Thursday, April 29, 2004

Tears for Maggi

This was a very good day.... until I received some news that hit me in the chest like a sledgehammer. Can't really reiterate afresh what I wrote earlier tonight to Liberty Post so with that as the context, here's to you Maggi...


LP forumer 6bg posted this afternoon that Maggi had died and... just couldn't believe it. After getting confirmation I lay on my bed and buried my face into the pillow, crying my eyes out for at least half an hour this afternoon.

She died toward the end of February but today was the first I'd seen it announced anywhere. Longtime Freepers (and those of us still Freepers at heart from the old days) will remember Maggi, better known by her screenname MouthOfSouth. I imagine any one of us would have something about the impression she left on a lot of people during her life both online and off.

She was a fierce advocate of property rights, especially of farmers and ranchers: not long before we'd first met she had just come from the Darby pro-farmers rally in Ohio. This was also the lady who, armed with a camera and telephoto lens, on most weekends did surveillance on the federal agents in Andrews NC who were searching for Eric Rudolph: she may not have approved of what Rudolph did, but she couldn't trust some of the antics of the feds out there either.

Maggi was not a partisan. She simply believed in what the Constitution stood for. Democrat and Republican alike were subject to her wrath if they deviated from its precepts. That was made obvious by her online presence: Maggi's acerbic wit and wisdom was certainly unique in a forum that, at the time anyway, prided itself on having unique individuals. Her knowledge of pop culture was profound, but that merely sheathed a style of prose that cut through all hypocrisy and nonsense. Nothing fazed this lady.

Some of us remember the sound of her voice, from when FR had FireTalk going on. If you heard her voice, whatever you imagined her to be like in real life, that was her. I'll never forget the first time we met and immediately being infected by her charisma. She was one of the darned few ladies you'll ever meet who'd mastered the fine art of curmudgeonry: I imagine that right now in Heaven she's giving Ambrose Bierce a thing or two about real human nature.

But I'll always remember Maggi as the person who, for whatever reason, saw some potential in a kid who was going through some messed-up times and enticed him to come to Asheville, where he could write and learn a few things about what life is really all about. I rented a small apartment from Maggi and her sister during the year and a half that I was there. My perspective on that wild little town and its people could not have been so greatly appreciated, were it not for the insight of those two sisters. What makes it particularly sad is that, in her own way, Maggi played a critical role in the life plan that God set for me: living in Asheville put me close to the girl I'd started talking to from a Christian website. It wasn't long after moving there that Lisa and I met. A little over a year later in that apartment I asked her to be my wife. Maggi and her sister were in on the whole plot and even helped me out a bit. I'm very thankful that such a moment of my life got to include them... that's something Lisa and I will take with us for the rest of our lives.

I spoke with Maggi's sister on the phone this afternoon. There will be a service next month when Maggi's ashes will be interred in the family plot. Her sister said that it was cancer, but that the last two years of Maggi's life were some of the happiest she ever had. I know some of what happened in that time and, trust me she was really blessed with the time God had left for her. And, it should be said that she went down in true Maggi style: fighting to the last.

Anyway, thought it should be made known to her friends both here and on FR that a great person from our own, and a dear friend, has passed away. I'm not much for words regarding something like this, but I hope that mine in this circumstance did some honor to all the good that Maggi did for me and a lot of other people. She will definitely be missed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

A Republican no more

At the senior picnic a week before we graduated high school in 1992 a history teacher remarked to our principal that "Chris is a real conservative whether he realizes that or not." It came during a lil' discussion we'd been having about what might happen with that year's presidential election since Ross Perot was developing into a strong challenger to the two major parties.

"Conservative?" I wondered: "I don't even know what that really means... am I one?"

