Tuesday, November 14, 2006

First Things First

Glory! There, I celebrated. Now there is serious work to do, the first of which is to block the President's lame duck Congressional initiatives left over from the bad-old days of one party rule. Then in January, when the new Congress is seated, take Speaker Pelosi's advice and don't overly concern yourself with righteous outrage and tie up the government in committees and investigations about cronyism and waste. There are soldiers' lives on the line and the American public voted for the Democrats to find a resolution to the Iraq War. First, find the way to extricate us from the morass of violence that Rumsfeld and his fellow architects of destruction have placed us in. There will be time enough for investigations when this nation gets off the dime and stops with this ridiculous "stay the course" bullshit. Oh, I forgot. They're retiring that slogan with Rumsfeld.

I am pleased to see the British agree with my recommendations, (See "My Exit Strategy;4/7/06) to send Islamic peacekeepers to the streets of Baghdad and remove the bulls eyes from the backs of our volunteers. I am especially pleased that the power to wage war without oversight has been wrested from the Bush/Cheney team by the voters and placed back into the hands of Congress. Thanks to Jim Baker's Iraq Study Group, Bush the Lesser may still salvage a dignified retreat from his self-inflicted, shock-and-awe, cesspool. Although it must be a humiliation for the Bush Power Rangers and discredited neocons to see their power usurped by Poppy's men, and returned to the realists who knew all along that occupying Iraq was a bad idea. Everybody knew but Chucklehead, Cheney, Rove, Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfe, et. al, who were the true believers in this Faith Based Presidency. As far as our generational Presidential culture wars are going, it's Hippies-1, Jesus Freaks-0. And it will be sweater weather in Hades when another self-confessed Evangelical Conservative Christian is elected.

The new Congress is not yet seated, however, and I am already tired of windbag Joe Biden, and Charlie "Mississippi" Rangel's tough talk about the retribution they intend to deliver. Not that I don't believe that retribution is richly deserved, but let us address the matters of life and death first, starting with replacing our soldiers in Iraq with peacekeepers, either from the region, or from the United Nations. If their troops can stand between Israel and Hezbollah, they can stand between the Sunni and the Shia. An equal priority should be the reconstruction of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Although it wasn't funny, it was heartening to see Comic Relief use their donations to build and rent affordable housing in New Orleans areas where city services have not returned. The Dutch built their system of dikes and seawalls for seven billion dollars. We spend that in Iraq in a week.

And let us recognize that Hillary Clinton was right about our broken and corrupted health management industry, but we thought it was presumptuous of her to delve into policy as an unelected official. At least Hillary was trying to bring help to ordinary people. We've seen the Karl Rove attempts at policy making and it makes Hillary look like Joan of Arc. It is an ongoing crime of the deregulation-crazed Republicans since Reagan, that Canada and other nations can provide affordable medicine and health care to its' citizens, and the United States outsources its' public health policies to the HMOs and the pharmaceutical industry. Call it Socialism or whatever you wish, but our present health care system is killing us.

Finally, let the investigations begin. I recall the lazy summer of '73, when I spent nights singing in an airport bar and days watching the Sam Ervin Watergate hearings. They remain the best reality television I have ever seen. So if John Conyers or John Murtha want to open investigations with the power to subpoena people to testify about the crimes of this administration, have at it. I'm sure they will make great entertainment. Seeing an evil liar get his comeuppance is always gratifying. But don't be in a hurry to impeach the President. First, remember any impeachment must be in tandem with all the co-conspirators who have infested government with their greed and lies. No one wants a President Cheney, in title if not in fact. Rather, allow the accumulation of the evidence impeach the President and all of his cronies. This election has rendered Bush irrelevant for the remainder of his two years. But he is an unpredictable radical who is capable of Nixonian insanity.

The filing of charges of war crimes against Donald Rumsfeld by attorneys in Germany whose clients were inmates at Abu Ghraib, proves that no one is immune from prosecution for their actions. If the information revealed by congressional investigation shows that there was a conspiracy to mislead the American people into a ghastly war and it's consequent casualties, the charges may well outlive this administration, but the administration will not outlive the charges. Terrible wrong had been done in the name of the American people, and there must be consequences.
Meanwhile, let no man harm a hair on my president's head. May he and his cabinet stay healthy and hearty for the trials yet to come. Democracy is a beautiful thing when it works. The Hindus believe that it is not only man who possesses karma, but nations, too. I believe we are watching national karma in action. Accountability has returned to government like a snarling, junkyard dog and a whole lot of folks are fixin' to get bit. Secure our nation, protect our military from fool's errands, and rebuild our treasured cities, and there will still be enough time to give Junior the spanking he so richly deserves.


