The Michigan Militia Corps'

Weekly Update
Internet Edition

Volume 5, Issue 6

Week of February 23, 1998

The Ant & the Grasshopper


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.


Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. CBS, NBC and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can it be that, in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Then a representative of the NAAGB (The national association of green bugs) shows up on Nightline and charges the ant with "green bias," and makes the case that the grasshopper is the victim of 30 million years of greenism.

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when he sings "It's not easy being green". Bill and Hillary Clinton make a special guest appearance on the CBS Evening News to tell a concerned Dan Rather that they will do everything they can for the grasshopper who has been denied the prosperity he deserves by those who benefited unfairly during the Reagan summers, or as Bill refers to it, the "Temperatures of the 80's".

Richard Gephardt exclaims in an interview with Peter Jennings that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his "fair share". Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Greenism Act," retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government. Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill appointed from a list of single-parent welfare moms who can only hear cases on Thursdays between 1:30 and 3pm when there are no talk shows scheduled. The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he's in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him since he doesn't know how to maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. And on the TV, which the grasshopper bought by selling most of the ant's food, they are showing Bill Clinton standing before a wildly applauding group of Democrats announcing that a new era of "fairness" has dawned in America.

The Poor are Entitled to Die

PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon health panel voted to require taxpayers to help pay for doctor-assisted suicides of terminally ill poor people.

The state Health Services Commission voted 10-1 Thursday for a proposal that said delivering lethal doses of prescription drugs should be covered as a ``medical service'' for the 270,000 low-income residents covered under the state's health plan.

Although the state hasn't set a dollar amount for the new policy, a health official said he doubted that many low-income people would avail themselves of the suicide law, was passed in 1994 and affirmed last year. Even if they did, it wouldn't be that expensive, he said.

``These are cheap prescriptions, and health care provider time will not be significant,'' said Hersh Crawford, head of the Oregon Office of Medical Assistance Programs.

Oregon is the only state where doctor-assisted suicide is legal.

The new policy is scheduled to take effect in about two months, but it still must withstand federal scrutiny because Medicaid receives federal matching funds. Congress passed a law in April that forbids federal money from being used to cover doctor-assisted suicide.

But that doesn't necessarily preclude coverage under the Oregon Health Plan. Abortions can't be funded with federal dollars, but Oregon covers the service by using only state money.

Advocates of public funding of suicides said it was a matter of fairness and that anyone who qualifies should at least have the option to obtain life-ending drugs - regardless of their income level.

``The most discriminatory thing would be not to give this choice to the poor,'' commission member Ellen Lowe said.

Oregon's Death with Dignity Act allows doctors to prescribe lethal drugs at the request of terminally ill patients who have less than six months to live.

The law's most outspoken opponent was the Oregon Catholic Conference, which contended making taxpayers pay for assisted suicide forces many people to abandon the values of their faith.

``There would be no more tragic discrimination against the poor than to allow them to be killed,'' conference spokesman Bob Castagna said. ``That is the ultimate discrimination.''

Cuban leader speaks out

HAVANA, Feb 24 - Cuban President Fidel Castro, who heard a strong anti-abortion message from Pope John Paul II when the Pontiff visited Cuba last month, spoke out on Tuesday against abortion and called for improved sexual education.

``We don't like abortion,'' he said in a rambling speech after being elected by Cuba's National Assembly for another five-year term as the country's president.

Castro said he particularly objected to the frequent use of abortion as a method of preventing unwanted births.

``Abortion should not be used as an anti-birth method,'' he said, adding this could pose a health hazard. He said it was his duty as a ``revolutionary and public figure'' to oppose this.

Free abortion is widely and easily available in Cuba's public health system and the country is reported to have one of the highest abortion rates in the world.

Pope John Paul criticized promiscuity and ``easy recourse to abortion'' when he visited Cuba for the first time between January 21 and 25.

Castro said he believed in freedom of choice but went on: ``Freedom, yes. But freedom also implies what is the use that you should give to that freedom.''

Adding that freedom also implies responsibility, the 71-year-old Cuban leader called for improved sexual education and said the authorities should appeal to people's sense of responsibility. ``We don't have to go back to the Middle Ages and invent the chastity belt again,'' he said.


Thursday, February 26, 1998, The Daily Outrage!

