Welcome to a view from Lake Tahoe. Whether due to the abundant
fresh air, or the high altitude, sometimes things seem much
simpler in the laid back mountain life I have come to love. I am
often perplexed by how complicated life can become, and I know
this is but a taste of things to come.
Perhaps it is just my mid-life crisis, but, I know I am not
alone when I state that many of the major events and policies I
encounter, simply do not make sense. Some friends tell me that
trying to understand how the world works will drive me crazy. I
agree. But unlike some of my friends, I cannot simply watch and
ignore. Hence my blog.
I touch on a variety of subjects in this blog, ranging from
current events, to not so current events, diatribe when needed,
and on life here in the mountains. Dates posted of are those of
the original post, editing occurs as necessary.
Rep Boner[sic] and R's Double Down on Lies(07/09/2011)
As expected, the latest dismal jobs report was demagogue'd by republican leaders and twisted to support their nice tidy bundle of lies that only ditto heads would believe. Since these elephants always forget, the rhetoric was in sharp contrast when the jobs reports were positive. I distinctly remember how the r's got in front of the camera last January and declared that the positive jobs report was due to their election and of course, the extension of the bush tax cuts.
I ran across an interesting news bit this past week about the founding of FOX News. Seems that during the Nixon administration that Murdoch recognized the value of advertising on the teevee. He reasoned that the American public was lazy and that they would believe anything said that came from this latest little bundle of technical joy. The FOX affiliate network was built by supplying canned news interviews with Nixon's political supporters, allowing desperate news reporters the appearance of exclusive interviews.
This art of propganda was perfected by the Bush administration as they took over the Sunday teevee talk shows spreading their misinformation about mushroom clouds. I'll never forgive them for that. To this day, republican pundits decry anyone that reminds us of these facts, as guilty of using very old talking points.
R Hopefuls Time Shift The Past (06/14/2011)
OK, OK, OK, we all know what the republicans are against. Do I have to state the obvious? Try as I might, I have been unable to find anything in the congressional record that indicates that anything named ObamaCare was passed and signed into law. So how is it that some non-existent law that r's claim is on the books can be responsible for killing 800,000 jobs?
And what about that 800,000 number? Where did it come from? If you look at the congressional testimonial from the CBO related to this figure, you find that this estimate is the number of people who will voluntarily quit their jobs during the next 10 years, apparently, because the only reason these folks hang onto their jobs is to obtain insurance for health care. I don't know about you, but if the only reason 800,000 people are working is to obtain health care insurance, then I strongly suspect those 800,000 people are just 800,000 pieces of deadwood free loading on their employers.
In other words, the repeal of this so called law called ObamaCare will be responsible for forcing nearly 1 million people to work at jobs that they really don't like. You have to wonder, is that the r's version of free markets? And wouldn't these companies be better off if these folks quit and were replaced?
What are Bachman and Ryan thinking? Not only do they believe that our corporate citizens should pay no taxes, they also believe that people should be forced to work for them since; these folks fear having to deal with our so called free market insurance system so much, that they would rather grind out 40 hours a week at jobs they don't like. That is their America and I soundly reject that vision.
Having endured the pain of last night's r debate, pain that was not eliminated by CNN's extravagantly flashy red, white, and blue set, I firmly believe the the contenders somehow managed to skip by the last tens years and are feckless as to why our economy is struggling. Why are these folks so intent on insisting that the policies they propose, reducing corporate tax rates, eliminated regulation, and so on are the answers to our problems, problems that by any reasonable economic analysis, are the very same policies that got us into this mess.
It was summed up quite nicely by a republican strategist today, as she declared that we must all jump off of the cliff together!
I suspect, that these contenders ran out of TIVO disk space years ago. The r's need a new logo, elephants are claimed to never forget. And while the r's have demonstrated an uncanny knack for forgetting the trouble they have caused us, I never will.
Un-American Shackles (05/12/2011)
It was with great anticipation that I looked forward to today's Senate hearing featuring the CEOs of the five largest oil producers on capitol hill today, especially after the rumblings in the ConocoPhillips' share holder meeting reported yesterday that declared that eliminating special tax breaks for oil companies was un-American. A sentiment echoed by their CEO. I hope you didn't hold your breath waiting for an apology.
The only republican in attendance was Utah's Senator Hatch and the senator valiantly continued the republican tradition of decrying political statements while making one, proudly displaying a large picture of a dog and pony during his opening statement. The good senator seems dismayed that those evil godless liberals over at MSNBC already had their talking points queued up for today's programming. He later regretted saying "horses ass" stating that he was going to catch "heck" when he got home. Sounds serious.
The five CEOs, all impeccably dressed in their thousand dollar suits and ties, all arriving via their private jets, all wove a similar theme in their opening statements, each declaring how patriotic it would be to continue to support their companies with the various tax breaks they receive. Not only did they declare that the answer to our future economic prosperity was in their hands, they clearly let it be known, that if their tax breaks disappear, so would jobs and future tax revenues.
All of them believe that America is blessed with substantial oil reserves, and that each of them could substantially increase the number of jobs available in this country if only we would take the shackles off of them and allow them to drill, baby drill. They seem to believe that if we allowed them to do so, that they could generate enough tax revenues to cure our current deficits. The notion that our country has some unbelievably large reserve of oil just waiting to be tapped must be some sort of closely held secret amongst these executives.
The marketing propaganda we see on the teevee everyday, the notion that these companies spend all of their profits on R&D and on creating jobs, and then out of the goodness of their hearts, spend more than they earn is voodoo accounting. The last time I looked, profit is that money above and beyond what was spent to generate the profit which includes investments in R&D. As most senator's ask, "Am I wrong"? When you spend all of your revenues, and then some, don't you reported a loss?
When the painful task of deciding what and where to cut to bring our budget in line was described, one of the CEOs was asked whether it was more important to help send our youth to college, or maintain their tax breaks. It was clear. The tax breaks are more important.
These CEOs all believe that the future of our great country depends on developing our meager oil reserves and it is clear, that they feel they are doing us a favor maintaining the status quo. Of course, this notion that our future depends on fossil fuels is not one of our future, but of our past. Only a fool or shareholder interest in continuing to derive profits as they have for the last hundred years, would believe that is the only vision moving us forward.
GOP Pretty Boy Ryan Gets Well Deserved Smackdown (04/14/2011)
Wisconsin may be the birthplace of the labor movement, but I am beginning to wonder what's in the cheese up there that produces the delusion exhibited by right wingers Walker and Ryan. After over two years of republicans acrimoniously opposing anything and everything related to Obama, even if it required positional flip flopping, Ryan actually had the temerity to get in front of the camera and declare that he thought that Obama was going to offer him up an olive branch.
Ryan's extreme self delusion is on full display with his so called "Path to Prosperity Plan" which is laced with fallacies like 2.9% unemployment and the completely discredited notion, refuted by conditions on the ground, that continuing to lower taxes on the rich will create jobs. The Ryan plan, at its heart, proposes to slash spending by over $4.5 trillion dollars while offering up tax cuts of over $4 trillion. The end result is that the Ryan plan does nothing to reduce the deficit now, during the next decade, or for several decades to come.
His republican supporters fair no better. Southern bell representative Blackburn was on Hardball yesterday, and amidst a flurry of talking points that she uses to justify her talking points, she claimed that cutting benefits to our seniors would result in the insurance industry offering up more choices for health care for those same seniors. It is a good thing she is not employed as an insurance company actuary.
Second term representative McClintock, whose website claims his fellow republicans did not turn far enough to the right, gave an unintelligible diatribe during his time slot to talk during the Ryan plan markup session, citing Hoover and numerous other past presidents and in the end, I had no idea what he said. I'm pretty sure he had no idea what he said either. Apparently McClintock prefers the Wisconsin cheese over his home state's variety.
Yes, these over paid children continue to call each other names, claim we are broke, partake in extreme projection, and despite the republican dedication to the message, have only nonsensical smoke and mirrors to offer up to the real problem of our runaway spending, spending, that by any intellectual measure, was fueled by the very same folk during the last ten years. These are the same folk that threaten us with government shutdowns that would saddle all the rest of us with the loss of jobs and income, just to get their way, a way that they can only claim leads to more jobs and prosperity.
Our system was designed to protect the minority from the majority, but apparently lacks in protecting the majority from the minority. As long as R's continue to claim that a majority of their minority represents the voice of the majority of America, then they can talk till they are blue in the face with platitudes about our children and future generations. They have nothing constructive to add to the debate. Just their grand delusions.
And if you don't believe me when I say republicans are full of shit, go google it. Have fun viewing over a million pages all claiming the same thing.
Fascism Comes to Wisconsin (03/10/2011)
The facade is over. For weeks now we have been hearing that the existence of collective bargaining prevents states from balancing their budgets. Yesterday's abrupt change in tactics by Wisconsin's r's lays bare what many had claimed, that this is not about balancing the budget, it is about an ideology that claims that corporate citizens are a special breed that are to be worshipped for the money that they use to buy political influence and special treatment.
Indeed, it has been shown, that the most effective business investment that can be made is to line political coffers. And the impact of this development has been to demote American citizenship and denounce those that work for living, demeaning them as workers that are somehow less valuable to our country than those corporate interests that continue their class warfare by stealing from the less well politically connected in an effort to transfer the burden of the great recession to those that had nothing to do with creating our current economic mess.
So it would seem that the great conservative mantra of personal responsibility is wholly dependant on how much money you wield. Over my short 50+ years on this planet I have run into these folks before. They are the ones that believe and act like they are the holders of ultimate wisdom, that somehow logic and the law is to be ignored simply because they own a half dozen houses and you don't. That somehow their financial status is the true value of right and wrong.
The difference in how this battle is portrayed is stark. Fox news pundits continue to characterize the opposition, between rants of Obama bashing, as the acts of children. Indeed at least one Wisconsin r has stated time and time again, that demonstrations and civil disobedience are acts that only slobs partake. Bush's brain has made it clear that his supporters want to make this look like the protesters are nothing but pot smoking hippies, unemployed washouts, and hooligans.
It would seem, that those that want to promote corporate governance and the r party libel our freedom to protest as a non-existent right as they strive to eliminate our dysfunctional two party system and make it a one party dictatorship. And they call that America.
Even the right leaning hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe chime in on this theme. The dumb blond, Mika, between sighs of righteous disgust over her companion's statements, claims that eliminating collective bargaining works, and as always, is unable to back up her claims with anything that resembles logic. It would seem that the justifications for her claims are somehow missing from the teleprompter. Doni had it right, Americans know in their stomach, when they see something as wrong.
R's think they are winning this fight. But it continues to be true, that the greatest fear of those who use fear to manage our great country, fear most, people who stand up for their rights.
For me, this is just another example of why republicans are full of shit.
Gas Prices Hit $4.19 (03/05/2011)
The price of gasoline in the Lake Tahoe area has always been much higher than those prices found in the rest of the nation, but I was still shocked when in the span of one week prices rose by 50 cents a gallon. It is clear that the recent rise in the price of crude has yet to make it's way through refining production pipelines, but our good friends, you know, the ones that continually runs commercials about how great they are, wasted no time in leveraging the turmoil in Libya to further pad their already bloated profits.
The issue is further compounded by wall street as once again they are playing on fear, and fear alone, to drive futures contract prices up and extract yet more ill-gotten money from the system. These guys are without shame.
Meanwhile the pundits are way out in left field talking about the strategic oil reserve. Oh really? That would help? The Saudis are eager to make up the difference. Wouldn't you be if you could sell a product at 30 or 40 times your cost? No, if anyone was serious about this they would address the wall street speculation. Either eliminate the ability of wall street to buy on margin, or make it illegal for anyone that actually does not use oil in their production processes to participate. This excessive speculation destroys the very notion of these hedges for those that need them the most.
Meanwhile, despite republican screams about cutting spending, a bill to eliminate around $50 billion in tax subsidies to the oil industry failed as every republican voted against the measure. The r's continue to berate the democrats over their failure to support cutting programs designed to help the lower and middle classes, cuts that r's claim amount to a little more than $50 billion as they continue to rage about class warfare. It is clear that r's believe that money spent to help our less fortunate citizens is a waste, while continuing to give tax breaks to our largest corporations is a necessity.
And you hear both sides congratulate each other over the paltry $5 or so billion that they did manage to cut with their continuing resolution that kept the government running for the long term, a term of 2 weeks.
The r's wasted a golden opportunity to prove that they are serious about cutting spending and instead opted in favor of their political coffers at the expense of the American people. And Mr. Boehner continues to proclaim that they are listening to the American people when in fact, poll after poll during the last ten years clearly makes a mockery of his delusion.
I don't know what planet these folks seem to think they live on, but the r's keep on acting like we actually care about their political objectives to retake the country so that they can continue to force their policies down the throats of our country based on their ideology, an ideology without merit and without any type of data to support their claims.
The r's have done nothing to convince me to the contrary, that yes, I continue my message, republicans are full of shit.
Where Are The Conservatives? (03/03/2011)
A CEO, a union boss, and a tea partier are given a dozen boxes of girl scout cookies to divide between them. The CEO takes eleven of the boxes and then looks at the tea partier and says, "That union boss wants yours!".
That pretty well sums up today's conservatives, all of whom have been known to repeat the mantra about getting the government off of our backs. We all know how passionate today's self proclaimed conservatives are when it comes to government intervention in our daily lives. Democrat[sic] are socialists. Obamacare is a government take over. On and on and on and on.
So why is it that so many professed conservatives are weighing in on teacher's pay? We are led to believe that teachers that are members of unions should not be making that exorbitant salary of $50k/year. And according to Scot Walker, it is a travesty that those that are paid by the state turn around and give some of that exorbitant pay back to, of all people, democrat(sic).
I may have missed something here. I thought conservatives believed in individual responsibility and wanted the government off of our backs. Why is it that they are all weighing in on how much a member of the middle class makes? Are not these salaries determined by free market forces? What business does our government have in setting pay salaries? And what business is it of our government to dictate how that money is spent?
The game plan seems clear. Like the so called $100+ million dollars Scot Walker claims has been lost due to democrat(sic) not being on the job (which appears to actually to be a legally scheduled repayment of debt that would be refunded costing taxpayers more money), the flack coming from our new conservatives is merely a ploy to open the way to the privatization of everything. First pass corporate tax cuts based on the false promise of creating new jobs, then use the additional strain on budgets to gut anything and everything that helps our lower and middle class citizens.
So after you fire all of the teachers, who teaches our children? Corporate interests of course. And what do corporate interests have a legal obligation to do? Increase share value of course. So it is clear, that destroying public education in favor of a voucher system will lead to one conclusion. More and more money for the corporations and less and less education for our children.
And whose egos get a boost in the process? The Scot Walkers of the world of course, whom will get wined and dined when they start handing out all those private contracts all in the name of their so-called conservative values.
How do you know that you are a right wing ideologue who values kickbacks and money more than the American Dream? You get punked.
The former tea party darling Sara got punked and was so feckless during the call, that she gushed over in gratitude when the punker congratulated her on her film, what was it, Banging Palin? A porn film.
It is clear that these folks believe that they are special gifts to America. Not unlike Charlie Sheen, they are addicts.
Scot Walker is no different. This man is so delusional that he believes that all the people of Wisconsin should accept his policies face value, that somehow depriving people of their basic rights will solve any and all budget deficits. This type of display is common with people who attain power and lack the basic skills in negotiating with others. Several governers have refuted his claim by stating that the proper way to approach this issue is to go to the bargaining table.
The unions clearly are bad negotiators. They bargained away today's paycheck for the promise of future retirement benefits, a bad idea. This tactic is not uncommon in large corporations.
The tactic is clear. Until and unless everyone that works for a living succumbs to the poverty living wage of around $15/hour, then the big money and the big corporations will go oversees and hire those folks whom are living on $2/day. Doesn't matter that product quality suffers, these markets are wholly owned, we have no choice on where the products we need are made. Some free market.
Meanwhile, proponents will continue to exclaim that if and only if, more tax breaks are given to big business, our people will not attain jobs. All these claims come in an environment where today's taxes are at fifty year lows. Yet we are still told, that more tax cuts are needed and that spending is the issue, all the while budget cuts totalling a few billion are hailed as landmarks while our deficit and debt are measured in the trillions.
To compound issues, the diversions abound. While the Sopranos look alike Gov. Christie spouts the message that the American people are tired of two different Americas, he falsely spins this issue as a battle between public and private sector workers, a difference that is usually measured in a couple of thousand dollars. Meanwhile, Wall Street fat cats rake in millions of dollars in bonuses because we can't afford to lose the very smart people who gambled our economy into the worst recession in nearly a century and destroyed trillions of dollars of wealth.
The diversion in Wisconsin is a bit more complicated. Buried in the fine print of the Wisconsin legislation is a clause that would allow the governer to sell off public power utilities under a no-bid scenario. The Koch brothers have every reason to blur the issues and they, and they alone stand to gain.
When I was a conservative, it was a time when actual intellectual arguments still lived. This atmosphere died along with the Buckleys of the world and now all we get from the so called conservatives are name calling, divide and conquer, diversions, and a concerntrated effort to deny the facts.
Today's republicans are nothing, if not in fact, full of shit.
Right Wing Democracy (02/22/2011)
Now that enough so-called conservatives have landed jobs in the fantasy land known as Washington DC, it is clear that no more money will be flowing to the states to help with the severe budget shortfalls. The situation in Wisconsin confirms even the most wild conspiracy theories about the big red bulls eye that has been painted on our middle class, courtesy of those elite that feign support for democracy and demonstrate that they are just as petty, if not more so, than the dictators in the middle east that so clearly see the demise of their unquestioned power to take advantage of their people to enrich themselves.
Gov. Scott Walker has stepped over the line with his claim that the only way to solve their so-called budget crises is to put an end to democracy. It is clear that he places more value on becoming the leader of the wing nuts on the right then he is in solving the problems that, in part, he helped create when once again, business interests were granted more tax cuts. He refuses to come to the table. He believes that as long as workers have rights, that it is not possible to solve any budget crises.
It reminds me clearly of a speech a senior representative of China's shipping industry gave that I viewed on CSPAN wherein he repeated time and time again, that workers should not make demands because the people of China have jobs only through the grace of his company.
Scott Walker believes the same, threatening that if the good people of Wisconsin did not give up their rights to collective bargaining, he would start firing them. Scott Walker's republican supporters continue to exclaim that they are not eliminating collective bargining and support their claims by stating that they are just interested in eliminating the tenants of collective bargaining. Are these folks that feckless, or has someone promised them fortunes in some imaginary land of milk and honey? I have yet to hear a cogent argument from the stalwarts on the right.
The argument being made nationwide is that somehow unions are related to a state's budget deficit. This is typical of Republicans, the offer up a falsehood, beat it to death as if it were the truth, and proceed to insist on their way or the highway. There is absolutely no correlation between unionization and a state's deficit.
I heard an interesting statistic on Bloomberg, more people own ferrets as pets than watch Fox news. Yet such petty icons such as O'Reilly, Boehner, Cantor, Walker, Christy, Colter, and others continue to spin that they speak for our country and that a majority of our people support them when in fact, only about 1/4 of our country subscribes to the extreme right wing lunacy that is currently on display.
O'Reilly and Fox recently marred super bowl Sunday with O'Reilly's utter disrespect for our President, constantly interrupting our President to exclaim right wing talking points as facts and then quickly moving on so as not to invite a counter. For the first time, I was actually furious when the Super Bowl began. Fox was also lukewarm in their support for the people of Egypt. It is apparent that they only support democracy if it leads to a christian nation. Their cries of un-American activites by the people in Wisconsin only serves to underscore why Fox viewers have been identified as the most ill-informed in our country. Their pundits know nothing about America.
And no wonder. The Republican talking points are so Non sequitur that they stomp all over themselves. Beohner can't bring himself to say the word compromise. Rumie doesn't know what a stove pipe is. Christie came off as a mob boss when he bullied a California citizen trying to ask Whitman a question. By the way, what is that guy eating? He must spend a small fortune on food.
Cantor's financial road map balances the budget in a record time of 53 years. And the cries of jobs, jobs, jobs has been met in the house with bills on abortion, abortion, abortion.
Cantor invited Timothy Geithner to a hearing last week only to hear their claims about the cost of "Obama Care" smacked down as Geithner re-iterated CBO's projection of the small deficit reducing impact. Joe Barton was making a scene in a science committee meeting claiming that Co2 can't be a problem because it does not constitute a percentage of the composition of our atmosphere similar to Oxygen & Nitrogen.
And you remember that guy named Bush? He cancelled a trip to Switzerland for fear of being arrested as a war criminal!
Obama seems to have taken the squeaky wheel approach, and gives them whatever they are screaming about most in any given week; treating them much like the children they are. Meanwhile Obama focuses on Winning the Future. I'm beginning to believe he is challenging us to stand up and take control. It is sometimes true that if you give a hangman enough rope, he will hang himself.
And we see this in Wisconsin. Today in Ohio, Indiana, and Tennesse.
I've had it with ALL republicans. I am tired of hearing about how nasty, evil, and godless their opponents are. I am tired of hearing that the recession was caused by deadbeat homeowners. I am tired of hearing our deficits were caused by Democrats. I am tired of hearing about socialism. I am tired of Palin word salad soup. I am tired of hearing them tell me what is real. And I am tired of Frank Luntz talking points..
We keep hearing about shared sacrifice. What we see is a rash new power play. Continued support for cutting taxes by reducing spending in the most trivial and mean spirited ways. Read my lips. So be it.
Perhaps the really big guns have suggested politicans can be outsourced.
We keep hearing about not letting the perfect destroy the good. Only in DC. Where is that theory of american exceptionalism when we need it?
Perhaps Obama is right.
Until then, I will stay on message. Republicans are full of shit. I am sorry it took me the majority of my life to figure that out.
Tea Party Thrown Under The Bus (11/05/2010)
It did not take long. Senator Jim DeMint, the inside the beltway Tea Party advocate, told the Tea Party in no uncertain terms that our debt ceiling will rise next year. Typical of the nonsense that r's spout when trying to defend their positions, DeMint liken the debt ceiling to a credit card declaring that our obligations must be paid for and raising the debt ceiling is the mechanism we use to pay off that debt.
