11.26.2004

Where does the buck belong?

Tennessee recently announced that it was ending the Tenn-care medical insurance program for some reason or another (sorry, I didn't keep up). An op-ed in today's newspaper criticized an earlier op-ed writer for saying it was Bush's fault (ironically, today's op-ed was followed by another that blamed it on Bush). That seems fair, I mean, what did Bush have to do with it? It's apparent that Bush doesn't give a damn about people's health insurance (although the democrat's idea of making the government pay for it is just as bad) but I don't know how you could blame Bush for Tenn-care.

It got me to thinking about how Bush gets blamed for a lot of things. In other fora, I myself have been accused of blaming him for everything though that's never been the case. It's funny because when discussing politics online people rarely bother to read what you say and would rather accuse you of being a liberal, a blame-bush-first person, or whatever other lame name they can think of when if they'd just read what you're saying they'd see that you're not blaming anyone or even oftentimes defending Bush.

It's silly, but there are people who blame Bush for everything just as there are those who blamed everything on Clinton. But, fact is, the office of the president isn't supposed to be responsible for everything. Somewhere along the line it took on a lot more power that it was supposed to, but still, not everything is up to the president.

Some examples of things that I don't really think are the president's responsibility are crime, the court system, and jobs. There are many others right now, but I have mental block.

Sure, the president can make decisions which may affect these things in one way or another, but I don't see any of them as his sole responsibility.

I always thought that people who blamed Bush for everything were only doing so because they hated the guy but I realized there's a better explanation. He becomes a lightening rod because he takes credit for everything. This is somewhat true of any president, but this administration not only has an ego problem, but an Orwellian problem of turning bad news into good as well. And so, if you listen to Bush, he singlehandedly created the Department of Homeland Security, stopped corporate crime on his own, tightened up airport by himself, turned a bad economy into a great one without help, won two wars by himself, gave jobs to hundreds of thousands of people, and even found time to make the trains run on time.

There's really nothing that happens that the administration doesn't try to praise him for. Just look at Drudgereport right now (I would link but it'll disappear within hours anyway). Drudge is a fairly reliable mouthpiece of the administration so it's no surprise that one of the top stories is titled "REPORT: BUSH AVERTED COLOMBIA TERROR THREAT..."

Wow, it sounds like Bush did something really slick to get the better of some terrorists who were planning an attack. Go Bush!

The link goes to a Washington Times story which says nothing of the sort. It says that intelligence officials had reports that indicated FARC was planning a bombing or shooting during Bush's visit. The intelligence officials didn't say FARC was going to target Bush, but the republican-friendly Washington Times seems to have no problem inferring that in the first sentence.

A little common sense and knowledge of intel, journalism and how they go together is in order. When I read the story I come to this conclusion: FARC carries out attacks like this all the time but do not have the means, and probably don't have the desire to go after the U.S. president. The intelligence officers called the information "reports coming from the region" which means some security folk in Columbia mentioned that FARC was active and to be on the look-out but said nothing of them targeting Bush himself. If Bush was really named as a target we would have seen 10 times the amount of security. Simple as that, that's how they always do it.

But remember Drudge's headline: "REPORT: BUSH AVERTED COLOMBIA TERROR THREAT..." It's no mistake that it was put up there on Friday. No one will have access to ask any government spokespeople about the story until Monday, and by then it will be forgotten. So Bush supporters will read it and think that not only is he whipping Islamic terrorism around the globe single handedly, but he's also flying to Columbia and stopping them in person, and anyone who didn't vote for him is just plain nuts. I mean, the guy is superman for cryin' out loud.

Before today, I would not have criticized Bush over Columbia. He's only carrying out the same policies there that we've been using for years. Propping up a corrupt government and training them to kill rebels. Nothing new.

Now that he's trying to take credit for "averting the Columbia terrorist threat", I think he's fair game.

Call me a "blame bush firster" or whatever you want, but anyone who tries to take credit for something that they didn't do or something that never happened in the first place becomes a fair target for criticism on that issue.

11.25.2004

Why do people forward this junk?

New car jacking scheme:
You walk across the parking lot, unlock your car and get inside. Then you lock all your doors, start the engine and shift into reverse, and you look into the rear view mirror to back out of your parking space and you notice a piece of paper stuck to the middle of the rear window.

So you shift into park, unlock your doors and jump out of your car to remove that paper (or whatever it is) that is obstructing your view. When you reach the back of your car, that is when the car-jackers appear out of nowhere, jump into your car and take off!! Your engine was running (ladies would have their purse in the car) and they practically mow you down as they speed off in your car.

BE AWARE OF THIS NEW SCHEME THAT IS NOW BEING USED.

Just drive away and remove the paper later and be thankful you read this e-mail. I hope you will forward this to friends and family, especially women! A purse contains all identification and you certainly do not want someone getting your home address, they already HAVE your keys!

Corporal Kelvin W Ashe
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Community Services Division
5623 Two Notch Rd, Columbia, SC 29223
699-2999 ext212
Now, a thinking person might say... "Hmmm, why go to all that trouble. Why not just carjack the person as the get into their car? Why assume the person won't see the paper and remove it before they get in the car?"

On a related note, don't flash your lights at anyone driving with theirs off or they'll shoot you, and don't get your change out of vending machines, because people stick AIDS needles in there.

What is going on with religion?

By now, I'm sure everyone has heard that the Declaration of Independance has been banned in a California high school, right? Well, if you read the stories carefully, it appears that this teacher was handing out religious material which just happened to contain quotes from the Declaration of Independance. So it isn't a matter of the school not wanting kids to learn the Declaration of Independance, it's a matter of them not wanting the students to be given religious literature which contains selected quotes from the Declaration of Independance or any other place for that matter. It's a nonstory which has been overblown by the Alliance Defense Fund, a religious activist group working in concert with lawyers to spread the gospel.

A story a bit closer to home appeared in yerterday's Knoxville News Sentinel. (Sorry for not linking to it but I'm not going to register for their website) The story was about a pastor who put up a huge cross next to the interstate. The county found that it was against zoning laws and told him he could either take it down or move it to a differnt location on the same property. I assume the problem was that it was too close to the interstate because I've driven by this monster cross and it's really close.

According to his own words in the story, he decided to take it down in order to show good Christians what would happen if they stood by and let secularists have their way. In other words, he wanted people to get riled up thinking that he was forced to remove it by some wacky anit-religion "activist judge" when if fact all he had to do was move it a little bit for safety's sake. Pretty dishonest if you ask me.

I am not very religious and I hate to accuse a man of God but as I see it, he is guilty of blasphemy. He was using the cross for false political purposes, just as the teacher in California was using religion and the Declaration of Independance to influence people who had come to school to get an education, not a religious experience.

So what the hell is going on with religion? It seems that everywhere I turn people are creating these scenarios in order to gain sympathy when it's not warranted. Remember the guy who put the Ten Commandments in the courthouse. He knew that wasn't right but he did it just so someone would be forced to order him to take it down then he could whine about it.

As I see it, it is all blasphemy. Religion is a personal thing that people should be free to seek out, not have it thrust upon them. Yet every day we see these false accusations popping for the transparent goal of gaining attention. It's almost as if they're carrying out probes for a larger goal that will take place later on.

Some people are kind-hearted religious folks who just want to live a good life while some are fanatic fundamentalists who want to force their religion on others. In more violent cultures, this is done through terrorism and murder, while in others it is done through lies and political manuevering. Which ones do you think are the truly religious people and which are a bastardization of the belief? How do you tell true religion from false prophets? How do you know if God is speaking to you or if it's the devil in disguise?

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