Anonymous said...

you don't mention illegal immigration. Is that also not a priority for "securing our nation?"

Anonymous said...

I am an apolitical watcher of the comedy of errors that is called politics...sort of an unending 'Three Stooges' flick (sometimes the stooges are Repubs...sometimes they are Dems). If I can call myself anything it would be libertarian with anarchistic shadings. Anyway, I am relieved that the Repub monopoly is ending. It is time for the Democrats to inject more of their brand of inanity into the political morass. I only hope that the Dems can roll back some of the stifling government interference in our lives, promote more freedom, lessen foolish spending, lower taxes, prevent ilegal immigration, and legalize pot. I'm not so concerned about war, because it lessens population pressure on the environment and as long as they keep it in the desert, it doesn't do that much harm to the ecosystem. It would be too much to assume that the Dems won't screw everything up. They just screw everything up in a different way than the Repubs do. However, in a macabre sense, politics is always sort of amusing. By the way, do you really think that the Dems are going to do that much better? Let's wait and see (tee-hee).

ghg said...

"..sweater weather in Hades when another self-confessed Evangelical Conservative Christian is elected." That gave me one of those hearty laughs that really does come from somewhere in the belly. I guess one of my greatest difficulties has always been the "my god is way better than that made-up not-really-a-god of yours". Please!! The only word that describes that thinking better than "arrogant" is "ignorant". The Pat Robertson/GW Bush-he-whispered-in-my-ear shit is just so over the top that if the Marx brothers were only alive today we might have some real honest commentary. God whispered in my ear that I should blow up a lot of innocent people by mistake???! Please come down now, Jesus, and make the "mistake" of flushing those false prophets of yours down some Heavenly Toilet bowl. The Evangelical movement in the US should maybe be placed on their own reservations like the Sioux and Navajo and take all of their very own ideas and live with them far away from all of the rest of the "people". They can have all the rules that they want but it'll only affect them. What a relief that'll be for those of us who were fortunate enough to be born someplace where Thomas Jefferson had a say in the makings. You remember that church-state thing, don't you?

As far as the Dems are concerned. I agree with Randy that first things should come first. I like the idea that Iran has asked for a Syrian-Iraqi-Iranian conference in Teheran and that the Iraqis have already agreed. Time will pass, things will sort out. In the age of the computer and the media, totalitarian regimes don't have great staying power, not even here in the good ole USA as the recent election so aptly pointed out. If we pay more for oil then we'll pay more for oil. At least then we'll be forced to be smart enough so that we don't have to rely on being a bully to get the energy we want. We'll just have to figure a way out. And we all really believe that we can.

A peace keeping force that is manned by other than the English speaking white and black boys should definitely be replaced by more mid-Eastern looking Arabic speaking fellas. The Democrats should start pushing us in that direction. I think that Jim Baker's group may do the same.

The Democrats would do well to promote a government, yes that is right, a government-sponsored consortium of scientists, both basic and applied, to determine how to find the ENERGY to POWER us to get us from place to place in our stretched out societies, heat us in colder climes, warm us in the hotter ones, help us to cook our food, etc. It should be funded by the government, yes that is right.....the government. The billions of dollars spent to kill people on the other side of the world and blow up their bridges might be a good start. The best and the brightest should be paid a lot of money and be given all necessary means to accomplish the relief that civilization would receive.

When we go to war we expect that the government will take care of paying for it. Is everyone else stupid or is it not obvious that we are at war with our inability to find an energy source that is not going to kill us later, cause geopolitical bullshit, or structure a social order on those that have it and those who don't. We should pay and pay and pay until we have the basic science and a way to apply it. That is where I want my tax money to go, and I want a say in where it goes, (thank you to everybody's god for the end of the Gay Right Revolution whose ass is backward everywhere except when they think nobody else is looking).

Maybe the hot ball 93 million miles away that sends out so much energy that on a July day in New England I can stand behind a wall with just the back of my hand out to catch a few of its rays and it will burn me if I stay too long. How about starting with harnessing just a little bit of that. Oh..... and don't Jesus, and Allah, and Yahweh, and the sun-god also have poker games up there on Wed afternoons. This would work out for everybody.

We'd be better off if squirrels or monkeys were in charge of the planet. They're not crazy like the two legged ones are. Am I angry and frustrated? Did you read that crap that flew out of my head above? Hell, yes! I do not suffer stupidity well and I am sick.

Jay said...

