God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll (archmage) wrote,
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll
archmage

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Oh, Gimme A Break

According to an article in today's Washington Post, Bush has signed into law a program (to the tune of $15 billion) that is supposedly intended to help prevent and treat AIDS abroad, specifically in African and Caribbean countries which have been hit hard by the affliction.

Sounds nice, huh? Well, it would...if not for a few points:

~ Let's talk money for a second. First off, the law is only providing about half of what it was promised to provide per year. On top of that, where's this money coming from? Well, by cutting other programs, such as agencies that provide AIDS research monies WITHIN the country, and by cutting other foreign aid programs, including efforts to curb other infectious diseases, improve the well-being of mothers and their children, and provide food aid and disaster relief.

~ There is a requirement that at least one third of the funds be used to promote abstinence. This isn't the Dark Ages, kids. People are enlightened, and they will do as they like. Regardless of what the "religious right" would like, promoting abstinence does not work on a large scale. Yes, it is the surest way to stop the spread of various sexual diseases, and yes, it should be part of the work against AIDS, but an entire third of the cash? You gotta be shitting me. Instead of it going to research, or to testing, or facilities, it's gonna be spent on a media campaign that doesn't work. Way to go.

~ A section of the law essentially forbids funding groups that seek to work with prostitutes. Yeah, THAT was a smart move. They are only the ones that have more random sex than anyone, and thus are the most likely to continue spreading any disease that is out there...let's not fund anyone that wants to work with them. Frankly, this is just more proof that legalizing prostitution would help things immensely. Hell, the government could tax that, like any other job, for a NICE chunk o' change, and the women would get health care and insurance, etc. Win-win situation for everyone...and on top of that, there's no reason for that to be illegal anyway. Talk about your victimless crime: the person giving and the person receiving are in full consent to what is happening, no one is hurt, stolen from, or otherwise has a crime committed against them. Fine, keep adultery on the books as a divorce reason, no problem...but if we fixed a lot of the sexual hangups in this country, we'd fix a LOT of problems.

~ The law includes a provision that will allow religious groups to reject any AIDS-fighting strategy to which they object. Once AGAIN, proof that organized religion screws things up. Yeah, let's fight the disease, and let's go all the way with it...but if your blind faith in something that you cannot prove (and which is in violent conflict with someone else's faith in something THEY can't prove) doesn't like it, then you don't have to do it. I'm not in the mood to go off on this, just suffice it to say I'm disgusted. There was a time when we believed in a separation of church and state.

~ Lastly, is the really important one. This law is for foreign AIDS relief. No mention of helping AIDS domestically...in fact, as seen, some domestic AIDS funding is being cut to pay for this. We really need to start cleaning up our own backyard before we go helping the neighbors. We love to preach about how the US is taking the initiative to do things, and we hope other countries jump in line with the example we've set...but that rings a little hollow when our own country can't feed and employ it's citizens.

The worst part about all this is that between "winning" Gulf War II and getting praise for this AIDS thing, Bush is almost guaranteed to get the Presidency for another four years. Considering I think his head is full of cobwebs and the fact that he continually promotes religious groups having a bigger say in what's going on, the prospect doesn't exactly make me happy.
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