Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Arizona Part I -- Politics

Most of what follows I wrote when in Arizona as my thinking on various political issues that mattered to me while there. It isn't everything, just some of it, but it is very long, a lot of stream of consciousness writing (edited down some later).

There are titles in bold; so if something is of interest, you can skim to it and avoid the rest. Some comes across as rants to me now which I don't like much in others or myself but I am letting the chips fall where they may on this. It is why it's in a separate blog from the main one. It would be a good start on a book-- if I was famous enough to get such a book published :)

Political thinking
It seems that going on vacation might mean a hiatus from what is going on in the world, but it rarely works that way for me. Especially not now when so much seems so important for the future of the country and in some cases (the oil disaster in the Gulf) the future of the earth. Some of that also might be because I was in a state at the center of a whirlwind over immigration.

Immigration is one of those things that every so often arouses the ire of people around the world. Those in other countries (like Mexico) have found fault with what Arizona did when their own 'immigration' laws are far more draconian.

The ones who have come into the US illegally are mad at people like me for wanting to do something about it. As I see it, it's as though someone walked into my house and said I need to live here as I am poor because where I have come from hasn't taken good care of me; and then got mad at me when I called in the police to enforce my property rights. Actually it's worse than that as they then blamed the police for enforcing them and called in all their friends to be sad for their plight and blame me for not fixing it.

In this country immigration issues are ignored by a lot of people until something goes wrong or someone makes a suggestion on how to fix it. Then left and right explode which is what happened to Arizona and their papers bill... ie you have to carry ID with you, if you don't have it, and you aren't here legally, you could be deported.
Keep in mind that that identification can be an Arizona driver's license or ID card.

It cannot be just any driver's license though as some states have handed them out like candy with no proof required of identity or citizenship. That will probably end as the federal government gets stricter on states requiring that they do check proof of birth and residency as a way to protect the country from terrorists attaining phony IDs.

How many times have you been stopped by a police officer and not been asked for identification? I bet not any. If they stop you, they want to know who you are. The difference in Arizona is there could be a secondary result if you are not legally in this country.

What Arizona is doing, and has done before by trying to enforce working regulations, has been turned into an issue of bigotry (you hate brown people), sympathy (so sad how their country is) or you can profit from it (it's keeping food costs down and you can then afford a maid or gardener) instead of what it should really be about which is laws and economics (yes, economics). It has been turned into an excitable issue for the excitable part of our populace-- and hysteria is easy to evoke in both the left and the right.

The truth appears to be that some people do not want anything done about illegal immigration. To them totally open borders are a great idea while they likely also favor increasing federal benefits to all citizens. Don't bother asking who will pay for these increased costs as the answer will either be nobody or somebody else. Bigger government, more people from around the world, and anybody who questions the logistics of how this can continue to work is called a bigot which is a handy way to stop people from asking or thinking about our border or our laws.

The irony of this paranoia over carrying ID is I wouldn't think of going for a hike or anywhere else without such identification. What happens if I was in a catastrophic accident? The reasonableness of this though is not addressed by people like Rachel Maddow who say it relates to white people versus brown and is good people versus bad. I am not overly fond of being put into the bad people category, but I can't change what I believe is right just to get along or to avoid being called names.

Some express concern that a citizen might go to the library and not have their ID thereby being instantly deported. Well if they go to the library without at least their library card, they won't be checking out books either. If they go to a medical clinic without their insurance identification, if they want to write a check anywhere, if they expect to buy something in a mall if they aren't carrying a lot of cash, none of it will happen without ID. People carry all sorts of identification everywhere they go but suddenly it's too much to ask to get this problem straightened out?

It all reveals the truth that this is actually about preventing enforcement of our immigration laws (which happen to be federal for anybody who didn't know). The risk in enforcing our laws is definitely there but it's not for legal citizens. It's there for those who are here illegally and those who profit from keeping the situation as it is. There is a risk of not enforcing them too but you won't hear what it is from someone like Rachel Maddow who is on a high horse, running a crusade of her own which benefits her in ways that have nothing to do with immigration.

Following the Law-- or not
On our drive south, I caught talk radio when I could for as long as I (and even more so Farm Boss) could stand or reception lasted. Farm Boss gets frustrated with it all way ahead of me. Fortunately he and I pretty much agree on politics. So our conversations are not arguments which is good as we can get each other angry just by bringing up this or that but at least we aren't mad at each other.

I am not sure what the growth of the tea party movement will mean to the Republican party. It seems the vote is not in on that yet, but it's sure a factor in what you can hear on talk radio. Through Nevada and Arizona, it's either right wing talk (where many of them now identify themselves as tea partiers), sports, or music.

Will the tea party folks follow popular leaders like Sarah Palin and actually vote for mainstream candidates (like failed CEO Carly Fiorina)? Or will they have their own people running for office bringing with them their values-- whatever they might be other than lower taxes, no cuts in federal programs they personally use, and maybe a big military machine which is paid for by....

When I heard Glenn Beck's voice heading south from Kingman toward Wickenburg, I recognized it from listening to him many many years ago. Farm Boss wasn't thrilled, but I wondered what his radio program was like these days.

