Roland99's Journal - Archives
The desire to NOT want to learn.
The fear of thought.
The fear of ideas.
Perhaps it's due to modern technology but, imo, never before in America have so many people (well, the
29%ers" anyway) eschewed the strive to educate themselves. Never before have so many just shut off their brains and blindly followed the faux news they see and hear in quick soundbites.
And now that willful ignorance is manifesting itself in a violent manner as we read of multiple offices of Congress members vandalized, gas lines of the homes of politicians' families are being cut, death threats issued to members of Congress, assassination threats made to the President.
Over what? A healthcare bill the Republicans would have voted for if *they* were the ones that thought it up? It's virtually identical to "Romneycare" instituted in Massachusetts by then Republican Governor Mitt Romney and includes a mandate of insurance that was first brought about by Republican President Richard Nixon and further supported as recently as 2008 by Republican Senator John McCain.
The Terrorist Party members are holding a rally in Searchlight, NV today with The Twit being their headline speaker, you betcha! That at least 1/4 of Americans find The Twit to be intellectually capable of holding the office of President of the United States of America is another damning indictment as to the state of this nation and how willful ignorance is running rampant.
Think I'm blowing smoke as to how ignorant these Terrorist Party members are? Check out this poll:
Want to see one of them up close and personal? Prepare yourself for rampant ignorance and hatred:
Many of them don't realize that Medicare, Social Security, even the Veterans Administration are social programs. Most of them even want government intervention to create more jobs yet they bitch and moan that the government is too big already and that people should be responsible for themselves? It's like some mutant form of Ayn Randian (lack of) thought.
They're angry. And rightfully so. But they're angry for the wrong reasons and at the wrong people. The very party that's led this nation to the brink of complete financial disaster with 30 years of Reaganomics continues to embrace and condone these domestic terrorists that spawned the likes of Timothy McVeigh.
If they want civil war, they'd best listen to this Marine first:
It's going to take a long time for this country to recover from the damage the conservatives have wreaked for the last 3 decades. I hope at least a few of these willfully ignorant finally wake up and start thinking for themselves and realize their idols are really the devil.
And from the You Can't Make This Shit Up Department:
Terrorist Party member on the government roll
"Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."
I got this email last night from my best friend. He's long been a rock of stability and logic and sees through the bullshit that people put up in their every day lives. I've been telling him for the last few years how the corporations have taken over the country. He would blow most of it off. Then I started in on him and how Obama has caved at every turn and let the bleeding of America continue. He wouldn't hear it, he was enamored of Obama during the campaign and election.
I think he's finally seen the light, though:
***** refused to pay for Lunesta, so instead I got some old-fashioned sleep meds that are highly addictive and to me - not effective!
I'm so freakin' fed up with these doctors and insurance companies and drug companies. I have NO idea what kind of crap I'm putting in my body. It's obviously all synthesized in a lab.
It's going to probably be at least 6 months to a year before it's all out of my system.
I'm am VERY VERY seriously considering some sort of holistic approach. I just need to find a reputable doctor in town and find out what the cost is.
If it is comparable to see one of those doctors (and they are REAL doctors) to what I pay for insurance, medicine, co-pay etc, per month, and I see some actual benefit/results, I'll cancel my insurance after my next oral surgery is complete and just get some sort of accident/emergency insurance plan in case something serious happens like a car accident or heart attack or something requiring hospitalization.
I'm tired of giving these people my money when I'm basically treated as a test subject.
And stop using a bank, if possible. They're crooks.
And stop with my 401K stuff - draw that money out even though they'll be a penalty.
I'll have 2 of my 3 credit cards paid off tomorrow.
I'll bury my money in a freakin mason jar if I have to.
I'm FED UP with taking it up the arse by these jet-setting playboy freaks.
Then if I can get a job playing music, I'll even stop paying taxes!!!
I have HAD IT!!!!!!
I took this crap - temazepam at 12:00 and I'm still wide awake. I may as well taken a vitamin.
If I draw my money out of 401K, I can pay off all my bills and be debt free. ******* no longer matches a cent, by the way - so it's basically a savings account at this point.
Then save save save in cash cash cash.
Sorry for the long-winded ramblings, but I'm disgusted and just plain old tired. I have to fight and pay out the ass to be healthy and happy.
There has just GOT to be a better way.
Of course, considering what is going down in Haiti, I should probably be counting my blessings.
