Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Grisly Tale from a Survivor

Read at your own risk! The things I am going to tell you in the following paragraphs are not for the faint of heart. I have carefully considered my words, but some of you will be terrified by the things that are revealed below. If you are taking any medication, please continue to follow your health care provider's instructions, and please stop reading right now. I cannot be responsible for you from this point on.

I attended a horrible school when I was a child. First, even getting there is something fearsome. I rode a bicycle, scary in itself, but get this: I did not wear knee and elbow pads, nor a helmet! I would ride in street clothes from my house to the school. Once at school, I had to go directly to class! They did not provide a breakfast for me!!! We went directly to classrooms, unless we got there early. On those occasions, we were put in what would later that day be the "cafeteria," but was for now a "holding pen" for students while teachers got ready for the day.

Oh, and while we're on transportation, until I was in fifth grade, we didn't have a car that even had seat belts. It had a beautiful green metal dashboard, though. I bumped my head on it a couple of times when my dad made a sudden stop for something like an unprotected kid on a bicycle.

We had two recesses: a morning one and an afternoon one. WE OFTEN PLAYED UNSUPERVISED! I know; you don't believe that. I wouldn't either if I hadn't been there and seen it myself. In one game, we actually threw a non-rubberized so-called "soft ball" at each other. They let us choose teams for this game, and we got to keep score. Nobody seemed to care how the others felt.

Lunch time was frightening. On every table the school officials had allowed the cafeteria workers to place vials of poison. One was called "salt," and the other, "pepper." We sometimes put it in our ice cream dessert just to see how it tasted. Our parents would scold us for it, because they did not want to see food "wasted." They said that because all of them actually paid for it themselves. Some kids brought lunch, and it was in unsealed containers.

They also had a very dangerous machine in the kitchen. It was filled with heart-attack causing grease, maybe even LARD, and they actually FRIED things in it, and expected us to eat it. In fact, our teachers and parents often "encouraged" us to eat everything on our plate.

In the fifth grade, one of our classmates had gone to the Bisbee Copper mines over Christmas (?!!) break, and brought back something amazing for all of us: a bucket of amazing, crazy mercury!!! Boy, did we have fun. First of all, it was really hard to make a fist and plunge it to the bottom of the bucket. Of course, when the big kid tried it, some mercury spilled over, but we had fun chasing it across the classroom floor and watching it break into hundreds of little silver balls. Then our friend decided to let us all have a little of it. Desperately wanting to be a part, I found a paper cup and got my treasure, probably 4-5 tablespoons of it. During the slow days at class, I would drop a little of it on the desk and watch it roll. I would break it up and put it back together. Then I would go eat my sandwich for lunch.

The guys in the white spacesuits never came for cleanup. I don't even know if they had hazmat people back then. As far as I know, traces of that mercury are still embedded in the floor, concrete, and -- who knows? -- ancient desks and chairs of that school, which still stands and serves as an elementary school. I may still have some, somewhere, in storage. As it dwindled, I stored the last of it in a non-child-proof-capped medicine bottle.

When I was in high school, a fight once got out of hand, and one student went home and got a gun, and I would say he got it from his right-wing redneck father, but the student was a member of a hispanic migrant family, so that can't be right. He ran down the hall saying he was going to kill the kid that beat him up (who was, by the way, a filthy white redneck kid, who for some reason, had forgotten his own weapon). The principal, a shop teacher, and two fellow hispanic students wrestled the gun out of his hand.

Now get this: we didn't even get to go home. They had school the rest of the day. And the next. We never saw a swat team, and that lousy school didn't even send in crisis counselors to help us get over the psychological damage it caused. I'm probably still carrying it. And as far as I know, nobody sued.

If a kid didn't do the work, he (generic use, which was ok then) got disciplined. He didn't get special "initials" put on his file. He got licks. Then he did the work and went out to recess with the rest of us. Our teachers taught us subjects; they did not teach us how to take a federally mandated state supervised test. I don't know how we made it to adulthood, or how the generation before us managed to get people all the way to the moon.

If someone got hurt, he (generic) bled and the teacher cleaned it up, maybe with a kleenex. And no rubber gloves or hazmat suit. Those poor uneducated souls didn't even have "body fluid treatment" training like teachers get now.

