject to a $2,000 fine.

I can't park my privately-owned car in a privately-owned driveway without being threatened by the government to have it stolen (at my expense, no less!) because it doesn't have a current registration sticker...even though it hasn't been driven on the street in over a decade.

When I see the raccoons in my back yard (the same ones that have invaded the attic and ripped apart our phone lines and the electrical going to our central AC and heat), it's illegal to shoot them in a safe and responsible manner, because it's a violation of city code...even though they're potentially also carrying rabies and all manner of other diseases, as well.

Every other traffic light I drive through is equipped with a "red light camera" put there by a company in another state, which has whenever possible shortened the yellow light period to the minimum allowed by law in order to collect the most revenue...and our local governments don't even try to pull the bullshit about how it's "for safety" any more. Now they play the "it's against the law, you'll pay up if you get caught" role.

I can't open the local paper without reading about how someone, somewhere, is involved in some form of public graft, corruption, or criminality as a matter of their employment...whether it's from a police chief stealing paperwork from a reporter in a city council meeting, to the Water Board playing illegal politics, to the officers being on the clock while not on the job, shit is getting fucked up.

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to give a damn about the fact that Limbaugh and Sharpton are having a collectively bad hair day? Those leeches feed off of each other. If it weren't for the fact that they need each other as "enemies" to sell books, they wouldn't even know who the other was. The federal government called my grandmother a criminal because she smoked pot while she was dying of cancer. I'm supposed to care that a fat white republican with no hair called a fat black democrat with bad hair a "racist"? I'm supposed to give a damn about the fact that said fat black democrat with bad hair wants to drag said fat republican with no hair before a congressional hearing?

I'm sorry, but my give-a-shit reservoir is running dry this evening. Happy birthday, Brandon Laurn Raines. In a way, I'm glad you're not here to see it...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

If you're going to tell me "You're wrong!"...

So a few days ago, I got into this discussion about something, and was accused of A) being wrong, B) being "combative", and C) being "dense".

The issue I take with this is the fact that I make it a point to not hold strong opinions (more typically, I don't hold any opinion at all) about things I haven't thoroughly researched or personally experienced. I mean, I'm not the kind of person that would argue the value of Tibetan philosophy, or who really killed JFK. Not only do I not give a rat's ass, but I also don't know enough about such subjects to form a valid opinion.

However, when I do voice an opinion, it is most often grounded in actual observable fact. I'm not going to sit there and argue with you, if I can't point out very simply the exact logical method of how I came to hold such an opinion. Therefore, I'd appreciate it if you would be prepared to show me exactly where I've gone wrong...and to back yourself up with facts. In the meantime, the following guidelines might come in handy for you:

1) Don't try to use written legislation to show me anything other than what written legislation happens to be. Seriously. Don't try to equate "it's illegal" to "it's morally wrong". You're getting into the realm of Malum Prohibitum v. Malum In Se, and confusing the two shows a gross degree of ignorance on the subject of right and wrong.

2) Don't use the "straw man". Stick to the conversation at hand. Don't go throwing random extraneous stuff into the mix when it has no relation to the issue at hand.

3) When I ask you a question, just answer it...even if you know it will prove my point. Don't change the subject, don't call names, just answer the question. If your position is righteous, you should be able to.

So there you have it. Three simple rules for arguing with me. If you are going to tell me I'm wrong when I say something, have the common decency to back yourself. Otherwise, please continue with your delusions, and leave mine to me. Thank you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rip that mother out!

I just saw an article in USAToday, where Mr. Pistole (chief of the TSA) said his agency's newest focus will be on trains and subways.

Honestly, I hope so.

No, I don't enjoy authority for authority's sake, which is what the TSA is and has always been. However, until the collective anger of this nation reaches critical mass, they'll be there. I've been saying for quite some time that the government of this nation is like an ingrown toenail, and our nation won't heal until we bite the bullet and rip that mother out. Having suffered through a few actual ingrown toenails in my younger days, I know that it hurts so bad to rip them out that a man will generally let it fester until the pain can no longer be tolerated before getting out the pliers and going to work.

We're going to see that in America, and we're going to see it soon. It's not because of a "few nutjobs", it's going to simply because John Q. Public is going to eventually get so fed up with The Man that there will be a shortage of rope in this nation. Government employees will be seen as somewhere between pedophiles and gangbangers in our society's scumbag-scale. They will become strange fruit dangling from the lampposts, and they will have no one to blame for it but themselves.

I wish, for humanity's sake, that things would never get that far. Unfortunately, since the beginning of time, it has been in man's nature to control others. When you take an ordinary man and put him in control, he will allow himself to become a god in his own mind. The downside of this is that he is nothing but an ordinary man, and those he controls typically don't like being controlled.

It will take a bit of time for this to happen, but it would appear that the TSA has become the alarm clock that is systematically waking up Boobus from his great American slumber. On that note, I say let the TSA take the reigns at the post office, while we're at it. Let them monitor the drive-thru lane at WhataBurger. Let them man the call centers for tech support. Let them into every facet of our lives outside of our own homes, and give them the power to giveth and taketh away...just like they have at the airports right now.

If you give a man an inch, he'll think he's a ruler. Let 'em keep pushing until they push us ALL into a corner. Let 'em make it so tough that everyone and their uncle has been accosted by these scumbags. If you keep pushing and pushing, pretty soon this nation will be so compressed that it will explode.

Let's roll...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I'd gladly fly "Shit Happens Airways"...

Seriously, was the Transportation Safety Agency specifically created as a means to "ease" Americans into tyranny, a la the parable of the frog and the boiling pot?

It's a well-known fact that most of these gubbmint lackeys are little more than McIdiots that managed to squeak through a security check, which tells me they aren't exactly the greatest people on the planet to be ensuring that we don't die in a fiery airplane crash.

That being said, I have a pair of questions to ask of the TSA (and government, in general) regarding the arrest of Sam Wolanyk in the very same airport as John Tyner of "Don't touch my junk" fame.

1) What are you hiding? If your general activities (your "pat-downs" and other related searches) are on display for the public who happen to be waiting in line for their turn to get molested by the PornoTron scanners and rubber-glove-wearing agents of the state, WHY IS IT A CRIME TO FILM THIS ACTIVITY? Surely, it can't be because "the terr'ists" might see what you're doing, if EVERYONE IN LINE CAN SEE IT! Why is it a crime then, for a private individual who helps pay your salary, to film you as you perform the duties he is paying you to do in public?

2) If a man is willing to strip down to his skivvies in order to show you that he's not carrying any guns or explosives, why would you not simply see that he's hiding nothing and allow him to move on? Why is it necessary for him to put his clothing back on, for the sake of allowing you to give him a "pat-down"?

Is it the job of the TSA to search for weapons, with pat-downs and PornoTron scanners being a tool to help in this search for those who don't want to remove their outer clothing? If a man is wearing skin-tight undies and nothing else, what is a pat-down going to tell you after he's put his clothes back on?

Could it be that it's not really about security, but rather, only about showing travelers who "The Boss" is when you go through an airport?

Undoubtedly, this incident was completely staged by Mr. Wolanyk, simply to prove a point...and, for what it's worth, it's hard to deny that his point was very well-made! That point is, of course, that our government is completely and totally full of shit when they tell you that their pseudo-security measures are there for your protection (as opposed to being yet another mechanism for conditioning people toward authoritarianism).

