Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Quick Hits

Gas Prices

The other day Bush was asked about $4/gal gasoline. He fumbled around finally said: "Oh, yeah? That's interesting. I hadn't heard that."

Today I spot the following headline: Bush Warns OPEC on Energy Prices. In other news, the title of my next post will be "Blogger Warns Budweiser on Beer Prices."

Legislating Morality Demoralizes the Enforcers

Here's a story detailing a "shocking" increase in the number of Border Patrol agents being arrested for serious crimes, including bribery and drug smuggling. As IWTS continually and effectively makes clear, modern day Prohibition actually creates far more crime than it prevents. In fact, Prohibition has spent years creating a multi-billion dollar black market trade in narcotics. And yet this asshat (Thomas S. Winkowski, some bigwig in U.S. Customs) is shocked, shocked! that this black market's paradigm of huge rewards for risky, illegal behavior is actually causing his agents to siphon off some of these profits for themselves in return for breaking the very same laws that they are tasked with enforcing. Notice that you don't have this same scenario with cops whose job it is to enforce prohibitions against armed robbery, art heists, or murder-for-hire. Know why? Because there are actually legitimate, objective moral and ethical bases for prohibitions against these activities. Prohibition against drugs? No legitimate moral or ethical reasons underlying it. As I have noted before (and will continue to note, right up until Homeland Security confiscates my computer), drug Prohibition is a mechanism of control used by the State against elements of the citizenry which are considered undesirable. Nothing more, nothing less. The fact that Drug Warriors become criminals themselves is a wholly predictable result of this mechanism. The solution? Lock them up too and keep doing more of the same, forever.

Mr. Danger, Redux

In response to Colombian military incursions into Ecuador, both Ecuador and Venezuela are massing thousands of troops and military hardware on the Colombian border. Guess who Mr. Danger is backing in this confrontation? Mr. Danger sez: "America fully supports Colombia's democracy. We firmly oppose any acts of aggression that could destabilize the region."

Right. Because the United States is the only country allowed to flood a region with troops and military hardware while ignoring the possibility that such behavior just might tend to destabilize said region. Oh, and speaking of which, that's exactly what we've been doing in Colombia for the last 7 years. Yes, we've been supplying the puppet Uribe regime with troops, military hardware, and billions of dollars in military aid money. Why? To help Colombia eradicate its one and only thing of value: coca crops. (Similar to what we're doing in Afghanistan with poppy crops, the farming of which constitutes more than 50% of that country's gross domestic product.)

At the same time, our government is backing what is known as "Plan Colombia". This involves aerial spraying of coca crops with Round-Up (no, I'm not making this up). Of course, aerial spraying happens to be somewhat of a imprecise mechanism, the result of which is that anyone or anything else that happens to be in the vicinity of the coca crops also gets sprayed with poison, including children and their food and water supplies. But, on the positive side, at least we've staunched the flow of cocaine into the country!

So... you can see how the U.S. would have the moral high ground in this present dispute. You can understand how we can present ourselves as an honest broker, the voice of moderation, a sane and impartial mediator who can engage in a bit of sound and level-headed diplomacy in these circumstances.

Sort of like we just recently did in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...

Rice, Bush Undermined Palestinian Elections by Arming Rebels and Fomenting Civil War

I'm not sure what else needs to be said beyond my headline, but since this blockbuster Vanity Fair article is 8 long pages long, here is as concise of a plot summary as I can come up with:

1. Bush and Rice, ignoring every knowledgeable expert, including their actual allies on the ground in the Palestinian Fatah party, push for early Palestinian elections. 2. Following right along with the predictions of said knowledgeable experts and leading members of Fatah, Fatah loses said elections to U.S. arch-enemy Hamas. 3. Upon Hamas taking control pursuant to said elections, Bush and Rice, being unhappy with said outcome, pick an arbitrary (and viciously brutal, of course) Fatah strongman, give him a couple hundred million dollars, pour in shitloads of guns, ammo, and other assorted military hardware, and encourage him to retake the Palestinian government by force (this, you will readily perceive, is part of the Bush Administration's "Democracy Initiative"). 4. Bush and Rice's armed insurrection fails miserably. 5. Hamas, emboldened and seeking revenge, attacks and takes over Gaza. 6. Hamas is thereby made far stronger than ever before, and uses its gains in Gaza to launch more, and more brutal and effective, attacks on Israel, prompting Israel to launch more brutal attacks on the Palestinians, and so on and so on.

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