Saturday, February 27, 2010

Government is not Broken

"Congress is broken." Many people's favorite words. But oh so wrong when you don't say what, why, when, who, etc. So to that I respond with the following.

Please distinguish what you mean. Government is the many agencies under the Executive Branch which provide you and America the products and services which enrichen your life. They are following the mandates and work specificed by Congress and with the funding also specificied by Congress in Appropriation bills.

So when you talk about how "government is broken", please specify what part of government you're talking about. Politicians and pundits love to bash "the government" when it's really Congress or the President they're bashing. There are nearly 4 million government employees, not counting the military forces (only DOD civilian employees) and millions more contract employees working under contracts or directly for the agencies.

They're not broken. They're just doing their job. I spent nearly 28 years (additional 4 in the USAF) and I can tell you, we weren't broken and they're not broken. I know the government employees are dedicated and hardworking. So they don't deserve your criticism, or worse, you anger, when you won't be specific as to what you're talking about a broken government.

And I won't argue with you about Congress. It's long been broken and is the worst example of good government, only an example of a corrupt government. But we elected them. On promises for our votes, which they knew were lies and know won't be done because they're bought and paid for by corporations and tutored by their lobbyists.

And it's not about wasteful spending. Those agencies, excluding the DOD and military spending, are only about 5% of the annual government budget. The rest are interest on the debt, entitlement programs, military spending (personnel and operations) and equipment (ships, planes, weapons, vehicles, etc.) purchases and the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Five percent. That's all what the agencies have for the year, allocated and defined by Congress. The agencies don't get to use the money outside the programs specificed by Congress. They don't have that luxury. So, arguing they're misspending money isn't true, they're spending what Congress mandated in the agencies' requests or with earmarks.

And to those pundits and politicians who want to dissovle the IRS, It would help the argument if you offer an alternative that works, and not simply argue against the IRS. We need to have taxes to make goverment work for the people, and that requires enforcing tax laws, which by the way aren't written by the IRS, but again, Congress. They write the laws, the IRS only write the administrative code and enforces the laws.

They're not the problem with the tax system, so venting against them is erroneous and wrong. And yes, I've met and known many in the IRS, and they're just like any other dedicated and hardworking government employee, doing their best within the rules set by Congress. Congress did this, not the IRS.

And if you abolish the IRS what will you propose in its place to ensure tax are being collected? You will need a government agency, so what don't you understand? If you're angry at the income tax system, it's not the IRS, again, it's Congress. Blame them, not the IRS for enforcing the laws Congress writes and passes.

If you don't like the tax laws, and some in Congress don't, you should know better than anyone, the problem is you. Yes, you're your own problem and your own enemy. Not a pretty picture huh? So, when I hear it from elected representatives, I only need to tell them to look in the mirror for the problem and the solution.

So, don't bitch about government unless you tell us what you're angry at and why, with factual information, and not political rhetoric or simply bullshit. I didn't spend a career to hear that crap from anyone.

It is time

It's time the Democrats jettison the Republicans in the healthcare debate and pass the legislation the people ask them to pass. It's not their healthcare reform, it's the American people's healthcare reform and it's America's healthcare reform. It's that simple. And the Republicans have been and are being not only a roadblock, but simple deadend.

As a political analysist noted, the Republicans kept moving the compromise to the right, on the public option, on abortion, and on almost any issue in the healthcare legislation, to the right where the whole bill was to the right of center without a real public option or guarranteed coverage for every American. It's time this stopped.

The Democrats should politically say, diplomatically as possible, "Fuck the Republicans!"

Reconcilation has been used 22 times on healthcare legislation, 16 of those times by Republicans no less. They're now bitching about what they've used in the past and telling the Democrats they don't care about their view or vote. They pushed through what they wanted. They told the Democrats, "Go fuck yourself!"

The Republicans have used or threatened to use filibuster more times, several times more in fact, during this current Congressional session than any of the past sessions in the last 50 years, and it's the Republicans who have also used it far more times than the Democrats. The Republicans are the party of "No!"