We need more "windbags" like Joe Biden, who's by far the most qualified contender for the Presidency.
In fact, a Biden-Obama ticket, which will never happen, would be unbeatable, I believe. Biden-Hagel, which is a total fantasy, would be even better!

Anonymous said...

The 'ghg' comment had Grinspan all over it. Gregg you are one of my heroes. You are a master of the absurd. Everything that you say sounds like a Zen koan. You have a rare gift for expressing extraneous thought. Please, please write a book.

Anonymous said...

Randy, I hope that you are not talking about federalized health care. I spent 32 years working for the government and I have found one thing for certain... if you want to screw something up, let the government run it. There will be eternally rising costs along with constantly declining quality and lots and lots of incompetence.I shudder to think of the ineffectiveness and expense of a government run health care system. It is nearly impossible to fire a government worker...I don't care how incompetent he/she is and it is impossible to fire a minority government worker. I know because I lived in the belly of the beast and can tell lots and lots of horror stories from first hand experience. What alternative is there to a federalized health care system?

ghg said...

In response to a national health policy and whether or not it needs to be run like a zoo full of part time idiots:
A piece of data that is interesting to consider would be the fact that the actual deal (when a person comes to a doctor and asks a question such as "is this spear in my abdomen going to be a problem?") is between the doctor and the patient. If the doctor says, "I believe it will be a problem. That will be 5 dollars." Then, the patient, who should know that there will be a cost of some kind for his going to an expert to get expert advise will owe the doctor 5 dollars.
Enter the insurance industry and the hmos: Wait, everybody!!! Wait!! Why should the doctor have to go out and collect his 5 dollars. We'll do it. The patient says, "wow, somebody else is going to pay for the advise that I just got. How lucky am I?" The insurance company sends the doctor his 5 dollars and charges the patient $6.75, that is about 35% more than the doctor actually wanted for his service. The patient, instead of paying the doctor the 5 bucks pays 35% more to the ins. comp. Who is this middle man? and why do we need him? And 35% of 2 trillion dollars is beginning to become a pretty big number on a YEARLY basis. Jesus!!!
The first thing that would need to be done would be to set up an all-payers type agency. This would mean that all doctor's bills go to ONE place, not to any group of hot shots who want more than anything to have the things that only money can buy...and then some.....( not so much the insurance industry executives, but worse>>>the insurance industry's stock holders, who only really care about one thing....are you with me so far?) but to a single payer system. Medicare, medicaid, Aetna, Cigna, the Blues, etc., all of em, would go away and their overhead along with them. This is not.....I repeat........this is not Socialized Medicine. This is smarter business practive. An entrepreneur who was in charge of running a tighter ship for all of health care would so the same thing. Cut out the middle man who brings nothing to the table.

You go see your doctor, a bill is generated on a piece of paper that is constructed just about the same for everything done anywhere in any doctor's office, it goes to a clearing house, the clearing house will be run by humans unfortunately and there is presently no way around that so that if you are worried that some of them will be idiots you can stop worrying because you can count on it----however, the bills get paid without regard to making a profit. Ah ha!!! Therein lies one of the biggest rubs. Why would we be so stupid as to want someone to set themselves up between us and our cow and this person only wants to make a profit every time we take a drink? It's our fucking cow!!! 35%!!! Give me a break.

I llstened to a fellow by the name of Herbert Needleman the other day. He is a well trained Pediatrician and Public Health maven. Turns out he did the seminal work in the early 1970s that took the lead out of our gasoline. I didn't realize, and I'm sure that anybody reading this doesn't either, that lead from combusted gasoline was getting into the air and that all of us had levels that were high enough to today require treatment to prevent neurologic, gastrointestinal, and ultimately psychological deterioration. Needleman proved that newly born kids in Philadelphia had normal levels and that by the time they were 3 had dangerous levels.......and this was in the suburbs. His data was so strong that Congress nixed all lead....completely.... from gas. The point is coming..

It took him 3 years with irrefutable evidence that proved significant harm from the lead in the air from leaded gas (that no expert could deny) to fight through the crap from the oil companies and the companies that supplied the lead, as they lied, cheated, tried to impugn his character and qualifications, etc., until they were shown the door.........hopefully to a lead lined room.

The insurance industry will do the same. Their stockholders will refuse any other course than lying, cheating, stealing, doing anything to prevent the profit stream from drying up. That is, after all, the way the free market works. And, although I may sound like some sort of anarchist or socialist, I am not suggesting that we go all rosy and pink. What I am saying is that the government is there to keep the lights on in the streets, fight bigger guys than me if they try to hurt me or my kids, make sure that the streets are paved, that an infrastructure exists in which I can do business, and among other things (that should not be left to outside profit oriented contractors) make sure that my health is protected...........so that I can enjoy whatever money I make in my biz. Try asking a billionaire how much of his money he would spend to get rid of his metastatic cancer. How the hell are "inalienable rights" even possible if we can't make sure that people can be well enough to enjoy them.
Come on! There are only good reasons to pursue rationality......unless, as it would seem, we are really as stupid as our actions very often belie.

