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Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, Rants and Raves, What's Left | 2 comments

America’s Age Restrictions and Consent Laws are Insane

 

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Right now, it’s perfectly legal in 30 states for a child as young as 12 to own a rifle or a shotgun.  Let that sink in.

In some states, there are no age requirements, which means an infant can legally hold a baby rattler in one hand and a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in the other and there’s not a damned thing that either you or law enforcement can do about it.  It’s also legal for Americans of all ages to fire deadly weapons — including handguns, shotguns, and assault rifles — at public ranges and other prescribed venues for gun enthusiasts.  Imagine your paper boy peddling his mountain bike with a private stash of Bushmasters a few hundred rounds of live ammo sitting at home inside a closet right next to a broken X-Box.  Oh, and about 10,000 children either die or are injured by guns every year in America.  [SEE FOOTNOTE 1]

Yet by law, in most states you must be at least 21-years-old by to play a hand of poker, or purchase a beer.  In some places, there are even laws on mountain biking.

Right now, young people — the majority who are within that impressionable 18 to 21 age range — are encouraged to join various branches of the U.S. military, and then enticed to obediently march off into war, where they are given the weighty responsibilities of risking their lives while operating tanks, heavy artillery, machine guns, and other instruments designed solely to kill and maim.  “Be All You Can Be,” which is the recruitment motto for the U.S. Army, comes with the alluring promise of being trained how to fire guns and blow stuff up.  Oh joy!

Yet by law, in most states you must be at least 21-years-old to play a hand of poker, or purchase a beer.

Right now, a young woman can shed her clothes, get nude, and dance legally in a strip club in front of strangers — so long as she is 18.  Young people, many disoriented and utterly desperate to make ends meet, are free choose to participate in acts of pornography, potentially making what could be a regretful decision with devastating consequences for their futures.  While there’s nothing inherently wrong with stripping or doing pornography, not many of us wouldn’t want our 18-year-old daughters or sons to do those sorts of things, now would we?  Is an 18-year-old really mature enough to make these kinds of decisions?  Apparently, our collective society thinks so.

Yet by law, in most states you must be at least 21-years-old to play a hand of poker, or purchase a beer.

Right now, an 18-year-old American citizen can vote in an election, or even run for office.  Some time ago, we recognized the blatant absurdity of drafting kids who were still in their teens to be shipped off to the slaughterhouse called “Vietnam,” while denying those same citizens the basic right to have a voice in politics and the right to determine their country’s future.  In the first presidential election where those aged 18, 19, and 20 could legally vote, Richard Nixon was re-elected in a landslide.  Go figure.

Yet by law, in most states you must be at least 21-years-old to play a hand of poker, or purchase a beer.

Right now, an American female of any age can become a mother.  Any American male of any age can become a father.  Kids get pregnant and pop out children by the millions with no legal consequences whatsoever.  Not only are these kids ruining their own lives in most cases (at least for a time), they are also victimizing their newborn children, who according to all statistical evidence often end up being abused, unwanted, disadvantaged, and a huge burden upon government social services and a financial drag to taxpayers, which have to bear the costs.  Fact:  Young people are ill-equipped to be parents, but we inexplicably legally allow them to breed like rabbits.  We shouldn’t.  Parenting should have a minimum age requirement.  [SEE FOOTNOTE 2]

Yet by law, in most states you must be at least 21-years-old to play a hand of poker, or purchase a beer.

Right now, kids as young as 15 can get married in some states, and 16 in others.  Think about this — before they’re fully grown up and still going through puberty, kids are entrusted with making life-altering choices of holy matrimony, arguably the most important decision made in life — and they need not be adults.  Shouldn’t we require reaching some level of maturity before getting married?  Well on second thought, maybe not, since the minimum age for being mature for many might be 45.

Yet by law, in most states you must be at least 21-years-old to play a hand of poker, or purchase a beer.

The minimum age to work a job in America is 16 in most states (or more like 6, if you buy products manufactured overseas in sweatshops and sold at WalMart).  It’s also age 16 to drive a car, with parental supervision.  So, we allow our kids to perform manual labor and get behind the wheel of a car five full incomprehensible years before they can ever post an ante, or order a Budweiser?  This is madness.  This is insane.  This is ludicrous.  This is hypocrisy, which must be exposed, protested, and corrected.