A credit card? Give me a break. Did our government get an introductory teaser rate only to see their interest rate sky rocket to 20-30%? Sounds to me like a classic sign of trouble, when someone uses one credit card to pay off another.
Republicans have no idea how to balance the budget and it is quite clear that the only good budget deficit is the one created by republicans. Any reasonable analysis of the structure of our national debt reveals that the majority of our debt accrued under republican administrations.
And in a true display of personal responsibility, the tea party candidate who declared she was not a witch, O'Donnell displayed the snarkiness epitomized by Sara Palin and blamed her self proclaimed victory on the lack of support from the republican party movers and shakers.
Today Ben Bernanke announced that the Federal Reserve plans to buy $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by mid-2011. With unemployment high and inflation very low, further support to the economy is needed declared the FOMC. This monetary policy decision came just a day after it became clear that republican fiscal policy would be moving to tighten. So it appears that Bernanke thinks republicans are full of shit, but this has long been obvious to the few thinking folks left in this country who long ago realized that republican claims of fiscal responsibility are nothing more than talking points designed to gain political power. After all, who doesn't cringe when paying their income taxes?
Where does the FOMC get this money? They print it.
Yes they are (full of shit) after spending months declaring that an institution with a $2.5 trillion surplus and that is solvent until 2037 is problem that we all need to man up to. You guessed it, Social Security. The only real problem here is that, that $2.5 trillion is not available for bets in the casino like atmosphere that we now call our financial institutions. Much of this money may have been lost had Bush 43 not lived to regret that he failed to privatize SS.
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declared that Obama has raised taxes. Taxes were cut last year. In fact, effective tax rates today are at one of the lowest level ever experienced.
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declare that our budget deficit is soaring. Official numbers forecast that our deficit will come in around 8% lower than last year. Note: The numbers are in, the deficit shrank by 20%!
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declare that ObamaCare will add $1 trillion to our deficit. The official CBO projections were that the health care bill would decrease the deficit by $100 billion over the next ten years.
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declare that last year's stimulus bill was a total failure. Jobs losses of 700,000 per month stopped. Negative GDP growth halted.
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declare that more tax cuts are needed to spur economic growth. Big business is sitting on an estimated $2 trillion dollars. Why? No demand. Tax cuts do not create jobs.
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declare that extending tax cuts won't increase the deficit.
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declare that freezing discretionary spending will impact the deficit in any meaningful way.
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declare government is broken when they are not in power.
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declare that cooperation is required and they have demonstrated that they want no part of cooperating with anyone who disagrees with them.
Yes they are (full of shit) when they declare they are listening to the people. Why would they listen when they have openly declared that our people don't understand the problems we face, because they have yet to tell us what the problems are?!
Yes they are (full of shit) when they say "I'm you!".
Yes they are full of shit. No amount of digging will ever reveal the hope that somewhere a pony may be found. Mr. President, STOP DIGGING!
Take a deep breath Mr. President. Just repeat after me. There is no pony, ... , there is no pony, ..., there is no pony.
You know what I like about the current crop of republican leaders? They are full of shit.
And apparently Bernanke agrees.
Open Letter to Congressman Tom McClintock (10/29/2010)
Thank you for your recent correspondence describing your support of the Arizona immigration law, this is one of the few areas of agreement we share, the enforcement of law. Aside from the recent wave of 4 color oversized glossy postcards that have flooded my PO Box, I had not heard from you since receiving your Frank Luntz inspired opinion poll shortly after your very narrow election victory in the last election. It is clear then, as now, that you are vigorously supporting the old tried and tired republican talking points.
Politics sucks. I recently listened to a pundit featured on CSPAN and he began his lecture stating that it was important to realize that politicians do not lie, that instead, they sometimes are mistaken. He immediately followed this statement by repeating the old saw about how democrats are the party of tax and spend. This, despite the record of the past thirty years.
Thirty years ago I bought this talking point hook, line, and sinker and joined the conservative movement to support the election of Ronald Reagan. During Reagan's term he raised taxes and the deficit grew. Meanwhile my support of the Republican Senate Committee earned me the "Presidential Order of Merit". By the time Bush 41 left office, the deficit had continued to soar and it was clear that conservative ideals were not a part of the deeds committed in Washington DC. I left the republican party to become an independent and I still remember the phone calls I received afterwards asking me if I supported the very same talking points, as if I hadn't figured out for myself without the Internet, that the talking points were nothing but a load of you know what.
As the election draws near and the historic trend of the gains in Congress that the out of power party makes looks like it will be repeated, I am sickened by the smirks on the faces of republican pundits and the flood of comments presented that have no bearing to the record, or the truth. One of the more disgusting pundits, Ron Christie, former aide to vice president Dick Cheney, was nearly brought to tears when fellow panelists insisted that the Bush 43 administration repeatedly lied. Never Christie insisted. It is the opposition that is lying. All this from a man whose boss is a convicted felon. His crime? Lying to the FBI.
Of course Christie does not stop with his rants about how innocent he and his ilk are, he goes on to claim that the criticism of the flock of good looking(?) republican conservative candidates is somehow sexually based. That there is no possibility that the words coming out the mouths of these women has anything to do with the criticism. Man up they cry as if questioning the opposition's manhood supports the validity of the talking point they are too weak to defend, living as they do in their own world of delusion.
These folks claim to be passionate supporters of our Constitution but fail to grasp even the most basic notions of our historic document. Where is the separation of church and state written in our Constitution tea party hopeful Christine Therese O'Donnell asks of her opponent during a debate, the whole time believing that she just delivered a zinger of truth while the audience chuckles away at her.
How is it that a candidate for the US Senate has failed to realize that the separation of church and state was at the time, a unique declaration in the history of man and a defining element of our country?
Of course you could write a book about the self delusional world that Sarah Palin lives in as she continues to rant about her claim that the only true patriots in this country believe as she does. She fits in perfectly with the Republican party as we know it today.
For the better part of the last decade Republicans told us that elections matter, and since they won they were free to legislate their so called free market reforms and wage war seemingly without end. Citizens have been marginalized into workers and as workers we should all be grateful for the very rich who, out of their own generosity bless the workers with a job. This is the same type of authoritarian capitalism practiced in communist China.
And while John Beohner proudly claims that he is listening to our people, he makes no bones about the lack of published solutions for our country, stating very clearly, that the republicans have no plans to share because they have yet to inform the American public as to what the true problems we face are. Meanwhile republicans have made a very visible effort to place their version of a patriot front and center and rather than accept that they were voted out of office, and that elections matter, proceeded to block all attempts at getting this country moving again.
Even when offered the chance to contribute, they repeatedly voted against everything, including policies and legislation that they previously supported. Apparently elections only matter if they win and it is clear that the desire to own political power trumps the well being of our American citizens.
Time after time, republicans blamed the opposition for the depression era like conditions that they helped create. Their critiques would be comical if not so serious and it is the republicans who are responsible for some of the most ridiculous propaganda ever heard, best epitomized by the wails against our administration during the worst environment disaster our country has ever experience, the BP spill in the Gulf. When asked what they would do differently, their only answer was plug the damn hole! And of course, apologize to BP because some Americans got mad.
Just like now, they cry, create those damn jobs! The delusion that those mostly responsible for creating a financial sector under the guise of free markets, that created an environment where the financial sector stopped promoting business,... and became the business; the very idea that these folks understand how to move us forward is wholly a farce.
And today, just like 30 years ago, they cry reduce the deficit! This despite the fact that each and every Republican administration during the last 30 years has increased the deficit. Apparently Washington is only too big and incompetent when they are not at the helm.
On the flip side of the coin, the Democrats have not brought the change we need. Yes, they stopped the bleeding, but the institutions that line their coffers with money have paid no price for the wide band of economic destruction they created. In fact, these institutions are bigger.
Health care reform? Yes, thank you for slapping the insurance companies on the wrist for denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and dropping sick patients. Did you stem the cost curve? Hell no. You just made it worse by declaring that every so called worker must now buy into the insurance market. Even the MIT economics professor whose ideas formed the basis of health care reform admits that we do not know how to control costs. If fact, he believes that it is not possible. And I agree, as long as we rely on a for profit insurance industry, beholden to share holders and CEOs with million dollar salaries, there is no solution.
Financial reform? Again, thanks for slapping the industry on the wrist. Were the folks that created this mess held accountable? Again, hell no. One by one they testified before Congress that this was some kind of once in a century fluke, that they were caught off guard. If only they were able to obtain tens of billions of extra capital just a little bit sooner, then everything would have been just fine. All this despite the wealth of research that clearly identifies the fraud and greed that has undermined the US economy.
Buck UP? right...
In the world of hard science it is commonly recognized that a difference that make no difference is not a difference. Despite my best efforts, the only difference I can see between the two political parties is that the Democrats at least try to justify their policies based on facts.
So Congressman McClintock, you have once again asked for my vote. Did you explain how hard you worked to improve the economic situation in Lake Tahoe? Or did you insult me by assuming that I was a low information voter who actually believed in those age old dusty and demonstrable false claims known as republican political talking points?
I often hear talking points justified with American exceptionalism and proud pronouncements of America's greatness. On rare occasion, I also hear those voices of sanity, who warn, yes we can if our American exceptionalism doesn't get in the way.
I am looking forward to hearing all about how you have made a difference for all of us during your next 2 year term. It would be a refreshing change befitting one of the most beautiful places in the world, Lake Tahoe.
Beck, Palin Hide Behind God and Our Troops (09/28/2010)
Nothing is more indicative of the shatters that today's republican party is in then that of today's so called rally sponsored by Beck and Fox News. As the 2010 mid term elections approach the republicans have elevated their nonsensical rhetoric to historic levels never before witnessed and in the process are making a mockery of politics. Nothing could be more clear, this is politics without honor.
Make no mistake, throughout history there have been those that shill for God but for one reason, to make a buck. Beck and Palin have elevated this game to historic levels and both have become flush with cash. How is it that their so called followers fail to see this?
Perhaps it is just me, but I always harbor strong suspicions whenever anyone claims that they talk to God, or declare that God wants this or that because they have some mystical burning bush located exclusively in their back yards. This whole notion that somehow we must take our country back, presumably to that America that was destroyed during the Bush years, to restore our constitutional roots is a complete fabrication. It was Bush after all, that declared he was worried about our constitution, the constitution he routinely ignored because he believed he was free to violate it on the grounds that it is not a death pack.
While I sympathize with those whom believe we need to restore the belief in our founding documents, my notions are directed at the loss of civil liberties destroyed by years of warrantless wiretaps, waging war without Congressional declarations, the unilateral declarations of enemy combatants by the executive branch, and the list goes on and on. My realization that the America I thought I grew up disappeared crystallized when I stopped over in the Denver airport and heard the constant national security warnings over the public address system.
Beck, Palin, and the ginned up tea party would have you believe that we lost America the day that Obama took office. Nothing could be further from the truth. The OMG Palin would have you believe that our military is fighting overseas to protect our rights to free speech. Is she really so clueless? You betcha! Palin's America only consists of those that believe in her version of patriots, and if you are not with her you must not be an American. Our freedoms are only reserved for those that in her eyes are patriots. The rest of us apparently have no claim to constitutional rights.
The feckless Beck must be some sort of Aryan throwback, all the while he demonizes our current administration as Nazis, it is Beck himself that reminds me of what Nazis must have been like decades ago. He has the audacity to open up a university that teaches that our constitution is derived from the bible. I once listened to some very young Christian conservatives and these folks actually believe this fallacy, claiming our three branches of government came directly out of the pages of the old testament. Somehow they miss the point that all three branches described were run by one man, a king. Furthermore, these young americans actually do believe that those that do not share their beliefs are living in the darkness and that they must drag us out into the light.
Problem is, these folks wouldn't recognize the light even if it made them go blind. What these folks want is a Christian Theocracy dedicated to having we the people turn into god fearing souls incapable of questioning our leaders and willing to pony up our entire wealth and fortunes to a war of civilizations dedicated to forcing everyone in the world to convert to Christianity. We've seen this act before, in Europe, and it is the leading reason why Christianity is losing the battle for the hearts and souls of the world.
1 in a 1000 (07/13/2010)
The proponents of big oil have been out in force as of late, all Shilling and spinning for the most profitable industry known to man. It would seem that many of us all have the wrong impression about what has taken place in the Gulf. It's not BPs fault, this is but a one in a thousand accident and all of us should understand that these types of risks are essential to our way of life.
Of course, there are many in this country that actually take this type of propaganda at face value and mindlessly accept whatever the multinational corporations say. They, after all, create jobs! Anyone who does not support this concept is un-American, a socialist.
I have a different take on all of this, and I am not alone. This is nothing more than yet another example of one of the seven deadly sins - greed topped with a bit of domestic terrorism. Under BP's tutelage a dozen people died in the Gulf just as over a dozen died in the Texas refinery accident several years ago. To hear the shills talk these deaths are all a necessary part of the American dream.
Of note is John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil, who is out on the book tour circuit promoting his new book, 'Why we hate Big Oil'. Of course, much of his opinion is distorted and quite frankly he has everything exactly backwards. In his view, the public is wrong, big oil is required to supply us all with cheap bountiful energy. All of us should be doing all we can to support big oil and those precious jobs.
The primary fallacy is obviously that energy obtained from oil is cheap. Any such analysis reaching this conclusion is obviously of such a limited scope that one can only conclude some hidden agenda. That agenda is to hide the risk associated with the highly toxic nature of oil. And to hide the dependencies of the largest single user of oil, that of our defense department, from public view.
There are tens of thousands of holes in the Gulf, if this really is a one in a thousand event, then we are only beginning to witness the destruction. The hidden costs of moral hazard that are only far to apparent to the residents of the Gulf are just beginning, and these costs are not part of the balance sheets for those supporting our continued need for energy derived from oil.
The Decade of Jackasses (06/04/2010)
A couple of nights ago I fell asleep early and left the tv on only to be awakened very early the next morning by what sounded like Joe Scarborough yelling jackass. I immediately knew who he was talking about and what he was talking about. BP's CEO, Tony Hayward had offended us all the previous day when he was nearly brought to tears because he wanted his life back. That is, the life he enjoyed before his company began destroying the Gulf of Mexico.
He wants his life back? Well, Tony, get in line. Many of us want our life back, the life that the last decade has destroyed. Tony is but one in a long line of jackasses that have help destroy our way of life over the past decade.
It was a little over ten years ago that the jackasses in investment circles created the tech bubble based on an unrealistic assumption that the Internet was growing exponentially. Their vision of the vast wealth they could command was based on the faulty assumption that a vast swath of our economy would be run on the Internet tomorrow. Into this vision they poured vast sums of money funding some of the most ridiculous ideas for websites imaginable, demanding that everyone work in Internet time and push out applications to support their lust in manner based on previously unheard of productivity standards.
It did not take a genius to predict a crash, the only issue was when. In the aftermath, when things slowly recovered these investment jackasses decided that Americans simply wanted too much money for their work. One jackass in particular, Microsoft's Steve Ballmer declared that it was a thing of greed for software engineers to demand more than $50k per year for the expertise and led his company to embrace the outsourcing of much of this work. We all know what came next, the absolute flop of something called Vista.
To compound the issue a group of lawyers got together to help disqualify many talented Americans from work by placing ads on various job sites with the single intent of setting the bar so high that no one could qualify. Thus, they were justified in furthering their outsourcing efforts while we heard the constant drum beat about how much smarter foreign engineers were. To this day, Intel's CEO Paul S. Otellini still begs the country to promote math and science in our schools because there are not enough young engineers in the work force, engineers to whom he does not want to pay a living wage.
Ten years after this fiasco the IT industry still lacks any pricing power and wages remain at the same level that they were over ten years ago despite tremendous gains in productivity.
Of course no diatribe about jackasses could be complete without mentioning the biggest jackass of the last ten years, or the past century. None other than former President George W Bush who just yesterday stated in an interview that he was proud of his administration's decision to water board and boldly flaunted this illegal action which disgraced our country by stating that he would do it again, using the the discredited notion that it saved lives. His biggest regret is that he was unable to privatize Social Security.
Another larger group of jackasses followed the head jackass during most of the last decade, the leaders and members of the Republican party. Never in my life have I listened to such a long string of non-sequiturs strung together to support public policy punctuated by the twisting of the economic notion of free markets. To these folks a free market meant deregulation, a policy that when implemented led to the biggest flurry of acquisitions and mergers in our history creating not free markets, but markets controlled by oligopolies and monopolies.
Today, this group of jackasses persists and from day one of our current administration demonstrated their considered opinion that the only patriotic American is a Republican American. For years we heard that it was unpatriotic to question or criticize their administration. They wasted no time in fermenting their angst when out of power.
These jackasses now rally against deficits, the deficits they created. These jackasses rally against job losses, the job losses they created. These jackasses rally against the demise of torture even after it is abundantly clear that torture is not an effective policy.
And we continue to hear about the secret plans that provide ultimate, ultimate, ultimate solutions to our country's problems. The ultimate, ultimate, ultimate definition of jackass.
Of course I can't help but take a poke at the head jackass at Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein. He is a guy who believes he is doing God's work by draining the economy of vast sums of money while producing nothing. Lloyd's company is directly responsible for needlessly hiking up the price at the pump with billions upon billions of speculative dollars, predicting that the price of oil would hit $140/barrel and then proceeding to make this prediction come true with his so called market making authority. During his congressional testimony, his hands would waive higher and higher as he continued to repeat that his job was to manage risk and that his company as a market maker could do as they please. He is a jackass because he actually believes he can eliminate risk, a fundamental tenant of capitalism. And he vehemently denies needing the TARP bailout, stating that his company had raised private funding. His testimony was directly contradicted by Warren Buffet who testified recently that his purchase of preferred stock in Goldman Sachs was predicated on the notion that the government would bail them out.
A long parade of jackasses have recently testified before congress, the players identified by William D. Cohan in his book House of Cards. Time and time again, these folks testified before congress, starting with opening testimony indicating that they thought they were at a company dog and pony show, then devolving to claims that they were the victims, that no one could have predicted what happened. That somehow once the junk they were peddling was discovered to be worthless, that they were surprised that a run on the money markets occurred. These jackasses were surprised that the artificially induced appreciation in the housing market was actually a bubble, that somehow the common knowledge that housing prices mirror gains in wages was a fallacy. That somehow it was possible for the housing market to continue it's upward spiral while our manufacturing base was gutted and off shored.
There is also a supporting cast of jackasses involved in the aftermath of our near financial meltdown. These folks can be identified whenever they try to justify TARP by proclaiming TARP was a success because the taxpayer may realize a return on investment or continue to proclaim that we cannot afford to lose those financial experts behind the fiasco because these issues are far to complicated to be understood by mere mortal man. Whether the tax payer realizes a profit on this so called investment is immaterial. Business activity plummeted as soon as former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson presented his three page demand letter for TARP to Congress. This return does not make us whole.
The notion that issues are just to complicated for normal people to understand seems to be a leftover from the last Bush administration. In the case of the financial tools of mass destruction, it was not surprising to learn that the great intellectual challenge of slicing and dicing mortgage derivatives was nothing more than an exercise in statistics. Testimony given from former Moody's personnel revealed that this was nothing more than an exercise in binomial distribution. So rather than the image of egghead mathematicians justifying the risk of investments, the mathematics is that of fairly simple algebra, something a high school student could figure out with the help of a computer.
Of course there are a whole slew of supporting jackasses around epitomized by the slogan carrying drill, baby, drill Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. This jackass never ceases to amaze with her never ending slew of unintelligible word salad remarks that demonstrate how clueless she really is. Her backtracking on drill, baby, drill is disgusting as she now claims that she only meant that we should drill on land or in shallow waters. And who are all these clueless jackasses that hang on her every word?
So yes Tony, I can relate to you wanting your life back. But the crime against humanity you are responsible for in the Gulf makes most of us wish for a new life for you. That of prison garb and a jail cell. Oh yeah Tony, call off your goons. Your efforts to try to hide the environmental damage just adds insult to injury.
Same Ol Song and Dance (03/13/2010)
There can be no better example of a political party without honor than the current Republican party. The cries of bi-partisanship are insulting. The cries of a balanced budget are insulting. The cries of job creation are insulting. The cries against big government are insulting. The cries of free markets are insulting. The claims of ultimate, ultimate, ultimate solutions to the current set of problems the vast majority of the citizens of this country face are insulting.
Republicans in power do not believe in any of these things. The only thing that republicans out of power clearly demonstrate is their absolute hypocrisy with their demands that democrats adhere to their version of honor.
When they were in power we saw the largest expansion of government in our history, especially in the oval office. They were never bi-partisan. They never balanced the budget. They are not populists. They oversaw the biggest expansion of redistribution of wealth to the top in our history. They created the conditions that lead to the largest recession and loss of jobs since the great depression. All in the name of free markets.
What is a free market? Politically, a free market is the single biggest misused phrase in existence. Originally, this concept was introduced by Milton Friedman to describe the aggregate of individual utility functions of individuals. That the sum of all the purchasing decisions made by individuals represented the will of the free market.
This concept has been distorted by republicans to mean that capitalism should not be regulated in any way, shape, or form. The result of this misuse is that many market places have morphed into oligopolies and monopolies. Go look it up. Are these free markets? No, by basic definition.
Republicans shared a major role in creating today's economic climate. And in two short years they actually believe that independents such as myself will forget all about this travesty. If so, then they are much, much, more stupid than anyone thinks.
Republican talking points have not changed in decades. Decades ago I believe in them. But in today's information age it is clear that these talking points are nothing but a huge load of deception and deceit.
The Underwear Bomber Is Our Fault (01/05/2010)
It doesn't take much to bring out all the experts on the prevention of terrorism. The very same experts that failed to discover the now infamous underwear bomber have jumped in front of the cameras to declare that this incident was caused by our freedoms.
