I’m not sure which is the most disturbing; that the president has been spying on US citizens without warrants, that the telephone companies participated fully (knowing that it was illegal), that Congress is trying to give the telecoms immunity, or that the Democrats (with a few exceptions) are doing everything they can to help. I have never felt as duped as I have for the past few months. I remember how much effort I put behind John Kerry in 2004; I went door to door in a heavily Republican neighborhood (at one point even getting threatened with a gun) trying to get funding for the man, I tried to get as many people as I knew to vote, and when the time came for election day I was more nervous than I am about the upcoming Super Bowl. Kerry was defeated and I was heartbroken, but the thing that bothered me the most was that he went back on his promise to not give up until every vote was counted; it was almost as if there was some kind of deal between Bush and himself. I didn’t care about politics for a few months – I wouldn’t even watch the Daily Show because I just couldn’t laugh at the heartbreak I had just experienced – before I realized things could still get worse and there was still a battle left to fight that I could make a difference in. When 2006 rolled around, I was even more excited about the prospects of the Democrats winning something- the country was a mess, Iraq was quickly turning into a quagmire, and people were finally starting to wake up. I remember getting a six-pack, packing a bowl, and watching the numbers come in like it was game seven of the World Series. The Democrats won and it was like a giant weight had been lifted off of my shoulders; things were finally going to change for the better. Here we are, over a year later and not much has actually been altered. If anything, I’m more disappointed because it is the people who I back who are wrecking my country. Senate majority leader Harry Reid is doing everything he can to make sure the telecoms get full immunity and this president – along with the next president; Republican or Democrat – can continue his spying ways. For the past year he has had a deal with the Republicans, whereby they do not even have to filibuster- a bill will not even go to the floor unless the sixty votes needed to overcome the filibuster have been guaranteed. Chris Dodd (who is no longer running for president, yet still planning on trying his hardest to stop this bill, thereby proving the Republican pundits wrong) and a few of his supporters have promised a filibuster- and Reid has responded by saying that he will fight it, he will make sure Senate stays in session for as long as it takes. He treats the opposition better than he treats people on his side, he does not care what public opinion says, and he is a mouthpiece for the president- the person he was re-elected to help stop. The two front running Democratic candidates – Barrack Obama and Hilary Clinton – have both said (when asked) that they do not think there should be immunity, but will not be doing anything to stop it. The two most powerful Democrats – the two Democrats with the most attentive ears listening to what they have to say – aren’t working any harder than you or me to stop our civil liberties from being eroded. What do you think they are going to do when they get into office? I would almost rather have another four years of a Republican; at least then I know what we’re getting into and I have no hopes of things changing for the better.
There are so many lies that have been told about the wiretapping that I really don’t understand how there are still people out there who trust everything that is being said about it. We are in a post 9/11 world and wiretaps are necessary to prevent another attack- there are people out there that want to kill us because we’re free. That’s the statement I hear the most from people who support the Protect America Act, but it’s total bullshit. All it takes is a tiny bit of research (which I know is hard to find time for when there are so many articles about Heath Ledger) to find out that the wiretaps were put in place (maybe on a lesser level than now, but still put in place) as much as seven months before September the 11th. Obviously the people who flew planes into a few buildings (assuming that’s even what really happened) didn’t talk about it too much on the phone. I have been really into The Wire lately and have also watched each episode of The Sopranos many times; if all of these uneducated criminals know not to talk on the phone or if they have to, to use code, then why would international terrorists who are smart enough to design a plan like 9/11 talk openly? There are so many things wrong with this that we should all be on the brink of insanity every time we hear another lie or see another bill getting passed. The people in charge are slowly taking away our rights to privacy and we are just sitting back and letting it happen; at times, even encouraging it.
Another among the many ways in which our country is in trouble is economically. Although stocks around the world have settled down after a couple of turbulent days earlier this week, things are still headed downwards. All it will take is a sharp rise in gas or food prices (or one of hundreds of other things) to make everything around us come crashing down. What is the government’s solution? Stop sprinting towards $1 trillion spent in Iraq and Afghanistan? Take back money from the rich people? Start taxing the oil companies way more than they are getting taxed now? Nope, give everyone in the country a check and hope they spend it. The first problem with this is that the more money one makes, the bigger check one gets- this doesn’t do a thing to help the people in need. Second of all, if the money is put into a bank account (which it probably will be for the rich people) or used to pay off a credit card, a mortgage, or any other kind of debt, it does nothing to stimulate the economy. I plan on taking my check, putting it in my savings account, and pretending it never even came. I hope every one else does the same. Paul Krugman does a much better job of explaining why – even if people don’t follow my plan – this ‘everyone gets a check’ plan is not a good idea.
I’m running out of time here, so I can’t comment fully about two more things that I would like to talk about. However, check out the articles on the increasing mess in the Gaza Strip and the continuing violence in Kenya.
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