They can't stop anything from getting onto an airplane, as long as a TSA agent making barely more than a shopping-mall rentacop can be bribed with an extra hundred bucks to pad his kids' Christmas gift fund. The moment "following procedure" becomes more important than "getting the job done", the TSA becomes just another gov't bureaucracy.

Personally, I think airport security should be privatized...but not in the "opt-out" version given to us under federal law, where an airport is given the choice between gov't rentacops or one of the handful of "approved private security agencies". Personally, I think airport security should be handled by the airlines themselves. Instead of paying a federally-mandated tax to cover the ridiculous cost of the TSA (in addition to the income tax money diverted to them via "Homeland Security"), a minor $2 fee could be instituted to the ticket price for air travel that would provide more than enough to handle the cost of equipment and manpower for pre-flight security screening.

Not only would this be infinitely cheaper to the passenger, as well as being much more efficient (like everything else the private sector does when there is no gov't involvement), but it would provide for the AVENUE OF ACCOUNTABILITY that is sorely lacking with the TSA.

Imagine the possibilities! An airline could tout itself as "more secure" than its competitors, for those pansy-ass cowards that willfully submit to getting rape-scanned and felt up because they're afraid of funny brown people in pajamas. "Iron-Fist Airlines" could probably charge that left nut they're gonna grope in the security line, because some people think it's a good idea to pay for such things.

Meanwhile, at the next ticket counter, people like me could take their chances with "Shit Happens Airways". It's like the Greyhound of air travel. Security consists of some dude with a hand-held metal detector, and their firearms policy consists of "Keep your guns and ammo separated until you get off the plane!". You would, of course, be allowed to keep your nail clippers, scissors, box cutters, Benadryl, et cetera. You'll be offered the choice of domestic beers, in your choice of 12 or 16oz cans (24oz when available), and no one will have you arrested if you bitch about the temperature! In fact, no one will have you arrested at all, unless you seriously interfere with the property or safety of another passenger. In short, you're paying low-budget prices for low-budget air travel...because you aren't concerned about comfort, nor are you really that concerned with the extremely minute possibility that someone will smuggle a bomb onto the airplane you're flying on. You're more concerned with getting where you're going for as little money as possible, than you are with being comfortable...and you feel even more comfortable knowing that if you see someone lighting his boxer briefs on fire, you're free to start beating him over the head with a tray table without fear of being arrested for either beating the shit out of him OR for ripping the tray table off of the seat in front of you before you do it!

Then, of course, there could be a multitude of other airlines that choose to split the difference all the way through the scale. You'd see higher or lower security, comfort, and ticket pricing depending on what the owners of the airlines themselves thought was necessary to keep their bottom line in check.

If given the choice, I'd much rather send my family on a slightly less-comfortable airplane and be in charge of keeping my own family safe, than have to submit them to gubbmint PornoTron operators so they could take kiddie-smut pictures or feel up my kids. These people couldn't stop terrorism if it was laid out front and center, with a giant red "OFF" button. Then again, I'm that same kind of guy who thinks depending on the police to keep me safe is like depending on a public school teacher to actually educate someone. I guess I'm just crazy like that...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

More on the FLDS...

In case you've been reading my stuff from the beginning, you may remember that my very first post was on the FLDS church members having their "compound" (more like a commune, but "compound" makes them sound more like the Branch Davidians) raided by the Texas CPS...and how the Sheriff's Dept brought out a tank nicknamed "Bubba" to help them kidnap more than 400 women and children.

Tonight, I'm reading in the Houston Comical (er, "Chronicle", whatever) and I see where an FLDS member has just been sentenced to 20 years in prison for "sexual abuse of a child"...who happened to be his 15 year old wife.

Now, before this conversation goes any further, I would like to once again reiterate for the record that I do not endorse or condone child molestation, polygamy, running stop signs, or any other random crap the state claims this man did. I'm merely making a point here.

That being said, let's look at this situation once again. It was not until after the FLDS moved to Texas, that the Great State of Texas decided to introduce and pass legislation making it a crime to marry a person under the age of 16. Prior to this, the statute read that a person must be 14 years of age, in order to be married. This actually happened in 2005. No bullshit, a 14 year old could legally be married in Texas during Bubba Dubbya's first four years!

Now, let's examine the notion of "consent". It's a really funny thing, what the government considers the lawful age of consent to be, and I find it strange that it sets random arbitrary age limits on what an adult is or is not allowed to do.

For instance, a person can lawfully consent to marriage at the age of 16...but can't buy a pack of cigarettes. At the age of 18, a person can lawfully consent to purchase of cigarettes, lottery tickets, et cetera and can also enter into legally-binding contracts...including a contract binding him or her into military service, where he might lose his life on the battlefield. Ironically, this same government that claims you're "mature enough" to kill and be killed for political purposes also happens to be the same government that says you're not "mature enough" to decide that you want to drink a cold beer after a long hard day of work until another three years!

Now, let's examine the text of the laws amended in 2005 by the state legislature here in Texas. Upon reading it, it almost appears as if these literally HUNDREDS of changes to the law were made specifically criminalize the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and say that both the 20 year old groom and his 15 year old bride were both consenting parties to this "marriage"...and I'm also going to assume that, if one or both parents were members of the FLDS church, then "parental consent" was given. According to Texas law, "parental consent" requires the signature of only one parent, but I'm assuming it must be the custodial parent in case of divorced or otherwise separated parents...but, again I'm assuming here, if the kid is on the "compound" with one parent, it would be the custodial parent.

So, here we are, faced with two very interesting issues once again.

A) Was the "age of consent" law governing state-sanctioned marriages changed solely upon the religious and cultural beliefs of a group of people who moved to Texas in 2003, or was it because the Great State of Texas had a massive change of heart and all of a sudden decided that 14 was just too young to make up your mind...but 16 was old enough?

B) Does the state have an inherent right to limit how many marriage contracts a person may lawfully consent to enter? I'm asking because the article in question states that a man was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for "sexual assault of a child" that he had chosen to be his wife. While the "child" in question was a minor aged 15, he would still be prosecuted for the same offense if this "child" was a minor aged 16...provided he had already legally married another minor "child" aged 16. The state says that you can marry one 16 year old girl, if her mom signs the permission slip. The state says that if you marry one, you're a lawfully-wedded man...but if you do it twice, you're a child molester.

So does the state have the authority to make such decisions for us? Does it have an inherent right to declare how many people we may consensually enter into contracts with? Does the state have a right to declare how and under what circumstances a parent may provide parental consent for a minor?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Straight outta Rikers Island...

Today was a damn fine day for a man named Dwayne Carter, being released from Rikers Island Correctional Complex after being held for eight months. He was convicted of "Attempted Weapons Possession" for a .40S&W-caliber handgun found on his tour bus after it was searched by police in New York City.

The thing that really bugs me about this case, even more so than the fact that he was ever in jail to begin with, is the public backlash against him by the majority of "white conservative" America. If you look at the newspaper articles about his arrest, his conviction, his being sent to solitary confinement for the last month of his confinement for possession of "contraband" (an MP3 player that wasn't one sold by the prison commissary), or his release from prison, it would seem that all you'll find are thinly-veiled racist remarks coming from both white and black when you look in the comments sections of these papers.