No to the Democrats. No to Americans. And no to America. They simply don't care about the American people, or at least anyone not making a few hundred thousand dollar annual salary. They only care for corporations and the rich. The rest aren't worth anything beyond lying to get their vote, something they done very well.

They've sold themselves to us as the party to protect individual rights. Except it's not the rights of the poor and middle class they're protecting. It's the rich to be rich and become richer, leaving us standing in the line of losing, losing jobs, our family's healthcare, our homes, our savings and retirements, and our lives. But the rich are fine, thanks to the Republicans.

It's time the Democrats decided to stand up and do what they wanted in the first place. Fuck any compromise, it's not possible and whatever you could get from the Republicans will only allow them to stall the process and sell their political rhetoric, which is all lies. You know it and we know it.

So get on with the show and help the American people. Get some political balls and a backbone and get the work done. For the American people. Whatever it takes, we want it done.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Totally Inept Congress

Yes, we know they're not doing much beyond talking, blaming the other side for all the problems things aren't getting done in Congress, but two recent pieces of news really highlights the point that while it's been mostly the Republicans, it's really the Democrats who lack in conviction to do anything beyond pointing verbal fingers.

And this is true because? Well, on the Rachel Maddow, she listed the 290 bills in the Senate which have passed the House, many with strong Republican support, waiting for a vote. But because the Republicans are threatening to filibuster any, and really all, of the 290 bills, remember they're the party of no, the Democrats won't challenge them to filibuster, even those bills their own party in the House want passed.

The Democrats, under Harry Reid, are afraid. Pure and unadulterated fear. No backbone, no balls, no anything. They would rather show they're to blame than show who's really to blame. The answer is simple. Make the Republicans filibuster. Show the American people how ridiculus they really are and ask the American people, "Is this what you want?"

The Democrats are blowing the perfect 2010 campaign slogan, proving the incumbant Republicans are the party of "No!" and to elect the Democrat to get the work and business of this country's government done. It's what the American people want and deserve for all the money we're paying. And the Democrats are too afraid so they sit on their hands.

The Republicans have never stopped at showing the Democrats as fools when they controlled Congress. They always made the point who's to blame, not them but the Democrats. The Republicans have verbally bludgeoned the Democrats into submission under the Bush administration. And the Democrats never stood up, not even for themselves but to whimper.

And for that, they and Harry Reid deserves to lose in 2010. The Republicans only want to stop President Obama and the Democrats from doing anything, even things the Republicans want and would support, and have in the past proposed. They have proven and are showing we'll tolerate their bullshit rhetoric and their stall tactics. They're betting on it this fall. And they know the Democrats are too scared to challenge them, especially Harry Reid.

I hope the Democrats change, and maybe give Harry Reid some balls and a backbone. 290 bills are waiting his ok to go to the floor for a vote. And if the Republicans filibuster, so be it. We'll see it and understand, but until you do that Mr. Reid, we won't and we'll blame you and the Democrats for doing nothing.

On another note, the Republican healthcare plan. When you read it, or what's available, it's simple. It's more of the same and more promises to lower premiums, cover more people and reduce medical costs. All because the insurance companies will volunteer to do that. That's their plan and message. Trust the insurance companies.

Like we have been doing? Like we have 8-10% of American uninsured and another 8-10% underinsured? That's 30-40 million Americans. Like the cause of most personal or family bankruptcies for the last 10 years has been for medical bills? Like the Republicans had from 1994-2006 to fix it and they did nothing?

That's NOTHING. Except help the companies get richers, Americans get poorer, and all but the wealthy get worse health insurance at higher premiums. That's what they did. That's what got us here and all I hear and read from the Republicans is more of the same, help the companies get richer, we get poorer and get less insurance for higher premiums.

And that's healthcaare reform? Giving the insurance companies incentives, like tax cuts and exemptions, to promise to do better? They're some of the richest, most profitable companies in this country, and you think they'll really do what you ask them to promise?

Notice they're not promising anything. The Republicans are offering them incentives to promise.