If you're still reading, and I know most have probably had to leave and will not sleep tonight, I just want to tell you that somehow I survived these primitive conditions. I never had to go to the hospital, and we actually could have afforded to go if necessary.

How did we do it before the government started educating, protecting, preserving, feeding, clothing, housing, and medicating us? How did we live before litigation, psychoanalysis, and sensitivity training? It's amazing that there are still people on earth today.

To those of you reading, I come from a distant time. We were too stupid to know what we needed. We actually used taxes for building roads and defending our country. We took care of our own kids, and an "Independent School District" really was independent. Just thank whatever deities you may or may not believe in that we lived long enough to reproduce and bring forth a generation to save this dying, overheating, depleted world. Thank him/her/them that we somewhere learned how to strap you in, immunize you, and dress you in body armor.

I know it was supposed to be scary, but all I can remember are the good times. I guess I've been propagandized and need to be woken up. Maybe I should be sentenced to stay in a little room for a week while Al Gore movies are shown to me 24 hours a day. Something needs to be done. My generation is a danger to the health, safety, and sanity of those following.

We didn't know how to do anything right.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Constitutional Atrophy

Liberal judges love to say that the US Constitution is a "living document." Of course, by that they mean that the Constitution can mean anything they want it to mean. "Strict Constructionists" are quickly labeled as bigots or far right reactionaries. Perhaps the most amazing comment on the Constitution (up to that time) was in 1989 when Thurgood Marshall said that the hoopla over the celebration of the Constitution's 200th anniversary was overblown -- that it was an imperfect, even racist, document. Amazingly, this justice, who had to swear to uphold the Constitution in order to become a judge, blatantly admitted that it meant nothing to him. To me, that was an impeachable offense.

Recently, Marshall's best protegee, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, defended her use of "international law" in making Supreme Court decisions. If a justice had said such a thing before 1950, he (there were no "she" justices then) would have been subject to a bipartisan impeachment.

However, if we understand the liberal mind set, we realize that there is no way that a liberal can, in good conscience, uphold the document anyway. Moreover, liberals are not the only ones who butcher the Constitution. It has suffered over the years under the adminstrations of both liberals and conservatives. Most of the abuse is through misuse. It is my premise that the Constitution has lost more of its force through disuse than through abuse. This document is being destroyed by atrophy.

People derided Texas governor Rick Perry this past week for his statements about the Tenth Amendment and states' rights. I remember 1976 when Jimmy Carter stood in a pulpit of a Black Baptist church in the South and told them that Gerald Ford favored states' rights, which would mean a return to the slavery mind set, answered by a thundering of "amens." I've wondered how that church kept its tax exemption. One church nearly lost its exemption that year just because Ford attended and the pastor shook his hand. But again, I digress.

States' rights is not open for debate. It is the Tenth Amendment. It states that all powers not expressly given to the Federal government belong to the states. That should make it easy for the Supreme Court: if the power is not mentioned in the Prime Document, then the Federal Government does not have it. Somehow, the Supreme Court has never figured it out.

Go back to 1850, when congress passed the "Fugitive Slave Law." Before that law, all those slaves in the evil South could just go to the loving North and be free (according to revisionist history). The 1850 law made it possible for a southern slave owner to recover his lost "property" from a northern state, utilizing the help of federal troops, if necessary. Realize that this decision was made by a congress that was dominated by northern legislators -- the ones that history paints as "abolitionist." So, if a slave escaped from Kentucky to Ohio, he wasn't free. The state of Ohio was required to return that slave.

This law should have been overturned, because it overruled state sovereignty. There was no Federal power given by the Constitution to take a slave from a free state and return him to a slave holder. A simple review by the Supreme Court should have nipped the law in the bud, yet it was allowed to fester for the next eleven years, leading to the Civil War. Of course, this was the same Supreme Court that handed down the "Dred Scott Decision," which overlooked Constitutional guarantees of human rights, and told a slave, in effect, that he did not have a right to present his argument, since, according to them, he was not a human being.

