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Ex-professional wrestler and ex-governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura, appeared on the Larry King Live show on CNN last week. He appeared just yesterday with Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room, also on CNN. Ventura is not one to mince his words when it comes to the current state of American politics. His opinions will certainly not find favor between the ears of any well behaved establishmentarian.

To put it mildly, let’s just say that the man who used to go by the nickname “the body” offered a scathing indictment of the entire body of American politics. I have to admit that most of what he said was like sweet music to my ears. He slammed the “two party dictatorship ” of the Democrats and the Republicans. He actually said that he would like to see political parties disappear altogether, as a matter of fact! And all I can say to that one is AMEN! I love his description of the two major parties:

“You know, as I would get in trouble with before, I used to call them the Democrips and the Rebloodlicans. They’re the same as the street gangs, only these guys wear Brooks Brothers suits.”

Ventura even mentioned the enormous debt that’s been racked up by our government since Nixon dealt the final blow to the gold standard! Oh no! Not the gold standard! Could it be? Is Ventura one of those crazed “Ron Paulians?”

He might just be. Turning to the topic of the Iraq War, and specifically ending it, Ventura says:

“Look it, OK, 2006 — the voters clearly sent a mandate to the spineless Democrats. They sent a mandate to them saying get us out of Iraq.
Have they done it? No. Are they even close to doing it? No. All we’re getting is cheap talk from them.”

So how does Ventura think the war should be ended:

“I agree with Ron Paul, we marched in there, we can march out.”

I don’t even know Jesse Ventura that well. I certainly have not followed his political career. And I am not saying that if he ran for president, I would vote for him. BUT, it is so refreshing to hear anyone lambaste the entire American political system on national television when most politicians and commentators are only too willing to glorify it.

Ventura even suggested that voters should have a “none of the above” option when they go to their polling places on election day. Yikes! Talk about heresy! How can he even suggest something so preposterous? Doesn’t this guy know the rules? Trash one party or the other. But never speak ill of the sacrosanct institution that is American democratic elections. Even if all of the candidates are awful, every voter must fulfill their obligation to select the “lesser of the evils.”

I even heard one CNN pundit refer to a vote for “none of the above” as a “populist copout.” Strange, but the “copout,” if you ask me, is in voting for a candidate you don’t like, just because you have been told that you must vote for someone.

Thank you, Jesse Ventura, not only for not worshiping the State but, for your unflinching denouncement of its corrupt elections.

Who wants to dwell on politics? Isn’t it so much more convenient and so much less irritating to just ignore all of that unsavory political nonsense? And isn’t it easier to just wander into a voting booth every couple of years and vote the way you were raised to vote? And isn’t it easier to base every political argument you may have on the words of some talk radio blowhard? After all, those people do this stuff for a living, you know! They are the experts! They told us so! Perhaps the slogan for election season in America ought to be: “Don’t Think, Just Vote!

A few days ago I received a message on myspace from a friend in which he pays me and this blog the following compliment:

“I read some of your blog, pretty good stuff. I wish more people put as much thought into their opinions as you, I think we’d be better off as a nation.”

Now, I should point out that I am not including this compliment as a way of “blowing my own horn.” However, the writer of this compliment, my friend since 1994, identifies himself as a “lefty” when it comes to politics. I know we disagree on many issues, but I very much appreciate the fact that he took the time to read my blog. Also, notice that he doesn’t say he shares my opinions but, he does appreciate that I have at least tried to present a cogent argument in support of those opinions.

I think an analogy is in order at this juncture. It seems to me that most people are attached to their political parties in the same way they are connected to their favorite sports teams. At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter if you don’t like your party’s candidate in any given election. What’s vital, however, is to remain loyal to the party. The ultimate goal is victory. That is, the party must be victorious. All of the various arguments between party members on issues like health care, foreign policy, the economy, social security, and the environment are to be forgotten. It’s time to win! And winning requires a united team effort! Similarly, in the sports world you may not like all of the members of your favorite team. But, when it’s time to play the game, you put aside any ill feelings you may have toward certain players and cheer them all on to what will hopefully be a glorious victory.

The difference between the political side of the analogy and the sporting side involves the ramifications of the end result. If your team wins the game, then it’s time to celebrate. If your team loses, it’s time to commiserate with friends and talk about what you would have done in that 4th and goal situation. Ultimately, however, your life does not change. The result of the political “game,” on the other hand, does affect your life. Your “team,” in this case your political party, may win. However, if you did not vote on principle but, simply to prevent the other party from winning, you may find that is a hollow victory. Since it’s that time of year I will use the Presidential election as an example.

Will the winner of the election start a war? Do you have loved ones in the military who could be called into battle? What if there’s a draft? Would you go?

And what about taxes? Will you be paying more or less? Will the inflation tax continue to diminish the value of your money?

Will your civil liberties be protected under the new administration? Will you be investigated by the government because you publish anti-government posts on your blog?

