THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"TEA", "TAXES" & "TYRANNY"

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Q: What’s the difference between a Neoconservative (Republican) and a Liberal (Democrat)?
A: Neoconservatives part their hair.

In honor of TEA PARTY DAY, I have decided to post these fine articles that originally appeared in the January 19, 2009 issue of The New American magazine (in my not very humble opinion, the best current events magazine in the country today).

Let us remember on this TEA PARTY DAY that it was neoconservative King George W. Bush who started BailOutMania with the taxpayers' money and that USAP (Barack “Hope And Change” Obama) has merely continued and expanded what the so-called “conservative” president started.

USAP knew a good thing when he saw it. Never mind that the bailouts will provide no real “hope” for average Americans (in fact, they will eventually make matters worse) and that they sure as hell don’t amount to “change.” The more we see of USAP, the more he looks like King W (with a better tan and a better jump shot).

I know some of you bright boys and girls out there still don’t “get it”; you still cling to your useless labels like “conservative”, “liberal”, “Republican”, “Democrat”, and you still believe that these terms mean something. They don’t. Everything the Dumb-O-Crats say they hate about Repugnantcans will be found within their own party, and everything the Repugnantcans claim to hate about the Dumb-O-Crats has been promoted by their own party for many, many decades. The names are different; the promised methods are different; the activity is virtually identical. There are two puppets pretending to fight; there is one puppeteer collecting your money and acquiring power over your life.

Perhaps these three articles will help clear some things up for y’all:

IS CONSERVATISM DEAD?

Written by Patrick Krey

The rise of the neoconservatives within the GOP has not only discredited the Grand Old Party but tarnished the image of conservatism.

The Republican party suffered an overwhelming electoral defeat this past November. The establishment media were all too quick to proclaim that conservatism is dead and we're now at the dawn of a liberal age. Peter Beinart, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), wrote in Time magazine that we are facing the dawn of a "new liberal order."

In making this proclamation, Beinart overlooks the fact that the public was not voting for President-elect Obama, but rather against Republicans like John McCain and George W. Bush. But what was it that Bush and the Republican Party have come to symbolize? Bush and McCain both stood for an activist foreign policy of globally spreading democracy, never-ending commitments of nation building, open borders at home, record deficit spending, circumventing the Constitution, expanding domestic welfare programs, and nationalizing the financial sector.

Conservative South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford wrote in a CNN commentary that "Republicans have campaigned on the conservative themes of lower taxes, less government and more freedom — they just haven't governed that way. America didn't turn away from conservatism, they turned away from many who faked it."

Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin wrote, "For all intents and purposes, conservatism — as a national movement — is completely and thoroughly dead. Barack Obama did not destroy it, however. It was George W. Bush and John McCain who destroyed conservatism in America."

David Boaz of the libertarian CATO Institute explains that Bush "delivered massive overspending, the biggest expansion of entitlements in 40 years, centralization of education, a floundering war, an imperial presidency, civil liberties abuses, ... and finally a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street that just kept on growing in the last month of the campaign. Voters who believed in limited government had every reason to reject that record."

These modern Republican policies have nothing to do with traditional conservatism, but have much more in common with big-government liberalism. So how did politicians claiming to be conservatives end up acting like big-government liberals? The explanation lies in understanding the rise of neoconservatism, which has come to define modern conservatism and the GOP.

Modern American Conservatism

The modern American conservative movement is considered to have begun in 1953 with the publishing of The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk. With this book, Kirk traced the evolution of the conservative ideology from the American founding to the early 20th century. Conservatism, Kirk proclaimed, was based on the core principles of "an enduring moral order, the Constitution of the United States, established American way of life, and a free economy." Conservatism, as Kirk and similar traditionalists of his day saw it, meant an adherence to the Constitution and a mind-our-own-business foreign policy. These conservatives were opposed to an activist foreign policy, weary of executive power, and hesitant to engage in war. Kirk praised the late Senator Robert A. Taft for his ability to recognize that "war was the enemy of Constitution, liberty, economic security, and the cake of custom."

