I’m not sure if people have just been forgetting their basic debate etiquette lately, but I’ve been seeing violations of Godwin’s law happening left and right (although usually right).  Godwin’s law, of course, being the Internet discussion rule which mandates that the moment you compare someone to Hitler or the Nazis, you automatically lose the argument.  Unless your name is Stalin, any comparison to Hitler is going to sound way over the top.  One would think that we would know better by now than to exaggerate that much, but “OMG 1930s Germany” scare tactics never go away.

The most frequent victim of this kind of hyperbole over the past few years has been President Obama, because trying to provide health care access to millions of people is exactly like killing them.  I’m happy to report that the Tea Party’s rhetoric has changed…somewhat.   The latest political video sponsored by Foster Friess doesn’t claim Obama is like Hitler, it just claims that Hitler would have been unhappy with his insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  But wait!  If Hitler hates something, doesn’t this mean we should like it?  This is so confusing…

Another Godwin’s law violation was committed by South Carolina state Senator Mike Fair who, as part of the GOP’s ongoing outreach to female voters, decided to compare Planned Parenthood to Hitler.  The Senator was displeased with the results of a Planned Parenthood poll which show that over 60% of those surveyed support a legal right to late-term abortions, once they are informed that those abortions are rare and most of them happen for medical reasons.  I will come right out and say that I don’t support late-term abortions myself, unless they indeed happen for medical reasons.  However, that is still no excuse for the Godwin’s law infraction, which only hurts one’s cause in the eyes of rational people.  Since the poll results contradict sacred conventional wisdom about the American public, the Senator reacted by stating that he would no more trust any information coming from Planned Parenthood than he would trust good old Adolf himself, and that Hitler “by the way, had the same philosophy of Planned Parenthood and that is that some people deserve to live more than other people based on what the culture says.”  Hold on, you might say, a fetus, especially in the early stages of a pregnancy, is not the same thing as a full-grown person.  You might say that and then you might remember that to social conservatives, a fetus is more valuable than a person.  Fetuses need to be protected…people can just fend for themselves.

Speaking of guys who aren’t big fans of reproductive rights, Rick Santorum is receiving a Godwin’s law citation for comparing Iran to Nazi Germany.  Yes, there is a good point to be made about the anti-Semitism of the Iranian leadership.  But the hateful speeches have, as of yet, not been matched by large-scale violence, and they likely never will.  So the Hitler comparison remains invalid.  And, no matter how often our hawkish politicians keep suggesting it, going to war with Iran is a bad idea.

So…you know what?  Since it sounds like everybody else is breaking Godwin’s law, I might as well do it myself.  Hitler?  Bad artist.  George W. Bush?  Bad artist.  Just saying.  See how silly that is?  Still, I hope W. keeps on painting…might be safer for the world that way.

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So, I think I’m starting to get it.  The main thing this gun debate comes down to is that you want to be able to fight your own government.  That’s why you need to own such large guns–because they are not for hunting or target practice–they are meant for that inevitable day when the military shows up on your doorstep to stick you in a FEMA camp because you got caught reading the Drudge Report.  Fine, I get it.  There’s only one problem with this scenario.  The military isn’t afraid of your puny assault rifle.  They have missiles and drones.  This invites another question–should we all be allowed to own missiles in case we have to defend ourselves from the coming dictatorship?  If not, why not?  Why are our missile rights being restricted?

This question can be translated to the international scene, as well.  After all, the conservative argument is that the more weapons everyone has, the more peaceful our world will be.  So why the uproar over Iran and North Korea developing their nuclear programs?  Let everyone have their bombs, the bigger the better.   Sure, we’ll live in constant fear of each other, but we’ll also treat each other more politely.  Wasn’t that the theory during the Cold War–mutually assured destruction?  A theory which Reagan liked, even!  See, the Republicans will totally be on board with me on this.

Um, what’s that you say?  You say that Iran and North Korea are ka-razy and should not be allowed to arm themselves to the teeth?  Does that mean that not everyone in the world should have access to deadly weapons?  So perhaps some individuals in our country should also not be allowed to have guns, because they might shoot them for crazy reasons.  Unless America is somehow special and is comprised of only good and peaceful people.  But I think our latest rash of shootings puts the lie to that.

So beyond the economy, beyond the contraceptives and bayonets, there is one question on my mind today:

Are we going to go to war again in the next four years?

I know Mitt has not explicitly indicated that he is planning to attack Iran, but with all of the back and forth on his views, how do we know to trust him?  Republicans do seem to enjoy the war thing, and there is a lot of pressure from Israel to help them out with this.

Unless we are directly attacked, I don’t want war with Iran, North Korea or anyone else.  I don’t want anyone I know to be in harm’s way for the sake of our grandstanding around the world.

I’m casting my very first Presidential election vote as a US citizen this year, and it is as much a vote against another war as it is a vote *for* anything.  I don’t actually believe Mitt will be that starkly different from Barack on the economy or social issues.  I even think Mitt is a smart enough politician–and one who wants to get re-elected–not to try to repeal all of healthcare reform.  But I don’t know what to expect from him on the foreign policy front. 

I guess all that is left now is to wait and see what happens.  But I cannot say it enough–your vote really does matter.  It could determine our future in the next few years, maybe even our very survival.  Go vote everybody!

We just got out of one.  I had breathed a sigh of relief that we would be able to start getting back on our feet.  And now, here comes another one.

Today I’m reading in several news sources that US General Martin Dempsey is in Israel to urge restraint, as Israel mulls a possible pre-emptive strike on Iran.  What happens if Israel gets embroiled in military conflict with Iran?  I doubt that we’re going to let our ally get beaten to a pulp.  As much as I disagree with Israel’s domestic policy sometimes, I do not see that as an option either.  So then it’s yet another potentially disastrous and draining war for us.  Just the thought of it makes me want to curl up in a fetal position under my desk.

Like most people, I’m no fan of Ahmadinejacket.  I was very excited when the Green Revolution in Iran was taking place, and even took part in a completely useless march through downtown Portland supporting it.  Because that’s our cure for everything in Portland—protest marches.  I love the idea that the people of Iran might be able to overthrow their tyrannical government.  I hate the idea that we may soon be bombing those same ambitious, idealistic people into oblivion.

Also, has everyone forgotten that we don’t have the money for another war?  Some of the Republicans calling the loudest for an attack on Iran are also the biggest budget cut proponents.  Ah, but wait, we have all these programs like Social Security and Medicare that need to get slashed anyway.  We’re getting too big for our britches in this country, expecting things like a dignified retirement.  We forget that we have to pay a price for maintaining the empire.

And then what about countries like China and Russia, who oppose an attack on Iran?  Are we headed for an all-out world war?  China is obviously a trading partner, so they have to tread down a very cautious path.  It’s doubtful they would want to take us on at this point.  But I fear what might happen when we become so weakened by a series of unending wars that other countries no longer respect us.  Please, let’s maintain our strength, not waste it.

If nothing else, this is another useful wake up call telling us that we need to stop being so dependent on oil, so dependent on it that we keep having to fight for it.  We have to look at options like alternative energy sources and public transit and bikes, before it’s too late.

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it’s not time for World War III yet.  I mean, I’m just getting started on this blog, for chrissakes!