Something awful happened next. I began to agree with him [eeeekkkkk!]. Here's the thing, you might have too as what he was discussing is the importance of living by a set of laws. Well actually a lot of the left right now doesn't agree with that; so I take back that statement.

Beck's specific issue was whether you can strip a terrorist suspect of his citizenship BEFORE he is tried. In other words, guilty until proven innocent. Every felon effectively loses their citizenship right to vote as a cost of breaking serious laws; but to do it ahead of that is a Constitutional issue and Beck was calling it out for what it was-- unconstitutional and heading us down a road where laws have no meaning. Who would imagine Beck would be the one saying you have to live by the Constitution while the left (on immigration law) is going off on what 'feels' better to them.

For awhile, listening to Beck, I began to worry about myself. Then he went off on one of his infamous emotional rants. As I turned him off, I felt relief that he finally sounded as nutty as I have taken him to be. Where I have almost never agreed with him, there is a saying that covers this situation-- even a broken clock is right twice a day. I think when Beck talked about living by the rule of the law even when it might not seem convenient with given say an accused terrorist, he was right.

This business of the law versus what 'feels' right shows up a lot of places but especially in the immigration issue where Arizona is attempting to take on the responsibility that the federal government has abdicated. Now the federal government may well stop them but then will they do the job? They haven't been and it's beginning to look like they haven't wanted to for their own reasons.

Would it suddenly be okay with lefties if we had federal officers around the country checking people's ID? You know it wouldn't because, for them, this has become an emotional issue that has only one solution-- open the floodgates.

We even have musicians saying they won't play in Arizona to show their support for... not sure what they are showing their support for unless it is people coming here to live and work while not bothering to apply to do so? Should a stranger be permitted to build a house on our farm here? I mean at one time the laws permitted homesteading. Who has any property rights at all? Ready to take in a roomer?

Those who excuse breaking the law when they find it convenient, often turn to past issues to justify their stance. The closest I can come to rightfully disobeying a state law when you feel it's wrong would be the Civil Rights conflicts of the 60s; but there is a significant difference and it goes back to the Constitution which has been our baseline for rights and rules with adding amendments when required and when life has changed.

Arizona is not claiming a new power that contradicts Constitutional provisions. Actually one of the requirements is protecting our borders. During the years of separate water fountains, schools and places to sit, states were going against what the Constitution promised citizens, weren't they? These states enacted laws that did not follow the Constitution. The similarity is that in both cases it took demonstrations before the federal government would act-- if it does now.

There are Constitutional rules for how people become citizens as well as their right to come into our country and stay. Repeating: the federal government has a responsibility to protect American citizens and that means protecting the borders-- theoretically.

Try staying in Mexico without their permission. You can go to prison for six years. Some of the countries so busy calling people like me bigots ought to check the rules in their own nations. Here though the federal government and many local governments have not taken the law seriously.

Arizona's newest law may be the catalyst that forces the nation to confront what has been going on, to quit doing it under the table-- although we are a people who seemingly love and profit from doing it under the table.

When an employer hires anyone in the state of Oregon, they have to fill out a form declaring that person to be legal. Then they put it in a drawer and nobody looks at it. When Arizona wanted to look, that was going too far which makes me think our federal government has wanted the illegal workers for their own reasons. If not, why wouldn't they enforce the existing laws? Reagan promised they would with the amnesty bill he signed.

If a law is immoral, if it's abusive, then citizens should change the law. If the Constitution no longer suits the needs of a current population (such as when women weren't allowed to vote) amend it.

As it stands, right or left, we are in a time where each faction decides for itself what is legal and often does it through deceit or brute force. Whenever a leftie (immigration) or rightie (terrorism) decides they should ignore Constitutional law, have you noticed it's always on moral grounds? If it truly is the right thing to do, there is a way to deal with it. When we don't, what is that saying about us?

First of all the issue of immigration is not about race. It does not matter from where someone comes, Europe, Africa, Asia, North or South America, there are rules about immigrating to our country. Yes, there really are. Immigration is about countries having borders. The question today is do we have borders or should we? And then if we don't, the issue moves to one of economics. Oh, I know, lefties don't want to figure in cost for what they do. They just want to say it's a good idea; but cost has to be considered with anything-- or should be.

This issue of borders (or not) is making everybody mad. The left is now furious that one state is doing something about it. The right has been angry for a long time that nobody has been doing anything about it.

Then there are people like me, in the middle, who look at it in a practical sense and think there have to be some limitations on how many people you allow to come into your country to stay and work. Does the left really think we can take in everybody who wants to come? Can you imagine what this country be like if we did that? No standards, no rules, just open the gates to the world, and provide them benefits when they get here. Keep in mind back in the days before there were rules, before 1875, there also weren't a lot of government social programs. You came here unable to feed yourself and you better find a church or sympathetic people because there were no food stamps or the rest of what people know and expect today.

I am not that sure Hispanics and Latinos want totally open borders where people can come from around the world and threaten their jobs. They might want one open border but not all Hispanics disagree with enforcing immigration laws. Stereotyping them to have one political agenda is as big a mistake as stereotyping anybody else. Those demonstrations are after all also made up of those here illegally who definitely have a stake in amnesty and no enforcement of the existing laws.