Sometimes we find so much to be outraged about we can't pick a single topic. As veteran Outrage readers know, that can only mean one thing - Outrage Roundup!

Today's roundup starts with the governors of the United States, who are banding together to support a tax on the sale of goods and services purchased over the Internet. "There appears to be universal Democratic and Republican support for such action" said the Republican governor of Oklahoma, Frank Keating. Leave it to the nation's politicians to find a wayto kill electronic commerce before it even gets off the ground. (We thought that Republicans were supposed to be opposing taxes, not finding new things to tax?)

Speaking of finding new things to tax, how about a tax on stories about crime? Georgia state legislator Chuck Sims, who happens to be an undertaker by profession, has proposed a "crime stories tax". Sims proposes a 10% tax on the revenue of newspapers and other media, like the Outrage, that is related to publishing "factual accounts about any crime." The legislation is designed to raise money to compensate crime victims. (Our friends at the Positive Press probably think a tax on crime stories is a great idea.)

Speaking of free speech, or the lack thereof, a Vermont lawmaker has proposed an "agricultural disparagement" law that would allow for civil suits against those who make untrue and disparaging comments about perishable food products. We wonder how Oprah feels about this one? We also wonder if the ruling passion of legislators is an insatiable desire to provide business for the legal profession?

Where do all these brilliant legislative ideas come from? Well, many are proposed by attorneys - men like Washington lawyer David Duncan Reynolds. But Mr.Reynolds won't be practicing law for a little while - he's headed to jail. Reynolds has been convicted for drunk driving - not once - not twice - not three times - not four, five, six, or seven times - but eight yes, count 'em eight times. Despite his position as an officer of the court, Reynolds received probation for his first seven convictions.

Where do these Masters of the Universe receive their training? Harvard, of course, is the place where future legislators, lawyers, and aspiring power-mongers learn to rule the lessor beings of the earth (that would be you and me). Despite their rigorous training we're glad to say that students at Harvard still have time to get Outraged over the weightier issues of the world - like getting two-ply toilet paper.

It seems that the issue of one-ply versus two-ply really got dirty, with Harvard Crimson columnist Geoffrey Upton instigating a successful rebellion with comments like "You don't think Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 goes home to one-ply every night do you?" Go boy go! - let the bourgeois ruling class know that you won't stand for oppression!

Stay Tuned For a Showdown

By Jim Hoagland

Saddam Hussein sweeps in most of the short-term gains of the latest U.S.-Iraqi confrontation. The United Nations, which had previously vowed to ostracize and tame him, now treats the Iraqi dictator as a valid negotiating partner whose thoughts on decorum and manners are worth considering.

Saddam will market U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's misguided praise of him as a statesman as proof that the world is relaxing its opposition to the terror and hardship Saddam inflicts on his people.

In the Middle East it will be noted that the Iraqi dictator has defied U.N. inspectors and an American president for months on end end paid no tangible immediate price. Saddam gives up only promises that he has given, and broken, before. Such unpunished defiance and deceit count as victory in the smoke-and-mirrors diplomacy practiced in this situation.

But winning in the Middle East tends to be short-term and illusory.

No victory is stable in a region marked by profound social and economic fracture and constant political betrayal. Grim survival, to fight and perhaps lose on another day, is top prize.

If President Clinton treats this round of the conflict with Saddam -- which is not over -- as the wakeup call he has long needed on Iraq, Saddam's short-term gains could yet be turned into long-term defeat.

U.S. diplomacy must now be directed at reshaping the political deal Annan struck with Saddam in Baghdad last weekend into an arrangement that protects and supports Richard Butler, the chairman of the the U.N Special Commission, and his inspectors. If necessary, that means American support should go to Butler rather than to Annan if they come into conflict over the procedures for carrying out new inspections.

Annan, a career diplomat from Ghana, was vaulted into the United Nations' top job with the help of Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright when they blocked the reelection of Boutros Boutros-Ghali 14 months ago. Annan's Baghdad mission was directed at getting Clinton out of a terrible jam as well as avoiding a U.S. attack on Iraq.

One underlying reality explains this: The president was not ready or willing to launch effective military strikes destructive enough to break the Iraqi dictator's hold on power or on his ability to make chemical and biological weapons.

As that realization took hold in Congress, open political support for the strikes began to drop. It plummeted after the public relations debacle the administration suffered at Ohio State University.

