Precious Cargo

Refreshingly Bitter And Twisted Observations On Life's Passing Parade.

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Location: Valley Village, California, United States

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Compassionate Conservatives

"By the narrowest of margins, the Senate today approved the first major belt-tightening in federal spending in nearly a decade. Vice President Dick Cheney was needed to break a tie, giving President Bush a toughly-fought victory.

The budget measure, portrayed by Bush and congressional GOP leaders as part of a new, more determined battle to trim the federal budget deficit, would cut about $40 billion over five years from Medicaid, Medicare, student loans and other fast-growing domestic programs.

Democrats denounced the measure as hurtful to the poor and contend its savings will be wiped out by GOP plans to seek approval early next year of an additional $60 billion or more in tax cuts."

Let's see now. The Republicans cut $40 billion from programs that benefit the most vulnerable people because it is needed to cut the deficit while advocating giving $60 billion more to the most fortunate, least vulnerable members of society, even though it adds to the deficit they profess to be so concerned about.

This is a classic demonstration of one of the few remaining, distinct differences between the two parties and who they see as their real constituancies.

I'm Trapped In A Nightmare

"But since Friday, Bush has been defending his secret 2002 order enabling the US National Security Agency to monitor, without a warrant, international telephone and electronic mail of US citizens suspected of ties to Al-Qaeda.

In 2004 and 2005, Bush repeatedly argued that the controversial Patriot Act package of anti-terrorism laws safeguards civil liberties because US authorities still need a warrant to tap telephones in the United States.

'Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order,' he said on April 20, 2004 in Buffalo, New York."

This article gives about a half-dozen instances where Bush or Cheney reassured the public that spying required some procedural safeguards even when they had knowingly bypassed them. Blatant lying. Go read the article and take a good look at the slogans behind Bush in the photos. This is nightmarish. If this was a movie, it would be dismissed as a left-wing paranoid fantasy, like The Manchurian Candidate.

But it's real. And it just doesn't end.

What's equally frightening is that millions of people don't care. They're represented by the woman caller to the Mike Gallagher Show who said she didn't care because if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.

New York Transit Strike

I'm listening to a debate about the transit strike in New York on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now at the same time that I'm reading this:

"In the past few years, Lafargue's philosophy has been vigorously renewed by writers on the other side of the Atlantic. Celebrations of leisure like Carl Honoré's In Praise of Slowness, John de Graaf's Take Back Your Time and Pat Kane's The Play Ethic have suggested that in the industrialized West we need a less hectic, more deliberate working life. In the past year two new guides to the lazy life, Tom Hodgkinson's How to Be Idle and Corinne Maier's Bonjour Laziness: Jumping Off the Corporate Ladder, have gone further, calling for a regime of revolutionary leisure in which the workforce stops being... well, a workforce."

Strikes come and go. So people won't go to work for a while. What'll happen? Nothing. If nobody showed up at their marketing and advertising jobs, what would happen? Very few people are really engaged in essential activity. Society has a huge superstructure built up to manufacture unnecesary products and services and mechanisms to make us desire and buy them.

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