I registered to vote the day after my eighteenth birthday, and have gone to the polls in every major elections since. That I've made that effort to be far from an apathetic citizen is something I'm very proud of: the freedoms we enjoy in this country were bought at too high a price, and we take them for granted at our peril. That doesn't mean we MUST vote in every single race on the ballot, because the sad fact of the matter is that none of the candidates in many races don't deserve our vote. But I'm a firm believer that it's incumbent to the responsibility that God gave us as stewards of our liberties that we do vigorously exercise our franchise, and choose either for a candidate or against all of them on the ballot.

That last part has taken me the better part of the time since first registering to really understand. When I first started voting as a younger buck I registered as a Democrat only because my entire family had been Democrats, as if that really mattered and despite the fact that we've generally been more conservative than Jesse Helms on a lot of things. Almost soon after registering I began seeing how corrupt the Democrat party really was and began feeling guilty for being associated with them. So in what I like to think was an act of youthful rebellion against "the way things are" I joined Ross Perot's campaign in 1992 and gave it my best effort to see Perot win that year. I even had a "Ross for Boss in '92" button made that I proudly wore around our college campus. He lost, of course, and the Democrats took the White House, but a seed had been planted in my independent streak.

It began blooming during the next two years as I watched the Clintons made a mockery out of everything the office of President of the United States is supposed to stand for. They were the ones who first made me consider what liberalism really means, and how its root "liberty" is the furthest extreme possible from that mindset. Even as an 18-year old I didn't like the idea of OUR money that we entrust (though almost at the point of a gun) with the government being spent on things like obscene art and pork-barrel giveaways and something as laughable as the United Nations. I came to realize what the Clintons, and what Jesse Jackson and Ted Kennedy and Carol-Moseley Braun really wanted: as much power over every American as they could get away with. Conversely, simultaneous with my realization was my conversion into a "Ditto-head" ensuing my discovery of Rush Limbaugh's television show and then his radio broadcast. A year after Mrs. McCollum had called me a "conservative", I had comfortably and enthusiastically made that the overall definition of my ideas and philosophies and that to be a conservative was to embrace the freedom to be as much as God and our own talents would allow us to be.

But I was still registered as a Democrat. And still watching in disgust as President Clinton played his games with the budget while turning the United States military into a glorified "Meals on Wheels" program. And conniving to keep as many people fooled about his personal character as possible. It was my sister who made me do the obvious thing: the afternoon after she'd had her own conversion she dragged me to the Board of Elections where I declared never again would I be affiliated with the Democrats as long as they were this corrupt, and swore my life, my fortune and my sacred honor to the service of the Republican party. That was October 1994.

In the ten years since I've stood by the Republican party, rejoicing at what we thought was conservative victory that year and hoping that Clinton's style of "leadership" would be given the boot in 1996: my roomie and I even hung a giant "Dole for President" sign in our window overlooking the street weeks before the election. I was so sure that the Republicans would be vindicated for their adherence to conservatism, that if they held to their principles then this country really would turn around for the better.

I was wrong. And I'm tired of holding onto, in the least bit, the illusion that the Republicans demand that I buy into.

The Republican party is so infested with liberal motivations that it's ceased to be a vehicle for conservative ideas and methods. For sake of "winning elections" I've watched the GOP prostitute itself so many times to appease the lowest common denominator, that it doesn't stand for anything of principle anymore. If I were to keep believing that choosing to be a Republican makes a better difference than being a Democrat, I would be allowing myself to be enslaved to a lie. And I'm too damned free to be a slave to anyone or anything.

George W. Bush is a far worse President than Bill Clinton ever was. And a bigger liberal than Clinton was either. The only thing I can see of virtue in his administration is that at least Bush shies away from young interns and maybe keeps the Oval Office sink cleaner than did his predecessor. Government spending on Bush's watch has skyrocketed to levels that the Clinton term never approached. Expenditure will soon outstrip government's means of financing it barring - guess what? - a tax increase. Bush does not believe in maintaining and protecting our nation's sovereignty: it cannot possibly be claimed that one does that while also encouraging our nation's borders to be as leaky as a rusty sieve. He's abusing the use of our military forces in ways that make Clinton's antics in Haiti and Somalia look almost honorable. And yet, to be considered a "good conservative" Republicans are expected to turn a blind eye to these and other things that fully contradict what principled conservatism stands for.

