I’m so sick of the dysfunction in this country today.  A broken media that accentuates the slimy and salacious in their quest for ratings over news and integrity.  A government so broken that elected officials are more concerned about appeasing their wealthy benefactors than in representing the people they were elected to help.

We’re setting sail to the place on the map
from which no one has ever returned
Drawn by the promise of the joker and the fool
by the light of the crosses that burned.
Drawn by the promise of the women and the lace
and the gold and the cotton and pearls
It’s the place where they keep all the darkness you need.
You sail away from the light of the world on this trip, baby.

We have a president who was elected with promises of hope and change, but has instead continued to disappoint by giving us more of the same… the same of the republican rule that brought this country down over the previous eight years.  Today, we have a president who scolded House Democrats who dared to suggest he take a tougher tone with Republicans; one who seems to capitulate to their demands with each new threat they make.

You will pay tomorrow
You’re gonna pay tomorrow
You will pay tomorrow

Save me. Save me from tomorrow
I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools. No, no
Oh, save me. Save me from tomorrow
I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools
I want to run and hide right now

We’re in crisis mode right now. Not because of the terror the fear mongers are intent on instilling in you because of the national debt. It’s a problem, but we have much bigger problems facing us today.  We’re in danger of falling into another deep depression that was just barely averted when President Obama took office and somehow managed to get a stimulus plan through.

Unfortunately, Obama sided with the Republicans when he caved in to their demands to cut much of the actual stimulative spending in his plan and replace it with non-stimulating tax cuts. The “stimulus” was too small to begin with, and was virtually neutered by turning it in to what caused much of the problem in the first place: tax cuts for the already wealthy.

Today, the Republican leadership in the House is holding our nation hostage.  The right has come up with a despicable plan to kill Medicare as we know it and replace it with a voucher program that they euphemistically call “premium support.”  If they get their way (and go against the will of the majority of Americans to do so), instead of seniors being able to rest easily, knowing that their medical needs will be met, they’ll have to worry about buying private insurance on the for-profit market along with the rest of us.

Oh sure, they’ll get their vouchers — from $6000 to $12000 each year.  The question I was trying to ask my congressman (Allen West) at a town hall meeting last month (when I was kicked out for daring to ask a question, and subsequently arrested for daring to try to speak up) was “Please give me the name of the insurance company who will write a policy for a 75-year old with high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity!” — because that company does not exist.

If this plan were to go into effect, all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act would go away, including the requirement that insurance companies sell policies to all, regardless of pre-existing conditions.  So, even if Granny could find a company to sell her the policy, I can guarantee even the largest voucher of them all would not be enough to pay the premiums.  Thus “premium support” I suppose… it’s just a little support for the vast fortune you’d have to some how come up with to buy said policy.

Let’s take it a step further with this scenario:  The woman living next door is a widow.  She has no children, and no family left.  She’s now 89 years old and suffering from Alzheimer’s.  Today, she has Medicare, and will be taken care of.  In the post Ryan-plan voucher instead of Medicare world, somehow this woman is supposed to navigate the brutal world of the for-profit insurance industry and buy herself a policy that would get her the care she needs?  Sorry, I think that woman would likely die before that ever happened.

Avarice and greed are gonna drive you over the endless sea
They will leave you drifting in the shallows
or drowning in the oceans of history
Traveling the world, you’re in search of no good
but I’m sure you’ll build your Sodom like you knew you would
Using all the good people for your galley slaves
as you’re little boat struggles through the warning waves, but you don’t pay

You will pay tomorrow
You’re gonna pay tomorrow
You’re gonna pay tomorrow

But that’s not even the worst of it.  Right now, the economic future of the United States of America is being held hostage by terrorists.  No, not the Al Qaeda kind. The Republican kind. The Republican party in Congress is threatening to let the US go into default by voting against raising the Debt Ceiling if the Democrats and the President don’t give in to their demands, one of which is to kill Medicare!