Being a white conservative male, I'm not going to focus on what the "other side" is saying, but rather I'll go ahead and condemn what my fellow white male conservatives are saying.

Before I get there, let's look at a few things about the rap musician known as "Lil Wayne", shall we?

1) Dwayne Carter had a lawfully-purchased, loaded handgun on his tour bus.
2) At the time of his arrest in New York City, Dwayne Carter did not have a felony record.

Now, don't get me wrong...the man was known to smoke copious amounts of marijuana, as well as engaging in the use of other recreational drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy (MDMA). He sang very vulgar profanity-laced rap songs. He has tattoos on his face. His pants are usually three sizes too large, and hang half-way off his ass. In short, he's the guy most middle-aged conservative white male suburbanites would lock their doors and roll their windows on, if he were to walk up and ask for directions while they were stopped at a red light.

That kinda makes me wonder about something, though. Suppose it was an aging hillbilly wearing a cowboy hat that was singing songs about getting wasted on cocaine and booze, committing acts of misogyny, and having issues with the police. You know, someone like Johnny Cash!

Can you imagine that? In this day and age? Bill O'Reilly would be screaming to have those cops drawn and quartered for even thinking about pulling over the tour bus! The NRA and GOA would be blowing up our emails, demanding that we all call the mayor of NYC to demand that their draconian gun laws be repealed...and that after immediately having Mr. Cash released from jail with all charges dismissed, they give him the key to the city!

But no, we can't have that, because Lil Wayne promotes the "ghetto lifestyle" of drugs, misogyny, and refusal to submit to common mores of society! Oh yeah, and he's black.

I guess there's not a whole lot that's changed in America during the past hundred years, huh?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Deo ducente...

" nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all."

That statement has become quite controversial in recent times...and, on its face, is completely contradictory.

Recently, an atheist from Texas lost a court case regarding the state adding the words "under God" to our state pledge that his child is expected to recite in school, claiming a First Amendment violation of his freedom of religion.

Today I, using that wonderful networking tool known as facebook, asked my friends and family if they would be offended if the words "in the absence of God" were included in the pledge in place of "under God"...and, if so, WHY.

Many people were very adamant that the words "under God" should be included in the pledge, and would be offended if the substituted phrase were used instead...but most didn't bother to provide any type of reasoning for this. The three who did attempt to justify their position were under the impression that the United States is somehow a "Christian" nation, and our citizens should acknowledge this. Many people stated that since a person is not forced to say the pledge of allegiance, that the phrase "under God" shouldn't be an issue...but, ironically, these were the very same people who stated that they would be offended if the words "in the absence of God" were substituted.

First and foremost, let me get a few facts out of the way...
1) The United States of America is, predominantly, populated by those who claim affiliation with some manner or denomination of Christianity...and I am one of these people.
2) The founding fathers of this nation were, for the most part, believers in God...whether they be Christians, deists, or otherwise.
3) The fundamental principles of freedom of choice and a fairly universal code of morality amongst civilized society is found within the teachings of Christ.

With that being said, the United States is not a "Christian" nation, in the sense that Iran is a "Muslim" nation or Israel is a "Jewish" nation. The US is no more a "Christian nation" than a bacon cheeseburger is a "Christian meal" merely because I ate a bacon cheeseburger after church.

If a person is offended by the notion that his child would have to sit through someone else reciting a pledge of allegiance to this nation that included a reference to the absence of God, even though his child was not required to say it with the rest of the class, it makes me wonder what respect they have for the notion of freedom in this nation if they think that the child of an atheist should be forced to sit and listen to others recite the pledge acknowledging God simply because they don't have to say it with the rest of the class.

The last time I checked, the IRS does not ask you about your religious beliefs or affiliations. It matters not to them if you are atheist, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic, Pentecostal, or Southern Baptist...if you work for a living, they're still going to take your money. The same holds true with the county tax assessor. If you own property, it's getting taxed, and they aren't going to question you about your church membership. They're going to look at what you've got built on your land, and send you a bill. That money is going to end up funding a public school, which will include a recital of the Pledge of Allegiance at some point or another.

In the First Amendment of our United States Constitution, it clearly states that congress isn't allowed to enact any law respecting the establishment of religion. The argument is often made that the First Amendment does not apply, because a child is not forced to recite the pledge of allegiance in school or elsewhere. However, is it not being done while taxpayer-funded teachers and administrators are on the clock? Is it not being done within a taxpayer-funded building? Is it not being done within a school that a child is lawfully required to attend if that child is not home-schooled at his parents' expense (in addition to the property taxes that have already been paid)?

Who passed the laws requiring taxation? What happens to a person if he neglects or refuses to pay taxes?

A more important question to ask is, what gives a Judeo-Christian majority the right to tell others "We're going to publicly state our beliefs at the expense of us all, you included. If you don't like it, you don't have to participate...but we're still going to use your money.", while telling the atheist minority that they don't have the right to have their views publicly expressed in the same manner, being paid for by that same pool of tax money?

You simply cannot claim that it is right to use the phrase "under God", followed by the phrase "with liberty and justice for all", unless you are willing to look past all logic and reasoning. There cannot be "liberty and justice for all", if that liberty and justice does not include the atheists amongst us. Otherwise, it is only "liberty and justice for some", or "liberty and justice for the majority".

We don't live in a democracy, where the mob rules. We live in a constitutional republic with a limited representative democracy and a certain amount of enumerated inherent and natural rights recognized by our constitution. Amongst them is the right to freedom of religion. We have the right to believe as we choose, and to speak as we long as it does not infringe upon the right of others to do the same.

That is the constitution I swore, before God Almighty, to uphold and defend. That is the constitution that defines the republic for which our flag stands, to which we pledge allegiance...and when we declare this nation to be "under God" in doing so while tax dollars from all citizens are being used, we violate the first constitutionally-guaranteed and God-given right enumerated in our constitution.

This is not only a violation of constitutional law, but also contrary to biblical instruction. We are taught to abide by the laws presented to us by the lawful authorities in the 13th chapter of Romans. As the highest law of the land, there is no higher authority than the US Constitution in this nation, but God Himself. In Galations 5, we are told to "walk by the spirit", and that Christ has set us free for the sake of freedom.

I am a Christian by choice, not by force. A forced faith will always be a false faith, no matter how you choose to spin it. I am reminded of the old saying about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar. If someone is not a believer in Christ, what is more likely to persuade him? Will it be the Christ-like actions of your concern for his well-being, your tolerance, your perseverance of faith in times of trial, and your ability to love him not because of what he's done or said, but rather, in spite of these things? Will it be because "your side" won a court case that FORCES his child to listen to your stated beliefs?

Well, what is it?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where the Pope and the Southern Baptist Convention see eye to eye...

No, I'm not talking about Christ dying for our sins. That should be a given. I'm talking about the ludicrous nonsense of denouncing embryonic stem cell research in the name of "protecting life". This is asinine beyond belief. Seriously. To use my cousin Travis' favorite phrase, such an opinion is "Full-on Retard" in my not-so-humble opinion.

I read an article about the first treatment in a human using embryonic stem cells, which were injected into the spinal cord of an injured patient yesterday...a treatment that is called a destruction of "defenseless human life" by the Catholic church and "the most vulnerable members of the human community" by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Why is this point of view so Full-on Retard? Because it simply isn't based in any sense of reality whatsoever. Okay, it's obvious that I'm not anti-abortion like many Christians are, simply because I have a different view on what a human "person" is. That notwithstanding, let's examine the two situations here.

