Thursday, April 19, 2007

Politics - but first, some ground rules

It is my hope - provided of course this little corner of the Internet gets viewed by more people than my immediate family - that there will be discussions about politics.

Of course, any opinion is welcome here. The last thing I want is a forum for only the like-minded. Though satisfying from one perspective, it's lacking in several others, including the romantic, sadly anachronistic image of two strangers at a publick house engaged in a lively debate about the state of the world over a bottle of house wine with a complete absence of rancor or invective.

Impossible, you say? Naive and idealistic, you mutter? Maybe. But it's my blog, and I get to lay the rules down:

  1. If you don't like the man or his politics, at least respect the office. He's not "Dubya" or "Slick Willie," he's President Bush or President Clinton respectively. Feel free to poop all over actions and decisions, but remember that we're speaking of offices of honor.
  2. Arguments will be supported by facts here. When someone suggests, for example, that the War in Iraq is, oh, just hypothetically speaking here, a complete clusterfuck, a boondoggle, a sop towards Big Oil and Big Engineering, and a tragic drain on human life, a good response would be an attempt to refute those points - NOT an attack on that person's patriotism. Likewise, a reasoned justification for the war is no excuse to call someone a warmonger or worse.
  3. We like curse words here (see clusterfuck, above). Curses are like red pepper flakes - it would be a tragedy indeed if they were completely missing from the palate of discourse, but too much just makes things distasteful and inedible. So, in that spirit: Shit.
  4. I reserve the right to make more rules.

So let's kick things off by giving you a flavor of my political views: I arch fairly far to the left of center, but have some decidedly right-wing views that indeed fall so far right as to be better described as Libertarian.

For example: I'm a flat tax guy. Lookit: I do my own taxes with the help of a tax program - you know the one I'm talking about. The big one. In addition to all the forms and other related nonsense it generates, it also gives me a sort of recap sheet before anything else prints out. And it has told me for the last fifteen years of my professional life, where my income has ranged from $18,000 a year to (thankfully) several times that, my actual tax paid after all the hoo-ha stands right around 19%. That's a good number, as far as I'm concerned. Add it all up, subtract whatever dollar amount equals poverty, and tax the rest on a flat percentage basis. The IRS - a government employer of 100,000 people - becomes a shell of its former self. Government revenue skyrockets. James L. Payne, author of the book Costly Returns: The Burden of the US Tax System, posits that for every dollar of tax the government collects, the taxpayer actually needs to pay $1.65, due to the costs of complying with a labyrinthine tax code and the cost of supporting the IRS itself. We can do better.

For another example: I believe that the Government exists solely for the succour of its citizens, and should only be used for that purpose. Any government that passes a law restricting the rights of its citizens (such as the Defense of Marriage Act) is an act of abhorrence. There's no justifiable excuse, no matter of public interest to defend here. That's not what Government does - or is supposed to do. This is America, god dammit. If a couple of gay guys or girls wish to know the exquisite misery that is married life, I say let 'em. It doesn't pick my pocket and despite the rhetoric of the Christian right, homosexuality is NOT like cooties: you can't catch gay. If you believe it's against God's law because the Bible says so, I better not catch you digging up your entire garden (Leviticus 19:9), wearing an article of clothing made of a wool-linen blend (Lev. 19:19), or heaven forbid eating a medium-rare steak (Lev. 19:26). If you're going to wave the Bible at me, you better live your life according to ALL its tenets, not just the ones that make you oogy when you think about 'em.

Last example for now: I think most drugs which are currently illegal should be legalized and have the everloving CRAP taxed out of them. It's not politically expedient to legalize, say, pot, now or ever. I know this. But I also know this: interdiction DOES NOT WORK. It has never worked. It will never work. Period. It just fills the prisons with people who aren't criminals and provides the occassional photo-op for an overeager DA trying to make a name for himself. I have no problem with the commercials exhorting people to tell their kids about drugs, or the ones that speak to kids themselves about not starting - besides the fact that they're stupid and ineffective. GOD, that pisses me off - like everything you see on TV, those commercials condescend to kids and give them no credit for having a brain. Do you really think that a kid will look at an egg frying in a cast-iron skillet and REALLY think it's his brain on drugs? Come now.

Anyway, like I said at the top of this little missive, I welcome all viewpoints here. Want to defend the Defense of Marriage Act? Step right up, there, manly man, and make your argument - and thanks for visiting.

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