By this point, you’ve probably caught on to how wrong age restrictions and consent laws are here in America.  Kids can own guns and have children.  Teens can enlist in the military and die in war.  America, fuck yeah!  Youngsters can perform sex acts on camera.  America, double fuck yeah!  Adolescents can vote, get married, and drive cars.  Young people can get married and rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student debt.  But they can’t bet a few bucks at the poker table or drink a Budweiser without getting arrested.

Everyone aged between 18 and 21 should be out in the streets rioting — think Baltimore on a national scale — or at the very least should never enlist in the military, nor agree to any of the responsibilities of adulthood without getting the full treatment of rights.  Let the older fucks like me who can go out and buy beer and play poker legally go off and die in the wars.  Young people should have their collective middle fingers raised to the world and targeted at all of us — hell no, we won’t go, at least not until we are treated like adults.  As the song from Bye Bye Birdie goes, “what’s the matter with kids today?”  Wake the fuck up, people!

Fact is, there probably should be age restrictions on things like buying and owning guns, performing sex acts for money, voting in elections, and getting married.  I totally get that.  These are all major decisions with life-altering consequences.  The same can’t be said of gambling or drinking, usually.

Face it.  Most of us who legally gamble and drink as adults started doing those things as kids.  We didn’t wait until we were 21.  No one did!  And frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing all this nonsense about underage prohibition and the duplicitous preaching when it comes to these two specific activities — which are the least benign of all the things we’ve discussed.

I’ll even go one step further.  We have it all wrong — backwards even.  We should enact state and federal laws which prohibit many activities by minors.  For one thing, joining the military.  I’d make that at least 21.  Getting married?  Also 21.  Having kids?  That should probably be more like 25.  But I do want my porn stars to generally be somewhere between 21 and 25 — call me a progressive on this issue.  At the same time, we should educate as well as encourage our kids to gamble and drink responsibly.  That’s right.  Encourage them.  Kids should be taught games of chance in the schools.  Classes in poker and all casino games should be offered.  Wine tastings should be given.  Children should be allowed to drink alcohol under strict parental supervision, and given all the tools necessary to make smarter life choices than many are doing now.  Whatever we are doing now, isn’t working.  Indeed, we like to go on and pretend that our kids don’t drink and gamble, when they do behind our backs, and then we’re shocked when they make mistakes in life.  The shame should be on us — not them.

Shame on us!

Most of us….who started drinking as teens and began shooting dice or playing poker when we were in junior high school….did something remarkable.  Clear your head.  Listen carefully.  We turned out okay — thank you very much.  We did alright.  We drank when we were 16.  We learned how to play poker when we were 12 and we were gambling our lunch money on the playground because that was the only option.  Underage drinking and gambling, when undertaken responsibly and in moderation can actually produce better adjusted adults.  Tens of millions of responsible drinkers and gamblers are proof of this fact.  So, quit this preposterous pandering to hypocritical moralists and so-called freedom lovers who do nothing to correct millions of teen pregnancies or think nothing of an 18-year-old dying in Afghanistan, but who are aghast that a senior in high school somehow went online and played a few hands of online poker.

It’s time to raise the minimum age requirement on important things like guns, marriage, and children, and lower the age requirement on drinking and gambling.  Not later, right now — before even one more innocent 18-year-old dies in some pointless war for the bogus notion of defending their “freedom.”

 

Footnote 1:  “Nearly 10,000 American children are injured or killed by guns every year” [SOURCE: MSNBC]

Footnote 2:  In response to actual instances of underage pregnancy, as a national policy I would make abortion free upon demand to anyone.  Moreover, I would encourage the alternative of adoption for those who insist on carrying pregnancies to term.  Underage mothers who are unable to prove the ability to support newborn children should be given only two options — either abortion or adoption and then provided with the proper support by government-funded social agencies.  Males (fathers) should also be required to provide financial restitution to the mother(s) and/or perform community service

Addendum:  Here are the age minimum age requirements for gun ownership in all U.S. states [SOURCE:  SMARTGUNLAWS.ORG]

 

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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 0 comments

Baltimore

 

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I don’t pretend to have much, if any, special insight into the civil unrest happening right now in Baltimore, and frankly I’m a little perturbed that so many like me with vastly limited subject knowledge, no exposure whatsoever to the problems, and preconceived dare I say prejudicial attitudes of urban blight in America now posture themselves on authorities on events they know little or nothing about.  Sorry, but simply having a Black friend who plays on your softball team doesn’t make you a scholar on urban affairs or an authority on race relations.  More like this — it just makes you a tool reverberating within the constant drumming of the conservative echo chamber.

