Saturday, June 20, 2009

Makin' a Killing on the Cost of a New Vehicle

"What kinda liberal progressives are these?" I thought when I realized there were no veggie burgers or soy dogs being served at the Ingham County Young Dems picnic on Friday. I didn't really mind. This vegetarian wasn't there for the food. And, after all, my real beef is with a different set of Democrats, the Democrats serving in the U.S. Congress.

The week wrapped up with news that the Democratic controlled Congress passed another massive war spending bill in support of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Apparently, the anti-war Democrats elected to the House last fall -- with very few exceptions -- have no problem continuing to fund the war and the American War Machine. All that's needed now is action by the anti-war Democrats in the Senate and a signature by the anti-war President Barack Obama.

But what the hey-hey? I will be saving $4,500 on my next vehicle purchase.

Yes, the "Clunkers for Cash" program was generously embedded inside the large war spending bill. So my tax money, in part, will continue to bomb civilians in Afghanistan -- thus generating even more hatred directed at America -- and I get a discounted new car to make me feel better. The absurdity of it all will be hard to ignore the minute I turn on the news on the new radio in my new vehicle.

Being Frank with Barney

In his Thursday blog posting on the war spending vote, recommended reading here, journalist Jeremy Scahill quoted Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) as saying that members of the anti-war left have "no sense of reality." If it wasn't such an obvious pun, I'd say Frank is full of baloney.

The reality is that the American political system is unravelling and its core is being fully exposed (for those who want to look at it). The Democrats in Congress, combined with strongly pro-military spending Republicans, leave us with essentially a one-party, pro-military government -- the protectorates of the insatiable and dangerous military-industrial complex. To be polite, you can call it a duopoly -- the Coke vs. Pepsi syndrome. Regardless, it still leaves a bad after-taste. The question has been asked, who is left to represent a vast majority of the American people who support peace and have different spending priorities than endless funding for war?

After Cindy Sheehan published her scathing indictment of the "anti-war" Democrats, one of her readers on Facebook reacted and called it out: "We don't have a democratic republic, we have an oligarchy." I put Barney Frank's "reality" in what author David Korten calls the "Myth of Empire," the grand stories of a virtuous America that we all want to believe and know -- with or without the release of the graphic torture photos -- are not true.

What's Up with Health Care?

Now, as we move on to the big debate over health care insurance coverage, I won't blame true progressives on being very nervous. If the Democrats buckle to pressure from corporate and special interests, ignoring substandard and, for many, non-existent health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, more people are going to ask: With Democrats like this, who needs Republicans?

-- Rico Thomas Rico

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This Week's Jukebox: Song Book II