Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Pessimists Went to New York

        When the Nazis came to power in Germany, things became increasingly difficult for the Jews. It began with restrictions on daily activities, then vandalism, then beatings, then, well, we all know what 'then' was.
        Anyway, up until the last possible moment, opinion was divided between the optimists, who believed that this was just a passing phase, and the pessimists, who were not so sure.
        Eventually we learned which opinion was correct and,  "The pessimists went to New York. The optimists went to Auschwitz." became part of the world's lexicon.
        And now we have Iran and the Iranian nuclear...'agreement?' And again there is a difference of opinion about what the future will bring. Only this time, it's not just the opinion of the Jews that matters, 'Death to Israel.' This time we have company, 'Death to America.'
        And if we go ahead with this, 'American diplomatic triumph', and unfreeze Iran's 150 billion dollars to use as they see fit, allow them to import ballistic missile technology in 8 years and purify uranium to the level necessary to build a bomb in 10 or 15 years, what then?
        Will the moderates in Iran gradually change the nature of the regime as the optimists believe they will? Will it really be Atoms for Peace? Hummus not Hamas? Or will the question one day be,
        "Where did everyone go when there no longer was a New York?"

Monday, September 14, 2015

Justice tomorrow. Justice yesterday. But justice today? Hmm, I'll have to get back to you on that one.

         In its recent Ferguson report, the Department of Justice noted that, despite all the large and contentious 'protests', only two formal complaints were lodged against police officers and that this was clear proof that the citizens of Ferguson had no trust that a complaint could be resolved satisfactorily.
        Suppose that instead of two complaints, there had been two hundred or two thousand?
Would that have meant that the people had great trust and confidence in the police or would it be more like,
       "See, we told you. Cops acting like...cops. Better send the president to make a speech to the U.N."
        Not a good situation when the robbers always get the benefit of the doubt and the cops always get...the doubt.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Planned Parenthood in the News...Again

        Every year or two, someone from Planned Parenthood manages to get him or herself recorded saying something so vile and stupid that it even offends an occasional Democrat.
        "You mean that if I say something here today, somebody somewhere else can hear it tomorrow or even the next day? Get away!"
        What do they put in the arugula over there? or is it just the Merlot?
        And then it's on to the usual 'Defund Planned Parenthood', 'War against whoever votes,' etc. What a waste of time. Isn't there a way to put a stop to all this nonsense without offending either the 'defund' crowd or the 'Arugulistas?'  Well, here's a suggestion,
        In 1911, Standard Oil was broken up and everything worked out okay.
        In 1985, it was the phone company's turn. And again, no problem.
        Why can't Planned Parenthood follow in their footsteps and spin off its abortion division? Maybe call it Standard Oil for good luck. Apparently abortions only make up 3% of the care they give anyway.
        They could still continue providing contraceptive services, cancer screening, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, etc. Just stop the abortions which are illegal when they're paid for by taxpayer money anyway (except in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother's life is in danger and these would still be covered in any PP spinoff).
        How difficult would that be?
        In a big center, just put up a wall. On one side, Planned Parenthood. On the other, abortion clinic. Or maybe build a few new offices. In any case, not very complicated.
       Then, if someone calls asking for abortion info, just have to say that we don't do that anymore but we can give you the phone number of a very reliable group that does. ("Yeah, you're right, they do look a lot like us.")

Monday, July 20, 2015

Anytime, anywhere?

