Saturday, January 31, 2009

Those Who Don't Learn From History

Hello Bloggers - I thought I would try an experiment today. I was talking to a friend yesterday about the stimulus package and the Republican opposition, and something interesting happened during the debate. I found myself saying that I used to love to believe what the Republicans preach - smaller government and lower taxes - until I found out it doesn't work. So, what changed my mind?

I wanted to remember, so I began to recall my political past, and how I wasn't always what Republicans like to call a "liberal" Democrat. (I personally like the term "progressive," because it describes our thinking better.) I was a Democrat, just not the same kind. I was misguided.

Growing up in New Orleans, I campaigned and worked for Representative and later Senator John Breaux (D-LA) in the mid-eighties. He was a moderate "Blue Dog" Democrat, believing in many Republican issues at the time. Smaller government and lower taxes were high on the list. I supported many of the same positions, and even voted for George H. W. Bush after leaving the Senate.

I was young and foolish, and like so many Americans believed their stories about how smaller government and lower taxes would create a fantastic economy and society where success would trickle-down to everybody willing to reach for it. Reagan was a GREAT salesman, and charlatan. After the first Bush presidency, it all started to smell like old, rotten fish.

For those of us who were paying attention, the Lee Atwater movement under the first Bush began to show the ugly side of Republicans. If anybody wants to learn more about that political period, I recommend watching "Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story." It's an excellent documentary about how Republican tactics evolved to create Karl Rove and George W. Bush. Be sure to have a friend nearby while watching - it's VERY SCARY!

Anyway, Republicans at that time started to look negative, racially divisive (their "Southern Strategy" was in full swing), and unconcerned about the economics that help ordinary people. They were looking great at getting people to vote against their best interests. It was weird. They started to divide and conquer the nation based on "wedge issues." It was also obvious nothing was "trickling down" to help Average Americans. If anything, they were shipping jobs overseas and destroying the middle-class.

Unfortunately, most Americans weren't paying attention. By and large most Americans hate politics, and would rather be spoon fed slogans than do their homework. They didn't want to know or understand Lee Atwater or Newt Gingrich during the first Bush recession; they only wanted a promise of better times.

That ignorance led to support priming the gears for the Republican revolution, but fortunately for Democrats they suffered a significant set-back when the "Man from Hope" - or Clinton - came along. He was the kind of salesman Americans love. Unfortunately, Americans eventually gave Newt Gingrich and his Republicans Capitol Hill.

Before they won the bulk of their power, Bill Clinton and the Democrats passed legislation to lower the debt and raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Republicans called it "job killer" legislation, just like they did with the stimulus this week, and voted against it en masse. Democrats called it responsible government. They focused on reducing the Reagan-Bush era debt and creating jobs.

They Republicans followed-up with their "Contract with America," and despite being bold at the time, it was pretty much ignored and dismissed in the end. They were more concerned with acquiring more power, and they knew they could if they turned their attention to wedge issues, creating a cult-like following, and impeaching the President.

The real political irony of the nineties is how the Republicans took credit for the work of the Democrats. Incredibly, they convinced their flock, and many independents, that the greatest economic boom in American history was the work of Bush and the Republicans in Congress. Clinton's debt reduction initiatives and national stabilization programs were dismissed. Despite facts to the contrary, their ignorant, sheep-like constituents believed it.

Eventually, after creating a web of lies about their "success" and tactical wedge issues like gay marriage, the Republicans stole the 2000 election. Instead of Al Gore - who we voted for, we wound up with George Bush, Dick Cheney and more Republicans. It was a very sad day for the majority of Americans who actually voted to continue with the Democrats, and the well managed Clintonian economy.

The Republicans got to work on their "ill gotten gains" and focused immediately on castrating the government. In early 2001, George Bush and his team began installing incompetent, unqualified people into positions of power - EVERYWHERE in government. They were mostly loyalists it turns out; people they could count on to shrink what they saw as a bloated, inefficient and ineffective government. Unfortunately for them, it turned out to be the opposite. It turns out that less government led to less of everything!

Their version of the US government FAILED to prevent a massive attack on 9/11, FAILED to protect Americans from predatory lenders, FAILED to enforce financial regulations that created a housing bubble, FAILED to regulate Wall Street losing trillions in American savings, FAILED to provide assistance that led to the death of thousands after Katrina, FAILED to prevent war profiteering and incredible waste, and FAILED in just about every area of running the US government and helping the American people. The Republicans would later call it bad luck.

They pretty much FAILED everywhere, leading to the LOWEST APPROVAL RATINGS of any administration in history. They said they didn't care, but what else could they say. They were failures. Overall, the Republican principles that guided George Bush and Dick Cheney led to the worse government in American history, which contributed to some of the greatest disasters in American history.

At this unique time in American politics, listening to the Republicans continue to insist their principles of smaller government and lower taxes work best for the American people, it's important for us to assess what is right and what is wrong about their sales pitch.

So, let's try something we all do from time to time. Let's create a list of pros and cons, to help us visualize it. Let's explore whether our Republican friends should continue to believe their REPUBLICAN policies and beliefs. Here are just a few of my examples for now. Feel free to add your own.

PRO: Smaller government is better government.
CON: Republicans have proven smaller government is not better government. Size isn't the issue. It's about effective government, and the best value for money. Democrats like Obama support that idea.

PRO: Lower taxes help grow the economy and create jobs.
CON: Republicans proved that lower taxes are not enough. Most economists believe growth is encouraged by multiple factors, including government assistance related to education, health care, regulation/oversight, and all kinds of government stabilizing forces. Surgically applied tax cuts are good, but Republican efforts to simply lower taxes across the board have led to lower wages and bubble economies. It's also untrue that lowering taxes on the rich creates jobs - at least AMERICAN JOBS. The rich create some jobs, but how and where is debatable. It's also true that many hoard their money; the middle-class always spends it.

PRO: Less or no regulation is better for a free market.
CON: Republicans proved that reducing or eliminating regulations can lead to bubble economies and chaos. Republican-led deregulation has led to disruptions in every major area supporting the economy, including infrastructure, transportation, state and local economic development initiatives, health care, industrial safety/mining, industrial pollution, protecting the environment [for human health], urban planning/growth, executive compensation, investor protections, and much more. Deregulation has proven to be very dangerous to both the economy and people.

PRO: Transfer payments/social safety nets are harmful to the market and society.
CON: Republicans support transfer payments and social safety nets when it applies to saving large corporations or their own investments, but call it "socialism" and harmful when it's designed to protect individual, less affluent Americans. It's obvious to most Americans now that Republicans support the "privatization of profit and the socialization of risk." Republicans tolerate the "redistribution of wealth" as long as it benefits wealthy Americans. In the end, transfer payments like Social Security, Unemployment Insurance and Medicare stabilize the economy and society.

