When is your freedom of speech (the 1st Amendment) constrained?

Is it ever? In a pure legal sense, yes it can be. You cannot be criminal with your freedom of speech. You cannot threaten the President. You can’t incite panic or criminal behavior. So, your speech can be limited....your freedom of ‘expression’ has limits.

So.....this teacher in Denver. Can he be constrained in his speech and expression?

Yes he can. He can’t go in there and talk about the purity and the sanctity of the Roman Catholic Church, can he? No, even though both religion and speech are covered in Amendment #1, he is not allowed to try and convert these kids to his religion.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what he tried to do. But his religion is liberalism and socialism. Shall I?

"Sounds a lot like the things that Adolf Hitler use to say.

We’re the only ones who are right. Everyone else is backwards. And it’s our job to conquer the world and make sure they live just like we want them to.

Now, I’m not saying that Bush and Hitler are exactly the same. Obviously, they are not. Ok. But there are some eerie similarities to the tones that they use. Very, very “ethnocentric.” We’re right. You’re all wrong.”

Right off of the MoveOn.org propaganda sheet. Then, at the end, to cover his ass:

"Alright, and so this becomes very, very muddled. And I’m not in any way implying that you should agree with me. I don’t even know if I’m necessarily taking a position. But what I’m trying to get you to do is to think, right, about these issues more in-depth, you know, and not just take things from the surface. And I’m glad you asked all your questions, because they’re very good, legitimate questions. And hopefully that allows other www.livejasmin.cc visitors to begin to think about some of those things, too."

“I don’t even know if I’m taking a position”?

His religion is Leftism, and he believes the United States and Capitalism is evil. In my opinion, if he is not allowed to preach religion, he can’t preach this stuff. Obviously, it consumes him and he believes the Leftist dogma.

Comment. what do you think? Should this venue be controlled via statutory regulation? Is it a free-speech issue?

This is the mantra

Bush Failed...one I have read at Right-Thinking, one at Andrew Sullivan...and I’ve seen it all over the blogsphere.

Did he fail? Well?

In Iraq? Did he fail?

We are fighting an enemy not tied to a nation-state. They are able to hit us without traditional methodology, and without direct support from a central government. They match the race and culture of the Iraqis, and they are the ones we are at war with. The government of Iraq does not support them, yet the battle goes on within their country.

The goal of the terrorists is to start a civil war. They attack Sh’ia because of this, because they realize the angst that the Sh’ia had for Saddam and the Sunni that he supported. They know opportunists like al-Sadr and the Iranians will be eager to fight and gain a political advantage. They realize that if the Sh’ia throw down the gauntlet and go on the all-out offensive, there will be sectarian war.

I have read Andrew Sullivan and William Buckley say that Bush has been the cause of this sectarian violence. Both men suggest, implicitly and/or explicitly, that the nation was better under Saddam Hussein.

That is a load of bullshit. From two men that are smart enough to understand better.

More below.

Saddam Hussein’s Iraq had the violence, and the death, and the sectarian angst and hatred...that is a truth that is only disputed by people looking for a reason to hate (yeah, I said HATE) George W. Bush. The difference is that the violence in Hussein’s Iraq was targeted AT the citizens BY the government. Hussein killed 300,000 of his own friggin’ people....do people forget that? People who fought against the Sunni were executed, imprisoned, and tortured, and I mean really tortured. There was no fakery or dead wires clamped to fingers.....people were pushed off of buildings, and had limbs cut off, and were electrocuted. The violence was directed at the people by their government. If Sully and WFB think that was better than it is now, they can change their fracking prescriptions.

The reasons for the upswelling in violence are all related to the presence of Islamofascist terrorists in Iraq....the Iranians (trying to destabilize the country to serve their geopolitical interests) and the Wahhabist Islamofascists (trying to destabilize the country to serve their georeligious interests). It has nothing to do with the number of soldiers there, and nothing to do with the post-war ‘occupation’ plan.

Get off that damned horse.

People comparing this to post-WWII Germany are mistaken as all get-out. Germany had united itself most of a hundred years before the Second World War, and had a broad central cultural thread that went back to the empire of Charlemagne. You want a comparison? Iraq in 2005 is less like Germany in 1945 than Austria-Hungary in 1915. There are centuries-old problems in Iraq, and, like the Hapsburg monarchy, Hussein was able to quell the sectarian problems. How? Because if they went to war with each other, they would lose more than they would gain, with Hussein able to kill tens of thousands in a few days with chemical weaponry....that can be evidenced by the Kurds. Now, like in post-WWI Austria-Hungary, there is no despot, and no threat of the central government (or another minority) coming against you and killing you.

