Thoughts on politics, religion, violence, inequality, social control, change, and random other things from an autonomous, analytical, adopted, abolitionist, anarchist who likes the letter A

What if the North Had Seceded?

May 10, 2010 By: Mel Category: Core, Politics

Here in the United States, the idea of secession is inextricably tied to slavery.  And there is damn good reason for that.  Despite what some putrid politicians may claim, the civil war was very much about slavery.  But the Confederacy didn’t invent the idea of secession.  They aren’t the only people in the world who have seceded or want to secede.  And the people who want to secede aren’t always the bad guys.

Those of us who are horrified by slavery (and I hope to hell that means you) have a tendency to see the Civil War in very simplistic terms.  The Southerners wanted to own people.  The Northerners wanted to stop them.  But I would like you to ask yourself this –  How badly did the Northerners wanted to stop them?

Northerners consistently compromised any principles they claimed to have in order to appease slave owners.  When slaves escaped to non-slave states in the North, Northern officials helped to capture those slaves and return them to their enslavers.  Not exactly the actions of the good guys.

What if the Northerners had really been passionate about the human rights of those slaves?  What if they had been so appalled by slavery that they refused to make compromises with the South any longer?  What if, rather than continue to compromise their principles, the North had seceded?

In this fictional world, the adamantly anti-slavery North would not have returned runaway slaves.  They would have given them asylum.  Perhaps the North would have helped freedom fighers like Nat Turner to procure weapons and overthrow the plantation owners.  Perhaps slaves would have gotten their 40 acres and a mule, rather than a post reconstruction sellout of Jim Crow and the KKK.

One thing is for certain, what we associate with the idea of secession would be much different. And then perhaps it would not be so difficult for us to speak about the principle underlying the idea of secession.  Secession is about self-determination.  Every anti-colonial and nationalist struggle in history has been about self-determination.  Democracy is about self-determination.  If you think that secession is only for neo-nazis, but have a “Free Tibet” bumper sticker on your car, I have news for you.  Tibet is trying to secede from China.  Tibet wants self-determination.

It’s asking a lot to separate the idea of self-determination from the context in which it was used.  We cannot ignore history for the sake of principle.  But nor can we ignore principle because of history.

Secession is back in the news lately.  And often it is on the lips of exactly the kind of white supremacists that you expect to talk about it. Undoubtedly, many of these people would not be talking secession if the president were not black.  But, as Chris Hedges laid out in his recent article, it isn’t just racists who are thinking about seceding.

Many people are disillusioned precisely because they thought electing Barack Obama was meaningful change.  He is an extraordinary person with an incredible life story.  He galvanized communities.  He inspired even the jaded.  We elected an African American community organizer.  From the perspective of the mainstream left, Barack Obama is quite likely the best we can do.  And the best we can do isn’t good enough to get out from under the rule of Goldman Sachs and the Military Industrial Complex.

I’m not writing this to argue for secession.  I don’t think a new state would be, ultimately, better than the old state.  And I’m sure as hell not trying to defend racist separatist movements.  I’m just trying to point out that it is completely possible to be a rational and decent person and believe that a government, our government, any government is beyond hope.  I’m just trying to say that it is not such a bad idea to imagine what real self-determination, out from under the power of Exxon and Halliburton, might look like.

Ideas are Funny Things

October 08, 2009 By: Mel Category: Seeking

Ideas don’t know boundaries of time and place.   They can be disproven or discredited.  They can be hidden or forbidden.  But they will still manage to seep into unexpected areas and pop up at unexpected times.

I was watching a program about James Baldwin once (my favorite author).  One of the guests was a professor speaking about the influence of Russian Jewish thought on Baldwin’s writing.

I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting if my adopted family was Russian.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if one of the reasons that Baldwin’s writing spoke to me so strongly was because we had both absorbed some of the same ways of looking at the world – he by going to school with Russian Jews, me by being adopted by them.

My father never spoke about his family’s background.  He was from the Bronx and that was that.  His father died when he was only eleven.  He didn’t talk about him, presumably because he didn’t remember much.  He spoke about his mother, but never about where she originally came from.  But I did remember a cousin of his saying something about Russia once.