The PATRIOT Act is the worst possible piece of legislation that ever came out of Washington D.C. The Republicans who voted for it - ALL of them who did because no one admitted to having actually read the abominable thing - have demonstrated that in their zeal to follow their Republican President, they have no compunctions against violating the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution.

The common man has as much hope of serving his countrymen in elected office via the Republican party as he does through the Democrats... in other words, none at all. Ideas and principles don't qualify you to be a Republican candidate anymore: they're now considered a liability to the cause. Republicans want their candidates to be either rich, or famous, or ideally both. A GOP candidate must be "approved" by the party's leadership as being faithful enough to their aims, which aren't necessarily what is in the best interest of the people you want to serve: they run counter to it more often than not. Both major parties have succeeded in bringing back the "smoke-filled room" but the Republicans are much worse than their Democrat antagonists: if you dare suggest opposition to the party's anointed, you'll be deemed a ratfink and you may as well kiss your desire to serve - however sincere they are - goodbye forever.

That's what I've wanted to do ever since I was a teenager: offer myself as a candidate for elected office. Maybe even the U.S. House of Representatives someday. Get elected and serve one term, maybe two, then come home and let someone else take a crack at it. Life's too short to make a career out of something like that while denying yourself all the other experiences that come with this world. That, and staying entrenched in office for longer than a few terms tends to dull your senses as to how to respect others as their servant: you soon begin to represent yourself, not them. Neither one of the two major parties want that in someone they sponsor. They want individuals who will surrender their individuality as part of a long-term investment for the party's power: an incumbent Republican is a lot harder to lose from an election than a first-time candidate is, after all.

My conscience has felt dirty, for these reasons and many more, during the past few years since I began seeing for the first time that to be a loyal Republican is to possess as corrupted a soul as any loyal Democrat has. It would be an exercise in futility to try to run on the Republican slate as a principled conservative... so what reason do I have in staying with the Republicans, at all? I realize now that the GOP abandoned conservatism a long time ago, and there's no reason for me to stick around any longer either. But I never left the Republican party... it left me.

This morning I went to renew my drivers license, which also allowed me to change my voter registration. When the nice lady asked for my affiliation I blurted out, without a second thought, "independent". I told her that I was once a Democrat before switching to Republican, and I was now sick to death of both of them. "A lot of people are," she told me.

So here I am, enjoying the first few hours of my political freedom, for the first time in my life. I owe no party any loyalty, and none can now claim me as a thrall of their own. All it took was a little thought and a negligible amount of breath to simply say "no" to them.

But then, that's all it takes for anyone to be free from anything.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

The unwatchable "Watchmen"

It was announced Thursday on Ain't It Cool News that the long long LONG delayed (going back at least to 1988) film production of Alan Moore's "Watchmen" has found a director: Darren Aronfosky. You might remember Aronofsky as the writer/director of 1997's offbeat black-and-white mathematical thriller "Pi". He's done a few things since then but "Pi" beyond all doubt proved his mettle. The one thing he screwed up badly on was the work he did on the "Batman: Year One" script (Alfred the butler as a black man who says "Slammin'!" a lot: what the ...?!)

That said, Darren Aronofsky is a very gifted director. He could probably handle any production task given him with the direst sense of responsibility. He's a true cinematic artist. He's going to destroy his career when he fails miserably by attempting to bring "Watchmen" to the big screen.

This is what Terry Gilliam has said might be the one story that is absolutely unfilmmable. The only way I can think of it getting made and being anywhere faithful to the book is to make it a 24-hour long, 12-part miniseries: one part per chapter from the book for 12 consecutive nights. With a billion-dollar budget and the Wachowski Brothers at the helm. It would have to go on HBO... in fact HBO would be the perfect medium for it. Even considering working with anything less than that would be utter folly.

