This story from the Washington Post, by way of MSNBC, is no surprise at all. I guess the Wall Street boys feel they have gotten about all they can from the Democrats--continued bailouts, watered down financial regulations, no criminal charges. I don't think they necessarily want the Republicans to gain a majority in the House and Senate. It seems to me that anything short of a supermajority plus 1 does what they want quite nicely. Grid lock works for them, not for the rest of us.
I found this Newsweek article, also by way of MSNBC, which sums up our current political scene. Of course, this situation is simply an intensification of the politics of the last decade and a half ever since the Republican Party became an arm of Fundamentalist Christianity. Politicians have catered to any of the far out wingnuts to win the primaries and then tried to come back far enough to the center to claim more moderate members of their constituencies. And it is a pattern that holds for both the Republicans and Democrats.
Well, I have just finished my gardening for most of the day. It is already about 90 degrees on our patio. That is about 12 degrees higher than the temp around 7 this morning and it is now just going on 10. Luckily, the container set up I have is really low maintenance. I usually have few weeds and those rarely get large enough to attract attention. The mushrooms I still have but the plants are all big enough to fend for themselves. Besides watering frequently enough to keep everything happy, trimming and pruning some of the plants, dealing with a few pests that make themselves intolerable nuisances, I don't have a lot of heavy work to do. I may not even have to add any garden soil next year. I also harvested some more beans which will be frozen for this winter.
Will wonders never cease, I thought, as I read the headline for this HuffingtonPost piece co-authored by Representatives Barney Frank and Ron Paul. I agree with them totally on the need to both change our military spending and our philosophy surrounding our use and maintenance of the military. They lay out the case very well. Now all they have to do is get others in their respective Parties to go along. I am not taking bets.
Here is a HuffingtonPost article which falls into the "I am SO not surprised" category. The only thing I find surprising is that much of what the article talks about has rarely been mentioned. In Illinois, and Chicago in particular since most of our news comes out of there, public employees, except fire and police, have been forced to take unpaid furlough days that have reduced their pay by as much as 15-20%. Unionized workers tried to fight that as a violation of their contracts and found that up to 25% of their workers got pink slips. They were able to keep many of the teachers because of the Federal stimulus but now that has ended. I expected a big uptick in the number of teacher layoffs to smack everyone in the face about late August just before the new school year started and the last paychecks from this one had been sent out. That is when the unemployed teachers would qualify for unemployment. THAT is one reason why I have been skeptical of the economists' pronouncements that the economy has turned around.
And then there is the aspartame vampire that the maker is trying to resurrect--again.
Tony Wollin at Firedoglake has a take on the current job situation, the attitude of Republicans and big business that parallels my own thinking. And, evidently, Paul Krugman, whom he quotes, voices similar notions. I can add another factor that is only mentioned in passing. Wollin does note that we no longer have much empathy for others in this society but it isn't a matter of distance. Even within a small town or city, some people find it much easier to blame the 'victim.' If you are unemployed, it is your own damned fault. If you can't find a jog, you are lazy. I could go on but there is no need. Can you really call this a society when all we are is a bunch of atomized individuals whose social bonds are tenuous at best?