Progressing to where?

America is the only nation I can think of (and sadly the only one I have direct experience of thus far) that has multiple holidays that celebrate, in essence, cultural appropriation. I’m not sure that necessarily applies to today, which I’ve regarded as, essentially, plastic paddy day, for about ten years now but the point itself seems worth making.

Russia is getting serious about it’s sabre rattling, the Russian President is discussing rearming Russia …. because Russia’s been naked and defenseless all this time? Updating the tech and returning us to the brink of nuclear extinction then?

Explaining the move, he cited concerns over Nato expansion near Russia’s borders and regional conflicts.
Last year, the Kremlin set out plans to increase spending on Russia’s armed forces over the next two years.
Russia will spend nearly $140bn (£94.5bn) on buying arms up until 2011.
Higher oil revenues in recent years have allowed the Kremlin to increase the military budget, analysts say. But prices have averaged $40 a barrel in 2009 compared with $100 last year.

Wow, it’s like someone just dusted off the cold war rhetoric c. 1983 and began reading. Aie.

Congress, apparently hungry to follow Obama’s lead in pleasing the angry crowds of the country, is ready to set really really bad precedents in punishing AiG by levvying a 91% excise tax on those bonuses. Never mind that sucking all that cash back into the government goes counter to all of the philo-Keynsian-wankery that characterized the democratic party obsessively until sometime earlier this month (I mean, the democrats haven’t displayed any kind of ideological consistency since, um….ever.) – but establishing a bloody excise tax on the “aid”? Wow, what a tremendously bad precedent to establish.
Is it really too hard to direct the Justice department to go after these fuckers on corruption charges? Is that just too hard?
Of course, I don’t hear any real volume of GOP opposition to this either – you know the party of “taxes are bad, mmkay?” A few (John Boehner of Ohio for one) keep at the old saw of how the dems bungled the whole thing in the first place, but they seem remarkably silent on the issue of threatening AiG with an excise tax, and one at the ridiculous rate of 91 per cent.
Just to be clear, it’s not the taking the money away from the fuckos at AiG I object to, it’s the possible precedent that bothers me…because someday future administrations could drop this on aid packages going to groups that Actually Need The Money.
Amidst all of this Obama seems to be taking flak for not concentrating more on the banking side of this but I think that’s because the public is petty, with a short attention span.

In a show that colonialism is not yet dead, the Pope goes to Africa where the backwards practices of the Catholic Church can do there what it did to Central America in the 20th century. (Going into third world countries and then blathering on about how birth control is BAD makes me go into vapour lock.)

Starting on Tuesday, in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde, Pope Benedict (known as Benoit in French-speaking Africa) will meet with the country’s leaders and conduct masses for the large Catholic population. He will also meet with leaders of Cameroon’s large Muslim community.
Cameroon has avoided many of the sectarian conflicts that have cropped up repeatedly in Nigeria and Sudan, although the aggressiveness of Muslim and Christian missionaries, and the political use of religion by national leaders found in this country both contribute to violence throughout Africa.
After Cameroon, the pope will go to Angola – site of the first African mission, where Portuguese priests began to convert people 500 years ago. Angola’s newfound oil wealth is just beginning to help the country rebuild after a 27-year civil war, which ended in 2002.
In a speech Sunday, Pope Benedict said he would avoid politics, but would discuss with political leaders the crippling effects of corruption. He also promised to appeal to donor nations not to neglect Africa.

Religionis politics*, but then – he’s the pope, so he knows that. I know some short term good can come of this, but the long term effects make me itch in very personal places.

For S&Gs I opted to take the “How Progressive Are You?” quiz. Comedy gold. Wierd democratic doubletalk on a bun. (For the record I scored 258, “Very Progressive”.)

While I think it’s maybe just a teeny bit whitewashed (I know there was some backlash), there’s a really solid piece on the Bilerico Project today about the propaganda, rhetoric, and other lies disseminated by the pro-8 camp both before, during, and after the election.

*As the article itself states, “By choosing Cameroon and Angola, the pope has underlined the church’s strength in non-English-speaking Africa. Some aid workers say the church flexes its power in French-speaking Africa almost as if it were the state itself.


~ by Auntie Ranty on March 17, 2009.

3 Responses to “Progressing to where?”

  1. If that loophole exists they sure need to fill it in because there are a lot of moneys being put out like that to a lot of different parties. The next hair raiser might not be bonuses. It might be to build a swimming pool in some executives back yard so they do not get too hot during the summer.

  2. On your AIG statements–One on sociaol security disability is informed for what reasons they are receiving the funds. If they on the other hand use it for other uses such as alcohol they can be procecuted for misappropriation of government funds and possibly assigned a guardian. Was there no contract stating what the funds were for when they were given to AIG?

    • If any kind of formal contractual agreement exists between the Fed and the recipients of the bailout I can’t find a record of it. I’ve been wondering – and looking – about such for a few days now, chastising myself for not having thought to look sooner.
      What makes the bonuses at AiG sticky is that the payments were, apparently, contractually obligated – now whether this is a smokescreen or a matter of record and thus, fact (albeit screwed up inconvenient fact) remains to be seen.

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