Amnesty alone won't solve this problem as Reagan tried that when 10 million people took advantage of it with supposedly the promise that immigration and working would then be controlled. The promises were ignored and the federal government did little to stem the flow into the country or to make the workplace accountable for who it hires. Today we have even more people here with no practical path to dealing with any or those who are still to come.

Whatever we do should be an ongoing solution not another quick fix that sounds exciting and fixes nothing. Americans love those quick, emotional fixes but they usually eventually make it all worse and that's what the 1986 amnesty did. It encouraged people to come and believe amnesty would happen again. It encouraged them to believe we didn't mean our laws. It has led to what is currently going on with our southwestern border. (Keep in mind, we have two borders on land and two at sea; so this isn't just about our Mexican border; and it's not like we can settle in the land of either of our neighbors without their permission which usually involves us coming with money or a promised job one of their citizens cannot or won't do.)

Some say that we need these illegal workers because Americans won't do those jobs. Who is the somebody who says that? We have a lot of Americans out of work right now. Are we that sure they would not do those jobs? Is it that they cannot for the pay being offered and if that is the case, will the 'new' citizens do them either once they have papers proving they can work anywhere? You can bet when those new citizens are here, they will be replaced in the underground service industry with new workers who are still illegal. The goal for many is to keep wages low.

We should fairly treat people we permit to work here (once we actually do have a system that permits that) which to me means certain benefits, and a path to citizenship if they have lived here say 10 years, have not gotten into trouble with the law, and wish to become Americans. We cannot have a hidden population, where we benefit from their labor, and expect to have a healthy economy or culture.

The arguments over what to do have grown so extreme that some on the left compare this to the slave owning years before the 13th Amendment in 1885 put an end to our Constitution permitting slavery. Comparing slavery to illegal immigration is revoltingly off base.

Slaves weren't given the option of coming to a new land. The slave system regarded human beings as property, with papers to prove it like we would livestock, and likewise all of their descendants were the property of the slave owner. Blacks during the days of legal slavery (and those with a smidgen of black blood) were not regarded as even fully human. They had no legal rights to travel anywhere without permission. They were often brutalized. The workers coming into the United States today have freedom to leave. They chose to come.

Frankly there is some comparison to how coyotes (those who traffic in humans and drugs) treat migrants as they have raped, beaten, kidnapped, and even murdered people. While anyone surviving such abuse might be afraid to go our police, if they do fear going, it would be fear of how they expect to be treated based on from where they came, not from here as our police would not mistreat them. When we do have a renegade cop (and we have had such) they are punished by our laws also.

Most police officers up here are honorable, hard working and deserve more credit than they are currently getting where some suggest the police are eager to find a way to mistreat citizens. Come on now, get serious! If the average American feared they were corrupt, they wouldn't call them when they had a problem. The police go in when others run out, and they deserve a lot more appreciation than some are giving them.

The most an illegal migrant who called for help from our police might fear would be sending them back to their original homes. A slave had no such legal option. Whether someone is in this country legally or not, our Constitution no longer permits slavery (It did at one time).

Sure there has been in this country (and around the world) abuses of the powerful over the weaker. This is not admirable, but it's an unpleasant side to human nature and frankly all animals. The strong take advantage of the weak without a greater power protecting the weak.

Not all Americans hire those here illegally though they may benefit by someone else doing it through say cheaper food because we have no way of knowing. As an aside, I have never even hired someone to clean a house of mine (legal or otherwise) until we had this vacation rental and I was too far away to do it. There have been zero nannies, maids, gardeners, or illegal drugs. My reason for caring about this issue is because I believe the current situation is harmful to us as a people. What is happening today is not fair or wise. It is also not fair to blame someone for wanting to do something about it.

The irony is some, who are horrified today over stopping illegal immigration, have profited from it by hiring illegals themselves. How many times have we seen a background check for a liberal candidate to higher office that revealed they had been hiring an illegal nanny or maid. They always defend it by saying the person is like one of the family as they pay the back taxes due; but reality is hypocrisy thy name is often money.

You know, I have always called myself a moderate but a moderate who believes in certain standards. In the case of immigration, to me if the Constitution as it stands (limiting who can work in this country legally and who can become a citizen) is wrong, you work to amend it. You do NOT just say you won't obey it-- especially not if you are an elected official.

Sanctuary Cities
Have you been curious about why so many American cities have boycotted Arizona over its papers law? Did you think it was all about nobility of those cities? Leaders there 'care' about the undocumented workers. They are true humanitarians. Or did you suspect something else was behind it?

Sanctuary cities are all across the United States, well not exactly all across. If your state is a conservative state, one of those who always votes for Republican presidential candidates (well almost always) and doesn't support Democratic candidates, then likely no sanctuary cities. Sometimes though we have cities run by Democratic mayors or managers while Republicans get the governorships. If your state is really really liberal, like Oregon, it's not just cities but the whole state that calls itself a sanctuary.

