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If I had a hammer… February 27, 2009

Posted by Sanity in Humor, Politics.
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(Who knows how dangerous I’d be if I had the guts to sing this and make a You Tooby-type video)

Inspired by original song “If I had a hammer (The Hammer Song)” by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger

IF I HAD A PLATFORM (The Politics Song)
music by Lee Hays and Pete Seeger
new words by Sanity TwoBrain

If I had a platform
I’d hammer out solutions
I’d hammer out policies
All over this land
I’d hammer out anger
I’d hammer out the warring
I’d hammer out peace between the donkeys and the el’phants
All over this land

If I had a Party
It would have integrity
And tri-partisan support
All over this land
It would stand for hard work
And for strong family
It would encourage all the citizens and the visitors
All over this land

If I had a voice
I’d use it on the internet
I’d use it in the elections
All over this land
I’d use it against hatred
I’d speak out a warning
I’d speak to the people, all my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

Well I’ve got a voice
And I’ve got a vote
And I’ve got a song to sing
All over this land
It’s the voice of Sanity
It’s the vote of confidence
It’s the song about hope for my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

Maintenance of “The Law” February 19, 2009

Posted by Sanity in law, Politics.
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Lady Justice’s arm is tired (The one holding the scales of justice and a sword wearing a blindfold).  The scales of justice no longer have a single pivot point and one side is so weighted down with laws that trump each other and precedent that probably could allow anything to be proved.

There are many laws that cause more problems that they solve: unenforceable laws, outdated laws and hate-crimes laws.

I will address each area in my list, but “Why” do I think these are so dangerous?  People are losing confidence because more and more crimes are becoming commonplace because “What can anyone do about it?”  During the 2008 primaries, a couple candidates flaunted a “flat tax” to simplify the whole system.  I propose the same thing for laws.  For instance, traffic laws can vary massively from state to state to county to Small Town U.S.A.  There should be “national” traffic laws with State right to “add to” but, unless the are local conditions that justify that law, the law should be evaluated nationally.  I should be able to drive circles around the country and not be stopped for laws I couldn’t possible be aware of.  Simplicity!

Now, first, unenforceable laws.  Tragedies happen or desires occur to try to solve a “problem” and bad laws are written, but individual police officers have no ability to enforce the law or they see that everyone is guilty of the law.  I would classify some of these laws as simply “poorly thought or poorly worded”.  I’ll try to supply some examples soon.  Next is outdated laws.  San Antonio has/had a law against carrying wire cutters which was a tactic against cattle rustling.  Anyone see a headline of the reemergence of this crime lately?

Finally, and deserving its own paragraph are hate crime laws.  No, I’m not condoning hate crimes.  Hate is hate, murder is murder, and crime is crime.  There are different levels of punishment for each crime depending on criminal history, severity of the crime, etc.  If ## years will not rehabilitate a criminal, ## + 5 years will no do any better.  If the maximum is not enough, then change that amount based on the circumstances.  I am against hate crime legislation as a poor attempt to persuade immature cretins to be mature about who they pick on.  Hence it is “not as bad” to harass, beat up or kill a straight white kid that is not part of a “protected group”.  If a behavior is to not be tolerated, it should be FOR EVERYONE.  I am very certain my childhood bullies, and high school bullies, and adult life bullies, would find any reason they could to harass me.  Outlaw one reason, they would find another.

So, the point is, more and more laws are made to solve problems while lawyers have more “precedent” and laws to use to their advantage.  It should be a portion of every lawmaker’s responsibility to revisit old laws, assess their effectiveness and current/future relevance, and cleanup the list to avoid conflicting and confusing laws or laws that have not improved or prevented anything.  Junior Senators and Representatives should spend even more time doing this before introducing more of their own laws without the experience or knowledge of what has already been attempted.

Futile Penal Systems and the Deaf Penalty February 19, 2009

Posted by Sanity in death penalty, law.
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I’ve had the flu, but the primary source of my sickness is not medical.  I’ve avoided posting because of the political-flu. Political-flew?  That’s probably more accurate, because sanity has “flew the coop” in D.C.  They are marching to a drum played with salad forks or something and I don’t have to stomach to write about it right now.  BUT while driving to work the other day, I heard an angel on the radio.  His name is Jeff Bolton.  I don’t normally listen to the radio much, but I did that morning and tuned in to the middle of him talking about New Hampshire and 9 other states working on passing legislation to fight to regain State’s Rights to mitigate the damage the Feds continue to do.  But, this article isn’t about that (for now).

On the second day of Bolton, an angel said to me lala la lala la lalalalala la laaaaa 🙂  Today Bolton was talking about the death penalty.  His “gladiator” solution is not something that would be proposed by Sheriff Joe (Or maybe it is, but one day I will read all I can and pay honor to him).

For some time I have been curious about “rehabilitation” that works and doesn’t.  At times I was conflicted about the death penalty.  Not anymore.  It is not a deed I could do myself unless someone had harmed someone I love, so maybe letting death row inmates kill each other has merit.  Maybe the best therapy would be to allow the “survivor” to fight enough battles they “lose the taste for blood”.  If they truly appear not able to deal the death blow, then maybe they aren’t guilty.