In the end, it won't change anything beyond a few improvements, few for the American people, especially those 15-20% who can't afford insurance or can't afford decent insurance. The Republican plan won't guarrantee access to mandatory coverage (pre-existing conditions), won't guarrantee prohibitions for companies from cancelling coverage (excessive costs), and won't guarrantee minimium premium increases (anything, any amount).

That's their plan. And it's take it or leave it. They're selling it as the right of people to choice. What choice? What improved choices? What lower premiums? What? They won't spell it out. They won't guarrantee their plan will actually work. They won't promise solving the problem. They're only offering smoke and rhetoric.

Their answer is simple. Appear to do something but really do nothing. Just more of the same. And it's why they're threatening to filibuster any Democratic plan. And we get screwed. Tails they win, heads we lose. Tossing the coin doesn't matter. The Republicans control things and the Democrats won't challenge them.

So to Harry Reid, get some balls and a backbone or face the reality. The reality the American people really hate Democrats, and it will be your fault. Change the rules. It's doable and we want action and results. Nothing less anymore. We elected you, so do your damn job for us. For a change.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ok, enough with Tiger Woods

I'm am thoroughly fed up with all the news and mostly the hype around the news about Tiger Woods. There is no question the guy has issues of monogamy and about his choice of women, but it's his and not anyone else's issue or problem. So let's let him be and get back to his life and career.

Remember if we want to shine a light and even condemn him for his infedities, then let's not forget other famous people with equally the same issue, or problem if you're against him on this (I'm not). Say President Kennedy? Or more so any number of politicians, celebrities and other athletes. Let's get real here ok?

Real is meaning it's an issue between him and his wife and family. It's their life, and marriage, and no one else has the right to judge or say anything critical. Lest ye expect the spotlight to shine on you and your private life. Care for that? No? well, then shut up about Tiger Woods.

And please to all the news shows, especially ESPN, it's not news until it's news. They spent countless hours talking, and all speculation, with numerous news and sports analysists and pundits, talking about what Tiger Woods might say and what effect or impact it will have on his life and career.

To that I turned off ESPN and say, "Who cares?" All those hours isn't news, but pure speculation and mostly bullshit disguised and opinion. It's not worth listening to. Let's wait until he actually speaks and then talk about what he said, not around it or about what it means, but simply what he actually says.

In other words, focus on the news and nothing more. Or if not, you've lost one viewer, at least until you stop talking about the news and actually report it. Gee, that would be refreshing for a change.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Floating into Oblivion

After rereading the last post, "Uncertain Future", I have to say, that's still the view from here. I still read the newspapers, both on-line and print, still listen to my local NPR station and occasionally watch a few TV news shows, like the Rachel Maddow show, the PBS News Hour, etc., but a lot of my energy, and really anger, is fading away.

You see anger rules my interest to post opinions on the news. I still add a few columns on my photography column (in list of blogs on the right of this Web page - see the JMO prefix for "Just My Opinion"). But the my current health problems and the drugs I'm taking are dampening a lot of my spirit to write about the news. It takes a lot of energy just to exist right now, let alone doing anything and especially being angry at the world.

I'm still mentally angry, but it's becoming more and more disappointment why people just don't understand what it's about. Like Congress and especially the Republicans for being assholes with the most filibusters during President Obama's short administration than since the 1950's. It's assinine for them to think we think they're doing the right thing.

But that's another issue, the divisiveness in the country today. Everyone, from the far left to especially the far conservative and religious right. Humanness, understanding, deceny, negotiation, compromise, and so on down the list of being human has disappeared from the political discussion and landscape. Everyone is yelling and no one is listening.

Adding another angry voice isn't helping and only making me feel worse. And I'm tired of that. I'm working to find a way to get and feel better, and get back to doing what I love. And being angry only takes away from the focus and work. It still won't stop me from voicing my view and opinion, only less often.

And so, I still don't know where this blog will go. I have six other blogs, a Website, my photography, my Mt. Rainier NP photography and history projects, and my life to work on. Here is just a distraction I need to wander away from and only come back occasionally, probably monthly.

Until then, I'm still here, but you can visit less often and more with my other blogs (see my profile). Take care and practice being human being. Please.