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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Truth and Nothing but the Truth

If you’re like me, you quickly grow weary of the name-calling, back-stabbing, vilifying, mudslinging, and muck-raking that goes on in Washington. And that’s just between friends. Heaven forbid what happens to enemies.

I’ve had my fill of politicians from every party delivering a speech or granting an interview one day, and then standing up the next and with angelic innocence blatantly denying the meaning of the words they spoke.

‘I misspoke.” That’s the new mantra for so many. “I misspoke’.

One most recent ‘misspoke—misspeak?’ was the budget cuts from the Senate. From what the public was told, over sixty billion dollars had been cut when actually, only 322 million was carved from the bulbous budget. Seems like the difference was simply moved back and forth in accounting tricks, a fact both parties failed to mention.

They bragged. ‘We cut sixty billion.”

Haven’t you noticed the growing usage of the expression?
According to the Bodhi Tree Swaying Blog, ‘misspoke’ is a weasel word.

Like the time Hillary Clinton remarked she ‘misspoke’ when she claimed she’d run across a tarmac airfield in order to avoid sniper fire after landing in Bosnia as first lady in 1996.

Weasel words are derived from the weasel’s habit of sucking the contents out of an egg without destroying its shell. A weasel word is deliberately misleading or ambiguous language used to avoid making a straight–forward statement while giving the appearance of having made such.

People today buy into such weasel words because by their use, they avoid the truth of their behavior, lying.

That’s what the then primary candidate Clinton really did in her Bosnia remark, she lied.

She isn’t by herself. They don’t misspeak. They lie. And they’re well aware of it when they do.

All right, so it isn’t fair to say all misspeaks are deliberate. Some come about out of sheer ignorance.

But the ones to whom I refer are the politicians. Far, far too many of them believe such linguistic gymnastics is essential to their success.

Do you remember when the then aspiring Supreme Court candidate Sonia Sotomayor remarked “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life?”

And when confronted with the statement, claimed she meant that all judges should render decisions without regard to any bias.

Or the time in 2005 she said a ‘court of appeals is where policy is made.” Immediately she added “And I know this is on tape, and I should never say that because we don’t make law. I know. O.K. I’m not promoting it. I’m not advocating it. I’m—you know.”

All I know is she does believe courts shape policy despite her protestations.

And then we have politicians who misspeak unintentionally. If we follow to the definition of ‘misspeak’, unintentional misspeaking is not really misspeaking, but simply a mistake. Make sense? Doesn’t to me either, but on with the story.

Our former president, George W. was a master at mangling the English language. I think it was playwright George Bernard Shaw who remarked that the British and
Americans were two people separated by a common language. Well, that common language was how old George got into the act.

I suppose the one remark of his that sticks in my mind was when he said, “They misunderestimated me.”

Stop and think about it. He knew what he meant to say. I know what he meant to say. We all know what he meant to say. But he didn’t say it.

Or what about the time he said “I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system”?

That one, I can’t figure out.

Both of his remarks, though vague and ambiguous, are mistakes, not misspeaks.

When was the last time you went to a doctor and he prescribed medicine with the comment, “Take this and let’s see what happens?” Never? Right? Nobody’s going to experiment on me.

Instead, he says, “Let’s see how well you tolerate it.”

Same thing.


Looks to me, it’s everywhere.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Our Next President

You ever think about running for president?

Yeah, that president. Of these United States.

Talk to anybody, and around sixty or seventy percent believe he or she can do a better job than whom we now have in the office.

That is a common political phenomenon.

Curiously, our current president has already started campaigning. Now, I don’t know why he started so early. Could it be he’s running scared because of the poor job he’s done, or because of the poor job he hasn’t done?

I don’t know. It just seems to me a two-year-long campaign is a mite too long. On the other hand, maybe it’s because he is an excellent campaigner. You can’t take that from him. Could it be he knows he knows he’s failed as president, but can excel at campaigning? So, he decided to campaign instead of president. (okay, so it isn’t a verb. Big Deal. Disrespect wasn’t a verb either)

Surely he can’t believe Americans are that dumb? Or are we?

Certainly, he didn’t begin campaigning so early because of possible candidates the other parties might throw at him.

English teachers always emphasize to their writing students not to use clich├ęs; but here’s one anyway. Remember the old saying, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’?
Same with the candidates the other parties want to throw at him. A bunch of cooks-result? A tasteless broth.

If you’re like me, I don’t see anyone out there who could beat him except maybe Hillary, and she’s in the wrong party. On the other hand, do you think that perhaps she covets the office so passinately that she might switch parties?

Now there’s food for thought.

Lots of folks around our neck of the woods have been switching parties. To hear them, their impeccably honorable reasons are based upon their sterling integrity and a slavish desire to lift their constituents’ quality of life to higher levels.

