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It seems like only yesterday. With the National Security treaty with Russia, the budget, DODT, healthcare for 9/11 responders and the infamous Bush tax cuts expiring, all we heard was . . . "They won't touch that until after the Midterms." And, they didn't. In fact, it went right down to the wire on New Year's Eve. Now, I sit almost incredulous at the state of the world. I had an article near ready on this topic and then the earth quickly rendered it insignificant as we all watch in shock at the magnitude of the event taking place in Japan. Or, my first thought was that it was insignificant.

Upon further consideration, it isn't insignificant at all. We live in a world that is rife with challenge and problems. As we continue to progress and populate the orb, the problems tend to intensify. Natural resources are stressed, National Security is paramount on most folks' minds and governmental programs and services have escalated beyond the ability to pay for them. Government budgets are strained to the point of possible National bankruptcy. None of the challenges are without possible resolution. They do, however, require responsible solutions that are fair and equitable to ALL Americans, solution being a plan of action and a direction of course. And, they require these 'solutions' in a timely manner.  

Politician after politician campaigns vigorously on 'change'. Everyone promises to change the way Washington works. The pre-election rhetoric is a constant and interchangeable jargon over decades. Even the manner in which Executive decisions are made seems to always be dependent on the political ramifications. Nothing changes and I feel most Americans don't really expect anything to change; apathy is rampant. But apathy is the worst thing we can do. The broken and dead-locked Legislative branch of our government is ridiculous in the light of real crises such as we see in Japan. What if OUR congress was in control of funding the rebuilding that mess? We need to be aware and vote on the facts not the ideology.  

After months of harassing about the economy and jobs, the 2010 Midterms made possible a party and voting majority change in the Legislature. We have a new house speaker and a new agenda. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to include solutions to address the jobless or economic situation. Instead, we still wrangle about Planned Parenthood, NPR, the Arts and cutting funds to the elderly receiving help with utilities and heat. To those of us who live in the south that may not be a big deal, but to a 70 year old widow living in the brutal winters up north, it can mean survival. My son and daughter-in-law live in Pennsylvania in a two-story fifties era home. Their source of heat is heating oil and the fuel oil bill runs in the neighborhood of $600 a month in winter. That's not a huge problem for two professionals; for a widow on a fixed income, it's disastrous.

Today I saw a clip of Rep. Eric Cantor® 7th District Virginia, House Majority Leader defending budget cuts for the Tsunami Warning System, NOAH Weather Radio, the National Weather Service including the Hurricane Warning System and other environmental warning services. This, comes in light of the tragedy in Japan which admittedly had state of the art warning systems and earthquake-safe buildings? In Tokyo, for example, skyscrapers swayed on huge springs rather than collapse on rigid foundations or hundreds of thousands more might have lost their lives. In the north, it was the tsunami that did the leveling, not the quake itself. Perhaps, Mr. Cantor would like to come spend hurricane season in Florida beginning June 1st.    

For the budget, these proposed cuts are all negligible amounts. The cuts that will do any good in solving our horrid financial deficits are going to have to come from the Defense and Entitlement areas of the budget. No one denies that. Yet, when that is mentioned, again we hear, "They won't touch that until after the election . . ." Unfortunately, the election is almost two years away. By then, the deficit will have grown by another few billion or trillion.

Even the fiscal 2011 Budget remains in doubt and the government is running on two week extensions while they continue to play political games. The 2012 Budget hasn't even been addressed yet. Now, we see the states in disarray as well. I found the escapade in Wisconsin to be very educational; made me think of Egypt. Although, the workers lost that battle, it's the first example of people standing together I've seen in a long time. They may yet win the war. I think the American people have a stronger backbone than we are given credit for. It's the corruption and incompetence, the encouraging of class warfare that makes people angry. Frankly, I don't know the answers to all of our problems as a nation. I do know that I can sacrifice plenty if it's done fairly across the board. I think most Americans can.

