Posts Tagged ‘Politicians’

The World In The Palm of Palin’s Hand

February 9, 2010

It’s kind of a modern-day version of Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned.

If you want a great example of why nothing ever gets accomplished in this country, just look at these two photos and guess which one is the lead story in American news media.

If you guessed “Iran commits to increasing it’s enriched uranium to 20%” you’d be dead wrong (pun intended).

Uranium enriched to 20% is nuclear weapons-grade. Yeah, yeah, I know Ahmadinejad says this is for “peaceful reasons” such as energy development and creating isotopes for treating cancer patients. There’s also a bridge in Tehran he’d like to sell me.

Meanwhile over in Teabag-ville, the media is obsessed with Sarah Palin’s address to the Tea Party summit this weekend and how she had to write talking points on her hand so she could “stay on message”. We all know that she’s a nitwit, but she’s a powerful nitwit in the political world so we can’t seem to focus on the things that really matter. Like that pesky little guy in Iran thumbing his nuclear nose at the rest of us.

Something about this smacks of our pre-9/11 distraction to me. While Bill Clinton was being impeached for his affair with Intern Lewinsky, our whole country and the Western world took our collective eyes off the ball, allowing Al Qaeda to infiltrate the US and put their murderous plot into action.

My point here is that our government is so deeply mired in politics, that it’s now impossible for them to do the peoples’ business. Instead of reforming healthcare, they’re too busy bickering about procedure. Instead of creating jobs, they’re trying to save their own. And instead of putting the time and energy required into dealing with world peace and terrorism and domestic safety, they’re obsessed with playing a dangerous game called “gotcha”.

If Congress and the President could spend 100% of their energy and focus on the issues instead of reacting to what Sarah Palin said to the Tea Party, or what Nancy Pelosi said about John Boehner, or what Mitch McConnell said about Rham Emmanuel, maybe the world would be a safer place. Maybe we’d have affordable healthcare. Maybe Iran would comply with the rest of the world’s wishes. Maybe the recession would have never happened.

Until we as a country smarten up and focus on the issues instead of the ideologues, we can expect the world to become an even more dangerous place. Ahmadinejad watches CNN too, so he knows we’re not paying enough attention to him.

BOOM!

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Election 2010: Insiders vs. Outsiders

February 3, 2010

Politics in 2010 has become a battle between the Insiders vs. the Outsiders. As in, “Send me to Washington so I can put an end to ‘politics as usual'”. The problem with that logic is that politicians don’t change Washington; Washington changes politicians.

This November’s election is building up to be a campaign against all the incumbents. Incumbents are always blamed for not getting anything done because, duh, they are the ones with the jobs to do so. But incumbents are not inherently bad–the system is. With the filibuster, and career politicians, and the internet exposing every “misstatement”, how can anyone expect anything to get done? If a Republican or a Democrat wants to vote for something from the other party, they can’t do it for fear of losing their job. Because of our entrenched two-party political system, American politics have turned into one big Coke vs. Pepsi battle: both are essentially the same product in different packaging. And both of them fear the rise of a third competitor.

Voters tend to talk about “throwing the bums out”, but whenever we get a chance to do so we fall back to our inbred political positions and vote for the candidates we think we know. Two examples of this surfaced in the Illinois primaries last night.

In the race for the US Senate seat once held by Barack Obama, Illinois has decided to send one of two political insiders to DC in the fall: State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) and US Representative Mark Kirk (R). Giannoulias is indeed a DC outsider, but he is a political animal with a slightly tainted background from when he ran his family-owned bank into trouble with loan regulators. And Mark Kirk has been in DC for a long time with deep roots as a supporter of the W/Cheney administration. Whomever IL elects in November, they will be sending a political INSIDER to Washington.

It has been said that President Obama was not supportive of Giannoulias because this country is very anti-banking these days, and Alexi’s background in that industry will be like feeding chum to a shark tank when Mark Kirk’s ads begin to break. And no doubt the Giannoulias campaign will show many pictures of Kirk hugging W to remind voters of his right-wing voting record from last decade. The voters will wind up sending one of these two bad options to DC (my prediction: Mark Kirk will win), and nothing will change.

There’s an old saying that the “voters get the kind of politicians they deserve”, which is so true. We talk a good game about changing politics, but we keep sending the same politicians back to work. Politicians will never change the system–only the voters can do that by electing outsiders. So until the voters of the US become fed up with the underperformance of our elected officials and decide to send real outsiders to Washington, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

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.