PRO: A strong defense is critical to American power and overall success.
CON: Just like Dwight D. Eisenhower predicted, the American military-industrial complex has become a behemoth that threatens to strangle the nation. Republicans are obsessed with American power. They have grown to believe in American unilateralism and hegemony. The truth is America must work with partners in today's multi-polar world, and those partners must be forced to share the burden. The industrial-military complex needs to be put on a diet, and Republicans need to accept that America cannot continue to go it alone. America needs to invest in a renewable economy, not just bombs and guns.

That's it for now. I hope you enjoyed my little list. Feel free to add your own.

So, based on this little journey through time, I now see why I left the Republican sales pitch behind. Smaller government and lower taxes SOUND AWESOME, but are really nothing but a pipe dream when you begin to see them applied in the real world. Republicans need to realize that Milton Friedman was wrong. Republican efforts at supply-side economists are a failure. Free trade over fair trade is a failure. American jobs have become CRAP!

We took a chance on Republican principles, and Americans are overwhelmingly throwing in the towel. We're ready to go back to the principles that work. The Democrats didn't invent those principles; Democrats simply embrace what works. I hope the American people understand that and support what is right.

Saturday's Political History/Perspective #1 - Michael

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Cynical Cult of Republicanism

Good Morning Bloggers - It's amazing, but Republicans are completely ignoring the wishes of the American people, who - based on recent elections - are asking their leaders to change course and try new solutions.

Democratic attempts at compromise on the stimulus bill by eliminating programs important to Democratic constituencies meant nothing. The Republicans are playing hard-ball and rejecting everything the Democrats are trying to do.

Instead of new political solutions, today's "cult-like" Republicans are devoted to pitching the same tired old ideas of lower taxes and corporate give-aways that may represent their special interests, but have proven ineffective at growing the economy FOR THE BENEFIT OF CREATING GOOD JOBS FOR AMERICANS! Overall, multi-national, corporate growth is not enough for most of us.

To be very blunt Republicans, the majority of Americans and competent economists are tired of hearing you repeat yourselves. Get NEW IDEAS for God's sake! There's more to growing an economy than lower taxes! Unfortunately, for all of us, when the GOP failed to get their way yesterday, they took their votes and went home like pathetic brats.

I challenge those Republicans who believe their party always has the best of intentions to defend the Republican version of the stimulus package. It offered no new solutions to the problems facing Americans in the immediate future - job creation and growth!

It featured [politically and economically] untenable tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. It was nothing more than a rehashed version of what was attempted under the Bush Administration, which created few jobs and created the housing bubble-type economy that crashed. To be blunt, it was BS!

Despite history and facts, Republicans tried to claim their version would create over six million new jobs in just two years. It was an absurd claim, dismissed by most reputable economists as well as the Congressional Budget Office.

The GOP offered no immediate assistance to state and local governments that require quick help to avoid disaster, and did nothing to help Americans without jobs or prospects. The GOP is much more charitable to the Iraqis. Americans be damned! Overall, their plan was a joke!

Their childish adherence to ineffective policies of the past borders on the psychotic. Americans should now ask themselves a few questions? Do Republicans really care about creating and growing new jobs? Do Republicans care about them?

If they do, they don't show it. Why don't they try to compromise with the Democrats for the good of the country? Why don't they care about creating a united front that would signal better times, economic improvement and encourage new public spending?

Instead, Republicans are willing to allow the US government to appear conflicted, thus adding to economic uncertainty and consumer anxiety. It's already clear the Republicans are willing to allow Americans to suffer a great deal. How? Because MILLIONS OF AMERICANS NEED HELP NOW!

Democrats are listening to the American people. President Obama is listening. They are trying to respond. They know Americans will endure more debt now to save the nation, their jobs and the economy.

Despite OBVIOUS REPUBLICAN LIES that "Democrats wish to create debt," the Democrats are responding to the nation's demand for change. Republicans can chant their old tunes of "government waste" and "Democratic tax-and-spend debt" all they want, but all it does is make them look unhelpful, absurd, hypocritical, and out-of-touch.

We Americans know that Republicans created the overwhelming majority of today's debt, and that Democrats wish to lower the debt.

Just like under Clinton, Obama wants to lower the debt again once the crisis is over. The American people know that Democrats want to help Americans, while the Republicans are now famous for primarily helping the Iraqis, the industrial-military complex, and their own interests.

So, what are the Republicans really up to? It's all about taking back power! Republicans enjoyed being in power and they want it back. They want it back so bad they can taste it. It's now clear they don't give a damn about bipartisanship, and they'll do whatever they can to undermine President Obama, serve their own interests, and take back their power.

In the same way they reject science, they will reject any responsibility for the crisis and focus on scoring political points. They will force the Democrats and the American people to go it alone. They are nothing but power hungry political game players. They are pathetic, unpatriotic, unAmerican, harmful, unethical and at times downright evil in the cynical, dangerous way they behave.

I only hope that most Republican Americans see what's happening to their leadership, and act to do the right thing before it's too late. Let's all work to make 2010 another year of change.

Thursday's Political Rant #1 - Michael

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We Need to End "Republican Justice"

Hello Bloggers - I am very excited that Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) finally dropped his opposition and voted to nominate Eric Holder as our next Attorney General. He should be confirmed very soon.

This is a great day for America. The abused and abusive Justice Department will finally have a new boss to clean house. Not only is Eric Holder considered a highly respected constitutional expert, he will be the first African-American attorney general.

Before the vote, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) praised Holder for the "two short declarative sentences uttered at his confirmation hearing -- without caveats, without parsing words, without equivocation," which "signaled a new direction for the Department of Justice and a turning of the page in the constitutional history of this country. 'Waterboarding is torture.' 'No one is above the law.'"

That is GREAT NEWS for Americans who care about REAL justice - NOT Republican justice!

Of course, there were two Republican malcontents who voted against Holder: John Cornyn of Texas and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Cornyn criticized Holder's role in "controversial pardons" during the Clinton years, despite the fact that Holder apologized for not properly vetting Marc Rich and expressed deep regret over the mistake.

Both Senators question whether Holder will "protect intelligence agents who participated in harsh interrogations," the Associated Press notes. "Harsh interrogations?" That's nothing but Republican political-marketing-speak for TORTURE! Republicans are good at lying that way.

I'm sorry Senators, but that's a ridiculous assertion. Whether military or intelligence, "following orders" is not a sufficient defense. People should not be "protected" from breaking the law. Mr. Holder, the majority of Americans want major crimes under the Bush Administration investigated, so please do your job.

Senators Cornyn and Coburn, like so many of their associates on Capitol Hill, turned a blind-eye to Bush's "harsh interrogations" and lawbreaking, and are now partly responsible for US domestic and international lawbreaking. Unlike Bush who - at least - admitted to breaking the law, on issues like torture and eavesdropping, they hid and hoped to avoid the problem. They were cowards, and they were wrong.

