Monday, September 10, 2018

Stormy Weather

        Suppose the President of the United States was alleged to have slept with two ladies, neither being his wife, paid them for their silence and then lied about the whole thing, denying that it had ever taken place. Who's the bad guy (gal) here?
        Well, if you generally divide your day between watching CNN and MSNBC, the answer is obvious, i.e. ' President Trump, of course,' as it would be the answer to most any other question you might have, i.e.,  Who is responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs? Who caused the Ice Age? Who stole Captain Queeg's strawberries from the captain's locker on the USS Caine? etc.
        But even if the whole story is true, why is the President the fall guy here, the one who deserves to be condemned while the women have almost become folk heroes? After all, who went public with this whole story and caused Melania Trump such untold humiliation?
        Aren't women supposed to stick together and watch out for each other? Isn't that what all those women's marches and demonstrations right after Trump's election were supposed to be about? Well, what happened this time?
        Oh, right, they were just doing it for the good of the country, to save the Republic. This was just friendly fire, collateral damage. And that guy in the corner over there, 'Mr. Skin?' just call me 'Shark.' He's running for president in 2020 for the same reason. People are so good sometimes.   
       And let's not forget, there was another person involved here too, a smaller and somewhat younger person. You think he doesn't know what happened, thanks to these two folk heroes? And you think his friends, classmates and anyone who can recognize him isn't doing a number on his head? Kids, as anyone who has had or has ever encountered one will tell you, can be cruel, sometimes very cruel.
        But, oh well, if things don't work out, just to follow the advice or our millenial philosopher kings, "Not to worry."               
        Time to head for Central Park, light a few candles, do the wave, sing some songs about poverty and what have you and go get a graduate degree in bullying so you can go out and really, "Make a difference."

Saturday, August 25, 2018

To Keep and Bear...What?

        The Second Amendment says that the people shall have the right to keep and bear arms. It doesn't say that the people can only keep and bear arms if they're in a militia.
        Nevertheless, there are those who make exactly this claim, i.e. that because we no longer need to raise a militia, the right to keep and bear arms is really outdated and should be abolished. How come nobody ever makes this sort of argument about all our other freedoms? [Not yet, anyway.]
        Freedom of the Press is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Clearly the reason for this amendment was the Founders' belief that a free and open press would be the best way to assure the existence of a well informed citizenry. But since the media is now overwhelmingly the captive of one  point of view,
        "I'd punch that guy right in his nose." Yeah, Yeah. "You know I'd like to go right out and burn the White House right down to the ground." Yeah. Yeah. "Don't let them have a moment's peace in the restaurants, in the stores, in their homes, when they go to buy gas." Yeah, yeah. and since the opposing views have almost no chance of any meaningful exposure anyway, what's the point?
        Might as well let the press and the rest of the media give up once and for all the pretense of educating the masses and go back to spending all of their time doing what they do best, selling advertising.
        Freedom of Speech? If you can say it, it's probably been said already and, if it hasn't, who really wants to hear it anyway?
        Freedom of Religion? The opiate of the masses.
              Remember when freedom was a good thing just because it was...freedom? A  person could build a whole country on an idea like that.

                                          " Wasn't that a time, wasn't that a time? ' 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Give Me a 'C'

         "Give me an 'I'."
         "Give me an 'A'.."
         "Now, what have you got?"
         "Eh, well, I'm not exactly sure. Hmm, a C and an I and an A. Sounds familiar... Wait a minute! I think I remember. That sounds like the group that told Kennedy that if he got a bunch of guys together and landed in Cuba, Bay of Porcupines, I think they called it..."
         "Bay of Pigs."
         "Right, Bay of Pigs. Anyway they told him if he landed a small army there, the whole population of the country would rise up and they'd be rid of Castro once and for all.
         "And weren't those the same guys who were always telling us how we had to stop the Commies in Vietnam or next thing they'd be landing in San Francisco?"
         "Who knew they'd be coming from Beverly Hills and Bel Air and Malibu and...?"
         "Hey, you get bored making 40 million bucks for six month's work. Got to think of something to do with your time."
         "And then they figured out that Sadam Hussein was making all those WMD's so we better get busy destroying all those power plants and water treatment plants and hospitals and..."
         "Well, now wait a minute. That's not fair. Everybody in the world thought he was making those things and that we better get busy wiping them, and him, out."
        "Now you wait a minute, wait a minute.It's their job to figure out all the things the rest of the world thinks is going on. Otherwise, what do we need those guys for?"
         "By the way, who are we talking about here anyway?"
         "I'll give you a hint, 'Too many cooks spoil the broth.'"
         "The Culinary Institute of America?"

*Note: A second opinion is pretty much always a good idea, whether it's from your chef or your doctor or even your intelligence service. Getting one doesn't make you a 'traitor.' Not ever.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Is Torture Unconstitutional?

        The only mention the Constitution actually makes of behavior resembling torture is found in the 8th Amendment  which prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment." That's it, cruel and unusual punishment. It's the only form of torture that the Constitution specifically prohibits.
        And 'punishment' has a specific meaning. It means retribution or penalty for some act that's already been committed,
        In other words, the Constitution prohibits torture when it's used as a form of punishment but, if you know where that bomb is hidden or where those kidnappers are hanging out, or we think you might know, trying to get some information from you is not 'punishment' and the Constitution is silent on what we can do to you.
        Severe pain, electric shocks, waterboarding, whatever. Think it's immoral or unethical to do that kind of stuff? Well, ok. Think what you like but the Constitution doesn't prohibit it no matter what you've been told. It's almost as though the Constitution was written by folks who were thinking about what they would do if their own kids were taken or there was evidence that a bomb was going to be planted in their behinds.

        And finally, while it is nevertheless true that virtually all international treaties continue to prohibit all forms of torture, it is also true that we can withdraw from these treaties a lot more easily than we can amend the Constitution. Maybe something to sit down...and think about some time..