Friday, September 26, 2008

Veni, vedi, velcro...

I came, I saw, I stuck around. Could well be this administration's motto for its imperial invasion of Iraq.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Waiting for 1.20.09

Two days ago the Bush administration requested “unfettered authority”—a blank check, essentially—for the Treasury Dept. to spend up to $700 billion in salvaging our supposedly free-market system. This would raise the national debt ceiling to $11.3 trillion and “would place no restrictions on the administration other than requiring semiannual reports to Congress, granting the Treasury secretary unprecedented power to buy and resell mortgage debt.”

And today, irked that Congress is actually deliberating, weighing, and suggesting some accountability (rare in this administration—consider DOD contracts in Iraq, the unprecedented frequency with which the White House has claimed executive privilege in order to avoid explaining itself, and especially Cheney, to the American public), George “The Decider” Bush is fretting that his plan must be passed as-is, and quickly.

This sounds familiar.

The Patriot Act (I can scarcely type those words in connection with the horrific legislation they represent) was foisted on us within weeks of 9/11, while sentiment was still running strongly enough that lawmakers who should have known better still realized that a vote against the act would mean sure defeat in the next year’s congressional elections. And so we were gifted with unfettered executive powers with only the thinnest accountability. (Is there a theme here?) Not to mention our country being spent into trillions of dollars of debt fighting the wrong people, the wrong way, for the wrong reasons.

Pray let Congress do its job—that is, deliberate—in an attempt to compensate for Dubya’s belief in his imperial presidency. Two and a quarter centuries after our revolt against a British George III, our nation and our Constitution are in dire need of being rid of our own George III.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We protect what we value

"In this country," I heard an economic observer say yesterday, "we privatize profits, but socialize losses."

Which means that the next time pharmaceuticals or energy companies make a killing profit, don't expect our government to step in and say, "Okay, time to share some of that with strapped school districts, with at least a start at fixing health insurance in this country, with services to children of low-income families"—made low-income, in many instances, by governmental accommodation of U.S. businesses moving jobs offshore in order to hike investors' profits.

It's clear what the current administration values, by what it is willing to go into debt to save ($40 billion of debt, for just this recent spate of bail-outs): profits, not people. And don't even start in about how profits trickle down to common working Americans. All that mantra does is incite citizens to vote against their own best interests.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Another luvly bike sticker


Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

God forbid we nationalize or (gasp) socialize health care in this country.

Yet when the victims are not uninsured Americans in need of health care, but a pair of capitalistic corporations whose shareholders are in need of a return on their investments—then here comes the government to the rescue.

Call it a "conservatorship" by a federal agency, not the nationalization of the corporations...say it's only temporary until the imperiled businesses are on a stronger footing. Mere semantics. Even the conservative Wall Street Journal calls it a takeover.

It's simply another instance (of a spate of them during the last eight years) of conservatives and capitalists in this country changing the labels when their interests are threatened. Fiscal restraint was a sacred Republican party plank, until Dubya wanted to invade Iraq—then there was no cost most Republicans were unwilling to pay. A federal government empowered to surveil Americans' private lives was similarly anathema to Republicans and conservatives—until Cheney's imperial vision for the U.S. has put us all under a quiet and constitutionally questionable federal scrutiny that Reagan would have called communistic.

Speaking of our veep: this weekend, I hear, he condemned Russia and Putin for "bullying" Georgia. Us? We don't bully—we liberate.

And when Europe mocks such international myopia and arrogance, we just say they're jealous of us.

I should probably go back and reread George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language." Political language, he wrote in 1946, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." It is language, he wrote, that is not for expressing thought, but for concealing or preventing it.

Something, maybe, to take with us into a season of campaigns and debates.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The morning after

Jesus was a community organizer. Pontius Pilate was a governor.