Right? And if you believe that, I have a long lost map showing where the pirate, LaFitte, hid gold at the juncture of the Sabine and Neches Rivers.

Or I can put in on the trail of the severed finger of Benito Jaurez, the Mexican bandido, for only a few bucks.

Most of those guys are cutting deals left and right.

But back to—ah, yeah, Obama and his campaigning.

A friend and I spoke recently of Donald Trump’s entry into the fray. Or maybe I should say, his considering entry into the bloodlust milieu to come.

My first impulse was ‘hey, maybe this is the guy.’ He’s got a lot of baggage, but who hasn’t? Many politicians are saying his candidacy is a joke. They, by the way, are considering running also.

You can’t believe what prospective candidates say about each other. Joe Biden commented during the primaries that ‘Obama was 'not yet ready' for the presidency, an office which did not 'lend itself to on-the-job training'.

Now he’s vice-president, working for the guy whom he claimed couldn’t handle the job. Make sense to you?

But, who will run against Obama?

First on many lists is Sarah Palin. I like her, but women hate her. She couldn’t do any worse than Obama, but somehow that just doesn’t seem much of a reason to vote for her.

Then there is ex-Massachusetts’ Governor Mitt Romney. Many say he is the front-runner, but he has run so many times it’s getting to be a joke. Besides, he was behind the horrible health bill in his state. Obamacare is Romney’s briar patch.

Mike Huckabee is back with his conservative religious group. Huckabee is a nice guy, but he wasn’t any too sharp as governor in Arkansas.

One of the big names for the office is Newt Gingrich. I heard a comedian remark ‘How do you get a divorce from Newt Gingrich? Simple, get uterine cancer.” That sums him up. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a saint.

And the list goes on and on and on. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, John Thune, Chris Christie, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Pence, Jim DeMint, Ron Paul, Nikki Haley, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, John Bolton, Michelle Bachman.

Oh, I forgot Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal.

So, you tell me. Who will it be?

My prediction?

Obama in 2012.

The Democrat party has only one cook in the kitchen. That’s the difference.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Yellow Rose, a True Story?

How can a ragtag army of misfits and rapscallions soundly defeat one of the best-trained armies in the world? And in only twenty minutes, give or take a minute or so?

Some of you already know what I’m talking about. And no, it isn’t Gaddafi’s forces and the rebel Lybians.

The battle of which I speak took place 175 years ago on the banks of the San Jacinto River and Buffalo Bayou.

The battle at San Jacinto, April 21, 1836, when Sam Houston and his makeshift army routed a far superior military force in the blink of an eye by historical time.
Screaming at the top of their lungs “Remember the Alamo; Remember Goliad,” the savgage Texians charged across the Mexican fortifications, stampeding the nodding Mexicans. The outnumbered Texians, at the cost of nine lives, killed more than 600 soldados and overran the rest, according to historian Kent Biffle.

Since that date, historians have cussed and discussed just how in the blazes Sam Houston pulled off such a victory.

There have been numerous theories posed, but one of the most intriguing is the story of Emily West who came to be known as the Yellow Rose of Texas.

It was she, many historians claim, who delayed Santa Anna long enough so the surprised soldados could only stumble about in confusion from lack of leadership.
Says Biffle, “The Yellow Rose of Texas is fancifully famous for bedazzling Santa Anna out of his fancy pants at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.”

Possibly he gleened that information from William Bollaert, an English ethnologist who wrote in an 1842 essay “The battle of San Jacinto was probably lost to the Mexicans, owing to the influence of a Mulatta Girl (Emily) belonging to Col. Morgan. She was closeted in the tent with General Santana at the time the cry was made ‘the Enemy! They come! They come!’ She detained Santana so long that order could not be restored readily again.”

Could all this be true? Could the great state of Texas have been given birth with the midwifing help of a ‘mulatta girl’? And was she the real ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’?
Chances are a fairly certain ‘yes’ to both questions.

A long time friend of Houston, James Morgan, of Morgan’s Point, sought to bring emigrants to the fledging colony that would soon be Texas. One of the emigrants was Emily West, a mulatto, from Bermuda.

Emily was a bright young woman who volunteered to be indentured to escape the prejudice against her mixed race. As custom for indentured workers, they took their employer’s last name, so she became known as Emily Morgan. She had met Houston on more than one occasion at her employer’s plantation.

Colonel James Morgan’s settlement, New Washington, sat on the shores at the mouth of the San Jacinto River where he loaded flatboards with various supplies for Houston.
With Santa Anna’s approach on April 18, settlers fled New Washington; however, Emily and a young black boy named Turner were captured by the Mexican army. Santa Anna was struck by her beauty.

