Thursday, November 03, 2011

Getting political.


---ETA: Apparently, while I was writing this, the Senate moved to kill not one, but TWO infrastructure jobs bills. S.1769 basically failed to move on to the next step, due to a whole lot of apathy when the Senate voted. Info here.  I haven't been able to find a break down on exactly who voted in what direction. Fuck it. Never mind. Skip the whole damn post. I'm going to write hate letters to my reps.---

Actually, I've always BEEN political, but I kept it off the internet while the hub was active duty because when your husband's in the Navy, calling the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces a flapping twat over the internet is unwise. (But, hey. Bush Jr? Flapping twat is the nicest thing I called him.)

I shall try to remain moderate for all of you, because nothing's more tedious than listening to some extremist rant, and we're all entitled to our own opinions, anyway. But I'm pissed. Have I mentioned I'm pissed?

A short bit of lead-in, for perspective, and because I'm a history geek and today's current events are tomorrow's history, so for crying out loud, get the details right. And because not all of you are from the US (if you're not, and you're still reading, thank you) and don't know this stuff. And because not all of you had the great government teacher I did.

When the president introduces a bill (potential law or appropriation of funds to start a project, declare war*, like that) the Senate (two per state) and the Representatives (determined by population, one per smaller region) vote on what they call a "Cloture Motion" or just Cloture. Think of it like closure. Do they vote yes, and axe the thing dead on the spot, or do they vote no, and discuss it further?

Our economy, like everyone else's, is in the toilet right now. Our president (who I'm rather indifferent about) has been trying to pass bills that would create new jobs. HIS JOB, wouldn't you say? Looking after the citizenry? We're at a stage where unemployment has only been worse, once. Chart here. The country needs jobs.

The president, being a smart guy, figured out one thing that would work would be to put people to work fixing infrastructure (roads, bridges, like that), which is in a pretty sorry state because we spend significantly less than the rest of the world on keeping our country paved and safe. Chart here. (Interesting editorial drawing on that chart, by the way.) This is a tried-and-true plan. It's one of the major ways FDR put people to work during the Great Depression (and where a lot of our really awesome stone bridges come from); top economists NOW are suggesting it. The president put it together with a lot of other, similar ideas for job creation, and introduced the bill.

So what did the Senate do?

Yup. Killed it. It's dead in the water. You can see how your senators voted here.

It was trimmed down and broken into pieces, and the infrastructure portion was re-introduced and is currently under consideration for a motion to proceed. It is bill number S.1769, if you wanna do your own searches on it. (Here's a good summary.) Basically, they're deciding whether to kill it. Since they're proposing to pay for this project by a .7% tax on people whose income is over a million dollars, I bet it get shot down, just like the last time. It's looking REALLY close. Got an opinion on this? I hope you do. Track down your senators and tell them how you feel about it.

You guys who aren't stuck here? Technically it's not your problem, and you're not their jurisdiction, so to speak, but I bet they'd take notice if enough outraged e-mails from outside the country showed up in their in box. If you want, you can e-mail my senator who voted against the last version of the bill, Pat Toomey. I intend to; as always, you're welcome to join in the fun.

There you have it. My radical agenda. Jobs for people and maybe a few fixed bridges. ('Cause the husbeast? The industrial inspector? He'll tell you, the bridges in this country are FRIGHTENING.) I hope you won't all hate me for wanting some millionaires to pony up a few bucks to make it happen.

And just to warn you... I consider myself a conservative because I think the Constitution should be followed strictly (including using the provisions for amending it). But the GOP wouldn't have me as a gift. I think "government by the people, for the people" is a mandate for public health care, among other things.

Yesterday's general strike in Oakland? Except for the vandalism? Awesome.

I am not a pinko commie. I'm a democratic socialist. Also, my dad was in the UAW. I've been blue collar all my life. So. Y'know. Oh, hell, just call me Pinko.


*Included for the folks who wouldn't know how the system works here: Yes, Congress has to vote (in favor, obviously) in order to declare war. That's why Iraq is a war and Afghanistan isn't. Afghanistan is a "police action". Total bullshit? You betcha.


Sarah {The Student Knitter} said...

