Thursday, October 7, 2010

Libertarians and Senate Dysfunction, Bier Bikes, Coke In Afghanistan, Year 10

Dana Milbank
Steve Benen
Meghan McCain

"The Senate doesn't work. The country desperately needs it to be fixed." - Steve Benen
"Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under."  - H.L. Mencken
"All I know is that I am not a Marxist"  - Karl Marx

Steve Benen's opinion piece gives another illustration of a dysfunctional Senate. A fix for it is easy to implement, if any of the Senators have the cojones to fix their own administrative rules. It certainly wouldn't come from any of the tea party candidates, who don't seem to have a mind of their own. Rand Paul sounds like he's read a book other than something trashy by Ayn Rand, but that's because of his Libertarian roots. Libertarians sound like they are smart because they define themselves being close enough to the word "librarian" to count in horseshoes. But when you listen to them speak for any length of time, you realize how much they resemble characters out of the Illuminati Trilogy, and their ideas aren't pragmatic and lack any common sense. Makes me wish I still had the C-Span tape of Rand Paul addressing the John Birch Society's convention, telling them what great Americans they are.

When I was a kid, my best friend's mother was an Amway distributor, responsible for a lot of territory in Southern California. To hang out at his house was to meet and view the behavior of some very quirky people, many of them John Birchers. I felt comfortable enough to go down to the local headquarters and do an interview and project on them for Social Studies. What I was so amazed and, in retrospect, quite impressed with, was when I was interviewing the guy who was in charge of the office, we got into an argument, and yes, there was a lot of quoting from the founding fathers, even back in 1968. As it was lunchtime, another guy came into the office to relieve the first guy, and he jumped right into the argument without missing a beat. He hadn't the faintest clue what I had been arguing before, and he didn't care. The fun thing for him was arguing, and we spent another half hour escalating our viewpoints, until I left, feeling emotionally exhausted and like I had been mentally abused and beaten up by adults. After that, I steered clear of anyone who evoked that strange combination of conservative politics mixed with evangelical fever. Ironically, I now live in the epicenter of people who express those two combinations of thought. Colorado springs is the birthplace of the Libertarian Party, and rabid conservative republicans are the norm, which is why we have an Army base, an Air Force base, NORAD, and the Air Force Academy all making a home here. Rabid evangelical conservative thought goes well with those who have spent their lives taking orders and who never give much thought beyond the transubstantiation of Christ on Sundays...

Under the guise of terrorism there is another war going on throughout the Muslim lands. It has nothing to do with al-Qaeda or Talibans, or any other groups that the US military can make an excuse to fight. The war is one where both Sunnis and Shias will make bombs and use them in the name of some other vague terrorists after they bomb a Sufi shrine, like what just happened in Karachi, Pakistan.: "At least seven people have been killed and 60 others injured in two explosions at a busy Sufi Muslim shrine in the Pakistani city of Karachi. One blast took place at the entrance to the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in the Clifton district on Thursday and a second occurred inside the compound, sources said. " This incident is similar to a similar bombing of a Sufi shrine in Lahore a couple of months ago. It will be blamed on the Taliban because they have made statements before condemning Sufism as being anti-muslim, which is a crock... Sufis have been under attack for over 500 years because they say there is a deeper meaning to religion which most people do not experience, because they don't know how to pay attention. So, those who don't know what the hell they are talking about often condemn them and the many ways that Sufis use to express themselves; they use poetry, music, and dance, which are often outlawed by rabid conservatives. So, every time you see another Sufi shrine bombed or destroyed, remember that it was done by intolerant local conservatives and not by al-Qaeda or any other terrorist group. If the Pakistani military got their hands on a lot of drones, they would use them to wipe out the Sufi networks, not the Haqqani networks...

Every great invention eventually will hit a bump in the road, and it looks like that bump is in the city of Dusseldorf, Germany, which just banned the use of bier bikes: "What has 16 passengers, pedals, a bar and loud music? Answer: a bierbike, a pedal-and-alcohol-fuelled contraption which can often be seen swerving along the streets of German cities. But now a court has banned the party wagons amid fears that inebriated passengers could tumble onto the road.

Favored by stag parties or fans of an environmentally-friendly city tour, more and more German cities now have beer bikes. But now a court in the western German city of Düsseldorf has banned the 16-seat contraptions. They are not allowed to travel without a special permit -- and they are not going to grant any, the court said, in a decision which could set a precedent in Germany.
Those renting beer bikes argued that their multi-wheeled cycles had as much right to the streets as any other bike. But Judge Ute Fischer stepped on the brakes, arguing that travel was clearly not the main aim of the "rolling party bars."

If the ban of beer bikes catches on, what will be next? Will nude bicycle riding become an outlaw sport where riders secretly meet during each full moon? As of now, beer bikes are a friendly, convivial way to get to know a strange German city, and a great way to learn about craft brewing. Why spoil the inventiveness, since it is only a matter of time before they come up with a mountain bike version, then the bier bikes can introduce tourists to more beautiful scenery and the fun of drinking beer along wilderness trails, leaving a visible line of beer nuts so you can find your way back home...

Today begins the 10th year that we have been fighting in Afghanistan. We went their to look for Osama bin Laden, and once there, kicked the Taliban government out of Kabul. Since then, we have been fighting to stabilize the puppet government we installed, and have tried to eradicate what is left of those pesky and stubborn Taliban groups, because somehow they are a danger to our national security.

President Hamid Karzai has set up a peace council, who's goal is to create a truce with the Taliban, so the US can go home. He'd like a more stable government, and is willing to share with the Haqqani family. So, there will be both the Karzai family dynasty and the Haqqani family networked into running the government and extracting the vast mineral wealth buried in the northern mountains.

Then the older leadership of the Taliban can come back from where they were living in Pakistan, far from the maddening crowds full of suicide bombers., and live peacefully in their Afghan homes, enveloped by the peaceful dreams from the hashish pipes laced with opium, given to them by their more liberal children... The Taliban's interpretation of sharia law has already been undermined by the generation of women attending schools, and their wives and children exposed to Pakistani culture, television filled with Bollywood motion pictures, and the chance to watch CNN. Not to mention the temptations of YouTube and Facebook on the Internet. In a few more years their children will be sent abroad for college,  Coca Cola can be bought at a local 7-11, and groups of teenagers rough up other groups for their nike shoes... Or, advertising could go all the way and rename that most popular beverage al-Qaeda Cola for this part of the world, distribution rights bought by the bin Laden family...

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