What 'sanctuary' means is if a worker without papers reaches there, they are home free. They can then not have their status checked for minor crimes (sometimes even major) [Wikipedia defines sanctuary cities] but it also involves something more important to the city fathers. They also cannot be asked for proof of citizenship for public services.

Is this all done to be kind to the people who have come up there to work or is it a way to get more money for those programs? Is it also to get cheaper labor? Does it encourage illegal immigration without dealing with the reasons behind it? Do such cities even want to solve the immigration problem since they are profiting from it?

Here's the thing, if we want a country that values laws, that says it believes in its Constitution (many Americans not only don't believe in it but don't know it), then laws have to be obeyed. It is illegal to work in this country, based on federal statutes, without documentation.

For cities like Washington D.C.; New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; Santa Ana; San Diego; Salt Lake City; Phoenix; Dallas; Houston; Austin; Detroit; Jersey City; Denver; Baltimore; Seattle; Portland, OR; Portland, ME; New Haven, Connecticut-- and three states--Oregon; Maine; Alaska-- to all be profiting from encouraging illegals in their states or cities, using that labor to keep labor costs cheap for their governments and to pad out their social programs has put them in a weak position to ask anybody to obey any of their laws.

What they have done to border states is even worse. They basically want there to be those who come across the borders illegally to keep their systems profitable. [Sanctuary Cities reasons for being].

The right thing to do about immigration could have been done long ago and still could today if people believed in a system of laws. Allow in enough legal workers to do the jobs that need to be done, that Americans won't do, provide them with documentation, pay them a fair wage, make a legal worker qualified for whatever someone on a visa visiting from another country might qualify for, or even give them certain other graduating rights -- but openly done-- and then have a program in place where anybody who has been here say 10 years, working, not in trouble with the law, can take steps to become a citizen if they so desire. We should NEVER have a population who we are willing to hire but not willing to provide a path to earning citizenship.

Sanctuary cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, are all now saying they won't allow travel of their employees to Arizona. They are ending contracts and encouraging other boycotts of Arizona like say by conventions. Not hard to see why they would do this. The golden goose is in danger of being lost! They will also profit from any Arizona boycotts by bouncing that business their way. So they are part and parcel of why we have this problem and also profiting from it. If you live in a sanctuary city, you might want to consider why it has happened and whether it really is healthy for the workers or our country.

I am frustrated that the media and some others keep referring to Hispanics and Latinos as brown people. Grrrrrr. Colors are not a good way to identify anybody because humans, even within racial types do not follow standard colors. To use such terms, to me, sounds bigoted and totally unaware. Native Americans are not red. Caucasians are not white. African Americans are almost never black, and Asian are not yellow! Excuse me but who is the bigot to even use colors to identify us?

Racially Hispanics and Latinos are Caucasians if they are not Native American or a mix like so many Americans. The populations of Mexico, Central America and South America were made of the indigenous peoples, as it was in this country, and the early arrivals who came from France, Spain and Portugal. Only an accent, if you are good at accents might give you a good guess if someone was from Mexico or Latin America-- forget figuring out South America.

I had a good friend who was Hispanic (born in California) but I never knew it until she mentioned it in some context or other. Yes, she had an accent but she could as well have been Spanish. She had black hair. So did my father. Her skin color was no darker than mine. Hispanics and Latinos can be a mix of many races. The only white people I know of are called albinos and it's not a racial category but an anomaly.

Currently I am down on talk radio and political news programs especially like those on Fox or MSNBC. They are all about stirring up anger. They milk emotions and bask in their righteousness while they arouse who knows what. Some blogs can do that too (sometimes mea culpa) but I don't like to be around anger-- self-righteous or otherwise. Maybe I had enough of it as a child, but I see anger and rants as benefiting nobody-- not to listen to them or put them out. There are those though who profit from stirring things up. There are others who are easily stirred.

The media (from the right or the left) pick and choose their issues, figures and facts to make whatever point they wish to get across. Regarding immigration, they claim that there is actually less crime; so this issue with Arizona was about bigotry. When they compare crime, they ignore what is happening right across the border where police officers are gunned down by the drug cartels. Our nation is supposed to wait for it to get here before dealing with it?

Then there is how many of those who bring up workers prey on them with beatings, rapes, and kidnappings, sometimes murders. Who would know how much of that goes on? You might find the bodies...

The media wants upsetting things, and do not want to fix any of it because it is when people are upset that their programs get higher ratings. The media glories in a situation like this one that they can rant on all day. Gotcha politics with exciting moments of nailing someone is what a lot of this is about and it's not a lot different than most of what passes for entertainment in this country.

There are things that could be done to fix what has gone wrong with our southern border. It takes changes like legalizing at the least marijuana and then putting more forces down there (permanently not just for show) to block entry. The latter costs money. The former means admitting we cannot stop illegal drug use anyway. Better to legalize it, take the profit away from the traffickers, and license it.

