Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day thoughts

Ok, it's the Friday before the holiday, but still to many the same. And how many people aren't at work today, and not only "on holiday" but not even in town? So, you're not reading this anyway, like all of my entries on this blog? Ok, I can live with it that, the blog is more for me than anything, a way to vent or rant at the world, or simply think out loud.

And on top of that our baseball team here in paradise, the Seattle Mariners, are the worst team in the American league after getting swept by the then worst team, the Detroit Tigers. So, to all those teams in a slump, invite the Mariners, you'll win the series if not swept them and feel really good about yourself. As for the Mariners, it's not the manager's fault, few of the team are even close to their normal playing quality and the team is falling into a hole they routinely get into, except the 1995, 1997 and 2001 seasons, and never get out of it.

But we're like the Cubs' fans, loyal to a fault. Now if the team would just play their usual ability and quality, they'll do better, and if luck should prevail, which it hasn't so far this season, they might just have a winning season, and even fight for the Division lead. Ok, but we can hope until Labor Day weekend. So, dear Mariners, you have 3 months to get your head out of your baseball asses and starting playing and winning.

Ok, the news.

The proposed Domestic Surveillence bill going through Congress. Instead of granting the telecommunications companies immunity or not they want the secret national security court to decide the issue. That's called punting and putting the American people deep in their territory and Congress on the side of the telecommunications companies' lobbies and lawyers to argue for immunity and we're left with the Justice Department, who agrees with the companies.

Gee, why do I see this as a heads they win tails we lose situation, and our elected representatives aren't representing us but the companies and their own butts, er seats in Congress, to ensure they get to keep their lobbist happy. It's time Congress actually did something for the American people and protect our civil rights and liberties, like the right to privacy, and not free surveillence by the NSA throught the telecomnications companies.

I already know it's a lost cause as the ad companies are watching our Internet use, but to give the NSA, FBI and other agencies to spy on citizens without warrants is being, as they already have been extensively since 2001, Big Brother. We'll never get our freedoms back. Neither party wants to be seen as soft on terrorism, but they don't mind being soft on civil liberties and rights, in the name of fighting (imaginary) terrorists.

Ok, enough brow beating Congress and their ineptness. Not like they don't deserve it.

Iraq. Not the war, but the war spending. An audit of Army contracts found $8.2 Billion paid to contractors without clear explanations of the work to be performed and any documents verifying if any work had been done. Money just gone. And the audit found the Army distributed $1.8 Billion in cash without any accounting for it. Money simply gone. And the Army has can't account for anything about the $10 Billion except the checks were sent and cash doled out.

Maybe the American citizens should be contractors. Maybe we'll get our money's worth from our government?

According to "experts" we need a larger, more expensive military. Gee, we already have the world's most expensive, the largest Army is to China's, and we spend the most money on our military than most of all the other countries combined, including the biggest part of the federal budget after social security and entitlements, and the experts are saying because of our worldwide responsibility and fight against terrorism, we need more. More troops, more equipment and more money.

Funny none of the Presidential candidates are offering to rein in government spending on the military and our wars. They all want to increase the size of the miliary, McCain most of all. It seems to me we're becoming a military-industrial republic where everything government is based on the benefits of the military and corporations.

Eisenhower was right, and sadly fifty years later, we're where he feared and we're not seeing it. Will we ever or will the cost of the national debt, entitlements, social security and the military make the rest of the government obsolete and unaffordable? And give it all back to the states like it was in the 1950's before the federal government took over most of the costs for the variety of public's needs, like education, healthcare, welfare, infrastructure, environmental protection, etc?

Why do I get the feeling we're going backwards?

Oil. The interesting and touchy issue. And what are the oil, er energy, companies, which aren't US based anymore but international, saying? They want into the currently restricted areas like the coastal waters and ANWR in Alaska. But, and it's a big but, it would take nearly a decade to explore, build and export oil from those areas, the oil refineries are already at capacity and can't handle the new inflow, and currently the oil companies are only developing about a third (14.5 million acres) of the entire land under their leases with the federal government.

This means they don't want to produce and refine more oil, but open new areas for future markets. On top of that studies have shown increasing domestic production, which has increased during the Bush adiminstration, has not reduced prices one penny. Their game is a ruse to get more land under lease they can hold in reserve. The oil companies should use what they have and really help lower prices instead of raising profits.

There's been plenty of articles about the energy companies locking up lands for future development. The companies are currently milking the international oil producers, like the Middle East, South America, Africa, etc., and simply holding on to the US and EU owned or leased lands. They're not interested in the consumer, only our money, and they're staging themselves to stay in business for the next 2-3 decades.

Well, I've exhausted my anger synpases for a holiday weekend, and I want to enjoy it. I'll leave with some smiles. First, Goli and second, my cat. Have a good and safe holiday.

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