The Justice Department should investigate whenever possible, and even if we don't get convictions, for whatever reason, at the very least expose exactly what despicable things happened over the past eight years. Even the lesser crimes need some kind of South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Committee to find the truth. We Americans need to know who broke the law, and why, and make sure that it never happens again.

Anyway, I'm just happy things may begin to change. I, like so many Americans, will be watching to see if Eric Holder restores American justice. In the same way evangelicals cherry-pick bible scripture, Republicans cherry-pick the US Constitution. That Republican BS approach to American justice must change. President Obama and Eric Holder must ACT FAST to restore equal justice under law, and the US Constitution.

Wednesday's Political Rave #1 - Michael

PS - The BAD NEWS is that the conservative Washington Times is reporting that Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond, a Republican from Missouri and the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an interview that he will support Eric Holder's nomination for Attorney General because Holder assured him privately that Mr. Obama's Justice Department will NOT prosecute former Bush officials involved in the interrogations program." That makes me VERY NERVOUS, and it better be WRONG! Please join me in writing President Obama and Eric Holder to DEMAND REAL JUSTICE! Thanks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Republicans and Fear

Hello Bloggers - As many of you already know, I've been on the "Save American Justice" bandwagon lately hoping for leading Democrats and Obama to take a strong position against the Bush lawbreakers since the inauguration. Unfortunately, I may be giving up on convincing our Republican friends based on numerous recent debates.

To be blunt, I'm having trouble meeting ANY Republicans - yes, I mean ANY - that are willing to admit that Bush went too far. They always defend Bush as honest at first, but when pressed with the facts they always turn to a "laws and the Constitution be damned" response. The "he kept us safe" and "that's all that matters" argument always prevails. Many finish with "the ends justify the means" even if they don't always realize they're saying it.

No matter what I say to them, our nation's founding principles of justice, humanity, and fair play during wartime mean very little to today's frightened Republican minority. They are completely uninterested in fair play these days. They seem almost brainwashed.

Our nation's "rules of engagement" have been pretty much the same since George Washington fought the British. Our founding father was a great example of fair play, despite the atrocities committed at that time. A few Americans have been charged with war crimes during past wars, but so far America has been considered a role model on how to act during times of crisis. American presidents have been pretty great leaders, representing our higher ideals during conflict, by and large.

America helped create the international conventions that guide civilized modern conflict - to the best of our ability at least. We always fought to protect civilians and prisoners, no matter how horrible they were, for decades. We didn't waiver on our principles in the past despite enemy atrocities and crimes. We always took the high road, hoping to serve as a good example of what is right in the world. Until Bush and his sheep-like Republicans, we were a shining example of good in the world - that "shining city on a hill" that Reagan liked so much.

The Republicans I've been talking to recently all seem willing to do "whatever it takes" to keep us safe. They all seem unconcerned with past rules of engagement. They seem to feel that "everything has changed in the world." I'm sure our forefathers would disagree with them if they could share some of their horror stories. I don't care what you say, but this nation has faced horrible enemies for over two centuries, and I'm sure we can handle a few thousand religious, pirate-like zealots, without abandoning our principles.

Bush and Cheney somehow brainwashed a large part of America into profoundly changing their national mindset. "9/11 changed everything" is a phrase they use far too often, and one that should be eliminated from our national debate. Their "war on terror" is also counterproductive.

The conservatives I've debated seem perfectly comfortable with the idea of torture ("on Americans if necessary" was said), eavesdropping ("on AMERICANS too" was mentioned), open-ended suspension of habeus corpus, soldiers on our streets, detention camps, neighborhood informants, private armies, and even genocide against those who they say "threaten our existence." It's very black and white with them. There is a rancid, ugly fear out there today, and it's mostly coming from Republicans. Let's hope our democracy holds; a potential dictator could have a field-day with today's Republican minority.

Bush, Cheney and the irresponsible right-wing media have helped turn a large chunk of Americans into pathetic, frightened cowards. Yes, if that applies to you, that's what I consider you - a COWARD! Yes, I said it, a COWARD!

That's what I've been calling my Republican friends who espouse undermining our national principles out of fear. You see, I would rather we risk our lives, and remain brave Americans, than sacrifice the best of what this nation is about - justice and human decency - out of fear. YES, I said it, and I mean it. OUR LIVES, ALL OUR LIVES, EVEN YOURS! For God's sake Republicans, grow a pair! Trust me, I'll feel the same way if we're attacked again. Being attacked will change NOTHING!

Just like our soldiers, we need to stand-up for what we believe in. Our nation needs to be an example for good in this world. No matter how bad they get, we need to stay above it. We need to always treat our enemies as human beings. Justice should not be sacrificed at the alter of fear. I will never stop fighting to preserve our national honor and system of justice. We need to fight to remain a just and honorable nation.

Monday's Political Rant #1 - Michael

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Seeds of American Injustice

Hello Bloggers - It's only the first week, and I don't wish to be negative, but so far President Obama seems lukewarm on Bush crimes. It's early, but I'm still nervous. He signed impressive executive orders restoring transparency and ethics, and ordering Guantanamo Bay closed and ending torture, but going after Bush crimes and Justice Department priorities are still a mystery.

Republicans are still trying to cover their tracks. Many believe Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) is delaying the confirmation of Attorney General nominee Eric Holder by one week to delay him from going after Bush, Cheney et al on wiretapping. Many believe they're going to "beat up" on Holder, or may be trying to forge backroom deals to protect Bush and company. Some Republicans are threatening to withdraw their support on the stimulus bill and other legislation if the Administration moves against Bush. So far there's a lot of smoke. Let's hope for a fire.

The biggest crime is time sensitive, and Obama should know it. George Bush reauthorized the illegal wiretapping himself because Colmey stopped the hospitalized John Ashcroft from signing the paperwork. Remember, Colmey criticized Gonzales for trying to force him in front of that congressional committee. Well, some legal experts feel that bit of lawbreaking is about to expire, in so far as the statute of limitations may be running out in March. We need Obama and his Justice Department to act soon .

Whistleblowing on the day Obama took office has revealed the extent of the wiretapping. The NSA spied on all Americans, including journalists and politicians. George Bush probably benefited from knowledge learned through wiretaps. It's probably one reason why he always seemed to have inside information. His Administration, especially Rove and Cheney, were a little too good at exploiting weakness; it's obvious now they had an edge. If they did it, it represents a string of felonies and it should NOT BE IGNORED! Obama must act!

I find the whole justice debate mind-blowing. Evidence of Bush lawbreaking is extensive, yet the majority of Republicans still defend him. They impeached Bill Clinton over perjury, yet fail to criticize Bush over anything. They act as if he's above the law. They call anyone who questions him an "extremist." They always describe him as a "good guy" who "did his best" during very "difficult times." They describe him as a "decent man" who "tried to do the right thing" but fell short. It's extraordinary listening to them.

