Saturday, April 25, 2009

Conservativism, Pro Wrestling, and the Obama Administration...

So I'm reading one of those letters written to the editor of our local paper from a few days ago, and he asked a very valid question that I have also often wondered about. Essentially, he was asking why these people were just now rising up in opposition to excessive taxation to fuel wasteful gov't spending, when the Bush administration grew our government by leaps and bounds while tripling our national debt.

I consider it a very valid question, because he makes a very good point with it. Unfortunately, I've seen the "Tea Party" cause turn into less about taxation and more about "right-wing agendas". Seriously, why else would I see so many signs about the evils of abortion at a tax protest? I'm starting to understand why the mainstream media was calling us all "right-wing extremists"'s because, within our midst, there were quite a few of them.

You see, there are quite a few people who feel like the terms "conservative" and "liberal" can be applied to both fiscal and social principles. Unfortunately, if one believes in freedom, they can only be applied to the fiscal side of things where government is concerned. Either you're a "conservative", or you're a "liberal". I am extremely conservative, regardless of how the bastardization of these terms may lead you to believe otherwise.

This may sound strange at first, but think about it. If you are "socially conservative" in your beliefs (I'm not, honestly, for the most part), and you attempt to bring these beliefs into our government, you are the dictionary definition of a LIBERAL. That sounds really bizarre, doesn't it?

Well, keep thinking about it. Suppose you're one of those people who is "Ultra-Conservative" on a social level, and wish to make your beliefs into law. In order to do so, you're going to have to finance its enforcement, otherwise your laws are meaningless. A fiscally conservative person understands that government intervention into questions of morals CANNOT AND WILL NOT solve the world's social ills.

For instance, we have people who are addicted to drugs. Even the RAND corporation, the world's first (and only truly non-partisan) "Think Tank", understands through numerous studies and decades worth of research, that it is far more cost-effective (and more effective, in general) to fund education and treatment programs. Not random bullshit wanna-be education programs like D.A.R.E. that only teach children that only prescribed Ritalin and the like are safe because your doctor says so, but actual education programs that teach the very real effects of drugs. Not bullshit for-profit court-ordered rehab facilities, but non-profit voluntary rehab facilities that actually help people who are looking to help themselves. BTW, projects like RAND are amongst the very few "public works" projects our federal government is authorized to fund through taxation.

Unfortunately, these psuedo-conservatives felt that since "drugs are bad, m'kay?", RAND's findings that drug abuse prevention and treatment being 15 times more cost-effective than drug interdiction were essentially meaningless...and the United States Government declared a war on drugs. These so-called conservatives like Rush Limbaugh felt that drug addicts should be "imprisoned for life"...until he himself became a drug addict.

To be a fiscal "liberal", where politics are concerned, is to assume that taxation for the purposes of having our government throw money at a problem until it goes away is the best answer for everything. Instead of doing the most cost-effective thing where drug abuse is concerned, these pseudo-conservative wolves in their proverbial sheeps’ clothing decided to do the liberal thing…and throw money away. Unfortunately, like many other liberal social programs, our drug war has been *dingdingding* you guessed it, a miserable failure. About ten percent of the BILLIONS (that’s billions, with a “B”) worth of tax dollars that have been pissed away on our war against some drugs has been spent on prevention education and treatment. Combined. Unfortunately, these treatment and education programs haven’t been (for the large part, anyway) spent on non-profit education and treatment by people who actually care. They’ve been spent on funding for-profit court-ordered rehab centers and police department-run D.A.R.E. programs. D.A.R.E., for the most part, focuses on both the legal ramifications of using drugs, as well as government propaganda regarding drug usage that is largely produced to reinforce the assumed legal necessity for the aforementioned legal ramifications. Can anyone say “Gateway Drug”? Yeah, right. Did I mention that our current (and prior two) sitting presidents have used illicit substances, including not only marijuana but also cocaine?

Now, let’s move on to the subject of war. Yes, I am fully aware that we were attacked on 9/11/01. We had a target. Anyone remember who he was? He was that uber-rich guy who sported a beard and lived in a cave. No, not Saddam Hussein, the guy we caught inside a cave while sporting a beard. It was Osama Bin Laden. The guy that our government has never bothered to charge with mass murder of American citizens on American soil. The 6’ tall Arab with the dialysis machine strapped to one arm and the microphone strapped to the other, that we can’t seem to find. Instead of going into “justice mode” and looking for Osama Bin Laden, we have instead decided to attack those who provided free rent and board in the cave. We arrested and tortured a 16 year old kid who once gave him a ride in his cab. We’ve obliterated countless civilians via artillery strikes and guided missiles, and called it “collateral damage”. After more than seven years, we still haven’t found this man. We’re still spending more than $2billion (again, that’s BILLION, with a “B”) in Afghanistan. EVERY GODFORSAKEN MONTH.

Of course, our expenditures in this failed excursion into Afghanistan pale in comparison to our conquest of Baghdad. Over there, we were spending TEN BILLION DOLLARS PER MONTH when the war was in full swing. I haven’t checked the figures in about six months, because quite frankly, eventually I just got sick of thinking about it.

Now, let’s think about this Iraq situation. Does anyone remember why we were there? We’ve been fed myriad reasons why, and they are all largely just pure and simple bullshit.

