Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Same Shit, Different General

June 24, 2010

General McChrystal is out. General Patraeus is in. And a general state of malaise continues.

President Obama made a shrewd political calculation that in picking General Patraeus to run the war in Afghanistan, he has given himself plenty of cover in rightly accepting General McChrystal’s resignation on the grounds of gross  insubordination. Patraeus is the darling of the Hawks in Congress, who will confirm his nomination quickly. The prevailing thought is that if Patraeus can’t win this war, nobody can.

And that’s the political “out” that Obama needs. I was enormously disappointed that the President caved in and decided to apply the surge strategy in Afghanistan, with a pull-out target of mid-2011. If we haven’t “won” (whatever that means) in 9 years, why should one more year make a difference? It won’t.

So now we have a new General, and the clock is ticking on getting out next year. By then, how many more US and coalition soldiers lives’ will be lost? How much more money will be wasted? How much more violence and corruption will the Afghan citizens endure? How much more political division will continue to crush the American spirit? And how exactly will this counter-insurgency strategy prevent terrorists from attacking us?

We will find out soon enough, but we will not like the answers to those questions. We must get out of Afghanistan as soon as we can, and go on the defensive. We need to put the lives, resources, and money allocated to the Afghanistan War to better use here at home. Protect the borders and the shipping ports. Spend more energy keeping our enemies out of our country because they want to fight this war on our turf, not theirs. Al Qaeda doesn’t care how many Afghans get killed or continue to live in the 12th century, as long as our attention is diverted to that blighted land.

The Christmas Day/Underwear bomber and the Times Square bomber didn’t come from Afghanistan, and they almost wreaked havoc IN AMERICA. The real war is here, not “over there”.  Please President Obama, end the war in Afghanistan and bring home the troops. Defense is the right offense in the war against terrorism.


The Speech Obama Didn’t Give Last Night

June 16, 2010

About a week ago I got a call from President Obama’s Senior Advisor David Axelrod, asking me to write a speech about the BP oil disaster. “The President needs to find a way to quiet his critics, re-assure the people that we’re taking care of the situation, and motivate Congress to pass a comprehensive energy bill”, he said. “And we’ve got 15 minutes of air time from the Oval Office next Tuesday night. Give us something with a little meat on the bones.” So I got busy immediately, sent a draft to Axe, made a few revisions, and sent in my freelancer invoice which was promptly paid.

So imagine my surprise when I watched the President on TV last night delivering a very watered-down version of what I had written. I guess that’s what happens when Rahm shuts off the tele-prompter. In case you were wondering why the President decided to go “off message”, here’s the original text of the speech I had written for him:

Good evening. I apologize for preempting Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al-Qaida wherever it exists. It’s all still W’s fault, but we’re doing the best we can.

And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens, and ruining the summer vacations of top oil executives across the globe.

On April 20, an explosion ripped through BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, about 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Is it any coincidence that this happened on “4/20”? Maybe the rig bosses looked the other way while all the workers took extended Scooby-snack breaks. Maybe not. Regardless, this is a tragedy of epic proportions.

Because there’s never been a leak this size at this depth, stopping it has tested the limits of corporate PR professionals. That’s why, just after the rig sank, I assembled a team of our nation’s best scientists and engineers to tackle this challenge, a team led by Dr. Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and our nation’s secretary of energy. The only thing we left out was a pair of scissors to cut through all the red tape, but that’s neither here nor there.

As a result of these efforts, we’ve directed BP to mobilize additional equipment and technology. And as usual they are thumbing their noses at us.

Already, this oil spill is the worst disaster America has ever faced since the election of W in 2000. And unlike an earthquake or a hurricane, or Dick Cheney, it’s not a single event that does its damage in a matter of minutes or days.

But make no mistake: We will fight about this spill in the Federal government for as long it takes to win in the public opinion polls. We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused, unless they just go belly-up and walk away from it completely.

Tonight, I’d like to lay out for you what our battle plan is going forward: what we’re doing to clean up the oil, what we’re doing to help our neighbors in the Gulf and what we’re doing to make sure that people forget about this tragedy as quickly as possible before the 2012 election season.

First, the cleanup.

From the very beginning of this crisis, the Federal government has been recovering from the exhaustive in-fighting over the healthcare reform battle, and many members of Congress have been left politically impotent. I put Admiral Thad Allen in charge so we could show another military face on TV. People always feel better when there’s a military person in charge, so I called Thad. He’s about to retire anyway, and he could care less about how this all turns out.

Thousands of ships and other vessels are responding in the Gulf, and thousands of political pundits are broadcasting from the oil-soaked beaches to drive their ratings up. And I’ve authorized the deployment of over 17,000 National Guard members along the coast to shut them down. These servicemen and women are ready to help stop the criticisms of how we are handling this crisis, and I urge the governors in the affected states to activate these troops as soon as possible.

Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming and other comparatively worthless methods. Over 5.5 million feet of boom has been laid across the water to make it appear as if we are stopping the approaching oil. Perception is reality. And reality is definitely a bitch right now!

As the cleanup continues, we will offer to make any appearances and photo-ops that our coastal states may need to feel like something is actually getting done.

Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise. John McCain will surely be up my rear-end about how he would have handled this differently. Doesn’t anyone remember all his “drill-baby-drill” crap? Michelle Bachman is bound to say something stupid and Rush Limbaugh will promote it. And even Keith Olbermann will get in my face too. I can’t win no matter what, so eff them all. I gotta do what I gotta do.

But we have to recognize that, despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to my legacy. And sadly, no matter how effective my response is, there will be more criticism and more damage before this siege is done.

That’s why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast.

You know, for generations, men and women who call this region home have hated folks like me. Educated African-Americans are not appreciated below the Mason-Dixon line, but now they’re all looking at me like “please come down here and help us! we need you Barack!” And I’m like, “Oh really? I thought you wanted less government intervention? I thought you all said I was a Communist Nazi Fascist from Kenya? How do you like me now?” Please!

I’ve talked to owners of shops and hotels who wonder when the tourists might start coming back. The sadness and the anger they feel is not just about the money they’ve lost; well, yeah, I guess it is about the money they’ve lost.

Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company’s recklessness. We’re going to have a beer with Joe Biden just like when we met with Dr. Gates and that racist cop from Massachusetts. Except this time me and Joe are really going to be secretly downing Coors Cutter while Tony Hayward gets tanked. Then I’ll call in the secret service to kick his ass.

But this escrow fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent third party. So we’ve tapped all the best financial minds from Wall Street to devise a few “investment strategies” that will increase the funds “overnight”. I might as well tap into the brain power of those unregulated crooks before we actually get some new laws passed.

Beyond compensating the people of the Gulf in the short term, it’s also clear we need a long-term plan to restore the unique beauty and bounty of this region. The oil spill represents just the latest blow to a place that’s already suffered multiple economic disasters and decades of political corruption that has led to disappearing wetlands and habitats from the criminal activity of an unregulated oil industry.

And the region still hasn’t recovered from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Anyone remember those hurricanes? Remember–those were W’s fault too.

Earlier, I asked Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy, who’s also a former governor of Mississippi and a son of the Gulf Coast, to develop a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan as soon as possible. The plan will be designed by states, local communities, tribes, fishermen, businesses, conservationists and other Gulf residents. And BP will find some way NOT to pay for the impact this spill has had on the region. With all those competing interests trying to work together, the big-oil guys are sure to slip out the back door and lawyer-up.

The third part of our response plan is the steps we’re taking to ensure that a disaster like this does not happen again.

A few months ago, I approved a proposal to consider new, limited offshore drilling under the assurance that it would be absolutely safe, that the proper technology would be in place and the necessary precautions would be taken. Holy cow–talk about bad timing! No way I can embrace that idea now, so I’m about to backpedal like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk at the MTV Video Music Awards!

I’ve established another national commission to understand the causes of this disaster and offer recommendations on what additional safety and environmental standards we need to put in place. That’s not going to stop the critics from calling me “too wonk-ish”, but it will buy me some time. Hey, it’s better than me getting out there and saying “mission accomplished”, right? At least I am being honest.

Now, one place we’ve already begun to take action is at the agency in charge of regulating drilling and issuing permits, known as the Minerals Management Service. We’ve slashed their “cocaine-and-whores” budgets by 50%, so they need to wake up and realize that the party is over. And I am not talking about the Democratic party!

One of the lessons we’ve learned from this spill is that we need better regulations, better safety standards and better enforcement when it comes to offshore drilling. But a larger lesson is that, no matter how much we improve our regulation of the industry, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will do everything in their power to stand in the way.

For decades, we have known the days of cheap and easily accessible oil were numbered. For decades, we’ve talked and talked about the need to end America’s centurylong addiction to fossil fuels. And for decades, we drove bigger cars and trucks like Hummers and Escalades and F-150s. Republicans called it “patriotic”, and Americans embraced it.

Time and again, the path forward has been blocked, not only by oil industry lobbyists, but also by FOX News.

The consequences of our inaction are now in plain sight. Countries like China are investing in clean-energy jobs and industries that should be right here in America. And each day China owns more of us. In fact, Michelle just finished boxing up all the furniture in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House and Fed Ex-ed it all to Beijing. It’s getting serious folks.

We cannot consign our children to this future. The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean-energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny. I mean, those kids are all unemployed now because of the economy, so they should get down to the gulf and pick up an oil-soaked bird and start scrubbing. And while they’re at it, they better be thinking of how to build a corn-powered car, because gasoline is gonna be $18 per gallon in a few more years.

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time. But over the last year- and-a-half, we’ve already taken unprecedented action to jump-start the clean-energy industry.

As we speak, scientists and researchers are discovering clean-energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new political in-fighting by Congressmen and Congresswomen who had their pockets lined by oil companies that refuse to let go of their stranglehold on the world. Good luck with that.

You know, when I was a candidate for this office, I never thought this job was going to suck as bad as it does right now. So I laid out a set of principles that I thought would be a layup for a Democratic majority to get accomplished. But I didn’t count on deadbeats like Joe Lieberman to screw things up, and now all the spotlight is on me. Let me be clear: I didn’t blow up the Deepwater oil rig. Joe Lieberman did.

