Confidence taken in
By a suntan and a grin.
Grabbing hands, grab all they can
All for themselves after all,
It’s a competitive world.
In large amounts … Depeche Mode, “Everything Counts”
I can’t let events of the past week pass without making some comment. (If you’ve followed this blog at all, you know I have opinions and I’m not shy about sharing them. This is a rant, so skip if you want. You’ve been warned.)
I feel a serious Howard Beale moment coming on. (Or, Hollywood’s answer to primal scream therapy …Seriously, check this out. You might be amazed by just how much of it sounds familiar.)
All of the turmoil in the Middle East is not new; the region has been fighting with someone since Day One. What is new is the domino effect that one successful overthrow seems to be having.
America is not blameless. When we prop up dictators in faux democratic governments for decades – dictators who loot and milk these faux democracies for their own benefit without any regard for their citizens – how long do we think those shams can withstand? Especially in a part of the world where there is little if no distinction between the religious and secular worlds when it comes to government.
Granted, there is a large secular population in Egypt and I support their rights to reclaim their government. Nearly 50 percent of their population lives below the poverty line. FIFTY PERCENT. What I hate to see though, in Egypt or anywhere else, is even a faux democracy being replaced with a theocracy. Again though, it's their country. NOT ours.
Meanwhile, we’re looking at a government shutdown right here at home. I’m not going into all of my individual problems with the Republican Party but I will say only that history has an eerie way of repeating itself. Does anyone remember what came of the last government shutdown? I do. Go ahead. Do it! I triple dog dare ya! (This may be the one benefit in the perpetually short memories of voters.)
The worst of it is what’s going on in Wisconsin – and preparing to go on in about a dozen other states – are these barely veiled attempts to bust the remaining unions. It doesn’t have anything to do with finances or budget crisis. It has EVERYTHING to do with destroying the last bastion of financial support for the Democrats. After allowing corporate America to run roughshod over campaign spending limits, Big Business and the Banks own us all. In God We Trust, my ass.
If it was merely a financial issue, the governor got what he wanted – the union is caving to financial requests. And I agree that people should contribute to their own health care and retirement. No one should get a free ride. But this a**hat isn’t accepting amendments from anyone – not even his own party. He will not back down from stripping the collective bargaining. This is a democracy? Last time I checked, that more closely resembled a dictatorship.
What boggles my brain is how these kinds of people can keep getting elected. DON’T raise my taxes … but do all these other things for me and rail about how bad the government is. I'll elect you and let you do whatever you want to anyone. Oh, wait. That's ME you're attacking!!! That appears to be the average voter mindset. A Republican acquaintance recently said to me, “Well, we have to balance the budget. If we keep giving money away, we can’t do that.” I had to politely excuse myself from the conversation.
There are entire groups of people who don’t want to have ANY kind of assistance programs. No welfare. No unemployment. No Social Security. No Medicare. Really? As if cutting taxes EVER fixed a deficit or put people to work! (Not to mention, this IS a form of welfare … but for the wealthy.)
I wish they WOULD raise taxes. I’ll fork over my 3 percent – if these millionaires and billionaires will do the same. How much freakin’ money does anyone really need? Apparently, this is only the view of people who don’t have money.
Now I hear them adding that the retirement age – for those of us under 55 – needs to be jacked up to 70. Really? Corporate America is generally glad to see top wage-earners and older workers (which in certain categories are synonymous) go out there. Who is going to employ us into old age? And for those of us who won’t be able to afford any retirement much less early retirement (thanks in part to getting screwed over by Wall Street investments) will our options be to shed ourselves of any property just so we can eat? I shudder to think.
I literally had to turn the television off over the weekend. Yes, Howard, I’m mad as hell. I just couldn’t take it anymore.