Oh well, said my peace for now I guess.
Thanks for reading and tune-in next time for the ramblings of an insomnia-laden, anxiety-ridden, freak slowly turning anarchist.
So, Corporate America and your beloved corporate "personhood" doing your works of God and increasing the inequalities that we should just accept and all of the politicians (Republican and Democrat alike) that live off of campaign donations from PACs and Corporations and CEOs with agendas, I say to you:
FUCK OFF AND DIE (HORRIBLY AND PAINFULLY!)
Corporations & the Public Interest -How the original purpose behind corporate charters has been lost
Someone sent me a link to this article this morning. What a wonderful summary of what's happened in the distortion of the corporation to its current form of pure anti-American greed. This should be required reading for everyone!
Oh, and do read the whole thing. I wish I could have copied more than just 4 paragraphs of this!!
Corporations and the Public Interest
A look at how the originally purpose behind corporate charters has been lost
by Jonathan Rowe
One of the articles in Business On A Small Planet (IC#41)
Summer 1995, Page 26
It gets even weirder. The modern corporation actually can be incapable of commitment to a community or any other realm of concern that might diminish its profits. Individual entrepreneurs, including the owners of small and family-held corporations, can express their conscience through their enterprise. They can choose to make less money for the sake of a larger good.
The publicly-held corporation, by contrast, generally cannot. Officers are subject to shareholder suits if they do not put shareholders - i.e. profits - first. The corporation becomes a greed machine, an engine of acquisition that is not subject to the urgings of individual conscience and responsibility.
Free market fundamentalists such as Professor Milton Friedman argue that it is wrong in principle to distract the corporation with any such extraneous concerns as conscience or the need to help the society survive. For the corporation to pursue any goal besides the maximization of monetary profit, he says, would disrupt the cosmic market scheme.
If that's true, it means the largest and most powerful "persons" in America are exempt from any standards of individual responsibility and from any obligation to help solve problems in voluntary and nongovernmental ways.
So, we're all to believe that this magic "trigger option" will cure all the healthcare industry's woes and a public option won't be needed because insurance companies are going to pull a complete 180 and offer affordable plans (even to those with pre-existing conditions) and won't required huge deductibles and co-insurance percentages and high annual out-of-pocket limits and won't limit lifetime benefits for conditions?
Excuse me for a moment while I ponder the probability of this happening....
Ok, I'm back and I'm still waiting to see how this could ever happen. Insurance companies are going to willingly give up those tens of billions in profits? HA! Yeah, right! Stop pulling my...."trigger".
ALSO, how long are we supposed to wait to see if these wondrous lower-premium plans materialize? 1 year? 2 years? 5 years? Then what? Then wait ANOTHER few years until a public option can be put into place (assuming some future form of Congress doesn't turn around and gut the pending change)??
This country cannot afford to wait!
People cannot afford to wait!
Whether we want to admit it or not, America changed on 9/11/2001.
It might have been more the way many Americans viewed the world, attacks having come to our shore.
It might have been an awakening to others how America's intervention in political, economic, and social matters around the world finally came back with a vengeance.
It might have been a grand opportunity for some to exert America's power even more.
No matter the viewpoint, the world changed.
But how has it responded since?
America went right back to Ayn Rand-ish greed and self-centeredness under a hard-charging (foreign policy) and a negligent and overbearing (domestic policy) Republican administration that doubled the national deficit and drove many Americans into poverty with turning a blind eye to egregious investment practices (encouraging them even) while building up the military even more (a matter that only exacerbated and inflamed worldwide tensions).
Now we have a centrist President looked upon by Progressives as one who might save us all in one fell swoop but has let that part of the Democratic Party down repeatedly with corporate welfare and glad-handing industry lobbyists over domestic policies and turning a blind eye to the crimes committed by the previoius administration.
It takes time to heal a nation and its standing in the world. I just wish things would hurry up in that department (negotiating with a GOP that has made a hard right-hand turn is an exercise in futility and is not helping this country).
Obama has a majority in both Houses. It's time to use that to our advantage and get some things done and get this nation on the road to recovery and rejoin the world as a fellow citizen!
Consider these facts in health insurance:
How can *anyone* defend an infrastructure so stacked against the consumer?? How is it fair to be healthy and pay a higher premium simply because one works for a smaller company? How is it fair to pay a higher premium simply for living in a different state?