Happily, in the age of the internet, I was able to solve the mystery a few moments after it popped up.  There it was on the 1930 census.  My father’s father was Russian.  My father’s mother’s parents were also Russian.  Practically the entire building in the Bronx where my father lived was Russian.

And I thought, how cool.  How cool that I could feel such a strong connection to someone with such a different background and life experience.  How cool that we are connected by thought.

I tell you this because I have been thinking a lot about thought, about world views, about debate, and about writing.  I’ve been thinking about how frustrating it can be to butt up against people whose ways of seeing the world are so fundamentally different than your own.  And I’ve been thinking about how it sometimes feels like an effort in futility to argue.

I have a particularly hard time arguing with people who accept authoritarianism.  In fact, many people seem to relish it.  Alicia over at Last Left Turn before Hooterville has a great post about the authoritarian tendencies of the republican party.

In the comments of Alicia’s post she says that she doesn’t think that die hard conservatives are amenable to liberal arguments and she prefers to spend her time trying to get progressives to become more active. That is a completely rational view from a liberal/progressive standpoint.  There are many others liberal/progressives out there.  You have a wide audience.

When your political views are more radical, the options are more limited.  After all, the changes I would like to see are as drastic for most liberals as they are for most conservatives.  At times it can seem hopeless.

But then I remember that you never know where an idea can go, once you put it out there.

Love it or Leave It

October 07, 2009 By: Mel Category: Stratification

None of us has control over the place or time of our birth.  We come into this world subject to the rules, whims, inequities, and injustices that those who came before us imposed by force.  Is it truly a democratic society if you are compelled to obey rules you never agreed to?

I objected to the idea that we are compelled to follow those rules in response to a blog post by Doctor Biobrain.  The doctor’s response was that my parents had actually agreed to the rules on my behalf and that, by staying here past my eighteenth birthday, I too was agreeing to them.

I objected to having to abide by the decisions of corrupt representatives in a fixed system.  The response was that, by staying here, I had agreed to abide by whatever they decided.   Any objection I made – about corruption, about non-inclusion – was met with the same answer.  If I don’t like it, I can leave.

Love it or leave it.  Or, at least, deal with it or leave it.

Where exactly are we supposed to go?  Is there anywhere on earth that is outside the grasp of the Eurocentric, racist, patriarchal system that has used violence to exclude most of us for hundreds of years? More importantly, are people really so unquestioning of violence and coercion?  Dr. Biobrain says,

so it’s part of the agreement that anyone who breaks the agreement can be severely punished. And anyone who seriously attempts to permanently end the agreement can be put to death. And again, this is all in the agreement. And if you choose not to follow the agreement, yet don’t want to face punishment, you have only one option: Leave.

Over and over Doctor Biobrain insisted that it was my choice to live here, as though everyone on this earth has equal opportunities to go anywhere they want.  As though everyone has the resources to start over.  As though everyone is free of attachments.  As though immigration laws in countries around the world weren’t written by classists and white supremacists too.

And when exactly did this love it or leave it rule begin to apply?  Does it only apply for rules made after women and minorities received the right to vote?  Or are we really saying that rules imposed by a tiny faction are sacred?  Are we really saying that our only recourse is a corrupted election system – a system complete with gerrymandering, felon disenfranchisement, corporate media, and impossible financial barriers?

Love it or leave it is a cop-out.  It’s a way for people to avoid the fact that the system was designed for the benefit of a few at the expense of the many.  Love it or leave it is a lie.   It is a pretense of freedom where little exists.

But the sad fact is that Doctor Biobrain is not wrong about how our “democracy” works.  He is exactly right.

Where Doctor Biobrain is wrong is in suggesting that it is the best we can do.  The doctor is wrong in accepting that “might makes right,”  wrong in saying that our system is “EXTREMELY fair,”  and wrong in believing that what we have is truly a democracy.

Dr. Biobrain is wrong, but not alone.  In fact, I would argue that the central conflicts in our society aren’t between democrats and republicans or between conservatives and liberals.  The central conflicts are between those who feel the system was meant for them and works for them and those that don’t.

Those of us for whom the system does not work, and wasn’t meant to work for, cannot accept “love it or leave it.”

Is Protest Possible?

