Our highly reputable (not) Bush Administration wants $700 BILLION (take my word for it – that’s a lot of bucks) to hand out when and if it pleases to whomever it pleases without accountability either now or in the future.

Are you kidding me?

Nope. Not kidding. Just like with massive tax cuts early in Bush’s tenure, “No Child Left Behind” (very inappropriately named), weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist, the invasion of Iraq, FISA overhaul… One after another astronomical and unjustified commitment of American resources and prestige has been sold to Congress, Republicans AND Democrats, with the only rationale being FEAR. And we are stuck holding the bag.

Bush says, in effect, “Be afraid. Be VERY afraid.”

Last time around, FDR took just the opposite tack.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror…

Over and over and over Bush gets exactly or very nearly what he asks. They trust him. They surrender to his “analysis” of situations. That, as I recall, is a common definition of insanity. Do the same thing over and over and expect different results. Remember Lucy and Charlie Brown and the football?

But my point here is that, although many attentive and intelligent observers saw a major financial crisis coming, the media in general and the public in general apparently did not even want to talk about it; or at least the media didn’t.

This is from Media Matters. They did a study of the recent Presidential primary debate series. There were a lot of debates – Republican candidates against Republican candidates and Democratic candidates against Democratic candidates.

Out of a total of 2,300 questions asked in 31 debates,

* Only six touched on the growing crisis in the mortgage industry.
* Only three mentioned the minimum wage.
* Only two touched on the issue of declining wages.

“Only six”!!! out of 2,300!!!

Am I surprised? Not at all.

But I am offended. I may shuffle off this mortal coil in the next 30 years or so. I will suffer from our neglect and irresponsibility. But a whole lot of people, including my own kids and grandkids and great grandkids may well suffer more intensely and a lot longer. And there’s NO REASON for it! We are a smart and energetic people. We could have been facing and handling these things as – or before – they developed.

There were dozens of questions about oil prices, but only three questions about conservation and renewable energy. There was only one question about warrantless wiretapping, and only two questions about the prison at Guantanamo.

Candidates facing each other and answering questions in real time COULD be a good way for us to learn about them. But only if they are asked things that matter.

Simply put, the primary debates were a disaster. With a few exceptions, the media figures who moderated the debates focused on endless rehashes of campaign gaffes, pointless dissections of political tactics, and issues of personality. As a result, critical issues were pushed aside. In fact, the vast majority of questions had little or nothing to do with the challenges facing the country and our next president.

Of course, they do that because people aren’t interested, right? Or maybe people don’t follow the discussions because the discussions are so often meaningless. I suppose that’s possible.

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