Friday, August 5, 2011

A Rant: Who Broke It & Who Owns It?

“The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.” - Lord Acton
Secretary of State General Colin Powell is famous for making the statement “if you break it, you own it” in regards to the idea of invading Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Here's what he actually said: 'You are going to be the proud owner of 25 million people,' he told the president. 'You will own all their hopes, aspirations, and problems. You'll own it all.'
Privately, Powell and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage called this the Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it.

Of course, President George W Bush ignored this sage advice, since his mind was already made up, with false propaganda to convince the silly politicos that make up Congress, and gullible US citizens it was a good plan -because of 'WMD' [Weapons of Mass Destruction]. That there were no WMD didn't stop us then, which should be a cause for our continued concern.

Was it -the invasion- a good idea? Despite the current changed status of Iraq, was it really worth the costs?
Time will probably tell, but only if we assess this chapter of history truthfully.

Colin Powell was right; we did break Iraq and have had to own it for several years, with no final end in sight.
But, maybe rather than relying on sage advice and learning from history, we'd rather just do our thing, anyway?
Then, find out for ourselves what the 'unintended consequences' are?

That seems unnecessarily wasteful and risky to me, but hey, this is America! We can do whatever we want, and don't forget it!

Our founders would turn in their graves, if they haven't already.

A similar perspective can be applied to our struggling economy. If we break it, we own the results.

The expensive wars in Iraq & Afghanistan might have seemed necessary after 9/11, but how has that worked out?
The answer is it hasn't worked out very well, except to saddle the US with enormous debt, casualties and diminished international respect.
Remember, the cost of both wars in the Mid-East were not actually shown in our national budget; they were financed off the books, and contributed enormously to our 'debt ceiling'.
Talk about kicking issues & costs 'down the road'!
That's what the past administration has done to this one, isn't it?

And, of course, its happened before - both ways

All the recent talk about limiting 'spending' in Washington conveniently ignores the egregious excesses of the Republican ideologues who controlled our government for the first 8 years of this century, as well as the legitimate commitments made that need to be honored.
Now, again, the current administration is faced with cleaning up the mess left by others.

I hate that when its done to me, don't you feel the same way?

The major political fights we've seen all too frequently amount to mostly name-calling and finger pointing, without much regard for citizens in general.
The bail-out plans initiated by the Obama crowd have actually worked pretty well, despite the bad-mouthing by those who had no plan of their own.
But, what about TARP? That was Bush's giveaway, without any provision for repayment!
And, the tax cuts that have seriously reduced our ability to pay for other essential services.

It always amazes me how political spin remains so successful at fooling people, even despite the facts and common sense.

While we're at it, where does the so-called 'Tea Party' get to share in blame for the fine state of affairs we're faced with?
Why, they are just so proud of being difficult, even within their own party!
But, being very good at saying 'no' doesn't really help solve anything, does it?

Now that health-care reform has been initiated and the 'debt ceiling' debate is semi-settled for the present, they also relish kicking those cans down the road.
The sad thing is, it's not really about anything but partisan political preferences -and that goes both ways.
Some insist on wishing to impose their will upon the rest of us - the majority for god's sake!

That ain't gonna work out very well for any of these two-bit ideologues, as the polls are beginning to show.
Aren't they accountable, too?

The level of dysfunction that has developed recently will also have repercussions that we won't like down the road.
Just look at what has happened as a result of the 'debt ceiling' posturing and brinksmanship.
Confidence in America has dropped like a rock, by international entities and the financial sector.
Largely because Congress can't be trusted, the stock market experienced its 9th largest daily decline in history -513 points.
Is that an unintended consequence?; I think so!
Who's accountable for that?

And how about the prolonged recession; think that might be partly caused by lack of confidence too?
The jobs situation is genuinely troubling and at the root of many other ills our society faces.
But, we can't get Congress or the Administration to create a jobs program that puts people back to work doing things -like infrastructure construction and repair - that everyone agrees need doing!

Add to that the ridiculous FAA funding debacle, that succeeded in idling almost 80,000 workers and threatened untold impacts on air travel, tourism, and our business economy in general.
What's up with that? Another ideological chasm, that's what.

'I'm sick and tired of this ongoing BS, and I ain't gonna take it anymore!' Who said that? Howard Jarvis of California's Proposition 13 fame?
I wish more people would get so fed up with our dysfunctional system that they demand some meaningful changes in the way our representatives behave.
After all, that is probably the only thing that will get their attention.

And, I'm not talking about another hot-headed Tea-Party clone, either.
That just allows passions to cloud good sense.

I'm talking about good old fashioned righteous indignation, regardless of stupid party affiliations!
Where does the Constitution say anything that authorizes political parties to usurp the power of citizens?

While we're at it, what about all the silly rules and procedures Congress decides to use to do its business?
Some rules are necessary, so use Robert's or Sturgis, but not caucuses, filibusters, riders and clotures and all that baloney.

And do the work out in the open, with up or down votes that everybody can see and understand!

And find a way to get money and influence peddling under control, too.

I hope those games aren't included in any measure of our Gross National Product!

So who broke our system? We did, by degrees of neglect, un-involvement and private agendas.

Who owns it? We do, warts and all.

How does it get fixed? We fix it, by demanding changes and getting engaged and involved ourselves.

As much as I disagree with Tim Eyman on many of his public initiatives, he's got some things right; like the concept of a permanent offense that never lets up.
If he can be successful using that approach with some of his BS beefs, just imagine how successful we, the people, can be with effecting systematic change in our governments at all levels!

But, it ain't automatic, folks, so unless you really mean it, just sit back and quaff whatever you're drinking and hope that helps you stomach this mess we're in.

At least until next rant, have a nice day!
Political atheism: End justifies the means. This is still the most widespread of all the opinions inimical to liberty.” - Lord Acton