By then even Albright seemed to conclude that the administration lacked a convincing, coherent military strategy, according to one participant in high-level policy meetings who is favorable to Albright's point of view. That may explain in part why she welcomed Annan's mission so warmly and defended it against initial criticism.

Republican criticism of the administration for reverting to "assertive multilateralism" by turning this problem over to the United Nations overestimates the amount of deliberate strategy, and underestimates the amount of desperation, that marked the Clintonites' relations with Annan in this crisis.

The text Annan brought back contained nothing that violated the conditions the United States and Britain had set for staying military action. But there were serious and surprising gaps, especially on procedures for future inspections. Equally troubling was the warm way in which Annan, speaking to reporters in New York on Tuesday, embraced Saddam as a decisive leader who deserved more respect from Butler's inspectors.

I doubt that Annan believes Saddam has suddenly had a complete character transplant. The Ghanaian is realistic enough not to harbor such illusions. He offers his praise as a tactic to encourage Saddam to behave responsibly and live up to his word. That was the approach George Bush and Jim Baker tried on Saddam before they started calling him Hitler Jr. That is the kind of human charity that Bill Clinton expressed in saying Saddam might undergo a conversion some day, and then minimizing the Iraqi's depredations for six years. Praise encourages Saddam not to responsible behavior but to new outrage. That is why Saddam's gains, which lie at this point more in the realm of psychology than actual diplomatic or military advantage, may turn out to be ephemeral and Clinton is likely to get another chance at military action, for which he should be better prepared.

In the end, Saddam and Clinton are on irreconcilable paths. The Iraqi will not permit inspections that endanger his hold on a personal arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, whatever he has agreed with Annan. Clinton and his aides have made dramatic statements about such weapons and about Iraq in this crisis that have alerted the American public to the dangers of doing nothing. A showdown is still to come. ) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Papers, please?

THE LIBERTARIAN, By Vin Suprynowicz,

Sergei and Maria have turned 18. They now hope to find entry-level jobs, helping out at home while they save up enough to start families of their own ... perhaps within 15 years, given how high the taxes have soared to support all the new government bureaucracies.

So, the hopeful duo report to the Ministry of Labor, where a fat, scowling bureaucrat repeats a lecture they have heard many times in their state schools:

"You understand that working is not a right in our society, but a privilege which must be granted you by the government, after you convince us that your intended labor serves an established need of the collective? And that you must also prove you are morally fit, in the view of our Caudillo, to undertake this public service?"

The young job candidates nod obediently, as they have been taught.

"Alright, then, let's begin. Sergei, it says here you wish to work in a kitchen, preparing food. You will of course have to take the food safety course, taught by our local police department. Maria, on the other hand, has been offered a position making appointments in a doctor's office. Since we can't be too careful in offices which handle drugs, she'll have to take the drug education course, also taught by our local police.

"For both these jobs, we will need written recommendations from your Young Pioneer counselors. You will, of course, also have to be photographed, fingerprinted, and subjected to urine tests before we can issue you your work cards. Then, there will also be the fees ..."

Where could such a nightmarish routine be occurring? In Havana? Algiers? Poland or Paraguay?

No, this is the near future in Las Vegas, if city councilmen Reese, Brown, Adamsen and McDonald have their way.

On Monday the four voted unanimously (Mayor Jan Jones was absent) to require Las Vegas apartment managers to obtain sheriff's work cards -- which means being photographed and fingerprinted, submitting to government background checks, and paying $35 for the "privilege." Then all job applicants will have to attend an eight-hour course taught by the Metropolitan Police Department on how to do their jobs ... including how to screen out "potentially bad tenants."

Why? Councilman Gary Reese, who sponsored the measure, said that in a few bad neighborhoods he believes pimps, drug dealers, and other criminals are operating apartments and renting rooms. And, of course, "If a person is managing an apartment and breaking the law, we have no way to control it."

Councilman Michael McDonald, who is a police officer, surely could have pointed out to Councilman Reese that pimping and drug dealing are already against the law. The general theory over at Metro, as we understand it, is that the "way to control" such activities is to arrest the perpetrators.

In the past, police work cards have been required in Clark County for employees of businesses that operate under so-called "privileged licenses" -- casinos and child care facilities. The practice was of pretty dubious constitutionality to start with, but now we really see to how slippery a slope it can lead.

