Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Paul vs. Schumer Over K2: AKA Principles vs. Ironic Idiocy

Sen. Charles Schumer has decided to call out Sen. Rand Paul for blocking national legislation to ban synthetic marijuana. There is a need for this ban, according to the good senator from New York, because there has been an alarming increase in the number of poison control center calls about people taking this product, marketed as perfectly legal incense, and smoking it to get high. According to the press release, and coinciding with a study in the journal Pediatrics, there have been 6959 calls about this substance in 2011 (average 19 a day for anyone keeping count) and 1261 in the first two months of 2012 (21 per day). Schumer is letting us know how terrible this epidemic is, that the poor, helpless children could possibly suffer symptoms of “fast heartbeat, vomiting, extreme nervousness, hallucinations, tremors, and seizures” and mind you no deaths. The Federal government, according to our sage legislator, needs to step in and make sure no one can ever gain access to these dangerous chemicals, for the good of the children don’t you know.

What is absolutely incredible in this is the logic of people like Schumer. Rand Paul is somehow an ass for standing athwart of the rush to increase the reach and scope of the federal government. Yet this situation does not even need to come up, and the irony is just ridiculous here. The Federal government has decreed that marijuana, a weed that used to grow wild through most of this country, should not be possessed or consumed by anyone, for their own good, because…I don’t even want to bother refuting the idea that it should not be a Schedule 1 drug classed alongside heroin, it is just too damn ridiculous to bother. Some people want it, the Feds say you can’t have it, and to that end a massive Black Market exists to provide the product. This market is run by some of the worst, most bloodthirsty criminals in the world, and thousands of people have died, in part because of this product being illegal. If you are caught with said product, which would have no more debilitating or life altering effect on you than a perfectly legal bottle of booze, you will be prosecuted in some way shape or form, and your life as you knew it would be forever changed. Now stepping into this morass is an industrious capitalist providing a niche product to meet the demand of people who would like to alter their consciousness for a time yet not risk brushing with the criminal element and its possible repercussions. Can we roll back to the beginning here and ask the very simple question of the Honorable Mr. Schumer: Why not kill a shit ton of birds with one stone, take money from the drug cartels, people out of the criminal justice system, and the incentive out of providing a product that is supposedly going to mimic the effect of the illegal drug, by making said drug legal?

We don’t need new laws to outlaw these things if you remove the old nonsensical laws that created the problems. You also don’t need to be your usual pompous ass self in disparaging the motives of the only Senator that seems to give a damn about actually trying to limit the size and scope of the Federal Government instead of increasing it in a pointless effort to protect people from themselves. Increasing the number of ways the Feds can flush money down the drain in pointless endeavors should not be the order of the day any longer, yet we can’t seem to accept these things we can not change. There are people who are going to get high, and throwing them and those who supply them in jail in an effort to change that has been nothing but a disaster. We should all be telling Schumer and his ilk that enough is enough, of course them being voted out of office by constituents tired of things like this would be the best expression of that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rick Santorum: Still an Idiot, but Somehow with a Chance

How is it exactly Rick Santorum can be a serious candidate for president? What exactly is the Republican party searching for in this quest to beat Obama? I understand that Mitt Romney annoys the “conservatives” because of his inability to hold a position for more than a week. What I don’t understand is how Santorum is a serious alternative to that. Read these words:

“I don’t care what the naysayers say. This nation was founded as a Christian nation. The god of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. There is only one God. There is only one God, and his name is Jesus. I’m tired of people telling me that I can’t say those words. I’m tired of people telling us as Christians that we can’t voice our beliefs or we can’t no longer pray in public. Listen to me. If you don’t love America, and you don’t like the way we do things, I’ve got one thing to say, get out…We don’t worship Buddha, we don’t worship Mohammed, we don’t worship Allah. We worship God. We worship God’s son Jesus Christ.”