“Weapons of Mass Destruction”? With the exception of the chemical weapons we sold to Saddam for use against Iran that were actually used against his “Kurdish problem”, no chemical weapons were ever found in Iraq…unless you count the decayed shells dug out of the desert, which were not only US-supplied, but also so old and decrepit that our own gov’t declared them to be useless as actual weapons. They were about as potent as your average can of insect repellent. A few of our troops were exposed to these “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, and had to receive medical treatment…for mild skin irritation. More people were more seriously injured at Dow Chemical last month than were injured by chemical weapons in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Saddam was trying to buy “yellowcake uranium” in Africa. Oh, really? Bullshit. Not only was this debacle proven to be a complete fraud perpetrated by our government, but the CIA agent spouse of the man who told the world it was a fraud was outed by White House employees…in violation of federal law. CIA assets all over the world were burned in that deal. The people who put their lives on the line, gathering intel for our nation, were put in grave danger because someone called bullshit on the lies perpetrated by the people in charge of our invasion.

Al Qaeda was supposedly “active” in Iraq. Again, bullshit. As hard as the White House tried, no matter how Dick Cheney wished it were so (and proclaimed it to be so, on national television), Al Qaeda was not active in Iraq until after we took out Saddam. Yes, they had a common ideological enemy. The same can be said for our local gangbangers, with regard to our local police department…but that don’t mean I’ll be hanging out with the local crips any time soon, even if we occasionally say hello or rejoice in one another’s court victories against our local PD. While they both obviously hated America, Al Qaeda and Hussein were acquaintances at best…sworn enemies, more like it. Al Qaeda is a jihadist organization bent on Muslim theocracy ruling the planet…and Saddam ran the most secular government in the Mideast. Religious extremism was a threat to Saddam’s power, and most of us know how that typically turned out if he had his way.

“Saddam was a torturous tyrant”. Well, guess what? So was Bush, apparently. His underlings authorized what Senator John McCain described as “torture”, and McCain would know…because he was “water-boarded” in Viet Nam.

“Saddam used chemical weapons.” Yeah, so? America is the only nation on the planet to have actually used nuclear weapons against an enemy. Ever. Saddam used those chemical weapons more than a decade before we invaded. I think the statute of limitations kinda expired on that one, didn’t it? On top of that, we sold him those cans of gas…so our moral grounds just washed away.

“Saddam violated UN Security Council Resolutions”. Yeah, so? Israel has more UNSCR and UN Human Rights violations under its belt than any other nation on the planet, in the entire history of the United Nations. We aren’t invading Israel, and have no plans to in the future. Instead, we’re going to be giving them billions more, just as we have done.

So that gets me to where I was heading. Yes, it is the “biblical” thing to do, with regard to supporting Israel…but it’s not the constitutionally-authorized and common sense-oriented thing to do. Blasting Osama Bin Laden into oblivion is the constitutionally-authorized and common sense-oriented thing to do…but doesn’t fit in with Jesus’ idea of “turning the other cheek”. It doesn’t make sense that the CIA would authorize the replanting of opium poppy that the Taliban had outlawed, because the ban had destroyed the local economy…even though four months prior to 9/11/2001, our government gave the Taliban almost 50 MILLION DOLLARS for their opium eradication efforts. I wonder how many American kids could have become doctors if that money were spent on med school tuition.

The notion of invading Iraq doesn’t fit into any biblical justification. It didn’t meet the “common sense” criteria. It didn’t meet the standards of international law (If Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld, and the remainder of the White House staff were to be tried according to the standards of Nuremberg, they’d be dangling from the end of a rope…and I’m sure someone would catch it with a cellphone, just like they did with Saddam).

On top of all this, it ended up with all manner of death and destruction for honorable young men and women in our military. Thankfully, none of my friends that were there had died. Most of them came back without any serious injuries. I only wish I could say the same for the son of my dad’s friend, who was killed by a roadside bomb. On top of the hundreds of billions of dollars we pissed away in Iraq, there are thousands of parents who are now missing a child. There are thousands more US soldiers and Marines who are now missing parts of them that didn’t come back from Iraq, both mental and physical, and still live with this today.

The point I’m getting at with all of this talk about war is quite simple, so pardon me for the lengthy writing. Our government has fed us all manner of bullshit and lies, but it honestly, that’s all it was…just bullshit and lies. Sadly, most of it seems to be solely for the expenditure of our tax dollars for friends of our president and congressmen.

So back to what I was saying about being a “conservative”…if you are a true conservative, you lead by example of your morals and allow others to do as they please until it affects you, not by saying “my way is the right way, and you’ll do it my way or else under penalty of fine, imprisonment, or death”. This nation doesn’t need any more debt. We’re Taxed Enough Already. Fighting unending wars on bumper-sticker slogans and moral ideals is useless, and I don’t condone our government’s doing it with my money. True conservatives don’t, because they know that government intervention leads only to corruption and waste.

To play the “liberal vs. conservative” game, as it is portrayed in our common media, is not much different than professional wrestling. It’s fake as hell, and only idiots think it matters. Neither side could care less about the random bullshit that’s spewing out of their mouths; they’re only interested in taking your money. A real-deal “liberal” is ignorant and/or deranged. A true conservative knows that immorality is curbed at home and in Sunday school, not in congress or a court room. To sit and bitch about Obama's so obviously communist agenda, and completely ignore the past eight years of Bubba Dubbya, is to participate in a grandiose exercise of FAIL.

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