Conservative ideology developed and morphed through the years. It had internal conflicts between Rockefeller Republicans, followers of Nelson Rockefeller who held liberal views, and Goldwater conservatives, supporters of Barry Goldwater who adhered to a strict interpretation of the Constitution. This struggle went back and forth, with the liberal wing electing Richard Nixon and the conservative wing electing Ronald Reagan. Over this period, the liberal wing began to gain more power within the establishment right centered inside our nation's capital beltway. It wasn't until the 1970s when the neoconservatives (neocons for short) joined the conservative movement with their own distinct radical beliefs involving a hyper-interventionist foreign policy. Their influence within the movement would grow through the following decades, eventually culminating in George W. Bush's administration.

Neocons as Big-government Globalists

So what is it neocons believe in? Neocons are not concerned with reducing the size of government and are actually quite content with it getting bigger. Justin Raimondo, author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (the book that inspired Ron Paul to run for president), writes, "On the domestic front, far from opposing the growth of Big Government, or even seeking to slow it down, the neocons want to utilize the centralizing federal apparatus to achieve their own 'conservative' ends."

President Bush exemplified this big-government conservatism more than any other modern Republican. Fred Barnes, the author of the pro-Bush Rebel in Chief, explains that "big government conservatives are favorably disposed toward what neoconservative Irving Kristol has called a 'conservative welfare state.' (Neocons tend to be big government conservatives.) ... Bush has never put a name on his political philosophy, though he once joked that it was based on the premise that you could fool some of the people all of the time and he intended to concentrate on those people." Keep in mind that Barnes is actually speaking favorably about Bush. He highlights the misplaced priorities between traditional conservatives and neocons.

While big-government programs might be part and parcel of neocon agendas, it is foreign policy that is at the heart of their ideology. Max Boot, another admitted neocon and CFR senior fellow, explains: "It is not really domestic policy that defines neoconservatism. This was a movement founded on foreign policy, and it is still here that neoconservatism carries the greatest meaning." Boot contends that America should be the world's policeman.

This foreign policy is far from the noninterventionist one recommended by America's Founders of avoiding entangling alliances and pursuing peace and commerce. Instead, it is an aggressive, costly and dangerous policy of America policing the globe in order to establish a new democratic order without regard to any U.S. national interest. Of course, constant war goes hand in hand with this scenario. Raimondo writes, "Indeed, warmongering is the very essence of neoconservatism."

Neocons' Leftist Origins

Neocons were former liberal war hawks, many of whom were intellectuals, who felt disenfranchised by the Democratic Party's embrace of the peace movement. The neocons decided to jump ship and join with the Republicans, in whom they felt they would have a more receptive audience for their internationalist agenda. They were welcomed with open arms by the Rockefeller Republicans and other members of the beltway right. Traditional conservatives were not enthused by these new arrivals, but they felt that a new group of intellectuals would add gravitas to the movement.

Neoconservative thought represents an ideology with more similarities to Trotskyite communism than traditional American conservatism. Writing in the Weekly Standard, Irving Kristol, who is widely considered to be the godfather of neocons, freely admitted that neoconservatism originated "from disillusioned liberal intellectuals in the 1970s." Kristol himself is an admitted former Trotskyite. Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism named after Leon Trotsky, who strongly supported an international socialist revolution and asserted that socialism could only come into being on a global scale. Kristol was the managing editor of Commentary Magazine from 1947 to 1952, which is referred to as the neocon bible. Kristol is also the father of William Kristol, founder of the Weekly Standard. William Kristol, part of the second generation of neocons, is considered to be one of the leading voices of the movement.

Neocon Michael Ledeen, contributing editor for National Review, explained his leftist roots in an interview and said, "I describe myself as a democratic revolutionary, I don't think of myself as 'conservative' at all."

In the book Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency, Pat Buchanan explains:

The first generation were ex-Trotskyites, socialists, leftists and liberals who backed FDR, Truman, JFK and LBJ. When the Democratic Party was captured by McGovern in 1972 — on a platform of cutting defense and 'Come Home America!' — these Cold War liberals found themselves isolated and ignored in their own party. Adrift, they ran over to the Republican Party and were pulled aboard as conservatism's long voyage was culminating in the triumph of Reagan.

