Political Ravings of a Certifiable Card-Carrying Liberaltic

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pity the fool

Pity is never a pretty thing, but we should appreciate how sad it is that someone that started with such a great opportunity has wasted his entire life. Even if you or I wouldn't take advantage of some of these situations, imagine you had any or all of the following serendipitous events happen to you:

1) Your family is so rich that you don't know what to do with all the money (oil).

2) Your father is first a senator, then head of the CIA, vice president for eight years, and then president of the most powerful country in the world (1 term only).

3) During a horrible war where 63,000+ Americans died, your dad pulls some strings to get you a cushy job in the National Guard avoiding the draft and you don't get in trouble for not showing up for that.

4) You get cushy jobs with no experience as a campaign advisor, oil business board member, major league sports team owner, governor of the second largest state, and president of the United States and fail miserably at every single one of these.

5) You commit several felony insider trading acts that put Martha Stewart to shame and because your father owns the Security Exchange Commission, they strangely decide not to investigate.

6) You get at least one DUI completely removed from your driving record that would most likely ruin your political career.

7) Your family has connections to most of the bad guys perpetrating the worst terrorist act in this nation's history, but starting a completely unrelated illegal war and killing and maiming millions of people is not considered wagging the dog by most Americans.

-- You get all of these advantages. You get to start way out in front of everybody else. You have all these doors open to you. You become the most powerful man in the world with no experience, no personality, no education and no character and what do you do with this opportunity:

1) Become a cocaine and alcohol addict.
2) Become a born-again Christian but never go to church.
3) Cut up and remove brush in Crawford Texas for a vacation.
4) Commit felony insider trading for a measly 80 million dollars when you family is worth billions.
5) Use your supreme power to declassify information that should stay classified just to pettily get back at someone who submitted an unfavorable report about your project.
6) Sacrifice the poor to help out the rich by cutting programs that help them, effectively raising their taxes, not doing anything to give them affordable health care, helping the energy companies bilk them while making record profits and outsourcing all their jobs to countries with horrible human rights conditions.
7) Isolate the country (us) with the most potential to help the rest of the world by dropping out of every treaty, starting illegal wars, undermining the United Nations and doing everything possible to create unrest and chaos around the world.
8) Create a deficit larger than all previous presidents combined and a national debt that is so big, no one really can imagine it. Nine trillion dollars adds up to $30,000 for each and every American alive today. That's $150,000 that my house owes.
9) Do everything you can to kill the national education system that is one of the best in the world.
10) Sacrifice the environment so that corporations can make a few extra dollars.

So here we have a learning-disabled, unethical pretender in the white house and we spend all our time in the media laughing at the way he says nookyuler, or how he makes up words. Give it a break. It would only be a little worse if he resigned and we got that evil guy Cheney instead. Who cares if in twenty years no one remembers how bad he was and we start naming airports and highways after him like that evil Reagan. He won't be able to do any damage and we'll probably hear less from him in retirement than we did from Ford.

He'll be gone and hopefully we can all pitch in and clean up his mess. We'll have to mourn for the millions of people he maimed or killed, and many of us will be devastated economically or worse, but many of us will survive and it won't help to hold a grudge. Let's move on.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

War Powers

During a war, the president has special powers. You can imagine a time when the president was the commander of the military. Calling congress to session to approve certain actions would seem ridiculous, especially without private planes, telephones, video conferencing, paved roads or printing presses. (I know the press was invented in 1041 or 1436 depending on whether you're Chinese or German - let's move on). Anyway, some people will tell you that in the interest of national security these special powers are almost unlimited, but even these citizens would say during peace times, those powers should be regulated.

What is war? It's easy to show examples that are obviously war. In the revolutionary war, an invading force tried to take control and force us to do their bidding. In our civil war, part of the country seceded and there were two armies fighting for either independence or union. In the first world war, a bunch of countries separated into teams and kept killing each other until one side decided it was unbearable. During the Vietnam War, we tried to prop up a country that was incapable or unwilling to hold out against a specific threat. During the Cold War, the enemy was well defined even if it may have been somewhat contrived.

That we call the war on terror, or the war in Afghanistan, or the war in Iraq a war seems unconscionable. We might as well enact the war power for the war on poverty, war on drugs, or the war on Christmas. The threats to us are all specific to the occupying forces and there are no exit criteria and no specific targets anymore. There is no valid reason to suspend habeas corpus, to allow illegal (unregulated) wire-tapping, torture, massive deficit spending, or any suspension of law because we are systematically destroying civilization in some remote corner of the world. Before we start deciding what powers the president should have in a time of war, we should start a real war, or else these arguments are all hypothetical.

Maybe we should try China.