September 28, 2009 By: Mel Category: Conflict, Seeking

The G20 meetings in Pittsburgh brought out thousands of protesters, although you might not know that given the little media attention they have gotten.    You can see an eleven minute video over at Fluxview of a permitted protest.  The city was very stingy with permits.  In fact, the only reason even a bit of protest was permitted in Pittsburgh was because the ACLU took the city to court.

Even the permitted protest was surrounded by cops in riot gear, but they let the protesters be.  Anyone who tried to gather without a permit was attacked.  In this video, some kids who had gathered in a park for a concert (kids who look like they were expecting a confrontation) were tear gassed and possibly shot at with rubber bullets.

Massive protest is allowed, just barely.  It has to be permitted.  It can’t disrupt the normal day to day.  It can’t pose any real challenge to order.  If it does, it will be squashed immediately.  And the police (and military) are very good at squashing.  That is because they have spent decades developing an arsenal of “less lethal” weapons that too few Americans seem to mind being used on us.

They don’t just have batons anymore.  They have pepper spray, light flashes, and rubber bullets.  You can peruse a list of items commonly used by police and military in this Department of Defense Nonlethal Weapons and Equipment Review.  Note, throughout the review, how it talks about “riot control” and “crowd control.”  They describe these weapons as meant to be used when “engaged in missions where a noncombatant threat exists” or for “crowd control during civil disturbances.”

In other words, less lethal weapons aren’t to protect us from harm, they are to protect the authorities from unarmed challenge to the system (and to protect property, of course, which often amounts to the same thing).

Many of the less lethal weapons used by police and military have been thoroughly tested on Palestinians by the Israeli army.  The sonic cannon (or something similar) that they used on Pittsburgh protesters was used on Palestinian protesters in Bil’in as early as 2005.  Tear gas and rubber bullets are regularly used on Palestinians.

And less lethal weapons are dangerous.  Hundreds of unarmed U.S. citizens have been killed by tasers. According to a report by Physicians for Human Rights, hundreds of Palestinians have been intentionally and seriously injured by the Israeli army, often with less lethal weapons like rubber bullets.

As Naomi Wolf points out in this video, protest works, but only if it isn’t the controlled and sanitized version that the authorities allow us.

But the authorities aren’t going to allow it.  We are caught between a sea of bureaucratic permits and an army of cops with less lethal weapons.  Amazingly few citizens seem concerned about the loss of freedom or the threat from overzealous authorities.

In this situation, is protest even possible anymore?

Rethinking the 912 Protest

September 23, 2009 By: Mel Category: Politics

It is time for me to enter the 912 commentary fray.  It seems like most of the posts I’ve seen have either ridiculed all the protesters as ignorant racists or completely ignored the obvious racism and ignorance.

Below is a series of photos taken by Chris (that’s the boyfriend), who describes his undercover adventure into the 912 protests:

I would ask each protester in my Oklahoma accent if I could get a picture of their great sign. They would ask me suspiciously, one eyebrow up, who I was with. I told them I was an independent blogger. Not MSNBC, okay. They would ask me where I was from and I would tell them Oklahoma. Geographically okay. I just hoped they didn’t have any lefty sniffing dogs.

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Is it wise, or even fair, to just dismiss the 912 protesters as a hoard of pitchfork carrying, white-hood-wearing, racists?  Some of the signs were appallingly racist.  But most of the signs Chris shot were not indicative of the kind of personal hatred and bigotry that we most associate racism with.

Even the boyfriend, who grew up around people very much like those at the protest, “expected to see screaming lunatics like at the town hall or secessionist meetings I see on the television.”  But as Chris spent more time wandering around and talking to people, he got the impression that:

The vast majority of the people at this event were more government-out-of-my-life Libertarian types as opposed to right wing spittle spewing racists. That doesn’t mean there were not racist messages or people out there, because there were. It seemed, however, that there were more class issues and anti-government issues.

Now it is impossible to separate class and anti-government issues from racism in this country. It is impossible to separate anything from racism in this country, including healthcare. We are saturated in racism. But that is exactly why it is so ludicrous to dismiss people as racist and therefore unnecessary to be listened to.  If only non-racists are allowed to participate in our democracy, then we better anoint a king now.  The only problem is, where do we find the one non-racist to be king?

Dismissing all the protesters isn’t just undemocratic, it also avoids confronting issues that we need to confront.  As Stephen Maynard and Charlton McIlwain point out in their must read post, using racist as a noun only obscures the fact that we are fighting structural racism and not just personal bigotry.

