Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Silly Bits II

I've been trying to follow the results of the "Super Tuesday" voting with some degree of interest beyond a lingering yawn, but find my fervor for the process, and with it my attention span for endless coverage of the minutiae around them are flagging.  As a consequence of this general feeling of listlessness, I find myself without a desire to go into the pontifical rage on any particular subject required for a mid-week effort.  This does not mean that I haven't got a few things on my mind however, or that I'm willing to share them.  I am therefore going to attempt another 'Silly Bits' effort instead.

Rush Limbaugh, the self-appointed savior of talk radio, has stepped in it once again; though I at least give him credit for an apology that was not entirely self-serving.  Unfortunately in spite of a valiant attempt at 20-20 hindsight, the damage has already been done.  Ms Fluke has managed to do exactly what she set out to do, draw attention to herself and change the discussion on the Obamacare mandate which tells the Catholic Church that its health insurance must provide treatments that violate its own doctrine on birth control.  

We're not asking any longer why such treatments must now be provided by any employer for free (and with no co-pay) when they're not that expensive to start with. We're not asking any longer how the government is able to tread over the fine line on the First Amendment or why disaffection with such care should be restricted to only the Church and not to any employer who feels that such mandates violate their personal beliefs. (Though perhaps it would be easier to get waivers if such organizations were simply to unionize.) We're not even asking where the president's executive order (the Stupak promise) that abortions would not be provided under the Obamacare compromise went to.  

Instead we're talking about Limbaugh impugning the character of a woman who's obviously a political activist, and who made her college choice by her own admission, in order to make a policy change at that university.  We're talking about access to women's health care that already exists as if it didn't, because Rush couldn't stop banging an out-of-tune drum that he thought would resonate with his audience.  Maybe his hearing is worse that he thinks, and he suffers from occasional bouts of being politically tone deaf.

(I won't even begin to talk about the disingenuous behavior of the progressive voices in the media, who want Rush's dismissal and an advertiser boycott for using some of the same language that they have in equally public venues when talking about their ideological opponents.)

Gas prices continue to go up, and the president goes out on the campaign trail to tell us that the problem can't be solved by drilling.  Really!  I can't and won't assign any particular blame to this chief executive; like most politicians running for office, he manages to pick and choose the stats he likes to back up his rhetoric, but the 'facts' are often contradictory.

Our president tells us that more oil is being produced in the US now than ever before ... and that this is to his creditReally!  What happened to the days not so long ago when he and other politicians told us that it takes 5-7 years for drilling to result in production; and if this is the case, how should he expect credit for drilling that began before he took office?  Meanwhile drilling permits remain at an all-time low, the pipeline from Canada can only be begun by going around presidential approval in an election year, and no new refinery has been built in over 30 years.

Hybrids must certainly be contributing to our ability to stretch the existing production, but the Middle East is becoming a scarier place week-by-week; so counting on them for our future oil seems like a worse plan than usual.  Increasing debt and Fed policies continue to make the dollar diminish in value against a barrel of oil (oil is currently only traded in dollars, though how long that will last is anybody's guess), which likewise contributes to its increased costs in the long term.  

As for electric cars, I am once again forced to point out what seems to escape those inside the Beltway in DC.  Even if we start buying fully electric cars, the electricity has to come from somewhere.  Coal burning power plants are closing, since they can't meet new EPA regulations.  Only one nuclear plant has been approved for construction since the Carter Administration, and it hasn't begun construction.  Solar and wind power generation can help but little (especially when solar panel manufacturers in this country are going down faster than the Titanic), and will never be able to fill the gap created by the impending loss of these coal plants, let alone provide us with the cheap energy which most economists agree is required to stimulate economic growth.  I guess that leaves us with further demands on oil and natural gas, which brings us back to where we started.  

(Then again, maybe the plan is to get us all into Chevy Volts that we can't afford, and with batteries catching fire for no apparent reason, keep us too scared to get into our cars in the first place and thereby reduce consumption.)
Super Tuesday winds to a close, and the winners (kind of) and losers (sort of) are both congratulating themselves on the job that they did (even if they didn't really do it).  And while they're patting themselves on the back, and thanking their staffs, their fundraisers, and their supporters; not one of them thinks to thank the American taxpayer; not for their vote, but for picking up the tab.  It is they after all, who are footing the bill for this state-by-state beauty contest; with many educated estimates holding the cost of these candidate benedictions  at $3,000,000 per state. 

Like the broken promises of most of candidates leave behind after an election, this bit of taxpayer largess goes largely unrecognized; something I find especially troubling when so many state budgets are being slashed left and right (pun intended) to at least attempt to meet the mandated responsibilities of a balanced budget.  When are we going to make these political parties pay for their own political parties?

It's a sad commentary on the political process indeed when 'hard working Americans' have to foot the bill so that the self-appointed political elite in this country can decide who's turn it is move up the political food chain.  Regardless of who gets the delegates, once again the American taxpayer has lost.


No comments: