Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Follow up to: I voted today! Big deal...

This post is a follow up to my post from the day before yesterday. The gentleman I quoted spent a great deal of time commenting on my post in the comments section of this very under-read blog, so I thought that he deserved equal billing for his rational and calm refutations of my points. I would like to answer his points with more of my own:

Thank you for referring to me as a "gentleman." I see that you are not privy to dole out compliments, so I must say I appreciate it.

I also know that being a super-savvy 32-year-old politico, you are not one to appreciate "lessons" as you put it , so let me just say I would like to respond with some "insight" or "clarifications" for Dr. Paul's positions that I didn't expound upon profusely in my initial email...

I appreciate that you took the time to respond. I can already say that I like your swagger and think we most likely have more in common than our differences. As I've clarified a number of times, I like some of the things Ron Paul has to say. If you look around, you'll see that I am a fan of Ayn Rand and Objectivism. I've seen the interview with Paul commenting on her as well. Since I consider myself a neo-conservative libertarian leaning capitalist, I agree with Paul on some issues such as gun control, personal freedoms, and small government, however, many other libertarians and libertarian organizations such as the Cato Institute and Club for Growth have distanced themselves from him. I linked to yet another article as an update to my previous post in which this feeling is echoed again. What I am saying is that I would love to see a true libertarian candidate for president, just as I would like to see a black or female president in our future. But like with Obama and Hillary, I think many people are voting for the ideal rather than for the person, and I think the Ron Paul phenomenon is another example of this. IMO, Ron's just not the guy. It's a step in the right direction, but he's not the one. He is definitely not The Only Man Whom Can Save America.

First point:
The taxes collected that pay for our infrastructure that you listed are from STATE revenue, not federal income taxes. Taxes on commerce, property and state taxes would still be collected. Saving a trillion or so dollars every year in military expense would be a nice savings that the IRS money typically pays for.

Yes, you are right that the examples I mentioned are from state taxes. Thanks for pointing that out. However, the exact platform point you sent me was: "Ron Paul wants to abolish the IRS and allow every citizen to keep every cent they earn." If I'm still paying state taxes, I'm not exactly keeping every cent I earn, am I?

Even if we go by the common belief that if all federal taxes pay for are national parks and the military (which aren't the only things of course), I still don't agree with you. First of all, I like national parks, I'm happy some of the most wonderful places on earth are protected by the government and kept up with my tax dollars. Second, there is a reason we spend so much on our military and I fully agree with it. We defeated the Soviets during the Cold War by outspending on military might, and rightly so. Furthermore, our large and strong military acts as a deterrent to our enemies, which is a large reason we have enjoyed relative peace at home, and enabled us to extend the freedoms we enjoy throughout the world, especially to Europeans, for whom without NATO, would have potentially seen Communism spread past the Berlin Wall and west into the rest of Europe. I'd venture to say that because of our large military, we were able to defeat Communism, spread Democracy, and free countless people from oppression. Could Canada have done the same?

It's no surprise why the US is the world's only Super Power and my goal is to keep it that way. I don't know if you have ever lived in another country outside the first world, but most people are not like Americans. (I was lucky to be 4 years old when we fled the FSU, but many in my community can vouch for how depraved, cruel, unjust, and oppressive the place was, and it was actually closer to a fair society than most of the Third World). I often see an attitude amongst native Americans that can only be described as narrow minded and naive. I see and hear people including Ron Paul state "If we can talk to them, we can reach compromise or work things out". These same people believe that because in America rational heads prevail, that because people have consciences and can empathise with others, that "of course" others are just like us. Sorry, but that is not the case. Most of the world's people and governments aren't as fair, open-minded, rational, transparent, etc., as the US, its people and its government. When Ahmadinejad says he'll wipe Israel off the map, that is exactly what he means. When people in the Muslim World say "Death to America", they mean it exactly as it sounds, not as some empty chant or slogan to which there is no meaning. When we start to take these people serious, it's very easy to understand why we spend so much money on our military and why we should continue to.

People don't hate America because we have a strong military and police the world. People hate America because we are the most just, free, and most advanced country in the world that many can't ever reach nor even aspire to become, and people know as Ayn said, that even the worst off have it better here than anywhere else. Show me someone who hates America, then show them a green card, then you'll see someone who loves America. It's always lonely on top. Just ask Hillary. :)

Second point:
Before the DEA, drug enforcement was the authority of the commerce department. It was illegal because money was exchanged without sales tax paid. The commerce department oversees all financial transactions between states and would remain. If the DEA is abolished, it returns to enforcement by the commerce department. That means possession is decriminalized, the sale is still illegal. Electing Ron Paul as President does not mean you will be able to buy weed at your local 7-11.