        The important question is not WHETHER the President or his National Security Advisor or anyone else promised that the Iran treaty would include inspections 'anytime and anywhere,' but rather why it was NOT included. Under the treaty, the Iranians have 24 days, not hours, DAYS, to allow inspection of any 'suspicious' site.
        Why was this provision so important to the Iranians? Think they're afraid that someone might steal their most secret falafel recipe? Trust without verify is not just worthless. It's dangerous.
        And what about Iran keeping its nuclear infrastructure? enriched uranium and centrifuges to enrich more?
        What do they need that for? Iran is sitting on one of the largest deposits of oil and natural gas in the world. Poke a hole in the sand and it squirts out like seltzer. Why would they want to  waste billions developing a 'peaceful' nuclear power industry?
        And in eight years the Iranians are going to be allowed to import technology to build ballistic missiles. Also for 'peaceful' purposes? Did you hear that Amazon is planning to open a branch in Tehran and this is how they'll be delivering books? Me neither.
        In ten years, by the way, all restrictions start winding down and Iran, hundreds of billions of dollars richer, will be allowed to begin developing nuclear weapons without interference  from the rest of the world. No wonder they're dancing in the streets. ("If you like your nuclear weapons, you can keep your nuclear weapons. No, really. This time I'm not kidding.")
        Eli Wiesel once said, "I've got more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He's the only one who kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people."
        And, speaking of promises,
        "Death to America. Death to Israel." Wonder who said that...and what he meant.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Austerity Tomorrow and Austerity Yesterday but never Austerity Today

        Watching all those Greek students marching thru the streets of Athens, waving the Greek flag, wrapped in the Greek flag, laughing, singing, cheering...could remind a person of the French students in 'Les Mis' and the Paris uprising of 1832. Different flags but, students are students. Young is young.
        Live free or die. Live FOR free or die. What's the difference? It's only one word. Oh, those Greeks. 
         Death or food stamps. Don't take it all so seriously. Life is way too short. Don't be so...austere.
Dear Greek Friends,
        Your political leaders want you to like them and will sometimes tell you what they know you want to hear.
        'Austerity' is not a choice. It's not jelly beans or soup or austerity or ice cream or...(pick one). You don't get to decide which one you want. 'Austerity' is paying back what you owe and then living within your means. That's the one you have to pick, sooner or later, or it will be picked for you and you'll never get any jelly beans or soup and definitely no ice cream...ever...no matter what anyone tells you. 
        And don't wait until the music stops or it could be too late. You may have forgotten how to dance.
        Good luck from your friends in Detroit and Chicago and Baltimore and...a few other places.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Law of the Land...more or less

        It's no secret that the U.S. Constitution has been subject to much (mis?)interpretation over the years. Maybe it's too long, too complicated, not complicated enough, who knows? If I were rewriting it, I'd try,
                                           United States Constitution
                                                   We the people.
                                                         The end.
"What?! What is that supposed to be?"
"It's the constitution. Why, you don't like it? Did you read the whole thing?"
"But, but, but...there's nothing there. Everything's missing."
"Well, it's a little short but easy to read."     
"But, it doesn't say anything, doesn't answer any questions."
"Give me a question that my constitution won't answer for you."
"Ok. What if two gay people want to get married. Can they?"
"You sure you read the whole thing? Look, right after the 'e' in 'we', you see where it says
   that the constitution guarantees the right to marriage? And if the constitution guarantees
   the right to marriage, gay people also have the right to marry. Simple."
"Wait a minute! I don't see any of that stuff in there. Where are you reading?"
"Hmm, do you see the stuff about the right to privacy, the right to an abortion, the right
  to make everyone buy health insurance or pay a penalty?"
"No, I don't see any of that stuff."
"Just as I suspected. You're an originalist."
"Doc, no! Am I going to die?"
"An 'originalist' is someone who reads the constitution and interprets it the way it was
  written. They are often referred to as The Sensible Ones. Others claim that the
  constitution is a 'living document' and has to be interpreted differently, no matter what  
  it says or how clearly it's written,  because it was written for 'a different time.' They are 
  often referred to as New York Times Editorial Writers."   
"But that's crazy! Something can mean one thing today and something completely
  different tomorrow. Depends on who's on the Court. What a way to run a country."
"So, who's perfect?"
"And if The Constitution is a 'living document' and can mean different things on different
  days, then what about the Penal Code, the Commercial Code, the..."
"Sh-h-h, don't give them any ideas."

Monday, June 15, 2015

You Go, Girl!

Of course we need public financing of elections. How else will voters get to really understand the issues and on where each candidate stands on each one. In discussing the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership, for example, Hillary Clinton stated her position,
"Let's take the lemons and make them into lemonade."
"Get the best strongest deal possible."
"Drive a harder bargain."
"Getting to what works."
"Let's make it as good as can be."

"What difference does it make?" - Oops, wrong issue.

An informed citizenry....