Inexplicably, the universe somehow managed without me for the last fourteen billion plus years. Sadly, it will continue to expand and churn out new stars, planets, solar systems and a few galactic clusters for billions of years after my demise. Assuming the universe lasts a total of twenty billion years – and I manage to craw to eighty – I will have lived .000000004% of the universe’s existence.
On that sobering observation, let’s move on…
I have a close friend who’s from Damascus. He seems oddly detached from the mayhem in his country. He and I discuss middle east politics whenever we get together, but he has never volunteered much about his opinion on the civil war chewing through Syria and slaughtering he fellow countrymen. He was in my office last week with his new Syrian wife – distractingly beautiful – and the war was never mentioned by either of them.
Scandal! Scandal!! Scandal!!!! The press is all a twitter and our right wing friends are outraged, telling us the Benghazi Blunder is the worst scandal in all of American history. Worse than Teapot Dome, worse than those during the corrupt Grant administration, worse than Iran Contra, and – of course – far worse than Watergate. The IRS “persecution of the Tea Party was alarming, but more the product of overwork, bungling and political tone deafness. The Citizens United decision unleashed an avalanche if dubious 401(c)4 applications that swamped the beleaguered, short staffed IRS.
The attack on the press, however, is a a really big deal. I voted twice for Obama, and I don’t regret either vote, but there are some very dark parts of the President’s record. His continuation of most of the Bush national security policies, the failure to prosecute government torturers, and his administration’s maniacal obsession with leaks and leakers together with its willingness to infringe on the First and Fourth Amendments to bag the miscreants alarm and depress me.
Despite the NRA, the government is the only institution with the big armory. The Monopoly of Force, my political science professor called it. Because of that alarming fact, its never a good idea to allow the government to assume too much power. It’s a bit like living with a Doberman – he’s good for security but he could bite you if you get in a tussle.
The most frustrating thing about the Tea Party fanatics is they attack the federal government for the wrong reasons. They see tyranny in programs like Social Security, Medicaid, and Obamacare. Most of them, if anything, don’t think Obama is tough enough on the terrorists and are appalled by the idea of closing Gitmo. They believe little of what the President says about domestic policies, but never seem to doubt his government’s claims of killing the bad guys. The government’s assertion it doesn’t have to follow all those Constitutional niceties in its war on terror doesn’t much seem to bother the tricornered hat crowd.