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The DroneWars

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  • The DroneWars

    Skinny of it is as follows:

    -CIA has the ability to target anyone it so chooses
    -CIA is basically unaccountable
    -There is a legal documentation about how the CIA can kill people, including American Citizens, who pose an imminent threat to the US
    -Imminent threat does not mean that they are in the act of an attack or even planning an attack currently
    -This documentation is completely classified

    Drones, the final frontier, these are the murders of a self autonomous section whose mission is to seek out scary new terrorists and kill them and anyone near-by, to boldly go where our police forces are, home.

    With the anniversary of the Iraq war upcoming I think it is of relevance to discuss our war on terror, what lengths to which we want to see this war go on, and question how, as a democracy, we can grant powers to sections of our government who are ultimately unquestionable. The CIA has a terrible reputation this last decade, the information that lead to the war in Iraq was highly dubious, purely cherry picked, and ultimately completely wrong. Today we still grant the CIA a power of judge, jury, and executioner over even US citizens. Consider the rapid increase in homegrown 'not-hate-groups' and those who are willing to go to fight war when impending gun regulations go through and we are at a potential crossroads.

    I think we as a people need to at least talk about these issues.

  • #2
    Re: The DroneWars

    So you support big government buttttttt.....


    • #3
      Re: The DroneWars

      There is a ridiculous notion surrounding 'big government'. It is that this 'government' is some mysterious body working in the shadows and when it gets really 'big' it'll eat you up whole.

      Government, in terms of the American Experiment, was for its time, a unique expansion of the 'Social Contract' without any notion of Kings and Plebes. Rather it had one, albeit very incomplete, notion; the Citizen. We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union...

      That union, that body of 'we the people', is only possible with the existence of a government. Big is a relative term and for me does not mean what I think it means to you. Big government means to me that I can serve my country and work to better our union through public service or even just merely voting. I am a born Catholic, and while I only respect it culturally now (being an Agnostic), many of its philosophical and ethical concepts are what motivate me (certainly not all and not only) and I can only think to respond to you in following manner:

      If the only way we can care for our sick, our downtrodden, our forgotten, and lonely is through our government; then so be it. If the only way to ensure public safety and that everyone of 300 million people can cooperate in a beautifully casual way is through laws and regulations; so be it. If the only way to ensure that as a society we are all playing by the same rules is through the government; that is what it is. Because all of that is through our own public service our own participation.

      When I question our government is when I feel I have no ability to even see it and when the reason why I can't see it is no good. The questions that Rand Paul and others asked weren't entirely coherent and I believe a lot of that was theater, (what speaking filibuster isn't theater?), but our war on terror and the means we go about it must be discussed more openly. We, I feel, are past the era of NeoConservatism (I know I shed that skin a long time ago), yet many of our policies in the war on terror still seem to hearken back to those times.

      While I might understand the need, or merely the preference, of drones over land operations it is something that should not be trivialized merely because our 'pilot' is nice and safe at a Nevada base. We must question our wars and our continued use of force abroad and why. Finally it has come to my attention that the legal justification used by the CIA to target US born 'Insurgent' Operatives does not extend to our shores.

      So all is good.

      Actually I am slightly embarrassing I referred to Rand Paul's political theater to bring up this very serious discussion of our 'War on Terror'. When I heard he used the floor to imply that the US was going to target a 'Tea Party' person just because the guy went to a rally... well... what happened to his father? That guy was at least serious and honorable.


      • #4
        Re: The DroneWars

        When I say "Big Government", I am not referring to a body which is moving mysteriously in the shadows. I see Big Government as a body who has outgrown its ability to govern effectively and efficiently.

        Most of the Social Welfare Programs administered by our Big Government have fallen into such a state of mismanagement, that we lose billions of dollars helping those who take advantage of the system to the detriment of those who really need it. Our welfare system has grown from around 300 Billion in the early 2000's to over 800 Billion in just 10 years, with only about a 30 million person increase in the number of recipients. That's more than double the amount of funds handed out to each individual.

        So the problem with our government, in my humble opinion, is the failure to properly administer these important programs, and in that failure, our government loses credibility in holding to its part of the Social Contract you refer to.

        For government to hold up to its part of the Social Contract, it must make common sense changes to our social welfare programs to ensure they hold to the original intent of the programs and not allow people to take advantage of them.

        As to the other points of your post, I completely agree that our involvement on foreign soil in the name of the war on terror must be reconsidered as to the loss vs gain we are experiencing. Too many young men are losing their lives just so we can make ourselves feel better about helping Iran and Afghanistan lean to protect themselves and rebuild now that our actions has caused a change in power and instability in those regions. Those nations have been fighting longer than our Country has been around, and they will continue to fight regardless of our attempt to "modernize" them.


        • #5
          Re: The DroneWars

          And here I don't think we can disagree on anything large, Reinhold.

          Inefficient use of our governmental funds is something we must tackle in all things. Where we will inevitably disagree is where to tackle it first. I say the biggest ticks sucking on our governmental welfare are those corporations that enjoy ridiculous subsidies like Big Oil. Where we will disagree is at which point should our government be trying to salvage the remains of our poorest citizens and at what point is trying to foster a middle class (with government money) too much of a cost.