The American (Bush’s) idea was to channel the political differences into a democratic alleyway, and it worked. The going is rough because of the al-Qaeda forces that are trying to goad the Sh’ia and Sunni into war. Also, because the political parties are going slowly through the formation of their government, there is a power vacuum of sorts. It was now that al Qaeda chose to make a move. It was the perfect time.

Are their actions Bush’s fault? Because they are acting in this way, does it make Bush a failure?

Another example....Italy in WWII. We invaded, and fought Italians and Germans for the beginning of the live sex chat invasion. Then, the Italian government (led by a fascist madman) collapsed, and we took the battle to the enemy, who was not from there. That battle lasted from September 3, 1943 until May 2, 1945...it took two years, and involved 11 divisions...in total manpower, that is 165,000 to 200,000 men (that’s constant strength, not the total amount of troops that served in theatre). They suffered 114,000 casualties in that time...and, remember, they only fought people from the home country for 3 months of that time.

The Iraq situation is not Bush’s fault. It is a result of the continuing War on Terror....a war most people supported...until it started getting rough. It’s war. People are going to die. It was no surprise that this would take more than a half-hour and three trips to the shitter.

Now....what else is Bush’s fault. Big government?

OK...let’s take a look at this. From 1992 until 2001, federal spending went up from $1.381 trillion to $1.863 trillion...an increase of 34.9% From 2002 until 2007, it has increased from $2.011 trillion to $2.77 trillion....an increase of 37.7%. However, defense spending decreased in both absolute and inflationary terms...the spending in 2001 (Clinton’s last year) was $294 billion, compared to $298 billion in 1992. Even counting 1992 as a ‘Bush 41’ year, the spending only increased a total of 1% over 8 years. The same spending has gone from $304 billion to $527 billion from 2001 until now...an increase of 73%. If you take out the defense spending, Bush’s budgets have increased at a comperable pace...over the length of his presidency, Clinton’s non-defense spending increased 44%. Bush’s has increased 34%, with two budgets to go.

It is important to note that this year’s budget is a 3.2% increase over last year.

As a percentage of GDP, the budget is smaller than last year as well. Non-defense spending drops from 16.7% to 16.3% of GDP, while defense spending holds steady. Non-defense spending was the same or more than that in Clinton’s presidency.

But, more than that, is the fact that people forget that it is the Congress that spends the money, and that the Congress is much more of a disappointment than the POTUS is in this regard. Bush is no true fiscal conservative, but it isn’t him that is spending the money. If Congress got some testicular fortitude and quit porking out at the trough, a lot of the fat could be trimmed. A 1% deduction in spending would save the country $27 billion dollars. Even though Bush can be better at saving our money, who’s fault is it? His? Or the real spenders, in the House and Senate?

Has Bush failed there? I seem to remember him trying like mad for the first half of last year to push a reform of Social Security through the Congress. Folks, it’s not as if he hasn’t tried to get the health savings accounts and SS reform started at Jasminlive.mobi, but the Congress has killed it.....and they control the purse strings.

Add to all of that the media, and their agenda. While the blogs can show up Rather and memos and the like, our opinions are set against the traditional media, cable news, and the like, most of which is dead-set against the conservative agenda, and GWB in particular. He is a guy that they do not like...one of them that decided that they were full of crap. A traditional, religious man, who is determined to use the government as his morality dictates.

That gives him an inherent non-conservative stance (as far as money matters go), but that’;s not what they hate him for. They hate him because he holds traditional American and Judeo-Christian values close, and they do not. Government should be progressive, the mainstream media contends, and it should hold their values (secularity, post-nationalistic stances, non-patriotism, social welfare). His stances, and his opinions on what government should do, are hateful to them.

As they are to pure libertarians.

But Bush isn’t a dictator. He’s an elected official. He’s the leader of a coalition party that stands in the middle-right on social issues. He’s a member of a sect in that party that is not fiscally conservative. However, the other members in that party are not silent. They have, though, been quiet, because they believed that the foreign policy part of his presidency (the big part) was proper.

Now, however, with the unrest in Iraq (the reported unrest, which is actually being exaggerated in the mainstream media), people that supported him are now enraged at all these ‘faults’.....folks, these ‘faults’ have been there since the beginning. Bush has never hidden anything from us as far as his political leanings are concerned. If you don’t like that, then fine, but don’t let the fact that we are in a long, drawn-out war shake you into the ABB (Anybody But Bush) crowd. And that is all it is at this point. This is the same guy that lifted the standard after 9-11....same guy. He hasn’t changed...but a lot of us have. We are tired of war, of spending, of death. I understand that. Hell, FDR might have been a legend in his own time, but there was a large amount of war fatigue at the end of 1944. 46.7% of voters voted against him in his election against Dewey.