California's Dan Lungren, long a proponent of Draconian legal remedies to combat terrorism, immediately declared that all US citizens must give up more civil liberties if they wanted to prevent future terror incidents. The obvious implication is that if we are less free then we will be more safe.
I often cringe whenever I listen to Representative Lungren when I see him on CSPAN. So I have come to expect that Dan would overlook the real reasons for the security failure. The mousetrap that Dan and his party built, did not work. The obvious example is the case of the shoe bomber. The cure was to inflict millions of dollars of lost time on the American public by making them remove their shoes prior to boarding an airliner.
Did Dan boast about all the terror attacks that were prevented by this shoe policy? I think not. And still we hear the cry that terrorists need to be treated as enemy combatants even after such a policy has failed to prevent but a single terror incident.
It would seem that but one person, our President, actually sees this incident for what it is. A gross failure of the system that was put in place by those very souls that continue to insist that we are at war, but are too timid to actually declare war.
It is past time for those politicans in power to implement real solutions and to decry the political fear based solutions we have witnessed over the majority of the last decade. They don't work. These folks have had their chance and have failed.
Move Your Money (01/04/2010)
Change We Cannot Believe In
Dear Mr. President, Senators, & Congressman:
Prior to the last election, at a fancy gala where the two Presidential candidates got to poke fun at each other, Senator McCain, smelling defeat, stated that (effectively) after the election both he and his opponent would take their marching orders from on high and continue on after the election.
And despite the over-whelming call for change by the American people, we have yet to see real change in action. The current health care debate in the Senate is clearly not about what is best for the people; it is all about how to protect the near monopoly powers of the insurance company's health care for profit death-like grip on the public.
It is clear that both political parties are more concerned with their own well being than that of the people they represent. Candidate Obama was correct in his assessment that people went un-insured due to the unreasonable cost associated with the health-care product, and that if costs could be contained, that more people would opt in.
Health care reform that mandates insurance coverage under the threat of penalties and possible jail time while despite the claims, do little if anything to reign in costs and abuse by the insurance companies is not reform I can believe in.
Both political parties agree, as does our President, that the failure to pass something will be detrimental to the democratic majorities in Congress and we hear the constant shrill of low expectations in which it is claimed that we should not let perfection get in the way of passing a bill, any bill.
I have always believed that striving for perfection was a big part of American exceptionalism. It is clear that this is not a characteristic trait of our politics. I cannot support the current legislation in its current form, not will I support any politician that votes for it.
Vote For The Constitution
(11/01/2008): It seems every election cycle we hear the same old saw about how this election is the most important election ever. While that makes for a great motivator to the party bases it appears that this time that old saw ripped right through those logs.
Our choice is clear. We can vote for the republican ideology, or we can vote for the Constitution...
In the beginning it was thought that the ideology won the cold war while promising tax cuts, smaller government, less governmental regulation, and personal responsibility. Worthy conservative goals. Back then, I was a republican. And it was difficult not to believe in the party spin for it was far too time consuming and expensive not to take our limited network news at face value.
Then came Bush 41 with talk of the importance of ideology and something called the new world order. Little did we realize what all that really meant. The party faithful were too busy battling the "walls of jericho", an infamous democratic plan to spend our so called peace dividend from winning the cold war. Bush 41, like Reagan (despite John McCain's claims), ran up huge federal deficits and was eventually forced to go back on his famous promise of 'read my lips, no new taxes' proclamation in an effort to balance the budget and eventually end Bush 41's presidency.
The broken promises caused me to leave the republican party to support someone who would balance the budget, that infamous third party candidate that garnered 20% of the popular vote and helped propel President Clinton into office. And president Clinton did very little to stop that giant sucking sound we were warned about, and the ideology of the new world order continued with NAFTA and other trade deals that were sold to the American public as the way to open up a billion Chinese to our exports. A promise that nearly two decades later has yet to come true. Who knew the Chinese prefered saving?
What we witnessed was a huge outsourcing of our manufacturing base overseas, not as John McCain would have us believe was due to our high corporate tax rates, but because the cost of labor overseas was one or two cents on the dollar. The ideology became very clear, that is, what is this new world order. The new world order is not compatible with a government by the people, for the people, it is a world run by huge multi-national corporations that have but one concern, maximizing share holder value.
Along with Bush 43 came the neocons, a band of disgruntled democrats turned republican that were determined that all the peoples of the world would bow down to and respect our so called hegemony, else face the wrath of our military. Their charter declared that they would need a new Pearl Harbor to advance their agenda, and they got one. 9/11.
What followed was a man draped in a flag and carrying a cross. Our enemies hated our freedoms. So just go shopping. The danger was so great that it was claimed that it was impossible to honor our Constitution, for our Constitution is not a suicide pact. So while republicans decried activist judges on the Supreme Court, republicans embraced unitary executive theory in a time of undeclared war and promoted the idea that our president is above the law, that our president decides what laws are to be obeyed or not obeyed. And just to make sure everyone knows who the decider really is, the administration politicized our judicial system to enforce these notions.
Loyal republicans fell in line, eager to put a tight lock on K Street with the likes of Jack Ambramoff (in jail) and Tom Delay (forced resignation) to better serve the ideologies' true masters, large multinational corporations. Insurance providers wrote our health care laws. Big oil wrote our energy policies. Credit card companies wrote our bankruptcy laws, and at every corner laws were enacted by hook or crook to promote our free market system's ultimate wisdom. And that market system created nearly $50 trillion of exotic securities with nary a dollar of assets supporting them. And let us not forget that same market artificially ran up the price of oil in a grandiose scheme that made Enron look like child's play.
For six years we witnessed the deliberate destruction of our constitution. Torture, secret renditions, NSA wiretapping of our citizens, fraudulent justification of war, presidential signing statements, secret executive orders, the Patriot Act, the Military Commisions Act, the Protect America Act and much more that willl not be revealed until our generation is dead and gone. It is well known in congress, that the weakest tool in the toolbox aimed at defeating legislation, is the argument of constitutionality.
Pearl Harbor - meet Katrina.
We all heard it. Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job! Then we all saw it. A city buried under water and Americans suffering. Eventually, Air Force One was spotted flying low overhead, but quickly climbed, it did not land.
And true American patriots listened. We can no longer hear the man drapped in a flag and carrying the cross.
We agree, our Constitution is not a suicide pact. The suicide pact lies in our Constitution's abandonment. Our country is great because of 'We The People'. It is because of 'We The People' that our Constitution exists. The Constitution protects 'We The People'.
So when you hear Sarah the Governor claim that one of the roles of our Vice President is to control the Senate, or when you hear Sarah the Governor declare that our first amendment prohibits the press from criticizing her, or when you hear Sarah the Governor define patriotism as the exclusive property of those whom follow the man draped in a flag and carrying a cross, pause and remember, 'We The People'.
When you hear John the Senator rallying the base with calls to fight on and finish strong, pause, and go read John the Senator's account of his ill fated bombing run that led to his capture in Vietnam. Did he ignore his plane's SAM warnings and go for glory? Or did he honor experience and take defensive actions designed to save his life and the life of his plane? Actions that would allow him to live to fight another day.
So it is with John the Senator, he is the new leader of the republican ideology, despite some of John the Senator's previous honorable negative reactions to the ideology. Sarah the Governor believes in the man draped in a flag who carries the cross. Together, I don't think so.
So, John the Senator, fight on. 'We The People' will. If through some strange miracle your ideology survives this election, 'We The People' will be there.
All We Have To Fear Is...
(10/15/2008): What is a dollar worth? After all, it is just a piece of paper. The physical attributes of a dollar are actually worth very little. There was a time when you could actually exchange your dollars for gold, or more accurately, the value of a dollar was fixed to gold. The last vestiges of a gold standard that were established by the Bretton Woods Agreements were swept away by the Nixon administration, in essence to allow our currency and money supply to expand through increased leverage offered by credit and deficit spending. Wars are expensive.
Since a dollar has no real physical worth, why is it that we can exchange dollars for products and services? Basically, because we believe a dollar is worth something. It is the belief that makes our currency valuable in our business transactions.
Throughout history, it has been fear that has triggered bank runs, the term used to describe the mob mentality whereby hoards of individuals assault their banks by demanding that the banks hand their money back to them.
And it was fear that triggered the recent run on money market funds, fear caused when Paulson failed to bail out Lehman, a competitor to Paulson's former employer Goldman Sachs.
It is really puzzling, knowing this fundamental property of money, that our administration and secretary Paulson went to congress to justify their so called investment plans with fear, stating that if we don't act that we could be facing the next great depression. Even a novice economist such as myself could have predicted the results. With the basic faith destroyed, nothing good was to follow.
And in fact, several trillions dollars worth of wealth has been destroyed in the very short several weeks since Paulson's three page demand letter to congress.
Of course, it is not unusual for our current administration to use fear to justify their proposals. But this time, their naivety was beyond belief. The fear they instilled has lead to a world wide crises, not because economic conditions justify them, but because of fear, fear that destroyed confidence.
While is difficult to believe that these folks are really dumb, it is also difficult to believe that these folks are really smart. These folks are driven by ideology, the ideology that started with the Reagan years and came with a fundamental belief that all markets are self correcting. This fundamental assumption of markets has now been proven to be absolutely false if one appreciates moral hazard.
While republicans still rail against taxes and regulation, it seems clear that neither stance has legs. If it were not for a continued stance against regulation, many of our states could have minimized the mortgage meltdown had they been allowed to pursue sub prime mortgage predators. And while no one likes to pay more taxes, republicans still cling to the notion that you can increase the size of government with deficit spending while brow beating the notion that such actions also require increases in taxes.
It is abundantly clear after 7 years, that our administration's adherence to their ideology cannot be justified with pragmatic reason and that our administration's leadership is entirely based on fear. This time, their fear card backfired with a vengeance and as is normal, it is you and I who are paying for these mistakes.
The fear card has had another effect, on politics as this falls' election looks like it will bring an end to the republican party as we now know it. Couldn't happen to a bunch of nicer guys. Will their economic fear card be the final nail in the coffin, or have we yet to see an even nastier October surprise?
The Joe Six Pack Debate
(10/05/2008): Some say if you live long enough you will see it all. I will admit, I never expected to see a veep candidate that knew less about current events and foreign policy than I do. Welcome to the aw shucks, you betcha debate.
Ponzi End Game
(09/29/2008): All ponzi schemes end at some point, that point is when no more players can be found. It would seem that the american public has figured out that they are the last players in our current financial breakdown as they have been told little and asked to believe the worst. How is it that our economy's fundamentals remain strong and in one or two short weeks have been declared to be the worst conditions since the great depression?
Why is it that none of our leaders will tell the american public what they were told two weeks ago that made them all turn pale and immediately declare a clear and present danger? Even when asked, they refuse to repeat those words.
The current outrage and backlash of many americans is easily understood as our current administration has told us one too many times that the sky is falling. It is with great respect that I see the public calling out those leaders and their plans as those leaders are the ones that are responsible for leading us to financial crises.
The justifications for the current bailout scheme are completely unbelievable. We are told that the bailout is actually an investment and that the tax payer will not lose any money on their investment. These are the same investments that none in the investment world want to touch with a 10 foot pole. We are told that if the american tax payer buys the toxic investments that somehow those investments will loose their toxin.
The sight, as reports indicate, of secretary Paulson getting on one knee to beg Pelosi and the democrats not to derail his proposal says it all. Paulson has failed to justify his plan, clearly stating that he is not sure that it will work but he is sure that if his plan is not passed, that disaster looms.
Democrats assure us oversight, even as many of them complain bitterly about our administration's continued refusal to cooperate with their current oversight demands. Do we expect that to change?
Proponents of the plan also claim that the plan is designed with main street in mind, that this bitter pill is for our own good. That main street cannot survive unless we prop up those large financial institutions that are just too big to fail. Of course, they are claiming to protect us from what many of us already know has already happened. It is also a stretch to believe that those dealing with macro economic issues, the markets, have any compassion for micro economic ramifications. These folks after all, tout the benefits to the market of moving manufacturing overseas with little if any thought of those whose's jobs left the country.
I have had little reason to be thankful with republicans in the house, but this is one case where I am thankful for their opposition despite the political cries of unpatriotic efforts. I guess blackmail is patriotic. Today's stock market drops of 6-9 percent after the proposal failed to pass in the house is probably the best prescription for all of us. Come up ins, if you will.
It is time that those responsible for this mess stand up and take ownership. The american public has already endured more pain than we deserve, it is time for the markets to self correct by spreading the pain around. I am tired of having the middle class suffer because of the excesses of the wealthy in our country. The wealthy will only cease their excesses if they get their well deserved haircut in their wallets. That is afterall, why the credit markets are frozen, no one wants to take that long overdue haircut.
Disaster Politics, Again
(09/22/2008): Does the air around the current financial crisis smell familiar? It should. The hallmark of leadership during the last 7+ years has been to scare the bejesus out of law makers and then demand immediate action. The first example of this was the infamous mushroom clouds we were all told were a strong possibility if we did not invade Iraq. We later saw more of the same with the anthrax attacks prior to the passing of the patriot act. FBI explanations of these attacks was severely criticized by both sides of the aisle during last week's judiciary committee meetings. More recently, we observed this tactic once again with the passage of the latest version of FISA.
These are all examples of failures of leadership, or leadership with plans that the public would never swallow, plans that could never be justified in the court of public opinion. How many of our patriotic country first, flag lapel wearing citizens actually bothered to dig into the details of the policies of our current administration? Are you still content to make political judgments based on weighing various political talking points? Your lack of effort to truly become informed is perhaps the most damaging lack of patriotism imaginable.
Today we are told that if we do not take drastic action that our citizens will be unduly harmed as credit markets will dry up and business expansion will come to a screaching halt. Excuse me, but hasn't the credit market already dried up? Where have these people been? It now takes a credit score in excess of 720 to just get a car loan. Others with great credit and cash, cannot obtain new mortgages. And yet we still hear pundits claim how fortunate we all are to have such great leaders, in particular treasury secretry Paulson.
With leaders like these, who needs the government?
No, we didn't hear the clarion call until the wall street titans could no longer hide the fact that their brighter than bright contrived financial instruments, which were bascially ponzi schemes, came crashing down. Yet we continue to be asured, that if we don't act, to transfer their acidic instruments of wealth, to the general public, that it is we the people that will suffer.
How is it that the miraculous legislation deemed to save us, came into being so quickly? Was it just dusted of the shelf, or retrieved from a secret Cheney white house safe, or did thousands of lawyers work overtime during the weekend to formulate the new legislation? I wish I knew.
Oh, I forgot, the proposal was three pages long.
What is clear is that the plan calls for some $700 billion to be used at the sole discretion of the treasury secretary to buy up the bad debt. We are told, that perhaps this debt may be worth something, that perhaps it is just the current financial climate that makes these instruments worthless, all the while absolutely no one can really tell what these instruments are worth. This is precisely why the big boys are in trouble, lack of visibility.
The plan also calls for immunity from our judicial system to Paulson's decisions. And hang on to your wallet. Buried in there somewhere, mixed in with the long list of actions, is a plan to allow your portfolio to be subject to bankruptcy proceedings if your financial institution goes under.
I think the validity of plan has a simple answer. Would any of the banks lend money under the same circumstances that Paulson is demanding? No equity? Don't make me laugh.
So once again congress is asked to pass new legislation, which will probably go unread and will contain protection for the big boys and will be passed off as concern for all the rest of us. I am not sure what to make of this fascist brand of socialism.
But I am sure, I am not thankful for our leaders. Once again, they have dived off of the deep end, for the good of we the people. I think the administration's end game is obvious, they want to drain every last dime from our economy to prevent their successors from making any changes from their current policies.
Mental Recession Spreads to Wall Street
(09/17/2008): For decades republicans have told us time and time again, recently re-enumerated by Mitt Romney at the republican convention, that the business world suffers from too much regulation. To this end, back in 1990, the father of the mental recession, Phil Graham, added one of those midnight editions to legislation that enabled investment banks to enter financial markets once reserved for commercial banks with one important exception. They would be free of the regulation that was claimed to be the root of all evil in the banking and financial sectors.
In the best of irony series, a well regulated commercial bank, The Bank of America, has purchased one of those unregulated entities, Merrill Lynch, for pennies on the dollar.
And while many republican pundits fear that an Obama administration would signal that our country would plunge into socialism, there seems to be no limit to extending socialism to large corporate players with bailouts on the tax payers wallet. The Bear Stearns deal came as close to illegal as you can get and now AIG has also been bailed out. Apparently Paulson was on the tax payers side but for a day. The phrase 'privatizing profits and socializing losses' is heard time and time again, of course, I believe that the predominance of our corporate state is more a mark of fascism, than of socialism. Some economist argue that we don't have free markets, as republicans are fond of exclaiming, because our treasury secretaries usually hail from wall street.
It would be expected that John McCain, whose top economic advisor is Phil Graham, would decry greed and corruption as the cause of the financial turmoil. If John really believes that, than he has not far to go to discover that his campaign harbors the very same greed and corruption. Both Phil and his wife have profited handsomely for their promotion of the so called Enron loophole.
The Bush administration has added to their legacy, not only are they worse than Watergate, they are now worse than Hoover. If republicans won't listen to reason, perhaps they will listen to the financial markets that are now brutally punishing their economic policies. But then again, it is the fox that is guarding the hen house.
Drill Baby Drill
(09/12/2008): Republicans, not content with their parties' faithful demanding 'Drill Baby Drill' during their convention, have taken to the house floor and claimed that if we only open up more drilling that the price of gas at the pump will drop back to $2 per gallon. These folks should be embarrassed, but rather than admit the truth, they cling to their fantasies about the energy market and in the process have made fools of themselves.
During the last several weeks the price of oil has dropped from an all time high of $147 per barrel to just under $100 per barrel. Are we to assume that significant changes in the supply and demand for oil are responsible for this dramatic bursting of the oil bubble?
Financial observers like Bloomberg are reporting that over $35 billion has left the speculative market during this time frame. This confirms congressional testimonial that claimed that speculators are responsible for one third to one half of this year's run up in the price of oil. All of this enabled by eliminating regulation with respect to the trading of oil futures.
And what did OPEC do when the price dipped below $100? The announced that they would be cutting back production to the tune of 500,000 barrels per day. Yet republicans continue to tell us that we only need to increase production despite the long track record of OPEC, who has always cut back production in response to falling oil prices and increases in supply.
And according to congressional testimonial this morning by oil executives, there are only 30 offshore drilling rigs available in the world, and they are all accounted for. In fact, Brazil, who has discovered perhaps the largest oil reserves in the world off of their coast, cannot fully exploit their asset precisely because of the lack of offshore drilling rigs.
Republicans are found about talking about how large the Alaskan reserves are, around 10 billion barrels. Keep in mind that Saudi Arabia currently pumps 3 times that amount each and every year. Republicans are also fond of declaring that this is American oil, they seem to forget that our American oil is sold on the world markets. Some republicans even criticize Pelosi for suggesting that we change that fact.
Following the fine tradition that Bush 43 has established, the republicans, led by John McCain, are banking on a series of lies to win re-election this fall. And we are seeing an increased propensity for politicians and the media to forgo the political taboo of calling a lie a lie as many are becoming adverse to allowing the lies to flourish.
If republicans really believe in country first, then they all need to step up to the tradition of George Washington who we have all been taught, could never tell a lie. Republicans should take their lumps this November and allow us all to face our future's challenges with dignity and honor.
God, Country, Corp
(09/06/2008): If the past week's republican convention and its aftermath proved anything, it is that republicans are pretty good at dishing it out and pretty poor on taking it. At what resembled a high school pep rally, the republican faithful were relieved to learn that overnight they had become the party of change and reform, despite the record of the last eight years. It is wonderful to learn that the party base is so adept and able to turn on a dime and that they will finally become the party of country.
It seems fitting that their new leader, John McCain, would help them along and define patriotism for them, declaring Country first! I hope the marine corp is happy with their new motto which under a McCain administration would be 'Country, God, Corp'. John seems to believe that only he is able to define what patriotism is and that he expects us all to salute sharply and take that hill with nary a question or thought of anything but his own words and views.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the presentation of his formally little known selection for VP Sarah Palin. John and the party would have us take their word that Palin is up to the challenge and just to make sure that the media does not try to vet her, set out on a campaign to bash that liberal news media. Republicans like Marsha Blackburn and Carly Foirina threw hissy fits at what they thought was over the top reporting on the new VP nominee and just to drive the point home, John cancelled an appearance on Larry King because he believed that having a CNN reporter asking his campaign chairman a question about Palin's command experience with the Alaska National Guard was, ... over the top.
And it didn't help to have our current president deliver a video speech in which it didn't take long for him to mention 9/11. Or that his wife, Laura, declared that we had brought freedom to over 50 million people in Iraq and Afganistan and that minorities were finally getting a good education. Freedom? Education? Somehow forced segration enforced by concrete walls and numerous military checkpoints, as is the situation in Bagdad, doesn't sound much like freedom to me. And if minorities are getting such a good education, why is their high school drop out rate over 50%?
And just so show us how John was a man of the people, his wife Cindy took the stage adorned in an outfit valued at over $300.000! A real barbie doll, that Cindy. The rocks on Cindy's ears cost more than an average joe makes in 5 years.
And Sarah Palin's very first claims of accomplishments included her claims of rejecting the famed bridge to nowhere even though when asked during her 1996 gubernatorial race debate she clearly stated that she would not cancel the contract.
And how can we forget John Boehner's appearance where he declared that congress held such a low approval rating because the democrats were do nothings. I didn't hear him mention that the republicans have filibustered more than 70 times. Country first!
The republican sheep were fond of chanting 'drill baby drill' as if somehow we could actually impact the world price of oil by drilling our way out. And while Romney declared that we needed to take a broom to sweep away the last of business stifling regulation (or was that a weed-wacker?), he failed to mention that oil prices are currently dropping because speculators trading paper barrels have been getting out of the market (Bloomberg). Right on cue for the election, just like 2 years ago. There is little doubt that our pain at the pump was enabled by removing regulation. Country first!