Emily convinced Turner to escape and inform Houston of the Mexican general’s arrival. Turner has to be the ‘mysterious visitor’ some historians say paid Houston a clandestine visit a couple nights before the battle.

Santa Anna was a ladies’ man. Though married to a woman in Mexico, he remarried teenage captives throughout his Texas campaign. Emily appeared to be a suitable replacement.

So, he set up camp on the plains of San Jacinto despite vehement protestations from his colonels who insisted the location severely violated wartime strategy.

They were right.

On April 21, Houston, said to be perched in a tree, saw Emily preparing a champagne breakfast for Santa Anna. His supposed comment was “I hope that slave girl makes him neglect his business and keeps him in bed all day.”

And the rest is history.

Morgan was so impressed by Emily’s heroism that he repealed her indenture and gave her a passport and funds back to New York where all trace of her faded away.
Did it happen that way?

Well, the stories hold water, and ‘Yellow Rose’ was the expression for mulatto females during that period. And James Morgan did spread her story to anyone who would listen all the way from Texas to his influential partners in New York.

Now, whether true or not, the tale does make for a good story. And I believe it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pogo's Congress

Notice came out a couple weeks back that almost a quarter of a million Mexican citizens along its northern border had disappeared.

I’m not making this up. The 2010 Mexican census stated that down in Praxedis G. Guerrora, a border town east of Juarez, sixty-one percent of the 3,616 homes are uninhabited, as in empty, vacant, unfilled.

And Reynosa follows with 33% and then Juarez with 23% of its half million homes. All abandoned, left to crumble. That’s a heap of Mexican citizens bidding adios to their homeland.

Well, I have news for those wise census officials and their missing citizens. Those 230,000 Hispanics ain’t disappeared. They’re in my back yard, and my neighbor’s, and his neighbor’s.

I can’t blame anyone for wanting to get away from the violence wracking Mexico along the border. At the same time, I blame our own Congress for doing nothing over the last several years to stem the arterial spurting of illegal immigrants into the United States, regardless of reasons.

And I hold our Texas legislators as much to blame. They didn’t even have the guts to make an effort as Arizona. They dump it off on the feds, claiming the big boys up there prevent any local efforts.

In 2000, the U.S. census bureau claimed eight million illegals lived in the U.S. In 2010, it was up to an estimable twelve-twenty million. That is a fifty to one hundred and fifty percent jump. In fact, a Hispanic columnist claims it is over fifty million as of today.

To put controls on this tsunami of illegals flooding us won’t be easy, but surely, those jokers up there in the legislature or congress who were slick enough to con a majority of votes should be slick enough to come up with a solution.

The obvious starting point to a simpleton like me is to admit they ain’t no way we’re going to send 23-50 million illegals back.

That said, where do we start?

First, let’s understand what caused it.

As usual, it was a screw up in Washington.

The Civil Right’s Act of 1866 (read it if you don’t believe me) declared that people born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power are entitled to be citizens without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude.

It does not say folks can pop in from Mexico, Canada, China, or Pluto, have a baby, and it is a U.S. citizen. Why can’t they? Because they are already citizens of another country. You know, A FOREIGN POWER! Get it?

A similar provision was written a few months later in the proposed Fourteenth Amendement to the United States Constitution. Section One states in the beginning: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thererof, are citizens etc…”

To repeat, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 granted U.S. citizenship to all persons born in the United States, as long as those persons were not subject to a foreign power.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know babies are subject to the whims of their parents. If their parents are citizens of another country who come here illegally, that means they are not subject to U.S. jurisdiction, but that of the country in which they hold citizenship. They do not go to the American Embassy if they have problems, but they go to the Mexican Embassy or the Russian or the Polish, or whatever.

How did this misinterpretation come about? Simple! Some of the 1866 framers of the Fourteen Amendment were probably lawyers who tried to get fancy with words and stuck in the vacuous expression ‘jurisdiction thereof’ instead of using plain, simple words like ‘not subject to a foreign power.

If we were to obey that intended precept, the inflow of illegal immigration would decrease dramatically. No citizenship? Then, Amigo, let’s vamoose our los extremos out of here.

But what about those youngsters who’ve been here for years, who are in school, some of whom have children of their own?

If they want to become legal citizens, give those who have been here five years or longer and completed high school a temporary residence for six more years during which they must complete two years in the military or two years at a technical school with a certificate or a four-year college degree.

And we have to accept the fact that many illegals will be with us forever, but at least, this way we have a start of putting some kind of control on it.

Now all of this is based upon the assumption that those who conned us into electing them will take steps to seal the stinking border, and that I am afraid is a lost cause because of the rampant congressional and legislative disease, ‘Deterioratous of the Backbonis’.

Don’t forget Pogo’s edict, ‘we’ve met the enemy and he is us.’