And remember, as you look at some of the more appalling photos and images from that protest, what the media does to us.  There could be a million everyday-looking people at an anti-war march, but the media will film the three naked hippies or the two kids throwing rocks through windows.  We don’t get reporting anymore.  We get Jerry Springer with a veneer of newsiness.

That’s if the media bothers to show up at all.  Note that most of the footage and photos floating around the internet don’t seem to be from major news stations.  Chris said, ” I saw one other person wading through the crowd as I was covering the event. I didn’t see any news trucks.”

The media doesn’t need to stick around because they have no plans to talk about anything substantive.  Darren at Dissenting Justice observes that:

The issue of race has become the latest nonpolicy distraction for the media. Earlier, the media covered violence and mayhem at healthcare town hall discussions — rather than the substance of reform. It then covered the conflicts between moderate and liberal Democrats (rather than the substance of reform). Now, it is exploring whether the opposition to Obama is racist (rather than the substance of reform).

Nobody knows what the hell is in those healthcare bills.  Matt Taibbi says you would have to read 9,000 or 10,000 pages of documents in order to figure out what they are trying to do.  And then the myriad of bills will just go into committee, where who knows what will happen.

It isn’t surprising that people are confused and enraged and feeling as though our government is constantly confusing, deceiving and taking advantage of us.  And since we don’t communicate with each other, it’s easy for the Glenn Beck’s of this world to rake in the cash insinuating that the money of “hard working Americans” is going to be given to less hard-working, less American (less white ) people.

The anger and confusion is legitimate.  It is the target that is too often confused.  Glenn Greenwald (the Glenn that people should be listening to) says:

It is true that the federal government embraces redistributive policies and that middle-class income is seized in order that “someone else benefits.” But so obviously, that “someone else” who is benefiting is not the poor and lower classes — who continue to get poorer as the numbers living below the poverty line expand and the rich-poor gap grows in the U.S. to unprecedented proportions. The “someone else” that is benefiting from Washington policies are — as usual — the super-rich, the tiny number of huge corporations which literally own and control the Government.

In the first link of this post, there is a video of some anti-czar protestors. The interviewer points out that Ronald Reagan appointed the first czar and that Bush increased them. The protestors had no idea. It’s easy to ridicule them for being ignorant, but by doing so you might miss something important. One of the women says she has been a republican all her life, but is rethinking that now. That’s what we really need, a whole lot of Americans rethinking their knee jerk support of the republican and democratic parties. That’s what we could get if we actually spoke to one another.

I’m not saying it will be a piece of cake or that everyone is equally open to new information. Too many people, right and left, are closed minded as hell. Chris didn’t talk to everyone, but he talked to enough people to give him an impression that he wouldn’t have gotten from sitting in front of the televison

Once people realized my t-shirt was Bob Marley and not Go Army (same green color), they stopped giving such candid proud photos. They would still talk to me though, guarded perhaps. But they would still have an ideological political discussion with me. I believe, to save our democracy, we need to find a way to have those conversations in the midst of all the crazies.

***P.S. Still on the Hunger Challenge this week.  Yesterday went a bit better.  I managed to stay in my $4 budget and get to the gym.  I was still sadly lacking in veggies though.

Left, Right, and Wrong

September 10, 2009 By: Mel Category: Politics

You ever get the feeling you’ve been had?

I’ve been watching our health care “debate” and marveling at the lunacy of it all.  I got into an argument last week with a woman who insists that, despite everything he says and writes, Barack Obama is some sort of far left fanatic.  There are birthers and deathers and tenthers and now someone who thinks the government is trying to set up concentration camps.

Much like Rachel Maddow in this clip, I was taking some comfort in the fact that the side I most closely identified with seemed a lot less crazy.  But are democrats really debating policy as Maddow contends?  True, democratic congresspeople are not accusing their republican counterparts of having been born on Mars.  But most of the coverage I have seen has pitted democrats who say “we need to do something” against republicans who say “no.”  That isn’t a policy debate.

While the right has been busy playing on fears of black panthers, revolution, and reparations; the left has been playing on fears of racist militias and assassins.  The media, of course, just eats it up.  They don’t want to talk policy.  They want controversy.  They want to find the extreme and put that on camera.  So Van Jones is turned into a cop killing black panther and any conservative who doesn’t trust the democrats is turned into David Duke with rabies.

