Tag Archives: Ron Paul

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Blowback from Drone Attacks: Kidnap Americans

I recently read this memo written by Al-Qaida. The memo lists 22 tactics to manage and avoid drone attacks.

The most disturbing part of the memo is the proposed kidnapping of American citizens. Al-Qaida’s goal is to cause enough outrage over drone attacks and the supposed retaliatory kidnappings to prompt a response from the public demanding the end of drone tactics.

Via Al-Qaida:

There is the golden solution that shortens the long distances and through which we can bring back the pressure of the American public opinion in a more active way depending on the strategy of kidnapping in exchange for the drone strategy and we should not stop until they stop their strategy which will enable all the supporter of jihad to take part in defeating Petraeus and his new strategy. We start kidnapping Western citizens in any spot in the world, whether in the Islamic Maghreb, Egypt, Iraq or any other easy kidnapping places and the only demand is the halt of attacks on civilians in Yemen which is a just and humanitarian demand that will create world support and a public opinion pressure in America as they are being hurt again. We, therefore, aim at the core of the nation’s strategy which if failed, America, will accordingly collapse. We also are taking part in laying a block in the promising Islamic State in the Arab peninsula.

Al-Qaida demand that the US bring and end to drone attacks on civilians in Yemen and see this request as a “just and humanitarian demand that will create world support”. I think that is a legitimate request. However, Al-Qaida doesn’t seem to realize that with kidnappings they will simultaneously lose any gained public relations benefits.

Harming innocent individuals and families while also flaming the fears of the public is a bad tactic and seems contradictory to their overall mission. Perhaps they should read about passive resistance techniques use by Gandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Overall the whole memo is kind of frightening and sobering.

U.S. International Relations: Where is our place?

I have read a variety of blog posts and articles lately regarding the United States’ role as related to international affairs. We are arguable the most influential country in the world so I think it’s fair to say that when we as a country speak others listen. What is the moral obligation of such a country and have we overstepped our boundaries?

Overwhelmingly I think almost everyone would agree we have gone to far. In fact, I think this is almost intuitive.

Even if most people don’t realize that our Government is directly responsible for the coo of numerous democratically (and not democratically) elected leaders for their own political gain, that we have smuggled weapons, facilitated the drug trade, participated in the assassination of leaders, and much more – most people still agree that the Government has overstepped its boundaries.

Even our aid is bad medicine. Who are we as one nation to have such influence on the way others live there lives? Especially when the impact is a negative one. Our “aid” in the continent of Africa, for example, has been proven again and again to have resulted in the perpetuation of poverty and violence. Far from eradicate their problems we have only magnified them. Yet we still feel this need to intervene – is it our culture?

We have even hurt ourselves. We are trillions in debt as a country, yet we send billions in “aid” to other countries every year. In what world that makes sense I’m not sure. We struggle with poverty, natural disasters, crime, and culture still today! So why do we as a nation feel so justified in direct and physical intervention elsewhere?

Ask yourself this. Will history define us as a modern day beacon of peace and hope or will history call us a Tyrant? I think we already know the answer to that question.

Where do we go from here?

In the meantime “peace loving liberals” will demand that the richest of our citizens fork over more tax dollars – further funding the Government. We will continuously demand social justice. Our bills will continue to go unpaid and I promise you nothing will change.

This is fact: We cannot improve this nation with a foreign policy of imperialism and intervention. If anyone has any illusion anything will change here at home without a change elsewhere they are delusional. If things do get better – consider this – it will be paid for at the expense of some poor brown bastard you’ve never met.

If our economy gets better, if our products become cheaper, if oil prices go down, or if the United States manages to start enough wars and sell enough weapons to kick-start our economy back into shape ask yourself: Why.

Your solution to social and wealth inequality is to to put more tax dollars in the pocket of the biggest Governmental tyrant in world history? Laughable.

Republican National Convention: Forget the people, We choose who is in power!

