Matt's opinion

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Last Week in Politics: A Review

Ok, so a lot's happened this week and I thought a little review would be in order. Most of the action this week has been from Congress so we'll start there.

This week the Senate passed a resolution demanding that President Bush give Congress regular updates regarding progress in the Iraq War, and that the administration develope and exit strategy to get the troops out of Iraq all together. Mmmmm, I smell election year politics. Why are Senate Republicans demanding this? Because Senate Democrats finally stepped up and grew a spine (well each of them grew their own, you understand). Finally Democrats are speaking out about the war and drawing a lot of attention as a result. The Democrats actually surprised the nation when minority leader Harry Ried asked for a closed session and demanded that the Intelligence committee stop draggging its feet on investigating whether or not the administration told the truth about pre-war intelligence. Afterwards the mouths of senators from each party exploded with campaign style rhetoric.

What got lost in all the rhetoric was that this investigation does not change anything about the current status of the Iraq war. So why is this investigation important? Because Bush outright lied to all of us, and just once I would like to hear him say he was wrong. Just once. Throughout his entire presidency, so far, he has never admitted a single mistake. That's like saying Dick Cheney is in perfect health.

The House was also an exciting place to be this week. Rep. Murtha (D-Penn), a decorated Vietnam vet and respected lawmaker by both parties criticized the administration's Iraq policy as failure wrapped in illusion (or something to that effect). Immediately after both House Republicans and the White House lashed out at him with rhetoric not heard since the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth adds. What I don't understand is why can't the two parties just sit down and have a civilized debate about the administration's policy? Everyone was so busy standing up for Murtha, or demonizing him, that no one ever mentioned whether or not we should change direction.

Meanwhile, the House managed to pass a series of budget cuts to try and make up for the federal money spent on all the natural disasters of late, namely Katrina. To accomplish the 50 billion dollar goal in cuts House Republicans took money from Medicade (healthcare for the poor and disabled), food stamps (food for the poor), and cut student loan programs. Wait just a minute. Does anybody remember the 2000 Presidentail campaign? What as it that Bush was running as? Ohhhhh yeah, I remember, a compassionate conservative. A conservative that will cut taxes but will take care of those less fortunate at the same time. BULLSHIT!!!! Turns out those tax cuts will come at the expense of those less fortunate.

This at a time when Katrina exposed just how horrible the situation had become in New Orleans in terms of how many people depended on programs that will be cut. Believe me, I've been there. Not only will the federal government cut those programs, FEMA announced this week that they will no longer pay hotel bills for Katrina evacuees and that they are completely out of money to keep up with recovery effots. As a result Congress must authorize more money for FEMA, which shouldn't be a problem seeing as that Medicare perscription drug program is about to roll out. That's the pattern right, start massive programs like No Child Left Behind and the new perscription drug benefit and then cut their spending so they are rendered wildly inneffective. Yeah that sounds about right.

So in review:
1. Rebublicans are starting to be wary of the administration's war policity
2. Democrats grew a spine (well, at least for now anyway)
3. House Republicans cut social programs for the poor (oh yeah, I forgot to mention their budget includes extending the capital gains tax breaks they passed a few years ago)
4. FEMA ran out of money, people will be kicked out to the street curb as a result.
5. Look for cuts in the Medicare perscription drug program (I've already read about them in the Tampa Tribune)

Lastly, if you haven't already noticed, I've added adds by Google to my blog. If you like the stuff click on the add and see what you think. Otherwise don't. The content should match what I'm writing about so it should at least be funny. We'll see.

Till next time


  • Wow, that was about as unbiased as a French figure skating judge (settle down, just poking fun). It's time for me to go on my soapbox. Anyway, as much as I hate to go against the Republicans on this one, I'm going to have to partially blame them. The other half goes to the Dems.
    Think of the government as a business. Let's compare them to the American auto industry because, well, they are basically poorly run businesses.

