Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm Losing Faith in the Country: Part 4 - The Failure of a Country

In my on going rage that is driving from me the faith I have long held in this country, I am now going to address a subject that is rather vague to describe. So I'll put it in these terms. I am tired of failure. Now, brace yourself because this one is going to go all over the place. Because when I say failure, I mean that I believe that the government is failing me. Personally. I take offense at what has happened and what is going on. But also the people as a whole are failing me and themselves. I'll explain further. This one is going to be tough to write because, discussing it with my wife, I cannot seem to prevent myself from getting worked up and angry by the time I'm half way through. But here goes.

I can just simply go through the list of failures in our current government and indeed the politically active in this country. I'll start on the right, because I'm good with pissing off the right. When I talk of the right, I don't just mean republicans or libertarians in congress. I'm talking about all politically active on the right, whether on a forum or email campaigns or actually working for a candidate. And while these views may not encompass ALL of those on the right, they encompass a large enough part that I feel comfortable characterizing the right in this way. I have extensive contact with them both on this forum, in daily life, and in my own family. I grew up with this mindset.

For six long years, the republican party, and the right, enjoyed a majority in both the house and the senate, with a republican president. Six years of getting what ever you wanted. There was no compromise. There was only the brutality of ramming through what ever you thought was good. During this time, the republican senate threatened to get rid of the filibuster rules in the Senate, because the democrats had filibustered nearly 60 times in one year. Since that six year period, they have gone on to double that amount of filibuster every single year they have been in the minority. It appears that the filibuster is only "abused" when it is used by democrats.

For six years, we saw regulations stripped away. We saw a majority that pushed through imprudent tax cuts focused on the wealthy, an unprecedented two wars at once, and a medicare part D plan that was not paid for. We saw reckless spending like never before. Never in our history had this nation CUT taxes during war time. With the power the right weilded, they created an office of faith based initiatives, an office purely dedicated to giving money to religious groups! We saw the right back and promote a president as he gain and took more power into the executive branch that ever before, including current president Obama.

I experienced the rights assault on free speech nearly every day, as my views on the war were called unpatriotic. I watched as the left was silenced routinely by the right calling them traitors, unpatriotic, and anti-american for disagreeing with two wars that we were lied to about. I felt the anguish of being told I don't support the troops because I thought they should be brought home. I was embarassed for this country as a republican president supported by the right, garnered the anger of most nations in the world by our arrogant and foolish actions. A cowboy in the white house. Only to the right would such a thing be looked on in a good fashion.

We watched regulation after regulation fall, as we paved the way for a massive financial fail. But then, things changed. The economy tanked, and the republicans lost power. Then, they lost the presidency. So what next?

The answer was to completely pretend like they weren't even there for the last 8 years. They filibusterd double the amount they cried about previously. Suddenly, they were conservative. Suddenly, lots of people were conservative! Really? Why then was your mouth shut tight when it was your party and your group doing the spending? Did they think we were mad? Insane? Did they think we wouldn't remember all they had done to get us in this mess? And so for two years I have watched this nonsense as one after the other republicans turn conservative claim they are for small government. The same people who called me unpatriotic and unamerican suddenly tried to act like they disagreed with Bush. Really? You were silent before and now you expect me to believe you are angry at "both parties"? Bullshit! And YOu know its bullshit too! It would be better than you spit at me behind my back than to look me in the eye and lie like this. I remember how many on the right supported Bush. Now, its hard to find a single one who supported Bush. Everyone on the right now suddenly "always believed we were spending to much"! The right double the deficit over and over and nothing was said, Now you want us to believe you are so concerned about our childrens future and always were? We aren't stupid or forgetful!

But enough about what we already know. On to the left. Did you think you were getting out of this? You aren't! But for this, I need to separate the people from the politicians. Why? Because while the right largely walks in lockstep, and the people believe and do as they are told, the sins of the left are not the same. The left is of larger diversity and thus is not so prone to being sheep. Even still, the words coming out of the mouths of the right are nearly identical from the ones coming out of the politicians and talk show hosts mouths. Even still they believe ridiculous email chains, to a massively greater extent than the left.

