Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Republicans selling our safety to the highest bidder!

I grew up hearing the phrase, "Nothing is certain in life but Death and Taxes". The implied message was that both things are bad.  However, having been born in the Baby Boom Generation, I watched our countries leaders accomplish things that made me proud. Some achievements were obvious, including putting a man on the moon. Other decisions came quietly, without much fanfare, but built a nation that I eventually took for granted. Decisions that protected me, kept me safe.

Eventually, once past my rebellious teen years, I expected the government to keep me safe and knew inherently that our tax dollars were required for this. I still didn't like paying all of those taxes but knew deep inside it was necessary. As laws and regulations were implemented, our lives and the lives of our children were made better.

Many years ago, I travelled to Mexico and stayed in an American hotel in a very popular tourist destination. I was only there for 4 days but my eyes were opened to a country that did not have its peoples' best interests in mind.

On our first morning, we left the hotel and walked down the sidewalk toward the street. About 25 feet from the front door, I looked to my right where a short brick wall ran along the sidewalk. This brick wall came to about the middle of my shin. To my dismay, on the other side of that little wall, was a 50 foot drop onto a tennis court. At that moment, all I could envision was one of my children tumbling over to their death. My next thought was that in the USA, there were regulations requiring a barrier to prevent that.

That evening, we went for a walk again. Carefully walking past the little brick wall, we heading north down the sidewalk along the street. There were few street lights but felt safe since there were many hotels dotting the area. Several blocks down the street, we almost fell into a huge hole in the sidewalk. There was an entire section torn out and was about 6 feet deep. There were NO barriers or barricades preventing us from falling in. Again, we praised the good old USA for having regulations to protecting us.

The third day we headed downtown on a bus to the markets. After spending the afternoon, we boarded a bus to return to the hotel. Not far down the road, all traffic came to a halt. There had been an accident up ahead. This street was a four lane divided road with splits for crossing or making turns. After sitting there for a few minutes, the bus driver pulled over onto the wrong side of the road and began driving into the oncoming traffic. NOT SLOWLY EITHER! He sped up to about 55 MPH as cars hurtled toward us. This didn't last just a few blocks; it went on for several miles. Along the way, there were policemen who paid no attention nor tried to stop this driver.

By the end of this trip, it was clear that we lived in a country that protected us in ways that we really never thought about and took for granted. It made us want to kiss the US soil when we landed back home. A trip to the Bahamas led to similar situations, again making me grateful that I lived here. This leads me to a scary change within the Republican Party. They are trying to block legislation for the EPA and the FAA, effectively shutting them down. These are two of the agencies that I have come to expect will protect us. I don't even think about it, ever. 

Why is this a bad idea? Once upon a time, the Ohio River used to catch fire! YES, CATCH ON FIRE, including burning down bridges that crossed over it, in fact, many times! Factories had been dumping waste there with no thought of the impact on the wildlife or dangers they created. Our laws and regulations cleaned up our water by hitting these companies where it hurt most, in their pocket books.  The EPA was established and grew to protect us. But now, the Republicans want to get rid of it. WHY? Why would we get rid of an agency that protects us?

Two weeks ago, the Republicans prevented funding to the FAA. They blocked it again last night, August 1st, 2011.  If you didn't know, this is the agency that makes sure our planes don't fall out of the sky and kill its passengers due to shoddy practices. With the exception of the air traffic controllers, all employees are now laid off. Now, no one is watching the 'store'.

In similar situations, we KNOW that some companies have done things that put us at risk. When no one was watching, they did things that were in their best interest but put all of us in danger. The agencies, however, effectively stopped or greatly limited those practices and made our country a better, safer place.

But here we are. 2011. Not every company complies and not every company is caught violating regulations, but our life in this country sure is better in so many ways. I KNOW that after visiting foreign countries. But now, the Republicans are trying to do away with agencies that have been instrumental in making our country safe, special. A country that I wanted to kiss the ground of after experiencing what happens when there aren't agencies like the EPA and FAA.

And that my friends, is a sad commentary on our country, the politics of today and those who were elected to protect us. Whether you are Democrat or Republican, I defy you to feel comfortable putting your child on an airplane or let them swim in a lake, if they succeed in eliminating these agencies. 

And by the way, don't EVEN get me started on the Republican desire to weaken the Consumer Financial protections meant to keep Wall Street and Banks from screwing the economy all over AGAIN!


  1. I like this blog that links our country's potential problems with her personal experience in Mexico. Well done, Pame.

  2. This is so true! I can't agree with you more!!! I wish that somehow we could get this across to the selfish pigs in congress but they are deaf to reason.

  3. I know I shouldn't respond, but I just have to say that I see the Democrats the same as the Republicans. Not only did the president agree to these terms, many of them, especially the cuts to STAG, had already been proposed in his own fiscal... 2012 budget request. The cuts to the FAA do not impact our safety. Nay, the cuts are from the Essential Air Service. USA Today wrote recently that, "Many of the “remote” communities are within a 90-minute drive of an airline hub. Among them is Athens, Ga., 82 miles from Atlanta’s airport. For more distant towns, the subsidies are often outlandish: Taxpayers subsidize anyone who flies from Ely, Nev., to Las Vegas to the tune of $3,720 per ticket.

    Mica, who’d eliminate 13 communities from the program, is right on the issue."