The Rise of the Neocons

Many neocons played important supporting roles in the Reagan administration. Neocons appointed by Reagan include William Bennett, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Richard Perle, Eugene Rostow, Carnes Lord, and Elliott Abrams. This is not to say that neocons ran the administration. As a matter of fact, the neocons had many differences of opinion with President Reagan about foreign policy. Neocon Norman Podhoretz, editor-at-large for Commentary Magazine, then wrote an essay entitled "The Neoconservative Anguish Over Reagan's Foreign Policy."

The neocons were considered a helpful constituency in the conservative movement at the time, but they were just one constituency in a much larger movement. The neocons were not content with this arrangement and had hoped that they would gain more power in George H.W. Bush's administration. William Kristol served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle and expressed optimism about neocon leadership of the first Bush White House.

Russell Kirk, still highly regarded in conservative circles at the time, expressed reservations about neocon leadership. Kirk was wary of the way neocons had "been rash in their schemes of action, pursuing a fanciful democratic globalism rather than the national interest of the United States." He also did not believe that George H.W. Bush would give in to neocon pressure. Kirk said, "It is a reasonable presumption that Mr. Kristol and certain of his colleagues would prefer to install in the White House some person, not at all a fine gentleman, who might be deviously manipulated by neoconservative ideologues. Mr. Bush has far too much practical experience of federal office to be so managed by the 'first-class academic "brain trust" ' that Mr. Kristol desires to establish in the White House." Apparently, Kirk overestimated George H.W. Bush and did not even consider the future ascendancy of his son who would turn out to be "open to devious manipulation" by the neocons.

The neocons were elated with the advent of the first Gulf War as the elder Bush assumed the role of the liberal internationalist they had been hoping for. Kirk would become extremely disillusioned with the president over the decision to intervene. Kirk chided the president for initially engaging in war for an "oil can," referring to the rationale of keeping open the Kuwaiti oil fields, and he famously derided Bush for his eventual explanation for going to war: to launch a "New World Order." "What are we to say of Mr. Bush's present endeavor to bring to pass a gentler, kinder New World Order? Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson were enthusiasts for American domination of the world. Now George Bush appears to be emulating those eminent Democrats. When the Republicans, once upon a time, nominated for the presidency a 'One World' candidate, Wendell Willkie, they were sadly trounced. In general, Republicans throughout the twentieth century have been advocates of prudence and restraint in the conduct of foreign affairs." Kirk was so upset with the Gulf War and the change in direction of the conservative movement that he wrote to a friend expressing his opinion that Bush should be strung up on the White House lawn for war crimes!

As always, neocons came down on the opposing side of Kirk's traditional conservatism. To them, it was not Bush's globalist intervention that betrayed the conservative movement, but it was his failure to fully complete the job of regime change in Iraq. The neocons grew disillusioned with the elder Bush for not being enough of a liberal interventionist. The neocons felt betrayed by the president's decision to leave Saddam in power. They spent most of the '90s establishing new publications and think tanks to promote their viewpoints. The neocons also made a conscientious effort to more closely influence powerful GOP politicians like Newt Gingrich and John McCain. The neocons also worked to increase their influence with the right-wing media. Media personalities like Rush Limbaugh became closely aligned with top neocon thinkers. The flagship magazine of the beltway right, National Review, purged traditional conservatives in favor of neocon-approved GOP partisans.

You could say the neocons never met a foreign intervention they didn't like. They praised the Clinton administration whenever it took any globalist action but then criticized it for not going far enough. The neocons were fervent supporters of Clinton's efforts to expand NATO. They applauded the bombing of Belgrade but decried the lack of ground troops. In 1997, William Kristol and Robert Kagan, a CFR neocon and contributing editor to The New Republic, co-founded the Project for a New American Century (PNAC). PNAC is a neoconservative think tank that promotes higher military spending and an increased role for America as a global policeman. In 1998, PNAC issued a letter to President Clinton urging regime change in Iraq. Even though Clinton pushed deadly sanctions against Iraq and continual bombing raids, the Monica Lewinsky scandal made it politically difficult to fully implement PNAC's policy recommendations. The neocons wouldn't have to wait long before a politically viable reality for Iraq regime change developed.