    Everything may be fine and dandy until something bad happens. For the U.S. we'll just say it was the damn hurricanes (although there is plenty more involved, but work with me here), even though this is something there should have been a large contingency for. For U.S. auto makers, let's consider it a foreign competitor.

    When the hurricane hit, there was massive panic. A lot of people in the administration had not expected anything to hit. They had a "well, everything will be ok" attitude because of false securities. Now they are running on a tight budget and need to cut where they can get away with it. This involves those who do not vote as often (poor and students. Castrate me if you want for that comment, but prove to me they vote and lobby more than the other groups and i'll retract the statement). The idea is that it cannot be the fault of them. Oh no, their constant wasting of time on pointless bickerring would have nothing to do with creating a solution.

    Ok, onto the auto industry for the parallel. GM was once a great manufacturer. Then tragedy hits...the foreign cars start becoming popular. Do they offer a solution? No, the fault cannot be theirs, so they say it is because other companies use cheaper parts and therefore can make cheaper cars. Then foreign cars become more reliable than U.S. cars. "Well, we need to buy American to support our economy!" Based on simple economics, if given a choice, people will buy a better product at a lower price. And I'll also attack the "buy american" campaign in a second.
    "We would definetly make cars cheaper, but the unions in this country drive up the costs of production. So now we're gonna move to Mexico/Canada to make cars cheaper just for you!" Now our "American products" only support those who are in the corporate side of GM. Workers in the plants are getting hurt. I understand that this is to keep in business. It's ok, I get it. I don't agree with it, but I get it. They are saying that just to remain open, they cannot afford to build cars here. It's a situation of life above limb. Yeah, you may lose a huge share of our U.S. economy, but at least you're in business, right?
    At the same time, Nissan and company open plants across the U.S. (The Altima is made in N. Carolina last I checked). Foreign prices still clobber U.S. prices. Kinda quiets your complaints of worker costs... Now G.M., in what is normally the final hurrah for a company, is closing up offices around the nation. 30,000 jobs are lost. The company is a former shell of itself.
    Look at the U.S. government. They had a disaster, something came and interrupted their happy way of life. They are rushing to make solutions without looking at real problems (efficiency, organization, the unwillingness to admit someone might have a good idea just because of party affiliation) they are going on and on about problems that are in the past with no vision to the future (well, no further than election day).
    Look at GM. They were doing fine, then something hit and instead of looking at a long-term solution, they just shot for temporary solves (which fizzled every time).

    Yeah, we're in Iraq...we went. It happened. Figure out what we plan to do in the future, because this is not one of those things a short-term solution will fix. You leave now, a power-vaccuum happens and Iraq becomes what could be a national threat. Keep the troops in there and we will be laying down the lives of some of the bravest people on earth.
    Yeah, there was a hurricane, we arrogantly thought that it would never destroy a city that is actually under sea-level. Instead of worrying about your next election, why don't you do a more uniform cut that effects EVERYONE, and not just those who are unlikely to vote. If you want to be part of a group, you need to be willing to take care of other members of the group as a whole, not just putting it on those who won't complain as much.

    Dear Congress,
    Create long-term solutions, not just ones that will get you re-elected. Then maybe the joke "if con is the opposite of pro, then what is the opposite of Congress" will remain just that, a joke.
    Love, Justin.

    The other option we have is to go down to their level. In that case, I offer you: complete nonsense!

    To the butthead Democrats,
    When you told us that Republicans are smelly, we felt that at first we would babble incoherently until you can do nothing about it. We even coined it a "fillibuster." Now, we feel that the better thing to do is this: "we're rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off us and sticks to you!"
    Sticking our tongues out at you,
    The Coolest Republicans EVER!

    Does that seem ridiculous? Well, that's basically what goes on now, just with a higher vocabulary. IQ's on the whole remain the same.

    Ok, I'm all vented out.

    On an unrelated note: Matt, give me a call and let me know next time you're coming up to Chicago.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:00 PM  

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