We could have real work permits and a penalty for hiring someone who is not legally here. A lot of Americans won't like that one especially not if it means them. There can be a real path to citizenship for those who want to become Americans. Not all working here do. If we do amnesty without figuring out how to protect the border, we will be right back here in 20 years. We CANNOT take in all from the world who might want to move here and that means from any country anywhere. Rules and times change. Sorry if you would like to go backward in time, but you cannot, not about this or anything else. If you really want to continue with that promise on the Statue of Liberty, I suggest you also explain to me how we pay for it.

Elena Kagan
I am still trying to decide what I think about Obama's choice for Supreme Court. Is she going to be another who supports corporations as dictators? When the Supreme Court, under Roberts, declared that a corporation had the legal rights of an individual citizen, it was not a good day for the little guy even if a lot of little guys don't know it. If she, even though probably on the left, helps continue this march toward corporate power, then I will be upset she was chosen. This story gives one example of why there is reason for concern: [Elena Kagan toward a pro GM Supreme Court?]. For those who don't know what GM is, it's genetically modified plants by companies like Monsanto who are trying to force more of it throughout the world.

If, as some wonder, she turns out to be supportive of the increase in federal and executive power (supposedly to keep us safe since 9/11), I won't be happy either as it seems we have been growing that way too much as it is.

There are many people who are quite eager to see the government take away the right of citizens for all sorts of reasons. They may not have thought where that takes them. The Supreme Court, nine men and women, who are appointed for life, decide a lot about our freedoms as people. For those who would throw away one freedom, they might find the court took other rights along with it. How much power would you cede the government over your personal life?

Kagan might have the liberal stance on say abortion (or might not) but what about the legal reasoning behind it? How much does she believe the Constitution guarantees us the right to do when the government wants to do otherwise? Many Americans, feeling fear, have already ceded a lot but more could go.

[David Brooks] expressed his concern that she has been too much favoring whatever the person in charge wanted. Get along to get along. It sounded like he felt that was pretty prevalent in the Ivy League schools (from where most of our presidents also have come). If that is the case, she will be influenced by the strongest judge on the Supreme Court and instead of influencing, she will always try to please and end up influenced.

Then there is the question of her being in Obama's inner circle, part of the circle of many leaders from the left. The crony system of appointments doesn't appeal to me for the right or the left. She was a Harvard dean under Larry Summers who serves in Obama's team on economics. It's hard even to write why this bothers me but I guess I don't want to think that we will end up with some kind of network that has little to do with who is best and a lot more to do with who someone knows. It makes me uneasy.

When we voted for Obama, we did so with the hope that he would undo some of what Bush had done in terms of human rights for all American citizens. Seeing someone who may further enhance the power of the executive branch won't please me one bit.

I will probably know more what I think about her selection after she begins being interviewed in Congress; and will decide what I think about her then. Too bad I will also have to sit through a lot of Senators pontificating, more than asking questions, to get their own moment in the spotlight!

A nation that lives by don't ask don't tell
I could call this one-- hypocrisy reigns supreme. This topic deserves to be a blog and maybe will end up one as it seems pervasive (although given my thinking on anger being wrong, maybe a separate post like this is best). So much of what we do as a nation is about being comfortable when it's hidden but not when it's in the open. The immigration issue is not the only one that shows up our hypocrisy. We generally don't mind things happening that we might say are bad. We just don't want to have them be done where we can admit we know. A hot button example is our treatment of gay people.

Don't Republicans want solid homes and loving families? If so, then how could they possibly not vote to permit gay marriage and be happy to see the law of the land one that permits any couple, committed to each other sexually, to marry if they so desire? The fact of the matter is some people are born gay. It's not a choice. It's a reality. It is not bad and it's not unhealthy unless it is forced to be hidden. So would conservatives then prefer gays live a lie the rest of their lives? Would conservatives prefer they live alone? Would they prefer to see them live immoral lives to prove to themselves their own superiority?

Going along with gay marriage is, of course, the issue of the military allowing openly gay people to serve proudly instead of being forced to live a lie. Most other nations (that aren't fundamentalists at least) already have this but something about our country prefers the secret lies to the open truth of anything. The truth is that some are gay and they deserve to be able to live openly true to who they are. Some might not biologically be gay but fall in love with a person of their same sex (that can happen), and again desire to be married and have the rights of any married couple.

Then there was a Newsweek article suggesting that gay movie stars should not be able to play characters involved in heterosexual love affairs. That is nuts! The writer claimed the viewer would not be able to believe the story.

So some people need to think Rock Hudson did sexually desire Doris Day to be able to enjoy their films? Something is really wacky here as most movie stars don't love the person they are pretending to love. It's pretend. Get it! I don't think it should matter to any audience member if the person looks like they could love the other person, that's good enough. In Jurassic Park, they weren't real dinosaurs. Get it!

Being a conservative
This will come as a possible shock to people who read this blog, even some who find fault with me where I comment other places, but I consider myself a conservative. Not the type that dominates the political atmosphere today, not the definition that has become wrapped up in Republican knots of partisanship, not the kind who thinks everything must stay as it always was, but more what the word means when it's not in a political context which to me means believes in values, lives responsibly and with moderation, values the past for making choices for the future, respects wisdom in elders, is cautious, and changes big things only when a new way is superior or times have changed and requires it. Conservatives can even be risk takers but they assess risks without blindly stepping out.