Stay the course. We are at the beginning of a long war. We have two years left until the next election. We will be in a war until that point, I would wager. We cannot turn back until we win. I’m disappointed in the way people have basically turned on patriotism since the beginning of OIF. The terrorists, and the Left, are making their mark. They are slowly winning the battle for our emotions....they will win if we tire of the fight before we win. The Bush-angst is nothing but a symptom of our budding war fatigue. There are complaints that are valid where he is concerned...that is true. However, those complaints can be shared, for the most part, with the whole of the Republican Party, and it’s failure to keep to it’s promises of 1994.

The Nightly Saga...

This is going to ba a bit more light-hearted, even though John Kerry and Bill Clinton gave me plenty of fodder today...

Hint: Kerry...you're divorced, pro-abortion, and a snobbish ass. Quit playing Catholic. OOOhhhh, that pissed me off (Kerry did)....however, let's drop that smelly pus-stain, and talk about something(s) much better.

The Units.

I have two daughters, aged 4 and 6. My oldest just graduated from Kindergarten, and therefore has the inate ability to say things just like a 17-year old would, and act like a 17-month old would, at the same exact instant. My youngest is going to start a slightly-young Kindergarten in the fall, and she is at that age where she still is 'babyish' cute, and knows it, and plays dirty with it.

Suffice to say, they are a riot, and a bucketfull of laughs constantly. They are the kind of kids that make you smile when you think of them.....at work, while walking to get a form, or make a copy, something one of those two did the night before will creep into my thoughts and make me smile. They do that, my little Units.

So, this is our evening.....it is pretty indicative of every evening that we have together:

About 8:25 or so, I have to give the Ten Minute Warning. See, every time-related warning is the Ten Minute Warning. The title is merely a formality. A Ten Minute Warning could be 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes, depending on the situation. If my wife and I are involved in a card game (where I am not getting my game handed to me impolitely), or a good discussion over some Paddy's Irish Whiskey (single malt, bought in Ireland), the Ten Minute Warning might be 15 to 25 minutes. If we are at a party where the average age is 'Deceased', or where the only thing you can smell over the Ben Gay is mothballs, the Ten Minute Warning breaks at right about seven minutes. Well, tonight, I was doing homework, so the 10MW (a little shorthand) was actually more like 17 minutes. Note: Bedtime is usually 8:00 PM, but I get to sleep in a bit tomorrow, for reasons I will explain later, so the kids will sleep in later as well.

8:42: The Terrible, Horrible Command lights out from my mouth, turning the mood in the house from happiness and gaity to dread:

"Turn the TV off."

Wails and protestations come from the other room, but to no avail. Daddy the Cruel has ordered the shutdown of the Babysitting Machine, and all is not well. "We were watching that!" " It was almost to the part I like!" "Why, Daddy?" "I wanna watch that!" Never mind that we turn off the damned thing every night before bedtime, they act as if they are getting their spines ripped out through their armpits. Begging ensues, but I am a Rock...I am an Island, unfettered by their emotional outbursts. They carry on, making this the hardest part of the orderal, but it lasts as long as I allow it to.....they are pretty decent kids, and know what side of the bread the butter is on.

8:44: The second comand is issued, and though it rarely varies in meaning or goal, the language is variable. It can be usually written as this:

"Hey, (insert girl's name), what's this? Do you want Mommy to vacuum up your (name any Barbie or Barbie toy made since 2000)? If you want to keep it, put it away. And, you....(insert other girl's name)....get those shoes out of the way...(insert either 'mommy' or 'daddy') is going to fall and break his/her neck. OK...come on...let's go!"

This is not an original observation, but it is a truism with kids like mine: Our house does, indeed, resemble an Auschwitz for Mattel. Pathetic, naked Barbie dolls litter the landscape, hurredly pushed into piles, clothing and plastic jewelry gathered seperately for a look-over and distribution. Broken playsets, with sad little unhinged doors, and once-sporty cars, lie wrecked and forgotten. The 4-foot high Barbie house my wife and I spent a Christmas eve assembling looks like a gulag, with barely-clothed Barbies stacked like chopped wood. Truly pathetic, and sad. It is the way of plastic toys, I think. If a huge industrial machine makes it, and makes a million million of it, children forget it, but the little blue blanket, and the lumpy 6-year old teddy bear, become the Velveteen Rabbits of the home.

OK...back on topic...cleanup involves more than just the request....it involves the following steps:

Initial request: Comes in a friendly, trusting voice. Yes, somehow, this time will be different, the parent thinks, and hopes...this time, they will get it. After all, we've gone through this personal hell for 300 nights in a row. So, the first request is sing-songy, happy, and optimistic.