Meanwhile, as Matt Taibbi points out in his must read article:

they gave away single-payer before a single gavel had fallen, apparently as a bargaining chip to the very insurers mostly responsible for creating the crisis in the first place. Then they watered down the public option so as to make it almost meaningless, while simultaneously beefing up the individual mandate, which would force millions of people now uninsured to buy a product that is no longer certain to be either cheaper or more likely to prevent them from going bankrupt. The bill won’t make drugs cheaper, and it might make paperwork for doctors even more unwieldy and complex than it is now. In fact, the various reform measures suck so badly that PhRMA, the notorious mouthpiece for the pharmaceutical industry which last year spent more than $20 million lobbying against health care reform, is now gratefully spending more than seven times that much on a marketing campaign to help the president get what he wants.

In other words, many democrats have been quietly selling us out to big money yet again.  One can’t help but think that the birthers and deathers and tenthers aren’t such a bad thing for democrats.  The dems get to rally their base against the crazies without their base actually paying much attention to what is going to be in the bill they are rallying around.  On television we see the extremists, but how many Americans just don’t trust democrats to do the right thing and don’t support reform for that reason?  That’s not such a crazy position.

Our democracy cannot function if we don’t stop seeing each other as caricatures through the lenses of politicians and media personalities.  They keep raking in the money and favors.  We keep getting screwed by the same execs and stockholders.

Vote With Your Tax Dollars

September 03, 2009 By: Mel Category: Politics

Barbara Boxer has an interesting bill floating around the Senate Finance Committee right now.

S. 1366
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow taxpayers to designate a portion of their income tax payment to provide assistance to homeless veterans, and for other purposes.

The bill would allow people to designate $3 of their income tax payment to go into a fund to assist homeless veterans.  I find this bill interesting because it fits in nicely with some thoughts I had about taxes.

Taxes are one of the most contentious political issues we deal with as a country.  Many people don’t like their money going to social programs. Others don’t like their money going to military spending.  I’ve never come across anyone who actually approves of the way government spends their money.

Of course, most people don’t actually know how government spends their money.  When Americans are surveyed about how much of our budget goes to foreign aid, for example, they consistently overestimate the percentage.  And they overestimate by a lot.

So wouldn’t it be interesting if we actually let people decide for themselves how their money should be spent?  I don’t mean line item by line item.  We could have broad categories – defense, education, social programs, foreign aid…

We could just write down the percentages on our tax return, much like the way mutual funds allow you to allocate your contributions.  Conservatives could direct all their money to defense or paying down the debt.  Pacifists could direct their money to social programs and education.  Tax resisters would have options that wouldn’t involve jail time.

Anyone who has ever worked for a nonprofit knows how difficult it is to operate when most of your money comes from restricted funds.  So this system would not be without its problems, but the benefits could be enormous.

People would still gripe about how their neighbor chose to spend their money, but they couldn’t gripe about where their money was going.  And while it is possible that we would end up with less money for things I care about, I suspect that even many conservatives would be more generous to social services than our government has been.

We don’t have to start with the whole shebang.  We could just do a portion at first.  It’s a lot more democratic than the system we have now.  What do you think?

Let Texas Secede

September 02, 2009 By: Mel Category: Politics

If you haven’t heard, some Texas secessionists had a rally the other day.  Rachel Maddow had this lovely video.

Truth be told, I felt a bit like seceeding after those lunatics voted for George W. Bush the second time around.  And I’m not the only one.  I know this because Sam Schechner posted an article on Slate called Could the Blue States Secede?.

O.k., maybe we were kidding (sort of), but I’ll bet I’m not the only one who was checking immigration info for Canada and Brazil.  And when Puerto Rico or Hawaii or the Lakota Sioux push for independence, I’m sympathetic.  So, for the sake of consistency, I support the crazy Texans.  I think we should join their campaign for a referendum on Texas secession.

No really, hear me out.

McCain won Texas, but Obama received 44% of the vote.  That’s three and a half million Texans who voted for Obama.  According to Gallop, Texas is officially competitive for democrats.   Perhaps I am overestimating Texans, but it seems unlikely that a referendum would pass.

