Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What I Wish I Had Said: My Very Own Rant

Yesterday, at the library, an old redneck came over to where I was working and began to grumble about having to do all this paperwork, you know, for the "gubmint".

I mumbled non-commitally, so as not to encourage the inevitable right-wing anti-government rant, but after he assembled his dad-gum paperwork and went on his way, I thought, "Well, when the Tea-Party takes over you won't have to worry about filling out that blasted paperwork anymore, because whatever you're applying for won't be there."

Yeah, that's right, come on in and use the library and then complain about the government.  While you're filling out forms to get some government benefit.

You should be able to get whatever you want from the government just by calling and saying, "Hey".  Just like Halliburton did at the start of the Iraq War.  You know, I forgot, that was your buddy Cheney that did that deal.  No paperwork necessary, until they're ready to send us the bill.

Now those teachers, they have a life.  The government gives them all that vacation.  Just to try to teach thirty or more of those kids of yours.  Teachers Work Day?  Just a free lunch, isn't it?  A day to actually communicate with one another, what do they need that for?

Except that your U.S. Representatives are taking one week off a month, to go home and golf with their constituents, and by constituents, I don't mean you or me.  You can bet though, that we pick up the bill for a lot of cocktails on those at-home work weeks.  They may not be meeting in smoke-filled rooms, but John Boehner and Jim DeMint are sure not doing the work of the people back home, unless you mean people who are worth a lot more than you and me, dollar-wise.

So, complain about the government, and then go out and vote for the Republicans who spend money to feed the wealthy, and take it away from you and me because we just can't have the government getting fat on the back of…

…you and me???

Monday, August 29, 2011

Batten Down the Hatches

Batten Down Your Hatches

I don't have any hatches, but I've had to batten down a lot of things lately and I feel that way a lot of the time.  Something important is going to break, or go wrong, or just not work.

We’ve all gotten used to it in this country.  We don’t expect to have electricity during the mildest of storms, and I am not even surprised when the power goes out for an hour or two on a beautiful day.

Now, don’t go blaming the government.  Government services suck because you  get what you pay for.  At least where government is concerned.  From Amtrak to the power grid, the people with all the money just don’t want to pay for quality for the rest of us, and they just keep convincing us voters that they shouldn’t have to.

And the next verse to that tune is that businesses would do a better job than government.  So look around you.  Where do you get better bang for the buck?

At the airport, the airlines got government to foot the bill for security when they were unenthusiastic about paying for a job that did not immediately and positively impact their bottom line, and then they cut staff at the customer service lines so they could make an even bigger buck by not offering customer service.

If you like your private health insurance better than Medicare, it just may be because those people you voted into office on the platform of cutting the fat out of government managed to cut the budget out of government health care while siphoning off our tax dollars to the private insurers.

And you may not remember the days before ObamaCare, but they are unforgettable if you or a loved one had a pre-existing condition, or you had or were a jobless college graduate that fell ill, but it will all come back to you when the Republicans get the Supremes to repeal that nasty old socialist health care law.

And why pay government employees, when our tax dollars can pay a corporation, say, Halliburton or Blackwater (Xe, for goodness sakes), to pay employees, and we get to pay their wages as well as a tidy profit for the shareholders and CEO’s.   And an extra added benefit to that is, there is absolutely no governmental control over the quality of the job done.  Remember Abu Ghraib?

Sell off our highways, and then hit the government up for repairs as an incentive for "job creation"; privatize our prisons rather than provide the government the funds to better our communities.

Our internet, which should be free, but is actually free to all who can pay for it, is the next mountain for corporate America to conquer.  Because a well-informed public would also want to be a well-educated public.  And a well-informed and well-educated public would not be led around by fear, and would see the contradictions in the rhetoric of privatization and deregulation, and would know that government should be for us all, and not just the wealthy.

And then we would insist on a dependable electrical grid, and attractive schools that children would be proud to spend the day in, with well-paid teachers that are respected for the important job they do for our children.

And we would know that a good, honest government would do this gladly, and then we would only need to batten down the hatches in a rare emergency, and not every time it rains.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Social Insecurity

I lost my free wireless last week.  With an income of $12,000, it is unlikely that I will be paying upwards from $55 a month for a wireless connection.  So I will haul my laptop, which I bought refurbished for ½ price, to the library, which fortunately has in the past year advanced into the 21st Century with public wi-fi.

One of the things that I can do that Tea-Partiers cannot, is recognize that there are others who, through no fault of their own, are far less fortunate than I.

That does not mean that I am thankful for this state of affairs, because I also recognize that there are people who, for no good reason (and I mean good in the Golden Rule sense of the word), have far, far more than I.

I don't care how many aircraft the Koch Brothers have at their command; what I do care about is that they have the power to engage in criminal, deceitful, ugly acts to manipulate the public, to garner support for political policy that continues to provide them with that power.

Now, those with a little more than I, the middle class, have more to lose.  Rather than feeling more secure about what they have, this has made them vulnerable to those who use their power and fortune to convince them that change means loss of what they now have.  Not a vacation home, mind you, but health care, a job, savings for retirement.

At the time the generous soul who shared their wireless with me left town, I had spent the month paying large (to me) sums of money for repairs – it seemed everything I owned, old but cared for, was breaking down.  A week's pay for a car repair, a week's pay for a lawn mower, an inexpensive printer that I now cannot use because it is wireless and, alas, I no longer have wireless access.  The airline ticket I paid for my annual visit to my daughter is something I cannot afford.  I do what I have tried hard not to do:  waste my life worrying constantly about money.

So when I lost the wireless, which in truth, in this freedom-at-a-cost country, I was stealing, something in me broke.  My lifeline to my family, all far away, is gone.  My ability to sit down and write a blog now needs to be structured and fit into time I am at the library.  And the calendar I throw together every month on Publisher has no picture gallery because I am putting it together at home without the internet.  My old computer had a picture gallery, but instead of feeling pissed off, I opt for – I can't think of the word, and I can't get to the internet thesaurus site.  How about resignation?

I am poor, I have no right to contact with the outside world.  I am lucky I have my laptop and a library connection, and for now, I am lucky that my car, with its 156,000 miles, can still get me there.

Meanwhile, the Koch brothers have convinced the insecure among us who still have a middle class life, that by helping us they will lose that life.  And meanwhile, while the Tea Partiers fight the Koch brothers' battle for them, they in fact are helping them destroy what they now have, and what used to be considered a secure life.