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I really hate when people talk about the debt run up under Obama so far. It obscures the fact that most of this debt is still W’s. There is a whole litany of expenses run up under George that are still hitting and many that are yet to hit.

People like to act like the train has arrived in the station as soon as the engine arrives, but there are still a hundred cars and the caboose to boot, before we can call it done.

George W. Bush will still be adding to the national debt for years after he is out of office. The tanks and jets we are running all over Iraq and Afghanistan have a maximum wear, which is being quickly used up. This maximum wear is the point at which you cannot replace parts because the frame or body itself is used up. This wear means the total replacement of the tanks or planes, etc. This will easily add up to over a trillion dollars.

The cost to the country for the treatment of the soldiers mentally or physically injured in our longest wars will cost several hundred billion over the next decade, and may surpass a trillion dollars as well.

The biggest expense will be the payment for the wars we have been waging for the last decade. One of the ways Bush decided to make the war more palatable for the American people was by not raising taxes to pay for it. Instead he borrowed the money from China. We will be paying off that loan and the interest for decades.

These are some of the reasons why Bush is easily the worst president of all time, and a man that did more damage to this county than anybody I know. His policy of torture and wars against nations that did not attack us bankrupted us morally. His Patriot Act and reversing Posse Comitatus are among many of his acts that robbed us of our legal rights, and his agenda of favoring the corporations, banks, and the rich backfired due to rampant misuse of power to crash our entire economic system.

Mission Accomplished indeed.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100513/ap_on_re_us/failed_drug_war

I thought this was a really interesting article that illustrates my assertion that the “War on Drugs” is really just a way to generate spending by the government to falsely stimulate the economy.

The country has spent $1 trillion dollars over the last 40 years, mostly on things that they acknowledge don’t work, but that’s no reason to stop failing. I guess the plan is to keep spending on what doesn’t work until it does.

Check out the quote at the end. The question was asked: “So why persist with costly programs that don’t work?”

The answer by Homeland Security Boss Napolitano, “”This is something that is worth fighting for because drug addiction is about fighting for somebody’s life….If you think about it in those terms….you realize the stakes are too high to let go.”

Ok, so why persist with costly programs that don’t work?

My theory, and I don’t think it is too conspiratorial, is that people are making a lot of money off of the tax dollars spent to fight a drug war in the most inefficient way possible. We have more jails, prisons, cops, prison guards, judges, lawyers, bail bondsmen, parole officers, and parole boards than any country in the world, and a hell of a lot more than we did before the war against drugs started. Then there is the DEA, the Border Patrol, and Customs Agents. The Coast Guard get most of their action by drug interdiction as well. All these people earn a good wage for doing a crappy job, but you can count on their conservative vote.

I was saddened to learn tonight that Bill Moyers is retiring. I was going to post a list of reliable and accurate sources of information for citizens to learn about current events, and his show was going to be the first I listed.

I recorded the journal to dvr, and was always impressed at the frankness and quality of the information presented.

I encourage everybody to go to pbs.org and watch the show or read the transcripts. I hope they remain available for a long time.

On a side note, it has been interesting to me during the time I have been maintaining this blog, to write on a subject that has been on my mind for several weeks, only to find the exact subject discussed by the Journal, or online, or even by Bill Maher.

The crappier the job or bigger a jerk the boss is, the more likely you will find a photocopy of Zig Ziglar’s “Attitude Makes All The Difference” posted in a prominent location.

I am not saying anything one way or the other about Zig’s statement. It is just an observation I have made.

One point I wanted to make that I had left out is that when you really get down to it, Tea Party people did not find issues that incensed them, and then decided they wanted to protest, they were angry already and found issues they don’t like as a reason to justify their anger.

Where were these people and their outrage while Bush gutted the Bill of Rights, something they claim to hold sacred?
Where were the protesters when he changed the Posse Comitatus Act? There was not a whisper about it then, nor when they changed it back a year later.

Do you think any of these guys are going to refuse their Social Security, or their Medicare?

The role of government as I have previously stated, is first and foremost to keep the economy strong.
It has been shown that failing to act on direct intelligence indicating imminent terrorist activity, violating national and international law, or even reversing long-held moral, ethical, and cultural traditions, is considered a venial sin, if your rhetoric invokes God, Freedom, and the American People.

The sole, unforgivable sin in this country is to allow the economy to falter. It is the only guaranteed formula for regime change in American politics.

Well that and maybe screwing around. It is strange to me that politicians whose entire career has consisted of whoring themselves to corporations and foreign governments, which acts impact everyday Americans in their everyday lives, are given a pass for this, but when politicians do some real whoring around, something that in reality affects the public not one whit, they are run out of town on a rail.

