Monday 2 October 2006

American Congress failing the American People

Red face from reps page

Three pieces of news coming out of America appear to show how so different that land is and it so fills me with amazement that people find such comfort in that place.

Probably 10 years ago, the by-line would have been – Rep pages page’s pager … or something along those lines if the tabloids ever got into the salacious side of a sad story of child sexual abuse.

Apparently, for a few years, a Republican Congressman has found the pastime of sending sexually explicit messages to pages – students who get the opportunity to walk the corridors of power as messengers and assistants.

The youngest of who might have been 16, now, for a man in power and authority having membership of the caucus on missing and exploited children it was wrong to abuse his position in that way and it was wrong to subject the young men to such illicit and lewd communication.

Culpability in inaction

If Congressman Foley considered his actions a form of mentoring young men into understanding sex, well, one can only speculate; however, the Republican leadership of the Congress who appeared to have known about this for a while now seem to be feigning innocence as the whole affair has suddenly consumed the fire of their campaign hardly six weeks to the mid-term elections.

It reminds one of the inaction that accompanied sexual abuse claims within the Catholic Church, alas, lessons are not being learnt.

The converse of this is, the young man was 16, quite well past puberty and in Europe would have been more sexually aware, intelligent or active rather than being utterly sexually naïve as one can almost expect of Americans of that age.

There would be some mileage in this thing before the elections turf out a few more Republicans, meanwhile, Mr Foley has demonstrated a classic, accepted guilt, gone for rehabilitation for alcoholism and behavioural problems – it is unlikely the birch would be introduced to teach bad boy – Mr Foley – a useful lesson.

Sadly, the abused child might only be able to afford a comforting ice-cream from mummy and daddy before the media circus helps to ruin the young man’s self esteem for life.

Gambling on a fools gambit

Then, as usually, the warped argument about online gambling leading to addiction, debt and enticement of children has lead to a bad law being promulgated to ban financial institutions like banks and credit card companies from processing payments for participating in online gambling.

This is America where gambling is extremely big business Las Vegas is the bastion of wanton decadence and gambling like no other place on earth and somehow people who go there cannot play the same games from home. Absurd.

Well, the greater reason is, the clout of these casinos as lobbyists and sponsors of politicians has prevent Internet upstarts from establishing online gambling businesses, it is also amusing that having raped indigenous American Indians of wealth and land, they are allowed to build humongous gambling empires in their reservations as a sop for past injustices, part of what lead to the Abramoff scandal.

It is the taxes, stupid

More so, Americans being able to gamble in a global market from the comfort of their homes in a $12 billion business registered offshore, the federal and state governments get not taxes or revenues from these organisations lodged in tax havens all around the world.

No online gambling dollars lining the campaign funds or hospitality troughs of politicians is a cause to fight for and nip the financial transactions in the bud and let it all get more sinister, go underground and less regulated – because the American Congress has been elected to protect the American People from things they as adults should have the sense to know to want to do or abstain from.

The thing about children getting addicted to gambling does not wash, you need a credit card to join an online gambling facility and you can only get a credit card at a certain age – the same credit card can be used to register on porn sites, but I see no Congressman seeking to ban financial transactions to porn sites except those of the fundamentalist and Puritan kind.

Those who want to gamble would gamble in anyway they want; regulation is the better use of law not prohibition, just as drug addicts or alcoholics cannot be legislated out of existence. This is one rather bad law, it might hurt the online gambling businesses for a while, but it would not cure the 50% trade that comes from America from their addiction if they are already hooked.

Suicide gunners and schools

Utterly depressed, repressed or disturbed people with access to guns and ammunition that have been seized from the cold dead hands of Charles Heston have visited schools and shot people, already, thrice this week in America.

OK! We did have one occasion in Dunblane in Scotland where a crazed loner shot 16 children with their teacher before killing himself, one well-adjusted and successful kid from that school is Andrew Murray the rising tennis star – thank God for that – I could almost assume such a recovery might be difficult in America, but that would be both facetious and cynical.

However, it appears people do not want to singularly and quietly commit suicide anymore because their insignificant and uneventful lives might not even make the village rag, so they walk off into a nearby school, take children hostage, run the airwaves for a few hours, appear to negotiate and then shoot up innocent people and then themselves.

I am tempted to say that suicide bombers have a cause and these people have no cause, no purpose and no souls – why use innocent blood to give some publicity or credence to your suicide? This applies to all “suiciders” (a Bushism) all around the world.

A gun law is needed

If there is a case of the Congress to settle on, it is the getting of guns off the streets and reducing the availability of guns to just anyone, the warped interpretation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is a problem.

It is still my belief that what it means is; the right to bear arms is only justified as part of a well regulated militia – basically, if you are not in the forces, that right does not exist except when you can called up to defend the state – it does not say you cannot own a gun, but it is not a right to hold one, just as you can own a car, but that does not become a right to have a car.

If there is any need for a new study too, it is that about finding out why these people choose vulnerable people to experience their gruesome deaths when they could find an isolated barn and do the deed if they so wish to end their lives.

How many more headline grabbing shootouts of kids in schools like Columbine do we need before the guns are grabbed out of living and dead hands and burnt out of existence?

Do you read this, the way I do?

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Second Amendment

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