An abortion, in the typical sense of the word, is a terminated pregnancy that typically happens when the fetus is younger than three months' gestation. An embryonic stem cell, on the other hand, is harvested from an embryo...not a fetus.

An abortion is performed while the fetus is in the mother's womb, to terminate a pregnancy. An embryo used for research is extracted from a test tube, typically the left-overs from a fertility clinic.

An abortion kills a fetus that has potential to become a living person. Using an embryo for research will kill an embryo that has potential to either help save a human life, or wind up in a dumpster.

So far, we've discovered that in doing research on human embryos, we aren't destroying anything that wouldn't be destroyed anyway. Fertility clinics create multiple lab-produced embryos for couples that can't have children without the help of modern technology, and there are often many left-overs. Believe it or not, but not every mother-to-be visiting a fertility clinic wants to be "OctoMom"!

Now, let's move on to the next point of contention. Many overly-religious types seem to think that because stem cells are present throughout the entire life-span of a human body, that it isn't necessary to harvest them from embryos. Well, that might be true, if it weren't for one simple little fact. As the human body gets older (from the point of conception onward), stem cells become less and less able to differentiate. A "stem cell" is called such, because it has the ability to differentiate (or become another) type of cell. An embryonic stem cell is able to become any other type of cell found within the human body, for obvious reasons. It's an embryo, duh! As the body becomes older, stem cells become more specialized...and therefore, less likely to differentiate to other types of cells. This is even true with cord blood from a newborn baby.

Since the beginning of stem cell research, there have been several scientific developments involving stem cells other than the embryonic variety, as well as the "induced pluripotent stem cell" created by altering adult stem cells. One researcher has even found a way to extract amniotic fluid containing stem cells he says can be made to differentiate into various types of cells.

However, here's the deal:

There are almost half a million frozen embryos in the United States alone, and the vast majority of them have "expired"...meaning they can't be thawed out to produce a living person. They are bound for the dumpster, regardless of whether mankind finds a way to use them to cure a disease. Nervous system cells are much more difficult to produce using any method EXCEPT an embryonic stem cell. The greatest foci of stem cell research are neurological disorders and spinal cord injuries, and have been since its inception.

So, while the Southern Baptist Convention and the Vatican are "saving the babies" that will eventually be treated as medical waste and incinerated as such, many people are dealing with debilitating, crippling, and often life-threatening injuries and illnesses.

Marty McFly had to quit his job as a working actor, because his Parkinson's got so bad that he was unable to work in front of a camera. Superman died in a wheelchair at the age of 52, due to complications from a broken neck that occurred after falling off a horse. Meanwhile, several people very near and dear to me are suffering through a lifetime of MS...including a friend of mine from college, and my own aunt. Embryonic stem cell research offers what is currently the best hope to cure those suffering from such injuries and illnesses.

God gave us the gift of life...and He also gave us the mind necessary to perform the healing art known as modern medicine, in all its myriad forms. So if you're one of those people who think it's okay for my loved ones to suffer through a disease that threatens to snuff out their lives at a young age while putting them through untold agony while they still live, in order to "preserve the sanctity of life" in an embryo that will be thrown away like yesterday's newspaper because it will not and cannot be used for its originally-intended purpose, I really don't have the words to express what I think of you...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Seventeen reasons to NEVER vote for Sarah Palin...

1) Has long-since advocated "abstinence-only education", instead of teaching proper means of birth control and STD prevention. For a glaring example of how this worked out within her own family, her 17 year old unwed daughter Bristol announced that she was pregnant on the opening day of the Republican National Convention.

2) Claims that the constitution guarantees an "inherent right to privacy"...but seems to think that, in light of this guarantee, the constituencies of the various states should see "their will" enforced upon others.

3) She, as the mayor of Wasilla, charged rape victims for the necessary evidence-gathering equipment...even though it's the only crime in which a victim has ever been charged to cover the cost of equipment used by police to investigate a crime.

4) She praised Bush's $700B+ bailout...but opposed Obama's $700B+ bailout.

5) Her second-highest priority as governor was to ensure that the state decided who was allowed to get married.

6) Her third-highest priority as governor was to halt infringements upon our liberties...except the right of peaceable assembly, and the right to smoke pot like she did.

7) She signed a bill allowing the state of Alaska to collect and store a sample of someone's DNA if they had been merely arrested (read: NOT CONVICTED) for a felony or a crime against another person.

8) She opposes the right to wager ones' own personal money in a game of chance.

9) She smoked marijuana when it was legal under state law (but still illegal under federal law), but opposes legislation repealing its' prohibition because of the message it might send to "the kids".

10) She thinks "Intelligent Design Theory", a pseudo-scientific idea with no actual scientific factual basis, should be taught in public-school science classes. Even as a Christian, I don't support teaching non-science in a science classroom...but this mother of four does!

11) Thinks the words "under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance were "good enough for our founding fathers"...even though the pledge wasn't written until well after our "founding fathers" were long-since dead, and the words "under God" weren't added until two years after the birth of my own father.

12) She calls "Cap and Trade" a "Cap and Tax" scheme...but also supports "Cap and Trade".

13) She repeatedly lied about where her campaign money came from, claiming "most of it" came from grass-roots donations instead of the corporate donations it really came from.

14) Made several trips to Washington to press for the "Bridge to Nowhere", but then later opposed it when it became a national scandal.

15) She claims that the US Armed Forces, as currently being used, are providing us with "freedom"...even though there isn't a single instance in her entire lifetime where the US military was ever used to actually defend our freedom.

16) Being a "hockey mom", she supported building a sports complex that left the city of Wassila more than $22 Million in debt.

17) She supports invading a nation that had nothing to do with any act of violence against this country, in a war that resulted in thousands of American troops and over a hundred thousand Iraqi civilians confirmed killed, to "spread democracy". Meanwhile, as a result of this "democracy-spreading", the majority of Iraq has no running water or electricity.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Discussions with a tax-feeder...

So, in keeping with the theme of the past two posts, tonight’s will be about what the Angleton City Council REALLY did when they took it upon themselves to ban synthetic cannabinoids and Salvia Divinorum. Before I get to that, please allow me to show what they DIDN’T do…

The following things were NOT criminalized by the blanket ban on synthetic cannabinoids (“fake pot”) and Salvia Divinorum (“salvia”) products:
1) Driving under the influence of fake pot or salvia.
2) Providing fake pot or salvia to minors.
3) Being intoxicated on fake pot or salvia in public.
4) Being in the care of children while under the influence of fake pot or salvia.

What does this have to do with a tax-feeder? Well, there’s this friend of mine that I’ve known since my early childhood, very wonderful woman in her own right. Always, for as long as I’ve known her, she’s been a very kind and loving person to be around. As a matter of fact, when I couldn’t leave the house for two weeks after my motorcycle accident because the scabs on my knees would break open and bleed everywhere, she was the only one who came to visit me…and made a special trip to my father’s home on the south side of town just to bring me a 44oz Dr Pepper from Buc-ees that I’d been craving for a week and a half. Yes, she’s that kind of caring individual, and I praise God that there are people like that still alive and well in this world.

