Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

I never thought that it would come to this, but the Obama administration is running scared. After the result in the Massachusetts senatorial election last week, the administration is now trying to sound as many populist themes as possible. The latest is the proposed "spending freeze" for the next three years. Of course that spending freeze does not take into account the largest items in the budget and in fact only affects about 1/8 of the total expenditure of the budget. It does not include defense spending, but would include entitlement programs to millions of Americans.

First this "spending freeze" would not, in any significant way, affect the budget deficit. Secondly, during a time of economic crisis, the last thing the White House should be doing is to put a freeze on additional spending. Most economists say that we need a second stimulus package to help to stoke this rather fragile economic recovery that is supposedly underway. Under this new "spending freeze", that would be off the table. The President flat out rejected a spending freeze during the campaign, saying that would be like using a sledgehammer when we needed a scalpel. What has happened in the last 13 months that would have made him now adopt a proposal of John McCain that he rejected out of hand during the campaign? Could it be a loss of a Senate seat that has been Democratic for multiple generations? Could it be sagging poll numbers? Could it be the impending loss of multiple seats in the Senate and the possible loss of control of Congress? Could it be the teabaggers loud protest?

Whatever the reason, it does not sound like a policy decision that is part of a long term strategy. This smacks of desperation. This is a tactic, and a faulty one at that, that is supposed to garner some short term result in the polls. It clearly is not part of the long term strategy that this administration set in place when it entered the White House. I have always felt that the Obama White House had a long term strategy in place and was willing to suffer a short term loss in order to assure that the long term goals were met. This impulsive policy decision has shaken my belief to the core. It there is no long term strategy in place, then what exactly is being decided over on Pennsylvania Avenue? Have they now decided to bend to the wishes of the Teabaggers? Have they now decided that it's better to get along that it is be right?

I have stated before that I do not always agree with this administration, but I have always believed that there is a long term strategy in place. I may not agree with all decisions, but I could always imagine that they were part of a master plan. Now, I'm not so sure. This "spending freeze" is pointless and dangerous. The well being of our economy should not be subject to the whims of the polls or based on whether a decision will be popular with a majority of the people. Obama has always said that he doesn't care if he's a one term President as long as he feels that he did the job that he set out to do. This is a major misstep along that road. And if he starts down this path, he may find himself unable to return the path that he set for himself when he took this job.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

I'm reposting something I wrote last January. I don't think that I could ever say this any better, so I'm not going to try. Hopefully you'll all forgive for not coming up with something new, but I think it's more relevant today than it was a year ago.

" the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope". Those are the words that Barack Obama used in his now famous speech after the New Hampshire primary and it illustrates perfectly his connection with the man whose birthday we celebrate as a nation today. Hope is the tie that binds Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. The hope and the belief that America can do and must do better. Obama's speech not only made the point that the destinies of all Americans are intertwined, but that people must have hope in order to make a better world. MLK's most famous speech was all about hope. It spoke of a nation that didn't exist. It spoke of the dreams of an America where someone like Barack Obama can reach the highest position in the land. They share the dream of a better America. Whether it is an America where people are judged by the "content of their character", or an America where we strive to build "a more perfect union", their goals were the same.

There has been a lot of talk about whether Obama's election is the culmination of MLK's dream. It is clearly a part of what he hoped for, but it is not the end of what he hoped for. Before his death, he was working on organizing another march on Washington. This one was going to be a poverty march. He looked across the country and realized that the underclass had no one to speak for them. He realized that the poor had no voice and no power to change their situation. His dream had expanded to include the poor of all colors. Whites in Appalachia, Hispanics in California, Native Americans in Oklahoma, they all became part of the dream. Injustice will always exist, that is why the dream will never be fulfilled. It is a moving target, as is Barack Obama's dream to build a more perfect union. Obama's words imply that the union can never be perfected, but we must always strive to make it better.

MLK led the greatest moral campaign that this country has ever known. He led a generation of people who were willing to put their lives on the line to make this country a better place. Tom Brokaw wrote a book about the WWII generation entitled "The Greatest Generation", however I think that designation should go to those who worked and fought and died so that the dream of America could be shared by all Americans. It is somewhat easier to make those sacrifices when the entire country agrees with you, but when you are faced with the opposition of the majority of the citizens of this country, it takes an extraordinary type of intestinal fortitude to persevere. Barack Obama is not the successor to MLK. As President, his moral compass will not be as consistent as MLK's was. His goals will not be as single minded as MLK's were. They can't be. The job of President is much more complicated and Obama is not just the representative of some of us, he is the representative of all of us. Those who have expectations that Obama will lead a moral revolution on the scale of MLK will be disappointed.

MLK was the leader of a movement that changed this nation forever. Barack Obama is about to become the leader of the country and his election has changed this nation forever. They will always be inexorably linked. The fact that Obama will be inaugurated on the day after this nation celebrates the birthday of MLK would lead many to invoke the term, poetic justice. MLK's dream is alive in Barack Obama as it is in every person who strives to make this world a better place. The Dream and the Perfect Union remain out of reach, but it is in the striving for those things that we tap into the better angels of our nature. It is our willingness to try, regardless of the obstacles in our way, that keeps the Dream alive. MLK would most likely be very proud of Barack Obama, not only because of what he represents, but because Obama is still challenging the nation to be better. Indeed that is ultimately what links them. We can be better, we just need someone to show us the way.

A Dream Unrealized, But Worth Revisiting for All

In 1968, the very year that would mark the end of his life, Martin Luther King and the SCLC organized the "Poor People's Campaign." Dr. King traveled across the nation to assemble a "multi-racial army of the poor" to demand the Congress create a “bill of rights for poor Americans.” Dr. King demanded nothing less than the "reconstruction of society itself.”

This is a dream as yet unrealized, as I, an American born the year of Dr. King’s assassination will turn 42: soon to be three years his senior this year.

The current recession, as terrible as it may be for my contemporaries, is wreaking havoc on the lives of an entire generation of children living in poverty. Rarely do we talk about the jobless rates’ effects on the youngest of us in America. Dr. King wanted to bring that conversation to the fore as the Vietnam War raged on.

Anyone can be mired in poverty’s cycle. Too many of us are.

It’s important to insist that Dr. king’s legacy is everyone’s. His significance should not be lost on anyone who has ever struggled against unfairness. For anyone to let the color of their skin to preclude them from celebrating Dr. King’s legacy is to deny its central aspirations: unity, fairness, equality for all.

I wish a happy and hopeful Martin Luther King Day to you all, everywhere around the world.


Friday, January 15, 2010

At Times Like These…

Tens of thousands, possibly over one hundred thousand people have lost their lives in the 7.0 Haiti Earthquake this week. More will surely die, many are dying as I write this, and many more will perish by the time these words are read. Such is the nature of these kinds of disasters that are only possible because of our mortal fragility.

The violent events in Earth’s geology are one of the crucial components that make life possible on Earth. Dead planets; satellites that have no currents, no volcanic or electromagnetic activity are unlikely to develop anything that we would call life. Everything from the first single-cell organisms to immobile plants to fancy post-knuckle walkers like ourselves owe our earliest shots at existence and continuing survival to Earth’s violent systems of distribution. Minerals, metals, solids, liquids, gases, plasmas ad infinitum move and bustle about recombining and repelling -sometimes unnoticeably, sometimes dangerously.

We owe our lives, and can blame much of our death and grief on this activity.

These perennial events; (catastrophes and disasters to us when we’re in the way) respect no aspect of our lives. They occasionally, quite literally, wipe us off the map. They wipe us off of the face of the Earth or swallow us whole while we try to settle our nerves with the cold comfort that a border separates the fortunate from the destroyed.

Even now, the familiar, predictable nonsense of wasted or delayed aid efforts coming up against the walls of bureaucracy or simple institutionalized disconnection are costing human lives as food water and other bottom line goods necessary to support life are kept from those in need.

At times like these, our borders and all that dehumanizing segregation we call nationality, and even the structure of modern civilization feels suicidal and impractical at best.

At times like these I ask myself: What about real Globalism for a change?
-The kind of Globalism that recognizes borders as points of exchange, not as closed doors. Too naive a thought, too costly an idea in this age of terrorism and disease I know, I know.

It won’t stop the waves, the storms, the quakes the eruptions, but it may save the lives of children caught in their destructive wake around the world, -at times likes these.

Dogs Should Be Stationed Everywhere:

This is why every newsroom, workplace... and for that matter home should have a dog in residence.
-Watch this canine's reaction to a coming earthquake.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Daddy Dearest

On "This Week" on Sunday Liz Cheney added her usual insightful comments about a broad range of topics. While she offered no solutions to any problems, she did have one constant in all her answers. She consistently blamed all of the worlds problems on the current administration without admitting that her George Bush Jr. and her father's administration had anything to do with the mess that we currently find ourselves in.

After playing a commercial from the Liz Cheney led group that criticized the response time of the President to the attempted airline bombing, George Stephanopoulos asked this question:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Arguing that the responses were much better under President Bush, yet as many Democrats pointed out, President Bush waited, I think, six days before doing much about Richard Reid, the shoe bomber.

CHENEY: Well, I think that you've got to go back here and look at the way this president has dealt with terror since he's been in office. And the point of that ad was this notion that you cannot win a war if you're treating it as sort of an inconvenient sidelight.

She didn't even attempt to answer the question and Mr. Stephanopoulos, as is his style, didn't follow up to try to get her to answer the question. Why would he let her get away with this? Of course he did the same when he failed to follow after Rudy Guliani claimed that there were no terrorist attacks during the Bush administration.

This isn't about Stephanopoulos, however. The question I have to ask is why is Liz Cheney being given this outlet to spew her partisan nonsense over the airwaves? Liz Cheney has held a couple of positions in the state department during the Bush administration. Having your father as the most powerful Vice President of all time can certainly be a plus when you're trying to get a government job. Does that qualify her as some kind of expert on this administration? Or on what's best for the country? For some reason (oh, what could it be?), the networks just can't seem to get enough of her. Why on earth would the news programs seek out a low level government official from the last administration to give their opinion about anything? I just can't seem to figure that one out.

Anyway, whatever the motivation of the networks may be (wink, wink), it's time that she crawled back into the hole that her father can't seem to stay in himself these days. Her father's contribution to this country was to line his pockets and those of his friends, waste the lives of thousands of American soldiers, trample the Constitution, and help push this country toward an economic meltdown. Not exactly a stellar record of achievement. Apparently his daughter hopes to follow in his footsteps with a big hand up from the mainstream media. I can only hope for the day when we are free from the blight of this current generation of Cheney's. I'm not sure we can survive many more.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

The GOP Is Really Worried About Racism All of a Sudden…

If Harry Reid was a Republican, there would be a veritable shit-storm coming from Democrats (and anybody who is genuinely disturbed by the racial prejudice or backward insensitivity of their representatives) regarding Reid’s recently disclosed remarks about what a “palatable negro” (my term not Reid’s) then Senator Barack Obama was. By recent historical contrast, the example Republicans are offering (invariably seeing not racism but a chance to score points in Reid’s comments) Trent Lott’s implosion. Lott had been reputedly saying racist things for years, but was never caught on actual video. His birthday toast led to his very public capitulation in 2002 over lauding Strom Thurmond’s career and implying that desegregation was bad thing. -I’ll be honest; I couldn’t have given a shit back then. I had far more policy differences and identified far more unacceptable conflict-of-interest issues in Trent Lott’s career than any issues I could have with whatever old south attitudes he might harbor as a “good ol’ backward boy.” As my collaborator MyCue23 has said before, being a bigot isn’t against the law. Nor is being a racist asshole (-provided it doesn’t violate another person’s civil rights and pursuit of happiness etc.) I’d always felt that if Mississippians didn’t mind having a bigot as their representative they has the right to live with the embarrassment and humiliation. We cannot legislate egalitarianism anymore than we can legislate equanimity or maturity.

I’m not a supporter of Reid’s. The remarks Reid made last year about “terrorists in the streets” when discussions about where about to take place regarding the placement of Guantanamo Bay prisoners stateside was simply irresponsible, asinine and distracting. Reid has been one of the weakest majority leaders I have ever seen on either side of the aisle and these are not times for weakness or ineptitude of any kind in a Senate Majority leader my friends. This statement of Reid’s exposes a cynical, ossified mind at work. The RNC probably would’ve kept Lott if they could have despite what he was recorded saying at Strom Thurmond’s birthday. -That’s their problem; they won’t get my vote because of that among many other actual policy issues. -But the Democratic party shouldn’t even pretend that someone, whose idea of assessing a black man’s worth as a candidate is wholly dependent on the factoring in the naked racism and close-mindedness of others in the nation represents the future. This wasn’t straight talk, or politically incorrect brusqueness, it was just craven and cheap-minded shop talk on the part of Reid.

As they used to say in Brooklyn: “Throw the bum out.”

RNC is pointing out these statements of Reid’s while scoring partisan points. Discussions of hypocrisy and double standards are valid in this context, whatever I may think of the RNC’s motives, -however they may be contradicting themselves now versus their own past defense of people like Trent Lott, the very example they are now citing as a precedent.

Michael Steele has no point. He didn’t ask for Lott’s resignation then, so he should shut the fuck up now.

Shouldn’t Steele be defending Harry Reid as he defended Trent Lott? After all Michael Steele precisely said in December 2002: “I know Senator Lott personally and understand him to be compassionate and a tolerant statesman.” While we’re at it, why weren’t Governor Sanford and Senator Ensign hauled before a court and forced to testify about their extramarital affairs like former President Bill Clinton was? If a sitting President can’t escape persecution and tax payer-funded character assassination, why should a Governor or a Senator? John Edwards still hasn’t come out of hiding… but he’s a Democrat.

Discussions of hypocrisy and double standards are valid in this context, so let’s take them all the way.

Harry Reid may have to go, but I won’t fool myself into thinking Michael Steele or Republicans give one shit about the racism still leveled at Black people every single day.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I Won’t Let This Slide.

Vice President Biden said during the campaign debates of ‘08 "there's only three things (Rudolf Giuliani) mentions in a sentence: a noun, a verb, and 9/11. There's nothing else!"

Biden took some heat for saying that: he was pilloried for stating the obvious, as so often happens in America when something self-evident is palpably embarrassing. Pointing out that someone is full of shit is not a “cheap shot.” While it may be rude or impolite to point out someone’s lack of intelligence or hold their integrity suspect, -saying nothing is akin to lying.

I repeat: It’s not rude to point out that someone is full of shit.

On Good Morning America yesterday, Rudolf Giuliani (America’s Mayor to some) said:

"One of the right things Bush did was treat this as a war on terror… We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama."

There are two lies being told here by the former New York Mayor:

The first is that George W. Bush treated “this” as a “war on terror.” In actuality, he used “this” (meaning the 9/11 attacks that Giuliani somehow goes on to forget seconds later) as a power grab and a justification to wage war on anybody. Chiefly, George W. Bush’s administration used it as a way to excuse their attempts at short circuiting the Constitution.

The second lie will invariably be excused as “misspeak.” On one level -Yes, former Mayor Giuliani would not knowing say something so stupid as to imply that the 9/11 attacks did not happen under the Bush Administration, but it speaks to the new fantasy the Right has tried to foist on the public this year: The fantasy that the Obama administration is somehow the source of the last administration’s errors and abuses as they attempt to correct them with interference from Republicans at every turn.

My collaborator and the founder of this blog, MyCue23 told me of Giuliani’s TV appearance late last night and while I at first expressed anger at George Stephanopoulos for not immediately ridiculing Giuliani, (as happens with so much other Right wing disinformation on the morning talk show circuit) on further reflection I feel differently. This was one of those moments when a brazen liar had to be given free range to expose himself. Stephanopoulos did in essence what Jimmy Carter did in the 1976 debates with Gerald Ford: he let him just keep talking, he let him speak for himself.

For too long Americans have held the Right in a different regard and to a different standard in assessments of intellect, qualification and philosophical integrity.

I recently wrote in a response to a post on Mad Mike’s America:

"When the Right is represented by dimwits, they're considered folksy and down to Earth. When anyone challenging the Establishment so much as gets a single fact or figure wrong, they are part of a massive conspiracy to weaken or destroy the nation, and whatever crime or abuse they were pointing out is neutralized."

Not this time.

Rudolf Giuliani said the 9/11 attacks didn’t happen under George W. Bush, he spoke for a moment as if they never happened at all. Rudolf Giuliani has said something so stupid, so idiotically reprehensible it should follow him forever. It should ultimately appear on his eventual obituary after what will hopefully be a long life as an "also-ran."


Friday, January 08, 2010

Hell is for Children

We, I mean those who label themselves as Liberals, Independents and Progressives are obviously a bunch of children! When we don't get everything we want, we cry and say that we are taking our toys home. Since when do we live in a land where our wishes our granted by our government with the speed and totality that we hope for? How long did it take to turn our economy around after the depression hit? I would argue that we didn't completely get out of the depression until WWII started. That means 1929-1941 spent digging out from financial ruin. Did the country dismiss FDR because he hadn't put everyone back to work by the end of his first year in office? How long did it take to get a civil rights bill? Did that mean that LBJ didn't deserve to be voted into office because he hadn't managed to pass a bill in the year that he had as President? Truman talked of universal health care during his time in office and LBJ got medicare passed on his watch. Is that universal health care? No, but at least those over 65 have health care coverage guaranteed by the government. Does the current health care reform guarantee coverage to everyone? No, but it's a step in that direction. Since when is incremental change no longer good enough? Ted Kennedy, until the day he died, regretted that he didn't take the deal that would have guaranteed that all employees would have health insurance. He held out for every thing and got nothing. He decided that he'd rather take his toys home instead of making a compromise. That is the state of left today. If we aren't going to get everything we want, then we will take our toys home and pout. That'll show 'em.

I don't really have a point here. I understand that people are frustrated. I understand that people are disappointed. But are those on the left any more mature than those on the right? Those on the left are quick to label the tea baggers as nuts, bigots, idiots, radicals, etc., but you have to at least admire their passion. On the left, we got excited about the possibilities of an Obama presidency. Everything was supposed to change. Well, inauguration day came and went and we still had the same problems we had the day before and suddenly everyone on the left started to wonder if they had wasted their time. What do you mean we still have unemployment? Why don't I have health care coverage? Why are we still at war? Why can't gays get married? Why is Gitmo still open? Why don't we have a green economy? Why are there still bad people in the world? And because those problems still exist, we have those on the left who are ready to abandon this administration. They are willing to take their toys home and just let the chips fall where they may.

When did those on the left lose their ability to understand reality? Have they not watched the Republicans oppose everything that this administration had tried to do? Have they not watched the "Blue Dogs" thwart the Senate from putting together a strong health care reform bill? Have they not watched this most partisan of political seasons? Has the President done everything that I wanted? Of course not. I have written angrily many times on this blog about things that I have not agreed with. Do I bitch and moan about the pace of progress? Of course. But am I ready to take my toys home? Absolutely not. The alternatives are to vote for the Republicans or not vote at all. Are those choices that those on the left are willing to make? I wonder when I here of people who are questioning their vote for this President. Are they now wishing that they had voted for John McCain? Perhaps those who are most disillusioned were initially Hillary Clinton supporters who voted for Obama because of party loyalty. Perhaps deep in their hearts they think that Hillary would be doing a better job. Frankly I don't know and it's pointless to think about it, because it didn't happen.

This is reality, not "what if" land". Barack Obama is the President and he is going to remain that way until he loses the next election or until his second term is up. If you regret voting for him because he hasn't addressed the issues that he thought he would or addressed it to your satisfaction, then you can do something about it. You can vote Republican, You can stay home, you can bitch and moan, but what you cannot do is take your vote back. If you feel that the Republicans would be doing a better job, then you are a Republican and that's fine. However don't pretend that you are a disillusioned lefty who is now realizing that President Obama is leading us down the road to socialism. I long for those days when the Senator Obama would give a soaring speech and we would all feel like everything was going to be okay. President Obama is a different animal. He doesn't just speak to his supporters, he speaks to the entire country. I would love to wake up tomorrow to an ultra progressive President, but that's not going to happen and that would not help get policy passed. In this political climate, small steps are about all we can hope for. That is the reality that we live with. If that doesn't work for you then there's always fantasy island.

I don't think that those on the left should ever stop pushing, hoping and dreaming for something better. The greatest social policies of the last hundred years have come because of those who dreamed of something better. The women's suffragette movement didn't give up when they faced their first defeat. Martin Luther King didn't give up after the first time he was arrested (or after the 5th or the 10th). Are we on the left so immature that we cannot continue to fight even though the fight doesn't immediately lead to results? Is there anyone on the left who believes that their agenda would have fared better under a Republican administration? Is there? Anyone? I am willing to hear the argument. So for those who say they are not committed to voting for Obama for a second term, I am waiting to hear your argument as to why you think the progressive or liberal agenda would fare better under a Republican President. Perhaps you'd rather just take your toys home and pout.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Song Remains the Same

I wrote this article about Dick Cheney back in May of '09 and to the surprise of no one, nothing has changed. From the first time I saw him in an interview (back in the early 90's at some point), I thought that he was one of the most competent politicians I had ever seen (and I mean that in the most positive way possible). I also thought that he might be one of the most dangerous politicians I had ever seen. His was able to discuss matters of life and death without showing a shred of humanity. I've never seen another expression on his face than the usual look of disdain at having to answer questions from someone or explain something to someone he clearly views as beneath him.

His latest attack on the President is in line with his previous statements regarding this administration's handling of the threat of terrorism. It has become clear that a breakdown in the intelligence community allowed the "Christmas Day Bomber" to be able to get on board a plane headed for the United States. It is not the fault of the President. It's is not the fault of the TSA (which is still without a leader because Jim DeMint is single handedly holding up a vote on his confirmation by the Senate). it's not something that any amount of vigilance by the administration was going to stop. There are policies in place that should have allowed the intelligence agencies to share the information, that was already in house, to prevent this near disaster. However, somewhere along the line, someone dropped the ball. That revelation did not stop the former from Vice President from claiming that the administrations policies are the ones that almost led to and will undoubtedly lead to disaster in the future. He is practically inviting terrorists to try and attack by claiming that the Obama administration has made America more vulnerable to attack than it was under the previous administration.

It is almost comical to anticipate the attacks on the administration from the Republicans these days. The President was on vacation at the time of the attempted bombing. He personally responded to the attack in a news conference in about under a week. Of course a great cry went up that the President was frolicking in the waters of Hawaii (which happens to be his home state), when he should have been back in Washington handling the "crisis" personally. When the shoe bomber tried unsuccessfully to blow up a plane, the President Bush took over a week to have a press conference and there was no harping in the press or the opposition party about how long it was taking. And if President Bush had taken any more vacation days during his first 8 months in office, he would have had to list "vacation" as his occupation on his tax forms. If President Obama had held a press conference immediately, the Republicans would have complained that he had responded before gathering all the facts. Some Republicans even used the attacks to try and scare people into donating money for their campaigns.

Mr. Cheney has a different motivation for taking on the current administration. Franky, he doesn't care about whether Republicans are returned to the White House (since it won't be him). Dick Cheney's only regret about the attempted terrorist act is that it was not successful. His line of attack against this administration has nothing to do with keeping America safe from attack. He is still hoping for ultimate redemption of his sanctioning of clearly illegal acts. He points to the fact that the leaders of the Al Qaeda in Yemen are former Gitmo detainees as proof that President Obama's plan to close the prison is misguided. However, the fact that the leaders of the terrorist group in Yemen are former detainees in Gitmo, says more about the Bush administration and their overzealous activities in rounding up as many people as they could, than it does about the Obama administration's plan to close the doors on that prison. And also it was the Bush administration that released those particular individuals. How is that now the fault of the Obama administration?

I would ask the esteemed former Vice President if he still thinks that the President has the power to detain whomever he wants without due process of the law? During the Bush administration and under the leadership of the Vice President's office, legal opinions were given that stated that during war time (even though no war has been declared by Congress), the President basically had unlimited to power to detain, torture and deny the rights of anyone that he deemed a threat to the country. And since the Vice President was always quick to question the patriotism and loyalty of anyone who questioned the Bush administration, I wonder how he would feel if the President decided that he was a threat to the safety of all Americans. Would he be okay with being detained indefinitely? How about being tortured (sorry, I meant having enhanced interrogation techniques applied to him)? If he followed his own tortured (pun intended) logic, then he would be fine with that. I wish that the President would take him at his word.

Dick Cheney has no intention of supporting this administration. He doesn't care about the success or failure of the President's domestic initiatives. He's rich and he doesn't care who knows it. He only cares that at some point in the near future a terrorist is successful in taking out a large number of Americans. That way, he and George Bush can rest knowing that they will not go down in history as the only administration that allowed a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil during their tenure. His idea of patriotism is "what's good for Dick Cheney, is good".
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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

It’s 2010 and Michael Steele Is Still the Chairman of Nothing

I really would love it if Michael Steele’s ceremonial presence in the Republican Party were something other than a failed ploy at the GOP’s sad attempt to tell the world “Look we’ve got a Black guy too!!!” but I have no interest in lying to myself like so many of my fellow Americans do: These are invariably the same swath of the electorate who won’t concede that Sarah Palin’s ascendancy to the Vice Presidential candidacy in 2008 was just an ill-advised play for that energized Women’s vote they cynically attributed to Hillary Clinton’s having a vagina and nothing else. The Republican power brokers seemingly reasoned: “Well we’ll get a vagina too, and the American people will vote for that vagina instead!” Hence the choice of Sarah Palin instead of qualified, intelligent politicians like Christie Todd Whitman, Linda Lingle, who are also women, also Republican, but have substantive records and distinguished careers as Governors unlike Palin who recently quit her elected office. Michael Steele’s appointment last year is part of this same sad reasoning; it’s an indication of a party mired in a long overdue corrosive entropy brought about by the dishonesty with which is has presented itself to America after the Nixon era.

The GOP still wants me to pretend.

I won’t.
It’s too costly.

Interestingly, the tired Republican ploy of accusing an opponent of doing exactly what they themselves are doing to mask their more contemptuous maneuvers is still the go-to tactic for this party. The nation elected Barack Obama, and the GOP assumed that his “Blackness” was the key to his victory; not Obama’s platform, and not the GOP’s own 25 years of bad economic policy and specifically the last eight years of criminal ineptitude and corruption during the Bush administration. Republicans, instead of assessing their own record honestly as a party, launched one of their classic (read “played out”) initiatives; a whisper campaign to present Barack Obama as a “straw man” and an “empty suit” while offering a “genuine fake” of their own:
Michael Steele.

Regnery Publishing, a “conservative” publishing house has issued a book by Michael Steele called "Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda" in which he reportedly (according to press releases and the AP) asks that the GOP should acknowledge how they “most glaringly compromised [their] principles" since 2000 and hold its elected Republicans accountable. I’d think Congressman Waxman of California who repeatedly subpoenaed Vice President Dick Cheney to no result last year would laugh heartily at Steele’s disingenuous statement. This book of Steele’s promises to be a straight talking to of sorts but is likely to be a rehash of the pro-deregulatory, anti-environmental, elitist, anti-working class, pro-corporate lies and hypocrisy that have been the real platform of the Republican Party since 1980, but let’s be honest:

Is there one single Republican out there in America who gives a single solitary shit about Michael Steele’s thoughts?Is there anyone at all?
Once you’ve been made to apologize to someone like Rush Limbaugh, you have been exposed as the very thing no one is impolite enough to say you are:
a fraud.

This book is the GOP’s attempt to win back the confidence (read “credulity and trust”) of the American people, but that’s not something you can do by lying over and over again. My collaborator MyeCue23 and I have written about this repeatedly on Random Thoughts, but I’ll say it again, America needs real alternatives to the Democratic Party, not an anti-intellectual opposite, but a real opposing dynamic viewpoint from the Right. I say this as a Liberal who actually believes in democracy, not cycles of power grabs for each side of the aisle. I’d vote for Republicans, if they’d they act like Republicans: stay out of people’s personal lives, support small business, support individual rights, stop kissing moral majority ass, stop awarding corporations welfare, stop defending the rich at the peril of everyone else in the world, stop being a de facto lobby for defense contractors. Above all: Republicans need to stop lying if they are to become an actual party again instead of just a special interest group.

I’ll offer one predictable recurring example of something this book will be missing even though I haven’t even read it, and I’ll gladly retract this statement, and apologize if I’m wrong: but I won’t be:
This book of Michael Steele’s will not acknowledge that President Reagan raised taxes and that President George HW Bush raised taxes just two years later, effectively saving the country (That was actually a good thing). Instead Republicans, like Anne Coulter in particular, would rather demonize George HW Bush and ignore Ronald Reagan’s own sober capitulation to reality in the 1980s in order to hold on to the unethical philosophy that insists the answer to all of our problems is letting the wealthiest people in America pay as little in taxes as possible.

In the end, the title of Steele’s book says it all. This book is not a righting of the ship, but a pathetic attempt to improve one’s fortunes by telling everyone that another ship belonging to someone else is sinking. This is wrong on all counts. The biggest lie Michael Steele is telling people with this book is that we are somehow not all in the same boat…

-well that and the lie about him being Chairman of the Republican Party. I don’t believe either one.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Across the Universe...

This is an offering to my friends everywhere on Earth.

A happy new year and a brighter future to you all.