 **Susan Haley is the published author of three books, several articles on networking, an award-winning poet, contract copy editor, and book reviewer for AME Marketing. She is a columnist for The Florida Writer the official magazine of the Florida Writers Association, and serves as Facilitator for the Sarasota County Chapter. She is a frequent contributor to the Fox and Quill and the Infinite Writer e-zines and the political columnist for Fabulously 40 and Beyond out of San Diego.  

The audio version of her novel Rainy Day People was awarded in the 2008 Indie Excellence National Book Awards. She also contributes a variety of editorials and excerpts of her work to various newsletters and local papers, and is Founder and Designer of a Spiritual website dedicated to Nature. www.sucarha.com Her third book, Amber Returns to Maine and Other Songs of the Soul was released in March 2010. All are available on Amazon.com.

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Member Comments

    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote Mar 14, 2011
    • heartheart up Susan!



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Mar 15, 2011
    • Annie I CAN and DO agree 100% with your comment!



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Cathie Beck wrote Mar 15, 2011
    • California saw one governer out and a new one in. Both were for change, both tried, both met with opposition to change the system and cut the state government costs. Too many “fat cats” in government is my thought!  

      Susan, thank you for yet again a thoughtful, thought provoking post.  

      Cathie



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Mar 15, 2011
    • Hi Girls -  

      I appreciate the comments. I agree with all of you as well. Anyone who has read my work over my years here at Fab 40 knows I have no patience with laziness or taking advantage of others. In my way of thinking, it gets right back to ‘fairness‘.

      I often wonder how some of these programs got so out of control. Many of them started with good intentions. I could be wrong, but it seems to me a huge majority of the people are being hurt by all this top-end and bottom-end stuff. How did it happen? I suspect the answer to that will have something to do with pandering for votes at one time or another. I really have come to believe that every single decision, every idea put forth, every vote taken is first analyzed as to how it will affect re-election. What’s sad to me, is ‘we the people’ have fallen for the games and continued to elect the same people. Some of those professional politicians have held seats for decades! Rarely does someone simply decide NOT to run again on matters of integrity.

      As for defense spending, really that is the main purpose of Government. “To provide for the National Defense . . .” I’m all for what is necessary to meet that purpose with security.
      My problems come with things such as no-bid contracts, operating military bases all over the world forever once a country has been invaded, forcing weapons on the military if the Pentagon says they don’t want them, or need them, to meet some contract as was recently allegedly done with the fighter jet program.
      Again, it’s not the legitimate spending I question but the corruption and the waste, though our troops should want for nothing.

      I find it all overwhelming for a nation made up of basically good people.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Tamra wrote Mar 19, 2011
    • Good post Susan!  

      Yes, I agree, most every action by our Congress and Senate is based on anticipated voting in the next election.  That often translates into a lack of leadership.  I think it’s time for term limits in the legislative branch to help eliminate that effect, although it will never disappear completely.  Even Pres Obama, working under a 2-term limit, has to consider how his every move affects his politcal party’s future.

      Wish we could elect an “old fashioned” president who did what she/he thought was right with little regard for the next election.  Right or wrong, it would be a welcome display of leadership and bravery.



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Cathie Beck wrote Mar 20, 2011
    • Yeah, Tamra! If only!  

      Cathie



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Mar 20, 2011
    • Tamra - Do you remember you and I were discussing term limits way back when. Congress, especially, should have two terms! That still gives them 12 years. I also think that the procedures for impeachment for derelict of duty are ridiculously complex. If found guilty of even minor infringements on taking money and gifts from corporations or private individuals it should be grounds for immediate dismissal! As it is, unless it’s downright criminal (which they never seem able to prove) they get away with a rap on the knuckles. And sure enough, they get re-elected. I’m thinking of Charlie Wrangle from New York since he’s a Democrat and I am pretty much known to be a liberal. :)

      But here, we have our own Supreme Court working against us when they passed the ‘right’ of Corporations to finance campaigns without limits. Now they can get around putting the money in their own back pocket while still owing the favors because they got re-elected. I think it is deplorable!

