Summer of Woe and Indolence

August 19, 2005 at 09:00 PM | categories: liberty rants | View Comments

This Summer, more legislation and statutes have disgraced this republic we call the United States of America then in all of my 24 years, and possibly in all of it's history. The worst part of it all though is this: I have been reading it after the fact. I am greatly disturbed that these decisions have been made by our political leaders, but even more so by my indolence towards finding out and my lack of doing anything to prevent it. These are but a few of the things that I have felt remorse for not doing a better job of forseeing and doing anything about:

  1. H.R. 1268 - The Emergency spending bill and 'REAL' ID act.
  2. Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA)
  3. The Patriot Act version 2.0
  4. Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005
  5. The Supreme Court decision of Kelo v. City of New London
You can read about these all over the web at the moment, but here are just a few of the worst bits of each:
  1. H.R. 1268: See my blog entry.
  2. CAFTA: This bill was passed in Congress during a late night session in late July. The proponents of the bill broke the house rules and extended the voting period which had alread expired (with the bill voted down). They proceeded to bribe and steal as many votes as they could by promissing subsidies and benefits for the other representative's states. One estimate by a friend of Representative Ron Paul stated that these promises equate to over $50 billion in completely unrelated promises. These promises just get tacked onto our, the taxpayers bill. I'm all for free trade, but do we really need over one hundred pages to mention that we should have free trade? It must be a lot more than it is purpoted to be.
  3. Patriot Act 2.0: I hope you know about this one. This was passed briefly after the attacks on the east coast on September 11th, 2001. It was passed very quickly and without much thought about anyone's personal liberties. It was designed to combat 'terrorism.' The only good thing about the act was that it had sunset clauses. That the provisions it specified would end. Well here we are, in the middle of an ongoing war with Iraq, London get's bombed, twice. On the very day of the second London bombings, the Patriot Act's provisions are made permanent. That is, all but two of them. Those two are renewed for another 10 years. So, Those things that were passed in October of 2001 were thought so incredibly necessary to fight terrorism that that they would suspend most of the personal protections guaranteed by our constitution, are now found to be even more important now than they were before to make them permanent? It sounds to me more like the Patriot act is no longer so controversial in the minds of most. People have forgotten, people have thought to themselves, well it hasn't affected me at all, so it must be working. Even after we are are through with Iraq, even after the 'War on terrorism' is long forgotten, those provisions will still be in effect. By that time, probably most people will assume that that's the way it's always been, that 'Government knows best'.
  4. Energy tax incentives: The energy industry is probably one of the most profitable industries in the world. Everyone uses it, and very few provide it (what some would call a government sanctioned monopoly, some would call a cartel.) However, George Bush sees them differently. He sees them struggling to make ends meet. Among some of the more extravegant subsidies of this bill are:
    • Over $2.9 billion alone is set aside in subsidies for the coal industry.
    • A traffic light in Canoga Park, CA receives $100,000 in funding.
    • A bridge to be built in Alaska, spanning from the mainland to an island with a population of fifty: $223 million.
  5. Kelo v. City of New London: Of all of these, this is probably the most blatant overriding of people's rights. The Supreme Court decided in June that it's OK for someone to take your house away from you as long as it's within the economic best interest of the community. Yes, the 5th ammendment does say that "private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation", but do you really think that this is what they meant? If my house can be taken away at any moment, do I really own it? Unfortunately, no.
So, this summer I watched as these things passed me by. Sure, I wrote a few letters to my Senators and Cogressmen expressing my distaste for what they had done, but what good will that do? I vow to be more proactive from now on in finding out about this stuff before it happens. I promise that when I do, I'll bring it to your attention as well. Watch this space, because Ryan is through feeling bad about past mistakes. Ryan is pissed off and ready to take action. I know exactly where I draw the line. I will take back what liberty is rightfully mine. *Ryan
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