Monday, February 9, 2009

Flotsam & Jetsam

Well paint me blue and call me Quincy. It's been a bizarre week in the news. Dick Cheney issued a statement from his fortress of solitude (undisclosed, underground location) that he believes the US will see a terrorist attack in the near future. This from a guy who couldn't foresee the 9/11 attacks, the bank meltdown, screwed with intelligence reports in order to start the Iraq war and was part of an administration that was inept, incompetent and insane when it came to governing. Geez Dick, you held prisoners without charges for years, played a part in the killing of thousands upon thousands of civilians and left the survivors without the basic ammenities. Do you suppose those people just might have a grudge against you and the country you represented?

Rush Limbaugh declared that he was the leader of the Republican Party. Mind you the RNC had elected Steele to head the party. Apparently that wasn't good enough for Rush. Like a power-mad despot he claims that he is the one in control and will dictate the direction of the party. To cap things off, one of the Senators who criticized Limbaugh did a one-eighty and apologized to the windbag. So we can be assured of hearing his particular brand of bombast for the near future...

The economic stimulus package got through the Senate. The watered down version stinks to high heaven. Gutted from the bill were provisions that would have helped the states deal with their budget shortfalls, aid to education, aid to childcare and those with special needs--basically any program that was pinpointed towards helping the average Joe was eliminated. Left in place or added were provisions to give tax cuts to US corporations who repatriate their profits back to the US, tax cuts for flipping houses to your relatives, tax cuts for all the usual suspects...This only serves to underline what a growing number of Americans are coming to believe: Our government is broken. We need fundamental changes in our to get our house in order. Our elected representatives don't have a clue how to fix what they have broken. They can't seem to pass legislation that serves the common good. They can't resist handing out our money to their "friends". Maybe it's time to reform the whole notion of how government works. What we need is the ability of the people to foster initiatives, reforms and referendums that will get our government working for us.

We're supposed to be getting ready for the other shoe to drop with regards to bailing out the banks. The Obama administration is supposed to come out with guidelines for distributing the next $350 billion dollars of the TARP. I've got a suggestion: don't give it out until the SOB's give a full accounting of what they did with the first $350 billion! The bankers are supposed to go to Capitol Hill for hearings on Wednesday. Do yourself a favor; either watch CSPAN that day or Tivo the proceedings. It's the only way you're going to be able to watch the interaction between the bankers and our elected leaders. I wonder if they will let them off with a slap on the wrist and hand them another bag of money that they can sit on. Knowing the bankers, they will schedule a whole slew of "getaways" at taxpayers expense. If we're pouring all these billions into the banks--we should own them. Not the other way around. I'd like to see the bankers grilled, fried and fricassed. They owe us answers and a full accounting of their activities. It's time for our representative to quit making nice with these outlaws. Maybe they should seriously consider a top to bottom reformation of the entire banking industry. Make banks behave like banks are supposed to. Banks should protect the assets of their shareholders, depositors and investors. That should be their prime function and they have failed miserably in protecting that trust. Bring back the Glass-Steagall Act--only make it tougher and more stringent. Regulate them into submission and above all, hold them accountable for their actions of the last decade...

The Sunday talk shows are becoming a joke. Conservatives rant and rave that there is a liberal bias in the media. Where?!!? All of these shows will have guests that represent the right wing and then they will have some middle of the road buffoons that supposedly represent the left. Puh-leez! If you are going to have someone from the left, why not invite Amy Goodman from Democracy Now???? Or someone from the ACLU? Or someone from Vets Against the War? Greenpeace? The Socialist Party? Here's the deal: they don't invite them because it just might engender an actual discussion of the issues. It wouldn't be a series of ten second sound bytes. The right would have to actually delineate what there positions are. AND the media would have to work at doing journalism. By only airing the opinions of the right and the middle of the roaders they can do these short-hand interviews and not tax their brains. Plus they don't have to fear offending their sponsors or their corporate owners. The injustice is that we only wind up hearing one side of the story and the discussions are like listening to five year olds argue in the playground. How can anyone formulate a valid opinion when facts are ignored in favor of name-calling?

And what's going on with gas prices? Did a butterfly fart in Brazil? Is that why the price of gas is going up? The price certainly isn't following the dictums of supply and demand. Demand has gone down and suddenly the price is going up again. Is it because the oil companies figure we're distracted by other things and they sense that they can get away with it?

It was somewhat encouraging to see Obama finally start to call Congress on the carpet in order to get them working on the stimulus package. He just didn't go far enough. He should call out the Doormat Democrats and remind them why they were elected. People want them to stand up for the little guy. I think the Democrats are so used to being rode over roughshod by the Republicans that they have lost their spines. Sometimes it's good to have a knockdown, drag out fight. The Democrats should highlight the fact that the Republicans stripped away any programs that were good for working folks. Let people know that Republicans are against education, child care, special needs people, aid to the states and anything that even remotely is designed to help the average working person in this country. Take the fight to them! Don't let them gain the upper hand with their usual pithy bromides....

Since this financial meltdown began anywhere from 3.4 million to 4.1 million people have lost their jobs. 4.1 million! That's the entire workforce of the state of Virginia! And expectations are that it is going to get worse. Economists are predicting double digit unemployment by mid-year! Wouldn't you think that this would be incentive enough for the Congress of Clowns to actually do something? Why do they insist on conducting business as usual? Don't they get it? Don't they understand or comprehend that we are in unusual times? Are they so lost in their ego trips that they can no longer function in the interests of the country? It's past time that they put aside jockeying for position. It's time they roll up their sleeves and get to work. I don't think they are up to the task. The media, instead of exposing them for what they are, just encourages them by giving airtime to their most inane arguments.

I hope Obama sticks it to all of them! I hope he gets on a rant in Indiana and Florida today. I hope he gets his audiences good and riled up. And when he does his press conference tonight I hope he gets the entire country riled up. Riled up enough that they jam the phonelines to Congress in order to tell them that "Clowntime is Over"...

I wish Obama would read the first couple of stanzas of "IF" by Rudyard Kipling.


If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you

But make allowances for doubting too,

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting.

Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or being hated, don't give way to hating.

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams you master,

If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with worn out tools...

Oh yeah. On top of everything else that's going on, the media gives airtime and oodles of print to the fact that Jessica Simpson has put on a little weight! And the media wonders why there poll numbers are in the same neighborhood as Congress...

Keep you eyes and ears open. Watch what your Congressperson is up to this week and call and give him a performance evaluation straight from the heart...

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