"There's not a Red America, or a Blue America, there's the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." ---Barack Obama, 2004

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Obama-Orszag team schools the GOP on their own turf

President Obama, outnumbered 140-1 in Baltimore yesterday at the House GOP retreat, skillfully performed in an unscripted, untelepromptered Q&A session on the most difficult core questions pressing politics today.

No matter how you slice it, there's no denying how Obama is truly the master of the debate. This exchange is a sight to behold, and an impressive display of politics to study...Democrats, Independents, and Republicans (especially) need to all watch it:  See the full Q&A exchange between Obama and the GOP at this link, on the C-SPAN module provided if you scroll down a bit.

I can't help but gloating slightly here -- only as a natural human reaction to the countless accounts of screaming, demonizing, and disrespect that's spewed forth from the lunatic fringe element of the GOP towards President Obama in his first year in office.  It's been frustrating to watch. Most of it -- if not all of it -- has been totally unfair and the GOP have really given him no chance to act and preside in the manner that he is capable of. 

However, yesterday Obama essentially volleyed all of the garbage the GOP has launched at him over the last year back in their direction...he did it in a direct manner, but of course with a smile on his face.

Nobody can question now -- if by some mistake they did before -- as to whether or not President Obama knows his stuff.  This guy is for real...and as some pundits were saying on television last night, it should be obvious that the most capable and qualified person for the highest office in the land, the presidency of the United States, has filled it.

Not only did Obama have perhaps the best day of his presidency so far, in how he calmly and smoothly handled a barrage of questions from GOP leaders (if you even call those questions), but the unsung hero is Peter Orzag, Obama's cheif economic adviser (pictured with him at the top), who helped to debrief him before he went into the room. 

The GOP keeps making the same miscalculations of underestimating the ability of this President...and they did so again yesterday when he attended the House GOP retreat in Baltimore.

I'm hopeful that there was a pivot point yesterday and that something positive can come out of the Q & A session that occurred between the President and Republicans at this retreat.  I hope the air has been cleared (along with some of the brush) for these folks to finally start working with the President on issues that desperately need attention...so that we can make some progress in this country on vital things such as health care reform, a clear and green-oriented energy and climate plan, and other things down the road such as immigration reform.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Libertarian's take on the latest SCOTUS decision involving CFR

For some reason, the Libertarian view has always fascinated me...and not necessarily in a bad way. In some ways, I see their perspective and agree with them on most things on the social front.

A close Libertarian friend of mine passed this along to me earlier today, from another one of her Libertarian friends...it's worth checking out and mulling over.

To all my friends who have been braying about CFR. You might find things you agree and disagree with in here. As I am always refining my position, I'd love to hear your thoughts...

My friends who are pro CFR have a healthy and well-intentioned fear of corporatism. When big business and the government get too cozy we can rightfully call this relationship fascism-- that's exactly what it is by definition. And this state of affairs is rightfully to be avoided. Fascism is basically socialism for business. America is and always has been in danger of creeping fascism, and some fear that stripping away the "check" that CFR provided will accelerate that movement. There's a recent NYT article that essentially refutes the argument that CFR or any corporate giving to politicians have influenced votes or elections-- something I knew before this issue reemerged on the political radar, but something that not everyone can readily accept.

CFR was "bad" law, found to be unconstitutional by the SCOTUS. CFR punished some forms of group expression and not others. For example, unions had a number of ways of skirting the CFR laws, and newspaper editorial columns were exempt from the CFR restrictions altogether-- but some filmmakers who made a film under an LLC could not present their anti-Hillary Clinton film 30 days prior to the election. Why is the corporate owned New York Times allowed to stump for a candidate and not the filmmakers? Or Starbucks? Or Microsoft? Well, they may now do so-- at the peril of alienating vast numbers of consumers, especially given the fact that now they will be compelled to disclose their identities on any political ad, something that COULD BE AVOIDED with soft-money contributions in the CFR era.

