Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Holding U.S. Hostage

Last Tuesday (July 11) I got my box painted. Inside and out. Now it's all nice and white and clean looking. I like it very much now, but on the morning of the 11th I wasn't liking the fact that I had to move a good deal of my perfectly positioned belongings just outside of my box, which included approximately 42,576 books of various shapes and sizes and weights. The nice people who were actually going to do the painting (we'll call them the painters) were supposed to be at my box at one, or one thirty. I got all my stuff ready to move out by eleven, when our new residence manager, a nice young man named Edwin knocked on my door and told me the painters wanted to come there right away and start work.
"Well... I guess. It will take me about an hour to get ready..."
"They said they'd help you."
"Oh. Okay. The sooner the better I guess. Send'em on over."
I got into a moving frenzy, working up a sweat carrying books out of my box and placing them in the hallway outside. All kinds of other stuff too.
The painters arrived, two young Hispanic men, and they helped me move some of my books.
"You've read all of these?" one asked me.
"Pretty much. I'd say I've read over three quarters of them."
They told me to stop stressing out and stop moving things, that they would just move the rest of my stuff into the middle of my box and they could begin painting. They moved my stuff to the middle... then went to lunch.
"They tear up my box then go to get something to eat." Now I had to sit with all of my stuff so no one would be tempted to steal anything. I made myself a nice cup of coffee, plugged my radio into a nearby socket, and listened to KTLK 11.50AM on your radio dial, Los Angeles progressive talk. Thomm Hartmann was still on, soon to be replaced by Randi Rhodes from noon to three.
I used to listen to Randi all of the time when I didn't have cable. But she is very rude to her callers at times, so I don't anymore. However that day I was forced to.
She talked about raising the national debt ceiling in the United States House of Representatives, and what might happen if they didn't by August 2nd. I got very concerned, so much so, that about two and a half hours later, when I was allowed to move my stuff back into my box, and I figured out how to re-connect my computer (no small feat), I sent this Email to my new case manager, Robert:


As I'm sure you're aware, if a compromise plan to increase the governments debt ceiling by August 2nd does in fact not occur a partial shut down of the U.S. government is entirely possible after that date. The U.S. will be in default in it's ability to pay its obligations, and the Treasury Department will be in charge of selecting what bills will be paid and which will not. SSI and SSDI recipients here at Skid Row Housing Trust may be affected. This is a real possibility. Just watch the news. I'm bringing this to your attention so you can discuss the matter with upper management. I for one would like to know what SRHT's response will be if SSI and SSDI recipients here are in fact not paid in August, or further in the year, and unable to pay their rent.
Hopefully a compromise will be made in Washington and everything will remain running smoothly. But I'm afraid the political atmosphere favors a Republican shut down for political gain.
Thank for your time.

R Joyce

I Cc'ed (Carbon Copied) that message to my lovely former case manager, Erin, case manager Paul, Case manager Erin A., and a few others.

Robert replied thusly: "I will have to get back to you. I need additional time to talk with the higher ups in SRHT."

Lovely Erin was the only other one to reply or pay any attention to my warning. She Emailed me back: "What?!?!?!?!! Rick I don’t know anything about the news without you in my everyday life anymore! Please keep me updated."

Clearly she's lost without me.
I Emailed her back.


I certainly will Old One (She recently turned 27). What is happening right now is that the Federal government needs to raise it's Debt Ceiling, or rather the amount of money it is allowed to borrow in order to meet all of it's financial obligations, like pay Treasury Bonds, Veteran's benefits, Social Security, and keeping everything running, like the National Parks, Government offices, etc. Now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives, they are not voting to raise the ceiling, for several reasons, 1. They insist on balancing the Federal budget by cutting spending, on things like social programs (like for homeless, Medicare) sticking the burden on the Middle Class, and simply refuse to raise taxes on Corporations, or rich people. 2. For political reasons, they believe that the lousier the economy gets, next year during the Presidential elections, people who don't keep informed, like some case managers I know, will blame Obama instead of them, and they hope to win back the White House. So on August 2nd the Government will have reached the end of it's ability to pay to run itself, and if the ceiling isn't raised by then, the government will go into default on it's obligations, the countries credit rating will be lowered, everything will get more expensive, and only about 60% of services will still be able to function (or be paid for. And this is a maybe. No one knows for certain what will happen as this has never happened before). The Treasury Department will decide what gets paid and what doesn't. This could affect Vets, Social Security beneficiaries, the Armed Forces, freaking everything. Basically the Republicans are holding the country hostage. In the past the Debt Ceiling has been raised as a matter of course, almost automatically whenever needed. The freaking Republicans raised it 7 times when Bush was President. But now that Obama is President, they are refusing to do so unless their outrageous demands are met, and they may not do it even then, the freaking sociopaths. We'll see what happens.
Elections have consequences. ( http://www.readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/6620-elections-have-consequences ) That's why it's important to Vote!


Oh yeah, I forgot. Right now the state of Minnesota is shut down for the same reasons. The Democratic Governor and the Republican legislature won't come to an agreement on how to handle their budget deficit. The Republicans refuse to raise taxes on the rich, and the Governor refuses to balance the budget by cutting programs for the middle class, so everything (or most things, state workers have been sent home, parks have closed, etc.) have been shut down for two weeks now. The longest state shutdown in history.