This is the quote from Pastor Dennis Terry at a Sunday service (video here) as part of a lead in before Santorum took the stage. Now, Santorum says that he dose not agree with this notion, that only Christians can be considered citizens (and don’t kid yourself, that is exactly what that quote means: Sit back and shut up anyone who is not a follower of Christ, for you should not be allowed input into how this government is run). He says he believes in “freedom”, in fact that seems to be the new buzzword in his campaign as he tries to beat Romney in the Illinois primary today. Of course he long ago said that to the Republican Party’s credit, it has abandoned the notion of Goldwater (that video here) that the Federal government should be limited in the depth and breadth of its ability to interfere in your life. We of course were well aware of that with the implementation of the PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D and a host of other things that Santorum voted for on behalf of the Republican Team. So here is the real question, what separates him in such away that anyone outside of the social conservative wing of the Republican Party should vote for him?

Unless you assume that everyone working on Santorum’s campaign is a complete and blithering idiot, they must have had some inkling of a notion of what this Pastor was going to say. In an age of YouTube, where the actual event would be recorded by the sponsors, we are to assume that no one vetted what was going to be said in this event, that they did not have any research done on this Pastor, his church, and what was going to be said? They walked in with their candidate, who is pandering in this church for votes in this weekend's Louisiana voting, and we simply take his word that he doesn’t really agree with what he was saying? Why did he stand up then later on for the crowd? Why didn’t he show a little courage of his convictions, if he actually disagreed with a VERY inflammatory statement, and is actually a supporter of all people of all faiths and persuasions coming to the public square, then why didn’t he leave at that point?

What “freedom” does Santorum actually support then? What will he go to bat for? Almost all of his statements make it seem that he is concerned only about this Conservative Catholic or Evangelical Christian version of morality being the guiding force behind our government. His issues with homosexuals are well known. A desire to reinstitute Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, DOMA and somehow or other get the Federal Government defining marriage. That would certainly get Goldwater to turn over in his grave. He seems to have issue with the contraception and what it has done to our moral fabric, though that won’t enter into his Presidency we are told (Abstinence Only Education anyone?). We won’t even broach abortion, but we can talk pornography. $16 Trillion in debt, a disaster that is Afghanistan getting worse every day, war drums for Iran beating, a hundred other actual problems to deal with, and someone thought it appropriate to bring up how a Santorum Justice Department would be bringing the full weight of the Federal government down on pornography. Is there is a reason to vote for this man? Most Libertarians who advocate for relaxation of drug laws do so on the basis that they are a waste of criminal justice (man-hours and expense of police, courts, lawyers and prisons) resources. We will now add the expense of launching a war on porn? Will we be paving over Nebraska to build a prison big enough to hold everyone who enjoys seeing naked people on the internet?

So outside of the people who would agree with what this religious zealot fascist Pastor has to say, why is Santorum in actual contention for this nomination? What is the reason? How is he better than Romney exactly? Because he is not a scary Mormon? Is that really all that it is? There might not be any real consensus on what a “conservative” is anymore, much less a severe one, but do either of these men qualify? One has never been able to give a reason why he should be President, but the other seems to provide a vision of Puritanesque stocks in the square moralizing by the government. At that point, if you are outside the above mentioned troglodytes who would deport you for being a Buddhist, why would anyone even vote Santorum over Obama? What is the compelling argument to the independent voter (I will leave of the libertarian minded voter since he has already told them to go screw) that say a President Santorum will do something that is fundamentally different than Obama and change the course of the nation away from bankruptcy (actual monetary not the moral kind)? The man wants to use the power of government to alter the way in which people act and behave, to use the purse and the prison to affect change in people's attitudes and actions. This is what Obama and Progressive democrats advocate and practice. “Necessary and Proper” becomes “any means necessary” to obtain a goal. For the majority of people who now see the Federal government as a real impediment to their future and the future of their children how do they choose between Obama or Santorum (or Romney for that matter)? It is just a question of who is selling the best bill of goods at that point. Obama has lost a tremendous amount of support amongst Independents, but one way you can be sure to send them back is to provide them with a stark choice between Obama’s America and one just as broke and overbearing, but without birth control, porno and filled only with humorless moralizing theists bent on bringing back school prayer. The Santorum vision of America is scary to more than just registered Democrats, and if you thought McCain’s trouncing (Florida, Ohio and North Carolina) was bad, just wait for a Santorum run where purple will very rapidly turn blue on the map.