Sunday, July 31, 2011

Give Them the Name That They Deserve

Another day has passed in the continuing saga that is the debate over the raising of the U.S. Federal Government's national debt.  As should be well-expected by now, Congress remains at an impasse; unable to come to any sort of reasonable conclusion to this ridiculous display.  And let there be no doubt; this is a ridiculous display.  Nothing more; nothing less.  It's ridiculous, first and foremost, because it's a debate (and drama) that is entirely unnecessary.  More than that, it's a debate that has not been held for decades.  Some may suggest that it is because this debate has not been argued before that our nation is facing a huge amount of debt; a debt that will take decades, if not centuries, to pay-off.  To those I say, "Get over yourself and your supposed lofty ideals!"  If there was going to be a serious, honest debate about our nation's debt, it would have been had long, LONG before now.  And let's be perfectly clear, the fairly pathetic charades that have in the past passed for attempts to resolve our nation's debt issue have been nothing more than 'kicking the can down the road' because noone ... and I mean noone ... has the political will and courage to actually make the changes that must happen in order for our debt to be reined-in. 

As this 'debate' continues to rage, I think it important to recognize that one of the key reasons I firmly believe that this is a false debate, at best, is that our Constitution, the document that so many have thought it appropriate and reasonable to wrap themselves up in, essentially forbids anyone ... including the members of Congress ... to question this nation's debt.  The thinking behind the 14th Amendment is essentially this: laws are created by a Congress, elected by the peoples of this nation to represent them, and signed into enactment by a President, who has similarly been elected by many of those same individuals.  If Congress, the freely elected representatives of the populace, choose to pass laws which spend more than the government receives from its many funding sources, and resultantly is required to secure funding through borrowing, then that debt is essentially unquestionable.  Congress and the President caused it.  For members of Congress to balk at raising the debt limit so that the federal government can make-good on its existing debts, those members of Congress are choosing to ignore ... one could even say act contrary to ... those elements of the Constitution which tells all Americans that our national debt is unassailable with respect to it being valid and worthy of settlement.  For that reason, I suggest that we begin naming those members of Congress who refuse to raise our nation's debt limit for whatever partisan political points they hope to make; oathbreakers. 

In ancient times ... veritably eons ago, when one's word was considered to be of more worth than anything else ... when one made an 'oath' to anything, it bound that person to that cause.  And for those individuals to abdicate the responsibility that such an oath invokes is tantamount to publicly proclaiming that their word is worthless ... that they have no honor ... that they are to never be considered anything than the lying, deceitful inidividual that they have purportedly become.  That sounds disturbingly like some members of Congress who, after promising the American people (and the world) that they will act in their best interests (not their own), and after accepting the responsibility conveyed by the oath of office that they must take prior to their being seated in Congress, chose to ignore some of the most important aspects of that oath.  And for that reason, I name those members of Congress as oathbreakers. 

Admittedly, such a moniker will today wear much less heavily on those members of Congress who have so vilely earned it than it might have centuries past.  Be that as it may, I feel that some ... those who still believe in honesty and integrity ... who believe that a man or woman's word is their "bond" ... will find themselves in agreement.  And, in the future, will consider those members who so dubiously have earned their new 'title' with the contempt that they so richly deserve.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Angry Yet?

As Congress continues to dither in its seemingly unerringly pathetic charade called 'legislating,' our nation looms ever-closer to that point-in-time when our federal government will not have sufficient funds on-hand with which to pay its bills.  If our nation was literally on the brink of actual insolvency, then Americans would truly have reason to be extremely concerned.  However, such is not the case.  Our nation is not insolvent.  In fact, when compared to many nations around the world ... even those who portray themselves as paragons of fiscal virtue ... the debt that is owed by our federal government (ie. the taxpayers) is at a percentage of GDP that is significantly lower than most of our allies.  It is true that our nation has built-up a large amount of debt: $14+ trillion is a lot ... an almost inconceivable amount ... of money.  And it is also true that our nation, if it seeks to maintain the level of funding and services to its citizens that it currently does, additional borrowing will be necessary.  But, despite what we have been inundated with by the mainstream media over the last several days, weeks, and even months, the "crisis" we face is not a "crisis" at all. 

When I consider the circumstances of a crisis, it typically involves factors which are outside the control of those whom are experiencing the difficulty.  For example, a natural disaster presents a crisis to those individuals, businesses and other entities which are directly impacted by it.  A war in another region or country can present a potential crisis to our nation; particularly if one or both parties to the conflict are allies of the U.S.  Yet, when we consider our present debt-ceiling "crisis," it is important that we realize and understand that any crisis that does exist, does so because a number of elected representatives and senators in the United States Congress have sought to use the necessary increase in our nation's borrowing limit as a political chess piece in a larger partisan political match.  In the past ... as recent as the George W. Bush administration, Congress regularly (and when necessary) increased our nation's borrowing limit (the debt ceiling) with little fanfare or commotion.  However, for some reason (or reasons), which I will not bother to consider here to any great extent, the Republican members of Congress have drawn a "line in the sand," so to speak, and held fast to the notion that any increase in the debt limit must be matched by an equal dollar amount of cuts in federal spending over the next 10 years.  Increasing the debt limit does not allow Congress, the President ... anyone in the federal government, in fact ... to spend any more money than what has already been mandated by legislation already passed and signed into law.  Republicans are not refusing to provide money for future programs.  No ... they're refusing to pay for programs already in-place ... some having been so for decades.

I ask in the title of this post whether anyone is "Angry Yet?"  Are you?  If not, you should be.  I am incensed at the cavalier arrogance of those members of Congress who feel they have the right and responsibility to threaten the fiscal health of our federal government, and thereby the fiscal health of our entire nation (and by extension, that of the world at-large), for purely partisan political purposes.  I could easier swallow that Republicans had suddenly "seen the light," when it comes to excessive spending, if it wasn't for the fact that many of those Republican members of Congress are the very same individuals who were a part of that august body during the recent Bush administration, during which time our federal debt essentially doubled.  And as if that is not oxymoronic enough, those same Republicans, having given billions upon billions of dollars worth of tax cuts and tax breaks to wealthy individuals, organizations and corporations, refuse to consider any sort of increase in the revenue that the federal government receives.  With all due respect to those members of Congress who feel now is the time to draw that preverbal "line in the sand," perhaps you're a bit late coming to the party? 

I do not have any objections to members of Congress acknowledging that our federal government needs to be able to pay for those programs and policies which it enacts.  I have no objections to closely examining all federal spending to determine those things which are either wasteful, unnecessary, duplicative, or simply wrong in concept, and reducing or eliminating them from the federal budget.  But to create an artificial crisis simply because of the leverage that the necessity of increasing our nation's debt ceiling presents, and thus endangering not only the credit worthiness of our country, but to threaten the very health and welfare of those dependent upon the government (for whatever reason) is not only unconscionable; it's immoral. 

Make no mistake about it.  If Congress fails to provide the President with the necessary legislation which would increase our nation's borrowing limit, the resultant financial calamity which could result will lie solely at the feet of those Republican members of Congress who felt it necessary to act in a manner that is far outside anything the Founding Fathers could or would have imagined. 

So .... are you angry yet?  You should be.  And those members of Congress in Washington who have brought about this spectacle should be ashamed of themselves.  We should be able to anticipate and expect better behavior from those who are elected to represent the citizens of this nation.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Welcome to the first installment of my blog, "Proud, Loud and Clear."  The purpose of this 'tome', as it were, is to chronicle my thoughts on a variety of topics; they will range from politics, to the law, to the economy and environment, and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) issues ... and the odds and ends that might pique my interest from time to time.  My hope in producing this blog is to add my voice to the collective discussion of those things which may have direct effect on myself and perhaps many, many others.  It is also my plan to offer a variety of suggested solutions to those problems which lend themselves to being 'fixed'.  And there will no doubt be times when I simply wish to get something off my chest.  In which case there may not be much forthcoming by way of solutions.  But to add to the stream of thought on any one matter, I believe, has merit and value. 

I welcome any and all comments, with one proviso; that comments always remain respectful of not only the points-of-view of myself and anyone else who might wish to add their voice to the discussion, but also remain respectful of the individuals themselves who express their thoughts here.  And I offer a challenge to any and all who wish to comment, now and in the future: improve the discussion.  While I like to think that I'm not as vain and narcissistic as some might be who offer their opinions to the world, I would be lying if I didn't admit to a certain amount of satisfaction when, following my posting on a topic, others agree with the thoughts that I shared.  I think we all enjoy when others agree with us; whatever the topic, issue or situation.  That said, I am also intelligent enough (and I daresay, wise enough) to know, understand and appreciate that not everyone feels as I do about any number of things.  Or, someone might have thoughts about an opinion I've expressed that greatly expands or expounds of my own words ... perhaps even taking the stream of thought to points where I might never have imagined or envisioned.  Whatever the case ... and whatever the situation ... there is no reason why intelligent individuals cannot come together and have a thoughtful, meaningful, and respectful dialogue on every issue imagineable.  I would encourage those who wish to lend their own thoughts to my blog by way of comments to, as I mentioned previously, "improve the discussion."  Add your own 'slant' on a particular issue.  Put forth your own solutionss for the many problems which I hope to address.  No one person has all of the answers.  It is the woefully ignorant person who believes they do.  This blog is as much a means for me to learn more about what others might think or feel with regard to the issues and/or topics discussed, as it is about me expressing my own opinions on those same issues and/or topics. 

With that said, let's discuss.