I heard two pieces on NPR today that made me so livid that I had to fight hard not to vomit on my steering wheel.
First came a story about the California town of Costa Mesa, which has just informed its public employees that half of them would be laid off within the next six months. The workers have been devastated; one of them, "reportedly distraught about the layoffs, jumped to his death from the roof of City Hall." Does this sound familiar?
So what's the solution to their budget crisis? Privatize everything, of course! Fire everyone, naturally! And what's the republican/tea party response to these events?
Why, it's an opportunity! Orange County republican party head Scott Baugh is then heard telling a tea party gathering, "Ground zero is right here in Costa Mesa for this revolution!"
Let's look at that again. The situation in Costa Mesa, where fully half of public employees will LOSE THEIR JOBS -- where the government will be paying people less and no longer providing people the opportunity to look forward to a decent retirement -- This is what republicans/tea party morons are calling a "revolution?"
Balancing the budget on the backs of your workers? Cutting pensions and going back on your commitments to people who came to work every day and held up their end of the bargain? Privatizing everything (which ALWAYS cuts costs! Just see the military budget for proof!) and saying "it's not too hard to figure out" that you're going to save money, though no one can say just how much (if any!) will be saved?
If this is your "revolution," then I want no part of it.
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Later came an interview with Rep. Joe Walsh (what else? R - Illinois), a member of the "House Tea Party Caucus" -- what the fuck is that? It's NOT an official party, but they have a caucus in the House? -- anyway, I heard this guy claim that democrats are doing all they can to shut down the government because they won't "compromise" on spending cuts. Walsh claimed that republicans have been the ones putting forth bills while dems have "been silent" and "the President should be ashamed."
The latest (ahem) brainchild they've put out there cuts $61 billion from social programs and education (among other things like Planned Parenthood) while funding the military for the rest of the year.
Surprisingly, NPR's Melissa Block challenged Mr. Compromise several times, repeating his soundbyte, "I came here ready to go to war -- the people didn't send me here to compromise," and basically asking when he's ever shown a willingness to compromise. He then claimed, "again, it's 'cooperate' not 'compromise.'" Oh I get it -- so your idea of "compromise" and "cooperate" is to have the dems come to the table, bend over, and let you ram your shit up their asses. Otherwise, THEY'RE the ones not "compromising." THEY'RE the ones being irresponsible and "mystifying" to him.
"I'd love to see a number though that they would put in front of us," he claims. "Can I accept less than 61B in cuts? I sure hope not...." I think this guy needs to look up "compromise" and "cooperate" in the dictionary.
Separate disgust stems from the fact that I can't remember the last time I heard a freshman democratic rep on NPR being allowed to deliver an uninterrupted tirade about anything.
Still more disgust springs from the idea that republicans claim to be serious about cutting the deficit, yet NOWHERE do they touch military spending -- despite the fact that the published figures (which doesn't include the tons of spending bills and other secret money that the Pentagon gets) show that it accounts for 25% of our budget. Here's a nice link to the true cost of our many ongoing wars.
But hey, let's cut education and pensions and Social Security; let's raze Medicare and Medicaid to the ground and leave the aged and our children to fend for themselves at the feet of the zillionaires at the insurance companies. Let's lay off workers and call it a "revolution!" and pretty much not even put a fucking dent in the REAL deficit, not even TRY to do anything to reduce our spending on wars in the Middle East.
No, let's just clog the news cycle with bullshit about "they want to shut down the government!" and "they won't compromise!" and every other horseshit bill that our government throws out there, and then we can just brush over the fact that a guy jumped off a building because he was upset about losing his job.
In Tunisia a fruit vendor, upset over the loss of his job, set himself on fire -- and triggered a revolution.
What will it take to get true revolution here?