And if John is really his own man as Fred Thompson declared, then why did John after leading a fight to pass an anti-torture bill, remain silent after a meeting at the white house when our president attached another of those signing statements? And why is John the campaigner, so different than John the maverick senator?
And just remember, it's not patriotic to question a republican, about anything.
God's Message to Republicans
(08/31/2008): It was not that long ago that some far right religious pundits were urging their sheep to pray to god for rain on the night of Obama's address to the Democratic Convention. I think God may be angry at those prayers, as God has deployed a string of hurricanes in the gulf that have disrupted this week's republican convention.
Perhaps God is angry at republicans, and he has every reason to be, as the non sensical ideology of today's republicans, morphed from the original conservative agenda, has brought our country to the brink of corporate facism, decreasing the world's freedoms, and led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq and elsewhere.
Not that I was looking forward to hearing republican claims of superiority and infallibility cast in an endless string of non sequiturs and outright lies.
CSPAN has been running past presidential nominee addresses and speeches, in a pre super bowl week fashion, and several addresses were very illuminating in hind sight. In particular, was the address by Barry Goldwater who declared that we should do everything in our power to stop those who seek power for powers sake, declaring that they would first established their version of heaven on earth by establishing conformity followed by the worst in tyranny.
Sounds exactly like our current administration who has by every measure established their own tyrannical version of their ideology. What every happened to those Goldwater republicans?
Then there was Bush 41's speech where he declared that process and procedures were worthless without ideology, comparing the notion to the idea of having the trains run on time, but not knowing where the trains were going. We now know where the current republican trains are heading, off the tracks leaving behind an American I no longer recognize.
Truman's speech could have been delivered today as he railed against the lack of health care for all. Ann Richards delivered a speech where she declared that Bush was not responsible for all his faults, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth. If you substitute Iran contra for Iraq, the same speech perfectly describes Bush 43, a man who was born on third base and celebrates the fact that he stole second base.
Then there was Nixon, who ran on a platform of populism and law and order. Ironic for the man who brought us the notion that if the president does it, it is not illegal. Lyndon Johnson's speech was remarkable in that every unremarkable sentence he uttered was followed by great applause.
If you listen to CSPAN's telephone forums you will quickly learn that there are still many sheep in this country. One caller declared that if elect Obama our country would turn to socialism, she apparently likes fascism better. Others mindlessly repeat party spin, all too eager to trust those words rather than gain responsible research.
While John McCain believes your patriotism is based on your believing his ideology, it is disappointing that more folks don't do their homework to find the facts. Becoming informed is a fundamental patriotic duty and I am afraid most americans have neither the time nor inclination to perform this time consuming task.
By any standards, John McCain is running the worst presidential campaign in history. His selection of a VP is in the mold of Monica Goodling, a candidate that seems right at home in the republican party demonstrated by investigations that she has used her political office to fire one of her relatives, and the nomination is directly aimed as a pander to the religious right.
Is God mad at republicans? I hope so. I couldn't agree more with Barrack's declaration in his acceptance speech.
NIST Report Reflects Bush League Engineering
(08/22/2008): Yesterday The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) held a news conference to report on their nearly 3 year long multi-million dollar investigation of the collapse of WTC7, the third steel framed building in history to collapse due to fire. Their conclusion is that a magic support column identified as No. 79 buckled, triggering an "upward progression of floor system failure,". The magic column failed due to thermal expansion and this single column triggered the world's first (sic) and only steel framed building collapse due to fire.
NIST ruled out explosives stating that it would take one hundred pounds of explosives to cause the magic column to fail, that such an explosion would have been readily heard, and that it was highly unlikely that anyone could have planted the explosives. Sunder went to great lengths to dismiss that a hundred pounds of explosives could, as required, be held tightly enough to the support column long enough, without an external force holding them in place, and therefore it was not possible to take out the single column with the amount of explosives required.
Those comments confirm that NIST has zero expertise in demolitions as even I understand that demolition experts do not plant but a single charge.
Why go there just to ask whether god can make an object so big that he can't move it?
While Shyam Sunder opened up his rather un-impressive presentation stressing that great care had been used to make sure that their theory correctly depicted observed events, Sunder unmistakably ignored the free fall collapse time of the event, even when politely asked. Thus NIST's house of cards theory holds that not only did a single support column cause the total collapse, but that the failure caused instantaneous failure of all support columns. The fact that the entire structure failed simultaneously cannot be disputed without assuming a violation of a fundamental law of physics, conservation of momentum, since the collapse occurred at near free fall speeds.
While engineers may have failed to fully account for failures due to thermal expansion, anyone that has watched a building burn to the ground realizes that the building does not collapse uniformly, but randomly. There is little doubt that NIST faced a significant challenge.
The collapse of WTC7 was anything but random. And indeed, the design of the steel frame is deliberately redundant and quite capable of enduring shifting loads caused by but a single point of failure. The notion of a progressive collapse in a steel frame building has never before been demonstrated but is alleged to have happened 3 times on 9/11.
Even NIST stresses that this is a highly unlikely event. Yet it happened three times in a single day. The likelihood of that happening is so remotely small, so unimaginable, and so contrived that Franciscan friar, William of Ockham is spinning in his grave.
And let us not forget one of the reasons we build steel framed buildings, they are highly resistant to fire! The only examples in history of a steel framed building collapse due to fire was on 9/11. On that unique day, three buildings collapsed.
Sunder uttered a few other comments that had me shaking my head. For example, he stated that the twin towers were not designed to withstand an airliner impact, despite testimony by the design engineers to the contrary. Sunder also dismissed several questions by stating that until someone else spent several million dollars to research other alternatives, that he was highly dubious of any other cause. And as in the case with the report on the twin towers, Sunder insisted that anyone who questions him should first read the hundreds of pages of the report. If the report is anything like the first, those hundreds of pages are filled with straw men and unproven assumptions.
One other issue bothered me. Sunder went to great lengths to tout their simulation model stating that the model was so complex that it took 8 months to run once even with the help of a state of the art super computer. So during the 3 year long investigation, the simulation was run 4, maybe 5 times? Hardly an exhaustive simulation. In the real world, when money or life is on the line, simulations are run dozens, if not hundreds of times to gain confidence in the model.
And if like the first simulations, are outrageous assumptions about how hot it was, assumptions that have never been proven to be true, used?
If NIST's simulations prove anything, it is that a steel framed building progressive collapse is not possible unless you heat the steel to temperatures well above those obtained by crashing jetliners and the burning of office furniture and equipment.
One has to wonder why NIST went to all the trouble and expense. After all, Bush's ideology allows him to quote Osama Bin Ladin as to truth. For example, Bush states that Iraq is the central battlefront for the war on terror because Osama said it was. Osama told us years ago that he had already calculated that crashing of jet liners into the twin towers would bring them down and he didn't even have a super computer.
NIST's magic column theory is just one more sad legacy of the Bush administration that has proven itself time and time again, promoting its political ideology over scientific facts and engineering reality. It would seem wise to ditch using that wood burning stove or fireplace, before their use causes your whole house to collapse around you.
But only for a while. I suspect that come next January 21st it will be safe to use them again.
The World's Second Most Confused Black Man
(08/07/2008): Over a year ago I wrote about the world's most confused blackman, Ron Christie. While I still believe Ron holds this honorary title, there is another black man nipping at his heels. That man is Joe Watkins. This republican pundit emits a non stop stream of non sequiturs trying to defend his candidate John McCain.
Last week Joe defended one of his positions by declaring that our president was commander in chief of the american people. Poor Joe, he seems to have forgotten his grade school education. Our constitution declares, for all to read, the president is commander in chief of our armed forces. Although it is clear, that our current president has also forgotten his grade school education on this topic.
And today, Joe declared on MSNBC that Barrack had received more money from big oil than had John McCain. Joe repeated this claim even after David Shuster corrected the record. And Joe definitely has trouble hiding his facial expressions when spouting his lies, Joe is one of those folks who cannot control talking out of the side of his mouth, indicating that he knows he is lying.
Watch him as he interrupts his opponents, see for yourself. Joe really does talk out of the side of his mouth. In Joe's case, it is the right side of his mouth, go figure.
Hey White Haired Dude
(08/05/2008): This has to be the best come back ad I have seen. For some reason Paris' energy policy sounds a bit more thoughtful than the current republican fixation on drilling. Take that wrinkly white haired guy! How does it feel to get drilled?
Republicans Demonstrate for the Corporate State
(08/04/2008) Last week the republicans and John McCain, with the help of our corporate news media demonstrated they knew who buttered their bread as they led a week of the most embarrassing political banter seen in quite some time. From caricatures of Barrack Obama as nothing more than a black male version of Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, to a depiction of Barrack as Moses, to a concentrated efforts from network news anchors to try to pry from Barrack's mouth that "the surge" has cured, and can cure, all of our nation's problems.
And republicans are scheduled to push their drill our way out of high gas prices policy by staging a week long spectacle in the halls of Congress which is in August recess. A policy that even a cursory examination of, will do nothing to change the price of oil, or of gasoline. A popular misconception narrative by pundits suggest, see, the president rescinded the executive ban on offshore drilling and the price of oil dropped! This non sequitur, ridiculous on its face, is more appropriately a reason to repeal the "Enron Loophole" because it goes to show that speculators have taken over the price discovery mechanism for the price of oil using paper barrels. These folks also ignore that demand is falling.
Not covered by the major media were some important oversight meetings including a meeting held by the by the House Judiciary committee on "Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations". This 5 hour plus meeting aired on CSPAN provided an in depth discussion of the many ways that our current administration has violated fundamental principles of the structure of our republic and discussed the ramifications and possible solutions to reclaim our Constitution.
Three most vocal republicans, Congressman Dan Lungren of California, Congressman Steve King of Iowa, and Congressman Trent Franks of Arizona all made fools of themselves in a vain attempt at partisanship by incorrectly calling the hearing an impeachment proceeding and asking questions and offering rebuttals clearly based on false premises, mainly that our administration is acting within the law and our constitution and that somehow all of this is sour grapes about policies, which even the three congressman seemed to acknowledged, are failures.
Despite repeated republican attempts to have the meeting adjourned due to public clapping and cheering during testimony, the hearing confirmed what everyone is taught in grade school about our Constitution, but is somehow easily forgotten by republican pundits still clinging to failed policies.
"Witnesses led by Dennis Kucinich, Elliot Adams, Rocky Anderson, Bob Barr, Vincent Bugliosi, Bruce Fein, Maurice Hinchey, and Elizabeth Holtzman presented an overwhelming case for impeachment."
The testimony confirmed many abuses including the fact that cherry picking intelligence and presenting that information to Congress to make the case for war in Iraq constitutes fraud, that there are no provisions in our Constitution for cherry picking which laws are to be enforced by the administration by issuing signing statements, that the blanket wiretapping of our citizens by the NSA is illegal, and that it is illegal to torture even if you try to redefine the act.
Two of my favorite comments were from Rep. Hinchey who stated the obvious, that we had not captured Bin Ladin because we needed a bogie man for the continuance of the 'war on terror' and by Rep. Scott who lamented that if the administration is protecting us against terrorists, who is protecting our citizens from the administration?
So why did the major news media fail to report on the meeting? Some insight can be gleaned from David Rothkopf's new book "Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making," wherein David makes the case that one person in every million are the true wielders of power and policy, that our government is ill prepared to implement policies that go against the grain of the "superclass" whom are legally bound by generating profits to share holders irregardless of the good and the will of the people.
And how will this all end? With history as a guide, by grass roots revolt by the people. Congress could help, as testimony revealed, that despite political banter to the contrary, impeachment can be accomplished very quickly based on the administrations own admissions and that impeachment can rally our country to a more positive leaning rather than divide it.
The Bushshit Continues
(07/14/2008): Fresh off his ex post facto law (in itself illegal) FISA scam that guts our 4th amendment, today Mr. energy policy himself rescinded the executive ban on offshore drilling claiming that every extra dollar American consumers pay at the gas pump for a gallon of gas is one less dollar for food on our tables. Duh.
Equally clear is the fact that our president lacks any shred of integrity, any shred of honor, and over 99% of every word he has uttered to the American people is a fabricated lie that is eagerly supported by the sheep in our country who are too lazy to learn the truth. It doesn't help that our spineless congress places partisanship above the good of the people and has failed to call our president out on his ridiculous claims of unitary executive power and his felonious behavior.
I am embarrassed, not only by our president, but by the sheep that foolishly follow and carry the water, deliberately deceiving the general population with the unbridled support of our president's misguided policies.
The biggest fallacy is referring to the oil markets in the traditional sense of supply and demand in the free market. Even a novice economist understands that both the supply and demand curves for oil are inelastic. This means that as the price goes up, demand does not fall and that the supply does not go up. Demand does not fall because it is difficult to fill up your car with anything but gas. The supply does not increase because the oil oligopolies do not have an incentive to start new production which will increase their costs and reduce their profits. By anyone's definition, oil oligopolies do not operate as a free market.
It is not that hard to connect the dots. Despite all the rhetoric, we did not go into Iraq because we face an imminent danger, we went there to reverse the nationalization of Iraq's oil reserves. The initial cost of this adventure was pegged around $50 billion and while Saddam was easily disposed we were prevented from appropriating Iraq's oil reserves for years, resulting in more and more billions of dollars 'borrowed' by congress appropriating the funds for the so called 'war effort' which the federal reserve then printed up and sold. Understandably, this led to a decrease in the value of the dollar which decreased the value of many investments. Then some very smart investment brokers figured out that they could hedge the decline of their assets by speculating in oil futures. This trick, the deregulation of oil futures, occurred when investment banks were freed to act like commercial banks minus the regulation. The so called "Enron Loophole".
The American public has been sold the Brooklyn bridge and conditioned to love it. By any definition, profits are being privatized and the losses are being socialized. And while republicans are fond of the old mantra about democrats raising your taxes, republicans are too dense to realize that their policies cost the average American much more than any tax savings they have provided.
I have long written that the only way to get out of this never ending mess is to end our energy dependence on oil. Opening up off shore drilling does not guarantee that big oil will drill, after all, they have over 64 million acres of land available for new drilling and they have not to date placed many new drill bits into the ground.
We need to convert our transportation system. This could happen much more quickly than any efforts at off shore drilling. We could be on our way toward energy independence long before a single drop of new oil from offshore comes to the marketplace. We converted our electricity grid off of oil in less than a decade.
It seems ironic, that our only hope is that Iraq kicks us out of their country and that the world court pursues Bush and his cronies for war crimes. Then our congress and the American people would be forced to understand the truth and our great American spirit will be unleashed to forge forward, into the new century with new ideas and new hope.
So while inside the beltway, where there is immense fear of truth, where everyone is afraid to implement new proposals that will take this great country into the next century, one person from the oil patch is talking and making sense. His name is T. Boone Pickens.
Perhaps you have seen his commercials. I urge all to visit his web site and learn how we together, can solve our crises.
The Man Who Can't Tell a Joke
(07/08/2008): There is a man on the campaign trail that is attempting to use humor. He always starts his jokes by laughing, relates what is suppose to be funny, and finishes the joke with more laughter. Often times laughing harder than anyone in the audience, a singular wit.
Who is this man? Why it is John McCain!
John McCain's speech writers don't seem to include anyone familiar with humor. At the basis of all humor is some element of truth. John's problem is, that as a presidential candidate truth seems to be something to be shunned. While he might have been a man of integrity previous to his campaign, his current reliance on old, long discredited political talking points are at best distasteful.
I'd be laughing too, if any of the current republican policies had actually borne fruit. But I have learned, that many of the policies practiced by the republicans only ring true if you are at the top of the heap, that upper 5%. For 95% of us these policies are ruining our lives and our country.
Of course, I expect to laugh last.
There is something about John that does make me laugh and that is the sight of John wearing those sunglasses. It is puzzling to me why John's wife, a woman of wealth, has not purchased a more fashionable pair. And that's not too mention the belly rolls when I hear John speak on policy.
Perhaps John should consider insurance sales. There is a company that will guarantee your child's right to buy a policy at age 28 if you purchase a policy while they are young. Seems to me, that most of John's policies are based on that premise, proposing solutions today that may bear fruit in the year 2046.
Rule of Men vs. Rule of Law
(06/30/2008): It is indeed a sad time for our Republic. The Senate voted 80-15 on cloture for The Real FISA bill and declared once and for all that despite our Constitution that we really are a nation ruled by men and that we are not a nation ruled by law.
I would like to deeply thank Senator Barbara Boxer for her vote against cloture. And I would also like to thank Senator Feinstein for her effort to communicate with me on her decision. I remain deeply disappointed over her efforts to limit the role of a co-equal branch of government, the judiciary, with her vote for cloture. Unfortunately I will need to spend an additional few hours to respond to her latest attempt to justify her vote.
And let there remain no doubt, that Senator Clinton was lying about her support and fight for the little guy as she could not even be bothered to cast a vote or to actually lead a meaningful fight for our constitutional rights to be secure in our right against unreasonable search and seizures in our own homes.
While I expected that Senator McCain would support our police state policies, it is disappointing that Senator Obama stated that security concerns trump our 4th amendment rights. That these folks believe that it is alright to gather up the private communications of all americans for over 5 years with zero accountability with the notion that we will not let it happen again completely misses the point that the information was obtained and still exists to be data mined to the NSA's content in their effort to find the terrorists, apparently everyone is a suspect, to be treated as guilty and having to face the notion that we can never be absolved from this guilt.
(06/24/2008): A little history never hurt anyone! Was this the start of Senator Hunter's statement of our long and successful tradition of overthrowing governments? So why did Democrats authorize $400 million for covert operations in Iran?
You're Supposed to Graduate From Eighth Grade
(06/20/2008): Last Sunday, Father's Day, Senator Barack Obama gave a speech, that was widely reported as getting tough with the black community over family issues, where he stated that he was amused over parents who went over the top, throwing a celebration party for their children after they graduated eighth grade.
Celebration? For the eighth grade? Graduating eighth grade is hardly an accomplishment. Barack went on to ask what about ninth grade, tenth grade, what about college, what about a PHD? His point was that parents who were celebrating their kids graduating from eighth grade were setting the bar of expectations far too low. You're suppose to graduate from eighth grade.
It is the setting of low expectations that has me worried as this phenomenon certainly permeates our society today, especially when you consider the banter of many of our politicians. Hillary Clinton and John McCain are perfect examples as they both explain and justify their positions with political talking points that are only believable if you had not graduated the eighth grade.
You don't have to look very hard or deep to find examples of low expectations. Numerous recent examples of this surround the high price of gas at the pump as more than a few republicans have taken to the house floor and declared that the democrats are responsible for the high price, calling it the Pelosi Premium. This low flying political banter seems intended to back a policy of drilling our way out of the problem (which we have attempted for the last 30 years), a justification for turning over more public and offshore lands to the big oil companies, a band of corporate misfits that won't even drill on the 64 million acres of already available oil leases and to date have shown absolutely no willingness to increase their R&D budgets in light of the record breaking profits they are currently posting.
I am not sure who these republicans are speaking to, for it would take a limitation of an eighth grade education to believe this political argument in light of the overwhelming testimony that the 'Enron Loophole' shares most of the responsibility for consumers getting gouged at the pump. This notion, that big oil must strike to open more oil leases while consumers have fear in their hearts over the price of gas is typical of the low expectations that these folks exhibit toward consumers.
This morning, in a frightful speech, Steny Hower, the house majority leader, stood on the floor and announced that a compromise had been reached on the issue of warrant less wiretapping of American citizens declaring that neither side was happy. He is referring to HR6304 which passed the house today by a vote of 293-129. The bill is claimed to be a victory for the liberty of all Americans by strengthening our constitutional rights.
Strengthening of our constitution rights? Who was the nitwit that altered our inalienable constitutional rights? And under what legal authority? After all, no federal statute law can alter the Constitution.
Those of us who graduated from eighth grade know who these nitwits are and they include members of both parties who were informed of the illegal NSA programs instigated by the Bush administration and sat by too afraid to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans.
It is the members of both parties, whose only expectations are those of being either democrats or republicans instead of the much more honorable and lofty goal of being American leaders. That HR6304 offers the telecom companies immunity from past aggressions can only be viewed as a contemptible effort to cover their rear ends and the rear end of our illustrious president.
They all knew it was illegal and now that we know all about it our politicians are more concerned over facing accountability and saving their seats, than they are about the transgression. In fact, the democrats will not hold our president accountable for his illegal and impeachable behavior because they want Bush in office as a campaign issue as demonstrated by democratic leaders last week in a ready for prime time press conference only aired by CSPAN.
This notion, that we face danger, a danger so great that we must abandon our constitution, can only come from folks who failed eighth grade civic classes or those who can't grasp the illogical argument that we must abandon what we are fighting to save, in order to save it.
I look forward to a day when our leaders inspire us to achieve and lay down the gauntlet to those with minimal expectations, denying liberty at every corner, who think that Americans need to be needlessly spied upon to ensure that we are indeed good Americans.
HR6304 is an outrage and I will certainly not be voting for anybody that supports it in our upcoming elections. There is a reason that I have a visceral reaction after listening to politicians that seem to believe we are too stupid to understand the truth.
(06/09/2008): Since I last wrote last year about the false notion that free world markets controlled the price of gas, the price at the pump has jumped another $1 per gallon. On May 26 I paid $4.399. And as of late, more congressional hearings were held to discuss this topic.
Multi-millionaire oil executives continued to swear under oath that the oil oligopolies indeed exhibited characteristics of open and free markets. It would appear that these fine gentlemen need to take a refresher course in economics. Testimony was also given that it was demand from emerging economies of China, India, and others that are driving up the demand while it was our refusal to open drilling in Anwar and off of our continental shelves that is stifling supply.
Oh really? In fact we still hear the old republican saw, today repeated today by Congressman Marsha Blackburn, that we need to increase the supply of that dirty old fuel that supplies the majority of energy to our transportation industry. In fact, clueless republicans are blaming liberal environmentalists for the problem rather than admit that the oil oligopolies are raping the wallets of all Americans at the pump.
Marsha, why are only 20% of the oil exploration leases available pursued? Why is the R&D budget of big oil less than half of that of Microsoft?