Whoever you support in this presidential election cycle you should be upset at the Republican national convention’s treatment of Republican delegates and voters who did not support Romney – and there were a lot of them.

Upon further research you may be interested to learn the tactics the Republican party used to ensure Ron Paul would not have an opportunity to speak at the RNC.

A candidate must win 5 states to speak at the RNC – Ron Paul did that – that is until 10 delegates from Maine were replaced at the RNC giving Ron Paul only 4 states.

I do not think many Ron Paul supporters had any delusion that Ron Paul would come out on top in Tampa, but we wanted the message to be heard. This was just poor and disrespectful treatment to all the people who organized for a cause they believed in.

In my opinion it was spitting in the face of many Republicans who happened to support someone other than the candidate the RNC chose.

Congratulations! This is the guy you didn’t elect.

After screwing Ron Paul over, repeatedly, the Republican party showcased this admittedly awesome Ron Paul tribute video at the Republican national convention. I think they hope Ron Paul supporters will jump on board the Romney-train now. We won’t.

Taxes – I bring home 66% of my gross income

I am the prime example of the broken tax system. I make about $70k a year. I am married and I have no children. My wife works as a part time school teacher because in Georgia there are no teaching jobs for Art teachers available due to lack of funding. (That means half the pay with all the hours.) Together we bring in around 90k a year in gross income, but much less after taxes.

I have worked very hard to get where I am today. I paid my way through school (yes, with help of government grants), I found a good job, I bought a house that was well under my budget in hopes of paying it off quickly, I own two small fuel efficient cars (one of which is paid off), and I am a stickler about savings, energy costs, and budget. My reward? I get to take home only 66% of my gross income.

The Problem with taking home 66% of your income

I’m a middle class guy. I’m certainly not rich and I am well above the poverty line. I am thankful for that and constantly working to improve my state and put more and more cushion between my wife and I and poverty. I want security. Yet – I have a certain amount of difficulty understanding how the system justifies taking from me such an amount. Taxes and insurance alone at a rate well above 25%!

The thing that gets me is that when I see where my money goes I don’t think of some poor kid who’s parents are addicted to drugs. I see my Mom and Dad. Two people who have abused the system for 20 years, lived off tax dollars, and refuse to help themselves. Sure, I admit, there was a time when I was a kid that Government money was putting food into my mouth. However; why has the system allowed them to keep those same benefits 10 years later? Is the system making them complacent, enabling them, or providing a good service? I think infinite Government help does more harm than good.

Tax the rich?

This is the point a lot of people would make the argument we should increase the taxation on the rich to ease the load for the middle class. I would agree with that if I felt that the Government was using our current funds efficiently.

The way I see it we could do a whole lot more with less. Spend less on military efforts abroad, fix our broken welfare systems, ensure that those who need help get it and those abusing the system are dropped from it, scale back the scope of the Government where they add no or little value, and stop asking the Government to be involved where it shouldn’t!

Implosion for my Generation

What’s worse is that there are countries (Canada, Japan, Netherlands) that even provide Universal healthcare with less tax dollars per person than we do. We can’t do it all without straining the system. Period.

We can’t have the worlds largest military, provide Universal healthcare, maintain massive entitlement systems, pay for public services, and all the other various functions Government has taken on and expect it not to put a strain on the people. Something has to change. The system has to be ran better, cuts will have to be made, or we will suffer. My generation specifically, my children’s generation probably even more.

Those are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

I don’t want to be extreme

I’m not going to go all Ayn Randian on you here and advocate we eliminate Government and taxes completely. There are a lot of opportunities and benefits from certain programs. I get that, but if anyone looks at the current system, the current tax rates, and the current received benefits and doesn’t find something wrong – then I don’t understand.

It’s easy for me to see why some people would be liberal on the issue. Especially wealthy people in cities. If your needs are taken care of and you rely on many Government services (public transit, public parks) than to you high tax rates are justified.

However, if you take a guy like me – or even more so in rural communities – who uses their own care, the public park is their own land, and they see no benefit from federal income tax except the pictures of central park – then why is it a surprise we have varying opinions?

