Archive for the ‘General Commentary’ Category

It’s a game. I think the American public wants to believe that their elected officials care, but deep down they know it’s a game, too. Legislation generally gets passed across the country not because it’s the right thing to do but because of the deals behind the scenes.

One of the most troubling realities is this country if far from a democracy (or a republic, for that matter). It is a series of little dictatorships. What that classic and beloved School House Rock cartoon fails to mention during its famous “Bill” song is how those bills can get stuck in a committee simply because the chairman of the committee doesn’t like the bill. It is up to the chairman of those committees to release the bills for a vote. So while the entire rest of the committee may be a favor of a bill, if the chairman wants to he has the power to kill it via “drawer veto” and never letting it out for a vote.

This is a process of which most of the public is unaware. One person can decide the fate of potential law. One person can decide whether victims can be protected. One person can decide the civil rights of all. Enter the deal.

Behind the scenes politicians jostle and hustle for votes for their bills. “If you don’t give me your vote on this bill then you won’t get mine on your bill and I’ll make sure politicians A, B, C, and D don’t vote for it either.” Of course, the one withe the most power for those deals is the chairman. “If you even want your bill put out for a vote [insert deal here].”

Imagine that. In America where it’s been drilled into us for years that “your vote matters” so many good bills that could help people die because the bill can’t even get out for a vote. The process is broken and the mini-dictatorships need to be usurped.

Advertisements

Perhaps the strictness of journalism ethics has gone out the window, but there are some things that are just plain inexcusable when it comes to reporting via the written word. It has seemingly become more commonplace these days for journalists to report rape as “having sex with” instead of what it really is — rape. In the latest example of this inexcusable misrepresentation, a 42-year-old Delaware woman, Rachel Holt, was looking to have her prison sentence reduced following her rape of a 13-year-old. The journalist in the article still stated, “for having sex with a 13-year-old student.” (http://www.wboc.com/story/24846745/del-panel-denies-commutation-in-teacher-sex-case)

Let’s get this clear — an adult cannot “have sex” with a minor. Rape is rape. Rape by any other name is minimizing the grotesqueness of the crime. It would be like calling murder “engaged in a physical altercation that led to one’s death.” Did Jeffrey Dahmer go to jail for “a physical altercation that led to death”? I don’t think so. Likewise, Rachel Holt didn’t go to jail for “having sex” — she went to jail for raping a 13-year-old.

Is there something wrong with today’s culture that we’re at the point we’ve become rape apologists? After all, we have states allowing rapists to sue for custody of the children they fathered from their violent crime. Perhaps some of the writers of these articles don’t want to call the rape of a 13-year-old what it is because they’ve had some sort of sick fantasy of sexualizing minors as well and don’t want to admit that the thoughts they’ve had, if acted out, would be rape. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of these writers are actually thinking in the back of their minds, “Where were teachers like that when I went to school?”

It’s time to get your head screwed on straight, America!

The two-party system has become so viciously polarized these days it’s surprising that anything gets done at all in this country. From Nancy Pelosi saying that the GOP rhetoric is “frightening” to nearly everyone in the Republican party saying that Barack Obama is going to be the end of civilization as we know it, American politics has become an onslaught of scare tactics. Each side wants you to believe that the other is so wretchedly evil and destructive that their policies are going to destroy the very fabric of the nation. And there is almost no middle ground.

Most Americans form their political viewpoints first through their parents and then from the media they watch. Parental influence is understandable although one hopes as the person grows older they develop their own opinions, but media is meant to be hard and heavy and scare you. It doesn’t matter the network, personality, or distinct party persuasion. From Bill O’Reilly to Sean Hannity to Chris Matthews to Keith Olbermann and on and on, in the guise of a discussion their opinion is going to get crammed down the viewers’ throats as the only right and logical opinion often belittling guests to their shows. So what’s the point in watching unless tearing people apart on TV is your thing?

It doesn’t help that the common politician has now taken up the same shock and awe tactics in order to get a simple sound bite and create an unfounded alarm within the American people. It seems the only form of bipartisanship these days is in the mudslinging rhetoric.

No matter what the talking heads say or try to convince their viewers or listeners it all comes down to one thing on Capitol Hill. Money. If you are a politician, no matter what your party affiliation may be you are going to vote in favor of those policies that help the people and corporations that funded your campaign. If you don’t then you can forget about getting re-elected. The power no longer resides in the voice of the American people, the power resides in the voice of the select few. All the mud is just a red herring.

It’s time to re-ignite the American Live Wire. Nearly five years ago, as part of the Enigma Underground internet radio station this blog was created as a place to sound off politically while the station began to broadcast podcasts of issues of the day. There was a quick splash and both faded out over time while the American Live Wire Twitter account still periodically posted a tweet. It was a faint heartbeat that began beating louder over the past year and a half. Now, American Live Wire is returning.

The Enigma Underground radio station is still shut down at the moment, but we’ll look to broadcast some podcasts and/or radio shows soon. In the meantime, the blog will ramp back up and the tweets will continue to increase. We’re also going to be putting together a Facebook page.

The question is then becomes what political persuasion American Live Wire will now adopt. A look through the archives will instantly reveal a decidedly right wing stance. Sure, the Examiner.com column was “non-partisan,” but non-partisan in Oklahoma is still moderately right. American Live Wire at this time is going to make no particular party distinction — they both have scores of problems and pundits screaming their rhetoric — and is just going to call it like it is, for good or bad. Chalk it up to a few more years of growing wiser and more centrist. There is no party agenda here, just a fair discussion of today’s issues in America.

We’ll also be supporting a number of worthy bi-partisan movements that aim to put forth much-needed policy in the United States. One such example is Lynette’s Law, which you will find in the featured links to the right. The Lynette’s Law legislation is working to protect patients from sexually exploitative mental health professionals and needs your support. This and other movements will be featured on Enigma Underground’s American Live Wire.

Plug us back in and we’re plugging back in!