Follow up testimony painted quite a different picture as some in congress were trying to get a handle of the effect of speculation on price. While I have refrained from writing about the effect, it became clear prior to the last election that speculation was indeed a primary culprit when one of our largest financial institutions changed their mix of futures contracts and the price of gas at the pump dropped just in time for the elections.
And if you take a quick look at the daily supply of crude and compare it to consumption, you will find that supply does exceed demand. The notion that world wide demand is the culprit for dramatic prices increases is not supported by factual data.
Growing congressional testimony points toward speculation and outright greed as the major reasons for the dramatic rise at the pump. While the oil executives guess that the actual cost of this resource should be in the $60/barrel range, and some suggested that future replacement costs of oil reserves demanded a price closer to $90/barrel, none of these suggestions comes close to today's prices in excess of $130/barrel.
added 06/18/2008 - Thank you Keith!
In fact, there are those that believe that the price of a barrel of oil is divided neatly into thirds, one third of the price is the actual economic cost, one third of the price is the premium that oil producers have greedily demanded be paid, and a full third of the cost is due to speculation.
Let's be clear, futures contracts are intended to smooth the fluctuations of price in market prices. But today, it appears that speculators are using this financial instrument to rake in millions of dollars of windfall profits from the market place. The start of the phenomenon has been traced back to Senator Phil Gramm, who back in 1990 slipped in a provision to a bill, in the middle of the night, that shifted the burden of proof requiring regulation to the consumers, commonly called the Enron Loophole. One of the major fallouts of this legislation was to reduce margin requirements in so-called dark markets, to an unprecedented and historically unproven unsound level of around 3-5%.
Speculators, free to run rampart, took out major future contracts that depended on the price of oil going up and up. When these contacts became due, the dramatic fall of the dollar made these contracts worthless. Their answer? They bought up more of the same hoping to control the market and to continue to drive the price up. In fact, it was testified that Goldman Sachs is one of the largest holders of home heating oil in New England and they are deliberately withholding product to artificially limit supply.
Is it any wonder, that Goldman Sachs is predicting that the price of crude will reach $150/barrel? Why does a contract for crude oil need to change hands 30 or more times before the product gets delivered to the consumer? It would appear that the deregulation policy started in the Reagan years has reached a tipping point and it has become abundantly clear that capital markets, when allowed to operate without regulation, shed their moral compasses in their quest for the almighty dollar. Oddly enough, we were warned of this during the Carter administration.
The nearest analogy for this corporate greed is that of a virus which will eat away at it's host until the host dies. The artificial price of oil is affecting nearly every aspect of our economy, raising the cost of food (of course we have a food shortage), raising the cost of air fair, and in general, limiting our freedoms and productivity by restricting our mobility.
If old hacks like Senator Clinton, really lived up to their hype of fighting for the little guy, then she, and others, should return to their jobs and demand and pass new regulator authority to clamp down on the rampart speculation. The price of a gallon of gas would immediately fall to sound levels below $3/gallon.
Out With The Old, In With The New
(05/23/2008): Over the past decade we have witness some remarkable un-American events unfold in our political system epitomized by the Republican efforts to turn our two party system into a single party system as exemplified by the now disgraced Tom DeLay and by the continual practice of the politics of personal destruction practiced by the Bush administration.
Even today, both the Clinton and McCain campaigns seem to believe that the people of this great nation would be lost without them, as they and the old party establishment believes that our democratic system is only meant to dole out scraps of wealth to the vast majority of our population. We are constantly told that issues are just to complicated, that real progress is unattainable, because that is just the way it is.
Large corporations add to this nonsense by telling us that Americans just make too much money and that is imperative that everyone take a drastic cut in our standard of living because in the new global economy the majority of folks in the world work very long hours for often times pennies per hour. Of course, the executives of these corporation cannot be paid enough, often times millions of dollars per year, to dole out their wisdom that Americans are just too fat and stupid to compete globally. Witness Steve Balmer of Microsoft, who stated that they would not need to go overseas to hire if only those arrogant Americans did not expect to make more than $50K per year. These corporate heads fail to see the larger picture. Take one look at the controversy surrounding Vista, an operating system that 1 year after it's release still doesn't work worth a damn. You get what you pay for, if you want cheap software labor you end up with buggy software.
I'll admit even as a child, I never did take to the notion of you can't do this, or you can't do that. It wasn't until I reached high school that I met someone that preached that you could reach any goal and while I was there we won three state championships in a row. And while it was President Kennedy's race to the moon that fueled my early ambition to become an engineer, it was George Lucas who stirred my imagination when he combined the philosophy of Joseph Campbell into a 3 decade long trilogy of the epic story in space, Star Wars.
While politics and history are but a recent interest of study, mainly brought on by my instincts for self preservation, it is becoming more evident that perhaps politics has always been about personal power and wealth. Only today, with tools like the Internet, can we finally shed the blinders of trust our politicians demand and work toward real solutions that move our country back to the greatness we all believe it deserves.
So it is fitting, that I post a tribute to those who have stirred my spirit and soul and provided the truth for all of us to see, even if it is through the tears of joy. May I present 'The Empire Strikes Barack'.
Dog Food on the Shelf
(05/17/2008): A remarkable event occurred in the House of Representatives this week, an event that went largely unnoticed by most major news outlets. The House failed to approve the latest request for funding for the war in Iraq. The measure failed because a large number of republicans voted 'present' rather than cast votes of yes or no. The unusual event was prompted by republican demands that the house pass a clean bill, a bill that only contained funding for the war. The bill as presented on the house floor also included funding for more important domestic issues like $5 Billion to fix the levies in New Orleans.
Afterwards house republicans gathered around C-SPAN cameras to conflate the English language with meaningless talking points that any American that has pursued their patriotic duty to become informed about the issues would find insulting.
And just when everyone thought that our lame duck president was out of the picture, news coverage and outrage became extreme when our president, in a speech given in Israel, claimed that anyone that did not support his ideology were the equivalent of Nazi appeasers of the late 1930s. The outrage came to a head on Chris Matthew's Hardball when a conservative 'bafoon' Kevin James failed to enumerate exactly what the word appeasement meant.
Afterwards, Chris appeared on both Countdown and Verdict and declared and stated the obvious. Since the Bush administration came to power there has been a determined effort to discredit anyone that has questioned policy. Regardless of the motivation, it is clear that this type of behavior is not a characteristic of democracy, rather a tool used by those to thwart democracy.
Chris' comment was long overdue and refreshing. I would like to thank Chris for his definitive statement.
The comments of our president mirrored the republican tactics prior to the last midterm elections when Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech declaring that anyone who questioned the administration's policy was also guilty of nazi fascism. It is little wonder that republican representative Tom Davis exclaimed that if the GOP name was dog food, it would be taken off the shelf. These folks need to stop conflating the English language with meaningless talking points. And it doesn't help, that John McCain takes our president at his word.
The republicans have a lot to answer for as their so called 'war on terror' has preempted their sworn duties to uphold and defend our constitution. The have turned this country into something I do not recognize. It will be many, many years before I trust them again.
I would also like to thank Barack Obama, both for defeating the woman who believes that words are important except when she speaks them, and for immediately calling out our president for his shameful performance in front of the Israel Knesset.
If appeasement exists, then it is clear that our own administration is guilty as they have failed to capture Osama Bin Ladin and they have effectively given him safe harbor in western Pakistan.
the A Buncha Crap (ABC) debate
(04/22/2008): While it has been many years since I watched any of the programming at ABC, the recent Democratic debate sponsored by ABC wholly justified my never returning to this network channel for any type of reasonable news reporting. The first hour of debate epitomized exactly what is wrong with our great country, it is run by folks that only seem to have but one tool in their toolbox, that of politics.
Not that all politics is bad, but the fundamental premise of politicians is not to speak the truth, but to speak in ways that they guess will move you the voter into a certain course of action. It does not matter that a politician's words often contradict earlier spoken words, or that the words are spoken in Rovian style, that is to say, I deny that I use the Rovian playbook, but watch as I use every play contained within. And I have watched as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party has squandered her lead and continues to deny that she has lost. She has gone from a debate point of encouraging her opponents to not pile on, for fear of giving the Republicans ammunition, to giving the Republicans everything in the kitchen sink to use against her own party. Shame on you Hillary.
Rather than pontificate on and on for millions of words, Hillary's first excuse for her story about sniper fire, and never mind that no one could actually speak a million words in one day, I prefer to leave you with Baracky, The Movie, which states in a few short minutes what this election is all about.
House Republicans Act Like Crying Babies and Walk Out the Door
(02/14/2008): In a disgraceful action today, republicans in the House of Representatives walked off the floor in an unbelievable attempt to make fascism the rule of the land. The temper tantrum began when the house considered contempt of congress citations for previous individuals of our current administration (Josh Bolten & Harriet Miers) rather than bringing up the Senate passed FISA bill that grants immunity to the telecom companies. Falling in line with the continued fear mongering of our president yesterday, the republicans continued to issue propaganda about why giving telecom companies immunity from judicial challenges to wide spread wiretapping of all Americans, for actions that they claim were not illegal, are critical to protect us in the never ending war on terror.
Lie after lie. The need to monitor all the communications of all Americans is claimed to be the radar of the future by Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security, an invaluable tool to combat terrorism. To hell with our fourth amendment! Yet we are told that wide spread monitoring of our private communications are not occurring, despite clear evidence that such activity is occurring and has been occurring since before 9/11.
Let us be clear, our government has always had and continues to have the legal authority to spy on the bad guys. What they don't have and want, is the ability to spy on all Americans. They say that all Americans must be considered guilty in the light of the war on terror and that all Americans can never be absolved of this guilt. We must be continually monitored to prove our allegiance.
Every argument I have heard to date for the need for telecom immunity is a blatant lie. Our president and the republicans would raise up the white flag and surrender centuries of freedoms that are the rule of the land and enumerated in our Constitution. All in an effort to hide and conceal illegal activities instigated by our administration that believes that a country at war cannot and must not remain true to our most sacred freedoms. That the president must remain above the law and accountable to no one in our so called time of war, a war that is scheduled to last for the remainder of this century.
The purpose of immunity is clear. It is an attempt to prevent the proper functioning of our judicial system. If there has been no wrong doing, then you would expect our administration and the republicans to welcome the judicial oversight. If you have done no wrong, then what is there to fear?
But the fear does exist. And it is clear that the truth about what has happened to our country will be devastating to all politicians that can be shown to have known what was going on and failed to act to defend our constitution. Acts of treason, each and everyone of them.
So instead, we see an attempt to pass the buck on fear, to blame the fear on the terrorists. I know I am not alone when I say that I do not fear the terrorists. What I fear is the deliberate tearing down of our sacred rights granted to all Americans, the destruction that those whom believe we are really in a war never before faced would bestow on America, and claim that the surrender of our freedoms is required.
The real enemy is not abroad in a far way land on the opposite side of the world, the real enemy is contained right here at home, within our borders. To see their faces, you only need to listen to their rhetoric of lies. They are the ones claiming that we need to be afraid.
Take Action: House Must Stop Unconstitutional Senate FISA Bill
The Senate has capitulated to President Bush by passing a dangerous and unconstitutional FISA bill that allows warrantless government eavesdropping on Americans and grants immunity to giant phone companies that handed consumer data over to the government without a warrant.
"Though many questions still remain unanswered about years of domestic spying, the Senate has effectively sealed the vault by handing over immunity to the phone companies,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the Washington Legislative Office. “The over forty legitimate lawsuits currently pending against them may end before they have begun. It’s a fact that Americans had their rights violated and now, by closing the courtroom door, they may be left with no recourse.”
Stopping the awful Senate bill -- which the House can do -- is vital to protecting your constitutional right to make a phone call, send an email or search the Internet without the government monitoring your activity.
Your representatives in the House need to hear from you. Whether you have called already or this is your first time, a quick phone call today will send a clear message that Americans don’t want the House to send an unconstitutional bill with telecom immunity to the President.
>> Take action: Call your representative: No warrantless spying, no telecom immunity.
What The Hell Is Wrong With the Senate Republicans?
(02/05/2008): For the last several days Republicans in the Senate have been delaying any action of revisions to the fascist Protect American Act (FISA) because they want to grant immunity to the telecom companies. Telecom companies that we are told over and over again, have done nothing wrong in their efforts to wiretap all communications of all American citizens.
This is outrageous.
Since the instigation of wide drag net style wiretapping of all phone conversations, email, and other Internet communications, not a single case nor a single terrorist has been arrested, or captured, nor has a single terrorist plot been uncovered. After 7 years!
There are those that believe the war footing strategy of preemptive monitoring of US citizens is absolutely required, as they hope, and it is clear that is all it is, that they can prevent a future attack on our country and that it is necessary to violate our Constitutional rights in order to protect us.
And now we have learned that the republicans in the house have passed retroactive immunity for president Bush for possible felony war crimes as defined by the Geneva Convention for any and all actions they have taken since 9/11.
The notion that our constitution is not a death wish or that an actual ticking time bomb scenario actually exists is fantasy and will never justify stripping our freedoms away. The delusion that the executive branch of government has the right to deny the functioning of both the legislature and the judicially branches signals a clear victory for the terrorists. This preemptive doctrine needs to be silenced, permanently.
Until and unless we get a declaration of war from our congress, the Republicans should just shut the hell up, less follow the war monger McCain down to defeat in the upcoming elections.
Senator McCain believes we can just win this war, if only the American people would let us win. McCain should go talk to the players of the New York Giants and ask them if they won the Super Bowl because the Patriots let them win. In fact, I know of no contest that was fought and won, because someone let them win. Perhaps this is why McCain lost 4 fighter jets in Vietnam, perhaps he thought the enemy was just going to let him bomb his targets uncontested.
If we are truly at war, with the greatest threat we have ever faced, then lets act like it. Declare war, mobilize this country, initiate the draft, raise taxes, and send a few million boots over there along with a few navy battle groups. Get the job over with and done. Victory is not measured by the side with the fewest casualties, as proponents of the success of 'the surge' would have us believe, our greatest victories have come with the heaviest casualties, just read the history books.
Until then, don't pretend to tell the American public that we are at war and that all we have to do to win is let our government restrict our constitutional rights and tell us all to just go shopping.
If I Had Known Then What I Know Now
(02/04/2008): I would have gone to Reno and placed a huge bet on the NY Giants. When Bush was elected I would have sold everything I own and purchased oil stocks. I would have never moved in with that woman. If all us knew yesterday what we all know today, we would all be very wealthy. The fact that we all cannot see the future is why we all are still alive.
It should be obvious that this defense that Hillary and her supporters keep using to try to defend her war votes is basically an admission that no one can see the future. Rather than admit that the vote was a mistake, either because she is a woman who needs to look strong or because of the fear of political fallout, Hillary has refused to admit the truth. Hillary has further compounded the issue with her explanation on her vote on the Levin Amendment, again, failing to relate the truth with yet another revisionist view of history. The amendment did not propose that our country hand over decisions of our national security to the United Nations as she claimed during the last debate.
Does this woman have no shame? Or is she just continuing the Clinton tradition of saying what ever she believes will get her elected? From my perspective, she is just another Bush dressed up in woman's clothing, unable to tell the truth because she believes we will not know the difference or perhaps, the most likely, she cannot handle the truth about herself and her candidacy.
These are the traits of our leaders that have many wanting change. This is America, and yes, we can handle the truth. Hopefully this nation of sheep will blindly follow no more and boldly reach for a new version of politics.
The Pot and the Kettle
(01/22/2008): Last night's Democratic debate was indeed interesting. I often wonder and worry about Hillary's neck, her head bobs up and down constantly while she is supposedly listening and along with her air brushed head shot used in most media clips, she makes a perfect rendition for a perpetual motion bobble head doll. And she has practiced her eye exercises so often, to combat the natural aging process around her eyes, that I am sure she does not realize she can no longer control the tendency of her eyes to appear to bug out of their sockets.
The most disappointing, and most predictable part of the debate came early as the Clinton dirty political strategies, right from the Carl Rove playbook, were displayed in full force. Yes, as soon as the race got close the infamous Clinton political attack machine was kicked into high gear. The primary attack strategy, made famous during the Bush administration, is to take your most serious weakness and accuse your opponents of it.
Yes, I had listened to some of the quotes from Obama, and then listened to the Clinton's attacks. How Hillary and her husband come up with the re-fabrication of Obama's comments is sheer outright shame. Never in a million years would I have confused Obama's comments about the Reagan administration with even a tacit endorsement of Reagan's policies, yet there she was, claiming with a smirk on her face that her democratic rival had actually endorsed the Republican agenda.
And the notion that Hillary had trouble debating Obama, because somehow she felt that Obama always had some sort of excuse for why his actions did not follow his statements, claiming that Obama's record was important, pointing out that Obama had voted for appropriations for the Iraq war after he initially voiced strong objections to the war, completely dismisses that Hillary also voted for those appropriations. The difference was, Hillary supported the war effort. She has quickly forgotten how in a nation in shock was easily coaxed into the war, hell, even I initially supported the effort in Iraq even though I did not believe a word about the connection to 9/11 or WMD.
Hillary has also seemed to have forgotten, that it was only a few short debates ago, that she was demanding that her opponents not attack her for fear of giving the Republicans ammunition for the general election.
Obama is to be congratulated, for taking on the tired and false accusations of Hillary and her husband. Bill has been waving his finger around in the air so often as of late, that the infamous finger waiving incident where Bill explained that he did not have sexual relations with that woman re-appeared in my head and I was once again reminded of why I did not trust the Clinton administration.
Hillary just does not get it. The Republicans do not have a prayer of hanging on to the White House, her expertise at waging political war with the Republicans is simply not necessary. And it makes her look exactly like Bush, even though she waves a flag with different colors. The end result of waging Clinton's war will be to anger what's left of the Republican party, strongly increasing the chances of more dead-lock and increasing the odds that we will again, be unable to solve our problems.
Only in politics can the pot call the kettle black and not take notice. And indeed, Hillary started her morning today claiming that Barrack's criticism during the debate was rehearsed.
After engaging in an illegal, secret surveillance program, President Bush is in no position to make demands of anyone. Americans expect you to stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law. That means:
1. Rejecting telecom immunity: President Bush is demanding immunity for companies that broke the law when they handed over phone data and emails to the NSA without a warrant. He wants Congress to bury the truth by stopping lawsuits against the phone companies. When the phone companies are off the hook, Bush is off the hook, and there would be no incentive for companies to follow the law in the future.
2. Individual warrants for Americans: Surveillance tactics that allow the government to gather huge amounts of phone and email data on Americans without a warrant are unconstitutional and violate our American principles.
Americans expect you, the most powerful member of the Senate, to lead on this issue, not cave in to President Bush and his allies in Congress. Please don’t let us down.
Pollsters Lead Clinton Campaign By The Nose
(01/09/2008): Since this summer Clinton's lead in the polls consisted of large double digit leads which prompted their campaign to run on the idea of the inevitable president. Out of this effort we heard time and time again that Clinton was a woman of experience, a woman ready to lead from day one. After her gaff over driver's licenses for illegal immigrants her lead began to diminish, as it became clear to more Americans that Clinton really had no solid beliefs other than those brought to her by the pollsters and those of her faith in her husband's presidency, which she clings to despite his betrayal.
During the weeks leading up to the Iowa caucuses, her campaign rolled the dice time and time again trying to define a message that would stick and halt the bleeding. Alas, it did not work and she lost the vote in Iowa. Afterwards, Clinton showed no shame in decreeing that she really never was the clear and favorite front runner. And we saw this line of political shame continue on to New Hampshire, epitomized by Dee Dee Myers who insisted that Clinton never was, nor ever had been the clear front runner.
How could an acknowledged front runner declare herself, the come back woman?
Before the polls closed yesterday in New Hampshire, the pollsters were certain that Clinton was trailing by as much a double digits, prompting her campaign to leak that they were considering not running in South Carolina, considering firing much of the campaign leadership, and trying to find ways to redefine itself to right the sinking ship. Hillary herself, even cried at the prospect of not becoming president.
In the big picture, the fact that polling data suggested that Clinton's lead had diminished from last summer was expected by everyone who watches political theater. What is troubling is that after 7 years of lie after lie coming from the Bush administration, that Hillary and her team cannot be straight forward and honest about the polling data. Why they feel it is in our countries' best interest to continue the fabrics of lies to the American public is extremely troubling. In this regard, Hillary is no different than Bush.
The pollsters were wrong it is claimed, few stopping to ask if the data had been correctly reported, their data tainted by the bump by the loss in Iowa. Clinton's tearful scene was credited for bringing out the less educated, over 40s vote of New Hampshire women who felt that the media had played Clinton just a little to hard.
And that my friends, is why America cannot solve her problems.
Are we really a nation of sheep? Will the public succumb to being lead by the pollsters in which the Clinton campaign obviously believes is gospel? Time will tell.
A Surge of More Lies by Congressman Robert Wexler
A new troubling myth has taken hold in Washington and it is critical that the record is set straight. According to the mainstream media, Republicans, and unfortunately even some Democrats, the President's surge in Iraq has been a resounding success. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
This assertion is disingenuous, factually incorrect, and negatively impacts America's national security. The Surge had a clear and defined objective - to create stability and security - enabling the Iraqi government to enact lasting political solutions and foster genuine reconciliation and cooperation between Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds.
This has not happened.
There has been negligible political progress in Iraq, and we are no closer to solving the complex problems - including a power sharing government, oil revenue agreement and new constitution - than we were before the Administration upped the ante and sent 30,000 more troops to Iraq.
Too many Democrats in Congress are again surrendering to General Petraeus and have failed to challenge the Bush Administration's claims that the surge has been successful. In fact -- it is just the opposite.
The reduction in violence in Iraq has exposed the continuing failure of Iraqi officials to solve their substantial political rifts. By President Bush's own stated goal of political progress, the Surge has failed.
Of course raising troop levels has increased security - a strategy the Bush administration ignored when presented by General Shinseki before the war in Iraq began - but the fundamental internal Iraqi problems remain and the factors that were accelerating the civil war in 2007 have simply been put on hold.
