Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What Republicans Should Care About

Hello Bloggers! I hope everybody is having a great Summer 2010! I'm enjoying it so far. Btw, to be precise, the definition of perspective I'm referring to is "the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful situation."

I admit that I still have blog fever (the bad kind) and will continue to stay away from serious political blogging (I've decided the insanity and absurdity of today's far right can cause cancer), but I thought it might be fun to create an interactive blog game of sorts for those who occasionally stumble across my blog - and wish to vent. If you want to read about serious politics, feel free to browse my past work.

So, to my blog game. I call it What Republicans Should Care About (yet Ignore). Yes, it is a game, not a political debate. It's a place for progressives to vent their frustrations with the other side. Republicans can go play their own blog games. So, I'll go first, and if you like it, feel free to join in by contributing your own within the comments section of the blog.

What Republicans Should Care About (yet Ignore) #1 on 06/22/10

How their blind support of America's military-industrial complex and war-mongering is a leading cause of America's debt, leads to a culture of corruption in Washington, produces few jobs, pollutes our environment, costs our government billions annually, and leads to thousands and/or millions of deaths (American and foreign) based on an unsustainable, false pro-democracy-at-any-cost, divine-right, far-right culture that insists America is the right hand of God in the world  - in other words, the world's police force.

My Reaction

To both Republicans and war-friendly Democrats, WE are not the world's police force. WE cannot afford it. WE do not have the money anymore. We Democrats are not going to allow you to destroy our social systems, including our recent health care changes, to police the world at all costs. We are not going to allow you to whittle our government down to two items: defense and corporate welfare.

WE are sick and tired of the corruption, the secrecy, and the lies. We need to figure a better way to work with other FRIENDLY nations to free us from carrying this enormous burden alone. NATO is a starting point, but we need more cooperation and international investment to form stronger worldwide defense forces against terrorism and evil governments. It is possible. The right always screams bloody murder about world governments and a world police force, unless they're controlled by America, and for America.

The right's narrow-minded belief in American exceptionalism and moral authority is going to drive this nation into bankruptcy if they are allowed to lead us again. Time is running out on any Democratic leadership's ability to repair the damage without sacrificing some of the best parts of what is left in civilized politics. Time is running out. Social justice and moral responsibility is doomed in America if the Republicans regain power.

What Republicans Should Care About (yet Ignore) #2 on 06/22/10

How their blind support for Israel is one of the most exhausting, demoralizing, hard-headed and deadly issues in the world today. America and Israel are paying the price for conservative, stubborn pride and personal and national realism every damn day. Instead of trying to build bridges, conservatives choose to remain opposed to anything that might look like a compromise. Instead of being forced to get along, conservatives take the tough stand and hold their ground. Instead of trying to create mutual understanding, conservatives stand against the world based on an absurd idea that Israel can do no wrong.

My Reaction

This has to stop. It's destroying Israel's chances for a prosperous future. It's causing American conflict (and death) globally. Most important, it's crazy. Israel is a democracy, but that doesn't give it the right to take what isn't and wasn't theirs. It's time America pulls the plug. WE need to force Israel to accept its pre-1967 borders, sue for peace with its neighbors, and end this ridiculous conflict for good.

More to come! Have a great day - Michael!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stop Glenn Beck!

StopBeckBadge1Hello Bloggers! Please join my new favorite cause to stop Glenn Beck!
The man is vermin. He lies to millions for money and power. He's helped ruin many political minds that I know and love. We need to do something before he lures more innocent people into his web.

Please visit StopBeck.com and join the mailing list, reach his advertisers, and help expose his constant lies to them. Support any cause that helps to reveal the truth about Beck. The man is hurting our nation in so many ways.

One day he will go down as one more American nightmare - like Joe McCarthy, but worse - that lied its money-and-power-hungry-souless-ignorant-lazy-scum-sucking-self into the hearts of gullible, lazy-thinking and naive people everywhere. Until then, we need to do everything we can to stop him.

I hope you guys are having a great Summer - Michael

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Few Brief Rants

Hello Bloggers! In case some of you still care, let me catch you up on what I've been feeling lately.

American voters - especially in Massachusetts - have to be some of the dumbest on the planet. Sorry people, but to elect Republican Scott Brown in MA with almost 40% labor support just so he can go to the Senate and vote against labor, health care reform, financial reform, and everything else that matters to working Americans is downright Palinesque in its retardation. The fact that MA has a popular health care system is another sore spot. They voted for Scott Brown despite the fact that he would kill reform for the rest of us. To be blunt, thanks for nothing assholes.

The Supreme Court decision to allow corporations (foreign or domestic) the right to donate as much as they want to political campaigns may be a free speech issue to some, but to those of us who care about real democracy it's the worse news since the Dred Scott decision. That horrible mistake declared people property. This latest horrible mistake declared property people - or at least more so. All Americans should be appalled. For God's sake, even the "Tea Baggers" are appalled. The only people to show their approval were leading Republicans who crave corporate money - more than most. No matter what, we need to pass a constitutional amendment to fix the damage. Unless the people do something, this nation is doomed to a future of competitive, corporate fascism and political greed.

President Barack Obama has been doing a great job making Republicans look bad lately, but I don't know what the hell he's doing constantly trying to engage them in some kind of bi-partisan dance. They have no interest in passing any health or financial reform, yet he keeps trying to dance. He must know something I don't, but for now he just looks like he's going nowhere fast. In the meantime, I just received a 39% increase in my health insurance bill from a company that's posting billions in profits. They say it's due to health care cost increases. How stupid do they think we are? If people believe that, they're even dumber than Palin. Needless to say, I'm pissed off. Do something fast Obama or you've lost my vote too, and I was a very strong supporter.

I'm still celebrating the Saints victory - Michael

PS - I kind of agree with Chris Matthews lately. The abuse of the filibuster (the 60-vote threshold in the Senate) and Senatorial privledge suggests that our democracy doesn't seem to be working anymore. We can only hope this is not the beginning of worse things to come. It's getting scary.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saints Go All The Way!

Hello Bloggers! I can't believe it, but after growing up in New Orleans and spending years under the yoke of a losing football team my hometown New Orleans Saints finally won the Superbowl. It's  FANTASTIC!

A very, very happy - Michael

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Message from My Brother in Haiti

Hello Bloggers! I thought you guys might like to see an email I received this weekend from my brother Gordon who is a Naval Reserve officer currently serving in the Navy's rescue efforts in Haiti. It's unbelieveable what our people are doing down there. Combined with our own charitable donations, it does seem that we're doing a great deal to help.

He said it's okay to share, so I hope you guys appreciate hearing some news from somebody I consider a family hero.

Gordon's Email (unedited):

"Family, Friends:

I slept on the 3rd floor of the US Embassy in Haiti. Hundreds of us are sleeping in the hallways and between cubicles - Admirals - Captains - Colonels - Civlian experts - from around our country to bring what is needed to the Haitain people.

The edges of the airport were lined with tents of every branch of the military and from other foreign countries. The floor was nice and hard, and I figured out why noone else was using that spot - it was right by a door that people use all night long - new spot on the floor Sunday night. RADM Wolfe sent me forward from GITMO to be the Sustainment Officer, a Liaison Officer to RADM Thomas to coordinate and establish Logistics systems - ship and aircraft loading, transportation, fuel, rations and water, etc..

We have begun Joint Logistics Over the Shore - JLOTS - and soon we will be moved to a tent camp somewhere near the embassy. I tell you - everywhere I've gone looks like a movie set off of Independence Day - surreal - unbelievable. I flew down with 2 other guys in the rear end of a C130 and two EOC containers. I ate dinner and was debriefed by Rear Admiral (RADM) Wolfe at Guatanamo Bay Cuba Naval Air Station.

Shortly after that I flew in the rear end of a COD (a Navy prop plane with folding wings) with a DESRON Captain and some MREs, tents and water. Its MREs and bottled water for me from here on. The length of stay of is indefinite - probably not that long, but that is subject to demands. Please pray - this situation is unbeliebable - food and water seems to be available to the Haitians - medical and housing is the problem. We can't build enough hospitals.

We have ships coming that my battalion will be unloading. The Marines, Army, and Navy helicopters seem to be the only thing that works to get it from the ports into areas of need. Some Marines are on patrol looking for hurting people and when they find them they call in air support and bring in aid just like they would if they found an enemy force. - It makes your heart swell.