I also fear creeping fascism. My libertarian philosophy is engaged in a constant struggle to accept freedom along with the dangers said freedom also presents. But I have a different approach to the solution. Instead of looking for new laws to restrict freedoms on various classes of people and groups, I seek ways to correct existing law that is not in keeping with my principles. As a libertarian, I am against many types of welfare, including corporate welfare. I am against laws that establish protected classes of individuals and groups. And I am for Constitutional amendments that clarify and specify our nation's intent.

The concept of any group not having the same rights as an individual is very Constitutionally core and must be addressed through the amendment process. This would be analogous to the debate over the 2nd amendment's right to either an individual's right versus a group right to bear arms. Ironically, here, it is the left who favors the group's right-- not the individual. This is another core issue that most Constitutional scholars claim must either be "left alone" or directly amended to reflect a new point of view.

Most of my friends on Facebook and in real life are democrats, progressives and liberals of various stripes. And it must be a drag to have a lurking libertarian in your midst-- truly libertarians are an unloved bunch-- hated by the right for our fierce love of social rights, and hated by the left for our strict interpretation of the Constitution. But, I hope you'll take this opportunity to understand that even people who disagree with you on this point of law, do so with full knowledge of the consequences, and believe that a strict adherence to the exact wording in the Constitution is a far better approach than passing bad laws that attempt to counter other bad laws.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Welcome to the United Corporations of America...UCA! UCA! UCA!

In case you're wondering -- with yesterday's Supreme Court decision allowing for unlimited corporate campaign contributions to elections -- your democracy as you know it just changed overnight into a "corporacracy," if there's such a word.

If there isn't such a word, there it is...I just friggin made it up.

You're now living in a nation where every elected position in the land, from President and Congress down to State, County, and City/Town Councils, can be -- and mark my words, WILL BE -- bought. This isn't the case a decade from now, nor a year from now...this is EFFECTIVE TODAY. Politicians will be nothing short of prostitutes and whores to corporate America.

Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and his 4 other conservative colleagues -- the men who planted George W. Bush into the Presidency in 2000 -- yesterday overturned over 100 years of repeated common law decisions limiting corporate spending on campaigns...and thus flushed our future further down the shitter.

So there goes our democracy, floating down the river and out to the ocean, reduced to a stinky slutty sea pickle.

That being said, we should get familiar with the flag (above) and the Pledge of Allegiance to our new corporacracy, the UCA.

I pledge allegiance to the flag

of the United Corporations of America

and to the soulless money whores for which it stands,

one Ruse under CEO,

divisible or merging with fishnets on,

and justice for deep pockets.

Enjoy your new country as you watch your future erode into Fascism -- unless something can be done, and done quickly, to reverse this decision, or its effects.

Be sure to celebrate this day with a walk in the park and a snack...because at some point down the road the memories of a calm hang in a park with a snack might be all you have to hold onto.

So what are you going to do about it?

Bear this in mind...this is worse than the Dred Scott decision in the 1850s that started the Civil War...and this makes something like the specter of Roe vs. Wade being overturned (which may be soon to follow, it wouldn't surprise me) seem like a minor inconvenience...this decision simply gobbles up anything and everything else that means anything in our country.

So what are you going to do about it?

Unless something's done to remedy this insane and horrible decision, this is the start of the Dark Ages...and if it means civil war, then so be it. Bring it on. I plan on dying a free man...do you?

So what are you going to do about it?

Have a nice day.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Pandemic of Voter Apathy

It's presence in American politics seems to be inevitable, like that hideous hairy mole that appears on your face with age when you're too old to be bothered to do anything about it...or the nagging mother-in-law who won't shut the f##k up.

The recent election of Scott Brown involved apathy on several levels. First, the Democratic candidate was a complete idiot...she made the #1 mistake in politics: never assume the election is a lock. She only has herself to blame; she completely blew it. Period.

