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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The New Opiate of the Masses

Category: Society
Posted: 02/19/06 11:26

by Paul Bartlett

Speaking from the perspective of a quickly developing coot, the
American banking industry, with the complicit cooperation of the
American government, sealed the financial fate of many Americans with the advent of two financial products: the second mortgage and the bank credit card. At the time my lovely bride and I recited our nuptials in 1970, these products didn't exist. We didn't fall into a financial abyss because we didn't have a swarm of bankers pushing us over the edge.

Perhaps easy credit has been liberating for some, but it has been an opiate for most. It has caused families to leverage their future, incur massive debt, and purchase unaffordable homes and attendant stuff. Uncle Sam played a complicit role, at first enticing us with credit card interest deductions and then with second mortgage interest deductions.

So now that the country is hooked, Bush and the bankers do the expected: "reform" bankruptcy. The irony is surreal. The biggest borrower and spender on the planet, Bush, wants to shelter his banker buddies, all in the name of personal responsibility. And the hypocrisy goes on.
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DeWine(ing) About Wiretaps

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 02/18/06 15:10

by Dave Mindeman

Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio seems to be living in a delusional Bush World. He is offering a bill, backed by the Bush White House, to exempt "eavesdropping" from the intelligence FISA court. In place of the court, his bill would have small subcommittees to oversee the wiretapping.

In 10 to 15 years we are going to look back on this and have one of those, "What the hell were we thinking?".. moments. DeWine (who incidently is up for reelection this year in Ohio) is desperately looking for some way to compromise this issue. The White House has been pressuring the Republicans to basically shut up and tow the line.. while the Democrats have been pushing for a high profile intelligence investigation. A broad based hearing on this would be embarrassing to the GOP, and an obvious election year issue.

I still cannot fathom why this administration insists on bypassing the FISA courts. They complain about speed. Well, most of the information I've heard seems to indicate a very reasonable process. You can begin your investigation (up to 72 hours prior) while you are making the application.. the application takes about 1/2 a day to fill out, and if the court denies your application (which rarely happens) -- you simply stop. How much more reasonable do we have to be?

This White House is out of control. Our 3 tiered system of government is losing relevance. Bush enforces, interprets, and yes, sometimes makes his own laws. That is the definition of a dictator.
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Where There's A (George) Will There's A Way

Category: US Politics
Posted: 02/17/06 13:56

by Robert Shumer

I can't believe my eyes?George Will, the conservative writer, taking huge shots at the Bush administration and the Republican Congress. It only shows how crazy the world is right now. He blasts their spending agenda, raising federal spending at twice the rate of President Clinton. He rants against their "bending government for the advantage of private factions." He complains of the "$60 billion in corporate welfare" while we only spend $29 billion on Homeland Security.

He has it right. We have a government "more undisciplined than ever." He failed to use other appropriate terms, such as inept and deceptive. But he has raised our awareness that this administration is proving to be a disaster, no matter on which side of the aisle you sit.

There is a way out of this mess. It is to end the control of the Bush administration and the Bush followers (Congressmen Gutknecht, Kennedy and Kline in Minnesota). Unlike the Israelis, who can move up their vote to next March, we must wait until next November. I hope the year won't put us in such bad shape that not even a political savior will be able to make things right again. Lord, have mercy.
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