I'll have Sailors in 3 different locations and their security is a concern. Some Marines are sleeping in the dirt - but there are some amazing, heroic things going on here - Americans thinking out of the box - helping people - we are using aircraft carriers - amphibious ships - the show of strength is stunning.

Love Gordon, Dad, brother, son, friend, nephew....."

To me it sounds like a war zone. Still, it's wonderful to use aircraft carriers and amphibious ships to feed and save people. It is so cool! I like our military to be flexible - more value that way. I do hope my brother and all those helping the Haitian people are safe. It's amazing, my family lost their homes and nearly their lives helping others through Katrina (I'm from New Orleans), and now my brother is helping save lives in Haiti.

I must admit, I'm very proud of my family. I haven't been traumatized by any natural disasters yet (though living in LA leaves ample opportunity), but if I live up to my family's recent bravery and willingness to help others, then I should be an asset to my community. God willing.

May God watch over my brother and all those who are sacrificing for the people of Haiti - Michael

PS - I hope I'm not inappropriate here, but I would also like to report how happy I am the Saints are going to the Superbowl - I'm pretty sure it thrills my brother in Haiti too.

It is very special to the people of New Orleans - even those of us who had to leave the Crescent City to follow our career. I'm sure I can speak for all by saying we are all still Saints fans, no matter how long we've been away. Go Saints!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti Needs Our Help

Hello Bloggers! Sadly, death and misery often inflict mankind's poorest. Remember the tsunami. The recent earthquake in Haiti is no different. Living in California I am no stranger to earth movement, but from what I've seen on the news I think they have it pretty bad. Once again we need to help. We should all give something, no matter how small the donation.

I am sending what I can afford to the Red Cross today, and I hope everybody out there does the same. Ignore the religious idiots and selfish distractions like Pat Roberston who try to turn natural disasters into 'wrath of God' fantasies or judgements on mankind. They are the scum of the earth. No, the right thing to do is to try and help our fellow man. That is what is important.

Please visit the International Red Cross online donation page today, and give whatever you can to help those who are suffering in Haiti. The world is getting more and more desperate. People are suffering all over due to poverty and natural disasters. Still, as long as we have the ability to give, we should. It's part of who we are. It's about our humanity. May God Bless the People of Haiti and help them find some comfort.

Our prayers are with you - Michael

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Hello Bloggers! I'm still on hiatus, but I want to wish everyone in the blogosphere Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! I will be visiting friends and family in my hometown of New Orleans - to potential burglars, my house and pets will have a sitter. :) Anyway, I journey on to good food and good times! Go Saints! I hope you guys have great plans too.

Btw, it looks like our optimism involving the Democrats and their ability to pass real reform (health care, financial, etc.) was misguided at best. I don't know about you guys, but I've decided that Joe Lieberman is public enemy #1. I also feel the Progressive Caucus is incapable of playing hardball. Finally, I think Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel are huge pussies. Change my ass!

The whole bunch make me sick, especially considering how much is at stake.

The Republicans are the worst of the worst, but unless something big changes soon, I will no longer consider myself a Democrat. I will re-register in early 2010 as an Independent and refuse to donate any more money to the Democratic Party. The whole system is just too corrupt in my opinion, and they don't deserve my support anymore. Feel free to try and talk me down, but that's the way I feel today.

I say let's forget about our pathetic political leaders and try to find some joy in our own lives during this holiday season. We have no choice really, since nothing good ever seems to come out of Washington anymore. I hope we can all find some peace despite the bitter disappointment.

I hope you guys have a great holiday and a fantastic New Year!


Monday, November 16, 2009

An Inconvenient Truth About Our Politics

Hello Bloggers! Long time no see! I am sorry for being missing in action, but there is a good reason and I thought I should take a little time to say hello and explain why I've taken a break from blogging. So, hello to all of you! Now for the explanation.

I've grown tired of the lies and insanity of American political debate today. It's true that it's always been a little insane, but still the lies from the right have been too much lately. Great American political debate has traditionally been based on actual facts, but the truth is those facts are now an endangered species.

It's clear that "facts" today are corrupted by deceitful politicians, non-governmental organizations, special interest groups, corporations, and many fake news sources. Even its cousin the statistic is manipulated and distorted these days. Everybody knows the unemployment rate is much higher than reported. The same goes for most other - once trusted - leading indicators.

There is no doubt, WE THE PEOPLE are being lied to more than ever. I like to call it the big con, or simply IT. It refers to many causes, but mostly it refers to information technology, which sadly creates the conditions that lead to most of today's factual distortions. Unfortunately, we are now victims of it, we are controlled by it, and we are now all part of it.

Who is the #1 enemy of it? For me, it's currently Rachel Maddow. She dispels more of "it" than any other journalist alive today. Cheers for Rachel!

Sadly few know about it since the corporate media controls access to the message, and they rely on it for most of their fake news and ratings (yes, the ratings are manipulated). In Rovian terms, it is the muddying of America's political waters, stirred-up using bucket-fulls of lies and propaganda. Unfortunately, unless it can be fixed, it could ruin the faith, trust and respect that millions of Americans like me have in our system.

Unless real reforms begin soon, proving that truth and the good guys can still win, I fear that I may be just the tip of a very angry iceberg.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still fighting the good fight when it comes to helping the good guys. I'm still writing letters and making calls to President Obama and our legislators, but I admit that blogging has lost most of its appeal. Right now I'm focusing on helping create real change through political action.

Sorry, but I never really got the sense that our blogosphere - more often echo-chamber than debate club - helps us very much. Usually it just sets us up as punching bags for the uninformed, angry right. Sadly, no matter how well you research and write it, they just seem to ignore it or trash it. It just doesn't seem worth it.

My recent feelings of disappointment got me thinking. Despite my desire for more facts, sadly, when you really research it, America has never really been a great place for reality-based politics. Historically, most American political debate has been shrouded in myth and patriotic fervor.

Consider the simple idea that we Americans have always seen ourselves as the land of freedom and equality. Is it true? It's great to hear, but for millions it is less about fact, and more marketing. The truth is freedom has never been free in this country, and we have never been about equality. The shining city on a hill has more slums than most people want to believe; the great society has never been as fair as people think.

The fact is we rank low in terms of many freedoms, at least those freedoms most of the industrialized world cares about - individual welfare, and freedom from sickness and extreme poverty. We have never been a nation built on equality.

For a rich nation, we have the highest prison populations in the world, the highest number of hate crimes in the world, and the greatest divide between rich and poor. Only crazy Republicans and die-hard, love-the-fetus-hate-the-child conservatives see us as truly free.

Unless you have great parents, or a great parent like Barack Obama, you're usually on your own. It's true anybody can make it, but helping people make it is a political no-no.

For God's sake, even Mark Twain included murder, inequality and hatred in his American tales over 100 years ago. Actually, most of America's greatest literary works have touched on our internal inequalities. What is truly American is the public's desire to ignore it's problems, and to think the opposite.

Inconvenient Historical Truths

Just think about our incredibly dark history. The slave trade, native American subjugation and genocide, a century plus civil rights struggle of inequality and murder, countless wars financed by greed and corruption (especially in Central and South America), and finally our greatest gift, the global military-industrial complex.

This is not to say we're a bad country. We have done a good job trying to set things right, and probably should be considered better than most. Still, today I'm talking about the bad.

So, whether you want to admit it or not we have been lying to ourselves as a nation for a long time, and are not always the good guys in every situation, despite what Republicans say. The time for American innocence, ignorance and negligent stupidity must end.

It's time to talk turkey about our past, our recent history, and today. We need to discuss who we really are, how we fit in globally, and where we're going. If not, we'll remain ignorant, buy their propaganda and lies, and suffer the ugly consequences.

How many question what would the world be like if only the Germans fought the Nazis? Well, we're the Germans now, and today's liars are the Nazis. Let's act before it's too late.

If we cannot evolve, then we deserve the despots who control us. If we cannot change, then we deserve the lies and the deceit they market to us as so-called freedoms. On the other hand, if we admit that America has a dark side, that we're being lied to, and that fear, greed and the desire for power drive it, then I think it's only reasonable that we find a way to pull the plug on that power.