As an aside, it reminds me of the way the cell phone carriers work here in the U.S. Want a particular phone? Have to go with a specific carrier. Vice versa, if you want a particular carrier, you're stuck with the phones provided by them. (This doesn't take into account people acquiring unlocked phones but the great majority of cell phone users won't go through that trouble.)
A list I'm putting together to highlight the services they likely use on a regular (or as-needed) basis:
So, you say you don't like socialism? You don't want the government running anything? Wellll....
Don't EVER say you honor and support our military. The military (even including private, outsourced companies like Blackwater) are all paid and supplied by the Federal government.
Don't EVER call 911 for a medical, fire or police emergency. Emergency services are largely provided for by public servants using government-provided equipment and training.
Don't EVER drive on a federal or state or local highway. You can only drive on roads built and maintained by private companies. You'll really have to do this as you will not have a driver's license which is a product of a government agency.
Don't EVER buy any food that passed an FDA inspection. You have to grow your own fruits and vegetables and raise your own cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. Same goes for any medications.
Don't EVER visit a National, State, or Local park and especially don't participate in any activities there (fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, etc. that would require further expenditures for licenses.)
Don't EVER be in a position you would need a public defender. They are paid for via public dollars.
Don't EVER expect or ask for the prosecution against someone who did you harm, directly or indirectly. The judicial system, you see, is a government-run agency paid for by our tax dollars and other fees.
Don't EVER visit a public library and use the resources there as tax dollars bought those books, PCs, etc.
Don't EVER put your children in public schools (elementary, high school, or college). The elementary and high schools are free via tax dollars. Teachers are paid via tax dollars.
Don't EVER apply for Medicaid if you become disabled or indigent and need assistance such as food stamps, medical care, utility bill assistance or job training. After all, you don't want other Americans who have no insurance to have it paid for via tax dollars, why should you get to take part in that system?
Don't EVER accept Medicare after you retire and no longer have any type of private health insurance.
Don't EVER accept any Social Security payment after you no longer work or a spouse has died. Live off of your private investments or the charity of friends and family.
Don't EVER apply for a small business loan from any government agency. Where do you think that money would come from anyway?
Don't EVER ask the government for help in getting child support payments from a deadbeat spouse.
Don't EVER apply for Unemployment if you should happen to lose your job.
Don't EVER mail a letter via the USPS and contact every single entity that would otherwise use the USPS for mailing you items to have them sent via UPS, FEDEX, or electronic delivery.
Don't EVER visit a museum that was built or is maintained or operated by any government agency.
I believe that Jon Stewart had a lot to do with CNN eventually yanking the partisan bickerfest known as Crossfire. Stewart exposed it for what it was...Jerry Springer-type sensationalism that had no place in today's political discourse.
What he did to Jim Cramer and CNBC last night was much the same. Shining the spotlight on the cockroaches that cheer, cheer, cheer the short-term gain and instant profits instead of thinking of long-term stability.
CNBC has been too afraid to lose that "access". If they can't get CEOs on-air to tout their companies' financial strength (no matter if they're lying through their teeth), then that obviously means their analysis will suffer and ratings will plummet.
What they don't realize is that people, people who want to think that is, CRAVE honest journalism. Remember how 60 Minutes used to garner such big ratings? Stewart is closer to Mike Wallace in the old days, just with a humorous and sarcastic twist.
I was going to come post in here for all to have a Merry Christmas with their family and friends.
I'm going out on a limb that most of us have rather comfortable lives, even if there's a bit of hardship. I read stories more and more each day of families where both parents have lost their jobs and it's a struggle to keep food on the table and a roof over that table that isn't part of the rest of a homeless shelter.
A few years back when I first knew (or least had a strong gut feel) that there was going to be a big recession or even a depression coming, thoughts rolled in my mind of soup kitchen lines (based on pictures I've seen from life back in the 1930s).
But these new stories are really making things much more clear and they gnaw at me from way down inside. While I *knew* something bad was coming, my comments then just didn't really have the weight to myself that they should have.
I feel sad and helpless that there's not really anything that I can do, specifically, to help any particular family. I make damn good money at my job but I have some massive obligations that will be another year before they're paid off (from some bad business decisions on my part several years ago).
But I live like a king compared to many others in this still-great nation.