My Republican friends and family won't even question his past actions. They're almost "sheep-like" in their reverence for the man. They say "he kept us safe" as though nothing else matters. It's obvious to me now that objectivity, self-awareness and reflection are not strong Republican personality traits.

It's obvious there's a double-standard in the country today, but I can't figure out why. Is it party loyalty? It's very strange. We threw Nixon out of office, and he was a Republican, so why not question Bush? Do we need White House tapes? What do they need? Ordinary Americans appear almost brainwashed. They scream about Blago, and call for investigations and justice against Democrats on a regular basis, yet rarely question their own actions. It's amazing to watch.

Even journalists seem to ignore the severity of the Bush crimes. Dismissing FOX "News," correspondents on corporate news networks like CNN and MSNBC these days talk about how "difficult it would be to prosecute" and how "most in Washington are looking ahead." Except for a few like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, they talk as if enforcing the law [for politicians] is optional. I often walk away from the news dumbfounded that our nation has become so selective in the way it views justice.

So, ask yourself what will happen if nothing happens? I'll tell you! Average Americans will begin to question the fairness of justice, and start to see unequal justice. "Why care if they don't" will be asked everywhere? It will mean a slow and steady erosion of respect for the legal system. Is that wise? It may not be obvious right away, but it will begin to surface in courtrooms across America over time. Do you really want to take that risk Mr. President?

The Obama Administration may be playing political gamesmanship, knowing something we don't know. We can only hope they're doing the right thing, because inaction would be a disaster for the future of the nation. A majority of the country knows that Bush lawbreaking was extensive, and ignoring it would set a dangerous precedent for future presidents - both Republican and Democrat. American justice should be more important than political expediency. Please do not sew the seeds of American injustice. Please act soon Mr. President.

Friday's Political Rant #1 - Michael

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Nation Evolves

Hello Bloggers - We did it! We voted for change! The Republicans are out of power! So, what's different already? A great example could be seen on the National Mall yesterday, as well as at celebrations around the nation and the world.

People everywhere were celebrating the victory of a man who speaks about the hopes and dreams of families, communities and nations, and not just about those of individuals - especially selfish individuals. We elected a man who understands how America and the world, our very lifestyle, cannot survive without change.

His inaugural themes echoed his campaign, but were more blunt. He stressed more cooperation, sacrifice and charity. He's challenging us to help him heal our nation, and hopefully help the world. "A new era of ourselves, our nation, and the world" is a good start to a presidency that is required to return balance to a suffering world.

If I heard him right, personal ambition is now less important than creating jobs that will employ all Americans. Wall Street is now less important than Main Street. Free trade is now less important than fair trade. Health care for some Americans is now less important than health care for all Americans. There's no doubt a lot has changed today.

I heard him describe a government no longer focused on saving the wealth of a few. That was yesterday. Today we want corporations and the banking industry to help people keep their homes, and create good jobs for average Americans. Wall Street helping Main Street! I heard a man talk about jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs!

If you listened carefully, you could hear him say that a rising tide will lift all boats - or at least close to it. That rising tide will be the middle-class.

I also heard him talk a lot about helping others. "The selflessness of workers who rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job" is a great example of self-sacrifice at a time of great suffering. Tough times require us to help our fellow Americans. I've done okay in life, so I'm prepared to help if I can. Are you?

It shouldn't have to be said, but after Reaganism, trickle-down economics and the "small government" Bush years, it must be said: Americans need to know their president, and their government, will not allow them to starve in the streets. That's what changed yesterday. Obama's "spirit of service" is infectious, and people need to know they will be okay.

Let us hope that Obama renews the original ideas embodied in our Declaration of Independence, where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness suggests hope to all. We should not live in a selfish society. The only way mankind is going to survive on this small planet, with billions arriving each generation, is to work together.

Other western, capitalistic democracies know it. It's time for more Americans to figure it out. Selfishness and unilateralism is a luxury we Americans can no longer afford. We need to evolve!

Wednesday's Political Rave #1 - Michael

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Congratulations President Obama!

Good Morning Bloggers - I just listened to PRESIDENT OBAMA'S inauguration speech and was very moved to say the least. He did a great job reminding us of our ideals as a nation and how often we've met difficult challenges throughout our history. It's wonderful to celebrate our new president and to look forward to a better future.

Tuesday's Inauguration Rave #1 - Michael

Monday, January 19, 2009

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

Good Morning Bloggers - I was an early Obama supporter, having donated to his campaign nearly three years ago. I made an early choice that I liked his positions, and that we needed new blood in politics, and more diversity.

After months of volunteering and financial support, I am very proud to be witnessing his inauguration. I too want to celebrate this historical event, and extend my best wishes to African-Americans and others who are standing a little taller today.

It is also wonderful to celebrate Obama's ascent close to the day we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It's amazing when you think about it; only four decades ago the haters were openly killing people because of their skin color. We've come a long way. I guess dreams can come true, even in politics.

I acknowledge the historic nature of this inauguration, but I also want to acknowledge the defeat of everything we've been fighting against over the past eight years. George Bush and Dick Cheney are leaving the White House in disgrace today. They are leaving as the most unpopular president and vice-president in American history.

Despite what their supporters say, newspapers at home and around the world are celebrating their departure. We may not have impeached them, thanks to Pelosi and the Democrats, or thrown them in jail yet, but we will be free of them. Their actual exit, which was considered questionable by many, is a victory to be celebrated.

So, let's celebrate Barack Obama as the next President of the United States, but it's just as important to celebrate the departure of the WORST dynamic duo to ever occupy the White House. The criminals are being forced out, and there's nothing they, or their supporters, can do about it.

Our nation will hopefully once again be lead by individuals who believe in the rule of law, and the concept that nobody, no matter how powerful, is above that law. We'll continue to fight to bring them to justice, but in the meantime it's enough to know they are leaving. The nightmare is finally over. Thank you God.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!
Monday's Political Rave #1 - Michael

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Incurious Case of George W. Bush

Good Morning Bloggers - They call us Bush Haters and Bush Bashers, among many other insulting things, but the truth is WE are the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS who refuse to dismiss what happened over the past eight years as simply "bad luck."

I guess it somehow makes them feel better if they call us "haters," because it casts us as unreasonable malcontents who never gave Bush a chance. The truth is harder for them to swallow. It's easier for them to say "he kept us safe" while they ask us to ignore everything else. Republicans, or at least Bush supporters, seem to enjoy pixellating the Bush presidency, thus avoiding the whole picture.

Bush's farewell address, much like his last press conference, was nothing more than a farce. His supporters agree with his assertions of success, but when you pick them apart, and look at the facts, they are just as absurd as his presidency.

Last night he pointed to three areas where he feels the most pride: education, drug benefits and veterans health. The truth is many observers feel that all three areas are considered worse off today because of his actions.