Yes, I’m talking to you, ” Mr. and Mrs. Suburban White American.”

Yeah, it’s easy to judge, point our fingers, yell at our television screens, pontificate with your jokester buddies down at the local bar and surmise all about “those people” ruining their own neighborhoods and doing utterly nothing to advance the noble cause of civil rights and social justice.  Gee, life is so simple isn’t it, so Black and White, in that alternative parallel universe where most of you, and certainly I, enjoyed immeasurable privileges and advantages since birth simply because we were lucky enough to be born on the proverbial right side of the tracks and not in a zone known as West Baltimore.

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Posted by on Apr 19, 2015 in Blog, Politics, What's Left | 6 comments

Political Delay of Game

 

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The objective of conservatives is no longer to win the political debate.

They aren’t willing to engage in honest discourse anymore because it’s become abundantly clear — especially to them — they can’t win.  Most of the conservative talking points we hear are destined for the ash heap of history, soon to be buried alongside the forgotten memoirs of their most outspoken demagogues from the previous generation, from Strom Thurmond to Jerry Falwell.  Even Ronald Reagan doesn’t resonate much anymore within the political mainstream.

No matter what today’s hot-button topic is — whether it’s man-made climate change, a dangerously widening income gap, student and middle class debt, corporate greed, national health care, out of control defense spending, or selective law enforcement and the gross misappropriation of justice in America  — the debate is pretty much over.  On every front, conservatives find themselves on the losing side of popular opinion.

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Posted by on Apr 14, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 7 comments

Was There Really Such as Thing as the 1915 Armenian “Genocide?”

 

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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the so-called “Armenian Genocide,” a bitter ethnic conflict which spiraled into a tragic course of events circa 1915, now widely recognized as “the first mass genocide in history.” [1]

Today, many activists, historians, and scholars go so far to compare what happened to the Armenians who were living in Eastern Turkey (sometimes referred to as Eastern Anatolia — then part of the Ottoman Empire which was dissolved after World War 1 and re-flagged as modern Turkey) as the first holocaust of the 20th Century.  Purportedly, these crimes later became a model for the systematic slaughter committed some 25 years by Nazi Germany in what was plainly a state-sponsored endorsement and coordination of mass genocide.

There’s no debate that an astronomical number of Armenians died during this period of intense global conflict, perhaps as many as a million innocents, maybe even more.  If many Armenian-based sources are to be believed, the actual number could be as high as 1.5 million.  Moreover, there’s no dispute — even among contemporary Turkish authorities who state there was no such genocide and those of us sometimes labeled as “deniers” — that many terrible things happened during that time of war — including mass murder, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other unfathomable forms of human cruelty.  Turkey does indeed bear the responsibility for those deaths, and has largely acknowledged its disreputable role and collective national guilt in what happened.

Alas, the inherent horrors of war and all ethnic conflict is not in dispute, and cannot be.  What is worth disputing, however, is the classification of what happened to Armenians during this period as a “genocide.”  So, did the Turks commit mass genocide against the Armenians in 1915?

My assertion is — no.

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Posted by on Apr 12, 2015 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 2 comments

Why I Have Mixed Emotions About Hillary Clinton Running for President

 

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Few politicians in the modern age ignite as much passion — pro and con — as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Everyone in America seems to have already formed an opinion about her.  Most negative perceptions are jaded by bogus allegations and wild exaggerations, groundless witch hunts dating back to the days when the Clintons were in Arkansas (which have repeatedly produced no tangible evidence of any wrongdoing), and misogynist double-standards for women candidates and office holders that simply don’t apply to men.

Given the intensity of the vitriol directed at her, Hillary Clinton isn’t just running with excess baggage.  She’s carrying a suitcase factory loaded with boulders on her shoulders.  If the hate factory that churned out lies and ran non-stop, 24/7 for the past seven years which waged so effectively against President Obama seemed ugly at times (proof:  poll the number of idiot Americans who still think he’s a Muslim), just wait for a the 2016 campaign to begin.  It’s going to get really ugly this time around.

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