I’m all for reasonableness. Right now I think we are veering off that path. I mean when the Governing body decides the best place to cut funding is from schools and creative programs and not from their own salaries – then we know we have a problem!

Government Control

Sometimes it can feel helpless. The Government takes away from my paycheck via taxes, hinders our children’s education via cuts in funding, and then inhibits my wife from being able to get a full time job teaching children. This is all out of our control – and that’s the part I can’t stand – not being able to control our own destiny. I think that is the frustration many Americans feel.

I’m not rich enough to shelter my family from the problems. I can’t send my kid to private school to avoid the problems with public ones. Yet, the Government thinks I’m plenty rich enough to be in the highest tax bracket. It’s a little strange when you consider who makes those rules – let’s just say they haven’t taken a pay cut recently and I’ll bet kids are in private schools.

“When the drones hit, they don’t see children.”

Drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants; in his 2010 guilty plea, Faisal Shahzad, who had tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, justified targeting civilians by telling the judge, “When the drones hit, they don’t see children.”

We are fighting “Muslim Extremist” we are told. People who want to kill American’s because we are rich and free. They hate us because we are Christians. The people in the middle east are insane, violent, and hateful. That’s why they tell us we are at war – with terrorism.

We have so successfully taken the human element out of battle that it barely touches our heart. We barely find even the most mild of interest in the headlines. “12 killed by Drones in Pakistan”, “Drone strike on Iran border”, and the list goes on. We are killing terrorist, not humans, we are at war with terrorism, not people, and killing is as easy as a video game when young men fly missiles into the homes of our enemy even with their family inside – I guess killing children doesn’t serve to radicalize anyone. Right?

War should be gruesome, grotesque, and bloody. That only serves to remind the people how horrible it is. When we take those elements out – the wars never end, the killing never ends.

Plus – other countries are watching. What future effect does our actions have?

Justly or not, drones have become a provocative symbol of American power, running roughshod over national sovereignty and killing innocents. With China and Russia watching, the United States has set an international precedent for sending drones over borders to kill enemies.

Muslim Extremist
People are people. People are motivated by survival, anger, and the need to take action. It is all too easy to blame terrorism on religion. “They are Muslim’s who hate Christians and Jews.” Is that really the case? Even if it is true for a very select few – how much easier is the United States making it on their recruitment efforts?

Would you rise up against your enemy if a Drone strike killed your wife and children, destroyed your home, evaded your lands?

How many terrorist attacks have their been in Japan or Costa Rica – two countries without a military? Think about it.

There have been at least 2000 deaths (publicly acknowledged by the government) since 2004 caused by Drone attacks. Estimated loss of civilian life is unknown.

Loss of Liberty in America
It is foolish to believe that militarism has not harmed us at home as well. We have given up an almost infinite amount of privacy and liberty to aid our “war on terror”.

The Patriot act made it legal for the Government to invade our privacy – all in the name of safety. How many years will that legislation haunt us after the fighting is over? As we speak American citizens are being murdered without trial when they found themselves on the President’s “Kill List”.

Even if they are criminals – which I am sure many are – can we really justify the death of an American citizen without trial? Can we justify blatant violations of the constitution? What presidence does this set for future use by the military? Who makes these decisions, who decides if you are an enemy, who has that right if not the people themselves? A trial by one’s peers is the only justice. Is it not true that our liberties are most important to us in times of war than in times of peace? We must uphold them not when it is easy, but when it is most difficult!

What about the Long Term?

Mr. Blair, the former director of national intelligence, said the strike campaign was dangerously seductive. “It is the politically advantageous thing to do — low cost, no U.S. casualties, gives the appearance of toughness,” he said. “It plays well domestically, and it is unpopular only in other countries. Any damage it does to the national interest only shows up over the long term.”

