Friday, July 26, 2013

There IS NO Right to Sex

--Have you checked  your U.S. Constitution lately?
I  have, and find no reference or mention regarding
any right to sex. That means if someone agrees to
have intercourse with you, it's a gift, not an obligation.
Nobody owes their body to anyone else, and I include
the married as well. Apparently, though, some men
perusing our "highest" document imagine such a right
written in red....

But take a look at what's actually happening here at
home and around the world--rape, groping, assault,
kidnapping (for sexual purposes, not money), forced
"marriage" at a young age, electronic exhibitionism, etc.
This is a mostly male-fueled disgrace, sometimes
supported by certain women to stay on such males'
"good" side. All of this is abhorrent, painfully primitive,
disgusting, embarrassing.

When will all this end, when will respect take
ascendancy over sexual obsession? I predict, not
anytime soon. We are, after all, animals. How easy
is it to overcome those aspects of our identities?
Most of us manage to keep ourselves in check,
but for those who can't--a stiff jail term for the
multiple, heinous offender is in order, preferably
for life or well into old age, which will solve the
problem.(-Biology confers justice at times!)

Memo to men: Take a cold shower, read a book,
call a friend, take a nap, go on a run--do anything
positive to avoid being so uncivilized. We women
will thank you. To the good men out there, do more
than shake your heads with chagrin--take action,
albeit if only by way of more public remarks. Taking
legal recourse, better still.

Memo to both men and women: There is no right to
sex, for you to give OR get it. It is a privilege, a
pleasure and a responsibility--STDs, unwanted children,
bad feelings and jealousy-driven crimes are all
possibilities lurking in the background. Don't be
victimized; don't victimize anyone else.

Know your rights, and those of others.

Monday, July 22, 2013

"1984" Has Arrived--in California

Apparently inmates in certain Cali prisons can be thrown into
solitary confinement for reading-yes, READING- Machiavelli's
The Prince. A quick review of 1984's plot reminds me about
the complete thought control system employed by a fictional
society in 1984, according to author George Orwell.

Are we heading into such an abyss? Why would anyone punish
a prisoner for reading The Prince? I have a copy, and it is nothing
more than a testament to the brilliant, independent, practical
and logical systems of a particular political gun for hire (AKA,
adviser to kings). Marvelous if amoral Machiavelli posited
several completely different rationales to assist his various
bosses, each of which seems to achieve internal consistency....

--AHEM, to the intellectually weak wardens of  such stilted
institutions, it's memo time:

(1) Chances are excellent that no inmate will be able to glean
any useful tips from The Prince to  orchestrate a jailbreak or
create a working gang of his peers.

(2) Readers often make better thinkers--don't you want
that in a troubled population?

(3) It's a world-renowned classic--get over yourselves and
stop showing said world your ignorance.

Machiavelli obviously took a generally dim view of  human
nature, which heavily colored his philosophy. But he was a
political strategist, not a priest, so in that sense, he might
be considered "a bad influence" by certain wardens and

Regarding reading during incarceration, let's look at
what happened to Malcolm X during his eight years in a
Norfolk, MA prison. It boasted one of the largest prison
libraries in the U.S., and Malcolm took advantage of this
resource, leaving the correctional system a changed and
better man.

Have authorities in Cali read 1984, contributing to the state's
moral decline? Please, California, stop attempting mind control.
It ultimately doesn't work anyway, makes life less worth living
for everyone--even the would be "controllers'.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Florida: Not Nurturing, Not a Garden

My apologies to the millions of decent people who live there, but
I have no wish to visit Florida--for any reason.   Let me count the
ways why Florida isn't the Garden State:

(1) Hurricanes;
(2) Palmetto Bugs (large, flying cockroach-like insects);
(3) Primitive, permissive laws like "Stand Your Ground";
(4) Primitive, permissive politics that strip away people's rights;
(5) Very sketchy business practices by large companies.

Years ago I interviewed at the Chicago office of a huge,
Florida-based real estate company. About to be hired,
the interviewer let me in on a few of its sales secrets, which
included targeting Polish and Hispanic-speaking neighborhoods
with a view to selling mortgages to English-challenged buyers.
[I declined the job offer.] Various charges of fraud led to
this firm's bankruptcy and indictments, which were later
overturned. (-?)

Then there were the Florida Bush connections earlier this decade,
which allowed Bush II eight years in the White House, more death
and destruction by war than necessary, justifiable or reasonable.
In 2004 I called the Florida Secretary of State to ascertain Florida
policy regarding out of state poll watchers; there isn't one, they
aren't allowed. [Yet foreign nations allow the U.S. to monitor
THEIR elections....]

So what's so great about escaping to Florida? --Leaving
Winter behind? I'll keep Winter and forget  Florida,
not nurturing of anybody's rights, really. For all its lush         
growth,  a garden state it's not.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

...But Burke in Chicago Attempts to Hold the Line Separating Guns and Booze

Bravo, Burke! Chicago Alderman Ed Burke is going our
recently passed IL state law one better--no guns in ANY
establishment selling alcohol, PERIOD. No arithmetic required:
no stipulations as to how much food vs. booze sold, nada,
no guns. This makes all kinds of sense: Quite a few terrific
restaurants with bars take many alcohol-only orders, as I
have seen over the years.

Alcohol, for those not in the know, lowers inhibitions, a
bad idea on a good day, as what we must do when dealing
with others (especially offensive idiots) is maintain our cool.
Two or more drinks on, the part of the brain that controls
behavior begins to relax, like the rest of the body--and then,
oh brother, father, sister, mother, we have words; words fail?
Then put up fists or pull out that concealed pistol. -Pow! Now,
how about that?! [Feels good for about 10-30 seconds, after
which reality sets in and you see sealed fates for you and yours,
them and theirs.]