Neocons Finally Dominate

It was in the administration of George W. Bush that neocons finally came to fully occupy the driver's seat. The 9/11 terrorist attacks gave the neocons the opportunity to push their long-held view of a global democratic revolution to the mainstream. Was George W. Bush a neocon? If he wasn't, he did one great impression. Some neocons feel that Bush was a true believer. Neocon Richard Perle has said of Bush: "The President of the United States, on issue after issue, has reflected the thinking of neoconservatives." The neocons got almost everything they wanted from Bush, most importantly the Iraq invasion.

Bush appointed many neocons to his administration, and he didn't hide the fact that he employed many neoconservatives. While giving a speech at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an influential Washington think tank founded in 1943 and known as the headquarters of neoconservative thought, President Bush told the audience, "You do such good work that my administration has borrowed 20 such minds."

Even with all the obvious failures of the Bush administration, the Republican faithful still continued their disastrous love affair with the neocons by picking McCain as their 2008 presidential candidate. John McCain's close relationship with the neocons dated back to the '90s when they both broke ranks with the GOP to support the intervention in Kosovo. McCain also had many prominent neocons advising his campaign. When it came to foreign policy, McCain used all the neocon talking points on the campaign trail. McCain's foreign policy positions seem like they were lifted straight off PNAC's website.

Now the neocons are blaming everyone but themselves for McCain's defeat, and they are making suggestions that have little to do with the reality of the voter rejection of the GOP. David Frum, the neocon speechwriter for Bush who coined the term "Axis of Evil," claimed that picking social conservative Sarah Palin was the reason for the loss and recommends that the GOP should lessen its opposition to abortion and gay "marriage." Frum says this despite the fact that exit polling showed that McCain might have lost by an even larger margin without Palin to draw in social conservatives. William Kristol claimed that Bush was too laissez faire and the GOP needs to become more interventionist on economic policy. Kristol says this despite the fact that Bush was nowhere close to laissez faire and employed an interventionist economic policy throughout his years in office. Bush himself seems out of touch with reality. In an interview with Charles Gibson, he explained that the biggest disappointment was not the neocon foreign policy but, rather, the failure to crowbar amnesty for illegal immigrants through Congress! He also said that the landslide November defeat was not because of him but because of voter dissatisfaction with the Republican Party. And why were they dissatisfied? Bush did not explain.

Post-neocon Conservative Movement?

What will be the future of the post-Bush conservative movement? It is tempting to heap all the blame on the neocons as an aberration in the conservative movement, but the troubles run deeper than that. Neocons have so completely infiltrated the conservative movement that it's hard to distinguish between true neocons and establishment conservatives. Most of the Republicans who supported the Iraq invasion were not Trotskyite fellow travelers but rather knee-jerk partisans who were all too willing to accept the neocon consensus trumpeted by party leaders and the beltway right media of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.

Individuals who consider themselves traditional conservatives should reject the voices of both GOP party leaders and members of the media who promoted Bush's brand of conservatism. Instead they should listen to the voices of constitutional conservatives who stood by principle over party in opposition to Iraq and other unconstitutional actions by the big-government Bush administration. Voices like Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, Charles Goyette, and organizations like the John Birch Society as well as The New American magazine.

The mainstream media (MSM) also played a role in assisting the neocons dominating the GOP. Big-government conservatives who are close with the neocons, like Lindsey Graham and John McCain, are praised as pragmatic centrists and moderates by the establishment media, whereas true constitutionalists and traditional conservatives like Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan are considered extreme or fringe and are ignored altogether. The MSM is all too eager to employ a neocon as their organization's in-house conservative, thereby redefining conservatism as neoconservatism. Bill Kristol became an op-ed columnist for the New York Times in January 2008 even though almost all of his Iraq predictions proved false. Jon Stewart even kidded with him, asking, "Oh, Bill Kristol, are you ever right?" It is far past time to reject this media-concocted paradigm and expose the true extremists: those who would indebt future generations and pursue dangerous and unconstitutional policies of endless war.