I am a person of conservative thinking even in what I tend to order in restaurants, how much I spend on luxuries, even on basics. Even though I politically call myself a moderate, which means in between, in reality, I think my view of the proper role of say government is one that would have been a conservative of the past; but today is forced out of the left or the right. I run afoul with both political parties because what I believe doesn't fit boxes. It's not part of any political agenda, AND I am unwilling to go along with a position just because friends, the media or political powers suggest I should.

Let's start with the budget because it's where most would say I was a liberal. I don't defend the idea of countless programs that aren't funded. I believe you should look at problems and only use the government as a solution when others have not worked. I believe you should concentrate your efforts on teaching people to take care of their own needs when possible; and then I believe you should pay as you go. I also believe handing people endless benefits is not really helpful to them. I don't see government as capable of fixing all problems, but there are things it can do something about and should.

Environmentally I believe in responsible living, regulations that are enforced, but since I also believe in evolution, I don't think we can save every species in the world nor should we try. We need to determine which ones are a necessary part of the ecosystem and the balance of nature, but that doesn't mean they all are. We should do all we can to be sure we aren't why a species is disappearing like it was with the passenger pigeons or as it is when we destroy habitat for dollars. This all requires balancing needs-- very conservative way of thinking.

The political conservative says drill baby drill because it's all about making money for certain corporate interests. What is conservative about that? The conservative based on the responsible thing would say drill when you must, use oil when you must, but come up with alternatives and conserve as much as possible through better usage. It also would say if you do something, be prepared to clean it up if it didn't work.

Given our current situation with the budget, I favor raising taxes because responsible living means you pay for what you do. That's how I live and how I want my government to operate. If you can't afford it today, if you can't figure out a way to bring in more money, you postpone it for when you can afford it or you cut something else. If you must borrow, say when an unexpected expense arises, you only do so when you have a plan for repaying in a reasonable period of time. That's how I want my country to do but it does not.

Take the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan. When that happened under Bush, I favored going into Afghanistan and getting bin Laden because he openly bragged he had planned the attack. We didn't get him. Then I began to see big media stories celebrating how this training camp or that one had been destroyed (huzza huzza huzza). When what I saw was an empty field with a shack at one end, I called it what it was-- a fraud, a distraction, a manipulation for not doing what was claimed to be done. Those training camps didn't require anything but a jungle gym. Sorry but the whole Afghanistan operation became that and it's not much better today.

Then came Iraq and we had to get Hussein because he plotted to kill Bush's daddy years ago and he had lots of oil and he might have weapons of mass destruction or might have tried to buy the makings of nuclear bombs. I didn't like any part of that; but IF we were going to do it, I wanted our men and women fully equipped (they weren't) and I wanted to pay for it as we went (we didn't).

It made no sense to me that we could have big tax cuts while we were fighting a war. Wars cost money and this one had a tremendous amount of fraud to also cover while corporate interests made big bucks. The sucking sound you heard was certain corporations intake of breath as they realized what could be gained from it.

Those corporations built Iraqi schools at great cost that were so poorly constructed that they could not be occupied; but the media rarely showed that. The media never really does. Then we had our men and women housed in buildings contractors had built that had electrical failings that electrocuted some of them, again couldn't admit why that was happening and on it went. Any news stories quickly disappeared until we'd hear of another solider being electrocuted. Do you ever hear of any penalty for it happening? Any criminal charges?

A conservative does not go to war unless they have to and a conservative pays for what they do as they go or if they have to borrow, they know they can pay it back. A conservative looks at history for the wisest way to proceed. A conservative takes responsibility for their actions. Today's conservative politicians rarely have a clue what that word even means.

A real conservative doesn't live by false rules where they claim one thing and look the other way. That is dishonorable. They openly face up to what they do. What today's wantabe conservatives do is look the other way on a host of issues because they know deep down inside that their policies are wrong; but they don't want to have the truth be faced openly-- and they don't want to pay for any of it.

A true conservative would say what other people do, that hurts nobody else, is their business. This doesn't include sex with children before the age of consent, which a conservative should condemn whatever their religious or sexual orientation.

I believe a true conservative would be happy to see marriages between committed couples (regardless of sexual orientation) because families are stable for the community. They are encouragements to all to live morally responsible lives. A conservative view on gay marriage is pretty easy to figure out logically-- as it is on don't ask don't tell which basically has been saying it's okay to exploit people while denying them legal status (which also applies to immigration).

Whatever a truly conservative person does, they do it openly without lies (as much as humanly possible). They don't get overwrought at the moment and quickly onto the next trauma. They do not live their lives from disaster to disaster because they are thinking ahead and when the unexpected disaster comes along (and those come to all our lives) they deal with it realistically.

I don't actually think a real conservative stays (everybody can get into that state once in awhile) bent emotionally out of shape because it's a waste of energy and energy is to be wisely used. They look for how they can change the situation. They speak out on it but they do not go ballistic because that loses any chance of real change being effective.