Serving the people is at best a trivial concern for these lifelong politicians. Staying in power is the only real issue they meditate upon daily, and because of this the politicians chief public service is that of job creation and preservation, or at least they think so.

What they actually do is kowtow to corporations that threaten to cut jobs if they don’t get their way. Instead of using the rule of law to force corporations to adhere to the law and treat citizens with dignity and give them a decent living wage, the politicians shrug helplessly as jobs are exported overseas, and wages stagnate, while the cost of living continues to rise, causing both parents to work, and work ever-increasing hours, thereby fracturing family unity and morality, and according to whichever doom prognosticator you prefer, exacerbating everything from teen pregnancy to obesity, because nobody is at home enough to cook a healthy meal.

It is a dysfunctional circle in which the people look to elected officials to protect them, the elected officials look to corporate America to provide trickle down help to the people, and the corporations look to continue to exploit the people, while they threaten the politicians that if they don’t demure to them they will punish the people, which means loss of power for the elected. Now after 3 bailouts, is there any doubt in the minds of corporate America that they have been given carte blanche to take whatever risks they want, knowing full well that when the crash comes, we will be writing them another blank check?

It seems that I channeled Dr. Seuss today.

It also seems that the great majority of the political positions in this country have been reduced to memes.

What is a meme? Well, one definition is: “A contagious idea that replicates like a virus, passed on from mind to mind”

Our politicians have figured out that we have the thought retention capacity of goldfish, so they break things down to pithy little phrases that are repeated by the believers ad nauseum.

The problem with this is best summed up by a phrase I once read that said: “If it can fit on a bumper sticker, it is not a philosophy.” It also can’t be a very valid or well thought out political opinion.

Life is too complicated to be condensed down to absolutes. We would love it if it was that simple and that’s why we buy crap like, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, or buy magazines with articles like “5 ways to have your best orgasm ever” or even why we put so much stock in the 10 Commandments. Everybody loves the 10 Commandments, but as an example of why our political debate in this country is so childish, go ahead and recite the 10 Commandments……….I know, I can’t do it either.

Still, memes are dangerous, because they make smart people sound stupid, and stupid people sound smart. They kill dialogue, and they promote stiff, unthinking, unreflecting absolutism.

Ironically, it is always the idiots that swear they love freedom the most that spout memes the most. It is a paradox, because how can you embrace freedom when your mind is so incapable of free thinking?

I will list a couple of memes I have heard a lot lately. I know there are a million, and pleaseĀ  post some of your own as you wish.

1. We are going to drive rich people out of this country because, “we are going to tax them and they are not going to want to achieve”. Firstly, driven people are competitive for competitions sake. Some of them would put you into the wall to win a snack cake, let alone a lot of money. Second, most rich people inherited their money, they didn’t work for it. Thirdly, I am sure Bill Gates loves being worth $53 billion dollars, but he wouldn’t turn his nose up if it was only $25 billion either. Fourthly, I have been looking around to compare income tax rates versus the distribution of income historically in this country. I haven’t been able to get all the data I would like, but what I have found so far indicates that rich peopleĀ  have always had tax lawyers to find the loopholes, because even when rates were 70% or greater, wealth distribution did not change.

The second meme is, “An armed society is a polite society.” This is completely retarded. I am not against guns, I am against the idea that they prevent crime or keep society polite. A cursory look at any extremely armed society will tell you that. Afghanistan, Columbia, or the American Old West, are/were armed to the teeth. They didn’t carry guns because they wanted to be respected or to uphold democracy, they carried because they are scared witless. If you think you need to carry a gun in a society where you have 5.5 murders per 100,000 people, than you are really bad at math, and kind of a coward as well.

For any that are interested I am working on the second part of the big picture as seen by me, I know, you can’t wait.

I found this app the other day and I have really been intrigued by it. I put it on my Blackberry and have been using it everyday.

Part of the problem most of us face is that we are too busy to really keep up on what is going on in government.

Another part is that we see more on tv about who Kim Kardashian is dating then we get information on what is actually in the bills our representatives in government are voting on.

This is a handy little way to keep informed. I don’t know anything about who made it, I haven’t researched it, but at the very least you can keep up on your representatives and the bills they vote on.

http://www.visiblevote.us/iphoneinfo.php

My goal is to share my viewpoints on politics, philosophy, and religion as they are filtered through my experience as an intelligent but wildly unsuccessful member of the lower middle class.