      Yes, it would be nice to have an old-fashioned mindset, on some matters anyway. I think of Harry Truman. “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen . . .” ?? Or maybe it was “the buck stops here!” I do know Roosevelt and Truman said both statements. You don’t see that kind of attitude anymore, for sure. I agree, President Obama, too, seems to lean that way. I hate that. Yet again, he knows if he does what he really wants to do, they’ll crucify him and he does want a second term. If he wins another one, it will be interesting to see if he toughens up in his second term when relection is NOT a factor.  

      In my opinion, we’ve had one truly honest president in the last fifty years and they ran him out on a rail after one term. I’m sure you know of whom I speak. :)

      Hope everyone had a nice week-end.

      Susan



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Midnightmom wrote Mar 21, 2011
    • I enjoyed and agree with all of the comments made on this subject.  

      I have come to know that our political system is far more complicated than I ever knew. I mean, what is the deal about adding this and that to a bill that needs passing as if this manner of virtual blackmail is a given procedure!  

      With this kind of confusion it is no wonder we are hopelessly in debt. I would like to see just one time for a bill that needs passing not  to have anything ese added to it. AND, most of all I would like to see Congress have to take a cut in pay equal to the likes of the rest of the government; say, like the cuts the states have to dish out to education. Aren't we far enough behind the world in education?

      Yup, if they could make passing Only One bill without Anything else added to it I bet the government could balance the budget. The way it is now who in the world can keep track of all of the extra stuff shoved through attached to this or that bill? Does anyone keep track of that?



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Susan Haley wrote Mar 21, 2011
    • Does anyone keep track of add-ons? Oh yes, but the information is not duly shared with the people. It usually goes for perks to a congress person’s own district and the recipients surely aren’t going to complain. We’ve all probably paid for many projects in other states than our own. But most of all, I think ‘add on’s have to do with deal making. “I’ll vote for your bill if it has a clause for such and such.” So, for example, a piece of environmental legislation will be cut or a expenditure will be hidden in something totally unrelated. Happens all the time.

      In the last two days the USA has fired 122 Tomahawk Missles into Libya. That’s at a cost of a million dollars a piece. The Brits, by the way, shot two Cruise Missles, so it’s said. But the ‘two’ is not verified. For a support of Allied Forces supposedly being our role, sure sounds like we are leading the pack. Next, I’m sure “conditions on the ground” will demand “boots on the ground“, though that is being denied at present. Too, many are questioning the hypocricy of helping Libyan rebels but we do nothing in Barhain, didn’t help Egypt, or Yemen. Now Syria is ready to blow. We get less than 2% of our oil from Libya so it isn’t even the oil. And, if it’s all about humanitarian efforts, why doesn’t that include helping against the genocides that took place in Rawanda and Darfur?  

      Meanwhile, we are broke so they tell us. School funding is being slashed and utility help for Seniors with huge utility bills is seriously cut. Environmental legislations are being rescinded, animal shelters are dependent on donations and the housing markets continues to falter.  

      We are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar spent from China, which will probably go up to 50 cents to pay for Libya’s missles. Our war efforts have moved up to, now, three Muslim nations at once. Do we really think this isn’t going to come back to haunt us? That the danger of a terrorist attack on US soil is beyond the realm of possibility?

      Qhadaffi is a mad man. Quite obviously psychotic! He’ll never step down and I’d wager that the combined efforts of the UN/NATO Forces will slowly dwindle to the US alone. The Arab coalition is already backing off. I truly hope I’m way off base on this one, but if one follows history of the last five decades starting with Viet Nam, it doesn’t appear that this time will be any different. Near a decade and a half in Nam, ten years in Afghanistan, eight in Iraq and then there was Bosnia and . . . I can’t even remember all the other conflicts off the top of my head. No wonder we are broke and heading toward the cliff, as they say yet again.

      I apologize if my disgust at the priority setting is showing.



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