She also happens to be the mother of two beautiful children, as well as being a public employee working with juvenile delinquents (I believe, for Brazoria County). I know her heart is in the right place, but I just don’t think she fully understands the full weight of what her opinions imply. After uploading the text of Angleton’s new city ordinance, she stated that she was happy for the ban.

In discussing this with her, I asked her what possible reasoning she could have for such an opinion. She essentially stated the four reasons I’ve listed above. Given the fact that she works with juvenile delinquents with whom drug abuse and addiction is a recurring theme, and her first husband was killed in an alcohol-related auto collision, I can understand her feelings. Unfortunately, her opinions appear to be based upon common fallacies that get repeated so often in our society to the point they are taken as fact.

Much like my friend’s first husband and father of her children, my mother’s first-born was also killed in an alcohol-related auto collision. His name was Brandon Laurn Raines, he was my older brother, he died on my 17th birthday, and his death made me the oldest son. Within my own family, I’ve already forgotten more than I’d ever care to know about the destruction of a person’s time on earth that comes from drug addiction. My mother’s youngest son, my little brother, became a convicted felon in the State of Texas because of crimes committed to pay for his cocaine addiction…before he was even old enough to have a driver’s license. No offense, but I don’t think I need a lesson on the dangers of drugs and booze…because if there’s anything I don’t already know, I seriously doubt I’ll ever learn it.
Now, moving right along. One may ask how this new city ordinance could be passed banning fake pot and salvia, and not manage to criminalize the acts I mentioned above. Well, it’s quite simple. You see, every single one of these things was already illegal under existing state law!

“Driving While Intoxicated”, regardless of the intoxicant or its status of legality for consumption, is still a criminal offense in Texas.
Providing an intoxicant (other than alcohol, to your own child or spouse) to a minor is considered “child endangerment”. If that minor becomes intoxicated, you’ve committed “injury to a child”.
Being intoxicated on any substance in public, where you present a danger to yourself or others, is a criminal offense of “public intoxication”.
Being intoxicated while in the care of children fits the definition of the crime “child neglect”.

Please don’t tell me that a man over the age of legal majority in this state (18 years old, last time I checked) has the lawful ability to go to the M.E.P.S. building in Houston, Texas and volunteer to fly out to some two-way firing range on the other side of the world (against his parents’ wishes, no less!)…but that same man doesn’t have the right to intoxicate himself with whatever harmful (or completely harmless, in the case of Salvia Divinorum) substance he chooses, within the confines of his own living room. You can’t honestly tell me that having RPG’s launched at you is somehow less dangerous than deciding you want to smoke crack. Either you’re old enough to man up, let your nuts do the talking, and take your chances…or you aren’t. Which is it? Okay, so we’ve discovered that it’s not a safety issue, if we’re allowed to enlist in the military…and buy motorcycles that can go 160mph, and work in chemical plants, and go skydiving. It’s not a “safety issue”. By the way, contrary to all of the rumors you may or may not have heard, synthetic cannabinoids and Salvia Divinorum have NOT been conclusively linked to ANY health problems, addiction, or death…in this country or elsewhere.

What about keeping dope away from kids? Yeah, because outlawing it is working so well. It works so well, in fact, that my best friend and I used to joke in high school about how much easier it would be if we smoked dope instead of drinking Busch tallboys on a Friday night…because the guy at the Kwik-E-Mart checked for ID, while the neighborhood weed dealers didn’t. If a kid doesn’t have access to some bum that will buy the fake pot at the gas station, he’s going to call up his dealer when he wants to get high…just like so many of my classmates did in high school, and almost half of high school kids already do today. So we’ve discovered that it’s not about keeping dope out of the hands of children…or, if it is, our city council is completely clueless.

Now, let’s look at the notion of intoxication offenses, and our council’s assertion that (and I quote from ordinance 2010-O-9C):
WHEREAS, the substances identified above manifest all of the demonstrated attributes of substances that deprive individuals of judgment, coordination[,] and the ability to conduct themselves in a safe and appropriate manner in modern society;”

Ummm…pardon me, but there are three liquor stores in Angleton, and every single store that sold this fake pot in town were also selling alcoholic beverages. Are we talking about fake pot and salvia, or are we talking about tequila here? Did they do something to my Bud Light Lime that somehow made it NOT get me drunk when I wanted more than five of them? Interestingly enough, I haven’t seen anything about our city council wanting to shut down any bars, close any liquor stores, or make any gas stations stop selling beer and Boone’s Farm.

I think you should, at this point, see where I’m headed with this…

So, precisely WHAT did the City Council of Angleton, TX do by banning synthetic cannabinoids and Salvia Divinorum? Essentially, under the guise of “public safety”, they’ve told me and every other adult in Angleton, TX what is and is not permissible within the confines of his own home, regardless of whether it affects anyone else. In other words, the City Council of Angleton, TX has told every single one of us that they own every facet of our lives...both in public, and within our private homes. If that ain’t slavery, I’m not quite sure what is…

Saturday, September 25, 2010

To the City Council of Angleton, TX

The following is a letter sent to the various members of the City Council of Angleton, TX. Their official taxpayer-supplied email addresses are as follows:


Feel free to tell them your opinions, be it for or against...


To the Angleton City Council:

A few days ago, I read about how the city of Brazoria had jumped on the hysteria bandwagon, and followed Angleton's shining example of banning synthetic cannabinoids. This didn't surprise me, given Mayor Ken Corley's nationally-known record of having utter contempt and disregard for the First Amendment. What did surprise me was his apparent ignorance regarding Salvia Divinorum, lumping this completely harmless herb (a fact that has long-been known to modern science) into the same category.

What truly came as a shock, however, was when a friend mentioned that the Angleton ordinance had done the exact same thing. After contacting Mayor Henry and getting a copy of the actual text of the ordinance yesterday, I have come to the conclusion that one of two things had happened here...and both of them shed a severely unflattering light upon you.

Either you were misled regarding the safety aspect of Salvia Divinorum, and did not take the time to actually research this harmless natural plant you've just banned, or you knew exactly what you were doing and did it anyway to make it appear that you actually give a damn about your community. Honestly, I cannot decide which prospect disgusts me more.

If you were misled, and did not take the time to investigate the plant you were banning, what does that say about your willingness to blindly follow along with whatever you're told? That makes you a sheep, willing to move along with the ignorance of the masses and trample upon the rights of others with total disregard for the liberties of the individual, and you have absolutely no business being in a position of authority over it on city council, or elsewhere.

If you knew the complete harmlessness of Salvia Divinorum (because you had taken the time to read up on the mint plant you were planning to criminalize), and chose to ban it anyway to make yourselves look good for whatever reason, that makes you a power-hungry tyrant willing to impose your will upon others...and likewise, you certainly have no business being in any kind of authoritative position.

This isn't about my desire to smoke Salvia. Honestly, the one time I tried it several years back was my one and only experience with hallucinogens, and I cannot foresee any desire to ever try it again. Regardless of this fact, the one thing I know it not to be is "dangerous"...because prior to the single instance in which I smoked it, I thoroughly researched it to make certain that it wouldn't pose a danger to my body, my mind, or my neighbors. Keep in mind, this is a plant they used to sell in the Lawn & Garden section at Wal-Mart before nationwide hysteria and stupidity took over, and their corporate offices succumbed to fear of being labeled "dope-dealers"!

