Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Congress

Are we dire to the wire or is he a liar?

The politics of fear: These are scary times, right? Look, there goes a terrorist! Whoops. Sorry, it was just a New York cab driver. It’s those damn Iraqis, right? Didn’t they bomb the World Trade Center? No, actually the people who did it were mostly from Syria. Ok, but what about North Korea. Aren’t they one of the “Axis of Evil” who are getting ready to bomb us with nuclear weapons? Well, not exactly. But things are urgent, no DIRE! Just listen to our president. Bin Laden’s Al Qaida radicals, mostly Syrians, blew up part of New York and we invade Iraq because the situation is dire. Did you follow that?

We must protect ourselves: Ok, once we’ve gone after the wrong bad guys we must now do everything to protect ourselves so the bad guys, real or imagined, will never do that again. The situation is dire. The president creates the most expensive, audacious, inconvenient national security apparatus in history. Some borderline idiot from England stuffs a dud explosive in his shoe and the situation is dire. Hence, we all have to remove our shoes at the airport for a detailed inspection. Lucky he didn’t shove the explosives up another part of his anatomy or everybody would have to have a proctologic exam before uh, passing through security. And we’d obey, like so many trained seals.

Pour more into security – situation dire: Military tribunals. Mandatory registration. Mass detentions. Electronic surveillance. Government secrecy. Executive privilege. Office of Total Awareness. Perpetual war. All these things because the situation is dire. The Bush/Cheney Whitehouse are masters of the politics of fear and it works over and over again just as surely as Peanuts Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown. In a February column conservative Bill Kristol suggests that is Hillary Clinton wants to overtake Senator Obama in the polls she should employ “the politics of fear.”

The financial sky is falling: Less than two weeks ago a financial meltdown began on Wall Street. Lehman Brothers went under, 6.1% of Americans are out of work (never mind that the unspoken corollary is that 94% of Americans ARE working), house prices have plummeted, gas prices have skyrocketed, people are losing their health care and their houses. The situation is dire. Or so say the parroting pundits from the Big Apple.

Bush on the economy: July 2004, "Our economy since last summer has been growing at the fastest rate in 20 years." Actually the economy had grown by 3.1% the previous year, hardly a 20-year record, but hey, what’s a few percentage points? Just last January as he pressed for an economic package for our dire economy, the president said, “Passing a new growth package is our most pressing economic priority.” After the collapse on Wall Street, the President said on September 25, "Without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold," More politics of fear. And sure enough, the market fell by 777 (no jackpot for Wall Street, however) September 29. The president continued that the damage will be “painful and lasting” if congress doesn’t pass his bailout bill. They didn’t.

Little Orphan Annie: The Sun’ll come up tomorrow: The day after the dire speech by the president, a funny thing happened on Wall Street. The market rebounded and regained nearly 500 points of the previously lost 777. The sky didn’t fall. The banks didn’t close. There were no runs on banks by people anxious to get their money out before a total collapse. Oh, it is true the economy does stink – much like the politics of fear that have been manipulating the American public for the past eight years. Each time the president wanted to get something passed, he and his team created an artificial crisis. Sort of like the boy who cried “Wolf.” Remember the parable? A boy who tended sheep got lonely so he cried “Wolf” and the townspeople came running several times only to discover the boy had lied. Finally a wolf did appear but the little boy’s cries fell on deaf ears. Such is the case of our president. He cried “Wolf” once too often and the following day the market proved him wrong. Oh there might really be a financial disaster now, but the jaded townspeople – American voters – are urging their congress-people by 200-1 NOT to pass the bill. The politics of fear that have worked early and often for the current administration has failed them and perhaps the American people.

Honest, we really didn’t want to: The Senate passed the bill 75-24. The House votes on it tomorrow. The bill has been “whored up” to make it palatable to those who would not have otherwise voted for it. The Senators spent over an hour on CNN, Fix News, MSNBC and the other cable news outlets whose living depends on reporting politics. Ho hum. Can you say, “Politics as usual?”

A little blogging music Maestro... “Politics” by KoRN.

Dr. Forgot

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