The most likely outcome is that a significant majority would vote against it.  The kooks would have to shut up about it, or at least redirect their anger towards their fellow Texans.  Politicians would not be able to use the issue to fire up their base, because they would specifically be advocating for something the majority of their constituents clearly do not want.

Granted, a close vote would be a problem.  It would give the secessionists a new lease on life, but the chance of that is so slim.  And if they do leave the union there are all sorts of benefits for the rest of us.  We get rid of tons of right wing, racist loonies who are helping to screw up our government. We would never have another president from Texas. Most of the sane Texans would undoubtedly immigrate to the U.S.  We would have to reroute Highway 40 and so would no longer have to drive through stinky Amarillo on our way across country.

It could be really great.

I’ll Miss You Mel Martinez

August 31, 2009 By: Mel Category: Politics

It appears Charlie Crist has chosen George LeMieux to replace the now retired Mel Martinez and I feel like a little senate career retrospective is in order.

Martinez won his senate seat (just barely).  First, he beat out his republican rival Bill McCollum in a nasty campaign that included calling him “the new darling of the homosexual extremists” for supporting hate crimes legislation.  Then he eeked out a victory over his democratic opponent, Betty Castor, by accusing her of coddling a USF professor accused of supporting a terrorist organization.  (No jury ever convicted Sami Al-Arian, but he eventually plead to a lesser charge to get out of prison.)

Mel’s very first piece of legislation in the senate was The Incapacitated Person’s Legal Protection Act of 2005.  That was the legislation introduced to prevent Terri Schiavo’s husband from being able to put his brain dead wife out of her misery.  An aid from Mel’s office wrote a talking points memo for republicans that said it was “a great political issue.”  The memo was a scandal for Mel and the aid resigned.

Soon afterwards, Martinez was plagued with fundraising scandals.  The scandals resulted in $100,000 in fines for excess campaign contributions.  I wouldn’t feel too sorry for him though.  He still has several hundred thousand in his campaign fund (for the upcoming campaign that he is not running in) and he seems to be having no trouble finding ways to spend it.

Most distressing, I worry about the essential legislation Mel has sponsored and which hasn’t yet been passed.  He’s sponsored 10 bills since he’s been in the senate and cosponsored 94 more, yet only two of the cosponsored bills have gone anywhere.

Who is going to shepherd through S. 261, the bill making sure business travelers can bring their “wives” with them on business trips and write the expenses off on their taxes?  And which fiscal conservative is going to make sure that  S. 1530 gets passed?

To prohibit an agency or department of the United States from establishing or implementing an internal policy that discourages or prohibits the selection of a resort or vacation destination as the location for a conference or event, and for other purposes.

And, my god, who is going to make sure S. 1401 is passed. It may very well be the most important bill in the senate right now

To provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Arnold Palmer in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf.

Oh Mel, Arnie Palmer and I will miss you terribly.

Really Senator Crapo?

August 21, 2009 By: Mel Category: Politics

Mike Crapo is a senator from Idaho.  You may remember him as being one of the Republicans who voted against Sonia Sotomayor because she was going to be an “activist judge” and take away peoples guns and make all the fairies disappear from the world.

So I was perusing the senate bills the other day and came across this terribly important piece of legislation submitted by said Crapo:

S. 1395
To amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to allow importation of polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada before the date on which the polar bear was determined to be a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

That’s right.  There are millions of people without health insurance.  There are millions of children in poverty.  We have an economic crisis and two wars.  But Senator Mike Crapo is using his time (and taxpayer money) to ensure that old, dead, stuffed polar bear “trophies” can be imported.

You get the feeling this was a poker game gone bad:

Crapo:  This basement poker room rocks Bill.

Bill:  Nice eh.  Would have been even nicer if customs would have let me bring in that polar bear trophy.  I had that corner saved for him.

Crapo:  Would have looked great next to the 47 moose heads on that wall.

Bill:  Heh.  You’re a senator.  Can’t you do something about those damn hippies?

Crapo:  I’m a senator I can’t just do favors for friends.

Bill: Tell you what.  I win the next hand, you take care of my polar bear problem.

Crapo:  Ok.  But if I win, you drive your tractor in a dress.

Bill:  Deal.

If this bill makes it out of committee…