If people expected things to be different after recent changes at The White House they would be wrong, except for the further consolidation of power occurring at the executive level. People have been slow to realize that their rights and protections are being whittled away and equally slow to understand that lower taxes have little to do with them. For every tax break enacted only small advantages accrue to the average person while a monumental shift in capital ownership to the already rich occurs at their expense. Payroll taxes go up, benefits disappear, wages remain stagnant and interest rates rise in response to the prospect of inflation.
As for national security issues yesterday, when the president nominated Michael Hayden to become the next Director of the CIA he praised his service and said he was the right man at the right time to serve in this important post at a momentous time in our history – – almost word for word what he said when he appointed Porter Goss less than two years ago. In either case, an independent civilian agency becomes less so, run by administration loyalists rather than by intelligence experts able to provide information whether it is what the president wants to hear or not. Goss was a partisan friend while Hayden brings a military presence from an NSA background with a tendency to play fast and loose with legal constraints regarding wiretapping and individual freedoms.
With respect to foreign policy the administration continues to float the notion that bad news from Iraq is the result of biased media reportage. Schools and clinics are being built they say, Iraqi troops trained to “stand up” so we can “stand down”. It isn’t hard to see, however, that religious and cultural differences in that land have stalled progress toward a self-sufficient nation capable of political solutions and military preparedness. Against this backdrop, is the realization that things aren’t going that well in Afghanistan either as the Taliban and Al Quaeda dig in leaving just Kabul in somewhat peaceful solitude. As for reconstruction efforts in either country, apparently the only project moving rapidly towards completion is the enormous embassy we are building in Iraq.
Despite the administration’s failed logic and incompetence true believers still exist. In Congress the other day, in response to appeals about increasing café standards and undertaking other fuel efficiencies, a Republican House member maintained that if people found gas prices too high, for example, they would stop buying big, gas-guzzling cars and “market forces” would prevail. The Wall Street Journal editorialized that “open borders” should prevail. And the president and members of his party assert that further tax cutting should prevail. Still others state that wiretapping and warrantless searches are just fine because they haven’t done anything wrong and have nothing to fear. Many societies have foundered on just such false premises.
This mindset maintains that government should be small in all respects except when it comes to a huge military, the power to conduct unimpeded surveillance of whomever, whenever it pleases and the protection of a corporate superstructure. Thus, sensible solutions to the problems of immigration, border security, health concerns and the economic well being of ordinary Americans are not considered to be appropriate subjects for aggressive governmental attention.
Strangely though, this administration claims moral superiority, while many with strong religious and moral convictions are hard put to justify the disregard this White House shows for the less fortunate among us. A recent statement regarding the possibility of an outbreak of bird flu in this country makes clear that should anyone harbor notions that the federal default during the Katrina disaster was simply an oversight the administration wants states and localities to understand that it will be their responsibility to address a flu epidemic without depending overly much on the government in Washington.
It would seem that the current theory isn’t so much about small government as it is about small-minded politicians.

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