The military progress is a testament to the patience and dedication of our brave troops - even in the face of 15 month-long deployments followed by insufficient Veteran's health services when they return home. They have performed brilliantly - despite the insult of having President Bush recently veto a military spending bill that enhanced funding and benefits, and increased care.
Despite the efforts of American soldiers, the surge alone cannot bring about the political solutions needed to end centuries of sectarian divide.
As it stands, little on the ground supports the assertion that Iraqis are ready to stand up and govern themselves. Too few Iraqi troops are trained, equipped and combat ready, and they cannot yet provide adequate security. Loyalty is also an issue in the Iraqi army as Al Queda and Sunni insurgents infiltrate their defense forces. The consequences turned deadly just recently when an Iraqi soldier purposely killed two U.S. troops.
On the streets of Baghdad and Mosul, the Sunni and Shia factions have paused their fighting, awaiting guarantees and protections that have not yet been delivered. As Iraqi refugees return, there is no mechanism to help them rebuild their lives, nor recover their now-occupied homes. Neighborhoods once mixed are now segregated.
In Northern Iraq, Kurdish terrorists conducting nefarious operations across the border into Turkey have compelled our NATO ally to strike at bases, inflaming tensions between Baghdad and Ankara.
The surge is working? We suffered more U.S. casualties in 2007 than in any other year of the war. We can't afford any more of this type of success.
How can we create the situation that is most likely to deliver political progress in Iraq? Not by continuing the surge and occupation. Our best chance (there is no guarantee) is by putting real pressure on the Iraqi government to force action. Telling the national and local Iraqi leaders that we are withdrawing our troops can help accomplish this goal. Today, the majority Iraqi Shia government led by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has little incentive to act when American troops remain in the country to provide security and stability.
Based on the Administration's plan, John McCain's proposal of a 100-year US occupation could be a reality!
The Democratic Congress must act aggressively to first cut off funding for the surge and then the entire war. Many of my colleagues avoided a showdown with the administration because they mistakenly believed such a fight would endanger the safety of the troops.
In fact, we must accept that every soldier killed or injured in the coming months should have already been home. Every billion dollars of war-appropriations we spend from here on should have been spent on genuine priorities here at home such as children's heath care.
Enough is enough: While the Administration over-commits American forces in Iraq, we see Al Qaeda regrouping and Osama Bin Laden still at large. We remain seriously bogged down in Afghanistan, and are witnessing a crisis in Pakistan that has left a nuclear country on the brink of a meltdown. America's resources and attention are desperately needed elsewhere and our soldiers must no longer be needlessly sacrificed as we wait for Iraqis to stand up.
The Surge has failed. If my colleagues gullibly accept the moving rationale for the Surge, just as so many have for the war itself, we will have failed as well.
The Bloated Resume
(01/08/2008): With the New Hampshire primaries upon us, yesterday was filled with news not fit to air. In particular, the episode where Senator Clinton started crying. It was not so much that she cried, it is why she cried and what she said during those teary eyed moments.
Clinton says she sees what is happening in this country and in that matter she seems years behind the general population whom not only see, but live daily, with what is happening. Her sadness and tears, she says, are due to the fact that 'I (she) have so many opportunities for our country', and only she has the proper vision to reverse what is happening. She feels that she has the unique knowledge to tell each and everyone of us how we should live our lives, which is the only fairy tale I see in this primary. While her nostalgia for her husband's presidency is touching, it is clear that this country is not eager to go back, to reverse course, what we want is an entirely new course.
Clinton is fond of touting her experience that she claims is filled with the good fight, the fight against the oil companies, the fight against the insurance companies, the fight against the health care industry, and the fight against Republicans.
And what are the results of this fight?
The price of oil has reached $100/barrel and the cost of a gallon of unleaded regular here in Tahoe is now more than $3.50. Meanwhile the oil companies are raking in billions in profits and subsidies also totaling billions are still on the books.
And then there is her universal heath care program that would require everyone without insurance to buy insurance. I can hardly wait for her to send me a check for $10,000 to cover my insurance. How does mandatory insurance reduce health care costs or allow free markets to reduce the ever rising cost of health care? You'll remember that her plan back during the Clinton years was one of those deals composed in secrecy and in the back rooms.
We all know the result of the fights between Republicans and Democrats.
Clinton's rhetoric was also filled with the notion that we are 'hiring' a a new president. In that light, she continues to lay claim to accomplishments that were the work of many and she continues to presume to speak for the entire democratic party. This was particularly noticeable with her attempts to quiet criticism of her during the debates. And she constantly lays claim to leading although she is only one senator of a hundred. She points to the claim that she was one of the first to warn president Bush not to go to war with Iran back in February of last year, but it was Senator Biden at the end of the first Foreign Relations committee meeting last January, who laid down this policy.
During her tearful statements she stated that running for president was a hard job, that in part, her tears were the result of the many attacks she has endured. And within seconds, she laid down more attacks on her opponents, the tears still in her eyes.
Is this woman crying because America will be lost unless she is elected as she claims? Or are her tears the result of a continuous fabrication of accomplishments, the bloated resume she is using to get hired, that the public has seen through with the result that she lost Iowa, claiming afterwards that she was never the front runner, and the fact that she may not win in New Hampshire?
And then there are those priceless condescending moments, like yesterday with Chris Matthews, where she says "Now Christopher!" as if she were talking to a child. This is particularly troubling, since it was Chris that suggested Hillary use the "heat in the kitchen" response to explain her predicament that was caused when she couldn't articulate her position on giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Prior to Chris' advise she offered up several explanations.
Clinton has accomplished in less than 1 year what it took Bush over 4 years to accomplish. She now garners the honor of my fast forward button, my mute button, and my change channel button on my remote whenever she appears on my screen.
The Made Up Candidate
(01/02/2008): With the Iowa caucuses but a day away, tonight Senator Clinton will be running a 2 minute ad that will be shown on every TV network in that state. Part of this ad has been shown on several political shows this afternoon and it was really tough to believe your eyes. Clinton has so much makeup on that she appears to look about 30 years old! Gone are the scars from fighting with Republicans, gone are the wrinkles of experience that come with age. How is one to believe, that a 30 year old woman has the makeup of our chief executive? That she, seems more concerned over appearance than substance.
Of course, this is par for the Clinton campaign, virtually everything she says or does has been made up. She made up the fact that she was against the war, she made up the fact that she has 35 years of experience, she made up her listening tours where she tells all of us what she thinks, she made up her statement about getting us out of Iraq - failing to commit to ending our troop presence there by the end of her first term. She made up the idea that she was the inevitable democratic candidate, she made up the statement that she knew former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for 12 years when actually they only met once or twice. I don't doubt that anything she ever has said was made up from one thing or another.
Clinton thinks change means switching a Democrat for a Republican. I hope she clings to this dogmatic view, we want change yes, but to us it means much more. So if you want a president that believes it is more important to look 30, than go ahead, vote for her. For me, a sixty year old woman that feels the need to look 30 is a disaster in the making.
What's next? A belly piercing and a tramp stamp?
Senator Chris Dodd, a True American Patriot
(12/18/2007): Yesterday the Senate brought up a new FISA bill for consideration. The proposed bill was the result of the work of the Intelligence committee, a committee that has knowingly allowed the truth to be hidden from the American public as testified to previously on the Senate floor. This bill included amnesty for the telecom companies, which differed from the bill produced by the Judiciary committee and the bill passed by the House of Representatives, which do not include amnesty.
It was refreshing to hear Senator Dodd present testimony that AT&T had installed fiber optic splitters in their San Francisco office that allowed the NSA to listen in and analyze all domestic communication traffic of US citizens without a court warrant and that further more, that the San Francisco office is not located near any telecom hub serving international telecommunications. It is clear, that the operation was not capable of monitoring our enemies, unless you consider American citizens as the enemies.
I was highly disappointed in Republican Senators (Bond, Kyl, Cornyn, Hatch, Sessions) who all stood on the floor of the Senate and declared, in essence, that it was unpatriotic to oppose the wiretapping of American citizens. Senator Bond had previously spent his entire 5-10 minute opening remarks in an Intelligence committee meeting on the topic, lecturing everyone about the importance of government secrets and national security. I grow suspect of anyone who feels the repeated need to remind me what day of the week it is. The last time I heard a diatribe like that, there was indeed, something rotten that needed to be hidden.
Senator Hatch even went so far as to declare opposition to granting telecom immunity to various conspiracy theories, from both extremes, as responsible for distorting the truth about the now infamous terrorist surveillance program and declared that somehow that American citizens were determined to undermine our government by breeding mistrust. He further went on to claim that we should trust the men running these programs, inferring that we are a nation of men rather than a nation of laws. That Americans mistrust their government because of the lack of candor and honesty never seemed to have crossed his mind.
The notion that corporations should be allowed to break the law and violate the rights granted to all American citizens is a notion bred of the rule of secrecy and fascism, not of the rule of law and democracy. If the telecom companies can be proven to have violated our constitutional rights, then they should pay the price. The several dozens law suits currently in our courts must be allowed to continue, to learn the truth. The continued erosion of our liberties, based on the threat and fear of another terrorist attack, is truly a victory for the terrorists.
I sincerely want to thank Senator Dodd, and Senator Boxer who voted against cloture, for standing up for our constitution. Their actions forced Senate majority leader Reid to withdraw the bill. They have proven beyond any doubt their true patriotism, unlike Senator Clinton, who constantly claims that she has spent the last 35 years fighting for the people, who could not be bothered to help defend our 4th amendment, instead remained in Iowa to promote her egotistical drive to become our first queen, ah, er, woman president.
The Elite Conspiracy Theory
(12/04/2007): During last week's Republican Presidential debate, CNN choose to allow a YouTube video to air which in essence, accused Congressman Ron Paul of being a quack with an ideology based on conspiracy theories. To Ron Paul's credit he correctly pointed out that yes, organizations do exist that believe that the world would be better served if all the nations of the world were governed from a global viewpoint or ruling body. In such a world, our sovereignty would end and our constitution would no longer be the supreme rule of law. The world government would have complete authority to ignore our basic human rights granted to each and every citizen of this country. And further more, that this government would not be elected by the people or act in the interests for the people.
Then Senator John McCain displayed his neo-con colors, conveniently attempting to rewrite history for all of us whom have never studied history and declared that Ron Paul was an isolationist, that it was an isolationist movement here in the United States that led to World War II! McCain's absurd claim of why we lost in Vietnam will go unmentioned here. Where and when have we heard that claim, recently repeated by Karl Rove, that somehow the world can be neatly painted into black and white, that we are either an isolationist country or we are not? I think not. This is right out of the neo-con playbook that believes that anyone that does not support our efforts at building a new world empire are traitors.
Thankfully, some in the audience booed. And rightfully so, if only for the reason that this is exactly the playbook used by the republicans for the last mid-term elections, started by the now rich neo-con patsy Donald Rumsfeld. And it did not work because it ain' t true. And thankfully, Ron Paul pointed out that McCain did not understand the term "isolationist", and that is a fact.
Have you ever wondered why our president appears to be lying all the time? Can it really be true that some of our elected officials really are incompetent? Then how, pray tell, did they win two elections? No, these folks are not incompetent, they are just following a different playbook and they are doing their best to hide this fact from the American public.
As Ron Paul points out, there are a small group of people that hold a very different world view than that presented to us by our constitution. One group in particular consists of approximately 130 of the richest people in the world. They are called the Bilderberg Group, a name coined from the name of the hotel in which they held their first meeting back in 1954. They meet once a year in total secrecy, ostensibly to play pinnacle, but they really do meet with world leaders and politicians to discuss the future of our world civilization. I have read reports that Senator Hillary Clinton was vetted by this group. In fact, vetting by the Bilderberg group is a prerequisite for most of our presidential candidates. Why else would Senator Clinton proclaim that she could not guarantee to end the war in Iraq, because she could not be sure of what she might find when she arrived in office? Think about it.
While the Bilderberg Group's intentions back in 1954 were deemed honorable, their methods over the years have digressed and today some consider them the force behind many world events, the so called shadow government that views our constitution as a road block to progress and truly does seek a one world government. This is a world whereby any means is justified by the end, there is no concept of Greek philosophy of 'justice, justice'.
And their biggest weapon is the consistent claim, that anyone who is cleared eyed about the world around them, is nothing but a conspiracy theory lunatic. These are the folks that believe we must shut down the Internet, for our own good, to prevent the public from being deceived by all the lies. These are the folks that tell us we must borrow 2 billion dollars per week to safeguard the American public from being killed by a terrorist, an event that has a probability of happening right up there with being stuck by lightning.
So, just for a moment, assume that our president is telling the truth, that financial interests do hold the trump card in world affairs. From what viewpoint do his statements ring true? Are our borders unsecured because we face an imminent threat from a terrorist attack, or are they open because it is helpful to establish the North American Union? Is the surge really working, or was the necessity of the surge a result of the animosity created when Paul Bremer went there to privatize the natural resources of Iraq and the Iraqis rebelled? Is our president's fear of a terrorist under every bed reality, or do the deliberate violations of our constitutional rights serve to help a new world order better control the population? The so called prison planet. If you spent some time time listening to our military leaders testify before congress, you can't help but hear one theme repeated over and over again, we need to control the Iraqi population.
Is the so called 'War on Terror' real, or is it just a smoke screen to tear down our constitution to level the playing field, make it easier to create the new world order? The elites know, that if their true agenda were made public, the resulting outrage would prevent their dreams from coming true. This is why Senator Fienstein believes that our country would be hurt from the vetting of truths about wiretapping our citizens and torturing our enemies, so she believes she must act to protect and obscure the truth about such events, to protect our country. To insist that our new AG Mukasey testify that water boarding is torture, would open the door to impeachment proceedings for our president.
And now we learn that our beloved president's warnings of World War III, delivered with a smirk on his face, concerning Iran and their so called program to develop a nuclear bomb was nothing more than more shock treatment as the recently released NIE report tells us that Iran halted it's efforts to build a nuclear bomb back in 2003. And I have known for a long time, that it is not the knowledge of how to build a nuclear bomb that is the hard part, in fact this knowledge is largely public domain, it is actually acquiring the material and manufacturing abilities to build and test a nuclear bomb that is the hard part.
So, when you hear someone shout "conspiracy theory" heed the warning, investigate the facts, and learn that there is only one conspiracy theory, that is the one that is meant to pull the wool over your eyes and deprive you of everything you hold dear, for the sake of the new world order, a one world government.
The Moral Pygmies of Doublespeak
(11/08/2007): Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a three hour hearing with Yahoo! chiefs Michael Callahan and Jerry Yang. Yahoo! has been under criticism for bowing to demands from the Chinese equivalent of the old Soviet KGB by passing on information regarding the surfing habits of Chinese journalists. As a result, a journalist named Shi Taoa was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison in April for having published “state secrets”. CEO Yang and his general counsel Callahan had previous stated that they had no idea that the Chinese government would use the information to aid in the arrest of journalists for the crime of free speech; although it is generally well known that the Chinese government has long denied it's citizens the rights of free speech.
In further testimony, CEO Yang was asked (paraphrased), "If the Chinese government made it a condition of business that Yahoo! had to turn over the surfing records of Americans, would they?" Remarkably, Yang, a reported billionaire, could not give a straight up answer, he instead chose to hem and haw legalese doublespeak. Imagine, the CEO of Yahoo! unable to quickly stand up for for the privacy of American citizens when weighed against a request from the Chinese KGB about activities of American citizens.
This outrage, amongst others, prompted Committee Chairman Tom Lantos to exclaim "While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies". While Lantos later apologized for the remark, I doubt that many American citizens sympathize with the apology.
In fact, shortly after the Taoa incident I banned the Chinese Yahoo!'s search engine from all my web sites. I did not ask them to honor my requests (via robots.txt), but enforced outright denial of access (403 error) for any and all requests from their search robots. Why a chinese search engine would want to archive and index sites written in English is a bit mystifying. Sure, translation is at their fingertips. Coupled with the rampant Chinese counterfeiting known to exist, allowing the robots to work their magic, seems to be a policy where no economic benefit will accrue; that I would not see nary a penny for my work.
The moral pygmies of doublespeak were also highlighted during the last democratic presidential debate when Senator Clinton could not answer a simple question on whether illegal immigrants should be granted the privilege of a drivers license. Her opponents, who all happened to be male, pounced, and to my utter delight made a mockery of Senator Clinton's doublespeak.
Senator Clinton responded over the next 5 days with more doublespeak, as her campaign accused moderator Tim Russert of being unfair, went on to accuse her opponents of piling on ... because she was a woman, and so on and so forth ad nauseam. Her husband even chimed in accusing her opponents of "swift boating"!
Why is it so difficult for Senator Clinton to say, that even though the United States welcomes 2 million legal immigrants per year, more than all the rest of the world combined, that yes we should do more. But no, America honors the rule of law and if an "undocumented worker" is in our country illegally, they should respect our rule of law and go back home, to the back of the line, and wait their legal turn. Issuing driver's licenses to these "undocumented workers" is wrong.
Instead we get more doublespeak. In particular, the good Senator blamed the problem on President Bush for failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform and blamed, to a smaller extent, our congress. I am not sure where she was when the last amnesty bill failed, or where she was when the Dream Act was defeated, or where she was when Senator Feinstein dropped her attempts with the Ag Jobs program. From my vantage point all these measures failed, not because of President Bush, but because 'We the People' found them outrageous, an attempt to erode our sovereignty and diminish what being an American citizen is all about. We the People defeated those proposals.
The claim that the most diverse society in the world is afraid of brown people doesn't work, it is doublespeak. The claim that illegal immigrants need a driver's license to go to work at an illegal job doesn't work, it is doublespeak. The claim that illegal immigrants do not need to honor our laws doesn't work, it is doublespeak.
It is doublespeak because each of these claims assumes that the rights of illegal immigrants are more important than the rights of American Citizens. For example, my right to send my children to public school without having their education delayed because they are forced to attend class with other children that do not speak English, or forced to attend class with children whose parents believe that girls should not be smarter than boys. Or my right to converse and conduct business in English.
Why am I forced to learn another language so that others may live in and work in my neighborhood? That illegal(s) cannot learn English because they are too busy working must mean that I am not too busy working to learn Spanish. What about my right to learn the foreign language of my choice?
The ultimate Clinton doublespeak is that she is running against President Bush. Funny, I did not realize he was in the race, and funny, the goal is weak, running against a president with dismal approval ratings, is that the loftiest goal Clinton has?
The doublespeak on the other side of the aisle is just as offensive. In particular, the 9/11 candidate Rudy 9/11 Giuliani who was recently asked on the campaign trail in Iowa, "Can you name one thing that happened on 9/12?" Doublespeak to the rescue! Giuliani: Why of course, it was the day after 9/11!
The doublespeak here you ask?
9/11 is perhaps one of the least understood events in recent history, and sure, before you exclaim, the terrorists did it, the terrorists did it, please, spend a week or two seriously reviewing that event. If you do, I am sure you will be forced to conclude the obvious, the public has not been told, nor do we know what really happened that day.
My Epiphany, my doubts, my cynicism all began when someone mentioned that the collapse of 3 steel framed buildings designed to resist the impact of a large jet plane and the resulting fires, did collapse, and the collapses that day, looked just a bit odd. While I had been a bit too busy, too shocked to notice, I did notice, finally. The doublespeak is: the planes, the fuel, and the fires (with the help of allah) brought down the buildings. That is the doublespeak of Rudy 9/11 Giuliani.
Bring it on Rudy, I welcome the chance to revisit 9/11. Please Rudy, do tell, how the basic laws of physics were suspended that day.
Can we really afford another decade or two of pygmies style morality and goals defined in doublespeak?
There are rays of hope. I want to thank Senator Lindsey Graham, who during the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting voting on the recommendation of Mukasey for AG, reminded us that standing up for the virtues of our Constitution was not a weakness, but a strength that allows us to transcend our enemies, an unquestionable trait of the victorious, of good over evil.
It was a rare and moving display of the soul of America.
Things I Have Grown Weary Of
(10/18/2007): The Internet is a marvelous invention. It will undoubtedly mark the halls of history as the single invention that allowed all the world to see the world as it really is, rather than through a confined view of world events that we had been presented through the limited 1/2 hour newscast that network TV had provided us since the 60s. While cable TV and the advent of 24 hours news channels helped to broaden our viewpoints, this channel of information has once again become clogged with the views of a few conglomerates that now control most of the content.
It should not be a surprise then, that with a new wealth of information, many of us can see the inner workings of a world that had been hidden from sight and with this new knowledge we are better able to judge reality for what it really is, independent of those whom wish us to remain and cower in fear and obedience of what we do not know. Over the last several years I have come to know the world in broader terms, to the great dismay of those seeking to control me and others, not for my betterment, but for their betterment, e.g. the new world order. So with the inspiration of a web site I ran across named "Things that piss me off', I offer my own version, more euphemistically titled "Things I have grown weary of".
Neo-cons: Masters of diversion and deception, neo-cons realize that as the world's only super power, we can trot across the globe, sword in hand, and demand that the world keep us as the world's only super power; else face our wrath. Neo-cons believe that our hegemony of the world is a god given right and as we have seen, neo-cons are very skilled at deploying diversion and deception to keep this secret, secret. The truth is we invaded Iraq because we could, period. The morality of doing something, just because we can would never enter a neo-cons' conscience. Go google PNAC, read their charter. I wish I had done so prior to the 2000 elections but it is unlikely, from the perspective of my pay grade, that I could have foreseen the charter's true meaning. We now know what it means.