There are many more concerns, of course, but you see what I mean. The results of the Presidential election will have an affect on your life. To sacrifice principle for party loyalty is to make a great mistake.

This is why I believe that if any political progress is to be made in this country, voters must relinquish their unconditional support of political parties. Many of us are being led like lemmings to that quickly approaching cliff. For all too many people, acquiring a knowledge of politics amounts to nothing more than reading and reciting the slogans printed on bumper stickers.

The internet has made information gathering ridiculously easy. We need to take advantage of this situation to learn everything we can about what really goes on in our government. We should always ask why a law is being passed. We should think critically and wonder who benefits from the new law. We should be concerned that the law may violate our right to privacy. Whether the President is a Democrat or Republican makes no difference. Many Republicans love the fact that the President now enjoys nearly unchecked power. How shortsighted they truly are! For what happens when a Democrat becomes President. All of that power, once cherished by the Republicans, will now be seen as a great threat. And isn’t it strange that since taking control of Congress in 2006 the Democrats have done practically nothing to roll back the legislation that has resulted in so much Executive power. Of course, they haven’t. They know there’s an awfully good chance that they will win this year’s election. Beginning in January 2009, the Democrat President would then have his or her hands on those precious levers of power.

It is folly to assume that your party always has your best interests in mind. Never assume that they will remain true to their principles. Watch them like hawks. Don’t just go along for the ride. You might not like where they’re taking you.

Aspiring presidential candidates must eventually come to the realization that only one person can receive their party’s nomination. At some point it becomes clear that one of their rivals has amassed an impressive number of delegates, and that the most reasonable course of action to take is to gracefully exit the race. At this point a crucial decision must be made. Should the “dropout” endorse the winner? After all, Mr. Dropout may be diametrically opposed to the winner on a host of issues. But, then there is the ever important notion of “party unity.” Mr. Dropout needs to remember that principles are not important. What matters is keeping members of the party focused on the one task that trumps all other concerns: beating the opposing party’s candidate in the general election.

For this post Mr. Dropout will be played by the well coifed, “presidential-looking,” Mitt Romney. Of course, Mr. Romney suspended his presidential campaign in early February. Before that, however, he had some harsh words for the man who is now the all but certain Republican nominee, John McCain. Just before the Florida primary Romney was sharply critical of McCain’s positions on reducing the role of money in politics, immigration, and his support of an energy bill that would reputedly drive up customer costs. He said:

“If you ask people, ‘Look at the three things Senator McCain has done as a senator,’ if you want that kind of a liberal Democrat course as president, then you can vote for him,” Romney told campaign workers. “But those three pieces of legislation, those aren’t conservative, those aren’t Republican, those are not the kind of leadership that we need as we go forward.”

But remember,  those were Romney’s words before the contest in Florida. We would soon hear from a different Mitt. This one, freshly removed from the presidential race after taking a severe beating at the polls on Super Tuesday, was now endorsing John McCain. So, what about his leadership qualities now Mitt?

“I am honored today to give my full support to Sen. McCain’s candidacy for the presidency of the United States,” Romney said in a joint news conference with Sen. McCain by his side.

“This is a man capable of leading our country in this dangerous hour.”

Oh, that’s right. How could I have forgotten? “In this dangerous hour.” He must be referring to all of those nasty “ay-rabs” that need a good killin.’ Right Mr. Romney?

“I disagree with Sen. McCain on a number of issues,” Romney said. “But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and I agree with him on eliminating al Qaeda and terror worldwide.”

And don’t forget about “party unity.” A source from inside the Romney camp said he “wants to help McCain move faster to secure the nomination and unite the party for the general election against the Democrats for November.”

And there we have it. Who cares what kind of political principles you hold? As long as you pledge to kill all the terrorists, unite the party, and defeat Democrats, you are welcomed as the flag bearer of the Republican party.

Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule. Here’s one Republican who never strays from his principles, for any reason. Guess who!

I’m starting to think that a John McCain presidency would actually make Dubya look fairly intelligent . Every time I hear the presumptive neocon candidate for president speak, or read about something he has said, I am absolutely gob smacked by the sheer ignorance and/or stupidity of his utterances. Take this article from the Politico, for example. Now first of all I should make it perfectly clear that I do not believe the President of the United States should run the economy. I do believe, however, that the president should have a general understanding of economics. He should be well aware that government interference in economic matters will always be counterproductive. He should allow the market to work and thrive as it is driven by real people leading their daily lives. At the same time he should not destroy it by foisting fascistic legislation like the New Deal upon it.

Who knows what John McCain might do as president, but it seems pretty clear that he doesn’t know either. Speaking in New Hampshire recently the Arizona senator stated that “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” Alright, I’ll give him credit for his candor. But why on earth would a presidential candidate say something like that? As a man who boasts about his military knowledge, McCain seems strangely willing to hand over ammunition to the Democrats. And surely that ammunition will be fired back at him in the near future.

