By Wes Pedersen - 08/02/11 11:41 PM EDT
In the earlier era that was yesterday, we worried that the banks and Wall Street were draining the economic swamp of sustainable life. Now we know how silly that was. The politicians, under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were the real culprits, throwing our money away on sad causes overseas while creating a huge class of “have-nots, won’t-gets” among the American public.
Conning us was obviously not hard to do. Americans have always been a sheep to the shearer people, too willing, too often, to trust their leaders until the clippers cut in too sharply.
Kids just out of college rallied to Kennedy’s call, joining the new world-conscious Peace Corps. A world responded to Ronald Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
We are responding in an entirely different way to our leaders today. They’re scaring us beyond earlier belief with their daily squabbling over the national budget. The question of lowering the ceiling on our lives is resulting in minus points every time a politician speaks. The issue was there when Obama was elected; he and the Republican leadership ignored it until the last moment, then declared a crisis that couldn’t be acknowledged before.
The first crisis after Obama took office was the impending fiscal wreck that became the Great Recession. Today the Great Recession lingers on, joined by the Great Depression, a national condition manifested in the feelings of gloom and potential economic disaster about to descend on families of every income level, save the wealthy being defended by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) with a ferocity that belies his reputation as a crybaby.
The country is ripe for the public uprising that will erupt when the public discovers what those private talks between Boehner and Obama really mean for them.
The debate on raising the debt ceiling will come at a price that is going to cost both parties whatever remains of the trust of their publics. The setting is ripe for an eloquent leader to emerge as head of a new third party.
A plague on both Democratic and Republican parties is developing even as we speak; it will fester throughout the elections next year.
Radicalization of the nation may be the price we will pay for our historic complacency in eras of massively incompetent leadership.
The bumper sticker of our times could be the simple, “Close Down Washington.”
Chevy Chase, Md.
The Keystone XL debate — common sense
From Keith Bockmann
Today, people are talking about how America needs more jobs, how America has $14.3 trillion in debt and how America’s gas prices are affecting every aspect of the economy. So how could one possibly say that Keystone XL is a bad idea? Look, it will bring jobs, lower gas prices and secure energy needs.
Let’s say a leak happens — then the company has to pour more money into our economy to clean it up to restore it back to its original condition. It is the best solution for our country’s well-being. If we don’t allow Keystone XL, China will use oil tankers to transport this heavy crude oil to their refineries. After that, the oil will take another trip on an oil tanker back to America.
Studies have already shown that using the oil tankers would result in more than double the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Statistically, oil-tanker spills are more damaging to the ecosystem, happening 200 times in 2010, and spilling between 7 and 700 tons. So it’s a clear choice, unless someone comes up with a substitute for petroleum overnight.
Blog short on facts
From Gordon E. Finley
Whether attributed to The Onion or The New York Times, if one really understands this oft-quoted purported headline one will fully understand the truthfulness and social value of this op-ed on The Hill’s Congress Blog (“Women would suffer most from congressional budget cuts,’ July 29). In truth, this overly long piece is so filled with distortions and misrepresentations that I am amazed The Hill actually posted it. On top of this, Tea Party Republicans now are described as “economic terrorists.” My, my.
As the “factoids” from nowhere — along with the implausible explanations of these factoids — are too numerous to rebut, let’s focus on one extensively discussed topic: There are more women than men on Medicare. This is true and represents rank discrimination.
There are more women on Medicare because they live about 5.5 years longer than men and have achieved greater longevity, in part because elected officials have established scores of offices, study sections, task forces and so on all devoted entirely to women’s health — with zero of the same devoted to men’s health.
Indeed, the author was right to point to discrimination, but his ideological prisms were such that he entirely reversed the causal arrow.