If conservatives continue to identify with the failed Bush policies, then the conservative movement is dead as we know it. On the other hand, if true traditional conservatives, following in the footsteps of Russell Kirk or Ron Paul or Pat Buchanan, acknowledge the failures of Bush and the neocons while renewing their dedication to the U.S. Constitution, the conservative movement's obituary might be premature. As for many of the knee-jerk GOP partisans who became staunch supporters of the neocons? They'll quickly fall in line with the new constitutional coalition just like they did with Bush and the Iraq War.

Patrick Krey, M.B.A., J.D., L.L.M., is a lawyer and freelance writer from New York.

Here's another article by the same writer from the same magazine:

NEOCONSERVATISM IN THE OBAMA AGE

Written by Patrick Krey

Neoconservatives are elated with Obama's appointments, recognizing that the new guard is very much like the old.

Some traditional conservatives were hoping that with Bush leaving office and Obama coming in, the neocons would be put out of power, but sadly, they're not going away that easily. Contrary to the public's perception of President-elect Obama as the peace candidate, he has been extremely hawkish in his appointments. The selection of Joe Biden as a running mate was a sign that the globalist and hawkish wing of the Democratic Party (where the neocons originally hailed from) was going to be strongly represented in an Obama administration. Back in 1999, Joe Biden cosponsored a resolution with John McCain and Joe Lieberman to use ground troops in Serbia, coinciding with the wishes of a neoconservative think tank called the Project for a New American Century (PNAC).

Obama's multiple appointments of liberal war hawks, former Clinton officials, and individuals with neocon ties is worrisome. Investigative reporter Robert Dreyfuss reported on the close alliance between these new appointments and the neocons. "Several top advisers to Obama — including Tony Lake, United Nations ambassador-designate Susan Rice, Tom Daschle and Dennis Ross, along with leading Democratic hawks like Richard Holbrooke, close to vice president-elect Joe Biden or secretary of state-designate Hillary Clinton — have made common cause with war-minded think-tank hawks at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and other hard-line institutes."

Former CIA Officer Phillip Giraldi has warned that top Obama adviser Dennis Ross was part of a task force consisting mostly of neocons that issued a report that "advocated talking to Tehran to give it a chance to surrender on all key issues before attacking it, urging the next president to build up forces for the assault from day one of the new administration." The task force recommended that failure of the talks be followed up with a "show of force" in the region, involving a blockade of Iranian gas imports and oil exports, which would in turn be followed up with "kinetic action," a U.S. assault on Iran. That doesn't exactly sound like the diplomatic approach trumpeted by Obama on the campaign trail. Ross has worked closely with neocon think tanks like PNAC and WINEP, as well as for FOX News, where he was a strong advocate for war against Iraq.

The appointment of Marine Corps Gen. James L. Jones as national security adviser is also a bad omen according to Doug Bandow of the American Conservative Defense Alliance. Bandow writes that Jones is "an advocate of higher military spending, and his most famous proposal was disastrously bad: to place a NATO force, presumably including Americans, in the West Bank. Is there a dumber region in which to station American soldiers and Marines? Maybe Iraq, but then the Palestinian territories come in at a strong second place."

These appointments seem to be in touch with Obama's interventionist foreign policy stances which were summed up by journalist and author Jeremy Scahill. Scahill writes:

Several of the individuals at the center of Obama's transition and emerging foreign policy teams were top players in creating and implementing foreign policies that would pave the way for projects eventually carried out under the Bush/Cheney administration. With their assistance, Obama has already charted out several hawkish stances. Among them:

• His plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan;

• An Iraq plan that could turn into a downsized and rebranded occupation that keeps U.S. forces in Iraq for the foreseeable future;

• His labeling of Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a "terrorist organization;"

• His pledge to use unilateral force inside of Pakistan to defend U.S. interests;

• His position, presented before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), that Jerusalem "must remain undivided" — a remark that infuriated Palestinian officials and which he later attempted to reframe;

• His plan to continue the War on Drugs, a backdoor U.S. counterinsurgency campaign in Central and Latin America;

• His refusal to "rule out" using Blackwater and other armed private forces in U.S. war zones, despite previously introducing legislation to regulate these companies and bring them under U.S. law.