First, we need to identify who they are. We need to name the people who are trying to control us - the ones who also want us to be afraid. As I've said on this blog in the past, we need to start by ignoring the 24/7 "news" media. TURN THEM OFF! They need to be the first we shut out, and shutdown. Second, we need to focus more energy on reaching political independents (blogging by itself may not be enough), explain the truth, and discredit the liars.

There's no doubt most of today's politicians follow those who wield money and power. Our interests have been replaced by a cabal of greedy influence peddlers, corporations and individuals from all parts of the world. It's now all about the global economy, corporate greed, and how the rich can get richer. That is the sad truth of today. It's time to see them as the corrupting influences they are; it's time for electoral reform.

President Obama must push for real campaign fianance and systemic reform. It's time to get the money out of the system.

Sadly, it's a long shot. It's clear that corporate Republicans and Democratic sell-outs will continue to undermine any progress. I'm even beginning to believe that Barack Obama doesn't have what it takes. The change we voted for (and often prayed for) is beginning to look like a sales job, or worse. Unless real reforms begin to take shape soon, the inertia will threaten to demoralize and undermine support within the rest of the American electorate.

So, what does all this ranting mean? It means that I've become so disenchanted that I can't seem to write like I used to. The lies, Republican manipulation, corporate corruption, and [mostly] Senatorial inaction have degraded the system so much it all seems futile. Unless I can see some light at the end of this dark tunnel, I will have little incentive to write about politics again. I'll probably start blogging about something else.

Let's hope the good guys can win one soon. Let's hope for real health care and financial reform. Those two alone would probably allow me to reconnect, to ignore the lies, and to fight for more CHANGE! They would go a long way to cure what is ailing me. In the meantime I'll continue to write my letters and make my phone calls, and hope for real progress.

My best to all of you. I hope you are are having a great Fall.

Monday's Political Rant - Michael

Monday, October 26, 2009

Celebrate the Opt-Out Public Option!

Hello Bloggers! I know I've been missing in action, and will continue to be for a while, but I just had to post a big celebratory THANK YOU to that unexpected news from "speak softly and carry a big stick" Senator Harry Reid of Nevada.

Wow, what a surprise. I was convinced he was going to kiss conservative ass on this one.

I am thrilled after his announcement today that he will be including a reasonable version of the public option in the Senate's version of health care reform. Though I don't have enough details yet, it's still FANTASTIC news in so many ways. I was very worried Reid was going to sell the party out on this one.

To be really honest, I'm not that concerned about the opt-out feature. Why? I see no problem with allowing the dumb-asses to die-off in the dumb-ass states. That may sound cruel and insensitive, but it's true. To be really blunt, if the shit-heads want to opt-out, I say LET THEM!

It may just lead to fewer shit-heads in this world, or a few less dumb-ass Republicans. Go ahead Alabama, Georgia, Alaska, South Carolina and the rest. OPT-OUT ALL YOU WANT PEOPLE! When the private companies dump your ass, IT'S YOUR FUNERAL!

I realize I don't have all the facts yet, but I still wanted to RAVE about it. We need to celebrate one more fantastic step closer to victory. We don't want to count our chickens, but we do want to celebrate the unexpected and glorious milestones that move us forward.

I'm more hopeful today than I've been in a long time. Go Harry and Nancy! Let's all keep the pressure on and pray for more progress.

Monday's Political Rave - Michael

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Support a Strong Public Option!

Hello Bloggers! I'm sorry I haven't written lately, but as you can probably tell I've taken a break until I become inspired again. I have been pretty upset with American politics lately, especially the quality of debate in the media and on the blogosphere.

I just thought I should let you guys know so that you don't think I fell off a mountain cliff.

I'll probably write something soon. I hope you guys are all having a great Fall. It is a great time of the year. Until then, I urge all Democrats to please write your representatives to support real health care reform and a strong public option! Unless we fight for real reform now, I'm convinced we will suffer in 2010 for our party's lack of media, political and leadership skills. I may even become an Independent myself if they screw it up. :)

My Best - Michael

Thursday, October 1, 2009

White House Blog Tells the Truth

Hello Bloggers! I may be a little "late to the game" as they say, but I just discovered the new official White House Blog and think it's brilliant. It may not be very thorough yet, but it has a great deal of potential. We need to encourage them to use it more.

I think it's so awesome I created a permanent link to it on the right margin of this blog. I encourage my fellow bloggers to do the same, since it seems to be a new and excellent source of factual information.

It's amazing the way the White House - using the blog - has decided to take on the lies being told every day on 24/7 nightmare channels like FOX "News." It is disputing some of the lies line by line (though it's obvious there are too many for the WH blog staff at this time), and filters the spin/lies from reality.

Let's hope one day they go ever further and start to counter the lies spewed daily by AM right-wing radio.

I recommend checking out the section that disputes Glenn Beck's lies related to the president's decision to travel to Copenhagen in his effort to win the Olympic Games for Chicago and the US. It's an amazing read. It's so good to see the White House defend the truth.

Visit Reality Check: Trying to Turn a Point of Pride into a Moment of Shame and see for yourself. Here is a taste of what the White House Blog offers:

RHETORIC: BECK SAID VANCOUVER LOST $1 BILLION WHEN IT "HAD THE OLYMPICS." Glenn Beck said, "Vancouver lost, how much was it? they lost a billion dollars when they had the Olympics." [Transcript, Glenn Beck Show, 9/29/09]

REALITY: VANCOUVER'S OLYMPICS WILL NOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL 2010. Vancouver will host the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games from February 12 – 28, 2010 and March 12-21, 2010, respectively. [Vancouver2010.com, accessed 9/29/09]

RHETORIC: VALERIE JARRETT "WAS LAST SEEN WITH THE NEA." Beck's guest, FOX News contributor Pat Caddell, said, "[Obama] is going to go [to Copenhagen] with Valerie Jarrett who was last seen with the NEA pumping up their use of, you know, money." [Transcript, Glenn Beck Show, 9/29/09]

REALITY: VALERIE JARRETT WAS NOT ON THE NEA CONFERENCE CALL. Valerie Jarrett was not a participant in the August 10, 2009 United We Serve/NEA conference call.

It is a new and wonderful tool to help WE THE PEOPLE filter out all the corporate, ratings-based fake news crap that is clogging the public airwaves and cable systems. It is one more piece of a puzzle, which when solved will help us find our way out the maze of lies and noise pollution overwhelming our news and media today.

Let me be clear, I don't believe we need a White House news service that could lead to abuse, but I do think it's reasonable to have have an active White House Blog that goes to great lengths to publish the truth in response to all the lies of today. That is perfectly reasonable in my opinion.

Thursday's Political Rave - Michael

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What About the 4th Amendment?

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Good Morning Bloggers! I admit that I avoided the news recently having spent some time out in the great outdoors enjoying the Western US, but unfortunately the news isn't very encouraging upon my return.

The worst news I came across this morning was in the New York Times where it is reported this morning that President Obama has quietly decided to continue the Bush policies of indefinite detention of terror suspects without charges - the unilateral disavowing of habeas corpus. Justice, law and the idea that all people are innocent until proven guilty seems to matter less and less these days.

We thought we voted for change, but I'm beginning to see that we were fooled in some areas.

The Obama Administration has decided to ignore Democratic leaders and the majority of the Democratic Party in a spurious claim of authority to hold "combatants." They claim - just like the corrupt Bush Administration - questionable authority under congressional legislation passed after the 9/11 attacks to detain people for national security purposes.

Bush detained Americans and foreigners for eight years while our judicial branch abandoned its responsibilities. We voted for Obama to end such practices, but unfortunately it seems we were duped. In some critical areas it turns out that "change" was just a sales pitch, a political lie to be chanted in stadiums, to motivate fools like me/us who still choose to believe in something bigger than ourselves.

To say that I'm let down is an understatement. Let's hope the judiciary comes through, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

As a civil libertarian, I think the whole situation remains out-of-control. The majority of Democrats voted for Obama to reinstate habeas corpus and the rule of law. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure Obama didn't mention that he favored indefinite detention during the campaign. I wonder who the hell we voted for, but I also seriously question whether Hillary would have been any different.

I'm beginning to think all politicians are willing to deny us our basic 4th Amendment civil rights. It's pretty damn scary.

Ordinary Americans, especially Republicans, never seem to understand why civil liberties are important. Most seem to feel that as long as they're not doing anything wrong, it's not a problem. Unfortunately, that is very naive and represents a slippery slope. Americans must consider the broader consequences of allowing our civil liberties to erode.