I feel guilty sometimes that I think my life isn't that great right now. I'm still living paycheck-to-paycheck and having just been dumped two weeks ago by someone I thought might be someone I could spend the rest of my life with. But I *do* have a job. A great one. And while it hurts to have loved and lost, I'm not wallowing in despair and know I'll be just fine.
But still, I live like a king.
And if what and how I'm living is what it means to be a king, I'd gladly abdicate this throne and do what it takes to see 586,000 people NOT lose a job this month or next month.
I maintain hope, though. To borrow a line from one of my favorite movies:
"Hope is a good thing. Perhaps the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."
So I bid everyone a Merry Christmas and may the new year bring hope to those without hope, joy to those who've suffered, and peace to those in struggle.
Posted by Roland99 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Tue Oct 07th 2008, 10:49 PM
Well, McLame's bitterness and racist tendencies came to surface tonight in a big way. Plus his inability to focus on the proper answer, much like his pathetic running mate, Sarah Palincomparison, you betcha!!
Let's start with the very first question!
QUESTION: With the economy on the downturn and retired and older citizens and workers losing their incomes, what's the fastest, most positive solution to bail these people out of the economic ruin?
McLame ended up in some diatribe about *energy independence*! The *fastest* solution to helping the average American?? Is John aware of some form of cold fusion that was just invented and magically sprouted an entire infrastructure around it? Energy independence will take YEARS if not DECADES. But McLame thinks it is the *fastest* solution to helping Americans now.
*cuckoo* *cuckoo* *cuckoo*
Then he mentions the last President to raise taxes in tough economic times was Herbert Hoover. Uhhh...wrong Herbert there, John. That would have been George Herbert Walker Bush after the US entered a recession in the early 1990s (again as a result of the failed Republican economic policy of Trickle Down Economics.) And speaking of Reagan, Reagan raised taxes several times during his two terms.
Quick note: Sen. McLame? I'm *not* your fucking "friend"!
And Brokaw? Lose the damned sarcasm, asshat.
Next was the biggest gaffe (or most revealing tell), when a black woman posed a question re: the environment. McLame went on some energy bill rant and ended up pointing to Obama and stating "That one!". Racist much, John? Fits in with your Veep running mate and her hate-filled stump speeches that have been sparking hatred and violence at every stop. Way to elevate the level of political discourse.
After that we had McLame *praising* the "freedom fighters" of Afghanistan. Um, John? That was the Mujahideen. You know, the radical Islamists who eventually took over Afghanistan as the Taliban or broke into groups like al Qaeda! The very same people you say are the #1 threat to the safety of America today! Which is it, John?!
Here's a tip for ya, McLame...it's *speak* softly and carry a big stick. Not *talk* softly. And New Hampshire is a battleground state? uhhhh...
And what was with the wandering about on-stage? Doing your Admiral Stockdale "Why am I here?" impression? Or suffering another mini-stroke?
As for Obama, every post-debate analysis, online poll, focus group, etc. has Obama winning hands-down! Well, except Faux News where Fred Thompson stammered something about McLame being strong and Karl "Turdblossom" Rove raving about McCain's foreign policy answers. Uhhh...what debate were *they* watching? Oh, HA! And Pat Buchanan all but masturbating on live TV in his praise over McLame (just like he did over Palinsane after the VP debate).
Obama was smooth. Calm. Collected. Connected.
McLame was...Epic Fail!
Posted by Roland99 in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Wed Oct 01st 2008, 11:23 PM
Oh wait...you can't!
Because you're a freakin' brain-dead, talking-point spewing, beauty pageant runner-up has-been who hasn't the first clue in how to govern this great nation of ours. Get the fuck out of politics, you stupid fucking pig!! Tammy Faye gobs of lipstick won't help your sorry ass.
Check this video from CBS that shows the difference between intelligence (Sen. Biden) and a complete fucking moron (Palinsane).
ARGH!!! It pisses me off that so many people just shut their brains down when it comes to deciding on who's best to govern this nation and protect its Constitution. "Oh, Sarah is such a down-to-earth person. She could be my neighbor. I identify so much with her. She's not an educated member of the elite. yadda yadda yadda"
Wake the fuck up, people! We NEED people governing this nation who ARE educated! Who HAVE experience! You don't want someone with their finger on the button who you would treat as a next-door neighbor you'd have a beer with. I have lots of neighbors and friends I'd love to have a beer with but I don't want them in the White House!