Let's go farther afield. If the Supreme Court had ruled on the secession of South Carolina, there might not have been a Civil War, since there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the Federal Government the right to retain individual, sovereign states. Lincoln would have had no authority to organize troops to re-take the state, or the others that followed. Rulings would have been made about compensation for federally funded property, such as Fort Sumter.

One of the greatest myths about the Civil War is that it was all about slavery. While any historian would acknowledge that slavery was one contributing factor, no one has found any public mention of slavery by Lincoln until 1862. Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland were all slave states that fought for the North (though Kentucky had a shadow Confederate government). When Lee handed his sword to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, a man who had no slaves handed his sword to a man who had at least six. Grant fought the whole war as a slave holder. But we don't like to think about that.

If the Supreme Court had merely used the Constitution instead of personal whim, the slavery issue would have been settled in the North and the South, and would never have been an issue. If the Supreme Court had used the Constitution in the secession issue, a war could have been avoided. Slavery was already on the way out in 1850, and was a doomed institution. Through the influence of education, churches, and plain American decency, the institution was losing adherents daily. The Confederacy's constitution only mentions slavery once, and that is to prohibit the foreign slave trade. The evil institution would have died.

In 1896, a northern controlled Supreme Court ruled in "Plessy v Ferguson" that "separate but equal" was in the Constitution. I've re-read it enough that I can tell you that it's simply not there. "Brown v the Board of Education" in 1956 rightly reversed the idiotic decision of 1896. All they would have had to do is read the Constitution.

I've spoken of Roe v Wade in earlier posts. All that needs to be repeated here is that we know from the Declaration of Independence what the mind set of the framers of the later Constitution was: there was a right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." There is a right to life implied in the Constitution, as well as an amendment that says no one can be denied "life, liberty, or property" without "due process of law." The flawed Supreme Court decision somehow found a "right to privacy" implied somewhere, and based the weight of their decision on that premise. In doing that, they used the "Dred Scott Decision" mentality by deciding that a child not yet born was not a human being. Then, the Supreme Court imposed their abortion decision on all the states in the Union, in spite of the 10th Amendment and the fact that the Constitution nowhere gives the Federal Government the power over decisions on the medical termination of a pregnancy. The "Roe" decision not only overruled all the "pro-life" states, but also swept away the "pro choice" states' laws, and imposed one monolithic rule that has become the basis of practice and funding.

Recently, congress has decided that the District of Columbia needs a voting congressional representative. The Constitution says they don't. Within the last decade or so, an amendment was presented to give DC the "rights" of statehood in congressional and senatorial representation. As repugnant as that is to me, if the amendment had been passed by 2/3 of state legislatures, it would be the constitutional law of the land. That amendment died. This time, the Constitution is being ignored. It seems that no one even cares. Just vote in a new representative from DC. The Supreme Court probably will not even touch it.

Finally, I look at GM. Bad management? Yes. Sorry product? In the past several years, sadly, yes (though their new Malibus are great). Should the CEO have been fired? Most likely. By the Federal Government? No way! It is no personal reflection on our new president. If my favorite president of all time, Ronald Reagan, had fired the president of General Motors or any other company, I would have cried "foul!" Where in the constitution is the Executive branch given the power over corporations?

Those who hate our Constitution, and in the past two centuries, some have even been legislators and Supreme Court justices, have realized that the document is just made stronger when you wrestle with it. You can weaken it with narrow, specific amendments, but that's way too expensive and time consuming. No, the best way to do it is just to ignore it, to let it atrophy through disuse.

Since January, I've seen next to nothing done in accordance with the Founding Document of our nation. We are straining a gnat and swallowing a camel -- the chief justice and the president flub up the inaugural oath, so they re-do it later to make sure it "takes," despite the fact that nothing in the world could have denied Mr. Obama his full rights and privileges as the duly elected president of the US. What needs to be examined is the huge influx of money into banks and stupid mortgages, and trillions of dollars that are being spent in the name of "stimulus" even though it's just more socialistic spending. There is no constitutional provision for Federal participation in public school education, health care insurance, or "fairness" in broadcasting. So we just ignore the Constitution.

Texas will not secede. I'm 99% sure. But if we do, I have a favor to ask of Congress. May we have your constitution, since you don't use it any more?