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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Friends, acquaintances and readers, I waited until after April Fools’ Day before writing this blog, so you would know for damn certain that this entry was no joke.

I’ll begin by warning everyone that this will be a long blog entry. If you’re pressed for time, suffer from ADHD or for other reasons cannot read this blog entry in its entirety, then please leave and return at the earliest time when you may do so.

The United States of America is standing at the abyss of economic collapse and utter insolvency.

I don’t mean the USA is facing the sort of inflation it experienced when I was a child, but rather the sort of insolvency seen in Weimar Germany, where the currency better served the citizens as fuel for stoves and something with which to wipe themselves after defecating.

The story of our overreach began in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks:

In late October of that year, we dumped tonnes of ordinance on the nation and then flooded it with as many troops and soldiers as we could muster. This was justified, as Osama Bin Laden had used Taliban-ruled Afghanistan as his headquarters and training-area, but we didn’t keep our eye on the ball.

Bin Laden escaped in the battle of Tora-Bora and is very likely dead from kidney failure, but that really didn’t matter to the U.S. government, because it had other things on its mind…another war.

In March 2003, after telling many a lie and twisting many an allied arm, the United States invaded Iraq to “stop Armageddon and secure weapons of mass-destruction”.

There never any such weapons and Saddam Hussein was a much better talker than fighter, more akin to Bucky Katt from the Get Fuzzy comic-strip. The Bush administration had always known both, but had plowed ahead, determined to terraform that slice of hell in its own image…a corrupt democracy, chiefly concerned with money and not people.

Over the years, a nation without conscription was forced call-up its National Guard, recall discharged veterans and repeatedly redeploy everyone—five to seven tours, each a year or so, is not unusual—until they either committed suicide, sustained career-ending injuries or were just killed in action.

Yes, some Afghan and Iraq conflict veterans have been discharged, but they’re damn few and far between.

The most common methods of final return are a coffin unloaded from a plane in Dover, Delaware before the stunned eyes of grieving family-members and long-term recovery at places like Bethesda or Walter Reed.

Wars are expensive. Materiel…personnel…medical-care…disability pensions…why, it’s enough to bankrupt a nation!

It did. It bankrupted us.

Educational spending has been gutted, not merely at the university level, but down to kindergarten and primary school.

Our once-enviable highway system is crumbling to the point that fatal bride collapses have occurred in recent years and I have to be careful when driving, lest I snap an axle or destroy a wheel-rim in the emerging pits working through the concrete or slash a tire on the steel plates used to cover them.

Later this month or in the early part of the next, the United States will reach its legal borrowing limit of $14.29 trillion, requiring an increase of the federal debt ceiling.

For members of the Republican party, its extremist “Tea-Party” wing and so-called “blue-dog” conservative Democrats, the answer is to slash funding for everything, rather than repeal a tax-cut for the richest two percent of the U.S. population.

That’s right; while we were initiating and prosecuting two wars, we also gave the wealthiest two percent of our nation a tax-break and repealed the estate tax for the year 2010 only to reinstate it at a lower level going forward.

Wait…it gets better!

A recent proposal to coax U.S. corporations into bringing their manufacturing facilities—and the accompanying jobs—back to the USA would allow them to pay only…wait for it…five percent income tax.  Five damn percent! Admittedly, that’s five percent more than Genera Electric paid, because they received a tax-rebate!

Anyway, you get it. We’ve borrowed so damn much money that our great-great-great grandchildren will be paying down the debt—a simple statement of fact—and we need to borrow more, but we can’t unless the debt ceiling is raised.

The Republicans, Tebaggers and Blue-Dogs don’t want to approve that, because they think we’ve borrowed quite enough already.

We have, but that’s beside the point, which I’ll explain in one sentence.

When we borrow money, the United States Treasury makes a promise to repay the money…the same sort of promise which backs our money, so if we break one promise then our word’s no good on the other and our money is worthless.

The People’s Republic of China, like a handful of other nations, owns trillions in U.S. Bonds and Treasury Bills (commonly known as T-Bills) which can be cashed in at a loss, upon demand.

If we start looking dodgy, the Chinese and our other creditors can call in our loans. If that happens, those holding U.S. currency will have some interesting stuff with which to wipe their asses.

With our nation soon to appear before a fiscal firing-squad, you would think maturity would prevail, that august men with receding hairlines and even voices would huddle in the back-rooms of various Washington D.C. buildings until they produced something comparable with FDR’s New Deal.

I regret to report that the pedigreed jackanapeses are in control.

Aside from gutting public education in the United States, the best they have come up with is “screw veterans out of their pensions and medical care”, “screw the average American out of the Social Security pension and Medicare to which he or she has contributed since their first day working for a paycheck” and “screw the poor out of anything, particularly medical care”…and light bulbs.

That’s right.

I said light bulbs.

In 2007, under the watchful eye of then-President George W. Bush, federal legislation was enacted which would require a reduction in household energy-consumption, including more efficient light bulbs by 1 January, 2012.

The most popular bulb in the United States is the compact fluorescent bulb, the kid which looks like a glass spring perched atop a light-bulb base.

I first encountered these in 1997, while a student at the University of Houston and immediately purchased enough for every room in my parents’ house. It was tremendously expensive, but their electric-bill went from $500 in the month when I installed the bulbs to zero.

You see, they were on a balanced-billing plan, in which the year’s anticipated electrical usage is divided twelve ways, the cycle reset the following month and the savings was so great that they received free electricity for two months.

Even fourteen years later, the electric-bill rarely exceeds $250 per month.

In those intervening years, LED bulbs have entered the market, offering 20-40 years worth of light from roughly ten percent of energy required for an incandescent bulb. Imagine those savings.

The Tea-Party, which at this moment exerts an inordinate amount of influence over the Republican party, hates any form of government control or standards, even if those benefit the entire nation by reducing the demand for foreign oil, coal and nuclear power-plants.

Tea-Party poster-girl and Representative from Minnesota, Michele Bachmann has introduced—God as my witness—the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, which would repeal the requirement for energy-efficient bulbs, claiming that Americans should be free to be as wasteful as they wish, by lighting their houses with whatever they wish.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/opinion/31collins.html?_r=1

Not to be outdone, one of Texas’ Representatives, Joe Barton has introduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act (also known at the BULB Act), which has fifty Congressional co-sponsors. The goals of this piece of legislative scatology are vastly similar to those of Bachmann’s.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/7501424.html

It makes me wonder what the members of Congress would do if faced with an impending appearance before an actual firing-squad.

Would they even bother to appeal the sentence, or merely file motions relating to the calibre of carbines to be fired at their hearts?

Everything has a lifespan; plants, pets, people and nations.

Every lifespan has distinct parts; conception, birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, middle-age, advanced age and death.

That said, the path from birth to death can be shortened through stupidity, negligence or misadventure.

We are perilously close to doing that. The United States is perilously close to ending up like a urine-soaked, destitute drug-addict found frozen to death in an alley.

Our drugs are oil, money, power and tabloid-level bullshit.

Whether we’ll make it to rehab, much less through it, remains to be seen, but the first step is admitting the addiction.

Say it with me: “My name is Columbia and I’m an addict”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_(name)

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