          We live in a country that philosophically is best described as a meritocracy, reward for personal merit and accomplishment. Yet in practice that goal of a meritocracy has always been perturbed by the plutocratic realm. James Madison said that the purpose of the structure of America was to 'bring exuberant wealth to a state of mediocrity and to bring squalor to a state of sustenance' (I apologize I can not find the exact quote). The very concept of dispersion wealth from the Kings and Nobles is a core cause of this nation and the very model of our Mixed Economy. The social welfare nets which prevent crippling poverty work to that goal at little cost. Our current issue would not be if it were not for two ten year long wars, a severe reduction in tax rates that only helped the disparity of wealth, the gutting of our Medium Wage Manufacturing jobs because its cheaper to hire Chinese Sweat Shops than to give hard working Americans a livable wage, and deregulation that allowed huge banking firms to acquire vast amounts of wealth and completely lose it all nearly over night.

          Capitalism is a healthy workhorse for those who have the capital to enter the market. For those who have the ability to actually fight for a livable wage. What we can not do as a nation is to ignore our poorest because of a few cheap abusers. Last I checked billions of dollars were lost from our economy due to terrible and selfish liars selling 'poop'-bags as houses, that mother who is on CHIP and uses that money to buy a Birthday Present or a Cake? How much does that cost us?


          • #6
            Re: The DroneWars

            The attack on Big Oil subsidies is the hallmark of liberal talking points. It's easy to get people to hate the filthy rich oil companies with their fat cat executives who smoke cigars and drink scotch while counting all their profits and turning their backs on the little man. The truth of the matter is that in spite of attacking these companies, many democrats have been justifiably against ending such subsidies as our Nation reaps its own benefits from them.

            In 2011 the U.S. Government paid 24 billion dollars in energy subsidies. 68% of that amount went to renewable energy while Fossil-Fuel companies received only 15%. (Source CNN Money)

            The fact is, many subsidies offered to Oil Companies are not because they are Oil companies. The Section 199 tax deduction is available to all domestic manufacturing companies, even the movies and music industry. The Foreign Tax Credit and Deferral of Foreign income credit is to keep the government from double taxing the international competitiveness of U.S. companies. Other tax exemptions fund programs like the "Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program" and the "Farm Fuel Credit" which helps farmers stay in business.

            I'm not saying that all the credits the Oil Companies receive are necessary, I am just saying in the scheme of things, there is plenty of debate to back most of them up.

            My comments about the Social Welfare Programs comes from first hand view of the segment of society that abuses it. I do not need to read an essay or search google for information. I have been in homes with 60 inch T.V.s and 20 inch rims on late model Lincoln Navigators, yet no one in the household works because the primary source of income is selling drugs while being subsidized by Social Security and Welfare. I have seen little grandma's barely breathing in the back of a wood frame shack while her worthless grandkids cash her checks and totally ignore her. I have arrested 19 year old drug dealers who had a Treasury Department check in their name for disability. When asked what the disability was, they replied "I can't learn nonthin'"

            I've seen mothers barely in their 20's with 4 kids, each getting her about $250 a month while she also received full medical, food stamp, and WIC benifits. I've listened to them brag about how they intend to have more kids to get more money. I've watched "homeless" men sit in the shade drinking their 40's and smoking cigarettes as they watched hard working Mexicans digging ditches, waiting for lunch time so they could beg for food.

            In my 48 years on this planet, I have lived by a code where I work hard for everything I have, I take care of my family, I help others where and when I can, and I do not need the government to tell me how to do it.



            • #7
              Re: The DroneWars

              The issue with Big Oil subsidies versus 'Renewable Energy' subsidies is that one is completely capable
              on its own right and is making record profits even despite record environmental damages and a global
              recession, while the other is in its infancy and is not yet profitable.

              China subsidized its own foray into 'clean' energy technology and recent estimates have that China
              will profit handsomely for that investment and heavy subsidy in the coming future. Meanwhile Big Energy
              is choking our own advancement into the revolutionary changes of energy technology that will fuel
              our children's and grand-children's lives.

              Our reforms should be balanced on to those who can most afford it. I agree that our culture of cheap
              disposable consumerism is disgusting and reprehensible, but you see thats exactly why luxury items
              end up being only a few hundred dollars. I agree that the family that earns government money
              and buys needless luxury is not a good means to an end, but must you punish everyone, including
              the very poor who do use those dollars well, of which my family partook,
              because of a few criminals who would be getting drug money anyways?

              I currently work part time at an office that prescribes medicine to help people get off of opiods,
              an addiction that would literally kill them if they went cold turkey, I could not tell you how many people we get
              from West Virginia seeking 'Subutex' a drug that is now off the market because it was easily abused
              to get 'high' or a 'fix'. There is certainly a ring going on down there and they are certainly damaging
              West Virginia. However does that mean that every single grandma or special needs citizen should be
              abandoned from their states medicare? Did I mention that only a handful of the abusers actually have medicare?
              The rest are 'Out of Pocket'. Oh also many many doctors in our region have been shut down or even arrested
              for knowingly abusing the system so that they can also get the Insurance Company money!

