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Friday, March 03, 2006


For those of you who just want the pictures, skip this post.

To Do List:

  • Get rid of the oxymoron-ic Patriot Act.
  • Criminally prosecute government agents that spy on Americans without warrants and give medals to those who leaked the program.
  • Inform the Intelligent Design goofballs that to be scientific, a hypothesis has to be able to be disproved and it must be predictive. This means that an Intelligent Design proponent must have a method for disproving the existence of a creator AND the ability to predict the actions of such a creator. Do they REALLY want to be part of the scientific community or are they really asking for some kind of untouchable privileged kibitzing? It stuns me that Bush says, "I think we should put Intelligent Design in our schools," and then says we need to promote scientific education. Scientific Education? Scientific Education? You couldn't handle Scientific Education.
  • Legalize drugs, let the pharmaceutical companies pay the high prices for poppies and coca for useful drugs and get rid of the black market. Now that would be a blow to terrorists who use the drug trade to finance their operations. It would also open up prisons people who are committing crimes against people and property.
  • Reform tax code to a list of multiple choice options: Here's my tax dollars, but this is what you have to spend it on. Even better: Here's how much of my money you get AND this is what you have to spend it on. That would be a democracy and make those that use the money accountable -- or else they won't get money the next year.
  • Remove the the McCarthy Era "One nation under God" line from the Pledge of Allegance and never ask those who are under the age of consent to make such a pledge.
  • Let reporters keep their sources private without having to go to jail to do so.
  • Let the government know that we as people have no more basic right than to control our own bodies, in life, creating life, enjoying life, planning our deaths.
  • Legalize gay marriage and gay adoption-- the stupidest argument I heard opposing gay adoption was that the partnerships break up more often. How many demographic groups could be excluded from adopting using this kind of logic? Here's one: There are more divorces in Nevada than anywhere else. Conclusion: don't let Nevadans adopt children.
  • Make all offices (local, state, and national) have a one-term lifetime limit. Honest (well, no less honest) government through high turnover. At least it would spread the wealth and power and corruption around. Or maybe political service could be kind of like jury duty, "Yeah, Bob, I just got called up for the Senate."
  • Re-institute public stocks, floggings and red letters for spammers, pop-up advertisers and spywear peddlers.
  • Sign up any politician who says something like, "And we've had a 360-degree turn around on this," for a mandatory geometry class before speaking again in public.
  • Make all military campaigns voluntary. Okay, you need to have a policy of, "You signed up for this mission for X months, gotta hang in there until then," as well as an immediate response clause, but let your standing army decide to be a part of, just for example, "Iraqi Freedom" or not. If none of your citizens or soldiers sign up, or not enough to carry out the campaign, hey, that might be a clue. Hm... wait that might already be happening -- not quite as quickly as I would have liked.
  • Tax all churches as businesses.
  • If a religion claims:
    1. to be the only way to salvation
    2. to trump freedom of speech and freedom of association
    3. that violence is acceptable in its cause
    4. that other religions are inferior, diabolical, and therefore their followers must be converted and/or saved and/or killed
    5. that harassment of the rest of the population is "godly"
    6. that one gender, class or race is superior to another
    7. that maintaining the reputation of the church is more important than the well-being of the members of the church
    8. that all people live by their rules
    9. that "killing babies" is wrong but "executing criminals" is right
    10. discourages questions or freedom of thought
    11. that a literal interpretation is the only interpretation
    12. that they know who is going to hell or heaven

    then give it the "What a Bunch of Stupid Goobers" seal.
  • This wasn't my idea, but it's so good I'll repeat it: Allow the opposition party to name all new laws. The Patriot Act might then be the "The Republicans Use Fear Mongering to Control the Population through Spying".

Did I mention I was pretty far in the Taoist-Atheist-Libertarian camp?



Sigh ... you really sound pissed off and decided to play devil's advocate.

(If you visited India, you'd have observed the violations of human rights in more ways that you can think of)

Hypatia said...

Well, Hm. I think more accurately I'm annoyed. These are feelings that are generally on a low simmer for me, even atmospheric. I think this was just part of my periodic blowing off steam.

Annoyance, even anger can be useful, even good if managed. Even better, to write it all out clarifies it and allows one to make goals, realize what is just silly and what is reasonable.

Human rights violations are far lower in the US than other countries. No argument there.

I don't really think that's the issue I mean to comment upon, though. Just because other countries have it worse, doesn't mean we (the US) should be content with backsliding and moving away from the ideals set out in our founding documents.

I don't like this administration or its secrecy. I don't like the crusader attitude or the supposed moral high ground it adopts. I don't like the isolationism or lack of cooperation with the rest of the world. I don't like the dual standards it maintains.

My religious feelings extend far beyond the boundaries of my country. But, speaking of one group in this country that drives me crazy, Fundamentalist Christians claim a superiority over all other religions that simply makes me want to scream. (Other fundamentalist groups -- and all religions have them -- make me equally annoyed.)

I do think there is a strong religious feeling of superiority that drives our current foreign policy. I think, as a country that claims to separate church and state, we shouldn't have such a theocratic leanings. There is a growing movement here to remove the laws that separate church and state. I live in a very religious area of my country, so I hope that it's confined to this wacky zone.

And then, well, everyone hates spammers. ;)

matt dick said...

Being a Libertarian myself, I have great sympathy for your list. Kousik, I've been to India (and lots of other areas outside the US, both industrialized and not), and I am in total agreement with both positions: A) anyone who laments our conditions in the US is an idiot, we live the greatest life on the planet and in history, and B) we should be screaming bloody murder at the top of our lungs at any back-slide that could erode those conditions.

I honestly think the "woe is our American condition" lament is ignorance and not stupidity. Not very Americans have actually been to third-world rural areas, and though you can read about it, seeing it is enlightening, and world-view altering if you let it be.

The older I get the more Libertarian I become. Government is evil, but a necessary one. We need to have it around to protect us from foreign invasion and a few other niceties, but we need to remove the government's feeling of entitlement.

You go, girl!

Hypatia said...

I agree with you Matt that "Woe is our American condition" an uninformed lament. I didn't mean to set forth that idea though. I am not lamenting conditions so much as the the backsliding... I feel that my list contains (okay, I'll admit, not by any means entirely), things that attempt to filch rights we previously enjoyed -- or ones that are even layed out in our country's founding documents; specifically privacy, free speech, and separation of church and state.

No matter what your country's current state of affairs I think it is necessary for citizens to gripe and grumble if one loses some bit of progress.

A minor for instance: if a man in your country was allowed to go in public without a beard and suddenly the government has taken away that right, or a woman could show her face in public and now you must wear a veil, you should at least gripe. On the other side of that particular issue, if you wanted to wear a veil and the government suddenly says that you can't if you want to go to school, then you should gripe.

I could gripe about many other governments and states of affairs -- investigating foreign adoption in different countries gives you an idea of the worldwide status of human rights. Children are by far the most vulnerable of all people and suffer the most. But my influence there is only as a parent -- and I am excercising that right. As a citizen, I gripe to my government about its foreign relations and what I think it should promote and condemn and how it should go about that. As a consumer, I can push companies to offer decent wages to all employees regardless of location on the planet.

While griping and grumbling may seem (or even be!) whiny when one has so much, I do think it is one kind of start of making things better. Heck it's important if only to find out that others think you're full of crap and need to find a worthwhile focus. But you may also find a group of people who feel as you do and can join to affect change (not by burning embassies hopefully).

Hypatia said...

Change that "layed out" to "laid out". *head smack*

matt dick said...

No question we need to whine, gripe, complain, fight when the backsliding starts.