No Child Left Behind is condemned by educators who feel it is a disaster, and will fail in Congress next time. The drug benefits passed by Bush and Congressional Republicans are considered a windfall for big pharmaceutical, adding billions in cost to America's heath care system, and are doomed to be scrapped in favor or true reform under Obama and the Democrats.

His final claim of success is nothing but a lie. Bush has some of the lowest approval ratings of any president according to the majority of Veteran's rights groups. Visit Project Vote Smart if you want to see for yourself. He has been considered a roadblock to improving the lives of veterans. That claim is a boldfaced lie, and is unsupportable like all the others.

Bush claimed "moral clarity" last night as one of the hallmarks of his presidency. Perhaps he believes it, but most people don't see it that way. History is strewn with the bodies and debris that resulted from leaders who claimed moral clarity.

Despots throughout time, including Hitler, believed they had moral clarity or a moral obligation to make the tough decisions. It's the nature of the decisions that disturb most observers. Stalin, Franco, Mussolini, and Pol Pot all claimed moral clarity. Their followers, even some alive today, believe they were right, and acted in the best interest of their nation.

Stalin is still revered by conservative Russians as their country's greatest leader. They think of him as their own George Washington. Moral clarity is a smoke-screen. Only fools believe in it, and Bush is a fool to claim it.

Equally disturbing was his claim about his willingness to make the "tough decisions." Again, it's absurd. It's impossible to become president without the ability to make tough decisions. The ability itself mean nothing. It's about making the RIGHT DECISIONS! We didn't hire him to simply make decisions; we hired him to make the right decisions. Again, he is being absurd.

That brings us to his claim of "safe-guarding the economy." It is another HUGE and DISTURBING LIE.

Bush FAILED THE ECONOMY by allowing the financial markets to run wild, crash and burn. I'll admit the fool finally reacted when confronted with a disaster scenario by Paulson, but the truth is they were warned months before and did nothing. I don't care what his supporters say, he was in charge over the past eight years, and his actions caused a catastrophic failure. His administration failed to enforce regulations that could have prevented the crisis. It's simply another lie. BUSH FAILED THE ECONOMY.

Finally, last but not least, I would like to refute the most annoying claim Bush and his supporters use over and over. The one about how HE KEPT US SAFE over the past seven years. It is a joke. Without real evidence of actual thwarted attacks, and that his decisions made us safer, I believe the terrorists are simply long-term planners. It's just too vague and unsupportable.

I could just as easily argue that he made us less safe because he tortured people, setting us up for an attack in the future. There is real evidence that we are threatened more now by jihadists because of the way they handled people at Abu Graib and Guantanamo.

Extremists take years to plan their attacks, especially since it takes a long time to plan and execute large-scale terror attacks. It is reasonable to assume that an attack could occur at anytime. I do not buy their assertion he kept us safe. It is my equally valid assertion HE HAS MADE US LESS SAFE!

I also want to point out that Bush deserves scorn for allowing 9/11 to happen on his watch. Real evidence, no matter what his supporters say, suggests that he, his Secretary of State, and his national security team, dismissed Clinton Administration warnings, and intelligence reports, about a pending attack by civilian aircraft. THEY DID NOTHING! It's plain and simple, George Bush was the president who allowed 9/11 to happen by not doing a better job as president.

The past eight years was not simply bad luck. It was much worse. It will be remembered as the American epitome of ineptitude and incompetence. Practically everything his administration has touched has become a disaster.

From his tortuous pursuit of his war on terror, to the millions who died in Iraq in pursuit of one dictator, to the drug lords who now run Afghanistan, to the multiple wars in the Middle East under his watch, to the people who died due to his delay in helping the victims of Katrina and the loss of a great American city, to the collapse of American justice and moral leadership, to the incredible debt, to his disastrous mismanagement of the economy, the list goes on and on, and it proves that George Bush will be remembered as possibly the WORST PRESIDENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

They call us Bush Haters. I'll counter by calling them Bush Sycophants, Toadies, Serfs, and Fools. They fail to see him for the true failures he represents. They look at one issue, or one small success, and refuse to see the whole picture. Their ostrich-like deniability offends the majority of us who have suffered through this idiot.

They elected an over-confident, incompetent, moral simpleton to be President of the United States. They need to learn from their mistake, and shun the Sarah Palins in favor of more well-rounded leaders. Their vote needs to be based on more than one issue. They need to be more careful next time.

Friday's Political Rant #1 - Michael

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Call to Action: Support John Conyers Now!

Good Morning Bloggers - I'm very happy this morning to rave about how House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), is calling for a "Blue Ribbon Commission" to fully investigate the Bush administration. That is GREAT NEWS!

Conyers published a 487-page report yesterday entitled, Reining in the Imperial Presidency: Lessons and Recommendations Relating to the presidency of George W. Bush. I know he's not a federal prosecutor, but it's a start. In it he makes 47 recommendations "designed to restore the traditional checks and balances of our constitutional system," along with the Blue Ribbon Commission to bring Bushies to justice.

"Even after scores of hearings, investigations, and reports, we still do not have answers to some of the most fundamental questions left in the wake of Bush’s Imperial Presidency," Conyers said in a release. "Investigations are not a matter of payback or political revenge – it is our responsibility to examine what has occurred and to set an appropriate baseline of conduct for future administrations."

On January 6th, Conyers introduced a bill that, if passed, would create the "Commission on Presidential War Powers and Civil Liberties," which would seek to root out President Bush's abuses. EVERYBODY NEEDS TO SUPPORT THIS BILL! IT IS VITAL TO AMERICAN JUSTICE!

So, this will be my new cause, and call to action. I will contact my representatives today, especially my Congressmen Henry Waxman, and encourage everybody who agrees with me to please do the same. This is a very serious issue. It's not a left/right issue, it's about American justice.

We need to make sure Conyers gets the support he needs, along with his allies. I will be writing more over the next few weeks to make sure we keep focused. If Obama isn't going to take action, than we need to support those who will, starting with Conyers. I will volunteer, donate, and do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to make sure the truth comes out, and justice prevails.

Wednesday's Rave/Call to Action #1 - Michael

PS - Here's a great Paul Krugman Op-Ed from the Herald-Tribune discussing the topic.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Republicans Hear a Who?

Good Morning Bloggers - I was VERY HAPPY to read that three more Senate Republicans in key states will not be running again in 2010: Senator George V. Voinovich of Ohio, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, and Christopher S. Bond of Missouri. They join Senator Mel Martinez of Florida creating problems for Republicans in 2010.

So far this year, no Democrats have announced plans to retire after the current Senate term. Let's hope it stays that way.

Well, well, I guess GOP strategists and the far right wing-nuts are crapping themselves right now. How are you feeling Rush, Sean and Bill? Nervous? As long as Obama does a good job, and the Democrats in Congress represent the people's interests, then it's clear 2010 is shaping up to be another good year for Democrats.

