Talk of War Blowing through the Korean Peninsula Yet Again

In a move that surprises absolutely no one who watches Korean politics with even mild interest, the two again are at each others throats.

In a statement that is even less of a surprise than the two Koreas being at each others throats, The North Koreans claim they have nullified non-aggression agreements with the South Koreans.

In another statement equally as expected given the nature of the relationship between these two nations, A general from the North is claiming that it has nuclear ICBM’s ready to launch.

A counter claim by the South has made the very forseeable claim that if the North uses it’s nukes that Kim Jong-Un would be wiped from the face of the earth.

Now if we could only see how this thing will end.

There are always problems between these two nations, but with the new Kim on the throne in the north, there is a new unpredictability about this once very unsurprising dance these two nations dance with one another.

The experts say that the north doesn’t have the ICBM’s to do what they claim they can do. If they are right then this dance stays predictable, at least it’s ending.  Which is that the North and South, for all there bluff and bluster will really not do much of anything and will in the end maybe fight a small skirmish or two and be done with it.

They have threatened the U.S. before and have done it again, this time threatening to blast America and it’s followers into a “sea of fire.”

Nice way to start the weekend, don’t ya think?

Pointless Legislation

Just in case you weren’t sure, there is such a thing as pointless legislation.  Legislation that may make a point in some way shape or form, but does nothing substantive.  Such a piece of legislation passed through the House of Representatives with bi-partisan support.

The legislation itself is fairly simple. What it does is orders the President to put in the cost of the deficit, per taxpayer of each years spending.  Meaning that if the deficit for the year 2013 is one trillion dollars, and there are 145 million tax returns put in, which is the average, then the President would have to, by law, tell you, dear taxpayer that it costs you an average of around $6896.55

Which is nice, but what can you do with that information?  Look at the number and say “Dayum!  That’s a lot of money!” That is really about it.  It’s sole purpose is to be a reminder that “decisions have real world consequences” says the man who sponsored the legislation, rookie Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana.

It may look to him like it creates an aura of accountability, putting a real number in dollars that an individual can wrap their head around, but it does have an additional consequence.  It will show definitively the amount the annual deficit is actually dropping.  The annual deficit for this year is expected for the first time since 2007 to be under a trillion dollars.  It is supposed to drop to under half a trillion per year by 2015 before going back up due to the cost of all those baby boomers retiring.

The problem with legislation like this is pretty simple.  It does nothing.  This legislation won’t take away from the deficit, it won’t add jobs, it won’t make America a better place, and points to the way Republicans do things.

They like to draw attention to the things that are happening in the world, while not doing a single solitary thing about them.  Mr. Messer is not serving his constituents well here. They would be better served if they had a congressman who tried to get legislation through that does something about the deficit, or job creation, something substantive rather than this cutesy useless crap that does nothing for anyone.

It isn’t the law yet, but I can’t see any reason this silliness wouldn’t become law.  It has to get through the Senate, and being innocuous crap, it should not have any issue getting through the Senate and to the White House.  It will probably get through the Senate in much the same way it got through the House, by a fairly wide margin.

The Smallest Pawns in a Large Game

The cuts that are taking place thanks to sequestration are being reported much of the time in relation to large scale programs.  In terms of billions of dollars and the mass effect of the cuts.

But the reality of sequestration is far from what is being reported and being spoken about in the press.

It is instead a story of those in need being forced to go without.  The story of thousands of children, special needs children being told to do without.  Thousands of parents of autistic children being told their kids can go without the programs that they need to give their kids the things they need to get by every day.

There is a reason I mention that.  I have a niece and a nephew, both with autism, both who will be affected.  One is turning 11, the other is 8.  I spoke to my brother today, in passing.  My brother’s son is the eight year old.  The boy loves him some Teenage mutant ninja turtles and Spiderman.  He loves going to school.  He loves his teacher, whose name I forget.  Kisses her goodbye every time he leaves school for the day. I’ve been there to pick im up a few times from school.

He is autistic.  Without the help from his teachers and the school system, funded by the federal government, he would not be able to get the help he needs.