So I am happy to look at other ideas and approaches from either party — as long as the meetings can be televised like when I took all those Republicans to the woodshed on healthcare. No one’s gonna show me up on TV.

But the one approach I will not accept is inaction. The one answer I will not settle for is the idea that this challenge is too big to fail. We took care of that idea when we gave out the TARP funds, so my guess is that if we throw enough money at the problem, then something will work out. Even if we don’t yet know precisely how we’re going to get there. We know we’ll get there. And if we don’t, then it’ll be the next President’s problem.

It is a faith in the future that sustains us as a people. It is that same faith that sustains our neighbors in the Gulf right now. And speaking of faith, it’s time for me to throw a Hail-Mary pass and end this show on a note about the one thing that all Americans agree on: religion.

So please join me in prayer that someone will figure out a way to clean up this mess that BP caused. Pray that we can stop the leak. Pray that we can restore the ecosystem. Pray that we can all come together to get through this crisis. And while we’re at it, let’s throw in a little prayer that Kobe has a big game tonight against the Celtics and takes this series to a game 7. I really need to unwind and there’s no way I’ll be able to slip past the press pool to watch game 6 tonight.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

Maybe Obama Should Kick Boehner’s Ass (it’s good to be back!)

June 10, 2010

Not that anyone noticed, but this blog has been on hiatus since April 28 since the writer (me in the 3rd person) has been too busy making a living at his real job. But that’s not to say I have had my head in the sand all that time, except for a week in Boca Raton when I literally had my head in the sand on those beautiful, un-BP-tarnished beaches. I’ve been following the news, and letting my mind wander back and forth across the political spectrum, trying to suss-out what the hell all those mopes in DC are up to. Or in the case of this Congress, what they are NOT up to.

So much has happened with the horrific BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. So much, except coming up with any solutions for stopping the leak, or keeping the ecosystem from being completely destroyed. Most of what has happened has been the ramping up of playing the blame game. BP blames themselves for the oil well exploding, but they also blame Transocean for not building the well correctly in the first place. Transocean is implicitly blaming the Federal Government because the rig was built under the lack of regulatory oversight that would have demanded a relief well to be dug initially, albeit for twice the cost.

The Democrats are blaming W, because the oil industry was de-regulated “under his watch”. And the GOP is blaming Obama, even going so far as to shamefully call it “Obama’s Katrina”, because “he isn’t getting pissed off enough”. They want more political theater from him, or as Pat Buchanan calls it, “leadership”. If angry = leadership, then happy = lack of leadership. Maybe that’s why W always had a goofy smile on his face.

This whole notion that Obama needs to get angry so that the people think he is doing something is ridiculous. Nevertheless, he was goaded into saying that he wanted to know who’s ass he should kick by Matt Lauer on the Today Show. How silly, and what a waste of political energy.

But then along comes my favorite political jerk, John Boehner (R-Ohio). Today, while pivoting back to the economy, he said “I think it’s time for Democrats here on Capitol Hill to start listening to the American people. They want spending cut and they want it cut now. And I’m wondering, why isn’t the president looking for someone’s ‘ass to kick’ on this subject?”

Okay Johnny, let’s start with you. As one of the leaders of the party of NO, why don’t you start by telling us what you’d like to cut. Since Republicans come with aversions to raising taxes as a factory-installed operating feature, please tell me what you’d like to cut.

Entitlements like Social Security, Medicaid, or Veterans’ benefits? Try it and your career is over. Maybe we should cut education so America can slip further into stupidity and let China and India eat us for lunch. Let’s cut infrastructure so more bridges can collapse in Minnesota. Let’s cut defense in the middle of two ill-conceived wars. Let’s cut the homeland security budget so that Times Square can get blown up by illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico (we’ll call that one a two-fer). Can we repeal TARP and let all the big banks fail so we can actually slide into the economic depression the bailouts prevented? No? Well we can’t cut healthcare because the reform hasn’t really started to kick in yet, but go ahead and try that one out before the November mid-terms. See how that position benefits your party. Will your party’s candidates have the balls to run on that platform? I doubt it.

So then tell me John Boehner, what would you like to cut? If it were up to me, I’d start by completely cutting the salaries of all the do-nothing politicians who have contributed nothing towards developing a solution for any of the myriad disastrous problems this country faces right now. And the first one on my list would be you, Boehner.

A Picture Worth 37,000,000 Words

March 23, 2010

President Obama signs the healthcare bill into law, giving 37,000,000 uninsured Americans access to health insurance.

Making our lives better. Making a difference. Making history.

The US Political Spectrum: 2010

March 4, 2010

Do you get confused when people use terms like “Socialist“, “Moderate“, “Democrat“, and “Tea Party“? Does it seem oxymoronic (with emphasis on the moronic part) to accuse someone of being a “Communist“, while emulating a “Fascist”  dictator like Adolph Hitler at the same time? Is the media “Liberal” or “Independent“? How come conservationists are hardly ever “Conservative“, and why are “Republicans” typically in support of big corporations instead of the Republic? And do the “Progressives actually make any progress?

