Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday morning and lots going on in my mind

ALeqMI can't help but wonder what the ultimate damage assessment and loss of life will look like on the Gulf coast from the savage path of Ike.  It all seems sorrel having so much news coverage and yet we know so little of the human tragedy yet. It's still all drama and yet you know the loss is there.

Then too there is the horrific train collision in the LA area. Yet another reminder how fragile life can be even in the daily grind.

If you look past all this, there is still a campaign going on, though the candidates attempt to tip-toe through the human suffering so as not to offend.

In reality an election is going to happen in the end and it is perhaps one of profound importance when you consider where this nation has been in the past 8 years. Our economy has gone from one of deficit reductions in the years prior to Bush taking office to one that is historic in terms of national debit. At the same time we are seeing banks and major investment houses collapse in their own debt write-offs for losses that not only are corporate losses but translate to shareholder losses as well.  And those  share holders are not all wealthy individuals who can sustain the risk of their investments, but in many cases baby boomers whose retirement pensions are often tied to such investments.

Meanwhile, we continue to spend $10 billion a month (not even counted in the federal budget) for the ongoing military action in Iraq. A war that was a mistake from the very conception.  All this time, things grow worse in Afghanistan, the country with the real connection to 9-11, not Iraq.

Quietly on the home front, the Bush administration continues to pursue a course of action that threatens our very constructional protections.  One by one eroding our rights as citizens. The most recent example seeks to take us back some 30 years to the Nixon era when it was necessary to clean up the constitutional abuses of a very paranoid president who felt it necessary to abuse powers to spy on the American people.

This week, as a perhaps final legacy of this administration, the FBI announced it is seeking to implement new rules as of October 1 that would allow agents pursuing national security leads to employ physical surveillance, deploy informants and engage in "pretext" interviews with their identities hidden to assess the danger posed by a subject. Such assessments could be initiated even without a particular fact or concrete lead that a person had engaged in wrongdoing. Additionally. as in the days of Nixon, it is suggested that changes still could be made in some areas, including ground rules for FBI agents who secretly infiltrate activist groups or collect intelligence at public demonstrations and events without a suspected terrorist threat.

It's a lot to chew on this Saturday morning. The underlying question now is, can I clear my head and write today?

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