A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

More reasons I am no longer a Democrat

Granted, this guy is from New York, but Jim reports to me that senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, stated the following on Bill Maher's show, "People want government to help them." Which had Jim screaming at the TV, "No, you idiot, people want government to get the hell out of the way so we can help ourselves." Amen, brother.

To be fair, some people DO want government to help them, and while there does need to be safety nets and what not for those that are legitimately trying but not succeeding, expecting government to help you has been tried. In the U.S.S.R., China, Cuba, France, Denmark, etc., etc. It's called socialism, or at its extreme, communism. Both of which are members of those most amazing of all things-- concepts that sound absolutely AWESOME in theory and then not only fail to live up to expectations in reality but actually cause more harm, pain, and suffering than not doing anything at all would have caused. I would put the United Nations into this category as well-- in theory, a world governing body that transcends national interests and can unbiasedly mediate worldwide issues is great. In reality, national interests are always part and parcel of any UN deliberation and you wind up with the food for oil scandal and China, Arabia and Nigeria on the UN Commission on Human Rights.

The problem with people wanting govenment to help them is that government doesn't know when to stop helping. In fact, it almost never does stop helping-- even if the problem is solved. The bureaucracy becomes an end in and of itself. How often do you hear of a government program ending? Heck, most of them grouse and moan if their budgets aren't increased enough, much less cut or eliminated.

Another problem with wanting government to help you with something is that government winds up "helping" you with things that you'd really rather government kept it's piggish little nose out of-- check out this article (thanks, Jim) for some particularly egregious examples of that trend. For those of you who don't want to read the whole thing, here's some highlights:
  • Wyoming is debating a regulation that would prohibit facial jewelry in the food service industry, an apparent attempt to keep the alternative girl's eyebrow ring from dropping into your macchiato, even though its backers couldn't cite a single such incident.
  • Consider your pet. Surely Fido or Mittens is immune from government scrutiny, right? Nope. San Francisco passed a new building code earlier this year--for doghouses. In case you were considering a pair of double-Ds for your schipperke, West Hollywood, Calif. is considering a law that would ban cosmetic surgery for pets. And the state of California has banned genetically modified fish in your aquarium.
  • A New Jersey lawmaker wants ESPN to pay for the harmful effects its televised poker tournaments have on young viewers. Her bill is conspicuously quiet on the New Jersey Lottery's contribution to the problem.
  • But I've saved the best for last. As the Forbe's article notes, the best and brightest of the nannystaters is NY Assemblyman, Felix Ortiz. He not only wants breathalyzers on all cars to prevent people from starting their car drunk, he wants people to have to retest themselves every 20-40 minutes! He wants to ban all cell-phone use. Ban expiration dates on gift certificates (sorry all you small business people-- just because your customers are too lazy or stupid to use those certificates in a year or two, you have to carry those numbers on your books for, well, ever). Impose a "fat tax" not just on fast food but on 'video games, commercials and movies', ban alcohol billboard ads within a mile of a school, and force consumers to show two forms of ID to use a credit card.

    Us poor saps are just too stupid to be trusted, I guess. Government needs to take care of all those things to make sure we don't f'em up. To be fair, not all of these perposterous proposals come from Democrats, as the ridiculousness of the Republicans in the Schiavo case drove home quite clearly.

    But I bet you can guess which party Felix Ortiz belongs to.


    Nice of you to once again bring up the wackos as your reasoning for being a reactionary.
    I've got a wacko on the other side that I'd like to bring up. He wants a constitutional amendment banning something that is already illegal. (Talk about government trying to help way too much.) Plus, this constitutional amendment is based entirely on the Old Testament, which kind of goes against principle of seperation of church and state that the government is supposed to operate on. Any guesses on who this wacko is?

    You wouldn't be referring to the attempt in the 107th Congress to amend the Constitution to specify that progressive income taxes must be used so that the rich pay their fair share, would you? Why would you need an amendment for something that is already law? And, of course, the Old Testament reference would be Manahem's tax upon Israel, on all that were mighty and rich.