It's impossible to describe to the uninitiated what "Watchmen" is without having read the book. Which is why the Wachowskis would be perfect to make it if they had the time and resources: this was the matrix thirteen years before there was "The Matrix". It's a murder mystery. It's a superhero story. It's a contemplation on the nature of God and man. It's the perfect tale of middle-age triumphs and regrets. It's a warning against conservative extremism. It's a warning against liberal extremism.

Did I mention that this was the comic book that forever redefined the artform?

"Watchmen" begins in 1985, in a world much likes ours... except that Nixon is still president, the United States won the Vietnam War and the Soviet Union never invaded Afghanistan (not yet anyway). The Cold War for all intents and purposes ended a quarter-century earlier... all because of one man. Any more than that would be too much spoilage. This was a world where some individuals really did choose to become costumed crimefighters... and now someone is killing off the "masks". That is all you need to know going in, before this becomes among the most complex and absorbing plots in modern English literature.

That's where it should stay: as literature. In a book, where it can be most appreciated and considered from. A movie won't have the depth of the graphic novel. It can't present the rich text of the excerpts from Mason's book or the professor's analysis of what Doctor Manhattan's existence now means to the world. It couldn't let us watch the growing friendship between the newsstand vendor and the young comic reader (and on that note just the pirate story would take the budget of an entire motion picture to depict). Of maybe 3-hours running time Kovac's past would require at least 45 minutes to show and the part where he "stops pretending" - you know what I mean if you've read the book - would be the most graphic sequence ever put on film.

Don't get me wrong: I'd LOVE to see some of the things in the book - like the prison break - brought to life onscreen... and whoever plays the Comedian is going to wind up winning an Oscar for Best Actor if there's any justice in this world. But if it doesn't happen, it will be no great loss. Besides, what Rorschach's voice sounds like should remain in your own head, instead of forever hearing Steve Buscemi (now rumored to be cast as the psychotic crimefighter) behind the swirling mask.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

People who should be shot when the revolution comes

“Why are you doing this to yourselves?” a history instructor at Elon University asked us about six years ago. “You’re going to find yourselves laying awake one of these days at three in the morning, the only sounds you hear being the breathing of your spouse and the beating of your own heart as you are trapped thinking about the horrible things that humanity is capable of doing. You guys are asking for madness, I hope you realize!”

Ever since then I’ve considered why I majored in history because his warning has proved all too prophetic. There are times that do I find myself in bed, unable to sleep, burdened with the weary knowledge of the shape of things as my beautiful wife slumbers beside me. I have to wonder if all our hopes and dreams are really all for naught - so much so that I struggle with thoughts of having children of my own. “How could we ask our sons and daughters for forgiveness when they someday realize what kind of a world - and what kind of nation – we have brought them into?” I ask myself. I worry, thinking about the life of my children and societal ills the future will inevitably bring us. Yet adding to the futility of it all, our nation is distracted and ignores our deep political and moral problems. If Americans are in anyway active in politics then that, also, is utterly spent of usefulness.

The fever of the moment is to be enraptured in this year’s Presidential election. But it… doesn’t matter. Not at all. It’s but a momentary dose of morphine to distract us from the cancer eating this country. Either candidate from the major parties has demonstrated that they have no regard for the Constitution and the contract it represents between our people and our government. Both of them – and their respective parties – now espouse a socialism that would have horrified Ronald Reagan and maybe even FDR. Their disregard for the things that once gave this nation her noble character reflects the general shallowness of our culture that has led me, sadly, to no longer consider myself to be a proud American.

