Monday, July 28, 2014

Perry's Big Show

It seems Rick Perry has had a change of heart about several things.  He started wearing big, black-rimmed glasses to improve his appearance and, probably, to seem more intelligent. And he has quit wearing cowboy boots. And, apparently, he has changed his mind about children brought to America through no fault of their own.  

If you will recall in one of his debates the first time he ran for the Republican nomination for president, he allowed as how anyone who did not favor allowing children--brought here through no fault of their own--to finish their education had no heart.  Now it seems he’s joined the chorus, along with people like Ted Cruz, vowing to stop the invasion of all of these terrible people coming from South of Texas.  Cruz and Perry claim aliens have committed 3,000 killings in the past 6 years.  The Austin American Statesman has investigated this claim and found it totally false. 

Perry’s recent conduct once again confirms what a hypocrite he is.  He has always maintained he is a conservative, not wanting to spend any money belonging to the taxpayers, and even proposing we reduce taxes in Texas.  He is now spending a few million of our tax dollars traveling around the United States in his quest for the Republican nomination for president.  Even though he has several million on hand of campaign funds, he insists the state pay many of his expenses for his “Elect Perry” tour.

The latest stunt Perry has grabbed on to trying to polish his image as a right-wing conservative is to supposedly secure the borders. To that end he pushed a proposal through to obtain a multimillion dollar camera system to set up surveillance along the Texas/Mexico border.  A system of 29 cameras placed every 41 miles was installed but has not proven to be very efficient. The system was installed in 2006 and since that time has been responsible for the capture of 26 illegal aliens attempting to invade Texas.  If you divide the 26 illegals captured into the cost, this amounts to $153,800 per illegal alien captured.  This is from a governor who refuses to accept millions from the federal government to see that poor Texas citizens are afforded decent health care coverage.  His argument for turning down the federal bucks is that it would create a trend for which the state might be liable in the future. 

Apparently, cost is really no object when it comes to putting on a good show for Perry’s right- wing supporters.  He ordered several hundred state troopers to the border to do what border guards are supposed to be doing and then recently ordered 1,000 national guard troops to the border.  It’s estimated the collective cost of these two moves will cost Texas taxpayers $17,000,000 per month ($17 million).

The sad part of this story is that it appears finding illegals crossing into Texas is not a problem.  The recent surge of young people and children entering Texas produces a scenario where they immediately attempt to surrender to some local official.  Border county sheriff  suggests this move does nothing but assist Perry’s image among conservative Republicans.  

Because of a law called posse comitatus, military folks in the United States are not authorized to be law enforcement officers against civil populations.  They cannot arrest, they cannot even hold to interrogate, and they certainly would not be authorized to shoot any of these illegal children as they cross the border in what is described by Ted Cruz as an invasion.

Monday, July 14, 2014

So-called Governmental Attack on Religion

I'm getting a little tired of seeing right wing conservatives on television continue to use religion as a political foil.  I hold the personal belief the commandment of not taking the Lord's name in vain means substantially more than not using it in a curse word.  I think those who use it for political show, particularly the hypocrites in the world, will have to answer for it at the end of the line.

Particularly irksome to me is the claim by Senator Ted Cruz and others that religious liberty is under attack here in the United States.  As an example of a governmental attack on religious freedom they then go on to cite the IRS investigating citizen groups.  They know, or should know, the IRS investigation on the so-called religious citizen groups is usually caused by the fact that special interests attempt to clothe themselves in religious endeavors to disguise the fact they are nothing more than a special interest political tool--case in point are organizations formed by the Koch brothers and "Bush's brain," Karl Rove.

As to religious freedom in America, there seems to be good news and bad news.  National studies have shown there has been a substantial decline in citizens who attend church regularly.  The good news is that there's still a vast majority of Americans who believe in a Supreme Being even though they do not ascribe necessarily to a formal religion.  The further good news is that although there is a perceptible fall off in church attendance, there seems to be an increasing zeal among younger citizens who are committed to their faith.

No nation in the world promotes or tolerates diversity in religious beliefs as does America.  Our Constitution still stands for the proposition that citizens should be allowed to worship or not worship as they choose.  There are glaring examples of our government comingling protecting freedom of religion along with freedom of speech.  A classic example occurred in Hardin County, Texas, where the courts ruled cheerleaders were protected in their right to publish and advocate biblical scriptures at Friday night football.  It seems to me if there has been an attack on Christianity by government, at least in Southeast Texas Christianity is winning.

In America, religious activities are not under attack by the government, but religious activities unfortunately are being forsaken by too many Americans who had rather go to ball games, hunt, fish or simply sleep late on Sundays.

When I see Ted Cruz alleging that our national government is trying to destroy Christianity, or Fox News claiming there is a violent war against Christmas, it makes me feel as though my religion has been hijacked by a bunch of phony hypocrites who had rather use their religion for political purposes than spread the gospel of Jesus by living as He taught.  For those who truly believe we should be concerned about a governmental attack on our religion, I would hope you would fight back by occupying a pew at the next religious service of your choice. See you Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Republican Platform

As you might suspect, quite often the topic of conversation with me gets around to politics.  I’m constantly surprised as to how many people will express the belief that there is precious little difference between Republicans and Democrats.  I submit that only a brief examination of those folks who run each party and the content of their deliberations will quickly dissuade anyone who believes there is little or no difference.

If you want to test for difference, first look at the people who make up the leadership of a particular political group.  A case in point is Sara Legvold from Roanoke, Texas, elected by popular vote in the Republican Party as one of the Party’s leaders. She is an avowed White Supremacist, a proud racist who supports separation of the races as existed in South Africa.  Even though her views are widely and publicly known, she was elected by Republicans to their leadership team. Democratic officeholders who switch give more credibility to the team.

Part of the team that Sara was on is responsible for the Republican state platform.  The Party platform is often said by many not to amount to anything because none of those proposals will ever really happen.  The point is, however, that they express a mind set and deeply held belief of the people who run this particular Party. This is why platforms mean something. The people who write these documents are the people whom Republican politicians must ultimately please in order to hold on to their offices.

The current Republican Platform includes a number of things which outright deny scientific fact.  First of all, the Texas Republican Platform would have you believe that climate change is a conspiracy of left-wing, crazy environmentalists who promote the idea that it is caused by human beings and their activities. And there are odd solutions for education, energy and the abortion question. They would like to abolish the Department of Education, to stop spending any money on research for alternate energy sources, and believe a woman should not even have enough say over her body to be able seek an abortion if impregnated as a result of rape or incest.

The Republican State Party Platform goes on to document the Republicans’ distrust of ordinary Americans who are currently allowed to vote on their United States Senator.  In this matter, the Platform calls for appeal of the 17th U.S. Constitutional Amendment which allows popular election of U.S. Senators, and instead would place election of Texas' two congressional senators in the hands of that source of infinite wisdom, the Texas Legislature. 

Republicans also believe that racial harmony has arrived in the United States because we have elected a Black President.  This must be the supporting belief expressed in the plank of the Platform that calls for repeal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

For good measure, Texas Republicans would abolish the Department of Homeland Security, withdraw from the United Nations and immediately ship 1.8 million undocumented residents in Texas back South.

One reason all of this is so strange to me is that most of my conservative friends claim to be good Christians who espouse peace, love and understanding.