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It Isn't All About the War

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Sometimes people have one issue myopia that destroys their judgement and impairs rationality. One example of this is the recent love fest with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tx). Because Ron Paul is against the war doesn’t put him in the same category as Former Senator Mike Gravel. This man voted against stem cell research. He voted to extend the Bush tax cuts that provided greater tax cuts for the rich. He voted no to implement the 9/11 Commissions recommendations. He voted against increasing the minimum wage. He voted no to repeal tax cuts to oil companies and mandate that they pay a fee to remove oil from the Gulf of Mexico. He voted no in the bill that the President vetoed this week setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. While he did vote in many issues with Democrats IE; voting against the “surge”, voted Yes to a bill would allow the government to negotiate directly with drug makers for lower prescription drug prices for individuals using Medicare. Voted No to the Military Commissions Act (a biggie for me). Voted against the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act, voted no Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act, and voted no on a bill that pledged support for the War in Iraq and rejected a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. All in all, he has supported constitutional issues and has been against the war, but he’s no friend to the working man, not many in Congress are.

Besides the war, there are other issues that should be concerning the American people. Let’s take the notion of right-left, good-bad, republican-democrat or rich-poor out of the equation and look around us to see just how things have changed since Congress has been taken over by the corporate special interest groups that have financed most of the Congressional political races in the House and Senate; Republican and Democrat. Let’s look into what corporations have done now that they have effectively “bought” their own Congress. If you don’t believe that I’m telling you the absolute truth here, go to the Center for Responsive Politics and check out their website at www.opensecrets.org. You will find out who gives and who gets. I’ll tell you this, your $50.00 check is not enough to get you invited to any victory dinner. Maybe if you were the Chairman of Exxon-Mobil or Halliburton you might get a seat at the table.

Let’s look at one area that everyone has a stake in...the oil companies. Let’s call a spade a spade when we talk about the price of gasoline at the pump. I don’t care whether you talk about CITGO that gets it’s oil from Venezuela, or BP that gets a lot of it’s oil from the North Sea, or Royal Dutch Shell that is operated out of the Netherlands under a different tax structure than American companies, or Exxon-Mobile or any other company. Don’t you consider it odd that they all sell oil in a hundred mile radius at exactly the same price give or take a few cents? How can that be? Who oversees this travesty? Do we have an FTC anymore., and if we still fund it, just what the hell are they doing with their time? Do we still have laws against price-fixing, because in my estimation, there is something stinking to high heaven at the gasoline pump. Are these companies exempt from government interference or is it that they really in effect own the government? We all know the answer to this question. Why everyone buries their heads in the sand, and why consumers let themselves get poked over and over by the oil companies is anyone’s guess.

How about the cable companies? How can you get an introductory rate of say $100.00 for telephone, TV and internet, and see the price jump to $300.00 the next year? How does cable manage to cut 25-40% rate hikes year after year? Where is the FCC, or are they hanging out with the pack from the FTC playing poker at the club? Just where is the regulations on price fixing and gouging the public? Still don’t believe that corporate ownership of our government doesn’t affect you?

What about Medical Care? Why is it that hospitals charge people one price if they are insured and another if they are not? Why does it cost thousands upon thousands of dollars for one day in the hospital? Who oversees the medical establishment? Does the Surgeon General do that? Isn’t someone in Washington DC watching out for the citizenry? I know that medical special interest groups like the AMA and the different organizations like the Surgeons, and Anaesthesiologists and Dentists and you name it all have organizations that all give to political campaigns. Do we have to have some kind of patient organization that gives as much as the other health professionals do to get our medical costs down? Do you believe for one moment that with all the money made by the health professions we will ever have universal health coverage where a single payer system could actually bargain with the health industry and get them to cut their outrageous prices for medical care? Don’t you want your surgeon’s kid to go to Harvard or Yale?

The list goes on and on. You don’t need me to tell you what the score is. While this war rages and takes the focus off all of the backstabbing and throat-slitting that goes on in the marketplace, this Congress and the President and all of the Federal watchdog agencies we invented to keep the citizen from getting screwed all lie dormant. Governmental oversight is a thing of the past. Next time your credit card bill comes in, take a look at what your APR du jour is. They bring it up when you are late with a payment, bring it up if you go over the limit, bring it up if you are over 70 years of age, bring it up if you don’t use it. What a scam. Who watches over the credit card industry? I want a job there. Apparently they don’t go home with a headache from being overworked.

Who is looking after Joe Blue-collar? Nobody, that’s who. We don’t have a middle class that is even marginally represented in Congress. We have a Federal government that taxes the sh*t out of us and gives us nothing in return. Business in the United States has become like the old Wild West where anything, I mean anything goes. People are literally (in the case of the medical establishment)  getting away with murder! Meanwhile we all sit in front of the TV or our computers screens with out thumbs up our ass bitching about the war while everyone and their brother has their hands in our wallets. It’s about time we woke up and asked the people we elected to do something for a change instead of doing photo Ops and sound bites. Get these watchdog agencies to get out there and start doing something to justify their existence. Not only that, we must alsomust start asking why. Why is every gas station in my part of the state selling gas for $2.79 a gallon for regular unleaded is a good question to start with. The people that don’t pay attention are the people getting screwed. In this case, it’s most of the country. I don’t make this stuff up.

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Tim Gatto is Ret. US Army and has been writing against the Duopoly for the last decade. He has two books on Amazon, Kimchee Days or Stoned Colds Warriors and Complicity to Contempt.

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