Dissent Decree

Who Knows

November 20th, 2012 · Art, Editorial, Politics and Social Issues

The politicians lie, cajole, scare and bully us into acquiescence and obedience.

The objective scientists provide the generals and admirals with the means.

The generals and admirals promise us peace through ever more killing.

The mullahs, rabbis, priests and preachers promise god’s love and approval.

The learned professors talk, before, during and after everything.

The doctors and lawyers give answers for a fee. Right or wrong.

The painters hide in their studios and paint imaginary worlds.

The poets finely tell us that we’re screwed.

Who will guide us to the caves in the dark?

© 2012 Michael Maurer Smith

→ No CommentsTags:··········

Subconscious Contraception

August 27th, 2012 · Editorial

Missouri congressman Todd Akin’s assertion that a woman’s biology will automatically prevent pregnancy if she is “legitimately raped,” raises some perplexing questions not the least of which is, how does a woman’s body distinguish “legitimate rape” from what presumably must exist as an illegitimate form of rape?

If as Mr. Akin avers, the stress of enduring a rape will prevent conception then what of statutory rape? It often occurs in the absence of force and undue stress—two teenagers in love, one of whom is just shy of the age of consent. If it is the girl who is underage will her body recognize that she has been statutorily raped and thereby prevent an unwanted pregnancy?

If we assume that a woman’s subconscious, influenced by the stress of being raped, can induce her body to block conception or even terminate a pregnancy then we are compelled to acknowledge that humans are either created by god or evolved by nature to induce and apply contraception and abortion under certain circumstances be they legal, moral, conscious or subconcious.

© 2012 Michael Maurer Smith

→ No CommentsTags:·········

The Challenge of Occupy Lansing

October 16th, 2011 · law, Politics and Social Issues

Occupy Lansing, Lansing, MI 15 October 2011, © 2011 Michael Maurer Smith

Occupy Lansing, Lansing, MI 15 October 2011, © 2011 Michael Maurer Smith

My wife and I attended the Occupy Lansing demonstration at Michigan’s state capitol building on the 15th of this month. It was remarkable for the intelligence and civility on display.

Contrary to the criticism of some writers in the Lansing State Journal, that this demonstration and its Occupy Wall Street counterparts in other cities are without focus, I found the focus clear and apparent. Stated simply, it is time for citizens in this democracy to reclaim and assert their moral and legal rights in the face of rampant corporate greed, incompetent and uncaring government, a biased and partisan Supreme Court, and a banking industry that through its callous disregard for the nation’s well being has driven this country to the brink of disaster.

Occupy Lansing, Lansing MI © 2011 Michael Maurer Smith

Occupy Lansing, Lansing MI 15 October © 2011 Michael Maurer Smith

The speakers I heard did not condescend to those assembled. Instead they addressed complex issues with words and facts that reflect the enormity of this nation’s situation and its many dimensions—legal, social, environmental, political, medical, financial and moral.

Occupy Lansing was an invitation to dialogue, challenge, think, observe, learn and awaken as people—as citizens.

© 2011 Michael Maurer Smith

→ No CommentsTags:·········

A Legal Mind-set

July 24th, 2011 · Editorial, law, media, Politics and Social Issues

Recent articles in the Lansing State Journal told of lawsuits filed by Cooley Law School against a New York law firm and several bloggers. Cooley says it is defending its reputation in light of allegations that it has an excessive number of students defaulting on their student loans, an unusually high dropout rate and that it has published questionable employment figures for its graduates.

Whatever the truth of those allegations a larger question looms. That is the abundance of lawyers in our society and the disproportionate effect of the legal mindset upon our society and government.

Michigan has more than 40,000 licensed attorneys, and each year the law schools graduate more. Where will they find work? And what is the correlation between this abundance of lawyers, the number of frivolous lawsuits and the public’s increasing distrust of lawyers and government?

Consider the current Congress (112th) of the United States. There are 148 lawyers serving in the House and 52 lawyers serving in the Senate. By comparison there are 15 medical doctors serving in House and 2 in the Senate. In the House there is 1 physicist, 6 engineers and 17 farmers. So whose professional influence and approach to problem solving is likely to dominate?