Here’s a handy guide to help you understand the state of politics–The US Political Spectrum: 2010. Now complete with a “Tea Party” addition and the actual definition of “Socialism”. Suitable for printing and saving, for those times when you are dragged into an impromptu civics debate, or start a drunken political argument at Thanksgiving dinner, or when you are simply taking in the latest punditry on either FOX News or MSNBC. It’s YOURS FREE–just for reading Voting Mad!

Going from LEFT to RIGHT, here’s what it all means, including some key players and controversies. Refer to the chart above, and see if you can figure out where you fit into politics as we know it in modern day America:

COMMUNISM: Putting the fear of Karl Marx into people from around 1917 until the day the Berlin Wall fell, Communists were the boogey-men of the infamous Red Scare in the 1950s. Derived from the word commune, Communists believe in advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs. Unless you are a party boss, in which case you live like a king while destroying your political enemies. The USSR was the mother-of-all Communist regimes, until they decided to embrace mafioso-style corruption, wear western clothing, and experiment with Democracy. Now they are broke, less powerful, and more strung out on Vodka and prostitution than ever before. But hey–at least they have a whole new generation of rich oligarchs who are living proof that if you can make it in Russia, you can dominate anyone anywhere. About the only legitimate Communist countries left now are China and Cuba. China is now a global economic powerhouse and basically the lien holder of the entire US of A, while Cuba boasts some of the best public education and healthcare in the entire world. But just try to buy a home in either one of those countries and you risk your life, or become indebted to a black-market warlord. Famous Communists: Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, and anyone who marched against the Vietnam War in the 1960s.

SOCIALISM: One might be brainwashed by now to first think of Barack Obama as a Socialist–after all, such geniuses as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity all said he is because he wants to make healthcare affordable and lower taxes for the middle class. But read the definition of socialism and you’ll see this can’t be so: a political and economic theory of social organization advocating the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. “Regulation” seems like a pretty smart word. So does “community”, and “organization”. But not if you are rich. Then those words start to mean “rules for other people to live by”, “those people outside my fence”, and “unions=death to the individual”. Socialism’s core aims to protect and serve everyone equally. If “Protect and Serve” sounds familiar, it’s because that phrase just happens to adorn many publicly-funded police cars in many towns, cities, and rural counties across America. Having publicly-funded (ie: funded by taxes) municipal services are a foundation of American life. Famous Socialist programs: the United States Federal Government, police, fire and rescue services, the military, education, bridges, roads and tunnels, sewers, Federal Parks, Social Security and Medicare, the Post Office, scientific research funding grants, and coming soon to a President’s desk near you…healthcare industry reform!

LIBERALS: Archie Bunker hated Liberals. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh hate Liberals. Liberals even hate Liberals. A Liberal is someone who has made too good of a living to be a Socialist. Not necessarily rich, but not angry enough to protest either. A Liberal is the conscience of the Democratic Party. Liberty, or liberte as in “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”, French for “Liberty, equality, fraternity (brotherhood)is the whole reason America has for being in existence. It’s so bizarre that some Americans hate the French (see Conservatives and Tea Party), when you consider that they helped save our butts in the Revolutionary War and influenced the essence of our culture. A Liberal hates killing people so much that they want to outlaw guns completely, they want to end the death penalty, and they are anti-political assassinations–even for people like Saddam Hussein. But don’t mess with abortion rights! Liberals are everybody from the welfare queens to gay couples to Greenpeace donors to San Francisco Mayors to blue collar workers to Riesling-sipping adjunct professors at New England Universities. Famous Liberals: Al Gore, George Soros, Hendrik Hertzberg, Howard Dean, Kweisi Mfume, Arianna Huffington, Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, Tavis Smiley, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, Tom Daschle, Tom Hanks, and every single goddamned page ever published by the New York  f***ing Times!

DEMOCRATS: This is the “left wing” of politics. The Democratic Party is one of the world’s oldest political parties and is the party with the lengthiest record of continuous operation in the United States. Thomas Jefferson helped create the Democrats in opposition to the Federalist government and Alexander Hamilton’s fiscal policies. Democrats opposed a national bank and wealthy interests. Most people think of liberals when they think of Democrats, however most of the history of the racist south is told by Southern Democrats, or “Dixie-Crats”. Lincoln was a Republican after all. LBJ was the guy who really changed the identity of the Democrats by getting so much accomplished in his one lone term. And he did it with Socialist entitlement programs like Social Security, and by signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which he predicted would “…sign away the South for 50 years.” But LBJ also oversaw some of the worst moments and bloodiest mistakes of the Vietnam War. Democrats today are an odd bunch because they don’t know if they need to be Liberal, Progressive, Independent, or what they call “Blue Dog”. For example, President Obama is a Progressive Democrat. Joe LIEberman was almost the Democratic Vice President of the USA, but then he became an Independent who votes “NO” with the GOP on healthcare, and votes “YES” to war. Vermont’s Bernie Sanders is an Independent, but sounds like a Liberal and caucuses with the Democrats, and Evan Bayh is a Blue Dog Democrat, otherwise known as a Conservative. Bill Clinton was a Democrat’s Democrat-smart, tough, and real like FDR. But he was also like JFK in that he couldn’t keep his pants on. Speaking of not wearing pants, John Edwards could have redefined what it meant to be a Democrat–self made, defender of the poor, smart, southern, and rich enough to empathize with a Republican base below the Mason-Dixie Line. But John Edwards would have destroyed the party if he and John Kerry would have been elected in 2004, just like how he destroyed not just one but both of his families, and earning himself a lifetime spot in the  “WTF Were You Thinking” hall of fame, right next to disgraced ex-Governor of New York Elliott Spitzer. The Democrats are always the smartest people in the room, but too stupid to pay their whores to stay quiet.