Kids First Attempt: The first handful of toys makes it into the toyroom. However, the 4-year old, having the attention span of a hyperactive mayfly on speed, immediately discovers the $12,500 in toys you've bought over the course of her life, and sets about rooting around for one that will cause a HUGE mess. The older one is much better at this assigned task-thing, but, like a black hole, she is pulled, inexorably, into pulling toys out of the bin to help her sister.

Secondary Request: The sound of giggling is what fires off the mental flare....the fact that the children are having fun means that they are not doing what you asked them to do. This is not, mo matter hos much you pray for that East Wind, Mary Poppins. NOTHING that involves cleaning is fun for a 4 or 6 year old. Even the lure of the vacuum cleaner has deadened a bit by this time. So, a parent hears laughter, and the BP jumps 10%. "Please", the parent says, loudly, and with that first shaded hint of hysteria, "Do what I asked you to do." Now this is STUPID, on the parent's part, because there is not a hoot in hell's chance that the 4-year old is going to remember what you said, and all it asks for is the Informant to report in.

The Informant: The 6-year old marches in, imperious in her self-importance, and in the importance of her mission. She must Tell On Her Sister. "Brigid is playing with her toys." Now, and of course, she was doing the same exact thing nineteen seconds before, but she is a bit quicker on the draw than her sister, and runs faster, so she gets the stage first. Now, the sheepish 4-year old comes in, looking at her feet, and mumbling. The parent, impatient, and not wanting to take the time to figure out why the 4-year old was doing this (because IT WAS THERE), gets irritated at the 6-year old for telling, and snaps at her. This upsets the confidence of the 6-year old, and she starts to get the chin-quiver.

Now, NEVER let the child cry. This is a momentum-breaker for the Nightly Clean-Up, folks, and no matter if you are a "Hug+it's all-right" kind of person, or a "Suck it UP, Soldier!" type, a cry is an automatic 10-minute extension of the cleaning process. So, an emotion intervention is required. For me, it's a hug, a tickle, and a nice, shadowy apology, accompanied with a short explanation about being a tattle-tale:

Me: Honey, you shouldn't tattle.

Brenna(6): Why, Daddy?

Me: Mommy's and Daddy's don't need to know every little thing. And, kids don't like tattle-tales. They won't be nice to you.

Brenna: When do I tell on Brigid, then?

Me: If one of you are bleeding, or on fire.

Momentum is restored.

Final Request: After the Informant Crisis is averted, the parent calls both children in for the Final Request, called an Ultimatum. This usually involves the withdrawal of a good thing (a planned treat), or the introduction of a Bad Thing (a 'spankin'). However, the Ultimatum, though harsh, is the most effective.

Or, the Fun Time Helper: The Parent goes in, and makes it a fun thing, usually by going to the site of the Clean-Up and acting the fool. The parent says, "Come on, Bubbles, let's move! You're a pokey-hokey.", or, "Are you asleep? You better not be!" Tickling is involved as well. This serves to both exhaust the children and the adult.

8:54: Up the stairs. One sits on the toilet while the other brushes her teeth. It's a symphony...tinkling on one side, usually accompanied by light young girl chatter, with the RRERRERERERRERRERERER of the electric toothbrush in the other ear. After the slower of the two is done with her assignment (usually the 6-year old), they switch. After care of the two orifaces is complete, the 6-year old is sent into her room for pajamas, and the 4-year old is led into her room by Dad, who helps her get ready.

If I help the 6-year old, I get drawn into discussions that might last well over three days. They are like this:

Brenna: Why is the turtle green?

Dad: Well, he comes from a pond. Being green helps him to hide in the water, around the plants.

Brenna: Oh...so, if the water were blue, like in the ocean, the turtles would be blue, too?

Dad: Right.

Brenna: But the water in the ocean isn't blue, Daddy. It's kinda...brown and green.

Dad: (headache starting) That's true, but the turtles from the ocean are brown and green, too.

Brenna: Why is the water on the globe blue?

Dad: Well, it's hard to explain, but when you put a lot of water in one place, and look at it from a ways away, it looks blue.

Brenna: Daddy, do turtles pee in the water?

Dad: (headache well established) Yes, Brenna, they do.

Brenna: Eww...we swam in that...where they peed?

I therefore choose, of my own free will, to help the 4-year old. It makes life easier.

Then, I tuck her in, and kiss her little round (round round round) face, and give her a little tickle. I tell her I love her, and that I will see her tomorrow. Then, leaving her with her blue blanket, I close her door and go to her older sister, and tuck her in with 'Teddy'. she gets a tickle, or a funny little statement, and I leave her.

9:08: Before I leave the upstairs, I call out:

"Don't let the bedbugs bite!"

Immediately after, in some sort of life-extending stereo, I hear two small, bright, happy, loved voices, chime in:

"Don't let the Bedbugs bite!"

Good Night.