Justice Department reports show that "sneak-and-peak" warrants (another result of post 9/11 legal tweaks) are not being used to fight against terrorism but over 90% are being used against American citizens to catch common criminals. Why is that a problem you ask?

It's a problem because this country has done an excellent job compartmentalizing its civilian police forces from federal law enforcement. Those firewalls have kept America's government out of ordinary American lives for over 200 years.

If those firewalls begin to crumble, which many civil libertarians believe is the case, than we are exposed to all kinds of potential injustices. It may all begin with terrorism, but it could lead to all kinds of domestic intrusions.

Just think of the potential. What about religious zealots/Republicans? There's no doubt they would love to use private information obtained in bedrooms to abuse politicians and power in order to legislate morality. Don't forget, they are the ends justify the means crowd.

Unless we take it more seriously, random abusers of government authority could make J. Edgar Hoover look harmless, wielding personal dirt to blackmail those in power or out.

A lack of strong and enforceable civil rights laws puts America on the path to becoming an abusive police state, where local, state and federal law enforcement can work together to control all levers of power. Without strong laws, a strong judiciary and a strong press, who knows where it all may lead.

Politicians and law enforcement may ultimately work together to change the face of American domestic security. Big brother could be just a few years away. You may think I'm sounding paranoid, but the same thing has happened across the globe and through the ages. Why would we be immune?

You may think we're safe, but as fear [of a dangerous world] becomes ingrained in society, most experts agree the potential for abuses of power [at all levels] increases dramatically.

Think about it. Secret surveillance everywhere and anywhere, intruder-like home searches without your knowledge, monitoring your mail and communications, and even the removal of your personal possessions and DNA to check it at a lab without your knowledge. Does that sound like the America you know? It should, since it's the America of today.

It was the America created by George W. Bush and the Republicans.

The American people clearly voted for change. President Obama was supposed to deliver that change. Instead, we're getting more of the same. To those who link I'm overreacting, I would suggest you consider the history of most societies who took such things lightly. There's no doubt, world history is on my side.

What you may call paranoia I call nothing more than a healthy knowledge or perspective on world history and those who abuse power. We must remember the wisdom of the ages: if we forget the past we're doomed to repeat it, and knowledge is always power.

I beg you to take our civil liberties more seriously. Fear of attack is causing us to forget what is truly important. President Obama and our Democratic leaders must be forced to remember why we voted for change. We cannot allow them to continue the policies of the Bush Administration.

We Americans must risk death by attack rather then forfeit our civil liberties to a government capable of unwarranted surveillance, searches, seizures and abuses.

We should be patriots and be willing to die for our beliefs. Let's put the firewalls back. Stop being afraid of everything, even terrorism. Fight for our individual freedoms. Do not accept a permanent state of war. I beg you to join me in demanding a return to habeas corpus, real warrants and privacy protections.

Thursday's Political Rant - Michael

PS - As always, I encourage you to use the TAKE ACTION section of this blog to either email and/or call your elected representatives and/or the Obama White House. Thank you!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Democrats Need to Play the Hate Card

Hello Bloggers! What did you find shocking about the right-wing demonstrations this past weekend? Was it the number of people? Was it the fact they were practically all white? Was it the crazy signage? Was it the outrageously propagandist Pravda-like media coverage by Glenn Beck on FOX?

To me it was the hatred, racism, bigotry and more. I know it's controversial, but I'm calling them out. I think it's past time to play the "hate card" people.

Playing the Hate Card

Yes, I said the "hate card." That means calling them out on a whole variety of hate-based intolerance. In my personal opinion, the protesters this weekend seemed to hate anything they cannot identify with, control or understand.

Let me be specific. They seem to hate change. They seem to hate anybody who spends money they covet, consider their own or don't control. They seem to hate people in power over them. They seem to hate anything they don't understand. I would even go so far as to say they even seem to hate people who don't look like them, based on their response to our current president.

There I said it. I think they're racists, bigots, homophobes/intolerants, and those who love the status quo so much they hate anybody who threatens it.

It's clear they try to dress it up as a 'call to arms' singing the constant Republican oppositional refrain when out-of-power: less government, less spending, less socialism, more justice, more freedom, more patriotism and more America. They spin everything using those same tired refrains and sadly a certain percentage of Americans always buy it, but this time it seems worse.

Glenn Beck and American Propaganda

They seem angrier than usual. They've found a rallying cry and a friend in Glenn Beck, one of the scariest people in media today. This is a man who has admitted to a willingness to say anything [on air] to whip his fans into a feeding frenzy. He's all about ratings, fame and power, and it's very scary. I think the man is capable of anything.

Beck is a major problem for our country. Like so many propagandists throughout history, he will destroy many lives and livelihoods before it's all over.

Did you see the visuals on FOX this Saturday? Beck was hosting all day while he narrated the protests along with a parade of propaganda featuring George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, the Statue of Liberty, the Declaration, the Constitution, war heroes and all the other iconic images of America.

Simply put, he was trying to say that we - Democrats - are destroying the real America. He practically accused us of pissing on the purple mountains majesty and the amber waves of grain. I was so repulsed by his abuse of our great American history and iconography that I wanted to puke.

He's the worst of the worst, using brilliant images of tolerance to sell lies, hate and deceit. It's clear that Beck must be destroyed.

Hating President Obama

Anyway, the radical throngs watching those images seem to possess a serious, unprovoked common-thread-of-craziness. In addition to hating any change (which is probably why most voted for John McCain), they also all seem to share an inexplicable, serious opposition to anything supported by or affiliated with our current president - President Barack Hussein Obama.

They seem to dislike or hate him, and certainly don't respect him. Most don't even consider him an American citizen.

Despite his likable nature, his diplomatic and statesman-like skills, they can't stand the man. What could it be? My guess is his skin color and/or his perceived ethnicity. In other words, he's not enough like them, or American enough for them. It's crazy, but it's true. I doubt anything we can say will change their warped minds.

Just ask yourself a few questions if you don't believe it.
1) What about past liberal presidents with so-called "far-reaching" agendas?

Bill Clinton was one who tried serious health care reform. Did they call him a "traitor," a "communist," or worst of all, a "terrorist?" They impeached him for fooling around with a chubby girl, but they never took to the streets and accused him of being a Hitler or a Nazi. They never accused him of being unAmerican or a threat of any kind. They still treated him as a legitimate president.

2) What about past presidents who actually passed expensive health care legislation that increased entitlement programs costing the federal government billions while adding to the deficit?

It's true, George W. Bush supported SCHIP, drug benefits and Medicare Part D. His health care reforms cost the government hundreds of billions each year, added to the deficit, did not exclude illegal aliens, and were supported by the vast majority of Republicans in both houses - including Joe - "You Lie" - Wilson from South Carolina. Where were the protesters then?

There is either a serious double-standard going on, or something's not quite right in the GOP.

Republican Political Hypocrisy

The truth is most Republicans don't care about government and spending unless Democrats are in power. Remember, let's all say it together, all money is Republican. Democrats can argue for reforms until they're blue in the face, but the Republicans (in knee-jerk opposition) will still reject them unless they control the money, the process, and get all the credit.

The Republicans spend trillions of taxpayer money benefiting multi-national private corporations (military-industrial, insurance, finance, health care, pharmaceutical and more) and nobody lifts a sign. The Democrats try to reform huge problems of economic waste, to make them more efficient and helpful to the American people, and the GOP rats come out of the woodwork with their chants and slogans.

Economic efficiencies be damned, as long as the Republicans can transfer American taxpayer wealth from ordinary Americans to their corrupt constituencies.

Republican Inconsistencies

If Republicans (the protesters) are so passionate about federal spending and government waste, why didn't they speak up more during the Bush years? Most of them whole-heartedly supported the Bush agenda, despite the outrageous costs, increases in entitlement and dept-spending, war-profiteering, lack of serious accounting practices, illegalities and questionable constitutional behavior, and much more.

Who were the patriots then? They were Democrats, and the hundreds of thousands and millions over the years who protested what is proven to be true corruption and waste. Unfortunately, we didn't have a 24/7 network to tout our message all day like the GOP. Sadly, most of America ignored our message at the time. Even the LA and NY Times ignored us, despite both displaying a huge picture and headlines about Saturday's political debacle.