Nevertheless, he just keeps on giving. The Bush tax cuts have been a favorite griping point for Democrats for years now. The common complaint is that these cuts “favor the rich” while increasing the burden on the middle and lower classes. Back in 2003 John McCain went right along with the Democrats on this issue as he commented, “I just thought it was too tilted to the wealthy, and I still do… I want to cut the taxes on the middle class.” Now, in 2008, he has called for the tax cuts to become permanent. So which McCain is the real one, we might ask? Once again, I should make clear that I have no problem with any tax cuts. Tax cuts are never a problem. Cutting taxes while increasing spending, now that’s a different situation. That’s exactly where Bush has gone so horribly wrong. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the U.S. government has spent five times as much under Bushian rule than it did under Clintonian rule in the 1990’s. You can’t have it both ways. But this is nothing new. As Gary North shows us, it’s happened before.

And while we’re dealing with government spending, there’s always the contentious issue of “earmarks,” the ways legislators steer money to their own pet projects, usually in their home districts. John McCain has spoken out against earmarks in the past. The thinking is that earmarks increase government spending. Problem is, this is all just a clever subterfuge. Earmarks don’t increase spending. The money is allocated before the earmarking process ever begins. The issue here centers on who decides what to do with that money. If it’s not spent by our elected representatives in Congress it will be spent by the Executive. People like McCain and the other anti-earmark crusaders really aren’t against earmarks. They are just for a stronger Executive. But it’s a clever way for “small government” Republicans to convince their constituents that wasteful government spending is being eliminated. Here’s more on this issue from Ron Paul, who, by the way, is the only presidential candidate with an extensive understanding of economics. Of course, he’s the guy who doesn’t stand a chance. Typical.

All of us out here in the land of the sheep have been hearing for months about this great agent of political change named Barack Obama. Especially on matters of war and peace, Obama has been portrayed as the “real” anti-war candidate of the “real” anti-war party. Sure we know he is opposed to the war in Iraq, but let’s remember that he is, after all, a Democrat. The war being waged in Iraq is a Republican war. And we must not forget about loyalty to “the Party.” I mean, war and peace are important, but Party unity trumps all other concerns when it comes to politics. Think back to the 1990’s and Clinton’s incursion into Kosovo. Which party was critical of war then? Remember, it was war making controlled by Democrats so naturally the Republicans opposed it. In Washington D.C. there is hardly any opposition to war that is rooted in true anti-war principles. Instead we have politicians being anti-war when it’s convenient. If they believe taking up a pro-war position will help to secure votes and advance their dreams of increased political power and stature, then, by all means, they will adopt a suitably pro-war position. Likewise, if the political winds are indicating that a politician who espouses an anti-war position will see his or her level of political clout rise more expeditiously than that of the pro-war politician, then strike up the band and start singing “give peace a chance.”

Unfortunately, the two candidates in this year’s presidential contest who maintain a principled aversion to war, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, are relegated to the sidelines while the poseurs duke it out on center stage.

Alright, so we know about Obama’s position on Iraq. But, what’s his approach to Pakistan? In this excellent you tube clip we see and hear that Obama is not quite the anti-war candidate he’s cracked up to be. He more or less states that our troops are just in the wrong place. According to him they don’t necessarily need to come home. They just need to be shifted to other places in the Middle East, like Pakistan. And when Obama speaks about terrorists plotting to strike America again, we are subjected to a level of fearmongering that’s worthy of the most bellicose neocons.

In short, the anointed prince of change does not really oppose the war on terror. He just doesn’t approve of the way the Bush administration is fighting it. He, on the other hand, is going to do whatever it takes. He’ll get tough with those towel heads in the right places!

And if he receives his party’s nomination, and goes on to become president, I can’t wait to see all of the anti-Iraq war Democrats stop on a dime and support whatever military adventure Mr. Obama has up his sleeve. After all, we must remember that loyalty to “the Party” is priority number one.

Ron Paul has said numerous times that George W. Bush campaigned in 2000 on a humble foreign policy. In the debates this point has gone completely ignored by the moderators and all of the media pundits. But just eight years ago the Republican candidate for president advocated a foreign policy that is strikingly similar to Ron Paul’s. Strange isn’t it, how in 2008, calling for no nation building, and no telling other countries how to run their governments will quickly get one branded an “isolationist.”

Now, I know many people will shriek that “9/11 changed everything.” But they are wrong. 9/11 didn’t change Bush’s foreign policy. A neocon cabal, many of the same people who were involved with The Project For The New American Century, changed the policy. 9/11 was the “new Pearl Harbor” of which they spoke. It was a catalyzing event that accelerated their militant plans of global American hegemony.

The Republicans have castigated Ron Paul for his devotion to a foreign policy of non-intervention. In 2000 they nominated a man who favored a very similar foreign policy. Today it is unfathomable to most Republicans that the U.S. should not effect regime change in countries all over the world. If you don’t share their love of global military domination they’ll tell you you’re not really a Republican. But, this you tube says it all. Just listen to Bush in 2000, and remember he was the REPUBLICAN nominee for president. My, my, how far the party has fallen.