The GOP has been devastated by losses in two major elections. Most impartial analysts blame Republican policies and George Bush, despite party propaganda to the contrary. The GOP didn't only suffer losses at the top, it also suffered losses at the local and state level. It lost key "red states" and lost party members in the millions nationwide. There is every indication that unless something changes, the party is in serious decline.

A key area of change that most Americans don't notice is how special interests will also change within the beltway's "K Street Culture" of lobbyists and influence peddlers. Those changes are important too, because the country has suffered for years under Republican special interest. Democratic Party special interest groups are not innocent, but overall they are well known to be more representative of the middle-class and average Americans.

Republican lobbyists lose influence and are replaced by Democratic interests. Special interest power shifts away from oil companies, the industrial-military complex and international conglomerates, to more people friendly groups representing the environment, education, health care for all Americans, and state and local interests. The trend will probably last for years.

The remaining Republicans must be feeling the heat. They will be running out of Washington influence, and will ultimately lose their ability to profit from their positions, ending up as the vocal opposition. The far right blow-hards will continue to scream into the winds of change, but will eventually lose power since most polls show Americans leaning Democratic on almost every major issue. It will be a very interesting reversal of fortune, and one that I will enjoy watching unfold.

The far right and FOX "News," along with the far right die-hards that comment on blogs like this one, will continue to blast for years to come, but they will also fade over time. Like the Dr. Seuss classic Horton Hears a Who, Republicans are pathetically struggling to listen for any tiny voices still supporting their positions. Unlike Horton, it's a losing battle. The world is changing, and only the Democratic Party is changing with it.

For those right-wingers who think I'm wrong, remember that it took decades after World War II for the conservatives in Britain to finally acknowledge the British Empire was lost. America has changed in a similar way, and unfortunately it will take just as long for hard-headed conservatives in America to admit the nation has changed, and not in their favor.

Tuesday's Political Rave #1 - Michael

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thanks! Chicago Sun-Times

Hello Bloggers - I'm pleased to announce that my recent post entitled Bush Snubs Obamas for John Howard was reprinted on the Chicago Sun-Times website.

It represents my third full length post reprint in a major publication. I'm pretty happy since Our Rants & Raves has only been around since last September. I also found a few quotes pulled from the blog posts as well. I must admit, it does make it more worthwhile.

I think I was most proud when the Sun-Times reprinted my endorsement of Barack Obama the Monday before the election. I would like to thank BlogBurst and the Sun-Times for their help in publicizing Our Rants & Raves! I encourage you guys to reprint whatever you wish. Thanks!

Monday's Thank You #1 - Michael

Police Need to Treat Tasers as Deadly Weapons

Hello Bloggers - I need to take a position on tasers after reading about another death this weekend in Virginia. Poor 17-year-old Derrick Jones of Martinsville was pronounced dead in his own home following an encounter with police that ended in a taser blast.

Neighbors called the police due to noise. Jones, who had been drinking AT HOME with friends, "moved rapidly" towards the officer while making unspecified unkind comments. Police officers know that tasers have killed people in the past, especially those who may be high on drugs, so a taser should have been used as a LAST RESORT!

It is clear to me that police officers, who I hold in great esteem, are not using their tasers properly. They're inadvertently killing innocent people, and something must be done. He wasn't armed, so why taser him? Why couldn't the officers have just called in back-up, and wrestled him to the ground the old-fashioned way? Isn't that why we hire strong officers?

This is an example of how some police departments are taking tasers too lightly, and how they use them too casually. Despite what some police say, tasers can be deadly weapons, and they should be taken very seriously.

A CBS report shows that tasers have KILLED "at least 400 people in the United States and Canada since 2001." Those figures leave out those who merely suffered heart attacks yet survived after being tasered. I don't know about you, but if the police know that tasers can kill, or cause heart attacks, and they do, than it's clear that tasers should be restricted to the same rules as firearms. It only seems reasonable to me.

I've even read that when testing tasers on rookies, to demonstrate their use, police departments make a big deal to use volunteers with a medical clearance, because they know a heart attack is possible. That alone is very disturbing to me. It shows they are aware.

I'm pretty angry because, despite my admiration for law enforcement, I think some police departments are out of control, seeming almost militaristic in the way they enforce laws on unarmed citizens. It could be the thin end of the wedge, and could get worse. We as citizens need to get more vocal about it, unless you want to risk being tasered in the future, or even killed.

Just like that college student in Florida who tried to scream questions to McCain, and who begged not to get tasered by campus police, people are getting tasered way too easily. It is a growing problem that needs to be addressed by journalists and community groups. It is a good cause, and people have to speak up more. I know I will try.

My own father died in 1969 after police chased a criminal causing him to slam into my father going around 90 mph on city streets. Police chases kill thousands each year, and very little is written about their victims.

I cope with the idea that my father died because police thought it was important to catch that criminal. In a way he was armed, at least with a speeding vehicle. I could see tasering that young man if he was carrying a taser, or driving a car perhaps, but not for simply running and yelling abusive language in his own home.

Citizens tolerate police carrying firearms for good reason, but we do not have to tolerate police tasering unarmed citizens. They should NOT BE ALLOWED TO SHOOT PEOPLE with tasers without a very good reason, such as a SERIOUS threat. Either police departments begin to take great steps to limit their use, or citizens should do it for them by writing laws. Something must be done. Derrick Jones should not die in vain.

Monday's Political Rant #2 - Michael

PS - The Chicago Post-Tribune reprinted this article for us. Thanks Post-Tribune!

Obama Must Go After Bush Lawbreakers

Good Morning Bloggers - I was going to write about the lack of regret shown by George - "I never made a mistake as president" - Bush at this morning's official final press conference, but something else caught my eye that made me even more upset. So, after my rant about choosing Warren to speak at the inaugural, I now offer my second RANT against Obama.

Unlike Republicans, we're not afraid to criticize our leaders in public.

The Internet is filled with snippets of Barack Obama's interview on ABC with George Stephanopoulos yesterday, which I missed because I do try to get away from political news in favor of a life outside on weekends. I can't believe it, but Obama said that Guantanamo Bay is not a priority for him, and even more disturbing is how he doesn't seem very concerned about the crimes committed by the Bush administration.

"We have not made final decisions, but my instinct is for us to focus on how to we make sure we're moving forward, we are doing the right thing. That doesn't mean that if somebody has blatantly broken the law that they are above the law, but my orientation is going to be moving forward," Obama said. THERE IS PLENTY OF EVIDENCE ALREADY THEY'VE BROKEN THE LAW, so what the hell is he talking about? Start talking about BRINGING THEM TO JUSTICE!

Now, I'm aware that we have an economic crisis that needs to be THE priority, but that doesn't mean that his Justice Department is unable to begin investigations into the crimes of the past eight years. The statement worries me a great deal. HE NEEDS TO MAKE IT A PRIORITY TOO.