OH man I'm so with you on most of this, but I love to get riled up about the political stuff. Especially when I hear about it from smart, interesting and intelligent folks like yourself as opposed to the wahoos on the news.

Anonymous said...

My husband considers himself a libertarian and considers public healthcare to be the epitome of ensuring life and liberty.

I don't really get it, myself, but we tend to agree on most things and disagree on how to get there.

andria said...

At this point, I don't know how I identify myself politically. Is there a party called "pissed off"?

Donna Lee said...

Universal public health care is the most important (and ignored) issue we face. I am grateful for my insurance and so very aware of how easily it can be changed/taken away.

The number of people we see here in the mental health center who have no insurance gets larger each year. It's sad.

Sandra M. Siebert said...

I'm a new follower, Samurai Knitter, and all I can say is "I love you."

Corlis said...

Much about our current situation is frightening. Did you hear that TSA is starting to converse with people, ask them where they're traveling and why, in order to catch criminals?

If I were a high school history teacher, I'd toss out the standards and have the students create comparison charts or venn diagrams comparing/contrasting our current situation to the US in the Great Depression, during the 70s, the Weimar republic and her successor, the USSR, and any nation that started a war in the last 100 years.

We've not learned the lessons of history.

Roz said...

What you said.

Emily said...

'A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have.' Thomas Jefferson

I am totally confounded by your declaration as "a conservative because I think the Constitution should be followed strictly" followed up with "I'm a democratic socialist". Do you realize that our Constitution established a Democratic Republic and is by no means a socialistic form of government?

Our Constitution did not create publicly funded personal responsibilities (like healthcare or jobs). We are in this mess because our government tries to 'provide for the people'. I can provide for myself. 'For the people' does not mean 'support the people' - cause looking at history this causes suppressed super poor masses and super rich wealthy (every monarch, ever; dictatorships; socialistic societies) - which is what our 'intelligent' current president is working toward.

I will be writing my reps and letting them know to continue voting against bills that infringe on the Constitution by overreaching government programs. And if you really believed in the Constitution you would understand the importance of citizenship and not invite non-citizens to weigh in on voting records - not every country has the liberties we do. Liberties are an honor provided by the Constitution not a right.
I am a Constitutionalist, not a socialist. They are not and never have been synonymous.

Lisa said...

I just wrote an angry letter to the senator from Ohio who voted against the jobs bill. I don't even know what's up with politics these days.

Alacaeriel said...

@Emily: If you don't want some safer bridges/roads/other infrastructure, sure, tell your senator to keep voting against the bill. If you personally don't have bridges to drive over, you won't have a problem. If your friends do, though, they might have a few problems if the bridge gives way.

Also, don't you want to get the poor into a job? Why not? There's a difference to government sticking their noses into private lives, and providing work so people are off the streets and not committing crime so they can eat, or pay extortionate medical bills.

Emily said...

@Alacaeriel: Do your research: road/bridges/infrastructure you drive over are not funded projects by the FEDERAL government. The money comes from your county and state taxes which is not your income tax (federal), so basically, you're paying for the road/bridge/infrastructure twice if bills like this are passed by the federal government. Plus, if the federal funds create these 'jobs' to upgrade bridges/roads/whatever - what happens to those jobs when the federal funds run out?
I am not so naive to believe these newly created 'jobs' will only be open to poor people. Do I personally want to 'get the poor into a job'? Sure, that's why I donate to my local church and shelters - they do more to actually help the poor.
The federal government 'providing' a job, healthcare, and shelter is pretty damn intrusive in a person's private life. And you have faulty assumptions that just because someone lives on the street they participate in crime to eat - perhaps you should donate more to your local shelter.

Rebecca Z. said...

Emily, most of that money from your state and local taxes is matched by federal money. Every year, your state probably passes a transportation bill, raising some money from taxes and some from bonds that brings in a very large chunk of federal money.

Federal dollars also help build local schools, airports, and things you probably aren't aware of, like the ports where trucks aggregate to help smooth our system of commerce.

Federal infrastructure money helps with hospitals, with colleges, and is vital for people living in rural areas, where the costs of the infrastructure far outpace their ability to pay for it because of the sparse population.

And Federal Government's involvement with infrastructure has been a settled constitutional matter since the 1820's.