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I don’t think I understand the comic strip today, but it’s making fun of Santa (I think), so it’s OK with me. Driving through Jersey, Manhattan, and Westchester yesterday I almost turned into an animal. It blows me away how many people waited until two days before Christmas to do shopping and how insane they become when put in a small area with a bunch of other high-strung people who also have put off buying presents. I thought Christmas was supposed to be about family, not going even further into debt and getting your blood pressure raised by a couple hundred points. Is that what the comic strip is about?

When a reporter, broadcaster, or blogger is accused of being dishonest or wrong by another pundit, I understand she or he should respond to the accusation through their media. However, I think Glenn Greenwald sometimes takes things a bit too personally; whenever he starts on a rant about someone it tends to last for at least five or six blogs, which may be gong a bit far. Especially from someone like Greenwald, who has so much good stuff to say about so many other things. The rest of his blog is pretty good though; he talks about the not voting for Ron Paul because of his anti-abortion stance and how (as he stated in a previous blog) one should be able to look past that and see that Paul would end the war on terror, war on drugs, and not get us into anything new unless we were attacked first. A reporter for the Washington Post accuses Greenwald of sending women’s rights up the river by supporting Paul (which he made clear in a previous post that he does not do). I find this to be kind of true; while unnecessary wars could and should be ended and a lot of Paul’s other ideas a great (most of them actually), we would still be sacrificing women’s (and gay) rights. Greenwald points out that if that is the case, we are just as evil if we vote for Clinton, Obama, or Edwards who all would continue the war in Iraq, continue the sanctions on Iran, and even pre-emptivly strike countries who ‘pose a threat’ to us. He rationalizes voting for them anyway because – he says – this is the United States and we are given the candidates we are given, there is no way to pick and choose, there is no perfect candidate. For once, I actually disagree with Glenn- I think that there could be a perfect candidate, or at least one who agrees on things like war, murder, and abortion; there has to be someone out there who only disagrees with rational people about things like taxes or free education, and why can’t we demand that person?

Even if a candidate came out of left field and began spewing everything that I would want in a president, how can I believe it? I wonder what the results would be if someone kept track of every stand each candidate takes during their campaign compared to how many he or she actually follows through on. The Anonymous Liberal writes about a survey that was sent to the six major Democrat and three Republican candidates asking questions about FISA, presidential signing statements, and enemy combatants. Most of the Democrats and John McCain gave answers that seem reasonable- we shouldn’t be spied on, signing statements should just be used to clarify ambiguous parts of a law (as they had been used throughout pre-Bush history), and so on. There is nothing that makes them keep these promises once they are elected, so why should we even listen unless there is something to back it up. For example, when it came time to vote on the FISA bill and none of the candidates – obviously not counting Chris Dodd – even showed up to vote. To me that means we shouldn’t believe them when they write something that says FISA is wrong. It’s obvious that we shouldn’t listen to what the media says about the candidates stands, but I’ll take it one further and say that we shouldn’t listen to the actual candidates. Do some research and make up your own minds- that’s why we have them.

The No Child Left Behind act is a perfect example- most of the Democrat candidates have spoken out against it and demanded a change. If one of them gets elected they will probably “change” it, but not in any way that’s going to make a difference. Will they give the schools in the South Bronx the same money per child that they give the schools on the Upper East Side? Will they start teaching kids real history and science and that things like money and houses do not equal happiness? Will they make it so everyone starts out there life with an equal chance to eventually go to college and do something with their lives that makes them happy? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say probably not.  They say that changes will be made, but the main focus will still be on holding the students to a higher standard (through tests). So, if poor schools that have a lack of teachers, hardly any books, and rarely a computer churn out low-scoring students, they will get less money in order to make their students better. Just another way to continue the cycle and make sure only certain people truly get educated.

And when we aren’t educated we can’t see the big picture. When we can’t see the big picture – what’s really going on in the world – we keep electing the same people over and over again ad nauseam. When we aren’t taught, we look at the war in Iraq as the United States (good) vs. the terrorists in Iraq (evil). But if we look deeper we see that the entire Middle East (which in an of itself is a fucked up term- why is it called the Middle East?) is a mess, and it’s because of US involvement for the past few decades. For the past six years we have given billions of dollars in weapons and cash to President (and former General) Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan because he is “on our side” in the War On Terror, and it’s finally starting to backfire. The Taliban (and probably Bin Laden) are operating out of his mountains, the people are in a state of unrest, and civil liberties are being stripped. If everyone took an interest as to what is really going on over there, how much longer would be able to continue?

If we were all taught about what freedom is, if we all had that seed planted in our heads from the time we were born imagine what the world would look like. Things like this would scare the shit out of us- and rightly so. The majority of people will never find out about those things until they are already implemented, and even most the people who do some research beforehand will shrug their shoulders, willing to give up a few hundred pounds of freedom for a half ounce of safety.

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