Sunday, May 29, 2011

Surprising Pro-Liberty Votes. Maybe.

Twenty-three United States Senators voted against extending the non-eternal provisions of the contemptible and misleadingly named Patriot Act of 2001. The most vocal of the opponents had to have been Rand Paul, which is no surprise since Ron Paul has been the lone voice against the act from the beginning. The surprise—at least to the casual political observer—is that only four of the twenty-three dissenting votes were Republicans. Why would nineteen Democrats—you know, the ones who hate freedom and constantly try to control everyone's life from birth to death and beyond, according to conservative estimates—vote against something that allows spying on Americans who haven't committed any crime? Why vote against Big Brother when Big Brother is your goal?

The bigger surprise, at least to me, was that both Senators from Washington, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, were in that group of nineteen naysayers. The two Senators are both documentable "liberals," or in other words, not "conservatives," so it stands to reason, or so I assumed, that both would be on board with permitting the state to surveil, harass, and intimidate any person, anywhere, with no due process, on any grounds. Someone who stands by the selfgenerated right of the state to determine what kind of food you should eat, what types of light bulbs you should be permitted to have in your home, what type of business you should be able to operate, what kind of car you can drive and how far you should be able to drive it, how much of your money should go to the government, and which tools you should be allowed to defend yourself with, surely wouldn't mind a few wiretaps here and there. Just applying whatever logic got you to the conclusion that the state knows best would, or should, help you reach the conclusion that the Patriot Act and all of it's tenticular provisions are OK, and we can all trust the government to do the right thing and only watch terrorists. Something in the provisions must have rubbed these two the wrong way to make them vote against their own power.

I can only think of two reasons: civil rights and republicans. It could be that, even though both Senators voted for the original Patriot Act*, they have come to the realization that the act has been ineffectual in figthing terrorism, and the ramifications have been detrimental to society in general, and have been the greatest factor in creating an embryonic paranoid police state full of tasers and check points. It could be that they care somewhat about civil rights, even though they haven't seemed to see their way to caring about other things that libertarian-minded people care about. Yet. The other possibility is that House Republicans were the driving force behind getting the bill to the Senate (because Republicans care about freedom, and protecting Americans from terrorism, and also, they want to win the War on Terror, or course), and anything the Republicans want, the Democrats don't want. Petty partisanship, in short.

Either way, voting against this heinous incursion into our natural rights was a good thing. To paraphrase Pavlov, any behavior that is reinforced is likely to be repeated. It might be a good idea to contact Senators Cantwell and Murray—despite the odds against them actually reading an email—to let them know we appreciate their respect for civil rights, and hope to see more votes n the future against travesties of justice like the Patriot Act, and more votes for liberty.

*Did you know that USA PATRIOT Act is an acronym for
Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act? These government folks are clever.

Monday, May 2, 2011


So Osama is dead. Supposedly. I'm not sure why anyone would take DC's word for it, since nothing resembling truth ever comes from that wretched hive of scum and villainy, but they say he is. Nice to know that "justice" has been done, and that the American variety of justice is now slimmed down and more efficient than ever, having been completely stripped of due process, fair trials, and innocent-until-proven-guilty tradition. And it's about time too! That stuff is just for the Soft On Crime types.

Anyway, if Osama is really dead, and they really ditched the body in the ocean in one of the most asinine and ridiculous moves in the history of executive assassinations, then it's only bad news for the rest of us. A foreign military, combined with a team from the elected dictator's private army, went into another country, unannounced and uninvited, raided a residence, killed several people, and then left a wrecked helicopter for the host* nation to clean up. Nice. I'm trying to imagine the righteous indignation of Ann Coulter or Michele Bachmann (if she could find a way to form coherent sentences) on hearing news of the death of a notorious Mexican drug lord at the hands of Mexican Special Ops. In Nebraska. Somehow I don't think everyone would be happy with uninvited foreign military operations in America. So along with bad PR (and honestly,who really cares about PR anyway? Can't we just let the brilliance of Hollywood be our ambassador to the world?), Pakistan has a serious grudge against us—which they probably already had, and for good reason—and the rest of the world knows that "we" (not me, really) will come barging in anytime, anyplace, with the gift of democracy or maybe with teams of assassins, and along with that a bunch of people will have a solid and rational reason to believe that the United States loves to kill muslims and then desecrate their bodies. As if they didn't have enough reason to believe that, but hey, slow learners over there I guess.

All of this, plus American citizens have been revealed as a gaggle of chanting dunces, prone to gathering spontaneously in order to celebrate the assassination of some hobgoblin or other, not to mention that it took the self-proclaimed bestest military ever in the world multiple trillions of dollars that don't exist and innumerable lives (that just happened to be in the way) to find and kill one guy. And some of his family. "We" lose.

But if none of that is true, it's a whole different story. Or at least a similar but different story, because now the world—which is full of muslims, who are, obviously, just waiting for any opportunity to explode in a fiery ball of primitive rage and force their brutal religion of violence and oppression on the grand civilizations of The West, obviously—knows, or thinks it knows, what the elected officials of the United States would do in that situation. So if the whole thing is a lie, it's a really stupid lie. Burial at sea? If you wanted to raise suspicions there is no better way to do it. If it's a lie, latent terrorists are still mad because they think all of that stuff happened. "We" lose again, for mostly the same reasons, plus being uncreative liars.

If neither of those is true—maybe he's been dead for years, maybe he's still alive somewhere—then the whole thing is a surreal circus event, inadvertently revealing how deeply the tentacles of an unspeakable parasite have entrenched themselves in everything, from an unthinking, collaborative network of media prostitutes, to the psyche of the people who call themselves Americans. Bin Laden, if he's still alive, continues to bask in the glory of his victory over the greatest and best freest country in the world. He laughs every time a TSA goon sticks their hands down your pants, smiles every time the border patrol searches a car at a check point nowhere near any border, and claims victory every time our wise leaders in congress borrow another trillion dollars from our great-grandchildren to spend on technology that was cutting edge ten years ago. Every time some moron claims we have to give up our freedoms in order to protect freedom, bin Laden puts another mark in his win column, two if that moron happens to be the president. If neither story is true, we live in a world where no lie is off limits, because the liars know that we'll believe anything we're told, and we'll endure any abuse to be safe from whatever it is the liars tell us is dangerous. If the raid and assassination are a complete fabrication, then we are obviously the gullible Eloi the Morlocks assumed we are. In which case, "we" lose.

*Do I mean "host" like the host of a party, or "host" like the host of a parasite? I don't know, maybe both. Pick whichever one you like better.