Wednesday, January 25

State of the Union

"Every Day Is Exactly The Same"
- Nine Inch Nails

I believe I can see the future
Cause I repeat the same routine
I think I used to have a purpose
But then again
That might have been a dream
I think I used to have a voice
Now I never make a sound
I just do what I've been told
I really don't want them to come around
Oh, no


Every day is exactly the same
Every day is exactly the same
There is no love here and there is no pain
Every day is exactly the same

I can feel their eyes are watching
In case I lose myself again
Sometimes I think I'm happy here
Sometimes, yet I still pretend
I can't remember how this got started
But I can tell you exactly how it will end


I'm writing on a little piece of paper
I'm hoping someday you might find
Well I'll hide it behind something
They won't look behind
I'm still inside here
A little bit comes bleeding through
I wish this could have been any other way
But I just don't know, I don't know what else I can do

Several people have asked if I watched President Obama's State of the Union speech the other night, and I did not.  I couldn't image that he would welcome standing before Congress and talking about accomplishments and goals.  I almost reached for the remote, anyway, but then I recalled the shock of that Southern cracker, Joe Wilson, calling the President a liar, and I turned off the TV.  I have worked hard to erase his feverish face and the frozen, ghoulish faces of his Republican confederates from my brain.  Each of them are only a few centuries away from the "thumbs up and thumbs down" mentality of  that Roman legend, Emperor Nero.  

Fast forward to modern times, and some things never change.  These super rich or wannabe super rich Republicans focus their icy stares on Obama, and every glare broadcasts their purpose.  We get it.  Republicans don't like half-black populist upstarts with Harvard degrees in charge of their country.  They cannot tolerate any interaction with plebeian sympathizers, let alone with plebeians.  So...  the American citizenry must witness and wait while the Repubs in the Congress pound the President with blatant disrespect, illogical and ill timed obstacles, tantrums, and criminal stupidity.

They would throw a baby out with its bathwater if they thought it would stop Obama from moving his agenda (...hell, even their own agendas) forward, and since the Tea Party has taken over the leadership of the Republican party, more babies are having to survive without the basics of bathwater, food, and shelter.  The latest US Census shows 1 in 2 people are poor or low-income, so it's not just babies that are suffering.  Whole families are suffering the effects of  foreclosures, layoffs, chronic unemployment, no medical care...poverty.   Gingrich, Rector, and other infamous blowhards dispute these facts, pointing out that some of the low income/poor have cars, own homes, have TVs and micro waves - they should be taxed or required to do community service instead of offered tax payer assistance - the old, "I'm not my brother's keeper" -  Oliver Twist solution, popular at the turn of the century.

The Republican majority in the House blames this increase in poverty on the failed policies of .... wait for it... Obama!  And, what are these failed policies:
1) "His" bank bailout - H.R. 1424 signed into law by old GWB; I guess we can blame Obama for enforcing the law.
2) The Recovery Act appropriating 787 billion dollars to individuals and businesses funding tax breaks, federal loans, contracts and entitlements.  I guess a failure to a Republican is putting over 400,000 people to work during a depression and keeping the doors open for thousands of businesses.
3) He "failed" to reduce the deficit in the midst of two wars and during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression;  Erm....  no one wants America to owe China as much money as it does right now - no one, including the Obama administration.  When the GWB administration asked the Congress to appropriate billions to the Afghan and Iraq wars, everybody knew we'd suffer down the road.  Dems and Repubs approved the debt for eight years.  Now, the Repubs focus on this issue and have the balls to blame the Obama administration.  It is not cool to back-stab a hemorrhaging victim, guys.  Wait until only 1 in 3 Americans are poor before you get out the sharp knives and shred safety nets.
4) He "failed" to eliminate the EPA and most other regulatory agencies so that corporate job creators can once again have free reign to kill Lake Erie, create another Love Canal toxic dump, destroy the Gulf of Mexico with another massive oil spill from BP or Exon (take your pick).  Keep the government out of corporate business but by gawd, the government must regulate everyone's sex and reproductive lives.
5) He succeeded in passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - after many concessions to corporations that now bother Republicans?!  Many of this Act's benefits are in progress and the bottom line financial impact is advantageous to business and to America's bottom line.  Liberals will continue to push for a single payer program, so I'm not thrilled with this one either, but I'm mystified at the reaction of conservatives for two reasons.  Their boy, GWB, did a fair bit of reforming the prescription benefits of Medicare and the mandate that all workers and businesses must have insurance is a boon to the insurance industry - erm, benefits business, right?  Mystified that this issue is such a huge deal breaker - even more so than gay marriage and abortion?  Wow!

The Republicans want to shrink government down to toll booths and military bases - any other service or program is anti-business, anti-free market, anti-Christian, anti-patriotic - in that order.  Why they want us to go back to the turn of the century now is anybody's guess.  My best guess is that the policies of the robber barons are the opposite of Obama's and for that reason alone, Republicans support them. Otherwise, why would anyone promote such an unhealthy and unsustainable vision of this nation.  If one out of two Americans are low income to poor - does it make sense to increase these numbers by cutting lifelines and opportunities.  The person next door sending out resumes, working two or three part time jobs, leaving the kids at home unsupervised while they work, is my neighbor and I'm no luckier or smarter.  I'm a paycheck and one disaster from the street.  The truism that there are no atheists in foxholes can also apply to political ideology.  Even Ron Paul would be grateful to get a low interest federal loan after losing his house to a hurricane.  I'd be willing to contribute my taxes to help him get back on his feet and contribute to society again.  My assumption is that whomever I help through government programs is valuable and important whether he's rich or poor.  A government or civil servant that believes otherwise and devises programs based on the assumption that those who need assistance are greedy, lazy, unproductive ciphers needs to find a cave in the backwoods, away from human contact.

So....  I watched the SOTU address on YouTube - it was a good speech.

May all beings know love, peace and prosperity.