Thursday, August 26, 2010

Anti-lobbyist Lobby. A watchdog concept-

The purchase of politicians is part of the business of Washington D.C., and most other centers of power in the United States. "Contributions" through the lobbying industry seem to be the way of demonstrating membership in the "system." It is probably not far different in essence from the way business was done in Ancient Egypt or Babylon. Oh, some of the particulars are uniquely American, but in essence it is buying an ear. Purchasing influence.

Once a system is entrenched it is quite hard to root out. Revolutions are messy, and most don't really improve the situation. One of the most admirable aspects of our own system is the relatively bloodless changes of power. Unfortunately, our electoral system seems to offer only two flavors, and they are hard to tell apart. Is this vanilla or French vanilla? I can't tell, and it really just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

So, I thinks a bit, does I. If you can't break down the system to overcome the system, why not mimic the system and undermine it? What I propose is a special lobby of sorts. For each professional lobbyist we field a shadow, an individual who will simply report where that lobbyist goes and with whom they meet. Then that information is made public.

This shadow lobbyist doesn't listen in, or do any spy work other than open shadowing. They follow the lobbyist to the big wig's office and just sit in the waiting room. Then they follow the lobbyist when they go out from there to meet another fat cat at a restaurant. Follow. Report. Follow. Report.

This could be a business opportunity for some enterprising American. Hey, if you are lucky the fat cats will buy you off. It could happen. It's a free country. It's even more free for those who have money, of course. If you are scrupulous you could provide a valuable service to Americans who are fed up with things as they are. If you aren't, at least you could make some money.

Just like real lobbyists.

Monday, August 23, 2010


My friends in the Blogosphere and in the realm of Facebook are rather varied. Some among them use titles such as Christian and Conservative. Others are proudly Liberal. There are Libertarians among them, as well as some Democrats and some Republicans. Some are even Atheists. From what I have seen, most are pretty decent people.

A few among them have periodically expressed sentiments I am classing as "Anti-Jihad." Those sentiments include a generalized fear of Islam, a willingness to deny radical Islamic people freedoms, and a vague and generalized tolerance of intolerance. I have viewed a few bits of Anti-Jihad propaganda, finding much of it to be fear-mongering. I think these friends need to engage their more rational selves a bit in considering their positions.

At the same time, I must recognize the existence of Radical Islam in various forms in various places. There is  something to fear, in that it is not clear what the lesser extreme aspects of Islam might do if and when the radicals gain a degree of power. I certainly have not seen a lot of moderate Islamics generating anti-radical press and otherwise saying "These people do not speak for me." These radicals seem to be striving to achieve something, and I am pretty sure it is not the increase of my personal freedom and well being.

There is also a bit of history to recall.  At least a modicum of aggressive Islamic expansion can be found from time to time and place to place in history. On some occasions the use of violence was relatively common! Imagine that! Oh, those Christians weren't very often as saintly as their Saints during some of those eras, but since they gained dominance for a number of centuries it is obvious whose side God is on, right?

What are my friends who express Anti-Jihad feelings really saying? I have seen little in the way of clearly thought out philosophies of Anti-Jihad. Currently it seems to focus on some Islamic body trying to build a Mosque in New York a bit too close to the target of a radical Muslim group we call Ground Zero. Understandable feelings, but not too clear as anything more than feelings.

Those I know who lean toward Libertarian thinking tend to feel that the Mosque builders should be free to go ahead, if they own the property. When you think about it, there is a strong point of argument in this position. Do we want to see denial of rights simply due to political or religious beliefs and doctrines? I would prefer to see reasonable laws and regulations enforced without prejudice in this country. My own liberties would then be protected.

Still, the Anti-Jihad feelings are valid as feelings. If an American chooses to hate all Muslims based on the actions of a few, that should be their liberty. Plenty of people think and feel similarly toward Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, the Irish, persons of Polish descent, males, females and short people. The freedom to hate without any real reason is a genuine American liberty.

So, lets think through Anti-Jihad. Since it is easier to hate all Muslims than to get to know the nature of Islamic peoples and cultures and analyze critically the genuine nature of the Islamic threat, it is probably best to go with that. How to affectively  practice Anti-Jihad might be worth some consideration.

In my response to Anti-Jihad statements I say, "My knives are sharp, when do we begin?" This is actually a point of humor, with an intentional edge. The knife is a personal weapon, requiring the assailant to select the target specifically and engage with immediate physical violence. Also, I don't own any guns. Not that I don't like guns. They are expensive, and I prefer to buy iTunes and ebooks.

The point is, "You have expressed a concern. What do you intend to do about it?" Generalized hating, or even strongly disliking, is easy on the Internet. That is most often all that is done. Some will go so far as to actually back a candidate or political body that capitalizes on the fear factor. I suppose that is not such a bad thing, other than many of those seem to be as bad as the purported enemy. When you think about it, does it really matter who is taking away your freedom once your freedom is lost?

Carrying forward the idea of Anti-Jihad, I would propose that bombing Islamic schools would be one of the most efficient ways to curb the Islamic threat. If you kill the teachers and as many of the next generation as you can, the whole culture would soon be in chaos. Oh, killing the leaders seems to make sense, but they are few in number and can be easily protected. Nobody can protect all of those little children. There are just too many of them.

What about the political venue, you might ask? Hmmm. Well, I suppose if you are politically clever you could design laws that divest the Islamic communities of their rights without risking the rights of other social and religious communities. It has been done at various times in various places. Remember that Austrian fellow who made a bit of a ruckus in Europe last century? He manged that sort of thing. Sort of.

What do I plan to do? I plan to promote liberty for everyone, no matter what their label. I intend to keep my eyes open, and watch for real threats. Anyone who seeks to limit liberty in the name of anything is suspect, and probably the enemy. Even if they call themselves Christian, or Conservative, or wrap themselves in any other title that is supposed to automatically buy my respect and cooperation. My loyalty does not come cheaply, and I will generally require the pig to be removed from the poke before I will even consider buying it.

Oh, and I do have knives. Quite a number of knives, really. I have at least some notion as to how to use them. I also keep them very sharp. Just sayin'.