PROGRESSIVES: Most people don’t know that there already was an established Progressive Party, which was founded in 1912 by none other than President Theodore Roosevelt. The Progressives trace their political roots back to workers’ rights and the emergence of Union protections and safety regulations. They are more conservative than Liberals, despite their name. When one thinks Progressively, one usually thinks of innovation and invention, and you know, progress. You would not expect Progressives to be the most centrist democrats, but they are. What makes them this way are their unquenchable thirst for making bi-partisan deals and working with their political enemies. Is that progressive? Is that their radical idea–make friends first, then ask for votes on legislation later? I don’t know why these folks are called Progressive. They’re no more Liberal than a Liberal, and they believe in a women’s right to choose, laws against concealed handguns, healthcare reform legislation, gay marriage, and financial regulations. Sounds almost like a real Liberal. But Progressives are different from Liberals. Liberals get things done, progressives make talk shows about getting things done. For example, the most famous Progressives are all on TV: John Stewart, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow,  and David Gergen are some of the best-known and most Progressive thinkers out there. By contrast, there is not one single politician who would call themselves a Progressive right now without running the risk of ending up like Ralph Nader-he speaks the truth, but you don’t want to be caught hanging out with him.

INDEPENDENTS: Independents are the middle finger of the political spectrum. An Independent effectively says “I have no party loyalty”, and in a close vote I can put you over the top or ruin your dream. Independents tend to caucus with Democrats, but as referenced above this is not always so. JoeLIEberman is an Independent ex-Democrat who caucuses with the GOP. Vermont’s Bernie Sanders is an Independent and is more Liberal than most politicians anywhere. And New York City’s lovable Mayor Michael Bloomberg, self-made billionaire and media mogul, got elected as a Republican because there were no openings to challenge the party structure for him to run naturally as a Democrat. Now he is an Independent and the city has never been in better shape. And to think that this party was started by a spandex-wearing ex-pro wrestler in Minnesota named Jessie?

MODERATE: Moderates are often referred to as RINOs (Republican In Name Only), and are viewed as equals to the Liberal by traditional Republican standards. Moderates are not typically extreme, partisan, or radical. They do not always vote with mainstream Republicans, and are always thought of as the only ones capable of preventing legislative gridlock. Moderates are really the best examples of open-mindedness, fairness, and bi-partisanship that we have  in this country. Moderates are the voices of reason, the champions of compromise, and the defenders of rational discussion. Examples of Political Moderates: …

REPUBLICANS: The Grand Old Party. The Party of Lincoln, and Reagan…and Nixon too! And Gingrich and Karl Rove. George H.W. Bush and his boy W. Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover. And Ford. John McCain was the darling of the political Right in 2008 until he picked a more conservative running mate named Sarah Palin. Then he was exposed as a nitwit with shoddy judgement. A Republican believes in “ it or leave it.” Republicans believe they are the true patriots of this country. Republicans think that smaller government is the way to go, and free markets need to be free. Because freedom is everything. That’s right, Republicans believe no government should ever be able to take away your freedom and they are against government intervention of any kind. To a Republican government is the enemy of freedom, and that government should stay out of the lives of ordinary people. Unless those ordinary people want an abortion, or are gay and want to get married. And Republicans believe that government has no right to regulate guns, healthcare, or even the banking sector. But they go full-contact government to make sure the pledge of alligience always includes the line “under God” or that coins minted by the US Treasury always include the phrase “In God We Trust”. So it’s tricky with the Republican party. They are against government intrusion in our lives, but are actually for government intrusion when it comes to sex and religion. So if you run a huge bank or a corporation that ruins the lives of thousands and millions of people because you were allowed to run wild and unregulated, then that’s just free market capitalism. But if you are a homosexual that wants to get married to your partner of 30 years because you love each other, that is a threat to the very fabric of American life and the Government needs to step in protect the people of this great land. Republicans: God, Guns, and Good-Ol’ Hypocracy.

CONSERVATIVES: A Conservative is a Republican on religious steroids. Conservatives can quote the bible better than they can quote the Constitution. And Conservatives love to rationalize their decision making process by tracing everything back to God. Conservatives don’t want things to change, and would prefer it if this country stayed exactly the way it was–the way it was in 1850. Gays can’t get married in the US because the bible says so. Conservatives believe in the institution of marriage for heterosexuals only. They believe that homosexuality is a sin, but infidelity is just an indescretion. After all, men have been cheating on their wives since before time. It even says so in the bible. Score one for the conservatives. Mark Sanford, John Ensign, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig (who cheated with men, and therefore may not be eligible for the Conservative Unfaithfulness Exemption), David Vitter, Dan Burton, Dan Crane, Henry Hyde, and Mark Foley have all claimed to be “Family Values Conservatives” and then they cheated on their wives. Gays can’t get married, but these guys can all go out and cheat on their wives. The only thing Conservatives don’t conserve is semen.