Another red flag for the American public is that the neocons seem to be beside themselves with adoration for Obama. Phillip Giraldi explained the establishment praise for Obama as pundits who "joined the song of praise being raised by neocons and faux-conservatives alike lauding Barack Obama's cabinet for its 'moderation' and 'centrism.' What that really means, of course, is that they are all recognizing that Obama will preserve the Bush status quo when it comes to foreign policy, a heady mix of American exceptionalism combined with muscular democracy promotion and interventionism." William Kristol had very kind words for the president-elect and stated that he's poised for presidential success. John McCain even applauded the appointments!

Rush Limbaugh praised the appointment of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state as "brilliant."


[*NOTE: I feel that this quote, taken out of context like it is, gives the appearance of a meaning that I do not believe Rush Limbaugh was implying. I’m no fan of Rush Limboob, in fact I rather strongly dislike that phony conservative, but nevertheless, I can’t fully endorse the inclusion of this particular quotation in relation to the theme of this article. ~STMcC]

Senator Joe Lieberman, who broke ranks with Democrats allegedly over foreign policy concerns to endorse McCain, called the appointments "virtually perfect."

Neocon David Horowitz actually reprimanded conservative activists whom he felt were unnecessarily filing lawsuits regarding Barack's citizenship status, not because he didn't believe the claims, but rather because Obama has shown his true hawkish nature for which conservatives should be appreciative. "Now, as president-elect he has just formed the most conservative foreign policy team since John F. Kennedy, one well to the right of Bill Clinton. Where is your gratitude for that? What is more relevant in his Hillary Clinton pick — her prickly past or the fact that except for Joe Lieberman, she is the Democrat most identified with support for the Iraq War?" This neocon wants conservative activists to be grateful for Hillary Clinton!? His most revealing response was when he exclaimed, "And please don't write me about the Constitution." These last two statements should put to rest any notion that neocons care about traditional conservative values. It would appear that as long as their lust for war and global democratic revolution is satisfied, they do not care about much else.

This dynamic of neocons versus liberal interventionists seems to be along the lines of good cop vs. bad cop. Both parties want the same result, but they play opposing roles to con the third party (in this case, independent voters) into trusting them even though they both share the same goals. And when you really think about it: what is the difference between a neocon and a liberal war hawk anyway? Not much of a difference at all considering that neocons were liberal war hawks a few decades ago. Neocon Max Boot admitted this much while praising Obama. "I am gob smacked by these appointments, most of which could just as easily have come from a President McCain.... [Hillary] Clinton and [James] Steinberg at State should be powerful voices for 'neo-liberalism' which is not so different in many respects from 'neo-conservativism.'"

Constitutional conservatives could really distinguish themselves on foreign policy from the neocons of the Bush years and the liberal hawks that Obama is bringing to the White House. Doug Bandow, of the American Conservative Defense Alliance, suggests:

The only way to change this dangerous dynamic is for those who believe in limited government and individual liberty to use their votes to punish war-mongers in either party.... And given the current ascendancy of liberals within the Democratic Party, foreign policy offers an opportunity for the Right.... Rather than attempt to outspend the Democrats on defense and promote even more frivolous interventions than those advanced by the acolytes of Madeleine Albright, conservatives should offer a genuine alternative: republican noninterventionism. Defend America, but turn military responsibilities over to rich allies in Asia and Europe and avoid involvement in tragic but irrelevant Third World conflicts. Stand for the Constitution and defend republic over empire against Wilsonians on the Left and Right.


And lastly, Thomas Eddlem puts the final nail in the coffin, expressing my thoughts as well as his own:

READY TO BE AN EXTREMIST AGAIN

Written by Thomas R. Eddlem

Back in September 2005, I wrote a short column for The New American stating that "I'm okay being middle-of-the-road." The column chronicled how acquaintances and family had mistaken my stinging criticisms of the policies of the Bush administration and the Republican Congress as evidence of an occasional leftward bent.