Many folks who take work as apartment managers are struggling young married couples, trading their labor for all or part of their rent. Are these the young folks who we want to dissuade from taking honest work? For make no mistake, it is the 98 percent of apartment managers who are decent, law-abiding folk who will bear the brunt of these new rules. Why would pimps and drug dealers -- already facing serious prison time for the activities -- do anything but laugh at the prospect of being "cited" for "renting a room without a sheriff's card"?

Councilman Reese is a small businessman. Councilman Brown also ran for office on the claim that his business experience made him sensitive to the encroachment of expensive, counterproductive, tyrannical bureaucracy.

Yet they both champion this police-state edict?

Apartment owners already have to comply with numerous state and local laws, including an extensive business licensing program. Most management companies already do extensive background checks on employees before they're hired.

"Where does it stop?" asks Kathy MIller, chairwoman of the Silver State Apartment Association.

In the office of the jefe, of course, where we will all be soberly informed that "Working is not a right in our society, but a privilege which must be granted by the government."

When do we get our flashy new caps, kerchiefs and uniforms, Councilman Brown? When is the first torchlight parade, Councilman Reese? When do we get to start turning in our undesirable neighbors for engaging in "forbidden commerce without proper work papers," Councilman Adamsen? And is there a reward? Ooh, this is going to be fun!

When Faith & Government Collide

NASSAU, Bahamas, Feb 19 - Britain's pressure on its Caribbean colonies to abolish laws against homosexuality could provoke a showdown with peoples who cling fiercely to centuries-old Christian values, Caribbean leaders say.

In a group of colonies and independent former territories where traditional Christian beliefs run deep, any attempt by local politicians to make homosexuality legal would be met with outrage, while any bid by Britain to alter colonial laws unilaterally would provoke anger, officials said.

``We are a simple Christian society. That is the foundation of our society. People say homosexuality is sinful,'' Anguilla's chief minister, Hubert Hughes, said in a recent interview.

``We would like Britain to understand that even though we are dependent on British aid, we will not, definitely, compromise our principles when it comes to Christianity.''

Homosexuality has been a hot-button issue in the Caribbean in recent months with British pressure to liberalize anti-gay laws, prison riots in Jamaica over the distribution of condoms, and the refusal of landing rights in the Cayman Islands to a cruise ship carrying gay vacationers.

Britain is pressing its current and former overseas territories to amend laws that ban homosexuality and allow capital and corporal punishment through much of the region.

At a UK/Caribbean meeting in the Bahamas last week, British officials said they were ``in dialogue'' with the Caribbean on a range of issues including homosexuality, capital and corporal punishment and money laundering laws.

But Caribbean officials have complained about the pressure, and leaders of current dependencies have stressed they would not bow to London's wishes.

``This issue runs to the core,'' said David Brandt, chief minister of Montserrat, a British dependency settled by English and Irish Catholics, where centuries-old stone churches remain a focal point of social and religious life.

``I have told them...this society will not stand for it. No politician could vote for such a law (allowing homosexuality),'' he said. ``There will be great anger in the community.''

Homosexual acts are banned in the colonies with the exception of Bermuda, which decriminalized such acts between consenting adults in private, Bermuda Premier Pamela Gordon said. Public acts -- heterosexual or homosexual -- deemed to violate moral turpitude laws remained illegal, she said.

Britain used its legal powers to abolish the death penalty in the territories of Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos and Montserrat despite public support for capital punishment in the colonies and throughout the Caribbean.

Anguilla's Hughes said Britain had ``made it abundantly clear'' it could do the same to homosexuality laws through legislative action in the British parliament if local lawmakers did not act.

``There will be protests everywhere on this island and in other dependent territories (if Britain acted unilaterally),'' Montserrat's Brandt said. ``I don't know what the people will do. The only thing they could do is civil disorder.''

Homosexuality remains highly stigmatized in the region.

In December, the Cayman Islands refused landing rights to a cruise ship carrying 900 gay vacationers because local authorities said they could not be counted on to ``uphold the standards of appropriate behavior expected of visitors.''

``It must be bad. It's been banned forever in the Bible. I am not going to blame them, but I think it could be evil,'' he said. ``But I cannot hate people. They are what they are. I don't bother about it.''

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