Because I am a conservative and disgusted with both partisan movements in this country, I am very disillusioned with the political process. Operating with consistent logic is almost impossible if you listen to anybody who is spouting partisan jargon. There is a mentality in this country that you have to support your group no matter what they do. Well that pretty well leaves me out, and out is probably where I'd rather be anyway. I never was a joiner.

Personally I want to add one note to this. Being a conservative person is not all beer and skittles. I see the limitations in it. Conservatives are probably less prone to passionate forays off into something they have never done before and that can end up being a life limitation. Life is best lived with balance. A person has to find the balance between risk taking and responsible living. Sometimes it is missed.

Follow the Hysteria on the border talk that is.
First a story that is the kind that makes everybody shake their head as it seems sad, unfair and naturally means all people in the world should be permitted to come to the United States and stay as long as they wish: College Student Ignited Immigration Debate. The gist of it is she was brought here as a child and now, driving without a license, she got pulled over for an infraction in Georgia and her lack of documentation as well as her being near to graduating from college, has led to many groups to taking up arms on each side of what should be done now.

Her story had more potential for real sympathy (if you ignore her driving without license and the other infraction) than another link which I am not posting but the gist of it was a woman in her late 40s had come as a baby, carried by her father and now would she be sent home when home has always been here? The story neglected to explain why she didn't apply for amnesty in 1986 when it was offered and 10 million people accepted citizenship. The story was not about explaining that but purely intended to stir up emotions which, of course it did from those whose emotions are easily stirred.

Then there is this link which makes one wonder about Attorney General Holder who has been going around saying that the Justice Department might challenge Arizona's law in court. You'd think that would mean he had read it, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong: Holder on Hot Seat over Arizona Immigration Law. The gist of that one was he had been getting his news about what the law says from the media which I would bet means Olbermann and Maddow who are little anger machines regarding any 'liberal' issue.

As far as I know, nobody saw a clip of that on either of those two shows. They are milking it and their liberal viewers for all both are worth. I can take about 2 minutes of Maddow and only a little more of Olbermann these days; but then my tolerance for smugness and angry rhetoric has been low for some time. No Fox, very little MSNBC leaves CNN or reading the news which is only slightly easier on the anger meter.

Then there was the unfair story about a man who was connected with a displaced vehicle (they never call them stolen anymore), got arrested and even though he had identification showing he was here legally (Puerto Rican), they held him in jail three days until his family could get his Congressman (who is high on the immigrant rights issue) onto it. (You know the police do hold someone as long as they can when they consider them a risk and want to see if they can find something else to hold them longer.) When he was released he talked of suing the city (Chicago, I think). Media compared it to what Arizona is doing. Here's the thing, this guy likely stole (or helped steal) a car and because he has an accent, he's the one who is sympathized with?

To add to this, we had a big union stepping into it basically saying that Arizona doesn't deserve to be part of the United States because of trying to enforce the Constitution. Do unions not believe in laws either anymore? Have they ever? AFL-CIO pushing Napolitano to block Arizona. I usually say follow the money in such situations but not sure what to think about this one except it's follow the hysteria.

Bottom-line on immigration
It seems I am reading every day about how somebody else is boycotting the state. What I would like to ask those who are so angry at Arizona is this: What would you do about the immigration that is entering without rules? Keep in mind just over one million people are legally becoming citizens every year. How many more would you like to have admitted?

Yes, after all these days, I am still angry at those who are holding Arizona accountable for dealing with something while the rest of the country puts its head in the sand. I am angry at those who seem to think we have no right to a border. Where do you figure out any boundaries if your border has no meaning?

Listening to the Mexican president condemn Arizona for terrible immigration policies was almost funny if it wasn't so upsetting when you find out what Mexico's laws are regarding immigration. There was a news clip of him being asked about both at the same time, and he didn't seem to even see the irony in what he was saying.

Arizona's new law is NOT about getting all who live here legally to go home because they are home. This question is what should be done about the ones here illegally and those still coming? How many do you want entering if you don't want limitations on entry! The federal government can't seem to enforce the border from drug entry or workers coming across; so you don't want the state to help. What do you want to do? This is one question that will find its way to the blog.

Oil spill politics
It would be nice to say that we had a huge difference for our president being a Democrat and how this oil spill was being dealt with but sickening as it is to say, I see no difference. It's always about the money and covering people's butts. The corporations seem to run everything, but then they did buy the government, didn't they! Now we even have the Supreme Court declaring they have all the rights of single citizens.

That was only one example of how BP has limited information from the site. They haven't really even admitted the total amount of oil flowing into the Gulf. They have a reason for under-estimating it as they can then claim they got a lot of it. By blocking other scientists, they can give their own spin.

BP refused to let others observe the site. They invoked their Fifth Amendment rights! Guess they know it's criminal what they did, but what I want to know is do we have a government seriously interested in calling them to account for something that could not only kill the Gulf but if some estimates are right, much, much more. All resources possible should have been put to stopping the oil at the site and beyond; and here it is over 40 days later and it's still flowing with no idea how to deal with the huge amount already out there.

