Monday, May 02, 2005

April 29-30, 2005

States of Confusion
Can it really just be coincidence that both Texas and Florida have eclipsed my home state, California, when it comes to nutty happenings? The only thing the two states have in common is that George W. Bush ran one and the other is still run by his brother Jeb.

Today’s nutty news item comes form Jeb’s state. Yes, even as the memory of Terri Schiavo tug of war remains fresh in our minds, Florida is once again messing with a person’s life. This time the person involved is a troubled 13-year old girl.

While under Florida state supervision in a shelter for troubled teens the girl ran off and got pregnant. Now the very agency agency that failed to protect her to begin with, the infamous Florida Dept of Children and Families – which still can’t find some of the foster kids they placed – went to court and got an order prohibiting the little girl from getting the abortion she wants.

Their reasoning is that the girl is too young to make such a decision. So, let’s see if we can get this straight. If a little girl in Florida is old enough to get pregnant, they are still not old enough to decide what to about that.

Of course this nonsense is entirely another product Gods self-appointed hall monitors on the religious right. These are the same hypocrites who, when their state’s electric chair malfunctioned and instead of quickly killing inmates, set them on fire, gleefully dubbed the malfunctiong device, ‘Old Sparky.”

The little girl in question learned she was pregnant two weeks ago and begged to the pregnancy terminated. But Florida's DCF instead rushed to court and got a judge to block the procedure.

Never mind that this 13-year old girl clearly already has enough problems in her life – problems that state care seems to have manged now to make worse. Nevertheless, the state of Florida wants to force this child to have a baby -- a child, having a child. Oh yeah, that’ll teach the little bitch a lesson-- the wages of sin and all that rot.

Compassionate conservatives, my ass. America’s Christian fundamentalists have become little more than carbon copies of the narrow-minded, mean-spirited, women-oppressing, control freaks American soldiers died to chase out of Afghanistan.

And cases like this prove it.

Faking It
When your own President and those closest to him lie and get away with it, the news gets around. And now we learn that the Commander-in-Chief has become a role model for his troops.

When Senators became concerned earlier this year that the methods being used to interrogate captured terrorists were both too extreme and ineffective, the Army arranged fake interrogation sessions to prove them wrong.

“The U.S. military staged the interrogations of terrorism suspects for members of Congress and other officials visiting the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to make it appear the government was obtaining valuable intelligence, a former Army translator who worked there claims in a new book scheduled for release Monday.” (Full Story)

Hey, no biggie. I mean their boss lied like a rug to get us into this war to begin with and no got in trouble for that. According to the former translator, Sgt. Erik Saar, his superiors chose detainees who agreed to put on a good show for the visiting dignitaries. The detainee’s chosen had already spilled their guts in earlier rubber-hose sessions and agreed to an encore performance.

(Rumors that the Actor’s Guild is demanding the Defense Dept. pay the detainees involved union scale could not be confirmed. Nor could we confirm that one of the detainees is writing a memoir entitled, “Moaning For Mercy: How Method Acting Got Me Out of Gitmo.”)

This Sunday night you can hear more about this sorry tale on CBS 60-Minutes.

Budget From Hell
This administration and congressional Republicans are serial abusers of the English language. They have Owellianized dozens of words and terms over the past five years -- “Clear Skies Imitative,” and “No Child Left Behind,” for example. But nothing matches what they did to the word “budget” yesterday.

The word was meant to mean when one figures out how much income they have to spend each year and then “budgets” their spending to remain within those limits.
Yesterday the Republican-House and Senate came together to turn that meaning on its head when they apporved a national “budget” for the coming year. But this “budget” is written in red ink – at least a third of a trillion bucks of red ink, and likely more.

But red ink is apparently less worrisome to Republican lawmakers than protecting the tax cuts they passed in Bush’s first term. Part of yesterday’s “budget” agreement makes a big chunk of those tax cuts permanent.

As a show of fiscal responsibility the budget also calls for Congress to shave $35 billion from future budgets over the next five years – all of it out of social programs. Nearly a third of the cuts will come right out of Medicaid, the primary health program for the poor.

So the poor, sick and elderly take it in the posterior. Let’s see what sacrifices the rich made:

“At the same time, the budget makes room for $106 billion of tax cuts over five years, $70 billion of which would be protected from a Senate filibuster, enough to ensure that all expiring tax cuts can be extended, including the 2003 cuts to capital gains and dividend tax rates and last year's deduction for state and local sales taxes. (Washington Post)

Bottom line: The cost of the GOP’s tax-cut extensions will more than cancel out the savings from those social program cuts. This “budget” is effectively a transfer of $35 billion from the poor to the wealthy PLUS another $71 billion. ($35B + $71B = $106 billion.)

And, notice this -- as Medicaid is slashed by $10 billion the Defense Dept. gets $11 billion more.

I'd say this was like robbing Peter to pay Paul, but both Paul and Peter were poor fishermen. This is more like robbing the Red Cross to pay Halliburton -- and with borrowed money, nonetheless!

"If you like debt, you've got to love this budget, because it builds a wall of debt," said Senator Kent Conrad (Dem. N.D.) who sits on the Senate Budget Committee.

This “budget” also allows lawmakers to raise the federal government's statutory debt limit by a whooping $781 billion, to $8.96 trillion.

When George Bush took office the national debt stood at $5.9 trillion and was being paid down. Since taking office Bush’s policies have added $3 trillion to our national credit card balance. ”

At least those nasty “tax and spend liberals” you Red State voters feared so much, knew enough about budgeting to balance the friggin’ books.

(P.S. And this time when the US runs out of credit the Repo-man is Chinese.)

By Stephen Pizzo
Raconteur at Large

No comments: