Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Magical Misdirection Tour

There are a lot of people worried about whether we're going to be shooting off a few fireworks in Syria this weekend to celebrate the Labor Day Weekend.  Quite frankly, I am too; but probably not as much as most.  There's been enough fireworks in the Middle East over the last couple of years (actually the last couple thousand years, but whose counting), and in spite of the recent cost in lives and treasure for 'Arabian Adventures', things don't really appear to be getting any better there.  After all, this part of the world is very hot and has too little water (two things which tend to make people cranky), and it seems unlikely that either will change.  So let's move on ....

Wait, that's it.  You're willing to brush off everything going on in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan with no more than a short paragraph!

Yep ...

You see, we are living during the 'Magical Misdirection Tour', and it's time we stopped being taken in by the latest bit of political sleight of hand we're witnessing.  Congress is about to come back from their summer vacation to face once more a dismal and epic failure to pass even a single part of next year's fiscal budget.  Instead of apologizing for the failure to do their job however, what we'll hear instead is a lot of high minded discussion (see bloviating) about the terror or necessity of 'shutting down government' in order to facilitate future partisan point-scoring in the year leading up to a mid-term election.

If we fail to applaud to this bit of played out pretense, the second act of the looming debt ceiling awaits just beyond.  Yes, the same legislative body that brought you the 'House Banking Scandal of 1992' (Remember.  This was where members of the House were allowed to overdraw their personal checking accounts without penalty) will once again need to take up the unfortunate situation that borrowing on the national account is about to exceed its limit.  Recognizing the dire 'damsel on the train tracks' nature of this situation and the need to resolve it before the nation supposedly defaults on its debt, both major political parties will seek to ... make it about re-election next year.

The President meanwhile, had been focusing his attention on the cost of a higher education and the burden of borrowing money to finance it.  Of course the fact that such costs have gone up by over 250 percent in the last thirty years has nothing to do with the government providing low interest, unsecured loans to pay for it, regardless of whether the degree obtained in the process would provide an income which allows the student to pay the loan back.  Instead the President would like the government to 'evaluate' schools, and find forgiveness for loans taken out by students who go to work for non-profit organizations or the government itself. (There's a level of hypocrisy here that needs to be delved into, but not today.)

Oh and let's not forget that the Administration once again has its laser-like attention focused on jobs in this country.  (How many times have we heard this one before?)  Apparently, being the President whose biggest effect on employment thus far has been to turn more full time employment into part time employment through the Affordable Healthcare Act is not enough.  The Commander-in-Chief has yet to make any concrete proposals on how to get good, high paying jobs back into this stagnant economy, but perhaps its not too late to jump on board the $15.00 per hour for fast food workers movement.  Force them to unionize like federal workers and this could have the double benefit of paying back supporting unions by way of dues.

So let's assess where we are.  We're told that the growth in the national debt is slowing in one hand, but we have to raise the debt ceiling in the other.  We're told that we can trust the government to watch over us when the NSA is spying on some of us and the IRS is conspiring against others. We're told that we need to re-elect experienced politicians to lead in Washington when those in place for over 20 years cannot perform even the most basic functions of getting an annual budget passed or produce readable legislation.  Suddenly however, just when the anger really starts to get going over all the crap being shoveled on us in this country by our nation's capital the most important thing in the world is suddenly (wait for it) ... 


Wait.  Hasn't this civil war has been going on for over a year?  So why does jumping into now sound like a good idea?  Does it make any real difference to a Syrian population that the rest of the world has mostly abandoned whether the lives of the over 100,000 already killed were ended by bombs, bullets, or poison gas?  Why is this alleged gas attack different from the previous one that the President said would be the 'red line', but wasn't?  Wouldn't shooting a few cruise missiles, dropping some bombs from air strikes, or making some drone attacks likely kill even more and cause even more destruction?  Then again ...

Could all of this political theater be little more than a distraction from the phony scandals in Washington?  Could their timing be any more perfect for this Administration?  Is there a better bit of misdirection than showing pictures of poisoned women and kids that didn't matter a couple of weeks ago and haven't mattered for the last couple years (not to mention parking some warships in the Eastern Mediterranean) to keep us from noticing the insidious poison of the ruling elite infecting this country from Washington DC?

Well played Federal Government.  The media now speaks of nothing but about our strategy (such as it is) for dealing with Syria, so the American public will no doubt fall once more for the charlatan's tricks.  Fast and Furious?  Benghazi? The IRS and the NSA? The Debt Ceiling and the Budget?  Immigration or Tax reform, who cares?  The list goes on and on, but they're all old news now that we've got some fresh meat to feed the public.  What was crucial to this nation's survival just days ago is about to become little more than the footnote to a growing list of things we've lost sight of.  Welcome to the continuation of the Magical Misdirection Tour of 2013. Enjoy the show.

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