The Bad Luck Top Ten
How unlucky can we get? Well this is the day to take stock.
1) Starting here at home -- this week President Bush re-visited New Orleans and declared that federal and state authorities have done “a heck of a job,” putting the old town back together. He noted that, “folks around the country who are looking for a great place to have a convention or a great place to visit, I'd suggest coming here to the great New Orleans. It's a heck of a place to bring your family. It's a great place to find some of the greatest food in the world and some wonderful fun. (Story)
This just two weeks after denying he lived in a “bubble,” was out of touch and only listened to those who told him what he wanted to hear, true or otherwise. How unlucky for the majority of New Orleans residents still living like gypsies.
2) The US remains the only developed nation on earth with modern health care that fewer and fewer of its own citizens can afford.
“Rising health-care costs, already threatening many basic industries, now consume 16 percent of the nation's economic output — the highest proportion ever, the government said Monday in its latest calculation. The nation's health-care bill continued to grow substantially faster than inflation and wages, increasing by almost 8 percent in 2004. (Full Story)
At this pace by 2050 the cost of proving Medicare services will consume the entire federal budget. Yet no one in Washington, in either party, is doing a fig about it. How unlucky for us and our kids.
3) We are now so in hock to China, which has us 1 out of every 8 of our $8 trillion debt, that we no longer have any leverage against this giant commercial/military force. Of current concern is how China will vote in the UN Security Council to sanction Iran for ignoring internal pressure to drop it's nuclear weapons program. Since China gets a good hunk of it oil from Iran it's likely they will veto UN sanctions against Iran. How unlucky for the world. (Story)
4) When his advisers tell him "frogs are dying off, Mr. President, George Bush likely replies, “Serves those snooty French bastards right for not supporting the liberation of the Iraqi people.” But of course I jest -- not about the frogs though. They are dying off and, this month scientists concluded it's due to global warming – something President Clueless continues to deny is even happening. How unlucky for the frogs – and, sooner or later, us. (Story)
5) The nut who rules North Korea has decided that western food aid feeding his starving people comes with too many strings. In particular donor demands that he stop making nuclear bombs. Asia's Rainman - Kim Jong, who is not starving and reportedly consumes a case of Chavez Regal scotch a week, said no more! – no more food, that is. He has a few nukes and intends to have a few more. Since the bulk of our military assets are tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan – (where there are no nukes and never have been) – we can't do a thing about North Korea's dangerous, likely crazy and surely drunk, leader. How unlucky for all Asia and as well as parts of the US West Coast now in reach of North Korea's newest long range missiles. (Story)
6) America's corporations are redoubling their efforts to gut the Golden Goose that made them rich in the first place – the American worker/consumer. Those whose jobs have not been off-shored are now being squeezed to further improve company bottom lines. Pensions, health care, benefits across the board are being cut or eliminated. Why try to improve profits by making better products when billions of dollars in worker benefits are just laying around begging to be harvested? How unlucky for working men and women silly enough to believe a contract is contract. (Story)
7) Despite all the happy talk from within the White House bubble about the health of the US economy, we are heading for painful and protracted reckoning. “America is running a current account deficit of 6.25% of national wealth, or 1.5% of the total output of the world....To finance this huge shortfall we are pulling in 70% of all the savings in world, much of it from Asia. Economists call it a “curious position” for the world's poorer nations financing the over-consumption of the earth's richest nation.” But there's more. In exchange for underdeveloped countries liberal lending policies, the US is rewarding them with jobs – our jobs. During last year we sent another 51,000 American manufacturing jobs to Asia while wages here at home stagnated. How unlucky for the American middle class, which with every passing day has more and more in common with those frogs mentioned above. (Story)
8) Thanks to our Commander in Chief's wanton violation of Starfleet's Prime Directive, prohibiting interference in the affairs of indigenous species, the Iraqi people are now consigned to generations of sectarian violence. How unlucky for the folks living within the boundaries of geopolitical fiction we currently refer to as “Iraq.” (Story)
9) Congress has once again proved that money, not votes, is what get things done in a mature democracy. How unlucky, not just for ordinary Americans, but all those emerging democracies Bush likes to point to. At least here there are millions of folks well off enough to buy themselves a member of Congress. But in developing democracies it's only the handful of crooks who got to the nation's goodie jar first who can afford the best government money can buy. (Story)
10) Finally to our men and women in uniform. Your luck has been iffy for the last three years. You've been stuck fighting and dying in a war started and directed by a bunch of draft dodgers who can't tell the difference a trigger assembly and a pair of nail clippers. While you trudge around in 100 degree temperatures covered in 25 pounds of body armor, carrying another 40 pounds of ammo and other gear, the guys who put you there are packing light titanium putters on the golf course as a caddy carries their bags. How unlucky for you. So, here's hoping you, before anyone else, get lucky this year.
Have a nice Friday the 13th now, ya hear! And count your blessings – if you have any left.
See you Monday. Maybe. Have a nice weekend.