I was thinking about the slippery slope

I’m beginning to think that this concept isn’t taught anymore by parents or by our educational system. While it may be a somewhat fallacious argument, as a thought experiment The Slippery Slope can be a cautionary lesson too.

After all it does not necessarily follow that equal rights for everyone, will result in bestiality, paedophilia, and the end of civilization. Althought there are those who would construct that argument.

I personally believe that in the realm of ethics an exploration of the slippery slope is a worthwhile exercise.

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I guess it’s a tough concept to explain with a society that’s as fractured by special interests and the perception of special rights as ours is today.

Back at the dawn of time, I was taught about the slippery slope by my parents. My education on the subject was via philosophical discussions that my parents had or that happened during holiday get togethers.

Even in middle and high school we had discussions about slippery slopes using some of the morally ambiguous characters from literature.

My Granddad and Dad would sometime get into these discussions and it was only after many years and some information from my brother that I realized these discussions were perhaps more pragmatic than philosophical.

The Slippery Slope is at it’s core a description of how behavior becomes accepted and in the worst case even respectable due to repeated justification, excuses, and rhetoric.

Our politicians are pretty good examples. Influence peddling, favors for political contributions and the like. All of which are technically illegal, but which are often ignored because someone somewhere else is doing something 100 times worse.

You find yourself on “The Slope” when you justify an action you know to be wrong, using any variety of excuses.

Well, just this once.”, “It’s not going to hurt anybody“, “That sign only means if you’ve got bad tires.”, “They can afford it, they’re wealthy, or better off than me, or insured.

This is how you end up with a dozen people falling into a partially frozen lake.

This is how you have people believing that any imposition of law or order must obviously be racism.

This is how you end up with people more and more easily justifying that some criminal behavior is ok. 

My kids needed Christmas I only stole that Xbox for them”. ‘I wanted to watch the football game so I took the TV from that rich white fucks house, what does it matter? He’s insured.”

This is the slippery slope that so many of our leaders used to talk about.

Before you say “Yeah, well you’ve never had it rough”, trust me, I have.

I’ll tell you a story sometime if you’d like. 

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My point is that we’re on a very slippery slope in our country right now.

We’ve seen the abuses from organizations like the IRS,TSA, DHS, State Department, & FBI.

We’ve seen what happens when government agencies believe they’re immune to prosecution and above the law. “Operation Fast & Furious”, Brutal & cruel screening procedures at airports, the release of Illegal immigrants from DHS holding as an attempt to scare Congress into avoiding the sequester.

Even the assault on the 2nd amendment has elements of the slippery slope. “We’re going to just take this one kind of gun.“, “We’re only going to require this, or that, or this other thing, for you to exercise your 2nd amendment right.

But the scope of the requirements and restrictions keeps evolving and growing.

NYC “We’re going to limit your drink sizes because you people can’t control yourselves and are too fat. You’ve become a health burden.”

Now we’re seeing the Mayor initiating legislation to hide cigarettes. Again this is billed as “For the good of the children, and the general health & wellbeing of the people

NYC is, no matter how you cut it, abridging the rights of the people to engage in their personal pursuit of happiness.

These slides lead us toward a destination that is radically different from the Democracy that our forefathers envisioned.

Unfortunately, like the icy hill, once you’re over the edge you can’t stop until you hit bottom.

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We as Americans, need to think about how much we have to lose, and how far we have to fall. 

Call on your representatives to stop the abuses. Let Congress & The White House know that you The Citizens… (We The People) have had enough, and that Washington has your full and undivided attention.

Demand investigations, and that lawbreakers within our government be brought to justice No Matter Who the are.

If we don’t put a stop to it now, there may be no stopping it till we hit bottom.

Just a thought…

Discussion with Average people – The good of Twitter

Between the discussion over same sex marriage and the discussion over Gun control and assault weapons ban my Twitter account has been blowing up. I should point out that as I was writing this I was breaking away frequently to respond to discussions via Twitter. I noticed that the style was very choppy when I re-read this piece.

I also want to be clear, while I was participating in the discussions I was not initiating them. I follow a number of people, some conservative, some liberal. It’s my attempt to see both sides of any issue that gains traction. Twitter often leads the normal news reporting agencies by hours if not days.

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There have been some very interesting and informative discussions over the past few weeks. I’ve learned a lot of new things.

For example while I know that the AR-15 isn’t a machine gun, I didn’t know that it was the M-16s Papa.

I’m unconvinced either way about the background checks.

Not because I’m being purposely obtuse but because I am convinced that criminals will find a way to arm themselves regardless of the law.

That is after all the point of being a criminal – you don’t obey the law.

I believe that the current bloviation on the part of our politicians about and assault weapon ban is nothing more than window dressing. The ban isn’t going to address the real issues, it’s a dog & pony show to give the American People the illusion that our representatives are actually doing something.

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Before you start getting the wrong idea, I take nothing at face value that I read on Twitter, or on the internet for that matter.

What I can say is, the people who are willing to have a discussion have, in some cases challenged my beliefs.

As I’ve examined those challenges and verified the information some folks have presented, I’ve been learning.

I’ve been privileged to participate in discussions about same sex marriage and constitutional law.

I’ve noticed that more often than not, the Ultra Liberal elements on Twitter are the least capable of defending their positions.

In the Same sex marriage discussions it’s the radicalized gay ultra liberals that start the name calling first.  Bigot & Homophobe are the first two words they’ll choose to defend themselves when they can’t make headway in a discussion with Opponents of Same Sex Marriage.

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Shortly after, the Liberals will take their marbles and go home by blocking, then unfollowing people that don’t agree with them.

It’s interesting that the conservatives will hang in a conversation and actually exchange ideas without resorting to the name calling. Oh they may disagree vehemently but name calling is generally not part of the conversation.

This other thing that’s interesting is that I’ve seen many of the “ultra liberals” engage in bullying tactics where they attempt to silence any differing opinions. I thought these people were supposed to be the “Nice” ones about freedom and rights and all that. Apparently that characterization only applies if you keep to the party line.

Amazingly, I’ve found myself defending religious zealots, not because I agree with their stance against gay people (I don’t) but because they were being denied their opportunity to express themselves.

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I’ve at least been successful showing that not all supporters of Same Sex Marriage are rude thoughtless assholes.

I’ve been involved in a number of marriage discussions, and while I don’t believe you can truly “Win” a debate with someone who believes that being Gay is a sin and a choice…

I have at least been able to make some of the more reasonable people in the bunch, pause and reconsider their positions. That is enough, because pausing and reconsidering is the first step toward changing a long held belief.

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As part of both of these discussions I’ve been re-acquainted with my old friend the United States Constitution.

That document is amazing simultaneously in it’s complexity and simplicity.

Have you considered how short the constitution is (In terms of page length) and how far reaching it’s power is?

It’s a document that can be read, and was meant to be read by common people. I marvel at how we go from the few pages of the U.S. Constitution to the thousands of pages of Obamacare.

It’s amazing that you can found a country with a few handwritten pages and you can’t reform healthcare with less than thousands or hundreds of thousands of pages.

If you’ve never taken the time to read the U.S Constitution do so, it’s worth your time and you might be as impressed as I am. It’s available online at many locations including Here

As I’ve read and watched both sides of the two arguments I have come away realizing that  both sides have polarized extremists on either side,  strangely the arguments after a while begin to sound the same.

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For example, both arguments use the safety of children in their justification.

Ban guns to protect to children

Ban Same sex marriage to protect the children

Both arguments use constitutional grounds in their justification

The 2nd amendment insures the right to bear arms

States rights trump the constitution with regard to marriage. Unless it’s DOMA then it’s ok to listen to the Feds

Thankfully both discussions dont use the religious arguments.

However there have been enough of those regarding same sex marriage to last me a life time.

Here’s a sampling.

If we’re going to allow same sex marriage we might as well allow polygamy.

We don’t mind if the gays have unions but don’t call it marriage, marriage is sacred and defined by god

Next thing you know some idiot will be wanting to marry their dog or horse.

Churches will be forced to marry Gay people.

I love the polygamy argument. Simply because they tend to get real quiet when you point out that it’s been done.

Yep in UT by the LDS church from 1852 and was officially stopped in 1890 after a considerable amount of legal wrangling. If polygamy is a tenant of the church, doesn’t the provision for freedom of religion protect it?

I’ve also pointed out that Solomon is reputed in the bible to have had many wives.

Sadly the religious people don’t call me on my bluff. I suppose I’ve poisoned the well a bit by pointing out that the very thing they are citing as an evil result of same sex marriage they themselves have already done.

All they’d have to say is “Well we don’t do that anymore” and my argument falls apart.