              Does this mean that we close up shop and treat no one?

              Well do you know what is actually happening?

              West Virginia is passing STRICT LAWS that are now banning completely the
              drug which can be abused and our office is slowly switching all patients over
              to this drug. We are actively cracking down to find any person who could be
              diverting the substance and our screening process for new patients is heavily improved.

              My point with this story is that change takes time and nothing will ever be perfect.
              We can not look at a crowd of poor and say, this one will abuse and this one wont.
              At the same time we know that heavy poverty only creates more poverty and hinders
              growth of the middle class. Our seniors are the most vulnerable people and raising their
              retirement age even a few years can be serious for anyone with a physical labor profession.
              My uncle is barely fifty and his knees are shot to hell from his job. He doesn't like getting aid
              but it keeps him solvent until he can reenter the workforce in a better way.


              • #8
                Re: The DroneWars

                I am by no means saying that all welfare programs should be abandoned. There are plenty of people that have a need for assistance. The problem is, as I stated above, that our federal employees who are tasked with administrating the program are either overworked, too lazy, do not care, or purposely turn a closed eye to the mismanagement of the programs.

                Again, our Welfare programs have grown from 300 to 800 billion dollars in just 10 years! Certainly, you would agree that it is very important to ensure that the program is administered in a manner in which those who need help are provided it, and those who are abusing the program are rooted out and cut off. They way the programs are currently being run has put us on a course to become a welfare state.

                The two areas we are talking about are but a small part of the rotting apple which is our financial state. It is ludicrous to borrow money from other countries so that we can give money away to other countries. At some point we need to stop the madness.

                What we need are responsible legislators who will roll up their sleeves and look at ALL government spending and determine what cuts are necessary to bring our Country back to financial solvency.

                Oh... and Drones on American Soil are a bad idea!! (My attempt at keeping the original thread message alive) :)


                • #9
                  Re: The DroneWars

                  Boehner said just yesterday that we are not in a debt crisis and that he agrees with the president. :/ Our financial woes are the direct result of a global recession and the war that started today just ten years ago (something I supported then, and something today I am severely upset at myself for ever supporting). Consider that trillions of dollars vanished from our economy over night and massive cuts to our labor force only happened a few years ago and you could see why, perhaps, claiming that we are in dire problem, or even a serious problem, might be over stating.

                  Consider the USPS; it is a mainstay of our nation's greatness. For only cents you can reach any mailbox in our nation! To do something similar in the private sector would cost you a minimum of $20 dollars. The USPS is a strong backbone to our rural nieghboorhoods and in a nation larger than Europe it is such an envy! Today we hear about how insolvent the USPS is and how its in billions of dollars of debt. However if one were to remove the law enacted in 2005(?) that forces the USPS to pay into a fund for employees they will not hire for 75 years!

                  Our nation is in good shape, not stellar, but good. Comparatively Europe is in a triple dip recession as a direct result of austerity. How can the middle class grow when your economy recedes?

                  As two terribly long wars wind down (@ $2 trillion dollars, air-conditioning alone costed $20 billion), ill advised tax cuts expire, and our deficit decreases at rates not seen ever before we are poised at a great come back. The stock market is rallying, despite the election of a socialist anti-banker; the home market is gearing up; and jobs are being added at a good pace. We are looking at a domestic energy boom (as much as I dislike coal/shale/oil I understand our other means aren't ready yet and we can't switch overnight), and we need many more jobs and domestic construction/maintenance efforts which only spur the market.

                  The concept that people in our government are lazy or not doing their job though, I think, is much like that person who never worked retail/food service and treats the person behind the counter like a nobody slop.

                  But yeah I think we've gotten off topic! Thanks for the talk though.


                  • #10
                    Re: The DroneWars

                    Originally posted by Ytman View Post
                    The concept that people in our government are lazy or not doing their job though, I think, is much like that person who never worked retail/food service and treats the person behind the counter like a nobody slop.
                    I have worked for the Government for the last 30 years. :P Trust me, its not just a concept. However, to be fair, its just not government employees, there seems to be an epidemic of people doing as little as they can get away with to earn their paycheck.


                    • #11
                      Re: The DroneWars

                      I think we all get into a very dangerous place when we judge too many people generally without
                      knowing even the basic complexities of their lives. People like not to be challenged and this is
                      why we try to have a system that acknowledges those with real merit. But that doesn't mean
                      the average lazy man still working his shift doesn't deserve his $15 hr wage. He just doesn't
                      get that promotion or raise or some time down the line he is the first to be layed off.

                      Edit: *meh* I think we are at a healthy level of disagreement ^^

                      I need to shut up.
                      Last edited by Ytman; 03-19-2013, 07:35 PM.


                      • #12
                        Re: The DroneWars

                        On topic and I think the best way to perhaps end this thread:

                        No More Drones for the CIA

                        Its about time! Since 9/11, nearly 12 years, the CIA gained a power of war-fighting that it simply should never of had and was
                        not debated in our country.




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