That great country no longer really exists. The nation I grew up believing in was one where any individual was as free to pursue his dreams as far as his heart and God would take him. It was a land that held to equal justice no matter one’s origin or belief or philosophy. It believed in the encouragement of charity, not the demanding of tribute. It was a place where we really didn’t conceive that it would ever become a police state where every citizen was considered a virtual suspect. In the space of twenty years I’ve watched America go from a bright shining city on a hill, to a cellblock of an island prison “ruled” by petty crooks and thugs.

It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when” this house of cards will collapse. And when it does, one of two things is going to happen: either the American people will capitulate and declare themselves eternally the wards of Nanny Government, or they’ll take to the streets and demand blood. It would be tempting to pray that we would not see either of such days in our time under the sun… but that is not for us to decide. Nor does it look as if that’s guaranteed at all. Sooner or later, something’s gotta give and a whole lot of people are going to be hurt or worse for it.

I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. As such I walk a fine line between being being angry enough to relish harm befalling those that wrong us, while likewise wanting to forgive them: my spirit contends with my flesh more time than I care to admit. But scratch away everything else that there is about being Christopher Knight, and you’re going to find a guy who simply doesn’t want to see anyone die. And I like to believe that this article is my own way of at least trying to stop that from happening

The purpose of this essay is threefold, but definitely NOT to call upon or encourage a violent uprising! Note that I say “when” the revolt happens, not “before”. Any correspondence along the lines of “right on brother bring it on!” will not be acknowledged, and in fact I would not hesitate to report particularly disturbing allusions to the proper authorities.

First, when things fall apart and the center no longer holds, I want to do my best to limit the collateral damage. To that end I offer this list as a guide on who to target, as opposed to possibly hurting innocent civilians who never wanted a dog in this hunt to begin with. Second, the people described below deserve fair warning about what they have done, though in their own ways they have sought control over their fellow man when they deserved none. It is incumbent upon me in my duties as a Christian to tell these people that “look I love you but I don’t want you to get hurt like this,” and it should be our hope that they may yet repent and beg forgiveness for their wrongdoing.

Third, I write this because I want the people on this list to fear. To be afraid for their careers – and maybe even their children’s futures – if not for their lives. Why shouldn’t they be made to fear: they’ve led us to fear them for long enough already. It’s because we have feared them that they have been allowed to run roughshod over the rest of us for too great a duration. They don’t fear because they believe there is no ramification to the evil of their actions on this earth. God may have patience enough to give them time to make amends for their spiritual state, but the nature of man – particularly the man who realizes his oppression – is far less forgiving.


People Who Should Be Shot When The Revolution Comes


- Transportation Security screeners/fondlers

TSA are those peon-prodding Philistines who have the power to forever deny you – without appeal or rationale – the right to air travel if you so much as give them a cocked eyebrow when they ask if they can examine your sandals for shoe bombs. Or make you drink the bottle of your own breast-milk that you stockpiled for your infant. They have a particular affinity toward harassing small children, the disabled and attractive young women. I’ll never fly again if I can help it while they’re around but if I do and my lovely wife happens to be touched by a TSA bootlick in the least bit a suspicious manner, I swear to God that I’ll do my damndest to beat the living snot out of him. It might land me in jail but I don’t care: I’m a jealous husband and there are some things in this world that belong to no other man. No president, Congress or government agency can ever change that fact.

- “Zero tolerance”-happy public school principals

If TSA is the new breed of Brownshirts, then these guys running the indoctrination camps called “public schools” are the Schutzstaffel. Too many have become control freaks hell-bent on breaking any independence of tomorrow’s Americans. Woe be that student who dares bring in a 2-inch long action figure rifle or accidentally leaves a butter knife in the floorboard of his car: such totems of resistance result in instant expulsion. Not every principal is like this, but those that would banish a female student for possessing two Tylenol tablets in her pocket because it’s “that time” of the month have no sane excuse whatsoever to be put in charge of our children… or having any children of their own for that matter.