Tea Party Conservatives: These are Conservatives on LSD. They have delusions of the US government taking over. They believe in death panels, and they believe Sarah Palin would make a great President. Tea Partiers are scarier than a Hells Angels biker rally because they are just as psychotic and they believe they have God on their side. They talk about starting a revolution again, and they hate Obama with a passion. They are anti-immigration, anti-taxes, anti-globalization, and anti-intelligence. The Tea Party worships Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, FOX News, and believe they aren’t just entitled to their own opinions, but their own facts as well. The Tea-Party calls Obama’s healthcare reform both “socialized medicine” and “Nazi healthcare”, which if you look up at the spectrum chart I have provided you will see that is impossible. So it appears the Tea Partiers are also apparently anti-education as well.

FASCISM: Far out on the fringes of the political Right are the Fascists. Fascists believe in purity of the nation and strive for one-party rule over a homogenized population. That’s where Hitler and Mussolini came in. Hitler believed that one party could rule a nation of Aryans, and ultimately take over the world to create one human race. Sounds a little like Reagan’s casting call for the “Morning In America” commercial he put out in 1984. But Ronald Reagan was no Fascist. At least Fascists care about their own people. Reagan didn’t seem to give a damn about anyone.

So that’s our blog post on The US Political Spectrum: 2010. Check back in 10 years and we’ll see what the political landscape looks like. Unless we’ve all killed each other by then.

Leading Off, Playing Center…Barack Obama

January 22, 2010

President Barack Hussein Obama (P)

Teddy is dead. Half of Massachusetts is Red. The Democratic Party had a Super-Majority for all of President Obama’s first year, and they couldn’t get healthcare reform done. 59 Democratic Senators can’t do any worse than 60 in this case.

Most US polls show that people like and respect Barack Obama. The rest of the world gave him a Nobel Peace Prize. Barack H. Obama was elected as the 44th President of The United states because most people on planet earth believe in his desire and ability to make the world a better place.

Now is the perfect time for him to leave the Democratic Party and start his own.

I have always believed in breaking the bi-polar mood swings this country suffers from being caught between a DEM vs. GOP, We vs. Them,  Hate vs. Other Hate. The only way to do that is to start a real 3rd political party in America. Joe LIEberman (i) has his ersatz independent Party (“i” intentionally lowercase). Obama can start the Progressive Party, as in President Obama (P).

Obama needs to get away from the entire congress and stand on his own personal principles and beliefs. The PEOPLE of America will re-elect him because he is brilliant, genuine, compassionate, and peaceful. He is a progressive person at a time when the “Progressive Party” agenda  needs to be distinguished from the centuries-old Democratic Party machine. But it’s not so much getting away from Democratic  ideals as it is getting away from the machine. The political machine in America is broken by political stalemate.

Two Democratic Party disasters occurred within 48 hours of each other: Scott Brown (R) was elected to replace the late Edward Kennedy (D) in the state of MA, and the US Supreme Court ruled that it was OK for Corporate America to give directly to Politicians’ campaign. Big sums of money. One MSNBC pundit said that Senators and Representatives would no longer represent states, but rather represent companies like GE and AIG and BP. He even suggested Congressmen and Women wear corporate logos when in session.

Senator Scott Brown is more an indication that there is an independent political growth in this country that has seeded and begun to crowd out certain legislators beholden to the left and the right. And Corporate America loves the GOP because of tax cuts and TARP, so can’t we just all recognize that that love exists? Let them give all the money to any politician who helps them out. If THE PEOPLE don’t like that politician they will vote with their wallets and spend their money with the companies that support the politicians that best represent them. Simple and honest. This Supreme Court ruling doesn’t bother me. As long as Obama gets out from in-between the Hatfields and the McCoys and leads the USA in his own direction.

Obama’s direction is very Progressive: Peaceful, Prosperous, Educated, Self-Sustaining, United, and Humane. The President of The United States of America is elected by all the people, supposedly because that person best represents what the country’s majority wants. Not to be the talking head of political party. If the people want something done then they will elect the person that will look at the other two branches of US government and say, “The people sent me here to sign this, and to veto that. You all figure out how to make it work in the US citizens’ best interests and show it to me when you’re ready!”

President Obama (D)–it’s time to become President Obama (P). Let’s get this party started already.

Dems=Canary, Mass=Coal Mine

January 19, 2010

Tonight...regress vs. progress

If Ted Kennedy were still alive this would never happen.

Democrats are on the verge of losing the one Senate seat they could always count on for the last 47 years. I don’t like to make predictions, especially when it comes to elections, but Martha Coakley is about to lose the Massachusetts Senate race to Scott Brown in a special election to replace “The Lion of the Senate”. This is unthinkable to most Democrats, but they had better start thinking the unthinkable and get used to it. We are witnessing the Tea-Partying of the USA.