Those who are screaming the loudest against raising the debt ceiling are the ones who are listening to the fear mongers at Fox and on right wing radio.  So, what exactly is the debt ceiling? It’s actually quite complicated and quite simple at the same time.  From CNN:

What is the debt ceiling exactly? It’s a cap set by Congress on the amount of debt the federal government can legally borrow. The cap applies to debt owed to the public (i.e., anyone who buys U.S. bonds) plus debt owed to federal government trust funds such as those for Social Security and Medicare.

The first limit was set in 1917 and set at $11.5 billion, according to the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget. Previously, Congress had to sign off every time the federal government issued debt. (Take CNNMoney’s deficit quiz)

How high is the debt limit right now? The ceiling is currently set at $14.294 trillion. The country’s accrued debt hit that mark on the morning of May 16.

But by taking various extraordinary measures like suspending investments in federal retirement funds, Geithner will be able to bring total debt down enough to allow the government to continue borrowing until Aug. 2.

Hence, by the end of trade on May 16, total debt subject to the limit was a mere $25 million shy of the official cap — or $14,293,975,000,000. Total debt can fluctuate up or down on any given day.

How is the ceiling determined? They don’t admit it, but lawmakers tacitly agree to raise the debt ceiling every time they vote for a spending hike or tax cut.

“Congress has already passed and the president has already signed legislation that increases spending or decreases revenues. Those decisions have already been made,” said Susan Irving, director for federal budget issues at the Government Accountability Office.

So in reality arguing over the debt ceiling is essentially arguing over whether to pay the bills the country has already incurred.

Congress has already raised the debt ceiling 10 times in the past decade.  They’ve done it under Democratic administrations and under Republican administrations and they’ve always been passed with no strings attached.  

What would happen if we don’t raise the debt ceiling to, as quoted from the above CNN article, “pay the bills the country has already incurred”?  Just read this letter, sent by Matthew Zames, chairman of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner which details the “severe,” “long-lasting” and “catastrophic” effect it would have on our nation.

But instead of putting our national interests first, the Republican party is threatening to let the United States go into default if their demands aren’t met.  Here’s my demand for President Obama and the Democratic Party:  Tell the Republicans “WE DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS!”

Save me. Save me from tomorrow
I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools
Save me. Save me from tomorrow
I don’t want to sail with this ship of fools
Where’s it comin’ from?
Where’s it goin’ to now?
It’s just a It’s just a ship of fools

—- World Party “Ship of Fools” (music & lyrics by Karl Wallinger)


This morning on the show, as I was asking many of the same questions I posed in this missive, I noticed a tweet from Dave Weigel of Slate.  He retweeted  @AriBerman’s “AFL-CIO urges recess appointment for Elizabeth Warren to CFPB http://bit.ly/kWhUbi with the added comment “But there’s no recess!”

I replied to him “There will be, eventually” to which he replied “Why, if you’re the GOP, would you ever let there be a recess as long as O is president?”

I wrote back “I guess they won’t. But that begs the question: Will our govt ever be able to accomplish anything or is stalemate permanent?”  I then invited him to come on the show to discuss this dilemma, and he did.

I also spoke with Raven Brooks, executive director of Netroots Nation about what we can expect next week at the 11th annual gathering of progressive activists and bloggers in Minneapolis.  Even if you can’t physically be there, most of the sessions and all of the keynote addresses will stream live.  And of course, you can follow the #NN11 twitter hashtag.

The wonderful Shane-O from the Funked in the Head show will fill in for me Monday through Wednesday of next week.  I’ll broadcast live from Netroots Nation Thursday morning.  Talk to you then… radio or not!

***Update*** I just realized that I forgot to give you the links that prove that Rush Limbaugh is a big fat liar!  On the show, I played a call made by Mike Stark to Mr. Limpballs (listen here).  As for proof that he did take a trip with five buddies to the Dominican Republic and was arrested on his return when customs found a bottle of 29 Viagra pills in a prescription bottle in the name of his doctor, just click here.