Look at what 8 years of a drinking buddy has gotten us:
* Every stock market index is BELOW the point it was when Bush took office (well, for all intents and purposes the DJIA is there...the rest are well under).
* The national debt has doubled.
* Oil prices have quadrupled in price.
* Gas prices have tripled in price.
* Unemployment is near double digits (not the modified % they publish now...check out John William's Shadow Stats for the reasons why unemployment is much higher than reported)
* Inflation is now about 12% per year (again, check out Shadow Stats)
* American's economic power is all but gone. Destroyed by a 2nd attempt at Reagan's beloved trickle down economics. Guess what, people? The rich will hold onto their money and so will the corporations. The only thing that trickles down is shit and piss and that's been poured all over millions of Americans for the last 8 years.
* We've been stuck in Iraq for months longer than it took us to fight and win WWII (on TWO fronts) and we're no closer to a political "victory" there than on the day Saddam was captured nearly 5 years ago.
* Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are still free men, more than 7 years after 9/11
I could go on and on and on.
As soon as the voting public wakes up and realizes that the Republican Party (and some in the Democratic Party...esp. the DLC dandies) put the wealthy and corporations above all else, then this country will continue its slide toward corrupted capitalism and its eventual downfall.
Prosperity and strength come from a solid foundation: a healthy and educated citizenry.
No amount of a bailout will "save" Wall Street. They could pass $10 Trillion bailout bill but it won't help. Not one damn bit. Oh sure, it will help short-term stock prices but it will soon come crashing down and hurt like hell because not only would the national debt skyrocket but inflation will soar even faster, too, due to the quick infusion of a massive amount of cash into the economy. ("Chopper" Ben Bernanke's wet dream, though.)
Anyway...this is why it will fail, in as simple of terms as I can explain.
While the problem started with failed/bad home loans, starting off with sub-prime loans to people who might have known better but were largely sold ownership in a home with the impression that housing values will continue to appreciate and they'd be able to refinance in 2-3 years when their ARM reset to a higher interest rate.
Well, the housing bubble popped. That extra equity from appreciation? Never materialized. The existing equity from the purchase of the home? Never existed. So, thousands and thousands of home loans went bad and the homes went into foreclosure and banks started losing a significant amount of money off their bottom line.
This housing price bust then started affecting Alt-A and Jumbo loans. A sizeable percentage of these loans were NO-DOC (no proof of income was required. you say? Exactly!). Also, these Alt-A and Jumbo loans followed a similar premise for the sub-prime loans, the balance (Jumbo..or "balloon" payment) would be due after a few years. People expected house prices to keep climbing so they could refinance after the initial teaser period. Well, house prices fell to the point they couldn't and yet more people were engaging in "jingle mail" (dropping keys off in the mailbox and kissing their house goodbye). And these weren't the schlubs of society. No, these were white-collar families making good money and most having good credit (not anymore).
So, there's your trigger. *BUT* that is NOT what is causing the global credit crunch and the market meltdowns the world over.
Nope...the cause of the problem is that the "assets" (the house equity and cash from downpayments, fees, etc.) were used by financial institutions and the mortgages were sliced and diced into something called a Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO) or a Mortgage-Backed Security (MBS). These CDOs and MBSs were sold off in pieces called "tranches". A tranch might have 1% of a mortgage or 99% of a mortgage. NO ONE REALLY KNOWS. Why? Because this type of investment was almost completely UNREGULATED and even spun off into credit derivatives and credit default swaps (even riskier types of investments that created more "money" off of nothing but risky debt...insane you say? HELL YEAH IT'S INSANE!) But Wall Street's greed for more and more short-term profits drove the search for inventive ways to make more money. As long as house prices were up or stable, all was well. No one planned on housing prices falling. Why should they? These were the Smartest Guys in the Room, eh?
So, the crux of the problem now is that banks and other lending institutions are having to actually price their assets at market value (mark-to-market) and that means trying to figure out what packages of MBSs/CDOs contain what and how much they're worth. In the meantime, no one wants to buy up MBSs/CDOs because no one knows what they're worth and much of commercial paper is backed by these now illiquid or "toxic" assets.
What's that mean? It means banks aren't lending to each other. It means Joe Public is having problems getting a home equity loan. It means McDonald's is having problems getting financing to upgrade stores. It means small businesses are having problems getting startup loans. It means banks are losing capital (assets being devalued) and that is putting them at risk of failing. Banks move further toward failure when depositors (customers) start withdrawing their money from the banks, further reducing the capital on-hand.