What this IS about is your reckless disregard for the rights of those who are forced to live under the laws you write, if they do not choose to leave the town they've spent the majority of their lives in. Frankly, I don't care what they do in Brazoria or any other town. I don't live there. I live in Angleton, as I have done for more than thirty years. In those thirty years, our city government has threatened to steal my car because it didn't have a valid registration sticker while it was parked in a private driveway, it has told my family what kind of fasteners could be used to put together a covering on my grandmother's front porch (to the point where it had to be rebuilt), and now you're telling me what I can and cannot plant in my own garden...because you think someone choosing to eat or smoke a particular plant doesn't conform to your idea of what the private behavior of our citizens should be?

What's next? Will you tell me that I can no longer own my pistols in Angleton, because a few people decide to use them as tools for armed robbery? Will you decide that my books should be banned, because Orwell's 1984 contains a graphic depiction of promiscuous sex that doesn't conform to your personal views of morality? Will you outlaw my 4x4 within city limits, simply because our city's roads are paved and you can't see a need for them? Where will it stop?

I don't know many of you on the council, but to John and Randy, I've known both of you for more than two decades...and I thought more highly of you than this. I am sickened beyond belief that the two of you, men who I thought were upstanding and good, would do something like this to the very people you have asked for the privilege to serve. Making it so much worse is the fact that, on countless occasions, I mentioned to people during your campaigns that the two of you were fine people that could be counted on to do what was right. I suppose I was wrong.

There is one thing I know without a doubt. Far more dangerous to a civilized society than any drug available today, legal or otherwise, is the notion that one man is subject to the will of his fellow man within the privacy of his own home. That is the epitome of slavery, and you men are acting as overseers upon the rest of us. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

-Barry H. Rhodes,
Citizen of Angleton, TX

Sunday, September 19, 2010

There's no place like home! There's no place like home!

That's what I've been telling myself, since I saw the front page of the paper the other day, in hopes that I won't go completely apeshit crazy and just move off to a cave in Montana somewhere. You see, believe it or not, I actually like this town in general...regardless of my little hangups and the numerous things I dislike about it.

I didn't much care for the AISD school system when I was enrolled in it so many years ago, and from what I hear, I don't really care too much for it now either. That is, of course, not to say that there aren't many wonderful and caring professional educators working in it. It's just that as a whole, I'd have been better off just staying at home and reading a book. I mean, it's not like most of the people I came in contact with at school taught me anything of value anyway, other than a whole host of reasons to distrust and generally not like those in positions of authority.

And then, there's our wonderful city government. Our current mayor, Patrick Henry, was to the best of my knowledge actually an educator at Angleton High School when I attended there, but I never had the pleasure of being one of his students. His wife, on the other hand, was my English teacher. I can say, without a doubt, that Mrs. Henry was one of the most psychotic women I'd ever met...but that's beside the point.

We have our city council and mayor, responsible for the numerous goings-on of our city government. Namely, their chief responsibilities in these positions appear to be sitting around and tasking other city employees with the job of being busy-bodies on behalf of the City of Angleton. Keep in mind, these are the same people who threatened to steal my car, fine me for having it parked in the private driveway of my own residence, and ALSO charge me the cost of having them steal it! Why, you might ask? Not because my car was a "junker"...there was air in all four tires, it was not rusted, the windows were still intact, et cetera. It was declared a "junker", simply because it did not have a current registration sticker on it.

On top of that, when the city sent someone to photograph it, the asshats (in case you're wondering, that's a slang term for someone with his head up his ass, i.e. "wearing one's ass as a hat") sent someone to photograph my car while I was at work. My elderly grandmother went outside to ask if there was something she could help with, and they wouldn't even acknowledge her presence. Needless to say, I'm not much a fan on people who don't mind their own business.

Regardless of what someone may think about what his neighbors are doing, you didn't buy your neighbor's home when you bought your own. It's none of your damned business, stay in your own yard when you leave the public street!

Ahh, but I digress. What I was getting at, with regard to city government, is the fact that this past week the City of Angleton has passed a city ordinance outlawing the sale, use, and/or possession of "synthetic marijuana". Violating this ordinance subjects the offender to a fine of up to $2,000. Yes, you read that correctly, two thousand dollars.

Before I go further, I would like to stipulate on the record that I do not, in fact, advocate or recommend the smoking of ANY it marijuana, meth, or Marlboros. Regardless, let's be real about it. If your government can tell you that it has the right to regulate what you may or may not ingest into your own body on the mere basis of what that substance happens to be, is that not saying that you don't actually own yourself? If someone else owns you, what is that called? Oh, yeah...SLAVERY.

Now, everything I've read about this synthetic marijuana essentially breaks down to this. It's supposedly "every bit as dangerous as real marijuana". Wow. Now we have a reason to be frightened, considering how many people have died from marijuana usage! Oh, wait. Nevermind. I almost forgot. Never, in the entire recorded history of mankind, has anyone actually been confirmed to have died from an overdose of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.

Yes, I'm certain that people have been known to crash their cars while driving under its influence, accidentally shoot themselves because they were playing with guns while stoned, et cetera...but I'm certain that's never happened with alcohol, right? Yeah. Right. Interestingly enough, as I type this, I'm drinking a cold beer. It's my second of the evening, purchased at the very same neighborhood corner store that sells this "incense" doused with synthetic cannabinoids that has everyone up in a buzz. I also frequently purchase my Marlboro cigarettes there, too! Take that, you City of Angleton goodie-goodies! Haha!

In researching tonight's post, I did my best to find some sort of actual definitive danger regarding this so-called "fake pot". The closest I came to was a doctor claiming that there had been over 200 instances of people calling poison control centers nationwide, since eighteen months ago...claiming an accelerated heart beat, hallucinations, and feelings of paranoia. Yeah, that sounds like it's every bit as dangerous as the real deal! I bet they giggled a lot, too! But seriously, the population of the United States is over 300 million, not counting illegal Mexicans and the president's aunt.

Let's examine that number very closely. Let's say that only one in a THOUSAND Americans has actually tried this "fake pot". Better yet, let's give 'em the benefit of the doubt, and say it's one in TEN THOUSAND. The population of Angleton, TX is less than 20k, but let's use that as a nice round figure. That's twenty thousand people, and one in ten thousand has purchased this "fake pot"...or, roughly, two people in Angleton. If this ratio were true of the entire United States, that would put the number of people who have actually used this "fake pot" at roughly 30,000 people. Less than 200 people, across the country since this "epidemic" began, have called for assistance from authorities...out of the grossly-underestimated figure of 30,000 people. That's one in every hundred and fifty. You're more likely to find someone deathly allergic to peanuts!

This, of course, assumes that only one in every ten thousand people in America have used this "fake pot". Obviously, the number is much higher...because I doubt that the City of Angleton would consider wasting such time and effort on outlawing something, if only two local idiots were using it. However, when the number of people using this substance goes up, it drastically alters the ratio of people who have used it v. the people who have reported a problem with it.