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.

Generation Cleanup

November 12, 2009

Ten years ago today I became a father, and by doing so I have left my indelible mark on society. Long after I am gone my two children will still roam the earth and try to live a good life in the wake of those who came before them. That’s what every generation does. We are all born amidst the circumstances and conditions that were created by those who came before us, and we have to live our lives either prospering from the ways of the world, or trying to make things better for ourselves in spite of the hand we are dealt.

Politicians like to fret over the budget deficit by saying “we can’t saddle future generations with our debt”, or “we can’t punish our children and grandchildren by making them pay off our excesses”. They say we can’t kick the can down the road for someone else to deal with. That is why politicians are up in arms about the bailouts, health reform, and deficit spending. They contend that government can’t afford to invest more money in fixing the economy right now because future generations will spend their lives paying off this debt.

I say that this is a baseless argument for two reasons.

First of all, unless we fix the economy NOW, my children will have far worse problems to deal with in the future. For example, if the economy continues to go south and I lose my job then my children will be at a huge disadvantage. We lose our home, their lives will be severely disrupted, and their future will be uncertain. Plenty of studies show that children whose parents struggle economically often turn to drugs, crime, and (for girls) are more likely to become pregnant teens. I would argue that these conditions are far worse than my kids dealing with higher taxes and inflation as adults when their generation has to pay off government debt. If they have good careers and healthy lives then they will have the ability to deal with it. It won’t be ideal, but it will be possible.

Secondly, “passing the buck” is a part of American history. The “Greatest Generation” dealt with cleaning up the Great Depression and fighting World War Two. The Baby Boomers helped remake the US economy by transforming us from a manufacturing and agricultural society to an information and technology society. Generation X (my generation) has to struggle with the looming transformation of the healthcare industry and its impact on the economy, while the country’s financial resources are evaporating under the heat of fighting two misguided and seemingly endless wars. And my children (and probably my grandchildren) will be paying the tab throughout their adult lives.

But that scenario is far better than having them struggle through poverty as children. The US government needs to invest more money where the US consumers currently can not. Otherwise there will be nothing left for our children to deal with when they are old enough to do so.

That’s the true way of life as Americans. It doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, and it doesn’t matter when it gets cleaned up (unless China decides to call us on the debt we owe them, which will never happen because they will lose their biggest global customer and plunge the world into economic oblivion). We need to get through right now with some semblance of normalcy so that our children have a decent life to grow up strong enough so they can have a decent chance to actually pay for our sins. And besides, after generations of mounting debt, it would be more unfair to suddenly say “this is wrong, we must clean this up right now” and start slashing things like infrastructure, social services, and more jobs. That would be far worse that pushing it off for another time.

So I say we keep kicking the can down the road until future generations are strong enough and better suited to pick up that can and throw it in the trash where it belongs. Spending beyond our means is wrong, but so is ruining the lives of generations that aren’t at fault for the situation they were born into. Let’s give them a fighting chance.

Remembering W

October 28, 2009

ATT10320139Remember this guy? He used to be the POTUS. Remember how we were first introduced to this jamoke as “W”? Remember how adorable that Texas charm and aw shucks humility seemed like exactly what we needed after Bubba and his antics? Remember how W was the kind of guy voters wanted to have a beer with–except that he gave up drinking precisely because he used to be too much of that kind of guy.

Remember how it took all those judges at the Supreme Court to promote W to President? Remember hanging chads and people down in Florida counting votes just to make sure we elected the “right guy”. Remember Al Gore’s concession speech? Remember how Al had this bizarre smile on his face? He was smiling because he realized that America had become Bizarro World.

Remember how W used to pronounce “nuclear” as “nook-yoo-ler”? Remember how that was okay–how for EIGHT YEARS the man with his finger on the button couldn’t (wouldn’t) even correctly pronounce the physics behind the most powerful weapons on earth? Remember how it undermined his scary “Axis Of Evil” speech and almost made you giggle whenever he said nookyooler? No? Am I the only person who giggled?

I remember how excited W got whenever he went on vacation to the “Western Whitehouse”. Like it was a fucking Presidential Spring Break or something. Or World Leaders Gone Wild. Remember W out in his Texas ranch brush chopping cedar wood and driving ATVs? Remember watching football, choking on a pretzel, and passing out? No? Maybe you were too busy fighting his wars. Or scrambling in the shambles of W’s destruction of the middle class. Or getting depressed watching his ridiculous, color coded, Terrorist-threat-level warning system change colors more often than an old RCA television from 1981?

