Trivia 1T

More sad examples that America continues its disgusting decent into conservative heaven.

In his speech to the latest graduating class from Harvard University, Federal reserve Chairman offered this sad commentary, "You are being bequeathed the tools for achieving a material existence that neither my generation nor any that preceded it could have ever remotely imagined." Yup, now that's the ticket, boys and girls. Get out there and get wealthy at all costs. The rest of the world is only here to provide the material wealth for you. And, since you're all now Harvard graduates, you can just ignore the many inequities that your insane search for wealth causes. (1)

The Federal Elections Commission has ruled that credit card donations made over the Internet are now eligible for federal matching funds for presidential candidates. Wonder just how long it will take PACs and lobbyists to figure out a way to cheat and will then be able to buy their very own representatives in cyberspace? Since anyone with fairly up to date knowledge of the Internet and its intricacies can hide their true identity with ease, the other 99.9% of America who can't afford the entry fee to the political auction can kiss any hope of justice or fairness in government goodbye. (2)

The National Magazine Awards gave two very strange awards, when taken together. The first was to Good Housekeeping for an article on colon cancer and the other to Cigar Aficionado. How strange. (3)

One of the many owners of this Republican Congress, the credit card industry, has achieved the passage of the worst legislation in decades for the average American. Ignoring the fact that the industry is targeting that segment of the population that the industry once studiously avoided due to its inability to repay large debts, the new legislation will make credit card debt primary to nearly all other debts in a bankruptcy action. In fact, credit card debt now takes precedence over even child support payments, meaning millions more children falling into poverty due to parental money problems and credit card industry nastiness. Can you think of a better reason to fight the Republican agenda with all of your might? First it destroys welfare, leaving children to go hungry and frightened, they then make any money dedicated to the child's welfare disappear into the pockets of some truly slimy and nasty credit card companies that wouldn't know an intelligent, fair or just business practice if it hit them on their pointy little heads. (4)

The Department of Energy has recently admitted that they have completely and utterly lost 5,000 pounds (that's two and a half TONS) of plutonium. Their rather unbelievable explanation? Why, it's all gotten "stuck in pipes and manufacturing tools". Also, this bureaucratic nightmare of an agency has also been exposed as having wasted $10 BILLION between 1980 and 1996 on projects that it started but cancelled before completion. Has anyone been indicted over either of these horrors, in particular the complete inability to explain the loss of such a huge amount of weapons grade plutonium? Yes, that's a rhetorical question. (5)

Speaking of the DOE, has Vice-President Gore's much ballyhooed effort to reduce the number of government employees had much success? Consider this small example; by 1995, the DOE had reduced its staffing to about 20,000 civil servants. What isn't mentioned, though, is the fact that the DOE now employs 140,000 contract employees. In other words, the government has reduced the number of skilled, experienced, well paid workers with decent benefits and replaced them with contract workers with little experience who are paid far less and who receive little or no benefits The Republican Party must be in their very own Utopia with this news (although real human beings can only sigh in resignation at the further degradation of the human species). (6)

The power of advertising can sometimes be used for the betterment of children instead of just luring them deeper and deeper into the clutches of Corporate America's greedy grasp. In Florida, anti-smoking ads resulted in an 8% reduction in teenage smoking and a very respectable reduction of 19% in sixth to eighth grade smokers. Naturally, the Republicans in control of Florida's House of Representatives immediately cut funds for these ads to zero. That's right, the Republicans vastly preferred murdering the maximum number of children if it pleases their masters in the tobacco industry. At the end, the ads were financed but only at 40% of last years levels. (7)

As part of this year's bloated defense budget, Rep. James A. Traficant (D - Ohio) was allowed to offer and have enacted an amendment which ignores the Posse Comitatus Act and allows American military personnel to be used along the U.S./Mexican border to continue the abusive and long lost "War on Americans Who Use the Wrong Drugs". His ill-advised and truly illegal amendment acts as if that same border is some kind of a sieve for terrorists to enter this nation in order to legitimize this stupidity. To quote the rather silly little fellow, "Our current policy to stop drugs and terrorists along the border has failed. The No. 1 security threat facing America, the weak link, is our border". Silly me, I would have picked a foreign policy that provides nuclear power plants to our potential enemy, China, that create, as waste, weapons grade uranium as well as a policy by the Reagan and Bush and Clinton Administrations of ignoring the theft by China of the information of how to build nuclear warheads small enough for multi-target missiles or a policy which murders thousands of innocents in Kosovo and hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq or just the outright purchasing of our government by Corporate America. (8)

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, between 1991 and the end of 1995 over 576,000 children in Iraq had died as a direct result of the sanctions imposed unilaterally by the United States and that number may have tripled by early 1999. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 90,000 Iraqis are dying needlessly every year due directly to those same sanctions. Consider that Slobodan Milosevic was accused of less than 2,500 deaths in Kosovo during his ethnic cleansing campaign and that number was deemed sufficient to begin what Nicholas von Hoffman aptly called the "Coward's War" and Milosevic has since been indicted by the World Court as a war criminal but that neither Bush nor Clinton has been likewise accused and you can see that, as always, the winners get to write the history books and, lately, to determine who gets called a criminal and who gets called a "great American President" (Tony Blair, the Clinton of Great Britain, speaking of his twin and fellow murderer). How very, very disgusting. (9)

Oh, by the way, after May 25 the entire "Coward's War" was no longer a legal military operation, according to the Congressional War Powers Act. The act stipulates very clearly that the President may engage in military actions but must gain distinct Congressional authority to continue after 60 days. That authority was clearly withheld by Congress on April 28 when the House of Representatives tied 213 - 213 over that authorization. From May 25 forward, Clinton has been in direct violation of United States law in his refusal to cease using American military units against Yugoslavia. I wonder if the debate over impeachment might rise from the dead but this time actually be about something as important as the illegal acts he commanded in continuing the war as well as the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians including hundreds of children during the bombing as well as the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and the illegal bombing of a pharmaceutical plant under the pretense that it was producing poison gas (a pretense long ago proven false) and on and on. Sigh! (10)

If you consider yourself a caring and progressive human being then all of this adds up to only one conclusion and that is simply that America has come as close as it ever will to being a great nation but that every vote for any Republican takes us further and further away from that goal and closer and closer to being the envisioned hateful, greedy and materialistic clique so beloved by all conservatives.

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Copyright 6/15/99