We understood how he might have avoided the issue during the election, but what is preventing him from letting justice take its course now? NOTHING! There will be a grassroots DEMOCRATIC PARTY UPROAR if the Obama Justice Department doesn't do their job of going after the lawbreakers of the past eight years. Core constituents will be VERY ANGRY!

Numerous human rights and civil liberties groups are calling for senior Bush administration officials to be prosecuted for a series of alleged abuses, and OBAMA KNOWS IT. There are too many to list, but a few major ones include lies related to Iraq, war profiteering, the illegal detention and torture of terrorist suspects, domestic spying, destruction of White House records, lying before Congress, obstructing justice, and on and on. There are Congressional Reports that clearly state where the lawbreaking occurred, and OBAMA KNOWS IT!

Obama criticized Vice President Dick Cheney for his public defense of "extraordinary" interrogation methods used against top terrorism suspects, including waterboarding. "Vice President Cheney, I think, continues to defend what he calls extraordinary measures or procedures when it comes to interrogations and from my view waterboarding is torture," Obama said. "I have said that under my administration we will not torture."

TALK IS FINE, but they broke domestic and international laws so GO AFTER THEM AND THROW THEM IN JAIL! If you don't do it Obama, then I believe the international community should do what we're obviously too pathetic to do ourselves. Unfortunately, that would be worse, and make us look very bad.

I will do everything I can to give future President Obama every benefit of the doubt, but we elected him to do many things at the same time, and that includes restoring real justice. So fix the economy while REESTABLISHING JUSTICE in the country. WE WANT INDICTMENTS, PERP WALKS, TRIALS, and CONVICTIONS! It is not negotiable. My message to the Obama team is that justice is not optional. Do the job we hired you for, and restore the nation to its former glory. Equal justice under law is its cornerstone.

Monday's Political Rant #1 - Michael

Friday, January 9, 2009

Americans Always Get a Fresh Start

Good Morning Bloggers - Well, it looks like George W. Bush is leaving office having eliminated nearly 4 million jobs and leaving us in a nightmare of a recession, and don't forget about the $5 trillion in new debt - out of an $11 trillion total - he and his Republican friends will leave us as a parting gift. Bush is a failure on a colossal scale. Few can fathom the depths of his blunders, since the numbers and the problems are mind-numbing, staggering and sad.

The official unemployment rate is now at 7.2% and when you throw in the under-employed and those who simply fell out the system, economists say it's more like 14%. Of course the far right is already saying that it's the Democrat's or Obama's fault, but the rest of us know better. They were in charge - despite their ignorant belief we were after the 2006 election, filibusters be damned - and they destroyed our system. Now we need to tune them out and pick up the pieces.

So, despite the bad news, I chose to rave this morning. Why? Because I choose to remain optimistic. One way to remain optimistic and start the healing process is to reflect on success in the past. In 1992, when Bill Clinton was elected President, the American economy was barely creating jobs, wages were stagnant, and the unemployment rate was 7.5 percent. Sound familiar? That was under another Republican, and a Bush. I guess the Republicans loved those days so much they elected his son to do it all over again.

Obama's new economic plan is similar to Clinton’s at that time, however, whereas Clinton focused heavily on fiscal responsibility and debt reduction, Obama is forced to to renew parts of Roosevelt's New Deal. His bold economic strategy is focused on: government spending designed to spur growth, investing in education, and health care reform.

Once the bleeding has stopped, he also wants to focus on investing in green energy and other new industries. It's sill unclear what he'll do about Clinton's love of trade deals, so I guess we'll have to wait and see. I only hope he cares more about FAIR TRADE at the expense of free trade.

Still, if you consider what Clinton achieved, the strategy helped create over 22.4 million jobs and contributed to the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. WOW! Despite the idiotic opposition that always tries to take credit for the good while passing the buck on the bad, Democrats should be confident that we have what it takes to fix what George Bush and the Republicans broke.

So, let's try to be optimistic. Obama is not just a new beginning, he's a brilliant man, well suited to fixing the mess we're in now. He's working on creative solutions, perhaps taking the best of Clinton while adding his own bit of ingenuity.

That's what is so cool about the American system. Over the past eight years we Americans, or at least Democrats, have been envious of other countries with Parliamentary systems. We all know Bush would have suffered a vote of no confidence years ago. Our system is flawed, but the abusive presidents like Bush are few, while the number of very good, creative presidents, who accomplished great things, are clearly the majority.

So, we should be happy despite the nightmare. Yes, we sustained a great deal of damage, the unemployment rate continues to skyrocket, but the ship of state is still afloat, and we have a captain who understands what must be done to repair her. It's not going to be easy, but then again, tough times aren't meant to be easy. They're meant to challenge, test people of good character, weed out the bad, and create new solutions. America always gets a fresh start. Soon we shall have it.

Friday's Political Rave #1 - Michael

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bush Snubs Obamas for John Howard

Hello Bloggers - Despite far right rantings to the contrary, the truth is that Blair House should be available for the incoming first family ANYTIME during the entire period of transition.

The Obama family asked to move in early January so their kids could settle into a routine and go to school, but the Bush Administration declined the request. They also refused to offer any other diplomatic residence as an alternative, suggesting a hotel. That, of course, angered many Obama supporters like myself. Feel free to scroll down and read my December 31st rant entitled Bush Ignores Protocol to the Very End.

Well, the Washington Post discovered WHO will be staying at Blair House, thus kicking President-elect Barack Obama and his family to the curb. They will be at the less than secure Hay-Adams Hotel. It's one of Bush's best war buddies, John Howard, the former Australian prime minister and leading member of President Bush's coalition of the willing in Iraq.

Slapping the face of the American electorate, Howard and his entourage will be bunking at Blair House despite the Obama's wishes that week. Other Freedom Medal winners, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, declined Blair House. My guess is they knew it would be controversial during a time of transition. They decided to be more diplomatic.

There are other DAYTIME events scheduled at Blair House - all hosted by Laura Bush. The events are considered minor, intimate diplomatic affairs, and could easily be held across the street at the White House. Unfortunately, Laura declined to move them. She is WRONG!

There are no other overnight visits up until January 15th when the Obama family is finally being allowed to move in, so it does beg the question WHY the Bushes are forcing the new first family into an unsecured hotel. I guess we'll never know.

The right wing will claim the Obamas want the residence too early. BS! The timing is up to the NEW first family. The Bushes should respect it. The minor events at the house should be moved, especially John Howard's stay.

The Bushes are being disrespectful to the Obamas, tradition, protocol, and the AMERICAN PEOPLE. They should have made an effort to accommodate them at Blair House. It's that simple.

Wednesday's Political Rant #1 - Michael

Bush Free and a Chance to Heal

Good Morning Bloggers - We all have a reason to CELEBRATE! We will finally be BUSH FREE for a few years. Thank God we will get a chance to heal before they do any more damage. Jeb Bush WILL NOT BE RUNNING to fill the open Senate seat of Florida Senator Mel Martinez.

