To that lone reader out there who actually goes out of his or her way to come to my humble attempt to sort out the confusing nonsense of the world today, I apologize for not posting for the past few days. The woeful state of the Philadelphia library system has prevented me from being able to get online. Our mayor, John Street, likes to talk a good game about the "digital divide" but hasn't really done much in the way of providing reliable service to those of us not fortunate enough to be able to afford an internet connection at home. I have to say it's pretty sad that a small backwater like Wilmington N.C. has a better library than Philly does. Hell, the Calvert County Maryland system is a 21st century marvel compared to Philly. If Ben Franklin were here to see this, he'd probably tie that kite string to mayor Street's private parts in a thunder storm. "Austerity" the new watchword on the Hill:
While W. has been burning up his frequent flyer miles sowing discord and strife across South Asia, Treasury Secretary John Snow has been raiding the cookie jar trying to keep the government functioning. It appears W.'s $8.2 trillion credit card bill is coming due and Senate is having a hard time getting around to raising the statutory debt limit. But, they've got a plan. The NYT
reports today that the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservatives in the House, is ready to come to grips with our money problems by sticking it to the poor. Gosh, that's a new one!
"Senior aides say the conservatives' plan would wring about $350 billion from Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs and save $300 billion partly through a major reorganization of the Education, Commerce and Energy Departments." Yeah, that sounds like a good plan, they've always hated those agencies anyway. That ought to show the voters that the GOP are fiscally responsible, right? Don't worry though; they're still bullish on defense spending. Representatives Mike Pence of Indiana and Jeb Hensarling of Texas assure us military spending will continue to rise, tax cuts for the rich will be protected and as a sop to the liberals; Social Security is safe...for now.
Yes, yes, austerity is the new watch word in the GOP run Congress. Well, austerity for those least able to protect themselves anyway. (Strangely, the idea of raising revenue by enacting a wind fall profits tax for the oil companies isn't in the plan!) Carl Huse writes, "The authors of the proposal describe it as a sequel to the Contract With America (Otherwise known as the "Contract on America"). An outline of the plan says the proposals require “tough choices, but members have expressed a serious desire to do hard things to save America." (Except in the case of ear marks and they're cushy trips to exotic foreign locales for golf and sumptuous buffets.)
Of course, a better way to go about this might be to give W. the line-item veto, so he can cut through the bull and get our budget under control. He said yesterday that, "We can't be all things to all people when it comes to spending the tax payer's money." No, indeed, and since Congress doesn't have the courage to stop spending like drunken sailors on leave, it's up to the "unitary executive" to take the power of the purse away from them, too. It's wartime, people, it's his prerogative. Nice job John Kerry, by the way, going along with this idea! Way to highlight that big distinction between tweedle dee and tweedle dum.
[I wonder if Karl Rove has crunched the numbers for the midterms ,and not liking what he's seeing, has decided that a line-item veto might be a way for W. to stick it to the democrats in the event they take over one or both houses of Congress.]
Seriously, though, you guys in Congress need to come up with some kind of plan to keep the government from defaulting on its loans. Sticking it to the poor isn't going to do it. When you start talking about trillions, you're starting to talk about real money. Even the Chinese are going to get tapped out at some point, we really need to raise actual revenue, or do what W. is doing, selling off the country to the highest bidder. I just had a brilliant idea: why don't we have the Indians run out nuclear power plants and missile silos? They've done a hell of a job hiding their nukes for decades, they're experts. This would free up a whole bunch of money to pay for our extended stay in Iraq. Remember, as much as we may want to, we can't fight the insurgents on the streets of Baghdad with nukes. (Note to Rummy: Unless, they're very small nukes.)
More on Iraq and Iran at LTAD
And there's more!!!!
I reprint a letter I sent to the NYT but has no chance of being published:
In an article about the two employees of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee who were indicted for receiving classified information from a Defense Department analyst, the concerns expressed by some is that the Justice Department's prosecution "threatens political and press freedom"("Pro-Israel lobbying group roiled by prosecution of two ex-officials
," news story, March 5). I would be the first one to defend the right of the press to protect its sources, but this case isn't about the press. The most important revelation in the article is that two men might have "stumbled into an American intelligence operation involving electronic monitoring of Israeli interests in the United States."
The contention the Aipac might be up to more than just innocently advancing friendly relations between our two countries is not new and should be fully investigated. Giving classified information to a newspaper in the interests of promoting open government is one thing, but passing national security secrets to a foreign power, regardless of who it is, in order influence our foreign policy in ways that may or may not be in our interests, is quite another. Congress should be as outraged about this alleged duplicitous behavior by a friend as it is about Dubai's take-over of our ports.