    But I know that you aren't referencing that. I would guess that you are looking at G.W. and his support for an amendment to the Constitution which would define marriage as between one man and one woman. A couple points on that:

    1. Same-sex marriage is not already illegal throughout the nation. It is currently legal in Massachusetts.
    2. The proposed amendment isn't based entirely upon the Old Testament. Some people are genuinely concerned about a complete change in the definition of marriage and whether the states will lose their ability to uphold their laws if some judge decides to legislate from the bench on equal protection grounds.
    3. There is no separation of church and state in the Constitution. Congress can't establish a state religion or prohibit the free exercise of one's religion. If any laws that have may have a historically religious basis are violations of "separation," then throw out all laws regarding murder. That's one of the Ten Commandments, and those were based entirely on the Old Testament.

    Regarding the amendment process, keep in mind that the President has no role in it other than being able to say whether or not he supports the tenets of the proposed amendment. He can't start the process and he can't veto the proposal or ratification. Only both houses of the Congress or two-thirds of the states can begin the amendment process. The executive and the judiciary branches are required to sit it out.

    Also, there is a huge difference between a constitutional amendment and a law created by members of the legislature (either state or federal). A change to the Constitution requires either two-thirds support in both houses of Congress or support from two-thirds of the states in order to be put before the entire nation for ratification, and then it must be supported by three-fourths of the states to become part of the Constitution. A single member of the legislature can present legislation, either as a stand-alone bill or piggy-backed on another bill, and the citizens are required to obey it if it is passed by the legislative body. It takes a lot more work and support to amend the Constitution than it does to slide some obtuse law through the legislature.

    I don't disagree that there are "wackos" on both sides of the political aisle, but their is surely a difference between a President who supports the tenets of an amendment which he has no constitutional power to enact, and elected officials who attempt to use the power of their positions to enact laws.
    Welcome to the site, Mojo. It's nice to have someone here who actually has some facts to back up their argument.
    I have one question about point #1. OK, same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts. Why is that the President's problem?
    Also, most of my comments go back to the point of bias (the only thing that is ever mentioned in this site). Nick didn't bother to title his rant "The government should mind their own business." He decided to title it "More reasons I am no longer a Democrat," as if the specific things that a few wackos bring up tips the scale one way or the other. Nick talks a lot about bias and the fact that he is irritated by it (or something, I start to lose consciousness after the 35 rant about media bias in a given week), yet he titles all of his blogs in a very biased way. Honestly, there are two types of people who care about what a NY Assemblyman are doing. The first should be the wackos who elected this moron, although I'm sure they're more worried about the state of the Yankees than any of their personal freedoms. The second, and the only people who really care, are the uptight Republicans who want to exploit this guy as a reason that the Democrats are all wackos. (Note: I am not implying that all Republicans are uptight. In fact, I would assume that most Republicans have never heard of this buttmunch. However, there are some people who are a little uptight about their views and that is who I am referring to.)
    Mr. Librarian should also note that he lives in a town (or at least in the county of a town) that has a law that states that missiles may not be shot at parade participants. Living in this kind of anarchy, I can see why he feels the need to back up his beliefs.

    Here's the full text.
    It is Citation: Sec. 66-34. No throwing of objects during parade.
    No person shall throw or shoot any object, missile, spray or other solid, fluid or semifluid projectile by hand or any other means at any person or object along the route of a parade authorized under section 82-39 during the period from the beginning of the parade to the end of the parade. This section shall not apply to bona fide participants, such as clowns or floats, in the authorized parade.
    Thanks for the "welcome" and for pointing to me to this site in the first place. And, because I forgot initially, "Hi, Nick!"

    The reason why many people who support a constitutional amendment are concerned is in point #2. Basically, one of the big concerns is that if one state redefines marriage, other states will be forced to accept that new definition under the precept of equal protection. I'm not trying to push this tread to a same-sex marriage discussion; I'm just trying to clarify.

    The points that I made regarding your initial comments were simply because the President has no constitutional power to begin or enact an amendment, and I thought it seemed to be an apples-to-oranges comparison to elected officials (miniscule as some of them may be) who are attempting to enact (or who are actually enacting) petty, intrusive, and/or "nanny-state" type laws.

    I can see your point that the post seems to point the finger more at Democrats than Republicans, but it looks like the Forbe's article points out the proposed/enacted legislation of Democrats more than Republicans. Since the post uses the article as a supporting document for "More reasons I am no longer a Democrat," that makes sense. However, one could probably question how biased Forbe's would be in the conservative direction.
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