Will our children be better off because of this war? Will drone attacks help the world in the long run? Is this a popular ploy that keeps American casualties low and pole numbers high – yet makes death tolerable and other countries despise us? These are important questions for our future. Before you support the war effort decide for yourself what type of future our actions are building. Is this a war for a means to an end or perpetual – will killing and war be like maintenance on a car. Necessary to maintain our spending and superpower status? I think you know the truth already.

Peace is sustainable, War is not
$1,452,000,000,000 in direct spending. That doesn’t include loss of productivity at home, life, indirect costs, other Government agencies like the FBI, CIA, and more.

Countries overstretch, go bankrupt, make enemies they either have to destroy completely or fight with forever, powerful countries become weak from war, and are eventually overtaken by the strong. That will be are fate if we cannot end this perpetual war.

It’s not like the days of antiquity either – when two kings could meet in the battlefield and come to a peace agreement and end it all. Rather we have made enemies, many of them, spread across the world. There is no single person we can come to an agreement with to end the fighting.

Rather our only strategy can be a long term peace strategy. We must build rapport, respect, and trust with our enemies in hope we one day become friends. Without that we will suffer the same fate as all other great empires.

Summary – A Foreign Policy of Peace
If you are a conservative that supports the war consider these facts:
1. It is a fallacy that terrorism is born out of Islam. The truth is their religion unites them with commonality and their hatred, anger, and radicalization is developed over time.
2. We are breeding a culture of radicalization and anti-Americanism in countries abroad. More war will only breed more war. Peace is the only option to stop this process.
3. The use of Drones is immoral. It desensitizes us from the cost of taking a life and makes us look insensitive to the rest of the world. It also establishes a precedence for other world powers.
4. The short term cost of this War is costly.
5. The long term cost of this War is even more costly. (perpetual war, perpetual enemies, bankruptcy, the fall of an empire, radicalization)
6. The loss of Liberties at home is happening now – using “the war on terror” as an excuse.
7. We are setting an example for other nations.
8. A strong national defense without nation building is more ethical, cheaper, and sustainable than what we have now.
9. Peace is sustainable.

This post was inspired and in partial response to Canadian Rattlesnake.

A critique of “Southern Politics”

“Obama’s Black and Romney’s white. That’s all I need to know!”

That’s something I heard the other day from a guy in his early 20s. He was ignorant, uneducated, and an unpleasant attitude. When I questioned him about what he said he questioned my “Southern-ness”. Am I less Southern for carrying a more-educated opinion? Am I less Southern for dealing with the facts instead of bigotry? Of course not. I even suggested that a “real” Southern man is a “refined gentleman” – not an ignorant redneck.

So what does it mean to be a Southern Man and where is this obligation to vote Republican at any cost coming from? The answer to that is more complicated than one might think. There are a lot of ideas floating around and depending on who you ask – you will get different, very different, responses.

I hadn’t thought about my own ideas of what it means to be a Southern Man until recently. I was born, raised, and educated in the South, but my ideas and principals may very greatly from someone else with the same history.

I admit – being Southern does come with a certain amount of cultural phenomena. For example, the stereotypes about going out of our way to open doors for women, making eye contact and smiling to strangers on the street, our love affair with sweet tea and traditional southern cooking, and a certain amount of “countriness” certainly exists. Those are things I love about the South though.

What I hate is this illogical feeling of obligation many Southerns feel to the Republican party.

Southern Conservatism
What bothers is the Southern man’s apparent obligation toward an established “conservative” status-quo. What bothers me more is that most people have no idea what being conservative really is. Is being conservative advocating war, hating gays, outlawing abortion, being religious, or something else? It seems most of us have no gauge for ourselves, but rather take our cues from the “party leaders” that tell us what we should be doing.

Take my father-in-law for instance. He is without doubt a good man; however, he is among the worst when it comes to developing his political opinions based on Rush Limbaugh telling him so. Why do Southern men feel so obliged to follow party leaders even when their viewpoints are so obviously coated in hatred, prejudice, and ignorance? Where is their ability and desire to think critically?