Now, I must admit, the people calling poison control centers nationwide wasn't the only anecdotal evidence I found while searching for the alleged dangers of "fake pot". Apparently, it also makes you kill yourself. According to the parents of Iowa resident David Rozga, a particular brand of "fake pot" known by the trade name of "K2" was responsible for the young man's suicide, based upon the circumstantial evidence that he shot himself after having smoked it. Interestingly enough, none of his other friends who had been smoking this K2 with him went home and blew their brains out. Oh yeah, they also said that suicide was "out of character" for their son.

When I was that age, three of my classmates had killed themselves. Two by a noose, and one with his daddy's pistol. I know personally that two of them smoked marijuana, but I won't say which ones. I also know only one of them on a more-than-acquaintance level, and I can guarantee you that he had other significant issues in his life. On top of that, I DID attend a public high school...and it felt weird to me, knowing that I was one of the few who received a high school diploma without ever having taken a toke, which should give you an idea of how many of my classmates smoked dope.

So, let's look at the numbers...assuming that the ratio of 1 in 10,000 Americans has used this "fake pot" (which would put the number of citizens of the city of Angleton, TX who have used it at TWO), that gives us a number of thirty thousand. Of those thirty thousand, we have one suicide and less than two hundred distress calls to the authorities. At this number of assumed users, that's (respectively) 1 in 150 with an adverse reaction and 1 in 30,000 that resulted in death.

Yes, by all means, let's go run out and ban it right now! Think of the children!

Well, one thing I can be thankful for with this idiotic nonsense...if THESE DAMNED IDIOTS ON THE ANGLETON CITY COUNCIL are going to ban a plant that could have otherwise been purchased at a gas station and generated tax revenue, on the off chance that someone might kill themselves, maybe they'll leave my pistols and my Judas Priest albums alone!

Then again, maybe that's why they banned it. At a sales tax rate of 8.25 percent, that equates to a dollar and 65 cents for every $20 package sold...which means the city would have to see one thousand two hundred and twelve packages sold before it could generate as much revenue as a fine issued after a single arrest!

After you've read this, simmer on it. As for me, I'm going to go indulge in some more of my "drugs of choice", which happen to be a cold light domestic beer and a couple of Marlboros. Maybe I'll get drunk and forget about the whole thing, if I'm lucky...or maybe I'll just run for city council, and get DRUNK ON POWER OVER THE LIVES OF OTHERS!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

In Praise of President Barrack H. Obama

Yeah, I bet you never saw that one coming, did you? Many folks wouldn't, seeing as how I'm one of his most outspoken critics. I think he's a complete scumbag, just like 99.44% of the rest of our elected officials. However, there is a silver lining to that cloud.

In case you haven't read many of my previous blogs, I'm gonna come right out say it. I'm a gun nut. I'm that guy that finds over 200 rounds of ammo (not counting .22LR shells!) when he cleans the clutter out of his Jeep. The guy who had to stop buying guns until I get a more secure place to store them. The guy who has a US Army TC23-14 sniper manual in his bathroom, so he can study trajectory charts in preparation for deer season with the M14, while taking a dump. The guy who keeps a quarter on his key ring...and is able to do so because that quarter has not one, but three, bullet holes put in it from the other side of a football field. The guy who bought the plastichrome stick-on numbers reading "46.02" and placed them over the driver door of his Jeep, so the next cop that pulls him over won't have to bother asking if the 9mm is in the console.

Suffice to say, I'm a "gun nut". I own guns built for all manner of purposes. I've got my "plinker" .22LR rifles, a few pistols, a couple of shotguns, and the civilian-legal version of every military rifle ever used by the United States since WWII except for the M1 Carbine and Thompson SMG. I am a hunter, as well as a collector of firearms in the same manner that some would collect baseball cards or comic books.

More importantly, however, I am also a firm believer in a man's inherent and inalienable right to defend himself against any aggressor. I am a Christian, believing His word when He said that any man without a sword should sell his cloak and buy one. Okay, so never sold my coats or bought any swords...but I did cash a few paychecks and buy a few firearms!

Our United States Constitution's 2nd Amendment holds a bit of value to me. Some people think that the ownership of weapons is so important that it should have been the 1st Amendment...or, even, put into the actual original body of the constitution. Honestly, I'm not worried about it. The 1st tells our government that they have no decision over what we say, how we pray, who we can gather with, or what we can broadcast to the masses, so long as we don't go telling lies about others.

The 1st Amendment tells our government they have no right to make such decisions for us. The 2nd Amendment simply tells them that if they try, we have a physically violent recourse waiting for them.

That brings me to my original point, before I got so damned side-tracked by my love of guns and the Bill of Rights. You see, Obama supports just about every "gun control" measure anyone ever thought about, and accepts the idiotic notion that the Second Amendment is a "collective" right. For some reason, while he accepts that all other rights of the people granted legal protection by our constitution apply to us equally, he sees owning a firearm as a legal right granted to a state-authorized organization.

Unfortunately, the very twisted views upon gun ownership held by the current president were also held by a good many Americans. Even more sadly, a lot of these Americans were hunters of deer and ducks, who supported the idea of an "Assault Weapons Ban". These "sportsmen", who have no problem with their right to keep and bear arms being relegated to arms with "sporting purposes", are in many ways a lot like me. They don't think it's right to go on a shooting spree, nor are they looking for any reason in which they would actually need 180 rounds of 5.56x45 ammo in a six-magazine pouch ready for deployment. Where we differ is our belief that a man should always have this available to him.

I look at my gun collection much like I see the spare tire in my jeep. I hope I never have to use either. It's a dirty business, having to shoot a man...or, at least I've been told, I've never actually been unfortunate enough to do have it forced upon me. That doesn't deter me from the fact that the possibility exists. Yes, I keep a spare tire in my jeep...and I loathe the thought of having to get dirty installing it if I were to have a flat. That doesn't stop me from owning one.

President Obama's anti-gun stance, as well as his generally anti-freedom stance with any other issue, did this nation a favor. Since the time he was elected to the office of President of the United States of America, it is estimated that 14 million newly-manufactured firearms were purchased through a registered sale by private American buyers. That's a one, a four, and six zeroes. Fourteen Million. 14,000,000 newly-manufactured guns in the hands of American citizens. Yes, that makes me happy in my pants.

Granted, many of these firearms were bought by people who made multiple purchases, such as myself. I personally purchased six firearms in the past year and a half, with three of them being lawfully transferred to other owners. Knowing that there are "gun nuts" like myself, and "weekend warriors" who are content with owning a shotgun, let's split the difference and say that one in every three new firearms went to a single person. That leaves us with more than 4.6 Million new guns.

That's 4.6 Million new firearm owners in America, within the past year and a half...which is more than a million better than the number of every active-duty and reserve-duty member of every branch of the United States military. On top of that, there are a good many military men and women that wouldn't even think of drawing a bead on a United States citizen, just on general principle.

Even as much as I express distaste for the profession of "Law Enforcement" as it has become in this nation, you can bet your ass that even a few of them won't hesitate to turn their weapons on "the powers that be" if it came down to it. I know this, because I know a few of them. There are approximately one million LEOs in America today.

Let's say that only 3% of our military, and only 3% of our law enforcement officers, decided to act with the population in the event of an uprising. That's 90,000 US servicemen, and 30,000 cops. Subtract that from the original numbers, and you're left with 2,910,000 servicemen and 973,000 cops against 4,600,000 new gun owners...and that number doesn't include those of us who have purchased firearms from private sellers, which have not been recorded.