For the left, politics was about change and hope. After watching the decimation of this country at the hands of Bush, we trust those on the left to make things right. But that isn't what happened, is it? Nearly two years after Barack Obama stood on the podium to the chants of "yes we can", almost nothing has changed. Nothing.

We are still in two wars. The president still fights to keep things private when it comes to their legal manuevering. And the courts are still split on the issue. We still have two massive detention centers that are basically black holes. We still hold people indefinitely without bail or court hearing of any time, and without any official charges. We still support and engage in extraordinary rendition. We are still in two wars. New looser FISA regulations allow americans to be taped. The bill was approved by Candidate Obama. Almost nothing of the power that Bush took has been reigned in by Obama.

On a legislative front, I couldn't be more disappointed. Democrats lacked the cajones to pass REAL health care legislation. Compromising to get republican votes is only acceptable if it gets that vote. Most of the compromises were for republicans who never intended on working with them to make the bill better. A bill they knew would pass, but worked to make it suck instead of make it better. Most of the republican amendments were approved to get votes. And most of those amendments are pointed out as bad. Health care lobby money flowed freely, and many democrats grew fat on it, right next to their republican colleagues getting the same money. And together they worked to destroy the bill. Together they managed to rid the bill of all but a few good protections. No single payer, no public option, no hard premium caps, no regulations on raising rates. The health care companies essentially won.

But there was another chance in the wall street reform bill. It has some FABULOUS amendments for this bill. Yet, again, wall street money flowed, and most of those great amendments were killed. Derivative reform? Watered down after the money whore Blanche Lincoln won her primary. Almost everything else has been stripped out. Something that should have been an easy vote, even for republicans, ended up not getting enough support. 30 democrats, but only 10 republicans, voted to audit the Federal Reserve. What ended up passing was a one time audit. So much for the so called conservatives, and the so called conservadems. Conservative, on both sides of the aisle, stands for "sell out to the banks". And as I will state later, the Fed truly needed to be audited. The bill was nearly salvaged with the consumer protection agency that gets created. Unfortunately, they have exempted the highest bidders. Car dealers will not be subject to the consumer protection rules. As if we all don't know that used car dealers are the sleaziest of the slime. Unbelievable.

While people like to get upset at TARP, that really is a small morsel. The real crime is that the Fed has given out over 4.6 Trillion dollars to the banks. Only the 700B TARP was approved by congress. An audit would be nice. To bad it had bipartisan opposition. The banks get 4.6 Trillion dollars, and they use it to get richer. All the while the conservative democrats and republicans convince the rest of the democrats that a stimulus package for the people is just to much to spend. Every job bill and unemployment extension, including the one that just failed in the senate, don't equal HALF of what the banks got if you combined them all! Yet, were is the protests over the Fed? Used up, thats where. Used up on protesting to much spending to give unemployment money in a recession. To much money to help the states meet the budget. The banks have the fools of this country so easily distracted that they are protesting against the good of the PEOPLE! We would rather sit back and ignorantly believe that somehow giving unemployment to people is ruinging the country. People are now put at the bottom of the pile when it comes to priority. PEOPLE! More of my tax money has gone to banks, yet the right and conservative left draw the line at helping states and helping the unemployed? Its more bullshit!

And all the while the people on the left have become a justification machine. And I'm guilty of it too! But we are in large part forced to because the criticism from the right is so pathetically wrong! If they would get it right and stop believing nonsense and lies then we could focus on what was actually wrong! But still, where are the protests? Where are the anti-war people? It has been three months since I saw anyone at our weekly war protest. Three months. No one cares any more, democrats are in charge after all. None of the Bush abuses went away! We just stopped caring about them! Writing letters? All find and good by they don't give a flying f**k about our letters and we all know it! We have managed to quell our own outrage over things that really matter! We on the left cheered on the health care bill while amongst ourselves talking about what we didn't like about it. What we should have done is protested, not with those idiots in the tea party, but our own protests, against the very real problems with this bill! We should have protested when Obama sent more troops to Afghanistan. We should have protested when Obama put DRONES on the freakin Mexican border! And when far right wing morons say he hasn't tried to secure the border, slap them in the mouth and ask them how many freakin military drones any republican put on the border! I want a secure border, but not in a manner that causes death and destruction and fear! Freakin military drones!!!!