Not only did she just blow an election, but she gave up Ted Kennedy's seat -- a seat held by the Democrats for half a century.

Still, despite any anger or frustration with the system, Mass. voters shouold have known better and understood what's at stake. Why didn't they? Here's my take.
  1. Selfishness. When you have a state-run health care system that takes care of you, why worry about the rest of the country? Who cares about the other guy? Apparently very few...apparently it's too easy to get caught up in the hysteria of your own little world and "make a point at the polling booth"...assuming you hopefully know what you're doing, which leads me to my next point.
  2. Short-sightedness. Apparenty the voters of Mass. have a case of severe short-term memory loss, or passed out from too much Sam Adams winter ale. Uh, recall what Americans did to try getting things moving again in the last election? Yes, that would be called progress.
  3. Plain old apathy. Recall how we voted in more Progressives because we were tired of the same old politics from Conservatives? Sometimes creating fundamental change canvasses more than one election cycle...so all this being said, what sort of change, my Commonwealth Bostonian voter, do you expect to see if you tip the scales back into the hands of Conservatives? Christ, you're a friggin Dem...what's that all about? Apparently pulling your head out of your ass isn't one of your strong suits.
Apparently with Ted Kennedy's passing also passed health care reform legislation in its current form as we know it...but why is that necessary?

My answer: We need to go nuclear. Dems need to grow a goddam backbone for once and pony up to eliminate the filibuster, which was originally intended as a seldom-used tactic but has become commonplace in Washington nowadays to the effect that we're deadlocked and can't get anything done. This is supposed to be a democracy where the majority rules, NOT A SUPERMAJORITY.

If the filibuster isn't eliminated, and eliminated soon, we're screwed on all the issues: health care, clean energy, immigration...everything.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Chronicles of PlanetWrecker: Part 1

I've intended for some time now to reveal a fable, if you will, about a sort of character. We'll call him "PlanetWrecker."

He's hiding behind the stained glass window for now...but trust me, we'll reveal more of his "hot looks" later on. I'll leave it up to you to determine if he's fact or fiction.

Let's do a brief pass over the general tendencies of our character. PlanetWrecker is of a ruthless mindset. He has one sole objective; money and power. PlanetWrecker cares little about the wreckage that he leaves in his wake (and, uh, there's quite a bit of it), be it family (including effects on his own children), strangers, and the planet as a whole. More on all those elements later, with lots of dirty details.

Not beyond our surprise, he actually makes his money by destroying the planet...hence, the moniker of PlanetWrecker.

So we've established, relatively speaking, some of PlanetWrecker's tendencies and mindset...but what forms such a mindset? Who or what shaped PlanetWrecker to become what he is? If we look into his past, can we figure out what morphed him into the planet-wrecking son of a bitch fishnet stocking-wearing money whore that he is? How do we wrap our minds around the opera that is his life?

We'll take a stab at it.

PlanetWrecker was born in the early 1950s in the Northeast U.S. Early on, a tough father of Slavic origins ingrained the necessary survival skills in him, with a take-no-prisoners approach: kill or be killed. Of course, this was a pattern carried down from PlanetWrecker's father's father, and so forth -- once again, the cycle never breaks.

A stern life rubric was pounded into PlanetWrecker: a view that life is survival of the fittest and take no prisoners...follow the rules, don't break them...strategize so you're always 3 moves ahead of your opponent...and if it's a trusted counterpart or colleague, you'll get the chance to put the knife in when his/her back's turned to you.

Also, it was conveyed that everything that falls into one's path should be evaluated on its resourcefulness or economic value -- otherwise it's of no use. If it's of no use, it should be tossed aside, and onto the next thing.

While this view is self-serving and may garner one some successes, unfortunately it's an unhealthy path on which to tread, and some of the shrapnel inflicted on those around you who you damage may come back to bite you.

We'll get into more specifics, and unveil more of PlanetWrecker's superopera in the next episode of The Chronicles of PlanetWrecker.