Firstly, Al Gore. He all but admits to lying in his new movie, ironically entitled Inconvenient Truths, with the justification that it's for our own good. He means well, so it's okay for him to deceive us to get his point across. I haven't seen the movie, so I can't say for certain how true or false it is. And protecting the environment is a good and noble cause. But is it any different than, say, protecting our country from terrorists? Just because you're trying to do what you think is the right thing...and even if the end is truly a worthwhile goal to strive for...you can't simply make up your own "facts" to fill a propaganda movie with and pass it off to the masses as beign accurate. Reminds me of Michael Moore, a man whom I loathe and detest. I got nothing against someone who dislikes the current administration and tries to cause changes. We need protesters. We need different points of view. We need both extremes such that we can find the best path somewhere in the middle. But don't flat-out lie and make up reasons to go against something, especially when there's plenty of real reasons to want to take action.
Secondly, the obligatory "Bush sucks" post that everyone's required to make every so often. I didn't think he was that bad in the first term. Sure, there was plenty I didn't like about him, but as an Independant I'm almost always 50% pissed off with any given politican. We needed to go kick Osama's ass for what he and his cronies pulled. Iraq wasn't our biggest concern, but after all the UN violations unrelated to 9/11, I had no problems with pulling Saddam out of whatever rathole he ended up in. Twelve years too late if you ask me. My biggest problem was the USA Patriot Act, the most vile piece of legislation I had seen in years, but provided that it was just temporary emergency powers to try and get a grip on things on 9/12, I'd tolerate even that briefly. No different than government-imposed cirfews after a hurricane...they impose on our freedoms, but in an emergency sometimes you have to do things like that to protect folks.
This time around? Wiretaps? No thanks. Gitmo? That one prison's getting out of hand...close it down and stick those folks somewhere else, and make sure someone's keeping an eye on them. Blanket amnesty for anyone who can get here illegally? Bullshit - I gots no problem with legal immigrants, seeing how I have several multinational friends, but do it the right way like everyone else. Don't reward the assholes sneaking in, stealing American jobs, using our tax money to get free childcare and healthcare and such while paying no taxes of their own, and so forth. Not a big fan at all this time around...though I still feel that Kerry being just as liberal as Bush is conservative would simply have created a different set of equally bad problems.
I know it's sounding like I'm turning liberal, but I'd prefer to say that the conservative government has swung so far Right that it's out of my acceptable tolerance area. Current topic is a list recently posted, that shows the Top 10 Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State, with my commentary to follow:
1) The Internet Clampdown. IMHO, I'm a free speech kind of guy. I think Americans should have the freedom to do damn near anything that doesn't endanger someone else's rights. I'm not even much for political correctness, as I believe that way of thinking will eventually eat us from the inside like a cancer. Fuck censorship. Fuck editing things to keep from offending our sensitivities. Give me as much imformation as possible and allow me to make my own decisions, or else we're no better off than China.
2) I'll damn sure support us dragging Osama Bin Laden through the streets for all to see, on his way to the courthouse and eventually the electric chair. Not quite as much, but I even support the same for Saddam. But the "War on Terror" should be a war against Bin Laden primarily. Hussein was a bad enough dude to make him #2 on the list, though that side of things wasn't related to September 11th. And we do need to keep our eyes on Iran and North Korea...which is obvious, because most of the world is paying attention to them as well. I think six nations are having multinational talks with Kim Jong Il, and all the UN nations except Russia and China (even including the French and Germans that were against us going to Iraq) are all concerned about Iran's nuclear program. But, assuming those two situations do not escalate dramatically, the War should end with Bin Laden. Like the War on Drugs, it is just plain stupid to get in a fight not only without an exit strategy, but without an "exit" at all. And yes, as un-PC as it sounds I'm also against the War on Drugs...but that's another rant entirely.
3) Single worst piece of shit I've seen on paper since the last time I ate Mexican. Does that give you any idea how I feel? =P
4) Mixed feelings. We need prisons. We need places to interrogate suspected terrorists. We don't need to lock up political dissenters. We need to eventually release those potential terrorism suspects that we find to not pose any significant threat. And we damn sure don't need to torture folks. I'm all for dungeons, were the bad guys are chained to the wall and fed nothing but bread and water under the most miserable possible conditions imaginable...but there comes a line where it's no longer simply making things unpleasant and it becomes torture. We ain't the bad guys, or at least, we ain't supposed to be.