We have failed as a country. We have failed as a people. Our government has failed. And yes, it is both parties. And yes, it is the people too. But all for different reasons. I'm losing faith in this countries ability to handle anything in an age of naive acceptance of email chains. I'm losing faith in a country that only cares about the big problems when it is the party they hate doing it. We cannot continue like this. It will be the death of us all. Contineous war, endless recessions, and ridiculous lawmakers are what we face.

Two more examples of what is wrong. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of corporations, giving them the same rights as an individual. How atrocious is that. Amidst the anger at this, the congress wrote up a new law they are trying to pass. The "DICLOSE ACT" which will force all groups to list who donates to them and all companies that choose to support a candidate must put it forward so all can see. Yet, One group after another seems to be exempt. Companies under 1 million people are exempt. The NRA is exempt. And a number of other broad exceptions, have been written in to ensure that our corporations are not really resticted at all.

In the middle of the largest eco-disaster in our history, the criticism couldn't be more obscene. The right using a disaster to its benefit by first saying government didn't respond fast enough, then saying it responded too much. Circulating emails that are pure lies, that now have senators who should know better, repeating them. When senators are repeating email chains, I lose hope quickly. When senators apologize for forcing a foreign company to pay people who they have harmed, I lose hope quickly. And yet, the President has angered people because hasn't miraculously found a plan that the experts have apparently missed, that will fix the leak in the gulf. How is any of this helping the situation at all?

The government and many of the people have been sucked into a war of propaganda by both sides that has made true change irrelevant and unlikely. I used to laugh at the South Park Addage that voting was like choosing between a sh*t sandwich and a giant douche. I have come to realize that it really is just that. And "voting them all out" is irrelevant as well. The power and money have corrupted them all and will do so to the next generation. There is no stopping it. Debt will swallow us whole eventually. But most people are not smart enough to see that not spending right now will cause greater debt in the future. And I have no hope that it will get better. People will eventually tire of democrats, and vote in republicans. Who will then do what they do best. Say they are conservatives, the continue to ruin the economy. Then the democrats will take over and do what they do best. Bring all kinds of great ideas to the table, the water them down into obscurity.

This is our future, our country, that we have allowed to slip away from us. And the problem and the blame lies with us. The people. We allowed things to get out of hand. We allow ourselves to believe then never follow through. We allow ourselves to be convinced by propaganda and email chains. I am losing faith in a country that seems to have lost all sense of reason.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I'm losing faith in this country: Part 2 - Environmental Rant

We are the only industrialized nation in the world that has such a huge amount of truth deniers in it. We are the only industrialized nation in which the truth deniers out number the rationalists. We have a rather large number of people who, for some reason, would rather believe three scientists working for BP, than the thousands working for NASA, NOAA and Woods Hole research centers. As one of my favorite posters, Gary, has pointed out, the evidence is so blatantly and obviously overwhelming, that those on the right must do some seriously ridiculous mental gymnastics to ignore the evidence!

Yet, no matter the evidence, people on the whole still listen to Sean Hannity theorize how the extra snow in his yard must disprove modern climate change theory. It would be silly and worth laughing at these morons if it weren't actually dangerous to our childrens future. They are so busy minding our business on the debt, that they don't realize that the biggest threat to this nation is not the debt, but the climate. They are nice and smug in their ignorance, rolling around in it congratulating themselves on their idiocy, like pigs in mud on a hot day! It is obscene to say the least.