However that admission opens the door to my pointing out that they can’t stand on religious tradition because once again they themselves have chosen to break with tradition.

I’ve enjoyed pointing out that civil unions and domestic partnerships don’t really work and are simply a redux of “separate but equal”. different/separate but equal NEVER works.

The real irony here is how many African Americans suggest it.

What’s the old saying? Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it?

We have abundant cases where gay people had done the union, the domestic partnerships, spent thousands of dollars in attorney fees trying to protect their partnership and then lost everything when one of them died.

The worst of these cases I know of was where two elderly gay men were sent to different nursing homes because someone decided they were incapable of caring for themselves anymore. Their home was seized by the state, then sold, as were all their possessions at a state run estate sale while the two men were still alive and fighting what the state was doing. “Different/separate but equal” isn’t a solution it’s a trap.

The saddest part of the example above is that had the couple been a man and woman simply living together the state wouldn’t have been able to get away with it. Which says that even when the conditions are the same, a heterosexual couple has more rights than a homosexual couple.

The bestiality argument is also one of those you hear a lot. But if you point out that the language and acts described in bestiality laws somewhat assume straight folks, then they tend to not press the point.

The churches being forced to marry gay people is an unfortunate side effect and I can see that concern might have some merit.

You just know that a gay couple is going to feel that their right to marry is being infringed upon if they go to a beautiful Catholic church wanting to be married and are told that the church won’t allow it.

That’s got little to do with them being gay or straight that would have more to do with if they were both Catholic or not. The fact is a religious practitioner doesn’t have to perform a marriage of two people.

If a clergy member refuses to marry a couple, it’s usually something to do with their assessment of the couple and what they perceive to be the odds of a marriage lasting.

That doesn’t prevent a couple from getting married, it simply says that the clergy person won’t be performing the wedding and that the bride to be may not get to walk down the aisle of her church.

If a church rents it’s space for public events then I foresee it being a whole different ballgame.

The truth of the matter is that most gay folks don’t attend churches where they don’t feel welcome. It’s likely that most of them will prefer to be married in their own churches, in front of their own clergy and that is likely to be just fine.

The gay community in my opinion must stand ready to stop frivolous law suits brought against churches.

It’s simply about respect.

The gay community must respect that simply because you have a right, doesn’t mean you’re entitled to use that right to cause harm.

I’m probably fighting a losing battle but at least I’m occasionally causing someone to stop a moment to think about a different point of view.

Who on Earth would ever have predicted that I might actually become interested in politics?

I guess stranger things have happened, but not recently!

N.Y. mayor ‘shocked’ by soda law ruling

I saw the following headline this morning. This link should take you to the whole article.

N.Y. mayor ‘shocked’ by soda law ruling, takes shot at Mississippi law

I couldn’t help myself…

 


 

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Dear Mayor Bloomberg.

First… REALLY???

You really don’t understand why Mississippi has passed an anti Bloomberg law?

You really were shocked that  the Judge ruled against your soda law? Obviously you must have forgotten about a little thing called freedom.

You can’t be that clueless, therefore you have to be working at being purposefully obtuse.

Let me explain this to you in a way that perhaps your sycophant aides won’t.

Mississippi, isn’t legislating in favor of obesity they’re legislating against government interference in their lives, a phenomenon all too present these days.

I wouldn’t expect someone like you to understand this concept, you’re so sure that you know whats best for everyone.

In your arrogant conceit you assume that no-one is capable of thinking for themselves or making their own choices. Further, you seek to remove any choice that could have deleterious effect.

Where Mr. Mayor would you stop?

Would Steak and all red meat be outlawed in the city of New York? Would you further legislate that only a vegan diet is acceptable? A healthier lifestyle requires less in medical costs doesn’t it?

Would you ban all alcoholic beverages from your city? That should put a stop to drunk driving. It would also reduce employee absenteeism thereby making your city more industrious and productive.

To protect society and New Yorkers Would you criminalize sex out of wedlock? Or Would you simply pass legislation to enforce reversible sterilization? This would prevent the poor from overly burdening themselves with children that could require assistance from the state, or who might become criminals.

How about requiring registration and licensing for use all cooking knives over 5” long?Those too can be used as deadly weapons.

Would you decide that fashion envy is a threat to the stability of your city and require uniforms to be worn by everyone?

Would you try to engage in eugenics, assigning men and women to each other for the purposes of reproduction. After all, in just a few generations you could erase or significantly blur the color lines in your city. Homogenous is good isn’t it?