5) I have no problems with this whatsoever. I don't think the technology is good enough to go through with it, but that is a computer issue rather than a political one. ALL manners of voting are to some degree inaccurate. ANY type of vote can be faked. There will ALWAYS be cheating on BOTH SIDES. We have a responsibility to minimize this as much as we're able, but computerized voting is hardly a right-wing conspiracy. There are computer-literate Democrats that know how to hack systems, too. Considering how liberal urban areas are and how rural conservative ones tend to be, I dare say there are more lefties that know how to abuse this system than otherwise. But I digress. The point here is that a computer is a tool to be used. It's easier to understand than the infamous Pat Buchanan ballots from Florida (which I've always though was bullshit anyways...if you're too stupid to read a simple ballot then you're definitely not smart enough to pick the most powerful man in the free world). The "hanging chads" were another obvious example of how inaccurate paper votes could be. Assuming we could get security to the point that the ballots are equally or more tamper-proof than the older alternatives, a touchscreen would be the best possible method of casting votes. If not, then it shouldn't be used...but in and of itself the flaws do not favor either side over the other.
6) This is one of the things that annoys me the most. I'm sure that this number is inflated a little bit...most of the 700 statements are likely very minor alterations, and those three listed were the most blatant abuses of this power. Hence why those were the three included on this list. However, it's simply not right that one man has the power to overrule the other two branches of the government entirely without any checks or balances. It pisses me off to see examples like "I have the final say so, but I'll pass this and say that it's just advisory so that I can ignore it completely after writing this sentence." The one on witholding information truly infuriates me, because you want all the people to have as much info as possible, at least within the highest-ranking politicians such that they can make the most accurate decisions. Even the torture one I could try to live with...that goes back to the philosophical debate about saving a million people by killing one innocent, except that the criminal in question wouldn't exactly be "innocent". However, I would have to trust that a President only used that power as a last result in those most extreme of cases, and I'm not so sure I can do that with very many of the people either currently in office or with dreams of making it there in 2008.
7) Those last three sentences express my point exactly. It's just like gun control laws...criminals are going to break the law, so passing laws only affect those who choose to obey them. Likewise, criminals know we're listening in on them, so only law-abiding citizens stand to lose out on this deal.
8) Old news. Free Speech is in the Bill of Rights, not just certain areas. In the most extreme cases there's exceptions, like yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, lying while under oath, and so forth, but those should be the exceptions and not the rule.
9) I'll agree with this one 75%. No matter who's in office, someone's not going to be happy. Someone's always going to disagree. Someone's always going to have a completely opposite political ideaology, and therefore think the person in charge is completely and totally wrong, doing the worst job possible. Also, not all of these whistleblowers know the full story. Some may have an incomplete understanding of what is truly going on, or what a certain person is trying to accomplish. Having said that? You can't ignore so many people in such high places. If it were just one or two kooks or a few nutball extremists? Sure. But these guys are speaking up for a reason. They believe what they're doing is not only right but necissary, and they at least need to be heard. Investigate things and see if you can prove what they're saying, and if so, try to do something about it. Long story short, critisizing the government doesn't make you a traitor; quite the contrary, those are the people who care so much about their country that they're trying to save it.
10) I'm really not opinionated on this one. The CIA did mishandle information (though not the only ones), and folks probably do need to leave. We need to restructure that orginization, and improve information sharing between all branches of government. On the other hand, I don't want to see puppets placed in positions of power. I don't want to see an entire orginization filled with "yes men", especially one in control of the nation's intel. Not sure how much of this one's true and how much is conspiracy theory, so I'll just say that in theory I support the idea, provided that qualified people are being trained and brought into the agency instead of any warm body that's willing to suck up to Dubya or whoever else's signing the check.
(Note to self, I need to find/make some clever, witty political-themed icons. This "news" one is good, but it doesn't quite fit for political ramblings such at this one.)