- Homeowners association busybodies

One in California is now threatening home-schooling families for “non-residential use” of their domiciles. Others throw a hissy-fit if a homeowner chooses to paint his house a loud shade of puce. Simply put: it’s none of their bloody business what a person does with his own home so long as its not infringing on the right of others to do the same with theirs.

- Highway patrol officers who give tickets for unbuckled seatbelts

An American military aircraft is considered territory of the United States no matter where it is. The same should hold true for private transportation: the interior of my car is a sovereign realm in which I can do whatever I want, so long as I’m not using it to deprive others of their own safety in which case does put me under the jurisdiction of the fuzz. But if my back itches while I’m driving and the only route to relief is unfastening my seatbelt and that momentary indiscretion causes me to suffer a fine, it indicates the issuing officer has no idea what it means to honor the Constitution he swore to uphold and protect. It tells me that this man chooses to serve the state rather than the people. It makes him worthy of more than simple derision: he should be stripped of his badge and hogtied naked to the hood of a roadkill truck for not less than two days.

- Law enforcement agents that shoot Eagle Scouts and helpless dogs

Let’s stop calling cops and deputies “law enforcement” officers and demand they return to what they originally were intended to be: “peace officers”. Once, police rarely showed wantonness in using armed force except as dire last resort: knowing they were accountable to the people gave them too much self-discipline for that. That time is fading now. The moment police give a higher priority toward enforcing the law than serving their neighbors, they become totally unanswerable for their actions. The result is a license to be incompetent at best and ghoulish at worst. With regrets to the na├»ve, an agent of the law who on vague suspicion fires point-blank into the face an unarmed kid sitting in his car, or shoots a family’s tiny pet to death during a traffic stop that was wrong to begin with and then smirks about it with his colleagues, should be branded as anathema to society and treated accordingly.

- Immovable judges that legislate from the bench

The number-one reason why we now have a Constitution in name only. “Judicial restraint” didn’t come in vogue when Robert Bork got thrashed as a Supreme Court nominee: for most of America’s history it was the predominant principle of higher court rulings. Justices traditionally made rulings according to ideals higher than man, rather than compromise to suit their own fallible sense of right and wrong. Were they perfect? Admittedly not, but they at least desired to seek that perfection. Without that belief in something above the ken of this flesh, judges inevitably find themselves governing from non-elected positions according to the flesh.

- Anyone in government who creates a regulation and insists that it’s a law

There is no law stating that people who look too young have to show ID to purchase cigarettes, and it’s a lie to demand that it is. Laws are drafted by those elected to represent us and can be made to answer to us. Being ID-ed for cigarettes is a regulation: made by people you will never see and probably will never even know the names of. In many ways they hold more power than any legislator and there’s almost nothing we can do about it, barring a major paradigm shift in this country. If it were just cigarettes it might be kind of funny… except that we’re a people stifled by ridiculous regulations imposed by everyone from FDA to HOSA. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems awful silly to specify the number of steps that a ladder must have in a certain type of workplace.

- Elected officials who violate the Ninth and Tenth Amendments after being direly forewarned

The Ninth and Tenth may be the most important portions of the Bill of Rights after the First Amendment. They are also the most ignored by the widest of margins. These are the blueprint for a limited government that does not encroach upon the liberties – enumerated or not – of the American people. Had our representatives in Congress and our Presidents been more mindful of these two amendments, we might yet have been a people that would enjoy the same degree of freedoms as our forefathers did a hundred years and more ago. Were we to enforce the effects of these amendments, our elected officials would be obligated to explain why the legislations they seek to enact are Constitutional, and whether or not they would respect the autonomy of the individual.

- Anyone who tries to enforce property taxation

Let’s just call it communism and get it over with. It’s even worse than that: you don’t really own your land if you’re compelled to pay a “user fee” for it. In mobster movies it’s called “protection money”. In government it’s called “business as usual”: don’t pay the fee, you lose all claims to “your” land. Homes that have belonged to families for generations have been taken away – and more often than not sold at a profit to major developers – because the “tax burden” could not be met. It must be asked aloud: whose land is it, the individual’s or the government’s? If government claims it, then by what moral argument does it feel it has the right to do so?