If you are a conservative, conventional thinking goes, you can't criticize a Republican president. The worst a conservative is supposed to do is to grumble about how a Republican president is not conservative enough, and then note that at least he's better than the alternative. But I wasn't buying the party line.

Bush did more to erode the restraints of the U.S. Constitution than any president who preceded him, with direct attacks on the Bill of Rights' prohibitions on detainment without habeas corpus or trial, torture, and searches without a court warrant. He presided over Republican and Democratic Congresses that enacted the largest spending increases since FDR, and will leave office with the largest budget deficit in U.S. history. He made no effort to stop the spending madness that has ruined our economy, and did much to worsen it. He also left us embroiled in two disastrous foreign wars that killed far more Americans than September 11, and there's no end in sight.

There's absolutely no evidence he was better than the alternative. For pointing out these indisputable facts, I was called a "middle-of-the-roader," a libertarian, and even a liberal a couple of times.

I hadn't changed my views from when I had criticized the Clinton administration's big-government policies. Criticizing Clinton's big-government policies got me labeled a "right-wing extremist." I'm not a right-wing extremist, of course, but rather I'm a moderate, middle-of-the-road John Bircher who believes in limited government under the U.S. Constitution.

Later, when I criticized the Bush administration's even-bigger-government policies, I magically became a "middle-of-the-roader" or a "moderate" for saying exactly the same thing that got me labeled a "right-wing extremist."

If a war of aggression by Clinton against Bosnia was wrong (as is any attack on a country that hasn't attacked the United States), I would suggest, then the war of aggression against Iraq under Bush is also wrong. Deficit spending under Bush was as wrong as the likely deficit spending under Obama will be.

I hadn't moved; the labelers had moved. Like the weather changing with the seasons, these terms changed meaning with the party in power at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It just goes to show what terms like left, right, center, conservative, and liberal mean today.

They mean nothing.

Left, right, and center mean nothing if you set out on a 1,000-mile journey without a map or directions. Left compared to what? You don't even know where you are.

Likewise, conservative means nothing if you have no fixed idea of what it is you'd like to conserve. Liberal means nothing unless you have some concrete idea of what should be liberalized. That's the problem with the labelers. They have no fixed frame of reference, which is to say that they have no idea what the Constitution requires and what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they set up our government. Instead, Americans rely upon the politicians and the establishment media to frame these terms in a self-serving manner. And many people never realize they've been hoodwinked into a false dichotomy.

Rome went through the same sickening cycle at the end of its republic, when Romans fretted more over whether they were with the party of Caesar or the party of Pompey rather than whether their freedoms were eroding under both administrations.

Americans, like Romans of old, are seeking a knight on a white horse to save their freedom. But we won't be saved by a president, Democrat or Republican. We can only save ourselves. Freedom can only be restored by bringing the size and scope of government back into check by putting sufficient pressure on the legislature. If we're to preserve freedom, it'll be when citizens insist that their Congress make government smaller.

As big-government Democrat Barack Obama takes the reins (or perhaps I should say "dons the purple") as president, I can again expect to be labeled a right-wing extremist. New label, same guy. Or old label, same guy. It's hard to keep track.

So be it.

I can handle the labels. I can stay consistent.

Besides, it's fun to ask the labelers, "Right-wing compared to what objective standard of measurement?" I almost always get a puzzled, vacant expression in return.

Thomas R. Eddlem, a freelance writer, served as the John Birch Society's director of research from 1991-2000.


Bravo, Mr. Eddlem, Bravo!

I invite anyone interested in perusing overviews of the big picture to read the two Blog Bits I have posted here at Xtremely Un-P.C. And Unrepentant titled “See The New World Order In Black And White” and “Stop Being A Useful Idiot.” I would have made finding them easier for you by posting links to them right here, but I’m pretty sure that no one has bothered to read even THIS far.

Should you find yourself elbow-to-elbow with a Neocon at a TEA PARTY today, I suggest you kick him or her in the ass and tell ‘em to go to the COMMUNIST PARTY where they belong. There’s a party for everyone, but TEA PARTIES should be reserved for American patriots only! (That means true “Constitutionalists.”)

Dogs, Vomit, Fools, Folly, and all the usual.
You know the gig...

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
.

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