The other, my cousin’s daughter loves her teachers and her shows and toys as much as my brother’s son does.  And she needs them more. Though my eye in these matters is neither precise nor educated, she seems to be more affected by autism than he, and he is not just slightly affected.  Speech is affected.  As is thought.  As is emotional control.  As are almost every basic thing we non affected sentient beings take for granted. These kids work on this and more every day, with help from tireless hard-working teachers who give everything they can for these kids.

Apparently one of the first cuts going through in these parts is in education cuts.  So they are losing that, only part of it to begin with.  Half is what my brother told me when I spoke to him earlier today.

How many times can they turn their heads and pretend that they don’t see?

No.

They know.

They see.

These kids, and by extension “We The People” are pawns in a game of chess played by rich men for the control of the money and power, and of who gets both.  Because of that the face of sequestration should not be the face of corporations shutting their doors, bad as that will be when it happens, and it will happen. It is not masses of people made to suffer.  That can be refused, propagandized, compartmentalized.  Turned into something other.  Political will can turn any full grown adult’s pain into something to be looked down on, turned to advantage by the slick marketing of political will.

It is the face of a child asked to go without.

Asked to go without by the protectors of billionaires, by a rich man’s son for no reason other than the greed of adults who should know better.

Sleep tight, America.

A Constitutonal Question

At midnight or thereabouts, the President is expected to sign off on the law putting sequestration into effect.  But I wonder why. I honestly do.  I do because he doesn’t have to as far as I can tell.   It is a law, and like other laws it is bound by the constitution, is it not?

Article I, section 7, final sentence of paragraph two states:

If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

But it begs a few questions.  Questions which I do not have answers to.

If the President is expected to sign the Sequester into law, that means it is being presented to him then and there, does it not?  Or is there some other timetable that  don’t know about that makes that question a moot one?

If it is true that the law is being presented to him today, and the constitution is followed, and he does not sign it, does that not mean that he will have extra time to see if he can work out a deal with the house, where all spending bills must originate?

The President, if he really is serious that he does not want to see these cuts take effect should simply not sign the bill.  Which doesn’t mean he won’t.

Now I am not a constitutional scholar, I simply make points that I think need to be made, and ask questions that I think need to be asked.

More later.

The Moral of the Story

It’s all over but the shouting.  The sequester will go through tomorrow.  Now we won’t feel the effects immediately and that mightUSCurrency_Federal_Reserve make some people downplay the sequestration process.  That would be silly, as silly as acting like it’s the end of the world.  It’s neither.  But it will hurt the economy if it is allowed to go on unabated.

But even though sequestration kicks in tomorrow at 11:59 pm, the sequestration legislation news is not over, not by a long shot.  Much of the negative effect of the sequester can be done away with after it kicks in, which will guarantee more news about this subject from a legislative angle until some good middle ground between the two parties can be had.  Just like any other law, it can be changed, altered, even repealed should the need arise. And I can think of no better thing to change, alter and even repeal than the sequestration.

And the effect could be almost completely ameliorated if fixed quickly.  If the congress gets on this next week, if not next week then relatively quickly then the sequester will have had almost no impact.  Not no impact, almost. There have already been effects.

The aircraft carrier  Harry S. Truman is supposed to be on duty in the Persian gulf right now, but has been held in port thanks to the sequester.  It was actually supposed to have been there for a few weeks but has been held here until the sequester is dealt with.

Hundreds of illegal immigrants have been freed thanks to the sequester.  OK, technically it’s a work release program, but they are out of jail.

But the amount of veteran funerals at Arlington national cemetery, which will with sequestration be cut from 31 a day to 24, could be kept to a minimum if congress works on this next week.  As could the furloughing of thousands of federal employees, and all the other cuts to spending in all facets of government, military and non military alike.

The congress is not in session tomorrow, which is why there is no chance of sequestration being avoided.

Any chance of avoiding that fate went out the window today when both the Republican and Democratic sequester replacements were voted down in the Senate.  The Republican replacement bill lost 38-62, and the Democratic replacement lost 51-49. Yes, a majority vote lost.  Sad that in American politics today, a vote that normally would be enough to win couldn’t because Harry Reid didn’t have the nerve to alter the Senate rules so it could actually get work done.  But that is another story for another time.

The moral of the story:  There is still hope of avoiding the worst of the effects of the sequester, despite it’s actually being here.

We’ll see what John Boehner, Harry Reid and their compatriots can get done.