150-hsas

Remember Torture? Remember W’s scary little friend whom he called Cheney? That guy never said anything. He just had his secret meetings in his secret locations with his secret CIA pals and he never said anything. At least not until he got out of office. Now he won’t shut the fuck up!

Remember how W would get all up on his hackles whenever he talked to that guy over in North Korea–how W always seemed to like to call Kim Jong Il’s bluff and refuse to talk until he wanted to follow W’s rules of engagement? I remember how the whole world hated America and how I started working on my Canadian accent.

Remember Iraq and Afghanistan? I do because we’re still dealing with it. W isn’t but we are.

Remember how W took all those trips to Texas, and he only went to Israel once? W only went to Israel once. At the end of his Presidency. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is at the center of the main reason why Al Qaeda attacked us on 9-11. And W only went to Israel once. Remember how nobody said a goddamned thing about it?

Remember Katrina and New Orleans and the Gulf Coast? W forgot all about them. But he remembered to tell Brownie that he was doing a “great” job.

Remember how the economy started to implode just before W went away? Almost like he knew it was coming and he was just gonna slip out the back door before the shit hit the fan?

I remember W. For eight long years I was embarrassed to say I was an American because of W. For eight long years I felt like an outsider in my own country. For four long years I counted every day until the 2004 election…then for four more years I dreaded the 2008 election, fearing we were destined to elect another moronic, obnoxious, elitist, corrupt jerk like W.

Let’s remember W, so we never make a mistake like him again.

Where did you go, Barry-O?

October 28, 2009

images-1Remember “Fired up“? Remember “Yes We Can”? Remember kicking McCain’s ass? I remember all of it, but how long ago that all seems now.

Mr. President, I didn’t vote for you to make friends. I voted for you to push through OUR AGENDA. Healthcare for all. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kick the Republicans and their culture of “no” to the curb. Dude–you’ve got a mandate. USE IT!

Sure I’d like to hear you say I will veto any healthcare bill without a public option. I want to hear you say Our strategy in Afghanistan is X, Y, and Z and my Generals on the ground say we need to commit this many troops to execute that strategy. I want to hear you say Bluedog Democrats–the GOP will embrace you but I will not. And I want to hear you say, just once, The bailouts saved our butts.

But whatever you say, say it with some anger. Say it with a little bit of impatience. Because I am growing angry and impatient with all the niceties and dreams of bipartisanship. You are change I can believe in–but please don’t change into a wimp! Democrats have the majority right now, so steamroll the opposition while you can. That’s what W did for eight years.

Go back and check out some of your campaign speeches and get your swagger back. It’s okay–no one is gonna take away your Nobel Peace Prize. Just be the Barry-O I voted for again, because the guy who is getting roughed up in the opinion polls is starting to look like just another politician. You are a once in a lifetime guy for people like me, but I expect you to get things done or at least make me feel like you are as upset with the way things are as I am.

Because as much as I love you, Barry-O, there’s a guy named Alan Grayson down in Florida who is saying all the things I want to hear right now. He’s got the swagger. He’s got the attitude. And he sounds FIRED UP!175px-Alan_Grayson_high_res

Is There Anybody Out There?

October 28, 2009

Sounds like that creepy voice from Pink Floyd’s The Wall, right? Well, that’s exactly what this first entry feels like–creepy.

Is anybody gonna read this blog except me? Am I gonna piss-off some gun-toting wacko (that didn’t take long)? Am I gonna write 11 entries and then get bored or distracted, and have this digital evidence to my lack of commitment left out there in the blogosphere for all eternity?

The only way to answer those questions is to just start wrting.

Voting Mad is a blog about politics, politicians, and their effect on people–specifically the American citizens. I have a point of view that will be the tone and personality of this blog:

  • I have been Voting Mad since I cast my first vote for Dukakis in 1988–I wanted Cuomo, but he never ran.
  • I think Voting Mad is perfectly okay–these are fucked up times in the good ol’ USA, and there’s a lot to be pissed off about.
  • I Vote Mad because I won’t get on the demonstration line. I yell at the TV, not at town hall meetings. I agree with Peter Tosh when he said, “I’ve got no time for generals or funerals.”  I’ll write and I’ll donate money, but I’ll get involved from a distance that protects me from getting shot or arrested.
  • I am an open-minded Democrat with many Republican friends. I am an extremely loyal supporter of Barack Obama and his policies, and passionately resentful of the disasterous W/Cheney administration. However, I am convinced that the USA would benefit greatly from a credible, independent, moderate, 3rd political party.