Would you outlaw religion? Or will you simply define a State religion, thereby removing any potential conflict over beliefs?

When your ideas were rejected and the people engaged in protests and other forms of civil disobedience would you give the police a shoot to kill order? Would you bring in the national guard to enforce your will? I suppose you wouldn’t need the national guard, NYPD does seem to shoot and kill innocent people with frightening efficiency. 

Mr Mayor…

As insane as these ideas sound. To some extent throughout history been tried in various times and places, thankfully for the most part they’ve failed or at least been mercifully short lived.

Despots, and Dictators seem to start out by enacting laws “For the safety and Security of their people”. Historically, it doesn’t end well.

Thankfully you’re not in a position of national power. You pose little threat to the rest of us. 

The people of Mississippi and indeed other states are using you as a means to voice their opinion by saying no to the Nannyism which leads to a dark path, a path that is anathema to the core beliefs of America and her citizens.

That Mr Mayor is why you’ve become a laughing stock in so many places.

That’s why a Judge has ruled against your silly law. That is why other states are etching your name in the annals of their books of law as someone who is on the wrong side of common sense and freedom.

That’s why you’re becoming largely irrelevant.

Mr. Mayor, you do serve one purpose, You’re an example to our politicians about what can happen when you go too far.

I hope they get the message.

I look forward to the phrase “He’s a / Thats a Bloomberg” entering the national conversation as a euphemism for someone or something which is largely irrelevant.

Nice day even with a heck of a drive

Had a dental appointment today. The last under my current insurance plan.

Thankfully I’ve got good teeth. Otherwise I’m sure that insurance would decline to cover me calling it a “pre-existing” condition.

My teeth, and gums are a bit sore. But I’m going to be fine even if I just want soft food tonight.

I barely missed all the excitement coming home, I passed a sign saying that “all the mountain roads were closed” it was a bit of a concern.

As it turns out CALTRANS was overstating the issue. The mountain roads into the Big Bear area were closed. Not all mountain roads.

The police say that they’ve cornered Christopher Dorner. Apparently, Mr Dorner has been killed in a fire in a cabin.

I’ll wait until the forensic report comes out.

I’m amazed that the Dorner issue has preempted the POTUS State of The Union Address on some of our local TV stations.

This is the first time I’ve created a blog post on an iPad. So if there are any really goofy typos… I’m blaming the iPad!

Signing off to watch the State of the Union.

Should be interesting.

This is such a major WTF I can’t believe it.

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I was reading about the Manhunt for Christopher Dorner.

This is the former LAPD officer that is supposedly is running around on some kind of vendetta. I personally think that there’s a lot more to the story than we will ever know.

What we do “know” right now is that in 2009 Dorner was fired from LAPD for making false statements.

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Say What? LAPD makes false statements all the time usually when answering brutality charges made against them!

Yes Dorner has clearly lost it, but you have to ask did he lose his mind because he was pushed beyond a breaking point and saw no future or hope?

Nothing justifies Droners current course of action and god knows killing those young people in Irvine was wrong. I’m reminded of the old biblical injunction about the sins of the fathers…

Whatever you think about Dorner the “CURE” is perhaps worse than the disease.

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Thus far we’ve had two women in Torrance shot by Police because the police saw them driving a pickup truck that looked like Dorners.

Later and again in Torrance we’ve had police open fire on a man who was driving a pickup truck that looked like Dorners. I’m avoiding Torrance for the time being and that would be doubly true if I was driving a pick-up truck of any kind.

There has been one LAPD officer wounded in Corona, and two Riverside officers shot, one of them died, the other is in critical condition.

Thus far the tally is 5-3 shootings 3-0 deaths. Dorner leads. It’s only a matter of time before the police shoot and kill an innocent civilian.

My tally doesn’t include the emotional trauma caused an elderly man in San Diego who was tied up when Dorner allegedly tried to steal his boat. The theft was aborted because Droner got the prop fouled with an errant rope. Remember that Dorner is an Ex-Navy reservist.

imagesReally? The guy couldn’t launch a small boat without screwing it up?

Now this guy is supposedly in the Southern California mountains. I have to ask how many more people are going to be shot or injured by mistake before this guy is caught?

Maybe we need some real police not the Keystone cops from LA looking for this man. Clearly, he’s well beyond the LAPDs skills.

It’s only a matter of time before gun control gets tied into this, I cringe at the prospect but know it’s going to happen.