The Bailout Bill was intended to offload those "toxic" assets from the banks making their bottom lines look healthier. HOWEVER, in order to take part in this bailout, they would have to write down the value of their assets and that could actually force some into failure before they could benefit from the billions available from the Bailout Bill. Even then, banks are still reluctant to loan money back and forth despite today's massive $630 billion in dollar swap lines (huge bump up in credit lines) put forth by the Fed for European banks (more European banks are failing...Fortis being the main one discussed).
This is why no matter how much money is offered by a Bailout Bill that it will NOT work. And, as I've said at the start, a massive and fast infusion of cash into the financial system will cause inflation to rise even faster than it is now (already at or above 12%, the REAL rate of inflation that is...not the modified version put forth by the gov't as part of its leading economic indicators).
So, while the House Republicans offered up the lamest of all fucking excuses as to why they voted Nay in larger numbers today (oh stfu, Boner, asshat...your feelings were not hurt by Pelosi's statement), they actually did us a small favor, for now, by not making things worse and forcing the whiny asses on Wall Street expecting to be saved from their criminal and unethical behavior to have to deal with the mess they created.
I've been calling it for years and further gov't intervention (btw, the Republican Party platform on their website adamantly states they flatly do not support gov't intervention in the markets and John McCain earlier this year said would not support throwing money at a solution. heh heh...sure John.)
Anyway...there you have it. The MBSs/CDOs that are comprised of tiny bits of mortgages some small % of are laced with toxic goodness have come back to bite their creators in the ass...and bite them (and the public at large now suffering from inflation, job losses, etc.) hard.
Heckuva job, Wall Street.
The plan, part of the government's largest financial bailout since the Great Depression, would give the administration broad power to buy the bad debt of any U.S. financial institutions for the next two years, according to Saturday's news reports.
It would also raise the statutory limit on the national debt from 10.6 trillion dollars to 11.3 trillion dollars in order to make room for the massive rescue.
The Bush administration has added approximately $5 trillion to the debt ceiling over 8 years. That's 625,000,000,000 per year! $625 BILLION PER YEAR!
Now, the *PLAN* is that as the housing market recovers ( ) the government can sell its holdings and recoup its money (no matter that future dollars will be worth less so we'll be getting paid back, in essence, less than was paid out for this)
Anyone honestly (or even haphazardly) believe that the housing market will recover in the next few years and, even if it did through some miracle that it would recover enough for the government to recoup its "investment"?
Isn't that an ODD concept?? Recoup its investment? That's what's happening! Our government wants to buy debt it KNOWS is all but completely worthless (the investment) in order to hold onto it and hopefully sell it to make its money back later (the recouping process)
How does even remotely sound like a sane approach to bailing out the criminal oligarchs that got themselves into this mess through their massive hubris?
At least out of the Great Depression came many saving social programs that helped maintained the fabric of society.
What's going to happen NOW, though?!
A MASSIVE CUT IN SOCIAL SERVICES, I can about guaran-fucking-tee it.
The world financial markets cannot be saved but our government can certainly save some key players and keep them stupidly fat and wealthy while the rest of America literally falls aparts.
Welcome to the greatest nation on earth.
Today, of course, was the 7th anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks (in case anyone missed every channel showing some tribute or repeat of the footage of that day - actually, History Channel had a decent one-hour documentary on it.)
I sometimes wonder how much Americans were reminded each year on Pearl Harbor Day, even after WWII ended. BTW, our involvement in WWII (on two major fronts) lasted about 3 1/2 years. We've been stuck in Iraq now for 5 1/2.
We're constantly bombarded with the meme "Never Forget". I don't see how anyone could ever forget, even if the media and the political parties didn't trot out their wares constantly.
But, we do have to look back in order to look and move forward.
This country survived, quite well in fact. Victims' families have moved on, some have probably re-married, the markets took a hit but recovered quickly. We now look to a new election that offers two choices: one being essentially the same as the last 8 years (despite pleas and claims to the contrary); the other offering the potential to enact a form of change in direction but how successful that ends up being remains to be seen as it will be handicapped with the massive global financial crisis that is just now really hitting the fan and will affect the enactment of any new social programs or tax cuts.