Scott Brown was indeed endorsed by the Tea Party Republicans (a movement more than a political group), and that has helped him wipe out a double-digit lead that Coakley held just a few weeks ago. True, she ran an awful campaign, but this election will break the super-majority, filibuster-blocking, 60-seat Democratic party hold on the US Senate. And whomever ran Coakley’s campaign should be tarred-and-feathered for their lack of vision as to what this means for the entire country.

Healthcare reform? Dead on arrival. Scott Brown has vowed to vote against it. And the Democrats are acting like they’ve had spine-removal surgery performed on them by letting Joe LIEberman muddy the waters last fall when a bill should have been passed. Whatever happened to the Christmas deadline? Whatever happened to acting on a basic 51-vote majority? Why do Democrats play nice while Republicans play to win?

And now along comes a GOP Senate candidate about to steal a seat at the worst possible moment in our country’s opportunity to make some progress. Democrats took this race for granted. They figured that it would be automatic to keep MA blue. Well, this is gonna be a painful wake-up call.

Will it be the dreaded referendum on President Obama? Not likely. His 53% approval rating is the same as his popular vote margin when he won the election last year. But I do think this is the beginning of an anti-incumbent movement. And right now the Democrats are the incumbents. It’s 1994 again. Get ready to get nothing done for the next 3 years.

How come this never happens to the GOP? They are political killers and that is part of their political DNA. They know when everything is on the line and they band together. I don’t live in Massachusetts, but a race this important should have been waged on a national level. The message should have been this simple: if Coakley loses, healthcare reform loses. If Coakley loses, the Democrats lose senatorial power. If Coakley loses, Ted Kennedy’s ghost loses. If Coakley loses, the Tea Party wins. That’s the kind of message that would resonate all along the Mass Turnpike, and straight out down Route 66 across the country.

So tonight we will lower the canary’s cage down into the mine shaft to see if there is a Republican gas leak emanating from the state of Massachusetts. If the Democrats come up dead, then they’ll have to look elsewhere for their political fortunes. Fast.

And that sound you hear will be the late, great, Ted Kennedy rolling over in his grave.


UPDATE @ 9:30PM, 1/19/10

Watching Scott Brown’s acceptance speech on TV. His supporters are cheering and screaming, but I can’t help hearing TMK doing a big underground spiral. Rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling, rolling…American politics can be so heartbreaking.

A white guy named Barack Hussein Obama

December 22, 2009

In neither the racial nor post-racial eras surrounding the Obama Presidency has the other side of the story, the white side of Obama’s heritage, ever been controversial. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I’m just saying that somewhere along the way towards America’s supposed reconciliation with its own history of enslaving Africans, it helps to consider how Barack Obama’s other demographics as a white man, interracial man, and even culturally as a Hawiian man, all contribute to his ability to see the evenhandedness of America’s true spirit.

Some read that and immediately think Socialism, but that’s just a Glen Beck knee jerk reaction. When I say even, I mean “smooth”, or “finely blended”, just like an excellent vintage. America is over 230 years old and you’d think we’d have this whole diverse society thing together already. Last report I read has the President’s mom’s side of the family a minority by 2050, so sooner or later we’re all going to have to evolve away from the “hyphenated” self-protectionism in our current cultural mindset.

It’s all about colors and shades in our country. Colors help us define who we are, who we aren’t, who we wish we were, and who we don’t want living in our own neighborhood. America’s original allure to foreigners was, is, and always could be, a refuge from unfairness and discrimination. Fairness and evenness are the same things in my mind.

I have a friend named Julio (and despite the way his name looks, he is not one bit Hispanic or Latino) who once pointed out to me that due to my Hebrew heritage I am not white, I am actually khaki. It makes sense. Julio is Hatian and very dark. If we were two pairs of pants on display at The Gap he’d be a pair of brown corduroys and next to him I’d definitely be khakis.

Throw in another friend of mine named Dave who’s mom is Canadian, from Ontario, and Dave would be the rack of white t-shirts that go really well with either pair of pants. But in many places throughout America, Julio would be watched much more carefully by security than Dave and I while shopping at a clothing store because of color. Really because of the misuse of color. Colors don’t make people do stupid things. People do stupid things with color.

This is why Barack Obama’s personal mixture is so quintessentially American: outwardly and more physically a “black man”, raised by a single white mother and her two old-school white parents, in Hawaii and Indonesia. But go deeper than that and you get to the experiential levels Obama went through as a poor man in New York and Chicago to a rich man in Chicago, and ultimately  the Leader of the Free World. Does anyone really think he has a bias towards anyone? Rich or poor? Black or white? Urban or rural? Muslim or Christian? User or abstainer? Traditional or progressive? The insured or the uninsured? Male or female? And I know he’s tight with the Jews too because he’s got Axe and Rahm at his side.

Racial bias plays no role in my moral life, but since it plays an enormous role in my society I am forced to confront it and deal with it. I do think that America has embraced a post-racial society ideal, but we just don’t know it yet. Another generation will need to die off before we really lose that tactile connection to our hateful heritage. But Barack Obama is a major bookmark in our historical record that we will always be able to point to. And someone we needed right now.