Over the years I've disagreed with Mr. Burke often, but not when
it comes to public safety issues. Alderman Ed served as a
policeman back in the day; he knows whereof he speaks
--experience vs. theory, with him.

Keep holding the line, Mr. Alderman, your concern is well-taken.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wild West Country: An Apocalypse of Gun-Fueled "Accidents" Is Near, As Feared...

It's now unanimous--the USA is now 100% Sarah Palin and
Charlton Heston country. The Supreme Court and ALL
50 STATEHOUSES have decreed their warped, self-serving
"understanding" of the Second Amendment into law. Illinois,
even with all the Chicago gun violence/mortality, had stood
alone in avoiding Conceal and Carry...that was something,
at least. By the way, what's the point of hiding one's legal
weapons, exactly? (Keeping them locked up from children's
dangerous curiosity is another, vital, matter.)

From sea to shining sea, we now live in a nation whose
vision has failed, except for the few enlightened among us.
You'll see more death by klutz (bet on it), domestic violence,
road rage and all the rest. Chicago, as the U.S.'s third-largest
city, will be ever-more guns-present intensive. Law-abiding
people should carry, some say. What about the clumsy, the
suddenly roused to anger, the inebriated? They too will be
packing and pulling out their weapons when words fail them.

Perhaps all this gun-loving is meant to assuage all our
finally perceived insecurities. Ever since 911, the paranoid
among us, most particularly those in power, have created a
litany of bad practices and policies. It's as if no one has studied
any world history, no one will/can accept that any nation's world
supremacy eventually fails, therefore its security becomes less sure.

How long did the USA think it could coast on winning
(with Allied help) the past two World Wars? That we
haven't experienced full-on invasions has more to do with
our two friendly neighbors and two oceans north, south,
east and west than the Monroe Doctrine and our
putative might. (As it is, we are "invaded" by Central
Americans via our California, Arizona and Texas borders
each day.)

Viewed from a historical perspective, the United States
is sliding backward, back into the authoritarian, shadowy
stupidity we attempted to escape from in 1776.
--Conservativism? No, rigid, right-wing control. Really,
what that is positive are we "conserving"?

After watching events for 60 years, I'm afraid too,
of the Wild West Country I must call home, of an
apocalypse of gun-fueled "accidents" erupting in Illinois,
my state...

And  in the general lack of moral fiber and good sense
exhibited here, there, everywhere.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Parties and Parrying in Lieu of Patriotism

Another Fourth of July is about to come to a close,
with the absence of meaningful, helpful political
action in Washington DC, the Illinois statehouse
and elsewhere. There isn't enough money in my
suburb or Chicago to host former years' July 3rd
beautiful and awe-inspiring fireworks, but the
rhetorical firestorms haven't fallen silent, stridency
ruling over good sense, alas.

237 years ago the Founders stated their intent to
break with the mother country and forge a new
nation. I put the plural to "founder", as Thomas
Jefferson, who certainly could coin a phrase, was
part of a document draft committee which included
Franklin and Adams; they found it necessary to
redact a good bit of controversial rambling Jefferson
indulged in after a stirring beginning. The inconvenient
truth about those self-evident "truths" Jefferson listed
is that they are abrogated daily and have been since he
wrote those words.

For me the fourth of July isn't as significant as
the birth of  our republic, celebrated on September
17th every year, the day in 1787 when the framers
signed the Constitution. It's an unhappy fact that the
highest law of the land is also routinely broken, even
by second president John Adams back in 1801.

Meanwhile, the parties and political parrying
(wrangling) still go on across America, in lieu
of patriotic problem-solving, you know, justice,
respect and dignity for all.

Well, we haven't been taken over in 237 years;
that, at least, is worthy of a lifted glass or two.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Snowden's Situation Shows the Tension Between Exercising Freedoms and Willful Stupidity

...and he's no Thomas Drake. In 2006 Mr. Drake, a high-level
NSA executive (contrasted to Snowden's low-level sub-contractor
status) became a whistleblower revealing his deep misgivings
about aspects of the NSA's policies/practices, particularly
regarding incompetence, waste, fraud and abuse. A 60 Minutes
CBS interview in 2011 of Mr. Drake by Scott Pelley revealed the
many operational flaws hobbling the NSA's effectiveness--
and its fairness. A promising electronic surveillance program
called Thin Thread was nixed by General Michael Hayden, a
man known for his many mistakes, in favor of Trailblazer.
Trailblazer was an inaccurate, $1.2 billion money-wasting
program which didn't warn the U.S. in time about 911 terror
threats. Drake objected to warrantless wiretapping which then
became NSA policy, clearly unconstitutional.

Mr. Drake attempted to share his concerns internally at NSA,
by the book, but  to no avail. Then he began dealing with the
press; later, he contacted the Government Accountability
Project, which defends whistleblowers. He (of course)
lost his job and retirement benefits, was indicted by the
government, but never left the U.S. ...and kept all his
freedoms, according to an interview he gave the
New York Times just a few days ago.

Then there's Snowden, relatively young and inexperienced,
a high-school and college dropout, who obviously didn't do
much research before embarking on his life-changing agenda.
Did he research which countries have/don't have extradition
treaties with the U.S.? Did he contact the Government
Accountability Project? Did he remain in the U.S. to stand
and fight? I think "no" answers all.

There will always be a dynamic tension between exercising
one's freedoms and willfull stupidity. Snowden has chosen
the latter, and now is a man without a country, foreshadowed
fictionally in a short story and movie long before.