In Favor Against

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Sen Ted Cruz [R Tex]:   We’ve taken an oath to betray our oath! We’re on your side –as long as we win. Win what? I don’t even know! 

I took note of the WWII veterans who “stormed” the World War Two memorial in Washington, DC in protest of the government shutdown. What struck me as odd about it were the politicians who showed up to support the protesters.

The very people responsible for the shutdown, in the forefront Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a prominent Tea Party member. Other Tea Party supporters, also in favor of the shutdown were there to add their support to the protest against the shutdown they created.

If I wasn’t so sure, I would think I was reading Mad Magazine or perhaps The Onion rather than an article in the New York Daily News.

Then too, of all the things my WWII veteran brethren could be protesting, the temporary closing of a monument seems a little nutty. Perhaps protesting the cutoff of funds from Meals on Wheels would make more sense, considering they provide food to more than 50,000 veteran shut-ins.

This is getting just too strange for me. It reminds me of my hometown’s own city council. Councilman Steve Eugster, an attorney,  filed a law suit against the city in which he made himself a respondent. The suit was over debt payments for a downtown project.  The Spokesman-Review newspaper ran the headline Councilman Sues Self.  A testament to his character, Eugster, would later have his bar certification suspended for 18 months for betraying an elderly client. For a period of five years, it was necessary to have police officers present at city council meetings to break up altercations. The Spokane City Council has long been viewed as cartoon-like, it’s petulant members more reminiscent of feuding kindergartners than a political body. But to see the same kind of insanity on the national stage and pervading the international news is mind boggling.

I want to laugh at this but I can’t. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki announced that if the shutdown is not ended by November 1st that veterans and their dependents will not receive their disability or benefit checks. This is a huge fear for those living on the low fixed income the vast majority of vets must budget their living from. With the various late fees and other penalties that are assessed for late payments, the delicate economic balance of these families will be ruined. Already those who rely on public assistance to feed their families and remain protected from abusive spouses have been cast loose. This is definitely a situation that has the low income members of US society paying the price for the profiteering of the financially strong. In a case of victimizing victims, surviving family members of deceased veterans are not receiving death benefits.

This nation must take steps to attach the paychecks of elected officials to their productivity in ways similar to the merit pay policies enforced by many public and private sector employers. The fact that regardless of whether members of the House or Senate accomplish anything –or as has been the thrust for the last six years, prevented any real forward movement– they still get their paychecks on time and even receive previously allocated bonuses. Even leaders who have found themselves incarcerated for betraying the public trust in criminal endeavors often still collect their salary and bonuses. This is just as ridiculous as supporting a protest against situations created by their own efforts. You can’t be on both sides at once and be considered lucid and rational. You just can’t. As our public servants play at being petulant children, the nation’s credit rating has been dropped from Triple A to AA+ as credit reporting agencies observe debts going unpaid.

According to a CNN poll, 60 percent of Americans believe that the entire sitting Congress should be fired. Sixty-four percent lay the problems at the feet of the Republicans and eighteen percent don’t know what to believe.

sherrifIt’s crazy. Just plain crazy. At least the Republicans, as reports John Boehner, have come up with an agreement to put the government back in action and deal with the national debt ceiling. I’m not sure what he would call it, but I’d describe it as the Republicans abandoning their failed attempt at hostage taking and addressing party damage control. With primaries around the corner, I’m sure that the Red State Renegades are worrying about how they will fare in the upcoming election series. I wouldn’t be too concerned considering that no matter what awful and self-destructive things they come up with, we Americans keep putting them back in office. To that end, I am starting to believe that term limits may just be a necessary change. Give those who manage to garner majority votes two terms and then disqualify them for any elected office for a period of ten years. It would also be a good law which prohibits any elected official from voting on any bill or amendments through which contributors ma benefit, either directly or tangentially. The Supreme Court has ratified that unlimited funds may be given to political campaigns, and this prohibition would go a long way towards maintaining a level playing field in the world of political influence. Something like that would not be crazy, and it seems to me that Washington DC needs a strong dose of sanity –or a ton of psychotropic drugs.