In effect, the only places on the planet in which people are not covered for all costs of ensuring their health, is in the places where people live in grass or mud huts or the USA......(the richest!!!? nation in the world.) My last paragraph really does speak to Universal Health, but that's not even needed at first. Just get rid of the middle man. It will be hundreds of billions of dollars cheaper every year. Hundreds of billions.

Anonymous said...

I was not proposing to do away with all government...just the unnecessary part. Of course this would be about 75% of it, at least. There is a place for government and most of that should be outside of our private lives. I do believe that if we have some sort of universal health care system that it should be managed by the private sector. To let the government do it would insure waste of money and extreme incompetency...and that is for sure. And Gregg, you are obviously smarter than you sound. Keep contributing to this blog.

Anonymous said...

The following is a true story. I am passing this on because I feel that the story contains a moral. I was watching the Larry King show one night a number of years ago and the guest was a person who was born without any sex organs...I can't rememnber the term for this condition. Anyway, these people have to choose a sexual identity for themselves in life. I guess they just flip a coin. This particular person chose a male persona, but had sort of an Alice-in Wonderland look about itself. Incredibly, Larry asked this person if it missed not having any sexual attraction to anything. Its response was psychedelic. It said to Larry, "Suppose that you land on another planet and everyone on that planet was sexually attracted to fire hydrants. Would you miss not being turned on by fire hydrants?' Larry just looked at it like it was some sort of Zen master...wow!nhm

Davethedog said...

Oh Yeah, " illegal immigration". is a really big problem. It was never a problem until the Repubs needed to equate 9/11 with Carlos the lawn boy. I'm not worried about too many Mexicans. Just keep the Jihadists out.

If we had, as a nation, been so picky about the letter of the law for immigration, I would be writing this in Polish. Or probably not because my family's village was zoned for Auschwitz.

Anyway, that they are stealing jobs is a bunch of nonsense. If "anonymous" thinks differently, I will get rid of Maria, if he will take her place.

Finally, when we got here the natives spoke some Native American dialect, now the main language is English. I think in 50-100 years our language will be spanish with some english thrown in for flavor. As Earth, Wind & Fire said, "That's the way of the World". If you don't like it, either learn Spanish or go back to England.

Anonymous said...

Hey, let it rip. This wave is bound to break anyway. Chaos and mayhem may be a refreshing change from (relative) sanity and stability. Your right about giving the land back to the Native Americans and going back to Europe. The name of the game is hard ball, and the Euros have forgotten how to play. Too bad for them...they are about to get an old fashioned ass-whipping, and yes, it may be karma playing itself out. Maybe our forefathers should have taken sensitivity training, but then if they had they probably wouldn't have displaced the aboriginals in the first place. Basically, the Euros are too stupid to maintain their civilization. It's an ancient game of conquest and they forgot the rules for staying on top. I bet the Muslims know how to do it. Once the mass beheadings begin you may wish for the good old days of Euro rule.

Anonymous said...

It comes in handy to remember that a point of view from a being of limited intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom can be (and probably is) erroneous. The only reason I play the blog game is that it can be amusing to spar with fools (myself included) who think that they actually know something. It comes in handy to 'ride loose in the saddle' with regard to your point of view, because if you are open to growth and illumination...it will change in time...maybe tomorrow. And then you will feel foolish for being so certain that you were right...unless of course, you are Omniscient. And if you are...I am silenced. I thank you for allowing my limited consciousness to occupy this space...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story about the person who was born with no sex organs. At first, the moral of the story seemed to be inscrutable. But I finally had a flash of illumination after meditating upon it this morning. Funny how things like that can be so edifying. Again, a thousand thanks...

Anonymous said...

Always remember this: the 'Status Quo' stands four-square against consciousness expansion of any sort. It views new and creative points of view and ideas as a threat to its existence. That is where oppression comes from. 'You will conform to our standards...or there will be trouble'. Alcohol is not much of a threat. It tends to lead to contraction of awareness, and pig-headed aggression. The Staus Quo doesn't mind this. It tends to create mind-numbed, conformist lemmings who will rush to the sea (or whatever) at the government's bidding. But, you'd better hide your roaches, or there will be a stiff price to pay. You might be one of those dangerous free-thinkers.