There is so much going on the worlds of politics, government, the economy and other areas that it is no longer possible to keep up with it all. We are living in highly complex times, every day I am falling farther behind and find myself puzzled sometimes by events I do manage to follow.
So today, I've chosen just three of the questions on my mind for some short takes and perhaps your thoughts.
It is becoming increasingly clear to me that throwing money at banks with no oversight whatsoever cannot succeed in fixing the economy. Not a penny of bailout money has gone into lending. Foreclosures are skyrocketing again. Twenty fraud investigations into the bailout program are going on. But the guys who got us into this mess are running the bailout in government while leaving their previous colleagues in charge of the banks.
Why is no one talking about re-instituting Glass-Seagal or similar bank regulation? Why is no one asking why banks are too big to fail? It seems to me that if a corporation is too big to fail, it's too big to exist.
It is not possible that there aren't competent bankers and Wall Street people who could carry on. Plus, I suspect it's not as hard to do as they have tried to make us believe.
Whatever legal pretzel twists Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials concocted to approve waterboarding and other so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” they are torture and I am shamed by my government having done these things. I believe the people who approved and carried out this kind of interrogation should be prosecuted.
However, there has been a procedural roadblock that shouldn't be there. On Tuesday, President Obama said he would “not stand in the way” of a a full inquiry or panel to look into the allegations.
Not stand in the way? Last time I checked, the U.S. still had three, independent branches of government, and the legislative and judicial branches are free to investigate anything they want without approval or intervention from the executive branch.
Apparently (I've not read this stuff as closely as I would like), any torture investigation has been held at bay since the November election due to President Obama's public statements about looking forward rather than back. Recent pressure from Congress and civil rights groups prompted his reversal on Tuesday.
I suppose a president can use his bully pulpit to try to persuade anyone, but I'm bothered that it sounds like the decision to investigate and prosecute or not has been left to the president instead of Congress or the Justice Department. Am I the only one who has noticed this?
The right wing commentariat has become unhinged. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michelle Bachman, Ann Coulter, Michael Steele, et al are hovering at the edges of sanity. You know their hysterical drill by now: fascist, liberal atheists, including our Muslim president, are going to force everyone to have abortions, turn kids into homosexuals, compel all workers to join a union, forbid gun ownership, send teenagers to re-education camps, close the churches, deny access to the doctor you want and – horror of horrors – tax the rich. So to save the country from dreaded socialism, they say, we must buy teabags.
The worst of it is that millions of damned fools believe these fatheads who are only marginally rational which is the best one can say about anyone who, in our darkest hour in decades, wishes the president to fail.
With so many complex problems on the table, never have we been more in need of thoughtful, serious debate. It would be smart of us, with a federal government controlled entirely by one party, to have some intelligent input from the other side of the political spectrum. Yet the media employ only these whackos. Surely there must be reasonable Republicans somewhere, don't you think?
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, a story titled What I Really Know About the Internet from Lyn Burnstine.]