Damn! Too bad! Actually, I'm all for decriminalization, not legalization. Why should a person be forced to buy FDA approved, watered down drugs from a corporation when they can grow it like basil or any other herb in their garden. I agree, it's totally silly. Still, we've seen the difficulties in policing issues that happen across multiple states without a centralized policing body. If a Hezbollah drug ring goes through 2 or more states, it is much harder to track and break than having one organization that can transcend state laws and boundaries to disrupt these types of activities. I know Ron Paul is all for state's rights, but we're a union, and as crappy as that word sounds, we have to make some decisions together. Why, in an interview or debate recently, Paul was asked how we would respond if Canada was attacking us but through Minnesota. Paul said "Minnesota could handle them, and if needed, they could ask for federal assistance"! Are you serious? So if Illegal Immigration becomes a problem for Texas only, a Texas militia is able to start a war with Mexico without the consent of the federal government? I believe Ron and his fans need to go back in history and see why a federal government was so critical to our union, mainly to avoid incidents like the ones I just mentioned.

Next point:

Ron Paul's "isolationist theory" is strictly military. It has nothing to do with commerce or any other world relations. His idea is that we stop policing the world, installing governments and financially backing secret kus to eventually overthrow said government when they eventually turn against us with the money we gave them. (i.e., Saddam, al-Queda, Northern Alliance, Kosovars?)

Yes, America has made some bad decisions in the past, however, it has also made some good ones that have made the world a better and more just place. First of all, as a byproduct of survivors of the Holocaust, I thank my lucky stars every day for America's involvement in World War II. Sure, it can be argued that America went into the war for its own interests and that ending the Holocaust was simply a byproduct of winning the war, but no one can honestly say that if America did not invade Nazi occupied Europe, the Holocaust would have ended by the Brits and Russians alone. And funny you should mention Kosovo/Bosnia/Serbia. Again, here we have a case where Europeans (specifically Balkans) were murdering each other in the streets, just 100 miles from the nearest "civilized" country and no one, no one raised a finger to protect human rights and stop a genocide from occurring right under their noses. It's thanks to the goodwill and ethics of the American people that we stopped the bloodshed there. Sure, you can also argue that we waited too long on Rwanda and are doing nothing about Darfur, but I think overall, America has always been a force for good rather than bad, and as you know, when someone commits a crime and you know about it, but don't do anything, you may not ab AS guilty as the perpetrator, but guilty nonetheless. See, America will always be doomed if we do, and doomed if we don't. If we do involve ourselves in hot spots in the world, we get accused of policing the world, but when we don't, we're accused of ignoring bloodshed, murder, despair. I suggest to all Americans and our government to keep doing what we know is right, and ignore the world's opinion, which has historically always been against us, with the exception of a few years after each major and successful war, and usually always based on feelings, not rationale.

Also, all of the points you made about threats being located outside of our borders cannot be solved with military force anyway, so that is an absurd point. Are we to assume that you are making the point that a military occupation in Nigeria is in order to fight those pesky 409 scams? Maybe you should know that ever since Al Gore invented the internet, we can connect to it and police it from here. It is because we are so stretched thin across the planet that we have gaps in our own security here that we somehow miss the clues about people training in our own country to fly planes into our own buildings from flights that originated in our own country.

I'd imagine that if a hijacked flight was coming across the Atlantic to initiate a kamikazi, we'd figure it out soon enough...

I take great issue with your sentence "It is because we are so stretched thin across the planet that we have gaps in our own security here that we somehow miss the clues about people training in our own country to fly planes into our own buildings from flights that originated in our own country.". First of all, we're not "stretched thin across the planet". If we are, you can thank Mr. Clinton for downsizing our military budgets, yet taking us to war regardless. Every war, like every web site, has a support element and when we go somewhere to quell violence, we generally have to leave servicemen there. That makes it awfully hard to do with a smaller budget. Secondly, the breakdowns in our intelligence community before 911 has absolutely nothing to do with our military staffing at home. The breakdowns were specific in agencies and state governments' refusal to or lack of communication between each other. I hardly see how having Camp Pendelton staffed to the brim with marines would have more easily made the flight school instructors report a jihadee pilot-to-be asking about takeoffs only. I don't see how having more guys with guns in the airport make an idiot airport security agent who is frisking a 70 year nun notice a Muslim male traveling one way on a plane with 4 other guys doing the same. I think you are trying to draw connections that aren't there.

Also, if you feel so strongly that we should be overthrowing countries in the middle east to protect a Haliburton pipeline from Uzbekistan to the Persian Gulf who intend to sell 100% of the oil to China, then I think you should ponder the idea that capitalism works best when US companies who flee to Dubai to avoid paying corporate taxes into our economy should use those savings to pay for their own security (just a thought!)

