The Sequester: Fooled You!

Well, isn’t it just amazing how nobody got really riled, nobody got up to do anything serious about this whole sequester thing? Obama gave the usual lip service to Armageddon; Harry Reid tried to sound heated; Pelosi was silent; Boehner used the a-word, but not in a very angry manner — as if it were scripted. Watch this charade here.:

And we heard nothing at all from McConnell. Odd, isn’t it? Just look at the cast of characters. Boehner, McConnell, Pelosi, and Reid. All of them have been in Congress for a long time and they know that nothing gets done without compromise. They also know that they have to be seen as intent on reducing the federal deficit. The key thing, though, is this: above all, they know that no member of Congress can be associated with a vote on a major cutback in government spending. 

The military-industrial complex has thoughtfully placed its tendrils in hundreds of Congressional Districts, thus insulating this enormous slice of the budgetary pie from any retrenchment. Only an indiscriminately falling axe could possibly touch the military: and that is precisely what the sequester accomplishes. 

If the sequester had touched Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, every politician would be held accountable. But this cut — this 10% cut in discretionary spending, which makes up just 14% of the federal budget! — affects the vast majority of Americans only peripherally. The jobless rate rises .5%? That’s nothing when compared to tens of millions of seniors and their trusty li’l AARP marching on Washington, demanding what they believe is rightfully theirs. There is no national organization of the unemployed. Nobody will bring them to D.C. to pressure lawmakers. Nobody wants to know about the unemployed. In that way, it’s sort of like smoking: you know it’s like playing Russian Roulette. You have your job, but it’s anybody’s guess if you’ll have it in five years; looking at the unemployed worker makes you just a little uneasy. It might just happen to you, and you know it.

Let’s take stock of where we are now, after the sequester sailed through the darkened waters of Congress. There are no howls from the Democrats. And they’d better not try to increase spending now: the Republicans will paint them once again as tax and spend liberals. (That sort of labeling works.) No single Representative is responsible for this massive cut in spending, and this is the first time in our history that this can be said. We are now on track to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion in ten years, not coincidentally the precise amount that bankers and rating agencies have been demanding.

The sequester was not unwanted. It was not unplanned. Both parties have it in their interest to do exactly what they did, which was to shield elected officials from voter backlash by applying an indiscriminate reduction in federal spending. It is in their interest, and they did it. Listen to the roar of their silence.

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Scott Lively, ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill Supporter, Pushes Claim Obama Is Gay, Dating Reggie Love

Whoa, okay! NOW I’m finally convinced that Obama must be impeached! 

On the other hand, no, never mind.

Scott Lively, 'Kill The Gays' Bill Supporter, Pushes Claim Obama Is Gay, Dating Reggie Love.

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Capitalism is so broken it can’t be fixed – Paul B. Farrell – MarketWatch

Okay, so Paul Farrell is a fear-monger. But he’s been right more often than not, and his overall theme of the influence of psychology on markets is undeniably valid.

Capitalism is so broken it can’t be fixed – Paul B. Farrell – MarketWatch.

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I don’t think so.

Pat Robertson, you have a message…it’s from Timbuktu. Some Islamic rebel says you’d love it there. Hold on…okay, he says you would love it there but only for a moment, because they’d have to kill you as an infidel. Th— wait a sec, Pat…okay, but you can kill them as infidels in your own country. Hold on, you talk to him. You two have everything in common.

Well, fellows, thanks for the warning about Sharia law.  Methinks I'll turn around....

Well, fellows, thanks for the warning about Sharia law. Methinks I’ll turn around….

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Creeping insincerity.

Have you noticed the creeping insincerity in President Obama’s speech patterns? When he said, during his inauguration speech, “These things don’t weaken us, they strengthen us!” I could hear the falseness in his voice. The way he emphasized strengthen. It just didn’t come off as real, no matter how much he meant it. I hear this in a lot of what he says, this false folksiness, this false enthusiasm. In truth, he must be sick and friggin’ tired of being President, sick of being the object of racist Republican attacks. His heart seems to have gone out of it, so that now he’s sounding more like a guy who’s pretending to be President.

Maybe he believes his harshest critics. It sure sounds like it.

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My Saturday Paper

I live in Saranac Lake, New York (pop. 5,700), where we’re fortunate enough to have a daily newspaper, The Adirondack Daily Enterprise. It is a slight newspaper, but then, not all that much happens here unless there’s a water main break on a minus 10 degree day. Stuff like that.

Today, however, I read through the paper, briefly smiled at the full-page “Religious Directory” and then stopped at the Food page, which was a full page of “Lent Recipes.”

Pardon me for being pissed off about that, but I am.

This is not a particularly religious community.  This is the Northeast, remember: that den of filthy Jews, Muslims, and assorted other atheists.  Surely, there are a good number of church buildings; however, they exist because of large endowments from millionaires of days past, when the Adirondack region was the playground of the rich.  The Presbyterian Church, which gives Church Street its name, has no more than 20 people present at its one Sunday mass; the Lutheran Church, only about 10; the Methodists, about 20.  Only the Catholics and Seventh Day Adventists create a parking problem.  Both of those, of course, preach a subtle message of eternal damnation for missing one mass, so they have a better shot at good attendance.  However, even in these cases, there are no more than 200 people on Christmas or Easter.  All of which means about 90% of the town stays home as a rule on Sundays.  So why are there two pages (out of six) devoted to religion?

I’m a teacher of 7 and 8 year old children, Grade 2.  There are 20 in my class, and of those, only 2 have ever heard of Adam and Eve.  A few think Jesus freed the slaves.  My point is, religion is fading away here (though perhaps not in Texas.)  We need our media to recognize this change and stop catering to a world that no longer exists.  But what do we put in its place?

Imagine this: rather than a “Religious Directory”, we have a page devoted to places in the area where people can volunteer their time and make a positive difference in the community.  Imagine that: spending an hour or two every week, perhaps even Sunday, making this a better town.  Well, it won’t happen, not with religion standing in the way.  With it, we are divided.  Without it, we are neighbors.

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Goodreads | Emmett J. Saranac Lake, NY’s review of Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives

Goodreads | Emmett J. Saranac Lake, NY’s review of Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives.

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