Archive for February 19th, 2012

Misplaced Priorities

Whitney Houston was a great singer, don’t get me wrong.  However, I find it totally insane that much of America has spent the greater part of the past week mourning her death.  A day (playing her songs in trubute), fine.  But a week of nonstop media coverage?  Lowering flags to half mast?  Seriously?  Is this what our country has become?  Could our priorities be any more misplaced?

I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, so I’ll spare the adjectives about how she lived the past decade of her life.  After all, the point here isn’t the death of a singer … the point is how she is the most glaring example of misplaced priorities in America since, well, the Kardashian wedding/divorce. 

The following is a list of items that merit our mourning/attention/concern.  This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means; just my attempt to get America talking about something more important than a dead singer:

Greece is on fire.  Literally.  If you’re not concerned this is where America is headed, then you’re either:  (i) not paying close enough attention; or (ii) not part of the 99%.   Maybe this is how the USA will wind up and maybe not, but the similarities between the economic problems in Greece and those in America are striking (and at least worth discussion).  Why isn’t anyone talking about this? 

– The GOP lacks a frontrunner (and, arguably, a viable candidate) for the 2012 Presidential nomination.  Republicans have allowed Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich to “lead” the race just long enough for most Americans to realize none of them should be the leader.  (“He’s horrible, let’s take him.  Nah, he’s terrible, let’s take him.”)  Meanwhile, Ron Paul hasn’t won a single state so far yet thinks he can procure the nomination by getting more delegates than anyone else.  Can someone who has lost every state really win?  How?  If so, why aren’t the other candidates doing it?  And why is nobody talking about this?  Is Whitney Houston really more important than a strategy to get nominated for President?

1,771 military members have died in Afghanistan since 2001.  Did New Jersey lower its flags to half mast for the death of each of those servicemembers (as it just did for Whitney Houston)?  And why, exactly, are we still fighting wars overseas? 

– A written agreement between the AGs and the banks has STILL not been signed.  You know, that $26 billion settlement where big banks were supposedly paying to help homeowners and remedy some of the injustices from their foreclosure fraud … the one the AGs all announced on February 9 as if it were some sort of cure-all … it still hasn’t been signed.  Does anyone care?  Was the purpose of the settlement to accomplish something for American homeowners, or just blow smoke where the sun doesn’t shine? 

The New York Post reports the settlement is still being tweaked, which can only mean one thing – the banks are still negotiating for better terms, and the AGs have no leverage to stick to their guns because the banksters know the AGs can’t let the deal fall through.  Can you imagine the AGs now having to put their tails between their legs and announcing the lack of a deal?  Once again, big banks have screwed over America, yet nobody seems to care. 

– Foreclosure cases throughout America are being prosecuted by servicers who often don’t even know the identity of the owners of the Notes and Mortgages they’re seeking to foreclose, a phenomenon I’m calling the Wizard behind the Curtain.  I won’t rest until the law is clear that a thief can’t foreclose; I wish everyone felt similarly. 

– America’s unemployment rate is above 8%, and while that’s down from the 10% rate we saw during the height of the Great Recession, it’s still way too high.  Plus, I can’t help but think a significant reason for the decrease is based on how unemployment is defined.  Remember, “unemployed” is defined as someone searching for work unable to find it, so anyone who still lacks a job but gave up searching isn’t considered “unemployed” and, hence, isn’t part of the 8%.   

Nearly 10% of Americans don’t have a job … can we please talk about that instead of Whitney Houston? 


Mark Stopa

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