- Government officials that couldn’t care less about our nation’s borders being overrun

Anyone who turns a blind eye to the crumbling integrity of our borders after being entrusted with defending our nation’s sovereignty is a traitor, pure and simple. It should be particularly unforgivable when a pitiful excuse is made about offering amnesty to those who should not be here simply because they are here. One of the signs of the Roman Empire’s decline was that it could no longer hold its own frontiers against barbarians jealous for its wealth, to the point that there was no definable Roman Empire in the west. When a nation no longer cares for its boundaries, it can’t be said that a nation really exists at all. Why should it even care though, when those who would destroy that nation are allowed to slip inside it?

- Whoever’s responsible for giving Matthew Lesko the keys to the national treasury

You know: that third-rate Riddler impersonator who becomes a demon in your nightmares after a binge of late-night television. The guy with the big fat book on how to leech taxpayer dollars. I wouldn’t possibly consider hurting Lesko himself: he comes across as a loon but at least he’s honest about it. And Lesko is just a symptom of the problem: if something happened to him, someone else would just take his place and they might be even more irritating. We have too many ways for too many people to suck at the tit of too much big government, and it’s become too big a drain of our nation’s resources and vitality. Wean everybody off that tit that don’t belong on it and a lot more people will have the incentive to grow up… and have more money in their pocket to boot!

- NASA officials who believe they should corner the market on space travel

If someone is crazy enough to try to launch into space inside a converted cement-mixer drum from his own backyard, more power to them and screw asking the federal government permission for it. The time is more than ripe that private businesses and individuals be free to explore space on their own: it is demanded if this country is to hold the upper ground on industry and defense.

- Politicians who thought “Beavis and Butthead” should have been banned but say nothing about NBC on Thursday nights

Remember when Senator Fritz Hollings called the show “Beavis and Buffcoat”? Or when members of a congressional hearing denounced id Software’s videogame DOOM? Or when President Clinton alluded that conservative talk radio caused the Oklahoma City bombing? They were all riding the coattails of a fad and thought they were “on the cutting edge” of societal change for it. In truth they wanted to distract the population from their own foibles by hooking onto whatever was fashionable to attack at the time. All stripes of politician like to hoodwink the average American with that lil’ technique. It makes them look juvenile and it insults our intelligence too much to be tolerated.

- Elected officials who distance themselves from those they asked to serve

And George W. Bush is among the worst of them. Corralling away protestors – some of which have legitimate gripes – into a “free speech zone” just so you don’t get to see them is something that would be expected of Russian tsars, but not American presidents. What Bush and others like him are doing is more grievous than the apathy toward the peasant class given by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette: those two could at least lose their heads knowing that they were born into their situation. The same can’t be said of American politicians who show the same apathy – if not outright arrogance – toward the electorate. They asked to serve, and they should have expected to fulfill their terms of office, taking lumps and all. If they can’t answer to the people, then they should end all charade of serving the people. To do otherwise implies that they earnestly believe that they are above the people.

- Election officers that swear by electronic “no paper” voting machines

If not in the very immediate future, this will be what lights the fuse beneath a frustrated citizenry. Computerized voting that produces no auditable record opens up Pandora’s box on voting fraud. To deny otherwise puts one rather squarely on the side of Josef Stalin, who purportedly commented that “people who cast the votes decide nothing; the people who count the votes decide everything." Every vote must be allowed to hold up under scrutiny in the light of day instead of trusting it to the digital innards of a Diebold machine.