Much of the political circus in Washington owes its mediocrity, inefficiency, ineffectiveness, waste and lack of imagination to an entrenched legal mindset with its emphasis upon winning. The interminable arguments and legal maneuverings too often negate meaningful, substantive, timely, and effective action and have brought our country to its economic and cultural knees.

Our adversarial legal system teaches that the client, no matter how reprehensible he, she or it may be, is entitled to the best legal representation. So when lawyers are elected to public office they come predisposed to framing every issue as a contest—as something to be argued and won. The problem is that the greater public good isn’t easily identified or defined as a client or contest. Nor can it lobby for itself or sign checks.

© Michael Maurer Smith 2011

NOTE: Columnist John Schneider published portions of this piece in his blog in the Lansing State Journal. Responses to the remarks may be seen here.

→ No CommentsTags:············

Hell is a Freeway

July 4th, 2011 · Editorial, Politics and Social Issues

Dante was wrong. Hell is a morass of lanes and ramps, of mesas, plains and canyons of concrete, where millions of of steel and fiberglass capsules hurtle at, around and sometimes into each other at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour. These vehicles are aimed and guided by all kinds of drivers including the: halt, lame, mad, maniacal, idiotic, naive, frightened, stupid, homicidal, suicidal, timid, impatient, angry, oblivious, preoccupied, intoxicated, patient, considerate, kind, brutal, and distracted
Driving along the John Lodge in Detroit, or some similar conduit of madness, I wonder about the driver who rips in front of me from three lanes over, sliding his Accura through the gaps between vehicles with less than 10 inches to spare—is she a Ph.D in astrophysics? Is he a graduate of Harvard law school? Is she a highly respected Oncologist or just a clerk at Home Depot? Then I imagine this person after the pile up, their life devastated or terminated by a momentary hesitation or miscalculation that turned their $45,000 plus social networking, communications and entertainment center on wheels into a blood spattered mass of jagged steel, shattered glass, and flame—a shredder that sliced and diced them like carrots without regard to their personal values, dreams, goals, purposes and importance and left them as matter to be shoveled and hosed off the pavement like smashed watermelons.
This we call progress and civilization. It is inevitable we say. The sacrifice of some for the many is an acceptable cost. So in the name of convenience, freedom, status and the American Way, we encourage our best, brightest and innocent to share the highways with dim wits, drunks and lunatics. And too often they are one and the same.
So the descansos lining our roads and highways are increasingly prominent and more numerous than the Golden Arches and the future for trauma centers, rehabilitation clinics and funeral homes seems brighter than ever.

Dante was wrong. Hell is a morass of lanes and ramps, of mesas, plains and canyons of concrete, where millions of of steel and fiberglass capsules hurtle at, around and sometimes into each other at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour. These vehicles are aimed and guided by all kinds of drivers including the: halt, lame, mad, maniacal, idiotic, naive, frightened, stupid, homicidal, suicidal, timid, impatient, angry, oblivious, preoccupied, intoxicated, patient, considerate, kind, brutal, and distracted.

Driving along the John Lodge in Detroit, or some similar conduit of madness, I wonder about the driver who rips in front of me from three lanes over, sliding his Accura through the gaps between vehicles with less than 10 inches to spare—is she a Ph.D in astrophysics? Is he a graduate of Harvard law school? Is she a highly respected Oncologist or just a clerk at Home Depot? Then I imagine this person after the pile up, their life devastated or terminated by a momentary hesitation or miscalculation that turned their $45,000 plus social networking, communications and entertainment center on wheels into a blood spattered mass of jagged steel, shattered glass, and flame—a shredder that sliced and diced them like carrots without regard to their personal values, dreams, goals, purposes and importance and left them as matter to be shoveled and hosed off the pavement like smashed watermelons.

This we call progress and civilization. It is inevitable we say. The sacrifice of some for the many is an acceptable cost. So in the name of convenience, freedom, status and the American Way, we encourage our best, brightest and innocent to share the highways with dim wits, drunks and lunatics. And too often they are one and the same.

So the descansos lining our roads and highways are increasingly prominent and more numerous than the Golden Arches and the future for trauma centers, rehabilitation clinics and funeral homes seems brighter than ever.

→ 2 CommentsTags:·······