    In a nutshell, the Repulicans may have made some of the proposals, but the Democrats went along with them. Both parties have major issues. There's a nice piece over at The Hill on the FAA cuts. (http://thehill.com/blogs/t​ransportation-report/aviat​ion/175067-lahood-shifts-g​ears-now-pressing-senate-t​o-accept-house-faa-bill)

    Mud-slinging, the blame game, and class warfare are things that turn those of us without a sound party affiliation running in the other direction. It's the reason I no longer consider myself a Democrat, although I am still registered as one. It's the reason I voted Repulican in the last two presidential elections and the reason why I will again in 2012.

    We sit on the fence and watch the two sides act like two sets of thugs fighting over territory. So, when election time rolls around it becomes a matter of voting for the person who is the least threatening.

  4. P.S. I will still fly and we still swim in the water at our local beaches.

  5. Thank you Lisa and Connie!!!

    Who I am, thank you for your opinion. In that mine differs overall, I do agree that Republicans and Democrats alike have behaved poorly. However, the GOP created these unnecessary situations, both in the Debt debaucle and the FFA bill. This long time Republican now voting with the Democrats these last two years, will continue to do so and not Economic Terrorists.

    And BTW, ALL Safety Inspecters were laid off. Those ARE the people who make planes safe. Air traffic controllers only get them around the skies. The GOP repeatedly claims that our financial health is their NO. 1, but THEY are flushing millions down the toilet by not addressing this. Not to mention going on vacation for 5 weeks while 750000 people are laid off. I don't know how they could sleep at night knowing these people are suffering as pawns in their game! Disgusting!

  6. Oh, yeah..it will be more than a BILLION dollars in revenue lost if they don't come back before their lovely 5 week vacation! A BILLION DOLLARS! NOW who is really interested in our fiscal health? IS IS NOT THE GOP!!!!

  7. Ditto to what Pame said. Why not stay in town and do something unique, like a god damn jobs bill. Oh we can't do that it might help the american people and the economy. Then that black man up in our white house will get re-elected and we can't have that. Some things are as plain as the nose on your face. The more we harm the economy and put people out of work the worse he looks. Some of us are not so easily blindsided and will be heard next November. Bye Bye T-baggers go back to your clan outfits and your mountian hideout with your stash of weapons. Middle america see this for exactly what it is. Racism is the new cool for the far right wing. I'll take a pass on that party if ya don't mind. Where the hell are the jobs from all those billionair tax cuts John Beohner. Looks like it was a big fat lie to me...

  8. So many things to which I feel the need to respond. First, the GOP did not create the housing bubble or the collapse thereof. That meltdown began with Carter and his C.R.A., which was revived under Clinton. Why in the hell were banks forced to give loans to people who shouldn't have been buying houses in the first place. I watched as, year after year, the Bush administration tried to enact some kind of oversight over Fannie Mae and Bernie Mac. But the Democrat led Congrass stonewalled them each time. (The Democrats have led congress for years, right up to the 2010 election when the tide began to turn.) There's a nice little piece at http://www.businessinsider.com/the-cra-debate-a-users-guide-2009-6 for more information.

    Secondly, I find it appalling that one party is painted as the devil, the other a kind of Christ. I, on the other hand, see both parties as equally good and equally bad.

    Third, the FFA dispute is over the subsidies to smaller rural airports, known as the Essential Air Service. It's ironic that most of these "small" airports are located within a few miles of prominant politicians. And we are footing the bill. Republicans think these subsidies should stop (so do I) but the Democrats (the ones mostly using these small airports) don't. Big surprise.

    Fourth, you say, " The GOP repeatedly claims that our financial health is their NO. 1, but THEY are flushing millions down the toilet by not addressing this. Not to mention going on vacation for 5 weeks while 750000 people are laid off. I don't know how they could sleep at night knowing these people are suffering as pawns in their game!"

    WTF? You make is sound like the Republicans are on siesta and the Democrats are in Washington, nose to the grindstone. They are pretty much ALL on leave. It's not the government's job to give anyone a job. It works a whole hell of a lot better if they stay the f*ck out of it and allow the private sector to do it's thing. This administration, however, wants to bully businesses. Perhaps President Obama needs to channel his inner Reagan! Dave Ramesey made a very poignant point on this the other night. I'd have to find the transcripts for his exact quote, but the gist was that each person is responsible for his or her own failures and achievements. It's noone's job to get you a job. It's not the goverment's place to give or get you a job. Government is much better the SMALLER it is.

    Finally, I am deeply offended each time someone assumes that people against Obama's policies are simply racist. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said, "I am not against Obama because his skin is black. I am against him because his policies are." I am against Obama because he has no experience and his radical positions are frightening. I am a registered Democrat, but I voted against John Kerry. And I will vote against Barack Obama (again).

    I know many, many ardent Republicans but none of them are racist and none of them suck balls(That is really what it means to tea bag). As a slightly conservative-leaning Independant, I am offended at a mass stereotype of either party. It's ill-referenced rhetoric like this that drives many the other way, much like those bloody anti-abortion signs turn people away from the pro-life movement.

    You are most certainly entitled to your opion, but I beseech you to, at the very least, provide links to credible citations so that your readers might see the facts behind your rant.

    With all due respect, I sign off.