Well that pretty much summed up the situation. Little Erin's all frightened now and needs constant comforting. Many other Americans... seniors, veteran's, Federal employees, etc., are as well.
The thing about this situation is this... it's all bullshit. It's a manufactured crisis masking a straight out political attack on President Barack Obama.
Pure and simple.
Turtle Boy, Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has openly and repeatedly stated on national television his main goal up to next year's election is to make sure Obama is a one term President. He's flat out said it! How better to do that then to screw up the economy (something Republicans have a great deal of experience doing) as much as possible and try to blame it on the President.
The Republicans claim that the main problems facing the country are runaway spending, and the national debt. That's bullshit!
The national debt is not our biggest problem. If it were no one would be willing to buy our Treasury Bonds, or other securities. The country's overall ability to borrow money would be hampered which is clearly not the case. Japan's debt is over twice as much as ours compared to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), almost three times, and they're doing just fine (hell, they're buying our securities, lifting its holdings to $912.4 billion from $906.9 billion in April. China remains the biggest holder of our debt, approx $1.5 trillion), so to say the biggest problem facing the country is debt, and to say that is what the American people care most about... is just a big freaking lie!
Spending isn't the problem either. Just the opposite. Not enough government spending occurred during Obama's so called "stimulus." That's why the economy has stalled, not enough money is being pumped into it and circulated. Don't take my word for it, here's a guy who won a Noble Prize figuring this stuff out, Paul Krugman ( http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=95929699 )
Has Timothy Geithner ever won a Noble Prize? I don't think so.
The only thing I can't figure out is why the President and Congressional Democrats have bought into the Republican false argument.
Why!? Please tell me why!?
Debt and spending are what the Tea Baggers believe are the most pressing problems. But one has to remember they are idiots. Why are we seriously considering the mad arguments of idiots and betting the country's future on them?
The Republicans, fueled by their Tea Bagger controllers, are willing to bring the country to the brink of default because they will not consider any increase in revenues (taxes) for their big corporate buddies and the richest among us. Not one penny! "We can't tax the job providers!" they cry out. "Raise taxes during a recession, unheard of!" they moan.
It's all crap. The recession's over, I guess the Republican's haven't got the word.
The Bush tax cuts have been in place for ten years now. So where are the jobs?! If what the Republicans are spewing were true the country should be at full employment now.
So where are those jobs Republicans? (which happens to be the real problem facing the country, jobs, jobs, jobs! That's what Americans are concerned about most of all. But what have the Republicans done while in power in the House, after running on a gaining jobs ticket? NOT ONE DAMN THING! They got into office, then started a war on women, the elderly, and the poor. Abortions, English as the national language, privatize Social Security, dismantle medicare, Sharia law... really?) You've got those tax cuts, so there should be plenty of jobs according to your bullshit (Cisco Systems, the networking equipment maker, said today it was cutting 6,500 employees, or about 9 percent of its work force).
There are. The big corps are creating jobs... in China. America is outsourcing 12,000 to 15,000 jobs a month. No jobs here though.
Oh yeah, The last time we had a balanced budget, something the Republicans claim to care so much about, was when there was a mixture of spending cuts and increased taxes under Bill Clinton. Not one Republican voted for it.
False, failed idealogy above what has been proven to be what's best for the country. That's what the Republicans are about.
Here's what the British financial magazine "The Economist" has to say about it: "This newspaper has a strong dislike of big government; we have long argued that the main way to right America’s finances is through spending cuts. But you cannot get there without any tax rises. In Britain, for instance, the coalition government aims to tame its deficit with a 3:1 ratio of cuts to hikes. America’s tax take is at its lowest level for decades: even Ronald Reagan raised taxes when he needed to do so.
And the closer you look, the more unprincipled the Republicans look. Earlier this year House Republicans produced a report noting that an 85%-15% split between spending cuts and tax rises was the average for successful fiscal consolidations, according to historical evidence. The White House is offering an 83%-17% split (hardly a huge distance) and a promise that none of the revenue increase will come from higher marginal rates, only from eliminating loopholes. If the Republicans were real tax reformers, they would seize this offer.
The sticking-point is not on the spending side. It is because the vast majority of Republicans, driven on by the wilder-eyed members of their party and the cacophony of conservative media, are clinging to the position that not a single cent of deficit reduction must come from a higher tax take. This is economically illiterate and disgracefully cynical."
But there are those Tea Baggers who are insane enough to believe that if the country goes into default, it's no big thing. Or those who seek to gain attention for themselves by championing that horrendous position... like the mad Representative from Minnesota, Michelle Bachman, who wants us to go into default.
"We need to experience some "Tough Love," she tells her crazy supporters. "Tough Love?" She's a freaking millionaire, what kind of "Tough Love," is she going to go through? It's easy to call out for others to suffer and make unnecessary sacrifices when you're sitting pretty yourself.
The financial rating agency Standard and Poors has flat out told Congress, raising the debt ceiling is not enough to maintain the countries AAA rating. It must also balance the budget with a mixture of spending cuts and tax increases. If not, a lot of things in the country, in the world, may get a lot more expensive.
Another rating agency, Moody’s Investor Service suggested yesterday that Congress simply do away with the debt ceiling.
"We would reduce our assessment of event risk if the government changed its framework for managing government debt to lessen or eliminate that uncertainty," Moody's analyst Steven Hess wrote in the report, according to Reuters.
Indeed, why not?
Because then the Republicans and the Tea Baggers couldn't blackmail the nation.
Finally, here's a way to save some cash. A lot of cash.
Just answer me this question.
Why are we still at war?
What in God's name are we still doing in Afghanistan? Iraq? Libya?
We're spending a lot of money, that's what.
And that's on your back Mr. President.
Answer that question for the country. For the soldiers who are still dying there.
We've been at war too long. Time to come home, spend that money here.
Invest in America before the Republicans tear it apart.

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