Mr Bolton refers to the absurdness of how many years inmates are on death row.  There DOES need to be absolute proof before someone is put to death.  Having a ‘history’ or ‘looking guilty’ isn’t enough.  If they are guilty of something, but not the murder they are charged with, then someone else gets away with murder.  But the advocates talk about ALL death row inmates as if there is doubt in every case.  Come on!  We aren’t talking about people who were framed.  When there are credible witnesses, video footage, and an unrepentant confession… get it over with.  Don’t waste our money proving the same thing over and over.  No bargaining for untrustworthy information about other crimes.  End it quickly so resources are free to help the “cases with doubt” in them still.

There is lack of proof ANY hard criminal is ever rehabilitated.  I would welcome hearing what has worked if that has ever happened. (Would shock therapy be “torture”?) So if a reliable deterant was provided, like say ‘death’ with no scapegoats or years of waiting to slip through the cracks, maybe the culture that teaches criminals more bad behavior could be turned around.

The other part of the problem is the judicial side, i.e. proper sentencing without plea bargaining.  I will attempt to find data to back it up, but I believe plea bargaining is a huge part of the problem and does NOT save as much court time as most would claim.  If you limit the amount of time lawyers can waste with exhausting every extreme possibility in search of a technicality… Anyway, my next point deserves its own post.

Book Club: Myth of a Christian Nation : Chapter 2 February 11, 2009

Posted by Sanity in Book Review, Faith, Politics, Religion, Separation of Church and State.
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OK, I am not done with this chapter, but I am struggling with it.  The focus of the chapter seems to be a perspective on who rules this world, who rules God’s kingdom, and our servant purpose in this world.

Up front, I struggle with knowing when to turn things over to God, preferring to accomplish things to overcome feelings of inadequacy.  We aren’t meant to be couch potatoes, but when are we to take action and when to trust His plan?  Before I continue, let me relay excerpts of what bothered me… (I typed the best I could while listening to the audio version)

“The kingdom of God advances by people lovingly placing themselves under others, in service to others, at cost to themselves.  This “coming under” doesn’t mean followers of Jesus conform to other people’s wishes but it does mean we always interact with others with their best interests in mind…. We are to do nothing from selfish ambition nor conceit but in humility regard others as better than ourselves.  We are to not look to our own interests but to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4  We are to not seek our own advantage but that of the other. 1 Corinthians 10:24  …. in serving them in any way we can… ”

1.  I understand the servant role, but when are we to lead and when to serve?  I struggled at one job where I reluctantly stepped up to a management role to fill a void.  I was fired for reasons I am proud of, because I would not treat those under me as the type of leader the CEO was trying to groom me to be.  It was the very day after being fired that I attended a Men’s Breakfast at church, and was reminded on the term “Servant leader” which explained how I was trying to be, and brought me great comfort, opposite of the “whip” I was supposed to use.

2. The author seems to emphasize that Satan rules this world, so therefore, if we are servants, how are we to serve Satan’s “interests” without violating God’s purpose for us? Are we to regard his servants as better than us? To seek their advantage? Are all Christians to never prosper over non-Christians?  This makes my head hurt, because there has to be a time us to lead, or prosper, but still “be a good example”?

3. A short way farther into this chapter is mention of the Sword and got me thinking about the Armor of God.  Part of that armor is the “Sword of the spirit”.  Are we to “turn the other cheek” until the rest of the armor is so damaged that the Sword is the only defense left? A sword can be used in defense and in attack. We certainly should be careful not to attack when unnecessary, but where should we draw the line?

Again, this speaks to my resistance to turning things over to God.  In reflection, I desire to, but “in the moment of decision” it is a personal struggle to remember to do it.

Book Club: Myth of a Christian Nation February 4, 2009

Posted by Sanity in Book Review, Politics, Religion, Separation of Church and State.
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I am actually guilty of buying this book based a faulty assumption on the title.  The card containing the code for downloading the audio version did not have the advantage of allowing a quick scan of the book’s intent.  If I had, I probably would have skipped this one.  The title is not, as I hoped, a twist of meaning to defend the influence of Christianity during the founding of this country.  Nor does it appear that it will go into any history of the country.

I just started listening, but hope it goes somewhere substantial.  The introduction paints a picture of excuses not to, as a church, get involved in politics.  Some reviews summarize intent as warnings about when a “church gets too close to any political or national ideology”.  There are valid points in remembering not to place country BEFORE God, and I will always agree God comes first.

My problem with the direction this warning appears to take is avoidance.  I understand somewhat that a church cannot flatly say “Vote for Joe the Plumber”.  But a church leader is supposed to teach and guide the congregation.  Secular Progressives are blurring the lines and leading Christian followers to accepting ‘softer’ more tolerant definitions or marriage, of sex (Thank you Bill Clinton), and equating tolerance not only with acceptance but also approval of things that contradict the Word of God.  This is where the author of this book loses opportunity to teach biblical perspective on political issues.  Where should a Christian stand on the death penalty, welfare, national security and all the other hot topics in government?  Teach not to idolize a party and to not “hate” the opponent, but teach about responsibility, accountability, integrity, and compassion.

I have just started this (audio) book and hope it answers my concerns.  Feel free to “spoil the ending” and share insight on this topic whether you have read this book or not.  The origin and intent of “separation of Church and State” has been perverted.  I pray this author is not advocating the turning over of governing completely over to secular hands.  To stand idly by and let certain activist attempts to erase all evidence of Christian influence from public eye cannot be part of our calling as Christians.