- Any impenitent that ever agreed to install red-light or speed cameras

The cameras should be smashed apart with a ball-peen hammer. Those who even considered them need to be dragged kicking and screaming into a remedial class on the Bill of Rights, particularly about the Fourth Amendment guarantees that our personal effects will be “secure… against unreasonable searches and seizures.” While they’re at it they can brush-up on the Sixth Amendment that promises the accused has the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him”. When was the last time a robot gave sworn testimony in court? Yet the robot is usually the ONLY witness presented against a defendant in red-light camera cases. Traditionally it would be considered a conflict of interest that appeals in such cases are usually heard by the firms contracted to provide the cameras. In modern America it’s par for the course.

- Anyone who thinks the United Nations is still a good idea

It does nothing useful except pull our nation into meaningless quagmires. There’s no redeemable value and America doesn’t owe it a cent much less billions to renovate its headquarters. The headquarters should be given one hour to evacuate before immediate implosion, with the wreckage bulldozed into the Hudson River and the ground sown with salt just to be safe. Anyone who tries to persuade us that it still has merit worth considering should be exiled.

- School board members that make your kids endure a 3-hour one-way bus ride

Destroying the neighborhood school destroys the neighborhood. And I cannot help but believe that there has been some motive behind this madness that has evolved over the past four decades. Students no longer care about their sense of local identity leaving parents with no incentive to become involved with schools as a result. All that’s left is a soulless shell of a building that the bureaucrats guard as if they were Crips in a turf war. Point being: parents need to take back the neighborhood school for their children. Peacefully if possible, forcefully if necessary.

- Unelected “committee” members that have the power to destroy your home

Many cities have zoning committees appointed by elected officials but otherwise free to act without regard to the electorate. In recent years there have been hundreds of cases in which these committees have condemned private property – without recompense to the owner – to use for government intent. Worse, some have been seized from homeowners and small businesses only to be sold to large developers and major retailers like Wal-Mart.

- Supporters of forfeiture laws

In the name of fighting the “war on drugs” and now terrorism, local and federal law agencies have run roughshod over the guarantee against seizure without due process. Billions of dollars in money and assets have been stolen from innocent people who were arrested under the most dubious of circumstances. They were cleared but their belongings went to the government with no recourse left to them. There are virtually no defenders of the people’s rights in this matter and government agents have been known to gloat over the fact that there is nothing to be done to stop them. At the cost of sounding callous, I would find it very hard to shed a tear if such violators of property rights were found bleeding to death in the streets.

- Fanatical followers of the Democrat party who turn a blind eye to what “their guys” do and demand that we accept only two parties in this country

The co-conspirators most responsible for the turmoil and suffering that this country has been made to endure for the past one hundred years. They should be, from sea to shining sea, strung up from the nearest telephone poles by their circular reproductive units… with piano wire.

- Fanatical followers of the Republican party who turn a blind eye to what “their guys” do and demand that we accept only two parties in this country

Ditto.

The best sentence to describe November's presidential election

The tagline of the upcoming Alien vs. Predator movie says it all...
"Whoever wins... we lose."

Time in the wilderness...

Today marks the first time in almost two months that I've updated the blog. The time was needed for some real-life issues. I like to think that it's part of the beginning of a new era, when I'll be able to focus more energies into creative endeavours. Have had to scale back on some projects but hey, you gotta take baby steps before making the big strides.

Since January I've been looking for work. But finally it dawned on me that I needed not so much work as I do a career. For guys like me that's the hardest thing to settle on in the world: ever since I was a small child I've dabbled in so many fields, from writing to teaching to science to history to computers to cooking to... well you get the point. I'm now working toward being MS CIW-certified which would put me in a great position to find work as a web developer somewhere. I've already got the experience, now I just need the education to put on paper.

I turned 30 a few weeks ago. That's what they tell me. I really haven't grown up since I turned 12... maybe that was the age I figured was a good medium between childhood innocence and mature responsibilities. Go too far in either direction and you'll invariably act ridiculous. Not that I don't act a lil' ridiculous despite it all every now and then, but anyhoo...