For example, when George Bush passed the patriot act which grossly violated our privacy most Republicans supported it whole-heartily even though it was a gross expansion of Government powers. Isn’t this the opposite of the limited Government ideals conservatives claim to support? The lack of consistency is what I have a problem with, especially when lack of consistency becomes lies.

Generally, if you oppose the war “southerners” will argue with you. If you admit America should take any responsibility for having enemies, people say you are blaming America. If you support gay rights, aren’t religious, and think the life of an American is no more important than any other human life you are a liberal and a radical. Sure this phenomena exists outside the South, but here I think it’s magnified.

The Party
I have mentioned before that Party politics in the south are crooked and inconsistent with a true conservative message. Instead the “party” convinces us that we should align ourselves with a certain socially accepted moral code, a demand to keep the rich richer, to give the Government more power for our “protection”, and to use a book of peace to promote hatred and bigotry.

The worst thing is that if you are in the Republican party you are asked to do what’s right for the Party instead of what’s right for the people. Good men are ignored, great ideas are swept under the rug, and a few good ole’ boys who have all the power want to keep everything the same so as long as it continues to benefit them. We are to be good little slaves and stay in line. Everyone else is fired up and too busy hating liberals to realize they are being screwed by their own “team”.

Real Conservatism
Real conservatism, in my opinion, isn’t about following the party at any cost. It’s about engaging in thoughtful discussions, having an open mind, and educating yourself. It’s about maintaining and promoting the power of the people. It’s about demanding the Government be a steward of the people, not the other way around. It’s about upholding principals of personal and social responsibility and demanding the same from others. It’s about upholding natural rights, property rights, and liberty. That’s where the conservative movement should be going and those are the leaders we should be following.

A divide in the Georgia Republican Party – The fight for libery

Just in case you are interested in what’s going on in Georgia in the Republican party.

Why so much support for an establishment candidate it is obvious no one really supports?

Is the Death Penalty Wrong? A Conservative opinion.

I never cry in movies, but no matter how many times I watch “Dead Man Walking” I feel like a pregnant women I’m so emotional inside. It evokes emotion and forces you to question your very beliefs about religion, good and evil, the death penalty, and the nature of man itself. If you have never watched this movie I strongly suggest you get a box of tissues and give it a go.

I’m reminded that men, despite their most evil actions, are effected by factors one cannot understand unless they have gone through it themselves. Though their actions are not justifiable this movie does associate unique and human qualities with a person we may otherwise view as a monster.

At what cost should we put a man to death?  At the cost of losing our own humanity?  At the cost of emotionally damaging everyone involved the in the procedure?  I’m not sure and though I have never experienced the loss of a loved one at the hands of a criminal I can’t help but feel it is wrong.  Not the desire for revenge, not the desire for closure, but the fact that our Government – the supposed shining example of justice for planet earth – has the power and desire to put any human being to death.  Cooler heads should always prevail when given the option to preserve humanity.

Though I am not religious this scene always evokes emotion.

I’ll admit it.  Years ago I was in support of the death penalty.  I thought that keeping an inmate on death row was a terrible drain on tax dollars and dangerous to other inmates and the guards.  That part is still true.  After watching this movie my ideas changed though.  I do not think killing a man helps anyone.  It certainly can’t do the families of the innocent any good emotionally, it destroys the guilty party’s family, and is cruel overall.  What should we do with people like this?  I do not know.  Maybe we should work harder to stop it happening in the first place.

Sure many of these men never become reconciled and never feel sorry for what they did like in this movie, but that changes nothing.  Why do we turn ourselves into murderers to punish one?  What is the right course of action – I have no idea.  I just feel like for our own humanity’s sake – the death penalty does us as individuals no good at all.  I know all the reasons to support it, but a lesson in humanity, forgiveness, and love is enough for me to feel like the death penalty isn’t worth it.

If you still disagree or just want to hear someone say it much better check out what Ron Paul has to say about the death penalty in his book liberty defined. Another great advocate of liberty who’s views about the death penalty changed over time.