Washington appears to be tired of creating self-inflicted crises and has moved on to dealing with actual crises. Did anyone remember to let those guys out of Guantanamo? No? Not even the ones who didn’t do anything? No, again? Really? In this country, when the cops fuck up and do something wrong, the criminals generally are released on a technicality. So if some of the contractors, in balls-drawn-up terror after we got hit in the potentially preventable fiasco that was 9/11, soon to be followed by invasion of the wrong countries decided to torture a few guys who happened to take the wrong dirt path on their way to work that morning, since we’re not supposed to condone or allow torture, maybe we should quietly let them all go?
I say countries, because if you trace this far enough, it was actually Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and indirectly, the United States who were wholly responsible for the birth of the terrorist movement, and since we can’t invade ourselves, Pakistan has nukes, and Saudi Arabia has too much oil and money to be fucked with, I guess they went around the table trying to decide who could we rain down all kinds of misplaced aggression onto? Not really sure about what happened exactly at this point other than when you hire contractors to do work best left to professionals, and they use shows like “24” as their training manual, you are likely to get some pretty fucked up results. Maybe instead, they should actually have studied interrogation techniques which generally involve seducing people with food and conversation into trusting you enough to release the information you need, but we were in a hurry, and when people are afraid, they’ll spend a lot of money and do a lot of really dumb shit to get back to that strange concept we have floating around called “safety.” There is no such thing as safety. There never has been, really. Just because the grass is cut every week and there’s food in the fridge, that only means that’s the current state of things. We might, as a culture, need to take a look at how we react in a crisis and maybe right now when there is relative calm, come up with a few action plans. Then when the next crisis hits, we won’t be dependent on idiots who have watched one too many Bond movies who decide to try to get cute with the rulebook. Because deep down, we all know, another crisis will come.
Anyway, the IRS scrutinized Tea Party groups. The same folks you saw marching around armed to the teeth talking about revolution were surprised to find out they underwent deep government scrutiny? And they are scandalized by it? Really? I’m scandalized by the idea that I live in a country full of people bristling with weapons who think they actually stand a chance against a drone strike if they decided to revolt one day. Someone needs to tell those folks to quit wasting money on ammo, and maybe spend a little of it on job-retraining. Step away from the cheetos and beer, turn off talk radio and the news and actually talk to your neighbors. I don’t mean scream at your neighbors. I don’t mean stick bumper stickers on your car that call people’s intelligence and genetic origins into question. I mean sit down with your neighbors and talk to them. You might find out one of your neighbors who wasn’t able to get insurance because of a chronic condition now is able to get insured, and maybe even get some treatment. You might find that a few of your neighbors who were unemployed have been able to find jobs, You might find that some of those people you barely bother to speak to as you rage quietly in your armchair might actually have found a way out of this mess and they might be able to help you out too?
Another small supposition: Maybe a small part of that money we’re spending on this on-going endless war on terror should be spent on making sure that second-generation immigrants are feeling bright and shiny? Maybe this might sound a little racist or anti-immigrant, but maybe not. Maybe when people feel like they don’t belong, and they’re hopeless and unemployed they get angry. Maybe letting angry people with nothing better to do find reasons to hurt other people isn’t the best way to make sure that new citizens to our bright and shiny country really should be spending their time?
And finally, if you are spending time to vote for the 38th time on a law that has already passed, been to the Supreme Court and passed, and now you are less than 7 months away from having to design a health care plan that provides full coverage, or watch as the Federal Government seizes control of your State-Run health plan, maybe you should be spending time on stuff that can actually help us out? Maybe you should find a way to cut parts of the budget that don’t leave Cancer patients without their chemo treatments? Maybe you should find a way to make sure that Park rangers get paid so the next time a hungry bear wanders into a campsite and bites your child in the face, there might be someone there to attempt to save you? Maybe we should take a look at why our Military budget per capita is over 100 times larger than the next biggest defense budget of any country on the planet? Maybe we need to cut the salary of Congresspeople and Senators, and that pension they receive automatically and free health care they have automatically for getting elected should be term-limited. Ends when they leave office? Or maybe 5 years after they leave? There’s a lot of programs we could seriously look at. It might mean that we take another look at that Simpson-Bowles thing and actually consider enacting it?
Anyway. I tried to stay away from the political stuff for a little while because there were way too many crises all hitting at once, and I am one of those people who likes to try to react after clarity has returned instead of being one of those people who races to react first, and winds up misleading all kinds of folks.
One thing we need to pay attention to: Syria. That could be the thread that unravels the sweater so we’d best be VERY careful when involving ourselves in that Civil War/Proxy War/Nest of Tribal Conflicts.
Second thing: The Sequester. Its basically Austerity for Hillbillies, and if you’ve bothered to pay any attention to the news lately, it turns out the guys who cooked up that rebrand of Friedman-Style Chicago School economics left an entire column out of their spreadsheets. That shit will end us unless someone figures out a way to make the fools who think they have enough money as a cushion against the shock to be protected turn away from robbing grandmom to pay the hedge fund manager. What they don’t understand is that poor folks know how to deal with crises. We live in a state of crisis. Buy food, hunker down at that fucked-up job and ride out the storm. Reconnect with your family and friends. You’ll need them. The fools who are steering us into this mess really haven’t experienced hunger. At least not yet. Maybe someday they will. It will get better eventually. And then it will get worse, but regardless of how things are, make sure you have someone to hang onto when everything suddenly goes black, OK?