They flee to Dubai because America has the highest corporate tax than anywhere in the world. Let's start with fixing that problem first. As far as Haliburton, would you have rather had a German or French company get the bids to work in the country we spilled our blood liberating? No, I don't feel strongly about overthrowing countries for purely business interests, no. I only think military action should be used against a country that is a threat to our interests. At the time, the intelligence from Iraq showed that it was. We were wrong for the most part, but not about everything. Saddam did support and provide safe haven for terrorists and he was oppressing his people. Currently, Iran is sabre rattling, openly building nukes with which they plan on attacking Israel and the Great Satan, and are threatening our interests on an almost monthly basis. At some point, we will most likely see military action against Iran, and I will most definitely support it.

Also, to address your allegation that Ron Paul said "because they actually never attacked us in the first place, as he alluded to in the debates the other night" was a gross misinterpretation that was more than clarified by Congressman Paul in that very debate. Guiliani made a smug comment about how we were justified in attacking any country that attacked us [by flying our own planes into our own buildings originating from destinations... well, you know the rest...]

I'm sure you are aware that Ron Paul is a regular on Alex Jones' radio show right? I'm sure you know that Lew Rockwell of all people wrote Ron's racist newsletters? Both of these people are anti-Semitic and are 911 Truthers who believe that our government was either directly and/or indirectly involved in 911 or had prior knowledge the attacks were going to happen and withheld them from the people. Why would Ron hire a guy and frequently appear on an other's radio show if he disagreed with their views? Why did it take Ron almost a full year to distance himself from the Truther movement? Why has Ron never given back or given to charity the donations he received from members of Stormfront? Maybe he's either an idiot or just another cold and calculating politician who only cares about raising money, no matter how dirty, for his agenda?

Furthermore, Ron said that a few speed boats are no match for our mighty navy and were no threat. Really? Can you please inform me as to what the type of warship that crashed into the USS Cole was again? I mean really... I can't resist but to put up his pathetic answer from the debates:

Dr. Paul argued that a "country" did not attack us on 9/11. Are you saying that the current million-plus civilian death count in Afghanistan and Iraq is justifiable to avenge our loss by a few terrorists?
I am trying to see what your rational argument is here...
That we police every corner of this "flat world" because we are so a-scared that everyone is out to get us?

Million-plus civilian death count? Please, I hope you are not using the discredited Lancet Journal numbers that are off by millions are you? Just that statement alone shows me, and I mean no disrespect, that you either are ignorant of the real figures or you are just being intellectually dishonest to hype emotion over substance. Please source your million-plus civilian death count. And while you do that, please also separate the numbers of combatant deaths, and also separate auto accidents, random street violence, domestic violence, normal disease rates, etc., as I'm positive the Lancet didn't do.

Last point:

Your argument, "Had we known that if these conversations were tapped before 911 that the tragedy may have been prevented" really shows that you missed a lot of news coverage (and, quite possibly, the 9/11 Report). There was plenty of evidence that was collected and reported by our government about these individuals well before 9/11. This was before the Patriot Act was passed. There were plenty of warnings and reports but our government locked the keys in the car while the radio was on, the motor was running and the windshield wipers were going back and forth.

Yes, I know that. And the Patriot Act is yet another method of gathering that intelligence so that there is more evidence collected ahead of time, and more chance to stop terrorists long before they're boarding planes. Just because mistakes were made doesn't mean we didn't learn from them. I think the Patriot Act is a step in that direction at this point. Maybe in the future I may feel differently about that. But right now, I support it.

And the idea that our government is transparent is completely laughable! You are aware of the repeated subpoenas by Congress to the Bush Administration for alleged criminal conduct that they have denied to testify about under oath, right?

Why are you, your boy Ron Paul, and most of his supporters such Blame America Firsters? Yes, our government is not perfect, not even by a long shot, but it's still the best government and system in the world. How about all of the Clinton Clan corruption that has been suppressed. I'm as equally disgusted by that as I am by Bush kissing Saudi Ass, as he's been doing for the last week. Yes, we have corruption. What country doesn't? Can and should it be fixed? Absolutely. We also have the freest press in the world that salivates at uncovering this stuff, and they do regularly.

So, I wonder, who was your least objectionable candidate? I missed Undeclared's concession speech. How did it go?

Actually, if you are interested in my current candidate interest level, it goes like this:

(Would vote for)
Giuliani - R
Thompson - R

(Could tolerate in office)
Romney - R
McCain - R
Bidden - D

(Can't stand, yet ranked least objectionable first)
Obama - D
Clinton - D
Huckabee - R
Edwards - D
Paul - R
Kucinich - D

There. Now you know where I stand, and I appreciate the debate. However, it may be a while that I respond to any comments of this thread as I have a ton of work to do and I need to be less verbose in all of my endeavours. Thanks for your interest in my ideas.

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