A Parable

A man went to the school to pick up his son after being informed that the son had been fighting. As they sat in the car on the way home, the boy holding an icepack on his swollen black eye, his dad asked him what happened.

“Johnny said he was going to beat me up if I didn’t give him my lunch money.”

“That’s not a good reason to get into a fight,” said his dad. “Why didn’t you just give him your lunch money?”

“That’s what I’ve been doing; every time he forgets his own money, he does this. A couple of times I talked him into letting me do his homework instead.”

“So if talking was working, why didn’t you talk to him this time?”

“Working? Talking wasn’t working! He started threatening me for my lunch money even when he didn’t forget his. Nothing was ever enough, so I decided that I wasn’t going to do it anymore. He told me yesterday to give him my lunch money or else and I told him no. I’m not giving up my lunch money any more. Well, he said he’d give me until today to think about it and I told him I wasn’t going to change my mind. He told me he would not only beat me up, but he’d beat my friends up, too and I told him I wasn’t going to give him my lunch money.”

“That was yesterday?”

“Yes, Dad. And today he walked up to me when I got to school, yelling at me to give him his money and I just ignored him. Then he said, ‘Okay, just give me half of your lunch money and I won’t beat you up.’ When I didn’t say anything, he said, ‘Okay, I won’t beat up on two of your friends.’ Then he said, ‘Okay, I won’t beat up on 3 of your friends.’

“Well, that sounds like a good deal, why didn’t you give him your lunch money then?”

“Dad! It’s my money. And it’s pizza day. And if i gave him my lunch money again today, he was just going to come back again next week or the week after and demand money again. And besides, I was winning. He kept asking for less the more I refused to give up.”

“Okay, now I’m confused. You did fight didn’t you?”

“Not really. He finally got so frustrated that he ran at me and tripped on someone’s bookbag. He accidentally hit me in the eye and broke his arm when he fell. But he didn’t get my lunch money.”

So, my lovely audience: Should the boy have given Johnny his lunch money? Who is to blame for the “fight”?


The Sheep and the Goats

Certain of my family have been passing this meme around and I found it quite timely and appropriate. I made some nitpicky modifications, but the original idea is signed by a Jason Leith. It’s a paraphrase of Jesus in Matthew 25:41-46

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you reduced funding for food stamps, I was thirsty and you prevented the EPA from guaranteeing me clean water, 43 I was a stranger and you vilified me and demanded that I be deported, I needed clothes and you substituted a sales tax for an income tax and slashed welfare payments, I was sick and you took away my only hope for health care, I was in prison and you tortured me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and endeavored to harm you further?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did to one of the least of these, you did to me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

And might I add, “I was homeless and you denied me affordable housing.”

My representative is an idiot

Well, okay, that’s a little harsh. But he’s definitely drunk the kool-aid on this whole continuing resolution.

 Right now, it’s clear the Senate is not even willing to come to the table for discussion. This should outrage the American people. We cannot let Obama and his democratic-controlled Senate steamroll over the voice of the public. We cannot let this administration continue to pick and choose what laws it wants to enforce. It is not even fully enforcing its own landmark legislation- Obamacare. If it’s not good enough for the administration to enforce now, it’s clearly not ready!

I will continue my fight to fund this government in a fiscally responsible manner. I will continue my fight to delay Obamacare and protect the American public.”

No real facts of course, just GOP talking points. So here’s my response:

I just read your email blast entitled “Where do we go from here.” You complain about the Democrats not negotiating with you. I gotta tell ya, I wouldn’t negotiate with you either if I were in there shoes. First of all, you’re trying to negotiate on a fight you’ve already lost, both in Congress and in the courts. Second, you’re negotiating from a position of weakness; you’re a minority of a minority insisting on being able to control the agenda and there’s really no reason for anyone to let you do that. The Democrats have finally figured out that they are in the majority (with veto power no less). I don’t know why they’ve let you get away with this strategy this long. Third, you’re negotiating in bad faith; no concession is ever enough. The next time a must-pass resolution comes along you ask for more concessions. Y’all are like the vikings in England back in the middle ages; sure they can pay the Danegeld to keep this band of marauders out of your villages, but that won’t stop the next and the next after that. In such a world, only an idiot would keep letting the aggressor get away with it without a fight. Eventually, even an idiot should be able to figure out that standing up to you is the only possible way to get you to quit. Finally, you’re offering a lousy deal. In the first round you seriously wanted to trade a measly month or two of continuing resolution in exchange for giving up on their signature legislative achievement, the work of a century and a dozen presidents? You’ve got to be kidding me. What were you thinking? I know what you were thinking; they’ll fold like a napkin just like they did the last several times. Well, Mr. Congressman, they aren’t folding. I think they are done folding. I think you should expect them to continue to beat you up in the press and I think you should expect to lose. And I think you should expect to kiss the White House good-bye for the next two cycles if not the next two generations. You’ll be lucky to hold the house, and if you do, it’ll only be because of all the gerrymandered seats.
The place to go from here is out to the floor to pass a clean CR and hope the country forgives you. And then, do the same with the debt ceiling. With all this talk of fiscal responsibility, voting against raising the debt ceiling would mark you as a hypocrite.

More letters to Congress

I’m in another round of writing to my representatives and senators about the NSA and surveillance. The following is what I sent to John Cornyn. Repeat letters to Senator Cruz and my representative are an abbreviated version of this, but all carry essentially the same message.

The AP is now reporting based on officially provided documents that the NSA not only gathered more data than they were legally authorized, continued to do so after they were told not to, but made lame excuses for doing so when the FISA court had to review them again. I have to say, rather than being comforted with the “transparency” of the Administration, I’m less and less likely to trust that no one is doing unethical or illegal things with this data. The story points out that there isn’t evidence that anyone is intentionally infringing on anyone’s privacy but that’s small comfort. If someone were intentionally abusing power, they would take steps to keep it hidden. And unintentional violations of my privacy are just as bad if not worse. If you can unintentionally invade my privacy, your processes are not well designed and easy to abuse. When we are talking about Federal power, easy to abuse is a fatal design flaw. True conservatives understand that.

Considering that the Founders were of the belief, from personal experience, that you could not trust a strong central government and therefore built a structure that you shouldn’t ever have to trust, I’m asking you what are you going to do to protect my rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights (I mean in addition to my 2nd Amendment rights. You’re strongly on the record in that instance)?

You took an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. I know you take that oath seriously. There is no greater threat to our constitution and our way of life than this regime of surveillance. I’ve contacted my congressman and your colleague Senator Cruz and was disappointed that they both have bought into what I can only describe as a liberal trust in the Federal Government’s forbearance, a trust that neither of them are willing to subscribe to on the topics of health care/Obamacare or the Second Amendment.

I am really surprised (though why I didn’t see it coming is an excellent question) that these vocal critics of government overreach in certain areas are fine with government overreach in surveillance.

And now I’m thinking about reaching out to other representatives in the area. We’ll see what comes of this.

Wimpy Texas Politicians

It’s really weird to me that these rabidly Republican politicians can’t seem to be consistent about their protection of the Constitution. Now my Senator (Ted Cruz if anyone is wondering) is giving me the same line my Representative did about having to strike a balance between fighting terrorism and protecting civil liberties. Here’s my response:

Thank-you for your response, but I was really taken aback by this statement: “It is imperative, however, that we strike an appropriate balance between remaining vigilant against terrorism and protecting the civil liberties guaranteed to the American people by the Constitution.”

I understand that you won’t have to stand for election for another five years but do you really want to have such a moderate position tied to your record? To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, moderation in the Texas primary is no virtue. Either the Bill of Rights is there to protect us from an overreaching government or it is not. We don’t “strike a balance” with terrorists and we shouldn’t “strike a balance” with those forces within the US who work to provide the tools necessary for tyranny to take hold. Step up, man. We’re counting on you to protect us and we need a true conservative to do so.

I also took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the US from all enemies foreign and domestic, sir, and I take my oath seriously.

I’m hoping that calling them “moderate” will have the desired effect. In Texas politics these days “moderate” is one of the worst things you can call a Republican. I didn’t even take into account the possibility that Sen. Cruz might run for President next go ’round but the same argument would apply. You don’t win Iowa and South Carolina by being “moderate.”