When the national anthem is sung, I place my hand over my heart. I didn’t always. But I’m old enough now to appreciate, to be grateful for, what being an American citizen has afforded me.
If I wish, I can own a firearm. I can assemble peaceably with others. I can criticize the government. I can practice a religion — or not — without governmental dictation. The Constitution protects me from unreasonable search and seizure (Patriot Act not withstanding). When I was a journalist, the government could not abridge the freedom of my press. I can own property. I can depend on contracts being enforced. I have more constitutionally guaranteed rights as an American than any citizen of any other country.
Yes, I have duties as well. I must pay taxes for the general welfare and the common defense. I must be willing (and able) to stand in judgment of a citizen charged with a crime by the government. I ought to be sufficiently knowledgeable and intelligent to vote wisely.
I love my country. Most of us do. But I no longer have faith that my elected leaders love it as much as they love power and the ability to demean those they oppose. I don’t like, respect, or trust my elected leaders any more, and their public personae and political actions show they don’t give a damn about me in any way beyond my ability to cast a vote. Continue reading →
Last January we expressed some concern about the potential mischief that could arise when Congress had to get around to dealing with the debt ceiling. That was, what, six months ago? As anyone following recent developments in this area knows, this has not been going well. Through an interesting combination of Republican stupidity, mendacity and willful ignorance, Democratic miscalculation (mainly by Obama, driven by his need to prove he’s “bipartisan”), and Treasury sloppiness, we—that is, the United States of America—now face the prospect of defaulting on our debt, and losing our triple-A credit ratings, if there is no agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling. Now, what are the odds of these two events? Default? Frankly, not likely. As Paul Craig Roberts (hardly a raging leftie) has stated:
The US government will never default on its bonds, because the bonds, unlike those of Greece, Spain, and Ireland, are payable in its own currency. Regardless of whether the debt ceiling is raised, the Federal Reserve will continue to purchase the Treasury’s debt. If Goldman Sachs is too big to fail, then so is the US government.
That pretty much sums it up. And you can be damn sure that Treasury Secretary Geithner is making certain that, whatever else might not get paid in the event that there is no debt ceiling increase, US government bonds will be paid, no matter what.
Look! Up in the sky, it’s a bird … it’s a plane. Nope, it’s Super Congress. Where caped, congressional crusaders will wage the battle between good and evil far above the heads of mere mortals and senior citizens living on Social Security. It will be where the “leaders” of both parties (and they’re not leaving any room in this Super Congress for a desperately needed third party) get together to make the big decisions, so it will also function as a reward for years of dedicated ass-kissing, lying and soul-selling. There’s a good reason why the leadership of both parties is for this Super Congress idea; they always manage to find common ground when it’s time to screw you and me. And the best – by far – way to grind the American people into destitution is to enshrine the oligarchy with extra-political rights.
Never let a crisis go to waste, even if you have to invent the crisis to seize. Continue reading →