Thursday, April 12, 2012

Searching For Answers

We've been noticing a strange trend for much of the last year - and especially over the last few weeks - that while there are interesting, and sometimes important topics to talk about, Americans haven't been having real and substantive debates on truly important subjects - especially over the last year or so.

Take the ruling by the Supreme Court about a week and a half ago.

The ruling - unsurprisingly along the Court's ideological lines - came down five-to-four, in favor of unlimited strip searching for ANY detention, by ANY person in a position of official authority, who is normally qualified to engage in those kinds of searches. That means city police, country sheriffs, state troopers, TSA agents, members of any U.S. intelligence organization, military police, park rangers, DEA agents... the list goes on and on. If any one of those people decide you look like a potential suspect they heard about in the squad room, they can now legally pick you up, take you to the precinct, and make you drop your drawers.

After all, you MIGHT be guilty of... something. Someday.

As offensive as this decision by the Court is -  a decision that completely tramples on the U.S. Constitution, and basically blows away our Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure - it isn't what has us worked up today.

What has us angry is that virtually NO ONE seems to have said anything about it. All those idiots out screaming, "Keep your damn guv'mint hands off my Medicare," over the last few years? Just silence from them.

How about Congress? Have you heard anything from them on this issue? In fact, since the Republicans took over the majority in the House, have they accomplished anything of substance? Not that we can think of, off the tops of our heads, no. In fact, the only time the current GOP-led House has shown any real leadership has been when they've been putting off votes, putting off hard choices, or otherwise moving Congressional business so that their members can get an extra day off.

That's a HUGE problem for us - and also for effective, efficient, American government.

In the Oval Office, at least, there's been some action - though that action has been somewhat limited, since the President is only ONE of the three co-equal branches of our government.

Lately, President Obama has been pushing hard on the Buffett Rule as PART of an overall budget strategy. The truth is, Mr. Obama's been working on getting Congress to pass the Buffett Rule for over a year, as a way to try and make our national deficit lower, our federal income tax code more fair, and bring our federal budget under control. The fact that Republican icon Ronald Reagan agreed with the general idea President Obama now supports - that our tax system should not be skewed against working Americans - surprisingly seems to hold almost no weight with the opposition.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans have sandbagged President Obama's plan as not enough to fix our deficit problem, as a single-action silver bullet for our country's budget issues. Of course, these same hypocritical Republicans constantly fail to mention that the Romney/Ryan Budget plan they they favor not only doesn't bring in any revenue, like the Buffet Rule would. The Ryan/Romney plan gives a quarter million dollars in tax breaks to every American millionaire, while actually making our debt and deficit worse.

Yet, as Tax Day 2012 approaches, we're hearing very little substantive debate on the Buffett Rule from either the media or our politicians. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a vote on the Buffett Bill in the Senate for next Monday - but that's right as members of Congress will be returning from their most recent two-week break. The idea that any serious and substantive debate over tax fairness will happen before next Monday's vote is ludicrous.

Yet, on this issue, from our fellow members of the media, all we're hearing is silence.

It's long past time for Americans to pull our collective heads out of our backsides, and start talking again about subjects that matter, in the media and to one another.

If you can't find your own head, to pull it out of your metaphorical backside? Go throw a stone at a cop. Then they can take you to the station, strip you down, and help you find it.

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