China & Multinational Corporations: No longer the old communist China, but the new communist China. The new global manufacturing center of the world. You got to hand it to them, they took full advantage of the Clinton administration's gift of most favored nation trading status. China offered up a penny on the dollar labor force and our multi-national corporations didn't think twice about abandoning their American labor force and enabled the Chinese work force by transferring their manufacturing techniques to China. I fully expect this short sighted business practice to blow up in their multi-national faces. China's workforce hasn't a clue about quality. While some may cite low price, low price becomes hi price, when you have to buy the same product over and over again, the fabled total cost of ownership. Fortunately I experienced the complete lack of quality early on and stopped buying anything made in China before the staggering recalls reverberated through the air waves. It is unlikely that China's leaders comprehend the idea, that the American consumer will not buy China's products based on their decree. The executions or suicides of Chinese businessmen responsible for massive waves of recalls is unlikely to hold comfort with consumers here at home. And if you take note of what China will do once they have monopolized a market, the Vitamin C market as a reference, China will raise the price. In the end, it is possible we all will be paying more for inferior and dangerous products.
Illegal Immigration: How is it that the most diverse nation in the world with the single largest legal immigration community, larger than the immigration populations of the rest of the planet combined, sports a broken immigration policy? And try as I may, I have been unable to locate a single source that credits illegal immigrants with building our country. No, we are not against legal immigration, we are against the lack of respect shown by illegal immigrants that think we owe them driver's licenses, voting rights, social services, and a living if only they sneak across the border and have a baby or two.
Political Talking Points: After 9/11 and after Katrina I became an avid fan of C-SPAN. The big draw here is your front row seat in the many committee meetings held on capital hill. The meetings are generally very impressive. But it came as a real shock, after attending these meetings, to hear the political leaders sport their talking points to the media afterwards. Huh? What? Did we attend the same meeting? And I surely will admit to believing in the talking points during my short term as a registered republican during the Reagan years, so I understand the endeavor. Prior to the Internet, there was no way I could have accessed the wealth of information needed to ascertain the validity of those talking points, whether from republicans or from democrats. Even today, most Americans have their hands full with careers and family, leaving little time for research. And with the conglomerates controlling what little real information coverage is available over the air waves, it is little wonder why the two major political party leaderships spend so much time developing and preaching the gospel. While politically effective, at best they are half-truths, borderline fraudulent and often times, simply false. I often wonder if our country would be better served if the party leadership positions were awarded only to those newly elected members, rather than members with seniority.
Support Our Troops: Perhaps one the most outrageous of all talking points. This one took root prior to the 2006 midterm elections when then Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld kicked off the campaign with a speech that implied that any American that questioned the administration was unpatriotic and possibly a fascist. I was tempted to see my eye doctor to find out why I was seeing black when I was suppose to be seeing white. The talking point was finally defeated when the conditions at Walter Reed were brought to light.
Republican Leadership: Burden with an authoritarian morality that prevents them from questioning their leaders, they have fully supported Bush's quest and thirst for unitary executive powers over the last 7 years. They have been quick to try to take advantage of "disaster politics" by beating the drums of war and endorsing trading freedom for security. Alas, it hasn't worked, we aren't buying it. Gone are conservative fiscal values. Gone is the big tent for libertarians. And soon to be gone, the fundamentalist christians. Still you can hear the cries of 'You just want our troops to lose!", "You are unpatriotic!", and "You are what's wrong with this country!" leveled at any American that questions so that they may better perform their patriotic duty to cast a knowledgeable vote. If you nominate Rudy, I will not be able to vote for him.
Democrat Leadership(sic): Aside from the fact that Nancy Pelosi is one great looking older woman, though she can't hold a candle to Florida's Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the leadership can be best summed up by their support of their front runner candidate for president - Senator Clinton. Clinton is running on her experience, which consists of being first lady and a term in Senate. Remarkable! Even more remarkable is Clinton's body language when she is confronted by a throng of loving and supporting fans, her eyes literally bug out of her head! Have you noticed? Her hunger for democratic party unitary executive powers is hard to hide. If she is nominated, I cannot and will not vote for her. If she wins, I believe she will be disappointed and it would be unlikely she would earn a second term. Rank and file democrats are not burdened with authoritarian morality and thankfully do question their leaders. Hopefully we will see an end to unitary executive powers similar to that period after Watergate.
Chicken Hawks Fear Their Own Shadow
(10/10/2007): The House Judiciary Committee has successfully reported a revision to the Protect America Act today. I wish to congratulate Chairman Conyers and the democrats serving on the committee for finally moving to restore our citizen's constitutional rights, rights that have been stripped from us by waiving a flag of fear and terror.
You don't hear much about the source of the anthrax attacks, attacks on our congress that coincided with the passage of the Patriot Act, legislation written by Secretary Chertoff. Legislation that went largely unread and un-reviewed, but passed while our congress was under attack, by still unknown forces.
And we continue to see attempts at limiting our freedom coincidental with so called elevated threats of terror. The Protect America Act was passed with great haste when our administration reported that it was likely that our congress was under eminent threat of attack, again, from unknown sources. It comes as no surprise that threats of attack were once again raised up the flag pole in the week that congress was scheduled to revisit the Protect America Act which is due to sunset early next year.
And we continue to see the notion that honoring and protecting that "god damn piece of paper", our constitution, prevents our government from providing our great nation with the protection we need from a renegade band of terrorists living in caves in Pakistan. Many a republican stood in front of the american public and declared that our country is under the greatest threat ever endured or imagined in our history, a vision that has yet to be proven even at a basic level.
I am old enough to remember that once upon a time many were constructing bomb shelters, largely due to the fear of thousands of nuclear missiles pointed at our country by the now defunct Soviet Union. Did the Soviet Union fall because we engaged in wiretapping our citizens? Did the Soviet Union fall because we rescinded the rights granted to our citizens by our constitution? I think not.
It is truly a pathetic site, listening to chicken hawks, those, mostly republican, that did not serve in our military and whose sons and daughters do not serve in our military, stand up and proclaim that we should indeed be afraid, that it is our constitution that stands in the way of our safety.
Thank you Chairman Conyers for finally putting a stake in the ground that says we will not let the fear of terror render our constitution into just a "god damn piece of paper".
The Rules of Fascism
(10/02/2007): Once upon a time the public education system tried to teach me some history. Included in this attempt were lessons of the difference between democracy and fascism. Of course, the great example of democracy was the United States. The great example of fascism was Germany prior to World War II. Far removed from fascism, the lessons taught many decades ago were easily forgotten, for I was convinced that the very fabric of life here in the United States was forever void of any hint of the fascism that millions of Americans had fought against victoriously during the last century. Fascism could never take root here, ahem, in the homeland.
The homeland? I cringe every time I hear someone speak of our great county as the homeland. So it is with interest, that I brush up on my history, and heed the warning of some, when they state that when fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross (Sinclair Lewis).
What is fascism? If you search my blog you will find this word used more than once. For me, history is coming alive as I live in a country where the seeds of fascism are taking root and I feel like I have been thrust back in time, to that period in Germany where fascism once grew strong.
Sensitive to the political incorrectness of mentioning our country and the word fascism in any one sentence, I would like to enumerate the hallmarks of fascism, just for the record, as presented by Naomi Wolf:
These are the lessons from history and I would encourage anyone capable of critical thinking to review these lessons and keep them in mind whenever you run across any of my references to fascism.
Senate Votes to Condemn Free Speech
(09/20/2007): Senator Cornyn (R-TX) proposed an amendment to the defense authorization act this morning that condemns the attacks on General Petraeus from the organization moveon.org. While republicans in the house, during last week's testimonials of Iraq from General Petraeus, made every effort to squeeze in derogatory comments about the ads, none of them were so bold as propose legislation condemning free speech.
I would like to thank California Senator Barbara Boxer for her closing floor speech regarding the amendment, pointing out the slippery slope such legislation enamors. What's next? Declarations of enemy combatant status for all Americans that question the war?
While I can understand the current republican backtracking on the war effort as a political maneuver to placate their base until after next year's primaries, the votes cast by many a democrat demonstrate how little backbone these folks have. It is little wonder why congressional approval ratings have dipped to an all time low of 11%.
If you step back, you might make the observation that our president's goal of spreading democracy around the world is a zero sum game. It seems that Iraq cannot garner more freedom unless all of us in the homeland give up more of our freedoms. I cannot think of a more cynical tribute to the spilt blood of our servicemen, than to declare that to continue the blood letting, we must give up more of our freedoms
The amendment passed, by a vote of 72-25. Long live the empire, the throne of the new world order.
S. 1927: Protect America Act of 2007
(09/19/2007): My attempts to fall asleep with CSPAN failed last night as the the rebroadcast of yesterday's House Judiciary Committee ran through the night. National Intelligence Director J. Michael McConnell and Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security were the guests of honor and the topic was FISA, or shall I say, the lack of FISA and the notion that we need to make the Protect America Act of 2007 the permanent law of the land.
Never heard of it? Not surprising, the Bush administration rammed this bill through our Congress during the last hours prior to the August recess. And as the norm, the act bears the hypocrisy that we all come to know and love during the current Bush administration. The entire purpose of the bill is to legalize the illegal NSA wiretap program currently run by the administration, that NSA program that former Attorney General Ashcroft declared illegal from a hospital bed, that NSA program that helped prompt the resignation of Attorney General Gonzales' entire staff, and that NSA program that generated several law suits, like CCR v. Bush in the district Federal Court of San Francisco, like the case against AT&T in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, like the unconstitutional verdict rendered by a federal judge in Detroit, and like the $200 Billion class action lawsuit against Verizon, Bell South, and AT&T filed in Manhattan.
Must see video, License to Spy - Bill Moyers talks with former Congressman Mickey Edwards and ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero about revisions to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
McConnell and Wainstein clearly understood, that they were testifying before a committee that boasted a technical understanding of the issues with that of most grade schools kids. The opening arguments were unchanged, that our telecommunications industry has dramatically changed since the passage of FISA into law some thirty years ago. There was no mention, that the law regarding FISA has been modified several times since then, to upgrade to technological times. There was no mention, that many a legal career in the Justice Department was cut short for those whom were unable to support such a blatant attack on our citizen's constitutional rights.
In fact, McConnell flatly denied that our government now has the right to listen to our phone calls, read our email, and break into our homes in the middle of the night. Apparently, he has yet to actually read the Patriot Act, the Military Commission Act, or has yet to realize that our fourth amendment requires probable cause, not just reasonable suspicion, nor as McConnell seems to want, just reasonable.
As the case against AT&T clearly demonstrated, the NSA program involves a direct link into our telecommunications infrastructure utilizing a splitter. This is akin to borrowing your neighbor's cable TV, by splitting the cable and running it to your own living room. Both acts can be illegal.
All of our communications can be and have been routed directly into the secure living areas of the NSA. All of them.
When asked, McConnell flatly denied that ANY American citizen has had their phones tapped. It is clear that his perspective is in light of the so called minimization techniques claimed to be deployed. If your personal information was minimized, then you obviously haven't been wire tapped. Obviously, tens of millions of Americans have had their phone calls listened to by our government as evidenced by the direct fiber connection the NSA is running from the comfort of the various telecom giants.
And I have long observed, that my friends with any type of security clearances are extremely sensitive to talking about controversial topics over their cell phones. They know, as I know, that NSA software has become very adept at picking out various spoken keyword phrases that might cast suspicion.
I have yet to hear a logical argument for the claim that NSA deploys minimization techniques to a phone call from a known terrorist into the homeland. If the minimization techniques are sound, we would have no way of knowing whom our enemies are talking to, a overlooked fact that seems to contradict the entire purpose the program, to prevent our enemies from doing us harm.
And in fact, McConnell's testimony reveals that anyone with the appropriate security clearance, can "undo" the minimization, a clear violation of our 4th amendment.
Also key to the hidden understanding of illegality of the NSA program is the desire to retroactively declare that the telecom giants be granted immunity from any and all liability. It is argued that it would be a devastating financial burden for these companies, a goal that far surpasses the value of liberty and freedom granted to every American by our constitution.
Are we safer? Please get involved. Tell your congressional representatives to just say no to the dismantling of FISA and our constitutional rights so that we can maintain some semblance of privacy from the government, in each and all of our affairs. If Congress fails to reign in more executive power, the courts may be forced to agree and then it will be our Government joining the ranks of our all powerful, the hand of God, in our hearts and in our minds.
Will the Real Anbar Please Stand Up
(09/13/2007): Well, the testimony of General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker is in. In the softball session in the House, it was clear that very few representatives were in the mood to ask the tough questions, and the one or two tough questions that were politely presented were totally ignored in response. It is safe to say, if you missed the testimony, you missed nothing.
The senate testimony was a bit more thrilling, more to the point, with Republican Senator John Warner asking if our Iraq engagement was making our country safer. An answer that our honorable general did not have until after he conferred with the White House to correct his independent testimony.
And it appears that we are obligated to view the success of the surge from the view of Anbar Province, a place where sunni Muslims have rejected sharia law and where sunni tribal leaders have asked and received our help in the elimination of the very few Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Let's be clear, this development occurred well before the surge, surging troops were not stationed in Anbar, and is an event that General Petraeus referenced months ago and now states that it was an unpredictable event.
In fact, we hear much of that crystal ball, the crystal ball that is missing when focused on the end game in Iraq, but seems to work very well for predicting all the horror that will come our way if we contemplate actually implementing a force reduction in Iraq.
(08/17/2007): Several weeks ago our president mounted the bully pulpit to declare that the American people were suffering from "war fatigue". His message was clear, if only the American people would submit to his visions of democracy in the middle east, we could go on to win the war in Iraq and the world would be a much safer place in which to live.
Of course, to remind us all that this is true, his subsequent speeches carried a heavy dose of 9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11,..., as if it were really true that Iraq was involved in the terror event and if Iraq were truly the central battlefront on the so called "war on terror".
Even Lindsey Graham, the senator from South Carolina, has questioned the notion of the central battlefront. I did have the pleasure of hearing one republican representative give the only logical explanation for the claim. He put up a map of the middle east and said, see, Iraq is in the center of the middle east and therefore it is easy to see why our president believes Iraq is the central battlefront in the war on terror.
And the child like reasoning doesn't end there as many of the right wing water carriers like Tony Snowjob and Melanie Morgan have resorted to name calling following their questionable claims, Mr Snowjob trying to hit the ceiling with his claims of political theater, odd from an administration where everything is political, and the fascist like Melanie Morgan who follows her lies with claims that her adversaries would look good wearing a berka. Others are blaming our troubles on the democrats with continued claims of treason, as if somehow a discussion in a democracy over war policy is in anyway shape or form, responsible for aiding and abetting the enemy. Of course, the anger over the perceived treasonous debate is laced with more childish name calling.
I must admit, that it is getting harder and harder to write about our current state of affairs. As I review my previous posts, I might as well just change the dates to make them current. And then again, I have found a much more enjoyable source of euphemism about the Bush administration, that found on Comedy Central in a cartoon animation called Lil' Bush.
Watch and enjoy.
God Created Gravity
(06/30/2007): This week Christopher Hitchens and Alfred Charles Sharpton, Jr. were featured on MSNBC's Hardball to discuss Hitchens' new book "God is not Great", a book in which Hitchen advocates for the maturation of fundamental religion into a less dogmatic, less self defeating state of affairs. The good Reverend obviously took offense, believing the new book insulted his belief and faith in God.
Somewhere Reverend Al took a wrong turn. "God created Gravity!"
Huh? LOL! Apparently, this fact must be listed somewhere in that text book that describes intelligent design. Which is precisely why intelligent design has no place in a science classroom.
For those of you that didn't fall asleep during high school physics class and realize that gravity is something that God had very little choice about, let's assume that the Reverend is right, God did create gravity. Since we know that gravity is a constant in our universe, meaning it exists everywhere, here on earth, on our moon, on Pluto, and on objects far, far, away, God must have created gravity everywhere. Since we know that some objects in our universe are very, very old, on the order of 10s of billions of years, God is indeed a very old fellow. God created gravity over 10 billion years ago. And that is to be expected of God, that is, his age. God is eternal.
Which brings me to a paradox in the Reverend's faith, namely our all powerful, all knowing creator, required nearly 10 billion years to figure out how to make man in his own image.
Most of us mortals, can accomplish the same deed in about 9 months.
In essence, the Reverend clearly demonstrated the point of Christopher's book with his display of his only acceptable definition of faith, a religious base faith. It is the role of intelligent design, to explain away reality that does not quite fit into that faith. It is the fallibility of a dogmatic religious faith, as defined by the Reverend, that undermines the ability of faith to grow. Which in turn blunts the primary reason for faith, that is, faith as a source of inspiration.
Lacking inspiration, religious faith turns to exportation by force. We clearly see this trait exhibited by christian fundamentalists that declare we need to invade and conquer the countries of all muslims, so we can turn them into christians, and we see muslim fundamentalists that believe they must vanquish the infidels, cutting off hands and feet if they refuse to convert to Islam. A fundamental facet of the so called "war on terror".
And I find it odd, that religious faith with it's use of intelligent design, seems such a dark use, easier, more seductive, colder, indeed intellectually negligent and insecure. If the good Reverend spent some time in the church of physics, try googling for just a couple of hours, the Reverend would not be so quick to deny inspiration, that the Reverend would in fact find a remarkable similarity of faith that underpins today's theoretical discussions of the makeup of our universe.
Science is not a threat to religious faith, it is but one of many human endeavors that help enrich our faith. It teaches us to expand our faith by avoiding paradoxes, rather than blindly accepting faith that leads to paradoxes. Intelligent design is not science, it cannot advance faith, it can only stagnate faith.
The Reverend's failure to acknowledge his denial of more than the existence of a very basic faith, is why folks like Christopher write their books. Perhaps one day the good Reverend will spend some time expanding his horizons and his faith.
Until then, God is not great.
The 4 Billion Dollar Bribe Fails
(06/28/2007): President Bush's offer to make a down payment of over $4 billion to help secure our borders helped to bring back Senate Bill S.1639 to the Senate floor this week, but failed to obtain cloture (46-53) this morning. The sticking point? The outrage of the American public.
Proponents of the bill claim that we must have a guest worker program to enable securing our borders, despite the fact that we already have, count 'em, 8 guest worker programs on the books. Proponents of the bill have also held our border security hostage, claiming that we cannot secure our borders unless we grant amnesty to the 10s of millions of illegal immigrants already in the country, to bring them out of the shadows.
Shadows? I can clearly see sunshine on many illegal aliens by just walking the streets of Tahoe City, or by visiting some of our local businesses. The amigos, they are fondly called. Just recently a friend of mine, a chef, lost his job at a local restaurant. The owner hired 2 or 3 amigos to take his place. It wasn't that long ago that my friend took issue with my objections to illegal immigration, no longer.
The tipping point for failure of S.1639 was prompted by Senate majority leader Reid, who after convincing Senators to bring the bill back to the Senate floor with the promise of voting on amendments, proceeded to employ a "Clay Pigeon" tactic to bring up each amendment by calling for votes to table each amendment without debate, just hours after submitting several hundred pages of amendments to his fellow Senators, two days in a row!
Proponents of granting amnesty to all illegal immigrants who entered our country prior to January 1 of this year lost their support when they defeated amendments offered by Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison requiring a touchback provision and by Virginia Senator Jim Webb that sought to limit legalization to those illegal aliens that had been in this country at least 4 years.
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions offered up an apt analogy this morning on the Senate floor. When you have a broken pipe leaking water, you don't spend your time mopping up the water on the floor, you first turn off the water and fix the pipe. And so it is with illegal immigration, the majority of Americans would be happy to discuss legalization after we have secured our borders.
The World's Most Confused Black Man
(06/22/2007): Ron Christie, former aide to vice president Dick Cheney, is on a roll and is thoroughly disgusted with the sentence handed down to Cheney's former #1, Scooter Libby. Libby was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for lying about his role in the outing of former CIA operative Valeri Plame. Ron's beef is that he claims that there was no underlying crime, therefore it is prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that committed a crime, for prosecuting Scooter.
While Ron points this way and that way to rationalize his views, he fails to address the obvious, if there was no underlying crime, then why did Scooter feel the need to lie? Scooter's claims of memory loss were flatly rejected by a jury of his peers.
Ron also appears to believe, that he and his fellow neo cons have the absolute right to perjure themselves and intentionally obstruct justice, that it is every neo con's right to do whatever is necessary to convert our democratic republic into a fascist state, for the good of all americans living in the Homeland.
A Middle Class Victory
(06/08/2007): The pro illegal alien lobby, seeking amnesty for 10s of millions of illegal aliens, and corporate interests, demanding floods of foreign workers to help drive down wages, were handed a stinging defeat yesterday as the Senate failed to obtain cloture on S. 1348 (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007). In one of the poorest displays of leadership I have witnessed, Senate majority leader Harry Reid, rather than allow the Senate to continue to work on the bill to try to solve our immigration woes, removed the bill from further consideration.
After the vote, California's Senator Dianne Feinstein took the floor to express her disappointment, stating the the bill had been misunderstood from the beginning. Senator Feinstein has been trying to pass the Ag Jobs bill (summary) for at least three years running and the legislation was included in S.1348. Senator Feinstein voted against any amendments to the legislation that would alter the grand bargain.
Misunderstood? I don't think so. It is clear that the bill was cooked up without the benefit of any review by any Senate (sub)committee and it was clear, that the "Masters of the Universe" that worked so hard to please special interests over the interests of the middle class, were determined to pass the bill with as little scrutiny as possible, flatly rejecting any amendment that would alter the bargain reached behind closed doors.
It is clear, that requiring background checks that must be completed within 24 hours, are not background checks. And while our administration claims that enforcing our immigrations laws would clog our judicial system, there was no recognition, that running 10s of millions of background checks or creating a new 'Z' visa program would pose a similar burden, a burden in which our government has just shown they cannot perform as demonstrated by our administration's delay in issuing new visas for travelers in the 'NAU' to conform with recent law.
It is also clear, that the cost of the bill to American taxpayers is in excess of 2 trillion dollars and represents a blatant attempt to transfer wealth from the middle class to illegal aliens whom fail to comprehend, or respect our national sovereignty and our laws. That the bill incurs substantial costs is indisputable, as big business underscored with their objections to the costs of running identity checks on their prospective employees.