I would normally post a bunch of evidence, but it is really pointless. I confront these morons with evidence, and they simply ignore it. One person, on this forum once challenged me to show them the evidence. I posted the top three research sites in the world, and that person never even looked at it. Why? Who knows. The likely answer is that they either did look and ignored, or simply refused to look. It is easier to ignore the evidence and keep things status quo, than to be proven wrong and be forced to change!

Ten years ago the answer was "we need more evidence". Five years ago it was "we are in the middle of greater solar output". Now, in current era, we set another record heat year, followed by the hottest global first quarter on record, ever, during the lowest solar output on record, and their is no answer. Just silence and more smug mocking. Whats worse, they do their damnedest to continue harming the environment with their push to NOT move any environmental legislation forward! While they smugly look at those who have proven the truth, talking about debt, deficit, and our childrens future, they are in reality flushing our childrens future down the toilet!

The evidence is there for all to see. But when you cover your eyes and ears and mouth, like three idiot monkeys, then you not only put the blame for the consequences on your own head, but you multiply it. And passing the buck to later generations is simply unforgivable. This idea of "we need more evidence" is simply stupid. These are the same people who needed almost no evidence to go to war. I guess the right is intent on being the party of the dead and dying. But this effects everyone, the entire world. And truth deniers are going to kill us. I'm losing faith in this country. It is failing on the whole to recognize and act on truth.

I'm Losing Faith in the Country: Part 3 - The American Empire

The third part in this series focusing on my continued disappointment with my country, I have gone a different path. I am not going to simply "rant" as the very term indicates someone just spouting off. While I state my opinions in a very "matter of fact way", this particular post is far from a rant. It is a disposition that is founded on some very scary and very disturbing facts. I am speaking of course, about the American Empire.

Most people will picture the Romans, or the Greeks, or the Ottomons , perhaps even the Byzantines when they read the word Empire. Some might even site the British Empire. However, these would not compare well to the US in current form. The Empire the US has built is built from bases. Forge under the guise of "nation interests" which this country uses as an excuse to create and keep bases in nearly every country in the world. In fact, of the 194 independent countries listed by the state department, we have military troops and/or operatives in 135 of them. We have troops station in some form or another in 70% of all the countries of the world!

While it is hard to gather a true count of just how many troops are abroad, Pentagon and State Department sources list approximately 1.5 million military personel that are stationed abroad, with over 400,000 of them being troops. They range from deployments as small as 1, in the country of Malawi, to nearly 75,000 in Germany. Germany! Is Germany really so much of a threat that we need 75,000 military personel there?

What essentially happens is that where ever we go, for any reason, we leave behind our own forces to protect our "national interests". Really bad part is that people don't even seem to be aware of it. Just think back to any deployment you can imagine. Every president in recent history has left troops abroad. Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama will share in the blame for the same troops that W Bush sent abroad. Because we aren't ever coming home.

Whats worse, is that this Empire has grown cocky, and evil. George W. Bush began a wide spread practice of Extraordinary Rendition, which is the kidnapping of suspects and taking them to secret prisons. He also started the practice of using torture. And make no mistake, the memo's are mostly out, there were tortures worse than waterboarding going on. He also started the process of holding people, indefinitely, without trial.

President Obama is a unique president in that he ran specifically on taking away such things. Stopping these evil practices devised to use fear as a tactic of control over the world. Yet, nearly two years into his presidency, things have gone awry. The Obama administration defended the act of holding a prisoner without a trial. Extraordinary rendition CONTINUES to this day. And Guantanimo Bay remains open, along with other prisons designed to hold anyone deemd an "enemy combatant".

You can be rest assured that we will NEVER really leave Iraq or Afghanistan. Obama has all but said those exact words. We will eventually end the war, but our troops will remain there indefinitely. Note the careful wording of the promise to leave Iraq. "Combat Troops" is the term used to describe the withdrawal. Combat troops may leave, but we will remain in some capacity until we are forced out. That is the hallmark of Empire. Empire goes where it pleases, takes what it wants, and lets you know when you can have your space back, if you can have your space back.