There are bright spots of innovation facing us: new forms of energy and the infrastructure to deliver that to cars and homes; medical advancements; exploring further into space; greater involvement of Americans in community and national volunteer service (as tonight's political forum at Columbia University covered with the two Presidential candidates - both offering very similar agendas).
But what must change is the bitter divisiveness that's permeated American politics more and more the last several years. Gone are the days of actually basing one's votes on where each candidate stood on various issues. In its place is how well a candidate looks and how well they deliver the party's talking points in stump speech after stump speech. For example, tonight was Sarah Palin's first real interview with a news organization and she blew it completely! She was clueless as to what the Bush Doctrine is; showed her ignorance of Iran's political structure and thinks Ahmadinejad has any control of its military and incorrectly implied that Iran had nuclear weapons; thinks foreign policy experience is being Governor for a brief time of a state that one can see Russia from (Umm...if you're standing on a barren island) But, millions of her supporters will say she did an admirable job and is more than ready to be Vice President and even President (despite the fact that she can't learn these basic bits of information after 10 days of intense briefing) because those supporters suspend all sense of rational and logical thought merely to follow their party's candidate.
While I don't have any direct evidence, I'm sure on the other side that there are some supporters of Obama that will vote for him purely because of his race, no matter what his stances are on any of the issues.
That's a fine way to pick a favorite sports team or develop a liking of a particular car manufacturer but it's certainly not any way to decide on voting for President of the United States!
Both candidates tonight, though, raised the point that following 9/11 we shouldn't have been encouraged to "go shopping" as Bush elicited but, rather, engaged in community and national service, especially since the entire nation (and the rest of the world) was united with a vigorously renewed sense of patriotism. Another grand opportunity squandered by the forever-campaigning, never-governing Bush administration.
We cannot move forward until we learn from mistakes in the past and also shed the mass consumer and gotta-have mentality. Too many people live way beyond their means, living on borrowed money and borrowed time; cocooning into their little microcosms of America, scarfing down pizza delivery and going brain-dead in front of the tube watching the latest episode of American Idol or the latest CGI-laden action film on DVD. I, myself, have certainly been guilty of this to a large extent but have made changes in my life to kick the consuming habit, gadget-collecting desires, etc.
We also need the corporate elite and the oligarchs to stop treating corporations and America's resources as their own personal wealth-gathering instruments. Not since the Great Depression has the gap between rich and poor been this wide. Our government is engaging in massive amounts of welfare to financial institutions to stave off their complete failure which would hurt, mostly, those at the upper echelons with the greatest investment holdings. Bear Stearns, Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae, and now Lehman. This will make the Savings and Loan bailout look like a church raffle donation. (By the way, might be a good time to point out that Neil Bush and John McCain were majorly involved in the corruption around the Savings and Loan Scandal. Oh, and McCain's son just resigned in July from posts on two banks that failed just days after he resigned. Guess the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. See how soon history repeats itself?)
What I'm getting at is that the United States of Apathetica needs a major attitude adjustment and it needs it now.
1. Begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. Leave a small-scale size outside combat areas (like Turkey or Kuwait)...just in case. That will save billions per month.
2. End the *temporary* 2001-2003 Bush tax cuts that should have been tied to budget surplus triggers (as O'Neill and Greenspan originally envisioned).
3. Eliminate tax loopholes allowing U.S. corporations to post profits overseas to avoid taxes while moving losses in subsidiaries to the U.S. to lower any tax liabilities
4. Repeal the Patriot Act.
5. End the illegal domestic spying program.
6. Push thru a single-payer, Universal Healthcare plan. (invest in keeping our citizens healthy.)
7. Repeal NCLB and reduce Federal involvement in schools (move it to the States) but increase funding to fund college education for those who can't afford it. (invest in educating our citizens.)
8. Repeal NAFTA/CAFTA. Remove the incentive to move good-paying mfg jobs overseas or south of the border.
9. Mandate alternative energy vehicles (hydrogen, ethanol, etc.) and build new nuclear plants to lessen our dependence on foreign oil.
10. End the aggressive foreign policy we've had for decades and focus on domestic issues and stop making ourselves a target for attacks overseas and here.
11. Cut out the lobbyists/special interests from Washington. No money changing hands (no lobbyist can donate to a PAC or candidate directly).
12. Institute publicly-financed federal elections.
Could easily be expanded to include other steps, though.
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