How much responsibility do we as a people have when we didn't pay much attention to who is regulating such oil rigs or really any environmentally sensitive zone? For eight years, we elected two oilmen who not only looked the other way but set up regulatory bodies and rules to make sure nobody would be held accountable for anything. We are now surprised that they didn't have a plan in case a catastrophe occurred?

But then, what else is new. We have a huge spill that in already ruining the bayous, the birds, the fish, all that live in the waters, and has the potential to come to the surface on some unseen command and yet BP has the control over what happens! Do you really wonder who runs our country? Obama said he had the control but where's the evidence?

You tell me what would be different if Bush was president? I know a lot of lefties defend Obama no matter what he does but how can we look at this spill and not see something he did not create but something that he was not prepared to do much about. He did suggest increasing offshore drilling just ahead of this as a way to get more domestic oil. Who needs oceans, right?

Who cares about this spill either coming to the surface or not and if not, possibly impacting the oxygen in the ocean? Who cares about fishermen with no jobs anymore? Who cares about a new oceanic dead zone? It doesn't appear to me that the Obama administration cared about more than the political impact of it and making Obama look good.

You have no idea how much I hate writing that but I don't write anything I don't believe. I also waited on this one to see what he would do. He made two trips down there. We will take care of it. Swat teams! The last one three hours on the ground which meant it was all for photo ops. Lots of pretty words but what action?

I don't think, like some suggested, that he was wrong to take a vacation in his home over Memorial Day. He is raising two daughters. Nobody will take over their upbringing if he abdicates. His family has to be a priority. His staying down on the bayous wouldn't help except for those who like a show.

Obama didn't permit this deep water drilling but he took a month to suggest a moratorium on more of it. He has said he has the ball now and I understand it's not the government's expertise. But isn't it sad that the government was part and parcel of letting it happen? We can blame it on the Bush/Cheney team for effectively deregulating the oil companies, but isn't it also us wanting things without figuring in the cost?

This particular rig was out there and with no oversight for what they did, no plan in mind in case something happened. Somebody has to be responsible now for that and one of those somebodys has to be Barack Obama. I am not interested in it looking like he's doing something as some are. I want him to be doing it through delegating it to those who can. Even working in that oil could be hazardous; so do we really send our military? How much more can we ask them to give when we were negligent as a people?

This oil spill is a very scary thing for the impact it might have on a region a lot bigger than Louisiana or even the Gulf. If this, along with the possible desalination of the Atlantic with ice caps melting, impacts the ocean for what it does in terms of food and climate, more people might find they should have been caring. Bush would not have been better but Obama should have been.

Maybe the problem is that politicians, by the time they get up that far, have removed themselves from the rawness of nature so completely that all they can think about is everything in terms of dollars and cents. I see it here in Arizona with parks being closed because money is needed elsewhere. I know it happened with the oil spill and you know it too.

Why can't people understand we are connected to nature? As a small reminder, that the animals out there are alive with feelings also, check out this: [Damian Aspinall's Amazing Gorilla Reunion]. Nature is real too and dollars can't replenish what can be lost. Dollars are in the end going to be slim comfort if the world really loses its moorings-- and that can happen.

Don't Ask Don't Tell and Don't Make Any Sense
I've written about this before but since it's being discussed again, I will again. I believe that the whole policy of Don't Ask Don't Tell was stupid and short-sighted. It asked people to pretend to be something they were not; it implied gays could not control themselves like straights *excuse me while I cough*; and it encouraged living lies.

The idea that the military should decide this policy is to ignore the reality that it's actually a political issue. It is religious and not cultural at least not cultural that makes any sense. Many strong military forces (Israel as one good example) around the world have gays serving proudly and openly-- shock of shocks without raping anybody... well anybody anymore than straights do.

Once upon a time the military did not allow blacks to serve; then it was only in regiments without whites. The military is not always right about anything and this is one of them. They have let themselves been religiously brainwashed into thinking (and in some cases hijacked by religious zealots) that having part of the military serve under a lie is better than everybody being able to serve for who they are.

So get rid of don't ask don't tell and let gay people continue to serve proudly and bravely as they have been for centuries. Surprising as this might be the straight men-- they don't really desire you all anymore than you desire all women. Unless someone is a predator, there is only going to be a response when one is encouraged.

Good lord but fear does cause some nutty ideas to fester and grow. This goes back to above where I wrote about how our whole country operates this way. Don't tell us what is going on and it won't hurt us. Tell that to the fish and birds in the Gulf! Don't ask don't tell was bad policy and should be ended now since it can't be ended earlier!

(All photos are from May. Top one was in Nevada just north of Tonopah. The jimson weed was off the highway between Kingman and Wickenburg. Wildflowers and yucca followed by Jimson weed, which looks lovely, the bees obviously like it, but the plants are toxic to cattle. Tucson's prickly pear cactus is like we are as people. On the same plant you can find orange and yellow blossoms, they get along fine although they do have a lot of thorns to deal with. The snowy mountain was as we drove back north alongside the highway in northern Nevada. It was definitely colder everywhere across the West although where that comes to the southern Arizona desert, it means the first 100° day was a week late. I think it might be due to the volcano and all the ash in the upper atmosphere. Historically it has impacted climate before. Does that mean we don't get a summer???)

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