When you look at the greater picture, you realize that people don't hate us for our "freedom", rather, they don't hate us at all. They hate the American Empire, oppressive and agressive as any in history. Built not on military conquest of the world, but slowly, over time, moving in and never moving out. With over a quarter million troops abroad excluding Iraq, we have the forces to do serious damage in a very short period of time to who ever doesn't do what we want. And there is no one to stop us. The UN showed that when they said no to Iraq, and we did it any way. Because we are bigger and greater than the UN. We are the only nation whose strength GREW because we refused to pay UN dues after Iraq! We pay so much into the UN that our refusal to pay dues nearly forces their hand. Only an Empire could control a world body in such a fashion.

History is a great teacher. It tells us that all Empires fall eventually. Only the people in full force, can slow, stop, and reel in the expansion of Empire. And this is where the problem lies. The people are kept busy and occupied with partisan nonsense. The people are kept busy defending or attacking the opposite party constantly. They use key words to get people riled up. Socialist, fascist, nazi, obstructionists, patriots, unpatriotic, anti-change, pro-oil, pro-big business and numerous other key words designed in their usage to get people angry and upset at the opposing party. This has the effect of turning the eye from the reality at hand.

And just what is the reality at hand? The reality of todays world is the escalation of Empire. The Endless War. Endless war is the process this Empire has worked for, for decades, and we now see the culmination of that process. We saw it starting in Vietnam. We saw attempts to give reason to stay at war with Reagan and his dealings with Iran and the USSR. George H. W. Bush saw the down fall of the USSR creating a vacuum. He immediately turn towards another boogie man, another country to invade, Iraq. But that ended very quickly. We did, however, manage to keep troops in the region to secure our "national interests".

Clinton managed to put us in several more countries we didn't have forces in at the time in the name of stopping genocide. Genocide happening in a very strategic place, happening right where a major natural gas pipeline was being constructed. Of course, with no resources of need and no strategic advantage, Rowanda was left for dead as millions were slaughtered in a racial cleansing genocide while the US and the world looked on and did nothing.

George W. Bush, exercising a principle echoed by the current Administration of never letting a good disaster go to waste, used 9/11 to send troops to Afghanistan. Afghanistan, we are told, refused to hand over Bin Laden. Okay. So why then is Bin Laden still not caught after all this time? Why then was the mission, from the beginning, to unseat the taliban and "rebuild" the nation?

Since Iran has been rather lippy, they had to be dealt with. The best way to do that was strategically place yourself, something the first Bush failed to do. So we created a reason to attack a country that never had the ability to strike us. Not even close. We were lied too. But the damage had been done, and the fact that we were lied too, had not impact on their ultimate goal, even if we knew about it. Yet, the genocide in Darfur went unchallenged as millions died in a religious holocaust that rivals any in history.

But Obama had the chance to start fresh, and end both wars. But the result came as a surprise, even to me. Afghanistan was escalated. Iraq still holds problems. And we aren't going any where. And Darfur? Nearly forgotten in the minds of the people as the media failed to cover it as more than just a side show. We are kept busy worrying about other things. Healthcare, the environment, taxes, and terrorism. Fear is used as a weapon. Fear of terrorism, fear of being over taxed, fear of being called unpatriotic. And we are the conduit that allows this power to flow.

All of this works to keep us unaware the worst danger to this world is the machine that keeps us afraid. And as terms that are all but obsolete in the modern word keep being thrown at the left, like socialism, the majority of the left are kept defending against this absurd claim, while the majority of democrats are sold out to the companies that profit most from endless war. And while the Tea Party crows about taxes and freedoms, they ignorantly work towards allowing corporations more power in the government and over them. Corporations who benefit financially from this endless war.

As time marches on and the people kept distracted, the Empire Grows. While people are worrying about republicans and democrats, people are being taken to secret prisons, tortured, held without charge and without evidence indefinitely, and our children are being sent to die on foreign soil for a purpose that has no connection to our freedom. To die in the name of freedom when freedom is not being defended, is an insult to our soldiers. But don't say that out loud. The Empire will hear you, and deem you unpatriotic. And we can't have that. Can we?