My hope is that I can use this forum to get my churning-mad political views out of my system, and perhaps enlighten, entertain, or enrage a few readers here and there along the way.

Please send me comments–I might learn something.

Let’s get started: Joe Lieberman is an asshole.

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Wow that felt good! But why would a Jew like me be mad at a Jew like Joe? Because Senator Lieberman is a traitor. The Democratic party made this guy. He was one Supreme Court disagreement away from being Al Gore’s Vice President. And now, when the Democratic party needs him to help push forward on a public option for healthcare reform he threatens to help the GOP fillibuster against it. What balls he has.

Yes I know, Joe is an “independent”. He’s not an “Independent” with an uppercase “I”, because there is no real Independent Party in America. You see, Bubbie Lieberman is what they call an “independent thinker”–beholden to no party. But shouldn’t I be lauding the guy for marching to the beat of his own Bar Mitzvah DJ? No. Joe likes to Caucus with the Democrats when it pleases him, and he likes his nice Homeland Security Chairmanship position (which he got by being in the majority party). But when we need this schmuck’s vote on a basic party platform issue he goes across the aisle. I’d have more respect for hm if he left the Democratic party and either became an out-of-the-closet Republican or started a legitimate Independent political party. Joe lost his Democratic cred when he supported John McCain, and it’s silly for Harry Reid to hold onto this guy so he can pretend he’s got a filibuster-proof majority. He doesn’t, and the healthcare debate is proving that every day.

Which brings me to a fundamental issue that will crop up in this blog from time to time: we need a real 3rd party in America. I don’t know that I would leave the Democrats for them, but a 3rd party will, as Rodney Dangerfield said in Caddyshack, “keep it fair.” Could I vote for Obama and an Independent congressperson? Definitely–all depends on the political views. But views are nothing unless they lead to action.

Regardless of party affiliation, I’d vote for anyone who believes in the following:

  1. Keeping abortion safe, legal, and rare.
  2. Outlawing 99% of the guns available. I am all for hunting, and self-defense. But only a criminal needs a semi-automatic weapon and armor piercing bullets. Find me a line in the Constitution about the right to pop a cap in someone’s ass and I might think differently.
  3. Making Gay marriage legal everywhere. As long as two adults are in love with each other, what the hell is the difference? And none of this civil-union bullshit either. The divorce rate in the US is just over 50%, so there’s nothing so sacred about marriage anymore that two homosexuals are going to degrade the value of tying the knot. Heteros have taken care of that all by ourselves.
  4. Make marijuana legal. Forget medical marijuana–I don’t want to pray for Glaucoma. I just want to smoke a bowl after a long day and not worry about going to jail. Is that too much to ask? Louis Armstrong once called a joint “a cigarette with a little booze in it”. Supposedly he smoked pot every day, and by any measure he had a pretty decent career. So can’t we just allow Phillip Morris and all the boys to mass-produce and market the product, then let the government tax the shit out of it so I can have the convenience of stopping by Dominicks on the way home to pick up a carton of kind bud? Let’s put the drug dealers out of business and let a real cartel like the tobacco industry take over.
  5. Death penalty reform–I am confused. On the one hand, I’d execute a rapist myself and feel good about it. On the other hand, there’s a reason why The Innocence Project exists. There are definitely innocent people on death row, and there have definitely been innocent people executed by the government. What to do? If you could guarantee me that rapists and murderers would automatically NEVER be allowed out of prison, I could do without the death penalty. Lock ’em up and leave ’em there for the rest of their life. If Bernie Madoff can get 150 years for stealing money, how can a child rapist get out of jail ever? Kill ’em or keep ’em off the streets–let ’em back out if you can prove they’re really innocent.
  6. Healthcare reform–end pre-existing condition exclusions, enact some measure of tort reform, and give me my fucking public OPTION. I may use it, I may not. But I want an option in case I ever lose my job. My family’s health shouldn’t be tied to my career anymore. And by the way, government-run programs work just fine for me–I’ve never had a problem at the DMV.

Well that’s enough for the first post. Hopefully someone made it this far and is willing to come back again for more. If there’s anybody actually out there reading this, I thank you for your time.