Not just because he is a black man. Because he is all men, women, peoples, economics, privileges, bias, and because yes he is a white dude too.

Ok, I’ll say it: Al Franken for President (one of these days).

December 19, 2009

It’s time to take Al Franken seriously. It is for me anyway.

Al Franken was Stuart Smalley, and today he is the Junior Senator from the state of Minnesota. Although elected in 2008, he wasn’t actually sworn in until July 7, 2009. He was too busy defending his victory over wannabe chad-counter Republican Senator Norm Coleman. The GOP hates Franken so much. They hate how progressive he is. They hate that he’s another Harvard-educated liberal. He was born in ultra-liberal New York City, and raised in “St. Jewish Park” (St. Louis Park), MN. Franken is Harvard-educated (he majored in Political Science), creative, charming, famous, rich, adored by the millions of fans he’s entertained since the 1970s, and he’s Jewish.

He sounds like the GOP’s biggest nightmare.

I always laughed my head off whenever I saw Franken, I mean “Senator Franken”, do his Stuart Smalley routine. I always knew he was smart, and he really caught my attention with Rush Limbaugh Is A Big, Fat, Idiot. He was good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it-I always liked him. But I didn’t realize he had guts.

And then he kicked lame Joe LIEberman’s butt back to his desk. Watch the 2.5 minute video HERE.

Al Franken told Joe LIEberman to sit down and stop talking about his self-centered, hypocritical viewpoint on healthcare reform as soon as he hit the customary 10-minute limit. He didn’t even give LIEberman a Hanukkah gift of an extra minute or two. I love it.

And get a load of John McCain acting all put off by Senator Al Franken doing what he had every right to do–deny LIEberman any extra time to speak by refusing to honor J-LIE’s request by unanimous consent. John McCain is Mr. Anti-Pork, and he talks about preventing waste, and then he wastes precious time on the tax-payer’s dime talking about procedure and proper behavior in the Senate, and BS like that, instead of talking about fixing healthcare. John McCain is the epitome of Old School, with the emphasis on old.

So Senator Al Franken has the brains, the guts, the politics, the money, the charisma, and the first real legitimate shot to be the first. Jewish. President. Ever. That’s my opinion. Would he be in the Democratic Party, or will he christen the Progressive Party? Will Obama give Franken Joe Biden’s Vice Presidency to re-capture the progressive wing of his base and win reelection, thereby allowing Al to gain incredible perspective and experience as the apprentice to the most powerful job in the free world?

From there anything is possible.

“Obama Admits He’s A Muslim” and the Crowd Goes Nuts

December 4, 2009

And on the eighth day God created

It’s a good thing she did too, because the people at Fact Check (a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center) are doing exceptional work. Today they uncovered a really diabolical and lame YouTube video entitled “Obama Admits He’s A Muslim”. Brought to you by a group called “Feel The Change Media”, this video has received over 1,000,000 YouTube hits since being posted in August, 2009. I can feel the change alright; Fact Check has revealed that the video is edited to show President Obama making statements that seem to prove that he is actually a Muslim, rather than a Christian. I was a post-production producer for eight years, and I can tell you that this is some of the most creative video editing I have ever seen.

I refer to the video as “diabolical” NOT because of the idea that the President could possibly be a Muslim, but because ever since 9-11 Muslims have been demonized in America. And during the 2008 campaign, accusations of Barack Obama being a Muslim were used to scare the ultra-right wing voters. As if being a Muslim means you are anti-American, or a terrorist, or you are unworthy, or some racist nonsense like that.

Come on America, can we please get a grip here? Will we ever be able to separate the person from the politics? We’re almost a full decade into the 21st century and we are still collectively acting like a bunch of drunken, ignorant fools at a KKK rally. “Obama the Muslim” should be as benign a notion as “Palin the Alaskan” or “W the Cowboy” or “Cheney the Prince of Darkness.” Well, scratch that last one…

“Post Racial Society”? Not the USA. No, the “Great Melting Pot” always manages to congeal into ignorant clumps of racism and hatred. It amazes me how important it is for the conspiracy nuts in this country to expose President Obama as a Muslim when there is not a single exception for any religion in the Constitution which would make someone ineligible to be President. Quite the contrary, it allows for total freedom of religious beliefs. That’s what makes this video so sad.

It wouldn’t matter if Barack Hussein Obama were a Muslim, Jew, Jehovah’s Witness, Atheist, Buddhist, Humanist, or if he were even Santa Claus himself–the people who hate him would still hate him because of his policies. But since those folks tend to be too stupid to properly articulate why they disagree with his policies they head towards the lowest common denominator (or lowest common uniter in this case). It’s amazing that this country got past the fact that he’s African-American enough to elect him. I guess being Muslim is the new black when it comes to racism.

I went to the web site for Feel The Change Media, and they have some other cute links there such as “Anti-Obama Shirts” and “Michelle Obama’s Bio.” So as you can see, they’re really feeling the change over there. And it feels like Antebellum.