Nor does it include servicemen and policemen who will not obey orders to imprison or shoot civilians, which bumps that number up to 4,720,000 Americans. Nor does it include the number of private American citizens who owned guns prior to the election of Barrack Obama.

As if 1994, there were approximately 200,000,000 privately-owned firearms in America. The majority of these were possessed by multiple-gun owners, but there was still a firearm owned by one in four American adults. Keep in mind, this statistic comes from the US government, and actual numbers are probably much higher.

The population of the United States is slightly over 307,000,000. The National Institute of Justice says that 25% of these people own firearms, which puts the number of gun-owning Americans at slightly over 76 million people. Of these seventy-six million people, only 46% of them said they were packing weapons to defend themselves against crime, which brings the total down to roughly THIRTY FIVE MILLION PEOPLE.

Obama, all you did was increase the number of people who are armed and willing to defend themselves. More importantly, the significant increase in gun ownership was largely due to the fear of your political policies. Even at the numbers provided by the government, you've spurred a 13% increase in the population of us "nutcases" that "bitterly cling to guns and religion".

For that, Mr. Obama, I applaud you for involuntarily waking up so many of my fellow Americans...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

For Amy...

A few weeks ago, as many of us were discussing the idea of a mosque being built a few blocks away from the site of the Trade Center towers, I wrote a blog about how the Bible and the US Constitution provide us with instruction as a matter of God's Law and Man's Law, to allow for its building. A friend of mine (more a friend of my girlfriend, as I barely know her) commented on it...but, due to the fact that so few people actually comment on my blog postings, I hadn't bothered to check it and just happened to see it today. Her comment is, as follows:

If you cannot stand the mere thought of cops then don't think about them.....there must be some form of order in the world and this is clearly outlined in the Bible as you have posted above. You can like it or not like it, but it is the word of God and he instructs us on how to do it. Now, the discussion of people who abuse power and do not do the God honoring thing when put in positions of authority is a whole different discussion. As a Christian the whole mosque deal is not ideal; however it is thier right to build it in America on their own land with their own money. I would be interested in a blog from you discussing how the Obama Administration continues to attempt to violate the Constitution; expanding on your statement above. Matthew 6 is providing guidance about ceasing time/effort with people who repeatedly "choose" not to understand or acknowledge the truth of God's word and what is right in his eyes.

To that, I say this:

First, let's discuss the idea of the police. I am not a thief, a killer, a rapist, drug dealer, or a robber...and I don't like the automatic assumption that I am any of these things, merely because the potential exists that I might be one. Yet, that is the exact feeling I get, when a policeman approaches me with his hand on his gun.

There is order in this world, both the order provided by God and the order we live under known as the law of man. As a Christian, I am required by my God to follow both of them. The highest authority of man, in these United States where I live, is the United States Constitution. Within that constitution, you'll find a specific set of rights I am afforded, merely by my birthright as a United States citizen. Also, you will find specific authorization for the Supreme Court of the United States.

Both the Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court, state that all three times a man with a badge has pointed his loaded department-issued sidearm at my head, he has done so in violation of the authority he has been given. Likewise, they also say that in the various times I have been wrongfully arrested, it has been in direct violation of the authorities granted to them. In case you're wondering, all of those cases were dismissed. Every single one of them.

If they have no authority to do the things they do, then it is not a violation of God to turn away from them and refuse to submit to their whims. Unfortunately, I cannot simply "not think about them", as I can't drive from my home to my place of work without seeing officers from six different agencies during that ten minute drive. I can't be at the shop my family owns, "after hours" (even though we never have had any posted business hours, and aren't open to the public), without fear that the police will show up and interrogate me...and with the case of "Angleton's Finest", I can't even get him to acknowledge my presence if the BCSO deputy still has my ID!

Telling me to "stop thinking about them" is akin to telling me to "just fly to Mars". It simply ain't gonna happen. I know your husband is a cop. You know I have a bad perception of cops, because the way so many of them have treated myself and those I care about. If the subject of police officers comes up, I'm going to think about my experiences with them. Likewise, if I see one, I'm going to remember what his "brothers in blue" have done to me and mine. If someone has a problem with the perception of cops by those who have been repeatedly wronged by cops in the past, then perhaps that person should attempt to persuade cops to follow the law as written instead of making it up as they feel.

Now that I've got that out of the way, please allow me to get where I was initially going before I digressed into my disdain for the badge. You suggested that I post about Obama and his repeated violations of our constitution.

With such a suggestion, I am tempted to ask, "where do I start"? Let's see...
A) As Commander in Chief of the United States Military, he has decided to continue the unconstitutional wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I mention Iraq, even though he has declared combat operations to be completed, because such a declaration is as meaningful as the one Bush II made from the aircraft carrier in front of his "Mission Accomplished" banner! Regardless, neither one of these wars were ever lawfully declared by our congress, as required by the constitution. Many will argue that "congressional authorization" is the same as a declaration of war, but it simply isn't. A declaration of war defines an enemy, and lasts only until a declaration of truce or surrender is signed. Who we are fighting changes from one day to the next, and it has no real sign of ending.

B) As the Chief Officer of the Executive Branch (COEB) of our government, he continues to allow the utilization of the "Interstate Commerce" clause to govern state matters such as BATFE "yellow paper" gun registrations for in-state buyers from licensed dealers, and prohibits persons from being professional gun dealers without licenses. There is no constitutional authority for any federal agency to compel registration of firearms upon purchase, nor is there any such authority to compel someone to be licensed to sell firearms if they are not shipped in from another state (i.e. "pawn shops" and other local dealers, which buy and sell to the general public, firearms which are purchased by the shop on-sight).

C) As COEB, he continues to allow D.E.A. raids on persons manufacturing "controlled substances", as well as persons selling them, even when done so in accordance with state law and within state borders. Marijuana is recognized by many health care professionals as beneficial for all manner of maladies, is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, and is often grown by commercial growers within the US for semi-local consumption inside the boundaries of that particular state. Even after promising to stop busting medical pot grow-ops, the D.E.A. is still doing it.

D) As COEB, he continuously neglects to order the Justice Department to investigate instances of wrongdoing on behalf of local, county, and state LEA's when they enforce unconstitutional "security measures" such as "free speech zones", and attempt to disrupt constitutionally-protected speech in public places as they did during the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, PA. As the recipient of tax dollars, it is a direct dereliction of his Oath of Office when he fails to act on such matters.

E) As CiC of our military, it is his official duty to secure our nation. While the ongoing wars in Iraq and AfPak are pointless insofar as our "national security" is concerned, our borders are still being invaded daily by those who enter our nation without proper legal authority. It is, as the chief officer of our military, a dereliction of his official duty to not even attempt to secure this nation.

I could go on and on, but I think you're starting to understand where I'm going with this. Yes, Obama is a screwup, if we're judging the US Constitution as a benchmark. Unfortunately, so has every other president we've had in my lifetime, and even before. It's so bad that it's not even worth judging, in the same way that you can't really say it's worse to be shot in the head as opposed to being hit with a 14lb sledgehammer at full-speed. Either way, you're dead, and it's gonna be messy...

There are two "accessories" to the offenses committed by our president(s), one being the public that willfully goes along with them, and the legal enforcers that use force or threat of force to keep the ball rolling...and there is the third party that won't play ball.

What are you?