Today’s random thoughts.

16 Jul

I need to get a few things off my chest.  These items are unrelated to each other, but have in common that they bug the crap out of me.
In no particular order of pissed offedness:
1) The US and 30 other countries have now formally recognized the Libyan rebels as the governing body of Libya. []
So much for the claim that this is not about regime change.  We just changed the regime via government in a box.  What is democratic about this whole procedure?  Did the people of Libya themselves vote for or ask that these rebels be their government?  No. They did not.  We just told them that this group IS their government.  More and more evidence mounts that the rebels, good-looking though they are, are a CIA-backed coup against Gaddafi.  Human Rights Watch notes the rebels have abused civilians in at least 4 cities.  The US seized the Libyan National Bank, the people of Libya’s money, containing 30 billion bucks (a lot of it stored in the form of gold – is that relevant, one wonders?) and instead of returning it to the people of Libya, have announced they will give some of it the rebels.  Do the people of Libya want their money going to the rebels?  Why the fuck would anyone ask them? It no longer matters what the people of Libya want.  We (and NATO) are clearly telling them what they will have.  Could the unfrozen funds be used by the rebels to purchase arms?

“Rebel spokesman Mahmoud Shammam welcomed the NTC’s recognition and called on other nations to deliver on a promise to release hundreds of millions of dollars in funds to the opposition. ‘Funds, funds, funds,’ Shammam said, in order to stress the opposition’s demand. It remained unclear Friday whether the unfrozen assets could be used to purchase arms, or if some restrictions would still apply.”

Some other restrictions, like maybe the little fact that there was imposed an arms embargo as part of the agreement to this NATO kinetic action?

How Obama and the NATO participants have gotten away with what they just did here is a wonderment, especially in light of how relatively recently we saw Bush the Lesser do the exact same thing in Iraq.

2) Eric Cantor is being accused of potentially profiting should the US default on its debt. []  Shocked! are the Democrats.  Of course, they can’t and won’t do anything about it, since members of Congress are exempt from insider trading laws, an issue they wouldn’t want to address in a gazillion years as this exemption provides Congress with one of the less well known perks of the job. []
There was a law introduced to make this as illegal for Congress as it is for the lumpen proletariat, the “Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge” Act, but the legislation is being handed around desultorily to one committee after another.

“In a series of procedural moves, the bill was referred to six House committees (Financial Services, Agriculture, House Administration, Judiciary, Ethics, and Rules) on Mar. 17, 2011, then re-referred and “discharged” from five of those committees (all but Rules) and referred to all six committees again on Mar. 29, 2011. As of May 25, 2011 there has been no additional Congressional action.

This is the latest information I can find on it.

3) During Friday’s press conference, Obama said that raising the debt ceiling without imposing spending cuts was the “least attractive” option.  That’s a pretty strange position to take, considering that Obama requested a “clean vote” at the beginning of this whole fiasco. It was John I-am-obviously-a-fucking-alcoholic-please-stop-me Boehner who first insisted on all the deficit reduction equivalent add-ons.
Obama also said he would take the US back to the levels of domestic spending percentage as under Eisenhower, as though that were a GOOD thing.
(“I am willing to take down domestic spending to the lowest percentage of our overall economy since Dwight Eisenhower.”)

During the years of the Eisenhower administration (1953-1961), the only significant federal social program was Social Security. Medicare and Medicaid didn’t happen until 1965, and it was only during the late 60’s and the 70’s that we saw increased funding for public education, the creation of the EPA and HUD.
Of course, the top tax rate for the wealthy under Eisenhower was over 90%, but apparently that part is not germane to the discussion.
According to the statistics I have read over and over, half of senior citizens now survive on incomes below $22,000 a year and for one-third of the elderly, Social Security accounts for more than 90 percent of their income.
During the Q and A part of the press conference, I did not hear a single question suggesting that the wealthy, not working people, should bear the cost of the fiscal crisis, although the crisis exists because of 2008 Wall Street crash and the subsequent measures taken to bail out the big financial interests.  The entire discussion has been successfully diverted (largely by Obama, it must be noted) into a talk about how much more the middle-class and poor will give up in order to buy toxic assets from the big banks, put them on the public’s balance sheet, and avoid any tax “burden” on the people who have profited most from this scheme.

And that’s all I have to say for today.  Off to work.  At lunchtime, I will be working on the 79th recipe for the family’s cookbook project, “100 Slightly Less Than Wonderful, But Still Edible, Recipes with Ramen Noodles”.  We were going for 200, but then you have to include stuff like wallpaper paste, and simply NObody uses wall paper any more.  Although the wallpaper paste we developed would have technically fit into the “edible” requirement that our working title suggests.

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Posted by on July 16, 2011 in austerity, Congress, economy, Libya


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