That is GREAT news! I know he's NOT AS BAD AS GEORGE, but those of us in the opposition do not want to take ANY CHANCES. We were worried the Republicans would try to pull another Bush out of the hat. That is something we Americans should NOT TOLERATE! We still need to clean up after the last one.

I know the Republicans will accuse me of being full of hate, but that would be too harsh. You see, I don't hate Jeb Bush or any of the Bush clan. I just think George is a criminal and the nation was badly damaged. We need time to heal. The whole idea of another Bush is a very disturbing idea to me.

"While the opportunity to serve my state and country during these turbulent and dynamic times is compelling, now is not the right time to return to elected office," Jeb Bush said. I could not agree more. The man has a reasonable sense about what the nation is feeling right now. THANK YOU JEB!

I'm sorry for his father, but that's a family problem. He should have tried to stop George from running if he cared so much about Jeb. We've had enough, and it is time for the country to clear the Bush brush for a few years, if not forever.

Wednesday's Political Rave #1 - Michael

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

National Disunity, Innuendo and Scandal

Good Morning Bloggers - The far right has grown even more vocal than usual over the past two months. I realize they're sore losers, but they seem to be accusing Obama and the Democrats of whatever pops into their minds. They're even more illogical and tiresome than usual.

My theory is they smell blood. What blood? A weakness in voter logic. The Clinton and McCain campaign's limited success at harming Obama by linking him to perceived radicals has obviously tweaked their interest. Guilt by association resonates with voters! They see it as a new way to harm Democrats.

In the same way Karl Rove and George Bush drove their fanatics over the past eight years using wedge issues like gay rights and stem cell research, younger Republican strategists are using innuendo to drive scandals using that great American icon - the ROLODEX.

They're using random relationships and speculation as chum to brew new scandals daily. Facts are irrelevant. Since the election they have "chummed-up" the "OBAMA RECESSION," "ELECTION FRAUD" in Minnesota, and numerous other "OBAMA SCANDALS" involving people like Blagojevich and Richardson. Again, facts be damned. It's insanity, but then again it is the far right.

Oh well, I thought they might learn from their defeat, but if the past two months are any indication of their intentions, it appears there will be no coming together as a nation. They will probably continue to use the strategy, and the media will continue to feed from the Republican trough, for as long as it gets them attention.

It's incredible! The election is over, they were beaten very badly, but they still keep fighting. They're like junkyard dogs! Not the funny kind, but the sad kind.

They have decided not to cooperate. Instead, they are determined to paint Obama and his team as corrupt. The corporate media is cooperating by giving their wild speculation air time. The heresay and speculation has grown beyond FOX. The far right is determined to deny the Democrats any respite. They are determined to play dirty to the end.

Republicans get away with war crimes while Democrats are criticized because they associate with one another. The media ignores real scandal while responding to the smallest perception of scandal encouraged by Republicans who seek to prey on weak-minded voters. Unless things improve, the world today seems ass-backward, illogical and dark.

No matter how low they go, it doesn't change the fact that the country voted for Barack Obama to fix the problems caused by the Republicans. That is undeniable. The people want CHANGE! The rantings and the lies of the far right will not change that fact. However, it DISTRACTS from the mission. It HARMS Obama's ability to get things done. It can slow or prevent progress.

I continue to support Obama's desire to unite us, but I bet against it. They are a dishonest and dishonorable opposition. They want us to fail. They are biding their time, hoping to once again lie their way back into power. I grow tired of their deceit, and will not fall for it again.

Tuesday's Political Rant #1 - Michael

Friday, January 2, 2009

Another GOP Attempt to Shift the Blame

Good Morning Bloggers - Well, it looks like the conservatives are trying to spin more webs to cover their butts after the economic downturn. I must admit though, the latest is one of their best. It's just complicated enough that might cause some people to believe it.

Unfortunately for them, it's also simple enough for others to dismiss it outright. Outgoing US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is now saying that "a failure to address the rise of emerging markets and resulting imbalances was partly to blame for the global financial crisis," according to a Financial Times interview published today.

Interesting! What failures? Who failed? The interesting part is that he leaves those answers to the reader; he is VAGUE throughout the interview. You're supposed to guess. He keeps saying "global" because he wants to leave the reader with the idea that it was a global mistake, and not due to our own domestic laws or decisions. In other words, Republican decisions.

Paulson told the Financial Times that "imbalances between fast-growing nations which save, such as China, and those who spent were at the root of the problem." What a fancy way to try and make us seem like an innocent victim! Paulson, you're a piece of work. I believe you no longer have credibility. You are now part of the problem and MUST GO!

Yes, we are the nation "who spent," and it's for that reason, along with extremely unregulated and overly-complex markets, WE are the culprits. WE created the worldwide imbalances due to our own laws and policies - or lack of them.

Name another nation on the planet that allowed for derivatives markets that gambled 50+ trillion dollars based on no real assets? I challenge anybody to come up with a better example of a more out-of-control, economically irresponsible country than us? I dare you.

WE didn't have to spend; WE were encouraged to spend based on changes to our legal and economic system. It was Republican "lazy capitalism" that created markets where people were ENCOURAGED to spend; that encouraged LARGE BUBBLES to grow, and eventually POP!

We became a nation of speculation, immediate gratification, and unsustainable returns. WE created the problem. "Global imbalances" is just another conservative Republican attempt to shift the blame. It's a FREAKIN SMOKESCREEN people!

"Excesses ... built up for a long time, (with) investors looking for yield, mis-pricing risk," Paulson told the Times. That's just DOUBLETALK people! Those were OUR "EXCESSES" created by a HUGE TRADE DEFICIT with the third-world (that politicians should have addressed long ago) and Republicans eliminating regulation creating highly capitalized and RISKY markets.

It was OUR FAULT no matter what Paulson says. WE LEAD THE CHARGE FOR EXCESS, no matter what Paulson says.

I'm tired of reacting to these people. I wouldn't have responded IF he had just described the WHO and the WHY! Instead, the whole interview was one big attempt to make the "deciders" look less culpable.

THEY are to blame, and they shouldn't get off the hook. They're trying to find ANY BS EXCUSE to escape it. Any reasonably intelligent person can read Paulson's interview and see the smokescreen.

One red flag is how the theory is only supported by the same conservative economists who got us into this mess, and who are also motivated to cover their butts and save their reputations. It's just one big elaborate SPIN!

None of it makes any sense. IF we had acted responsibly as a global market player there would NOT have been excesses. Not to mention, if the markets had been safe, the "excesses" would have been safe. It's as simple as that people.

The whole idea that global imbalances caused the crisis is just another example of conservative Republicans looking for a scapegoat for their own pathetic mistakes. It's a specialty of theirs. Pass the buck comes naturally to them. In other words, they're lying sacks.

It doesn't matter how "sophisticated" the argument sounds, it's BS!

Friday's Political Rant #1 - Michael