To most observers it's clear that today's right-wing is not motivated by any passion for an honest government, but more about what government is in power. It's clear they're all about having their own people in power. Once in power, corruption and waste be damned.

Occam's Razor Proves It

Finally, for the ones who still doubt the Republicans and their media are playing the hate card, I suggest you try to think about it scientifically. Use what most scientists use: Occam's razor. The principle states, "when you have competing theories that make similar predictions, the simplest one is usually the right one." My theory is simple: we're witnessing the forces of hatred and/or intolerance motivated by fear and ignorance against something they don't understand - embodied by President Obama.

My theory (that hate and intolerance is at work) is far more likely than a large group of Americans angry about a bunch of issues they never seemed to understand before, ignored or were indifferent about during the dark days of the Bush Administration. Occam's Razor seems to support my conclusion. The other seems too far-fetched and unlikely.

Are the Republicans the New Klan?

Back to the protests. I was an eyewitness to one here in LA. I drove by our local federal building here to see what our local protesters were complaining about and was shocked to say the least. It was awful! A few wore swastika ribbons on their sleeves, and most were screaming horrible things about our president. The anger was palpable; the fear and loathing psychological.

I'm not kidding when I say that I felt like I was at a Klan rally. There were a few Obama supporters trying to protest the lies, but the "tea party" crowd was just getting more angry and screaming louder. They didn't seem to want to hear any debate. They just seemed angry and acted how I imagined Klansman would act. They seemed irrational to say the least.

I left before any fighting broke out, thanking God that I wasn't in DC witnessing the same political nightmare on a much larger scale.

I don't care what FOX "News" or any other media says, Saturday's right-wing "9/12" "tea party" protests had nothing to do with political policies, government waste or patriotism. That's pure BS! The crowd I witnessed, which I'm pretty sure was the same one marching in DC based on watching TV, were motivated by darker forces.

Even if they don't know it themselves, that crowd is angry because somebody they didn't vote for and don't identify with is sitting in their Oval Office spending what they consider to be their money, and it pisses them the hell off. That's how I see it at least.

We're obviously witnessing a serious case of blow-back after Obama's election victory. The protesters are making it clear they have no intention of working problems out with our team. Despite the fact that over a billion dollars of good American money was spent on a multi-year campaign and one man clearly won an overwhelming victory, the radical right is trying to annul the process. Well, that's BS!

There was an election. It's time for the radical right to stop their irrational and undemocratic interference in the legitimate political process. They are trying to 'delegitimize' our duly-elected president, and we cannot allow them to do it. The Republicans are rife with hatred, racism and intolerance these days. So much so that I question their legitimacy as a political party right now. Sadly, like so many, I see them more as a cult or a Klan these days.

Still, we cannot allow them to derail what is right and just. Their sea of bobbing placards and hand-lettered signs cannot be allowed to distract us from the truth. The truth is that most people should be angry about the legacy and incompetence of George W. Bush and the Republicans, and happy that a good and decent man like President Obama is trying to save our economy and America along with it.

Monday's Political Rant - Michael

PS - More feedback is available over at Papamoka Straight Talk. The Raw Story wrote a great overview piece (citing multiple stories) on the same subject. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It Was a Good Speech

Good Morning Bloggers! It was a good speech last night. It was a good explanation of what needs to be done. He was a little too bi-partisan for my taste (since I don't believe the Republicans intend to help at all), but that's his shtick.

Most important, he finally used the word "liars" in a major speech to describe the people who lied over the Summer. That was important to me. I also thought he did a great job describing health care reform in terms of morality. He spoke to our hearts as well as our heads.

I loved the last part about Teddy Kennedy's vision for what is good in America, and that it's important to realize how we handle health care will help define our "character" as our nation. Finally, it was great the way he called on key Republican Senators, pointing out how they supported similar "moral" legislation in the past. This time should be no different.

The question remains whether or not he's willing to fight the good fight. That is yet to be determined. I did feel hopeful last night, but like the Republicans said during the election, the man "does a good speech."

Thursday's Political Rave - Michael

PS - It seems the Republicans are sticking to their lies, despite every attempt to debunk this Summer's propaganda. It seems they will find a way to spin anything we do (e.g., the way we refuse to ban illegals from emergency rooms) to create fear and loathing among their idiotic fan base. In my opinion they will never stop, and Obama is wasting his time with them.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Sturm und Drang of US Politics

Hello Bloggers! It would seem that "hope and change" for some is "chaos and confusion" for others. The highs and lows of American politics are not new, but except for the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, our generation may be living through one the most contentious and divisive periods of our history.

Americans stood together during the world wars, but today we seem more inclined to curse, abuse, or even harm one another.

Dangerous Republican Anger and Frustration

The radicals are everywhere, on both sides. Still, there are differences. One group refuses to acknowledge last year's election results; dismisses the whole concept of majority rule and the legislative process by calling it fascism (when they're not in control at least); is hell-bent on causing as much trouble as possible (disrupting town halls and more); uses propaganda filled with incredible lies to sway public opinion their way; "disrespects" the office of the president by calling him a racist and a liar; and worst of all, is threatening violence and revolution.

Those are serious differences. Ordinary Democratic Americans may have been angry with Bush and the Republicans - and called them names like "war criminals" for all kinds of good reasons, but the difference is that leading Republicans and trusted sources across the media spectrum are now doing it. It's all pretty despicable. Even moderate Republicans are beginning to talk about how embarrassed they are by it all. I don't blame them. It's been pretty ugly.

After eight years of shoving policies, laws and lawbreaking down our throats, they are now acting as though we are intruders in their home. Being the majority is not enough for them. Despite our true mandate, they need us to pass our laws with solid Republican support (by over 70% in the Senate). If not, they call us fascists, socialists or communists. They seem to come up with new names every week. It's insane.

They never allowed us any input while in power. They controlled everything in every committee, along with floor debates. They were the worst majority party in the history of Congress. So, after treating our attempt at bi-partisan politics (electing Barack Obama) like crap, why should we care?

It's simple, they're angry because they're out of power. It's not about the American people; it's about power. Now it's 24/7 lies, hate and bile all encouraged by today's ratings-based, corporate media. They may not see it, take responsibility for it, or even know they're doing it, but they're doing it. The sad thing is, except for losing the big election, their behavior is unprovoked. We try to be bi-partisan, and they spit in our face. It's tiring.

They're refusing to acknowledge the election results. Instead, they're resorting to lies and distortions in an attempt to annul our victory.

It all needs to end. It's getting dangerous. As I've said before, somebody is going to get hurt or die. We need to find our way back to real issue debates, and find a way to filter out all the lies. We need to convert the radicals. We need to clean our political house.

Before we can stop it we need to identify the source of the anger, which will help us get rid of it. What is different about today? The answer will help us.

What is the Source of the Anger?

I would say it's the decline of truth in media and the subsequent decline in American intellectual curiosity - especially as it relates to real news and facts. I often talk about propaganda in media today, but it's also important to acknowledge the decline in America's appetite or desire for real news. Sadly, facts no longer seem important to people. Opinion - especially coming from pundits - seems to be more important today. So, what caused it?

Did Americans lose interest in real news, or did real news abandon Americans first? It's complicated, but I blame Ted Turner and his network buddies. Sorry Ted, but somebody had to be first, and that means you get the blame. Ted launched CNN in the eighties as America's first 24/7 cable news channel. The quality was good at the beginning. Along with MTV it thrilled Americans, but unfortunately a nasty rot soon set in.

First, CNN became very successful. Ted was making millions (enough to sell his empire to Time Warner for billions), which caused the big broadcast networks (CBS, NBC and ABC) led by their corporate parent companies to do the unthinkable. Greed and jealousy drove them to merge their once great independent news divisions into their larger entertainment media groups, forcing them to compete as big corporate profit centers. That was the beginning of the end.

Second, CNN's success in the post Reagan era of money, power and deregulation (the late 80s and 90s) drove big corporate media men to take great risks. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and General Electric's NBC soon launched their own 24/7 news channels. Rupert joined forces with Roger Ailes and the Republican Party (FOX "News") while NBC joined forces with the high tech world of Microsoft (MSNBC). Both launches represented large corporate initiatives designed to consolidate power and influence while attracting huge profits.

Along with CNN at the time, they were willing to sacrifice their journalistic ethics for more tangible gains.

It was the beginning of the end for real news. Money from advertisers who were inappropriate - due to conflicts of interest - poured millions into the 24/7 news companies. Greed replaced ethics and the old divisions between "church and state" crumbled into dust. 24/7 news channels morphed into 24/7 "news" (some say entertainment) channels. I consider them "news" channels only because I don't know what else to call them. I suspect many people feel the same way. To me, they are corporate shills, or corporate whores.

If you're a fan of Orwell, I would also call them the "big brother" networks.

Our Drive-thru News Culture Today

Quality news still exists (NewsHour, NPR and the BBC), but they are drowned out by the less serious and more entertaining 24/7 competitors. Americans have grown accustomed to seeing their "news" peppered with anchor celebs, car chases, human interest pet stories, hype, sex, and the prolific he-said/she-said interviews where the interviewer cares more about the drama than real facts.

News is no longer about news. Interviews teach us nothing. Follow-up questions no longer exist. It's all about who is more convincing at the time. Interviews are more like duels - the truth be damned.

It may sound devastating, but America's "tabloidization" of the news is almost complete. News today is, for all intents and purposes, crap! Quality news and journalism is in decline, and sadly American intellectual curiosity along with it. I doubt journalism schools even teach ethics anymore. They probably focus more on hype. The days when real issues were discussed and debated and corrupt people everywhere worried about the investigative or confrontational journalist are over.

America's Fourth Estate has evolved into a bad joke. Corporate propaganda has replaced it, and it is now the engine that drives the ratings and money in media. It is corrupt, on the take, and in the tank.

That corruption leads us to the next big reason why things are different today - media's unhealthy influence on politics. Politics has always partnered with media, but not like today. There's something different. The 24/7 "news" channels have had a serious corrupting influence on today's politics. Instead of learning about issues and finding real solutions, politicians are spending inordinate amounts of time on public relations, communications and getting re-elected via the media. Sarah Palin is the archetypal modern media candidate - all BS and no substance.

Today it's all about getting a sound bite and form over substance.

The 24/7 Effect on Politics Today

We've established that modern politics is being eroded by the lies and manipulation of our corrupt 24/7 corporate media. It's unclear just how far the damage has gone, or will go, but it is clear the system needs to be fixed. Now we need to salvage what is left. I don't know how much faith I have left in the system, but President Obama and the Democratic leadership need to so something before it's too late.

The whole situation is made worse yet by the Supreme Court's decision to hear the case about the 2008 election-era Hillary Clinton movie. If the justices rule in favor of corporate money supporting candidates, the Democrats and our whole democracy may be at risk.

I realize that President Obama and the Democrats have a lot on their plate, but this is a critical issue. We may need to act soon. If not, we may never hold power again. Incredibly, the rest of our achievements may ultimately become meaningless unless we can prevent a potential corporate takeover of our political culture.

So the "system" is corrupt, polluted with misinformation, manipulation and media control - among many other things. Unless we can change course soon, our nation is at risk.

What Can We Do to Stop It?

It's time for us all to stop watching the 24/7 "news" channels, and that includes those of us who love to hear the "good news" on MSNBC. The same goes for FOX "News" fans, but my gut tells me that the 30% of Republicans who enjoy the FOX echo-chamber are even more loyal than Democrats - based on the ratings and cult-like fan base.

Besides ignoring the 24/7 big brother networks, we need to focus on education. Though our Republican friends deny it, the Reagan Administration started the process of dumbing-down America. It began when they started to dismantle our federal education standards in the 1980s. The process continued under Bush Sr., yet thankfully slowed under Clinton and Bush Jr..

We need strong national education standards. It is the only way to help reverse the damage.

We need to promote national excellence in math, science, civics and other critical subjects. We need to teach kids to doubt what they read, to question sources, and to think for themselves. We need to discourage home schooling and encourage respect for education, intelligence and learning again. Americans need to stop embracing leaders who cannot speak, read or write. America needs to move forward, not backwards.

The things I've written about here are important. If we don't recognize what has gone wrong and try to fix it, we will become less competitive as a nation, and ultimately suffer a national decline. The Sturm und Drang (storms and stresses) of modern American politics are difficult to control, but it's clear that unless WE THE PEOPLE try to improve things ourselves, we may never recover our freedom.

Tuesday's/Wednesday's/Thursday's Political Rant - Michael

Friday, September 4, 2009

No More Compromise on Health Care!

Good Morning Bloggers! I'm beginning to wonder if great Democratic candidates make lousy politicians. I agree with Keith Olbermann when he said on his show last night that President Obama could be facing a serious Democratic challenger in 2012 unless he stops negotiating away real reform.

Leading Republicans are going completely insane all around us (just watch FOX "News" for a taste), providing us with plenty of opportunities to label them unreasonable wackos, yet leading Democrats like Obama and Reid insist on trying to reason with them. What the hell are they thinking? Are they nuts?

We need leadership, not negotiations - and certainly no more compromises! Unless Obama surprises us with an aggressive approach to health care reform during his speech to Congress next week, we could very well be witnessing another great Democratic defeat - a bad bill would be a defeat for many of us. The White House seems hell-bent on getting a health care deal, any health care deal, no matter how horrible the result. What the hell is that about?

Unless the White House is playing a close hand, I'm beginning to wonder if Obama was a mistake. I don't know if Hillary would have been better, but I would like to think that she may have been tougher fighting the Republicans and controlling her own party - something I see lacking with Obama.

I don't think I'm alone wanting an all-out war against the lying and cheating Republican Party today. Screw bi-partisanship! Obama needs to get tougher, and soon.

The media and the pundits could be lying, but if they are correct and the White House is intending to sacrifice extremely important Democratic Party positions in favor of a lousy compromise with a bunch of Blue Dogs (or even one or two Republicans), then we're all in trouble.

A bad bill could be worse then no bill. Most experts agree that it would signal a defeat, and the beginning of a weak presidency.

The only solution is to get tough. There's been too much compromise with their side already. To give away more is unacceptable. Find out what the Blue Dogs want and make a deal - anyway, anyhow! Everybody wants something. Offer them MONEY! Offer them POWER! Offer them whatever they freaking want! If that doesn't work, THREATEN them!

If the White House and the president agree with us that a viable public option (the only way to control costs and abuses) is the best approach to real reform, then why can't they find a way to make it happen? The Blue Dogs must need something of value besides standing their ground on this one issue.

The so-called options to the public option (triggers to form public options, regulations and oversight, etc.) are all highly questionable as to their purported effectiveness. The only way to ensure market stability and control abuse is to form a viable public option now.

Half-ass solutions would also leave the system vulnerable the instant the Republicans regain power.

The dogs need to be tamed, and somebody has to do it. I thought Obama was our man, but if he's really a wimp, then we need to find a new progressive leader. The only viable alternative at the moment would be Nancy Pelosi. She's been talking a lot lately about how a public option is non-negotiable.

Pelosi has been speaking a lot tougher than the White House. She may be my new favorite Democrat.

If Obama and his team wimp out, Nancy Pelosi will be the best candidate to carry the torch for the progressive movement. I'll admit she has been on my bad side ever since refusing to impeach Bush, but those feelings will fade each time she stands up against absurd and unnecessary compromises. Somebody in the Democratic Party needs to stand-up for what is right.

We cannot allow a handful of rural politicians to dictate terms to the rest of us. It's time to let the White House know - NO MORE COMPROMISES!

It's time for the White House to get smart and creative instead. For God's sake, figure out what the Blue Dogs want someplace else and give it to them. Any negotiator worth his salt knows there's always a work-around.

If they don't, like Olbermann said, I think they're risking their second term. I think they will be seen by most of us as unworthy of our support. They will be seen as weak by both Republicans and progressives. Like the slimy Republican Jim DeMint said, it may be their Waterloo.

Jimmy Carter was the last Democrat (and excellent campaigner) to find out that popularity and support fades quickly. Unless President Obama and his team show strength and determination on this issue, we may be witnessing the beginning of the end. I hate to sound negative, but for me, hope is already fading.

Friday's Political Rant - Michael

PS - A former Obama campaign staffer - Mike Elk - just wrote a similar piece on The Huffington Post asking President Obama to fight like he promised us.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

Hello Bloggers! Most of us within the blogosphere have become familiar with the crazy lies being told by the far-right these days, so much so that "crazy" doesn't even seem to describe the situation anymore. "Alternate realities" or "psychotic episodes" may be more appropriate.

Still, we have one more "fun fact" of theirs to add to the list, and it's a whopper. I don't know about you, but I've been a BBC News fan for many years. I watched it on PBS along with the [McNeil Lehrer] NewsHour long before BBC America hit the airwaves. It's one of the most respected news organizations in the world.

The latest shot across the bow of truth was fired in Scotland this past Friday - at the Edinburgh International Television Festival - by James Murdoch (Rupert's 36-year old son and the person in charge of News Corps businesses in Europe and Asia - and probably the guy who will take over the empire one day) who called the British Broadcasting Corporation a "threat to independent journalism."

The BBC is now a threat to independent journalism!

Not only is this the worst case of the pot calling the kettle black since George W. Bush successfully tarnished John Kerry's war record, but it's one more disgusting lie propagated by one of the worst and most disgraceful journalistic empires ever to sew ruin on the social fabric of mankind. In my opinion, the Murdochs are rich and powerful pond scum.

Most respectable journalists consider the Murdochs the worst yellow journalists in modern history, and that includes the past 150 years or so. Why? They're worse because media is now global, and the stakes much higher. You may consider me hyperbolic, but unchecked their lies may doom individuals, governments, and possibly all of mankind.

Yellow Journalism

Yellow journalism is considered biased opinion masquerading as objective fact. The practice of yellow journalism involves "sensationalism, distorted stories, and misleading images for the sole purpose of boosting sales and exciting public opinion."

It is an evil practice that has led to much pain and misfortune. It should be illegal, but it can't be legislated. Unfortunately, it is allowed to exist, despite leading to false wars (Spanish American and Iraq to name just two), death and much misery. It grows within a news organization like FOX "News" like a parasite, feeding on those within who seek money and power.

The most famous examples historically in the US involved two papers in the late 19th century- The New York World, run by Joseph Pulitzer and The New York Journal, run by William Randolph Hearst. They are now considered responsible for numerous tragedies at the time. They may be historically famous, or infamous, but they were also disgraceful.

The ethics embodied in the Pulitzer Prize have often seemed like a case of too little, too late for some. Still, like Carnegie's libraries, museums and halls, it helped heal some wounds. The same cannot be said for Hearst's legacy.

Who knows, perhaps the Murdochs will try to buy off history one day, but I doubt it. Besides, it won't matter much if the world is falling apart due to News Corp lies. The damage may be too great by that time. The way I see it, the Murdochs are human parasites, and we need to find a cure.

Murdoch and his progeny are carrying the torch, promoting the dark and destructive forces of yellow journalism. The only reason the Murdoch empire has competition in the US is due to laws that were enacted after the time of Hearst and Pulitzer. Sadly, almost instinctively, the Republicans are doing their best to weaken those protections - in their own quest for money and power.

If they have their way, FOX "News" will be our only source of information. God help us.

Murdoch Jr. Warns of BBC Monopoly
Calls "Threat" Chilling

It is so ironic, not to mention rich with corporate greed and unbelievable personal hypocrisy, that James Murdoch actually evoked the name of Orwell in his speech to warn about "a near-monopoly of information [by the state] is to guarantee manipulation and distortion."

He also said the prospect of BBC expansion is "chilling" and "a threat to independent journalism." All I can say is who spiked his drink or meds.

James, unless you just fell off the proverbial turnip truck, and know absolutely nothing about media today (wink wink, nod nod), nobody would ever suggest that a "near-monopoly" of information exists anywhere in the Western world, at least when it comes to public entities like the BBC.

Sadly, the BBC is probably the greatest asset to independent journalism, since it's one of the few organizations left practicing real journalism - or investigative, confrontational journalism to be more precise. It shouldn't be that way, but it's true. It's also true that most of us are terrified by the Murdoch family's near-global monopoly. That is what "chills" the rest of us. The only Orwellian indicators we see today are from FOX.

For those who may not know, the BBC is not a monopoly, especially when it comes to the news. If anything, the BBC is a guarantor against private news bias, like PBS in the US. It protects against manipulation and distortion.

It's true the BBC is different, since it operates as a pseudo-government agency with a right to charge access, but that was a political decision made long ago. History and truth now prove that it was a good decision. Let's hope the Brits keep it that way for all of us.

Lying further, of course, Murdoch went on to suggest that public entities like the BBC harm private companies by siphoning off needed advertising revenues. In terms of international news programming, the BBC is a minor player when it comes to advertising dollars. Murdoch's point is both absurd and deceitful, like the rest of his company.

Like most power-hungry people these days Murdoch is clearly projecting. It seems to be a common psychological trait of the greedy-power-hungry-far-right these days.

A "Psycho" Right-wing Production

The right often says we do it, but most evidence suggests that projection is more of a right-wing tool. What is it? I'm glad you asked. It's one of many human defense mechanisms, such as being in denial.

"Psychological projection (or projection bias) is the unconscious act of denial of a person's own attributes, thoughts, and/or emotions, while ascribing them to the outside world, or another person or people. It is the fundamental mechanism by which we keep our selves uninformed about ourselves."

You see, our defense mechanisms help us cope with bad behavior. Think Eric Cartman on South Park. He's a perfect example of somebody who projects a lot of horrible things. I'm sure the Murdochs and Eric Cartman have a lot in common. Maybe they actually inspired South Park founders Trey Parker and Matt Stone? Now that makes a lot of sense.

So, projection helps us cope with the awful things we do to survive. The problem is that one person's survival is another person's nightmare, or a nation's nightmare. Oh yes, another side-effect of projection involves never taking the blame, or any responsibility. Sound familiar?

Untangling the Web
Slowing the Machine

Today's Republican "machine," politically perfected recently by Lee Atwater and Karl Rove, now led by FOX "News" and the Murdochs, needs to be slowed. If not, it will just keep lying its way into our future.

It runs on very strong and easy-to-find fuel - greed, money and power. So, based on my theory, the Murdochs and their ilk will continue to run amok unless we can slow them or stop them. We need to fight hard to shut down their access to greed, money and power. Slowing access to the fuel that feeds is always a good solution.

Until somebody proves me wrong, it's my best guess. Rupert and James Murdoch, along with FOX "News" and a lot of today's far-right fringe, will do their best to lie, cheat and steal until we stop them. They will also continue to soak us in their own crap. When you think about it, it's the only way they can live with themselves.

Sunday's Political Rant - Michael

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Article to Remember

Special Editors Note: First, my personal condolences to the Kennedy family. I also celebrate the life and contributions of Edward "Teddy" Kennedy. We will miss you Teddy.

Second, I would like to encourage all of you to please read the following article (The Debt is a Democratic Wake-up Call), even though it's a long one. I know I should be more succinct, but sometimes it takes time to make a good case and provide enough evidence to support it.

Historical facts are necessary to make the right decisions for our future. If you don't have time to read it now, click on the title to open a separate window, print it and read it at your leisure. I also encourage any publishers/bloggers to reprint it if they wish.

We Americans are at an important crossroads in our political life. It's important for us to know the truth so that we can make the right decisions.

The Debt is a Democratic Wake-up Call

Hello Bloggers! The national debt is a Democratic wake up call, but not the way the Republicans think. I want to answer their criticism about government spending in a more logical way. It all comes down to priorities. Not theirs, but ours.

We all got depressed this week when the White House and the CBO revised debt projections upwards showing that unless things change (more growth and revenues) we could be looking at huge increases in the percentage of the debt compared to the GDP - from 40% today to as high as 68% by 2019.

To put that into perspective, federal debt hit 109% of GDP at the end of World War II, and hit a second peak of 49% at the end of the Reagan-Bush years. Another way to look at it is that most European countries, and the majority of developing countries, have hit substantially higher debt levels without a crisis. So don't get too depressed by the news. We will survive.

On a side note, it's important to point out that most of the damage was done by the Bush Administration and the GOP, but instead of recriminations this article is about priorities.

It's Not ABout the Debt, It's About Our Priorities

It's true, it all comes down to spending priorities. There is enough money to do everything we need to do, if we're brave enough to make the right spending decisions. One good example, we have to decide to tell the Republicans they can't have all the money they want for defense. Other countries need to share some of that burden. We spend more on defense than almost every other major military power combined. It's too high a price considering the debt.

I would also like to point out to our Republican friends - screaming bloody murder at town halls about how we can't afford anything - that health care reform is just as important to us as military spending is to you. I know Republicans don't always seem to understand the principle, but we need to find a compromise. Politics should be give and take, not a win-win for the GOP.

We have a right to care about and spend money on health care. We have a right to talk about spending money on clean energy and better infrastructure. We cannot allow the Republicans to use the debt like a sledge hammer, smashing our desires for a better world. They will tear us apart if we allow them. We must stand up against their intimidation.

We have a right to talk about helping ourselves and our children for a change. We have a right to say NO! to wasteful war and corporate welfare. We Democrats represent more of the electorate, and the only reason that high debt should concern us is that we now have to make some important decisions - like a family - about where to spend our money.

Being fiscally responsible is important, but priorities are even more important. We have to decide what kind of a society we want to live in. We also have to answer now before it's too late. That's what we need to discuss here today.

Exposing the Republican Debt Scam

First of all let's talk turkey before we talk priorities. Let's debunk the popular myth that the Republicans are the "fiscally responsible party." Aside from their passion for personal wealth their actions while in government do not match their words. History proves it. They are the original "smoke and mirrors" party.

In terms of "political economics," after World War II the overwhelming majority (over 90%) of the overall federal debt (all money owed) was created by a Reagan or a Bush. Bush Jr. is also responsible for a large percentage of today's annual deficit (overspending within a fiscal year) that President Obama now shares.

Most important, all the debt spending Obama is forced to do today is a direct result of Bush and/or GOP economic leadership and incompetence.

I don't understand why my Republican friends can't do their homework and figure that out. It's pretty cut and dry. The history of annual spending (and who spent it) is available from multiple sources, but I recommend the easy-to-read gross national debt section on zFact.com.

Gross National Debt Chart

So, do the homework and figure it out! At least look at the chart (source: Government Statistics). It's clear the Democrats do not deserve a bad fiscal reputation. The Democrats under Clinton even reduced the overall federal debt (not just the annual deficit) for the first time since Carter. If you don't believe me, look it all up yourself.

The real irony is that Reagan ran in 1979 on a platform to lower the debt. Incredibly, the debt was less than $800 billion at the time. Reagan, of course, exploded the debt. Sadly, later Republicans like George W. took it much further.

What Party is Better for Our Future?
The Great American Santa

Once again, it's all about priorities. WE THE PEOPLE have to decide what kind of future we want using the ballot box. Democrats historically spend on domestic and "social" programs, while the Republicans are known more for their love of military spending - for the record, that love of military spending doesn't include money for veterans.

Democrats focus on regulating markets and creating jobs, while Republicans push for so-called "free market" wealth creation and quick gains. Unfortunately for the GOP, only one way is the right way.

The consequences wrought by Republicans and their reckless economic experiments are now famous. The entire world has paid a high price for their adventures, especially in 1929 and 2008. Both crashes were disastrous, and sadly could have been avoided.

The way Republicans spend while cutting taxes, coupled with their inability to cut federal "social" programs for their own political reasons (they would lose elections), is why we are in debt today. Simply put, they pass all of today's costs to tomorrow's children.

Republicans are also famous for getting the government to pay large sums (billions or trillions) when large financial banks and corporations go bust. The Democrats are also responsible, since neither party is big on anti-trust, they have to pay up. Unfortunately, the term "too big to fail" is now part of our modern day lexicon.

Other new expressions include "welfare for the wealthy," and "privatizing the profits, socializing the losses." No matter how you spin it, it's government socialism, or give-aways. It's certainly not a free market.

It's clear to most of us now - after the Bush crash - the GOP lacks understanding when it comes to the role of government. They only want it involved if things go wrong. They don't want it anywhere around when they're making money - in their so-called free market.

So, you can now see that Republicans have tried to play the "Great American Santa" leaving us our "social" programs (despite their majorities) while at the same time cutting our taxes. The bill has now been left to future generations to pay. It's now obvious they never really had the courage of their convictions, or their so-called "conservative" principles.

It's Time to Rediscover Our Democratic Roots
It's Time to Believe in Ourselves Again

You see, we Democrats have always been true fiscal conservatives. We were in power for decades after World War II and did a great job of growing the economy while paying down the massive debt left after the war. Don't let the Republicans cast us as the bad guys. History shows us they are the bad guys.

I was a big supporter of Clinton when he lowered the debt and created more jobs than ever before in the history of the nation. That is something we should be proud of. Let's stop allowing the Republicans to question our credentials. Just look hard, we have excellent credentials.

So, let's use our great experience and record of success to make the right decisions again. Let's work on reforming what is broken, and cut back where we think we're spending too much money. Let's do it together like one big American family.

What Should We Do Next?

First of all, it's time to hold a funeral for "Reaganomics." It's time WE THE PEOPLE (Republicans too) admit that growth does not trickle-down to average working Americans, no matter how hard you would like it to.

That means we need to stop talking about lowering taxes on the rich. For one thing the debt is too high; it would be insane. It's true well-heeled members of the GOP supported by most in our corporate media constantly argue for their taxes to be lowered, and I truly believe most of them somehow convince themselves it will help, but unfortunately all credible evidence shows the opposite is true.

If anything, like Obama says taxes must be increased on the rich. The top tax rate in the recent past - until Reagan - was between 60 - 90%. There is plenty of room for increases.

The rich tend to hoard, or create wealth without creating jobs. The stock market and real estate is great, but it's not enough to employ the millions of low-income Americans who are suffering today. Real investment is when people invest to create jobs and recurring wealth. It's not about a fast buck or a get rich quick scam. Lending must be encouraged to create jobs. We need to focus once again on steady growth, and leave the high flying GOP experiments behind us. It's what we're best at.

Second, the Republicans must be held to account. In other words, they can no longer be allowed to play the role of the "Great American Santa." If you the electorate vote them back into power, then you must force them to cut our federal "social" programs or don't bother to vote them back at all. Allowing them to spend while cutting taxes, and not our expensive "social" programs, is both irresponsible and cruel to future generations. It's time the Republicans practice what they preach.

The way I see it, you have a choice between the GOP, low taxes and no social programs, or the Democrats and a more moral, civilized society.

Let me be clear, if the majority of Americans choose to vote away Social Security, Medicare, the Veterans Administration, Medicaid and other federal programs, then I will live with it. I won't like to see Americans die in a world where they don't have to (remember, it's all about spending priorities), but I agree to live with those choices. At least the Republicans will be honest for a change.

I could go on and on, but I won't. Just remember, both parties spend, but ask yourself which party has been more responsible? The answer is clearly the Democrats. Sharing military responsibilities with the world, while spending on programs like health care and social security to help average Americans live with dignity, coupled with reasonable taxation to keeps future generations solvent, is the way to go. Those are good spending priorities for the future.

We cannot continue to spend so much. Republicans want America strong, but at too high a price. We need to change direction, and it requires decisive action at the ballot box.

I wish I could convince my Republican friends of all these truths, but they never seem to listen long enough to hear anything. I only wish they knew the truth. In the end it's everybody's responsibility to learn the truth. Ignorance is not bliss. It could mean bankruptcy, and a bleak American future.

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday's Political Rant and Rave - Michael

Michael's Economics 101

Even though it's more complicated, just remember the two main opposition theories. Supply-side or "Reaganomics" (incentives to individuals to produce goods and services without limits basically) and the the more traditional Keynesian or "Obamanomics" (government can help create/regulate markets and spur growth, especially job growth). Those two sum up most of the debate.

Remember, the worst human influence on modern economic theory was Milton Friedman. He influenced every Republican alive today. His free theories about minimal regulation, low taxes and privatization thrilled Ronald Reagan and George Bush and have led to chaos in the marketplace today. Incredibly, Republicans still don't see the era of his ways, despite all the turmoil.

President Obama appreciates the more traditional "Institutional Economics" made famous by great thinkers like John Kenneth Galbraith. It was in vogue during the time of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. Just like Democrats today, they acknowledged the positive role institutions and government can play in shaping economic behavior and success.

Last but not least, it's important to remember that - at least in academic circles - recent Republican-led experiments in supply-side economics by Reagan and Bush were a complete disaster. From what I read, most educators don't even teach the theories as practical applications in the real world anymore. They are completely discredited except in a few radical right-wing circles and institutions.

Just remember, we the voters need to end the Republican "School of Economic Chaos." We all need to reject the next great Republican rip-off.