It is my hope, that congress will finally learn, that legalizing illegal behavior is not a solution and that they will eventually arrive at a solution that distributes the costs of illegal immigration to those that profit from it and drop their demands that it is our patriotic duty to learn spanish and to endure the costs of integrating millions of illegal aliens into our society. A burden that has caused the public education system in Tahoe to earn the reputation as schools where English is a second language, not to mention that at least 3 schools are on federal remediation.
I would like to thank Senator Jeff Sessions for his tenacity in doing the right thing. His closing speech late Wednesday night on the Senate floor was a remarkable example of what it means to speak truth to power. I would also like to thank Senator Barbara Boxer for her help in the fight to end the war on the middle class.
Speaking Truth To Power
(06/04/2007): Last night during the democratic presidential debate, Senator Joseph R. Biden prefaced one of his comments on illegal immigration by stating that we must speak truth to power and then went on to state that it would be prohibitively expensive to round up 13 million illegal aliens, put them on buses, and ship them home.
Let us be clear. The truth is that no one on either side of the debate has suggested, or has proposed legislation that would round up 13 million illegal aliens, put them on buses, and ship them home. No one. Nor did 13 million illegal aliens hitch rides on a several hundred mile long caravan of buses to enter our country. They knowingly entered our country illegally, usually in small groups, and on foot.
In the process, these illegal aliens left an estimated 25 million pounds of trash in their wake along our borders. Senator Boxer, are you listening?
notion, that a fraudulent political talking point somehow represents speaking truth to power is precisely why the majority of Americans hold our congress is the same high esteem that we hold our beloved president.
If there is to be a fair path to "earned citizenship", it could start by including in a touchback provision, the requirement that all illegal aliens pick up all that trash on their way back home and dispose of it properly. It would be a great civics lesson in protecting our country's environment and a cultural reminder of every hispanic's American Indian bloodline, a culture that cherishes protecting our environment.
U.S. Senate Endorses Mob Rule
(05/24/2007): Led by the bellicose and condescending Senator Kennedy and enabled by the current Senate majority leader Senator Reid, who is desperate for cheap labor to build hotels in his beloved Sin City, we are witness to an effort to cave into the demands of the proponents of illegal aliens in the form of a raging debate in the Senate this week regarding illegal immigration.
Witness that democrats are no different from republicans when it comes to their ability to make fraudulent political talking points the rule of the land.
Senator Reid is trying to ram a bill through the Senate that was conceived in Washington backrooms over the last few months and was largely influenced by the illegal alien proponents and divorced from the will of the American people. If this bill somehow becomes law, it will demonstrate once and for all, that millions of people can enter our country illegally, organize to evade the rule of law, demonstrate in the streets, and steal the wealth of the middle class for themselves, at the expense of hard working and honest legal American Citizens.
In the video, a person identified as Lawrence Lebowitz, an attorney at Cohen & Grigsby, explains a method that can be used for hiring foreign workers under the U.S. government's Program Electronic Review Management process. PERM stipulates requirements for placing help wanted ads to fill job vacancies, with the intent of either hiring U.S. workers or showing that no qualified Americans are available.
Driven by the sight of one billion Chinese that earn but a dollar or two a day, U.S. corporations are continuing the lust of greed, every dollar saved by not employing an American is another dollar in the coffers. The betrayal of American professionals by American corporations is an ugly sight to watch. There is a very determined effort to flood our country with cheap labor as well as to outsource jobs overseas. Do you hear that giant sucking sound yet?
It is easy to see why most Americans express the same level of faith in Congress as they do our President. But, there are a few rays of sunshine. I would like to thank Senators Boxer, Dorgan, Grassley, and Sandors who seem to be among the few Senators that have any basic knowledge of economics. Their fight against the willful neglect of duty by some of their fellow Senators, whom are trying pass amnesty against the will of the American people, seems to be succeeding. Senator Reid has been forced back behind closed doors to try to once again form a grand compromise to railroad the legislation thorough the Senate.
All of this would seem to be a planned perfect storm of globalization with billions of dollars of corporate profits chasing billion of people without a dollar all the while our administration continues their planning efforts for civil unrest, ostensibly driven by the fear of a nuclear attack, but more likely driven by an acute awareness that the great silent majority of American citizens will finally take a look around and realize the betrayal.
It is not likely to be a pretty sight.
Mission IMPEACHABLE (The Cheney episode)
During the last six years we have witnessed a remarkable ideology, the notion that our administration believes that Article 2 of our Constitution empowers the administration to declare null and void the remaining articles of our Constitution along with the Bill of Rights and numerous other ideals that have characterized the America I grew up in.
It would seem that our administration attached a signing statement to their vows to defend the Constitution, signing up to protect but a single Article.
The last time America witnessed such declarations of lawlessness was during the Nixon administration, whose lawless activities were so extreme that President Ford was reluctant at first, to accept the allegations and the truth. You might remember, that impeachment proceedings against Nixon were preceded by the removal of then vice-president Agnew. And if history is a guide, then in order to establish the return of a nation of laws, vice president Cheney must go.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to voice your opinion to Congress. Just click on the above banner to establish a direct link.
As always, if you or any of your family ends up in a place where Habeas Corpus doesn't shine, either through our administration's extensive wiretap programs, Internet usage tracking, or email monitoring, this web site will disavow any knowledge of your activities. Good luck.
When Faiths Collide
(04/15/2007) From the time of Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus
(208AD -337AD) until the time that Galileo contradicted (1613AD) the church doctrine of a geocentric universe, the Catholic Church was the primary source of wisdom and law.
Constantinus was declared a Saint for his acknowledgement of the Kingdom of God. There are those that believe, that Constantinus was actually a pagan
who merely acquiesced to the church to save the Roman empire. Regardless, humanity had taken a step forward.
It was but a small step, a kingdom is still ruled by a King. Even in the kingdom of god you face god's wrath if you do not declare your allegiance and remain a loyal servant. Then, as now, scientific minds and their discoveries face excommunication, even death, if their discoveries contradicted the teachings of the bible or challenged the authority of the church or state. It was not until 1992 that the Catholic Church, namely Pope John Paul II, acknowledged the question of "informed awareness" and ended it's centuries long persecution of Galileo.
About this time
(1990s) a rift was developing in the Republican party as those on the religious right began to demand that their religious faith not be discounted in party political policies. The Republican party, like Constantinus almost two millennia ago, acquiesced, and so began two decades of Republican party rule marked by numerous attempts to turn faith, into legislation.
While I had hoped that
the issue of informed awareness had been settled long ago, those that strive for religious authority and rule still cling to the notion that God's word as written in the approved gospels, should be our only measuring stick for life. We need look no further than the recent attempts to declare intelligent design as science to see that faith in action. Or to those politicians that argue that our founding fathers did not oppose the separation of church and state found in our First Amendment.
In fact, it has been reported that our current president, a born again christian, believes
that god wanted him to rule america during this time in history. And now that we have congressional oversight, we are beginning to see the great lengths that our current administration has undertaken, to ensure that good Bushies oversee truth.
Recently Joe Scarborough and Tucker Carlson (MSNBC) took aim at Rosie for her comments about her questions concerning the physics of the collapse of the three world trade center buildings. You do remember that day? A unique day in which three steel framed buildings collapsed due to fire. Joe & Tucker both mocked Rosie and took great effort to do so, rather than acknowledge a basic understanding of physics, thereby placing their faith above all else.
As an engineer I spent the first two years of college studying both classical and modern physics. Classical physics describes the middle ground of nature, that is, the stuff we all observe, like the falling of an apple from a tree. Modern physics describes nature at it's boundaries, the stuff we cannot see without special instrumentation, nature as it is
in the realm of the very small (atomic) and the very large (universe).
My doubts about the truth of 9/11 began, and as I have written, when I saw the collapse of WTC7. Most folks don't realize that three buildings collapsed that day. WTC7 was not hit by a plane. What our government had not explained, in the official NIST report or in the 9/11 commissions report was how these three buildings collapsed at nearly free fall speeds.
In fact, the 9/11 commissions report did not attempt an explanation and merely begged the question, that since the buildings did collapse, that the reason had to be due to the fires ignited by the planes. To the commissions credit, it did acknowledge that WTC7 was unexplainable.
Which brings me back to Joe and Tucker, my inspiration for this blog. Why are they insulting scientific faith?
Rosie is an easy target, they both jumped at the chance. Had either of them taken the initiative to gain a basic understanding of high school physics, would they still ridicule scientific faith on their shows?
NIST has recently received a petition,
one that clearly points out that the report does not comply with our laws governing the publishing of a report of this type. Scientific faith differs from religious faith in that scientific faith requires duplication. Our laws require that for the NIST report to be worthy of scientific faith, that the experiments and data used to arrive at the conclusions be verifiable by a competent responsible third party. Is it true that the NIST report is insufficient? That the results claimed by NIST cannot be duplicated?
And are those of us whom also accept scientific faith, in addition to religious faith, condemned to become subjects of the edicts of Pope, Urban VIII (1588-1644), who argued that God was so powerful that he could make us see whatever God wanted us to see, that God had created the illusion that the earth was moving and in fact that the earth was the center of the universe?
When I witnessed the upper block of WTC1 twist and turn and start it's fall, unimpeded toward the ground, why did it not reach the ground in one piece?
Does your faith dictate my faith and will I face your god's wrath? Or is faith best served on a multi-dimensional plate? And why does fundamentalist religious faith, christian or muslim, or that of political authority of control so heavily depend on exportation by force?
I recently had the honor of hearing former AG John Ashcroft
speak about his experiences during the first Bush administration. He concluded his comments talking about his faith, firmly committed to the ideal that faith should be an inspiration, not an imposition. That we all are free to choose that faith that inspires us.
There are higher moral grounds here. Perhaps one day, we can all attain them.
The Best Ad - EVER
Last Whimpers of the Homeland Republican Guard
(02/16/2007): I wanted to thank the House of Representatives for
their week long debate on Iraq, a debate which included every
possible notion of the seriousness of the situation, ranging
from unanimous unconditional support for our troops to the
dangers perceived by a reemergence of an Islamic
religious caliphate coupled with the notion that now that
our military work is completed in Iraq, that somehow if we
regroup and change course, that this signals a defeat for America.
I have yet to hear how eliminating
Saddam Hussein, verifying that Iraq possessed no WMD, and
the establishment of a baseline democracy in Iraq constitutes
The failure is that of the talking points offered up by our
comrades, mostly of the republican party, promoted in their
congressional war room and delivered time and time again on the
congressional floor, epitomized by representative Heather
Wilson, who tried to equate a failure to support our President's
surge in Iraq, with a failure to support our troops. An
accusation so offensive, that the democratic leadership was
forced to come to the floor to put an end to the absurdity.
Wilson, supported by testimony that she was very careful in her
crafting of legislative markups, first caught my attention when
she wrote a
bill legalizing wiretaps of American citizens.
Then, as now, Wilson justified her bill with a talking point,
that her bill only authorized the wiretaps of our enemies,
despite a deeper view of her bill, which indeed ignored our
fourth amendment and authorized wiretaps on Americans. Wilson's
current talking point, borderline fraudulent, sought to equate
support for our troops, to unconditional financial support for
any and all of our President's war plans.
To representative Wilson's credit, she did question a troop
surge in Baghdad.
John Boehner, fighting his emotions, clearly stated that if we
leave Iraq, that the insurgence would follow us home, despite
his failure to offer any evidence that such an assertion is
Others claimed that you could not claim to support our troops,
if you did not support the surge and abstain from any
discussion, as such discussions only served to demoralize our
troops and embolden our enemies, a claim that could only ring
true, if only we did not have our pesky Constitution.
Still others believe, that a threat of a religious caliphate is
so serious, offering up testimony of our enemies as if their word was gospel, equating the
war in Iraq to those of world wars one and two, and
misrepresenting history, particularly, the history surrounding
Winston Churchill. The caliphate, an idea from the last
millennium, was long ago exposed for what it was, an effort by
professing to represent the will of God to consolidate
power, has long since seen its prime, and has only been
justified to exist today as a threat, by reasoning of fear and
is rejected out of hand by all but a noisy religious fundamentalist few.
To locate defeat, one only needs to refer to our president's
latest press conference in which he reminded all the comrades in
the homeland, that financial interests trump, when it comes to
world affairs. This elitist viewpoint of the world, manifesting
itself as the talking point 'Victory in Iraq', a goal our
administration has long claimed can only be realized if we
sacrifice our Constitution, therefore our freedoms, and has met its
match, the U.S. Constitution.
The House of Representatives has passed their resolution,
expressing their disagreement of our President's claims of a new
To Debate, or Not to Debate
(02/07/2007): I would respectively remind our Congress, that
when it comes to approval ratings, that Congress commands even
less approval from the American public then does our illustrious
President. And it is easy to see why. It's not that procedural
policies are misguided, it is that they are misused.
It is rather humorous, from a logic viewpoint, to watch the
Republicans demonize the power of the current majority for
procedural tactics that are clearly identical to the tactics the
Republicans utilized not so long ago, in the 109th congress. Of
course, last year, these tactics were perfectly acceptable, and
so goes the political system for resolving differences.
Media claims that republicans are preventing a debate on Iraq ring empty,
if you actually watch the floor proceedings, you can't help but
notice that a debate on Iraq is actually taking place, albeit,
for no actual legislation. And you might even sympathize with
republicans, if their proposed resolution, the Gregg resolution,
actually contained some substance.
What is the purpose of a resolution that states we will not cut
the funding of our troops on the ground? This is not the issue
voters expressed their concern over during the last midterm
election. Is this to be viewed as respectful disrespect? Since
supporting our troops is not an issue, should we read between
the lines and view the resolution as an attempt to prevent
future attempts at de-funding the war?
And why do congressional members that support our president's
war policy continue to debate using circular reasoning? To their
credit, they are no longer pursuing a multi-decade policy of
'Victory In Iraq', they have adopted a more achievable goal, a
'Stable Iraq'. Is circular reasoning the only option available
to promote an ideology that has obviously failed?
Even a stable Iraq, may take decades to achieve as testimony by
Paul Bremer, when questioned over the necessity of shipping
over 430 tons of cash totaling approx $8.8 billion to Iraq
aboard C-130s, stated that Iraq lacked the fundamental
accounting systems to run the various Iraq ministries, Iraq is a
cash only economy.
Finally, how is it that any suggestion that our troops lack
intelligence is railed against, but those that rail, cannot
accept that our troops
understand our constitution and the right
of the American people to question the long failed policies of
Treading on Interdictions of Violating Common Sense
(01/30/2007): U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales epitomized
the confusion that runs rampart on Capitol Hill following our
midterm elections during his recent testimony before the Senate
Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, 2007, when he stated that our
constitution does not grant the writ of Habeas Corpus to all
Americans, that the constitution only prohibits our government
from taking it away. Aside from the absurdity of this logic, it
is ironic, that if Gonzales actually believes this, then why did
specifically prohibit Habeas Corpus in
legislation passed during the last hours of the 109th congress?
The interdictions don't end there as Republicans not facing
reelection in 2008 continue to offer up violations of common
sense with their support of our President's 'New Way Forward'
policy in Iraq. Senators Kyl, Cornyn, Graham, and others arguing
in favor of our president's plan, state that we must not send our
troops and our enemies the wrong message, a message that would
demoralize our troops and embolden our enemies, presumably, the
message that would be sent if we actually
engage in debate on the war, a debate that actually shows the world
that we are indeed a Democratic Republic, that our commander in
chief is not a dictator, the sole decider, and that we actually do have two
branches of government when it comes to questions of war.
The president's supporters continue to cling to the notion that
decisions of war are so sensitive that the discussions of such
are best relegated to the backroom, independent of all other
voices, telling us that these policies are guaranteed to work,
if only the American public would provide unity in unbridled
The Senate debate on minimum wage shows that the Republicans,
unaccustomed to their new role as a minority party, are not the
only confused members of Congress. While I appreciate Senator
Kennedy's debunking of the corporate notion that increasing the
minimum wage is bad for business (yesterday on the Senate
floor), Senator Kennedy's support for illegal immigrants
directly contradicts his intent.
Senator Sessions clearly pointed out that our large illegal
immigrant population has served to depress wages, perhaps to a
greater degree, than congressional refusal to increase the minimum
wage over the last ten years.
Then there is Senator Schumer's new book outlining his 11 step
plan to win the hearts and minds of the center, enabling the
Democrats to retain and solidify their reign of power for the
next generation, presumably because a Democratic party lock on
power would be better for America than the Republican reign of
power has demonstrated.
As long as both parties continue to frame the debates on the
critical issues our country faces, in terms of Democratic or
Republican party control, then the Honorable Senator Specter's
prophetic remark to Gonzales “You may be treading on your
interdiction of violating common sense,” will continue to ring
A Singular Wit
(01/30/2007): While the jury is in, on our president's latest
State of the Union speech, as quite unremarkable, I did enjoy
but a single moment of the speech. It came when our president,
arguing against congressional earmarks, retorted that earmarks
were often passed in the middle of the night, beyond even the
prying eyes of C-SPAN. The comment drew a single chuckle from
While it is clear that our president does not enjoy the light of
day cast upon his policies by C-SPAN programming, I, for one, find
C-SPAN programming the only source available for discovering the
truth behind many of the issues we face, a source free of the
slant corporate power has on the reports found on all the major
news media outlets.
Long live C-SPAN!
Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton?
(01/25/2007): Our country has endured nearly twenty years of
presidential family dynasties and if today's political pundits,
and the odds makers at Vegas are correct, our country may be
headed toward another 4 years of the same. It is my
observation that the two front-runners for their party
nominations, Senator McCain and Senator Clinton, both maintained
the look of the cat who just ate the canary during the State of
the Union address held earlier this week.
In an interview with Keith Olbermann, Senator Clinton, when
asked about her qualifications for the presidency, remarked that
her intimate observations of her husband's presidency, and no,
she didn't mention Monica, coupled with her experience in the
Senate, give her the unique background qualifications for the
job, she understands how to work with congress to get things
done. She went on to cite our current administration's refusal
to work with congress over the last six years, as a primary
cause of the problems we face today and quickly reminded us that she was
against the war.
In addition, there is a chip on her shoulder, as she blames the
current administration for destroying all the good things her
husband did while in office.
It is this sense of entitlement that is troubling, in that a
belief in such prompts the wholesale rewriting of history for
the masses, with not even a hint of a troubled brow, in the
obvious failures to recount history accurately. In point of
fact, the republican controlled congress routinely worked with
the president to pass their mutual agendas, and in fact Senator
Clinton voted for the war.
It was congress that refused to exercise their constitutional
mandates to provide checks and balances. And it is clear, that
Senator Clinton shares with her husband, and the two Bush
presidents, the uncanny skill to spin and
twist the truth
towards their own agendas and to the determent of the American
public, leading to the coining of the phrase 'truthiness' by
describe what most of us, call a lie.
While our current president has elevated political spin beyond
that even imaged by other politicians, it was the fact that
President Clinton routinely changed his story during his
campaign that prevented me from voting for him. I learned, far
to late, that our current president's honesty was yet another
smokescreen, as the president finally admitted after losing the midterm elections,
that he believed
that lying for political gain is perfectly acceptable.
If Senator Clinton believes that the American public will
continue to accept the 'truthiness' of her spin, dismissing
the wrath of the voters during the last midterm election, then
hopefully this dual presidential family dynasty will come to an
And of course, you can see the 'truthiness' interviews using the
(01/10/2007): A major news organization (NBC) has been under
attack of late, as the full implications of the Democratic sweep
of congress becomes focused into reality. The crying over spilt
milk seems to be a cornerstone for the complaints, which range
from partisan attacks by several Republicans from Florida
yesterday in the House debate over the passage of the remaining
9/11 commission recommendations, to charges from conservative
pundits who can't seem to wrap their heads around why their
illustrious leader, Mr. Bush, is so widely mistrusted by the
I welcome the move back toward the center. For years, the
religious right has pushed the debate their way, defending their
positions by claiming support from God and Jesus, claiming that
God actually speaks to them and presumably they alone. I resent
the fact that these folks have pushed so hard to the right, that
centrists, like myself, look like flaming liberals,
forever condemned to burn in hell.
The most amusing of these attacks stem from the lack of public
support and trust for the upcoming speech by our President on
his 'The New Way Forward' plan for Iraq. Why, the right wing
asks and exemplified by John Fund last night on Scarborough Country,
don't we give our President the chance, for Victory in
Funny, I don't remember any politician running on a platform of
a 100 year war, a 1000 year war, the war of civilizations, or
the eternal battle between the existence of good and evil. Yet
we are told, that this is our primary goal of the 21st century,
if we do not fight this war, that evil Muslims will eventually
force all of us to kneel down and pray to Allah 5 times a day,
presumably at gun point.
The wife cheating Newt Gingrich, in his 'Winning The Future'
speeches, is actually running around the
country telling us that we must be prepared to shut down the
Internet, for our own good, to stop the evil doers from using it.
Good and evil are but one duality, of the many dualities that
are fundamental to life.
Evil exists, get over it.
The issue is leadership. Great leaders don't offer choices
between a bad situation and a worse situation. It is clear that
our choices in Iraq follow this mold. It is not enough to state
that we should remain in Iraq, because if we don't, things will
get worse, or that if we leave, that Americans will face being
killed by a terrorist (the
odds of being killed by a terrorist
are equivalent to that of being struck by lightning). In fact, this type of reasoning is the breeding
ground for the mistrust the majority of Americans are feeling.
Great leaders don't rule by force. Our current President
believes the only way he can lead is if he rescinds our liberty,
destroys our Constitution, destroys our Bill of Rights,
wiretaps our phones, reads our mail,
tracks our Internet usage and then tells all of us that the issues
are so complicated, that the average Joe cannot possibly
understand the issues, so we all should just go shopping.
Then there is that "If you knew what we know" but of course if
we told you, we would have to kill you mentality.
As long as the conservative right and our President remain in denial,
continue to obfuscate their true intentions with the cloak of
the war on terror, they have
no hope of ending their fall, a dark path indeed. Those that
believe that God wants us to engage in a war of civilizations,
'The New Way Forward', the escalation of 'Stay
the Course', need to seriously question whether they are
talking to God, or to Lucifer.