An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Lefty’s Outlook on the 2012 Election

Well, this post has been a long time coming.  Even given our opinion on politics at the moment, it is worth checking into where things stand right now.  This election year is an interesting one.  There are a lot of reasons why.

The first is that there are several truths that need to be analyzed when looking at the election.  The first is that the state of the American public right now is in shambles.  The middle class is rapidly disappearing, for a number of reasons.  The first is that the wages of this country have remained stagnant, while the cost of living in America has skyrocketed.  The next is that more and more students are walking away from college now with debt so high that they can’t realistically hope to get rid of it for the rest of their lives.  These debts are anchors around the people’s neck.  It is a bubble that is going to burst, because students can’t afford it, and eventually, they will just default out of these, the same way that the housing bubble burst because of default on sub-prime mortgages.

Then there is the job market.  It isn’t going anywhere.  The latest report that came out showed that the economy is going nowhere.  It is stagnated, and because the 99% of Americans are too afraid to invest and are holding tight to their money, businesses that aren’t massive corporations aren’t investing or are falling under, and the banks refuse to pay up, the government is passing legislation to cram massive amounts of money into the gaping hole that is our economy, never realizing that they are just putting off the inevitable.  And across the Atlantic, the EU is falling apart, barely being held together.  Because all the governments of the 1st world are owned by banks, the governments are being instructed to do nothing, and to not pass legislation that could get us out of the ditch.

Put simply, things are really, really bad for Americans right now.

So, with that in mind, what is the outlook for the 2012 election?  Who is going to win?  Well, to answer that, let’s look at the strategy of the presidential candidates thus far.

Mitt Romney has pretty much been doing what Republican candidates have been doing for the last 20 years.  Ever since Ronald Reagan, they are appealing to past glory.  Saying that we used to be so mighty, and we are going to be mighty again.  Basically, the argument is “Manifest Destiny.”  A cheap, overused argument that is so tired and worthless that people just don’t care about hearing it anymore.

Another problem is that Romney is basically using the same talking points as George W. Bush Jr.  And most of the American public blames the absolutely insane amounts of spending and the absolutely insane foreign policy that enabled that spending for this mess.  The economy nose-dived under Bush, and since Romney isn’t offering anything new, the people care about his message about the same.

Barack Obama, meanwhile, is doing just about the same thing, but with different language.  He has been appealing to the way things used to be, saying that with a little work, he can get things back on track for the way we were as a nation.

Here’s the problem with that strategy – people aren’t buying it.  People didn’t buy it when he said that “America is back,” and they aren’t buying that the good times are just around the corner.  There are Gallup polls showing that people think that the country is heading in the wrong direction.  The thing about it is – financially, they’re right.  He is now saying that hope and change is still the way out, but people aren’t buying that line either.

The public has lost faith.  Hopelessness and despair are setting in.  Obama blames the Republicans.  Republicans blame Obama.  The rest of us blame all of them and their pathetic adherence to Wall Street’s every whim.

As for a strategy for the election, the fact is that Obama is coasting on the weak change he’s gotten done, along with the Health Care Reform Act, one of the greatest cons in American history that the liberals are championing (read Matt Taibbi’s book, Griftopia, it is shows how obscene this new act is, along with how it is a complete sellout to the private insurance companies who have a stranglehold in medical care in this country).

Romney, in the meantime, has nothing.  He can’t run on immigration.  He can’t use Health Care Reform against Obama because he passed even more liberal (for how unbelievably conservative Obama’s Act is) legislation that actually included a public option (which is the only way this birthday present to the private insurance companies could have been worth something).  He can’t go against Obama on the economy because it will just be another back-and-forth blaming game between the two of them.

So, what will the election be about?  The same thing that all elections are about now – who America likes more.  That’s what elections are about now.  To Hell with what matters.  To Hell with political ideas.  It has simply become a popularity contest.

And that is why the American people can rest easy tonight.  Because the real truth is – it doesn’t matter.  No matter who you elect, this government will still be Wall Street’s slaves.  The military-industrial complex will still be fed with an endless supply of taxpayer dollars.  Nothing will change.  Not one damn thing.  So rest easy.  You are going to be screwed.

We all are.

Liberals and Obama in the 2012 Election

With the 2012 Presidential elections just around the corner, it has been fascinating to sit back and watch the liberal and conservative voices, both in the media and in person, talk.  I have been content not to join the choir, because honestly, this was all too interesting.  The conservative line is boring.  There is the endless schtick about Obama and the liberals.  You just learn to ignore that after a while.  Their war on women’s rights is far more pressing.

However, the real voice to pay attention to is the liberal perspective.  Truly, the left has been the far more engaging of political debates.  Now, just to get something clear, I am a far-left political idealist, more in line with socialism than liberal or progressive ways of thinking.  I, however, am not a supporter of President Obama.  Nor am I a supporter of Mitt Romney.  I believe voting is useless, because the system is rigged either way.

It seems that a lot of liberals think otherwise.  There are three fundamental arguments that I am hearing from the left about President Obama.  The first is that he is a good President who tried, but that he was continually obstructed by Republicans, and that is why he failed on so many of his campaign promises, or, well, doing anything substantially productive.  They seem to forget that the President not only continued Bush’s foreign policy, but expanded it.  He has more or less franchised GITMO, even though he promised that he would close it.  He has expanded the powers of the Patriot Act, even going so far as to bring the policy into effect allowing this government to outright call for the murder of a person without trial or charge or anything.  Just saying that they are a suspected terrorist, so we should kill them.

The second argument is that they will vote for Obama because the alternative is even worse.  Basically, taking the evil that they know over the one that they don’t.  They seem to forget that Mitt Romney is not going to win this election.  Moderates make up the bulk of this country’s voting population.  Either moderate-left or moderate-right, the fact is that 80% of this country’s vote is much more toward the middle, leaning one way on some issues, another way on others.  And the fact is that nobody likes Romney.  The moderate-right Republicans are just as sick of the insanity in their party as the liberals are, and they want a serious candidate (which they know he isn’t), and the moderate-left has seen the Republican Party’s war on women, and they aren’t going to jump on board.  The fact is that Romney was dead on arrival.  All of the Republican candidates are.  NONE of the Republican majority liked any of them.  They were asking the same question that I have been asking for months – where is the sane candidate?

The third argument is one that I find the most interesting – Obama didn’t do so well, but if we give him another chance, he’ll be able to finally deliver.  Where did this argument come from?  When is the bulk of this country going to realize that NONE of the political parties care about them?  Democrat or Republican, there isn’t a single group of politicians in this country on the American people’s side.  The only side they are on is the side that keeps them in power.  Right now, it’s Wall Street.  The reality is that there is no political group who cares what happens to the people of this country.  The American people serve only as the catalyst to get them into office.  Beyond that, they might as well not exist.

America’s problem goes far deeper than what most liberals seems to want to understand.  It’s not the corporations, or the Republicans.  It is the people.  The American people, and their acceptance of mediocrity, being lied to, and being pawns.  The self-indulgent and greedy culture that we surround ourselves with.  All of these things are why this country is falling apart.  Meanwhile, the 2012 elections are going to serve no purpose other than to show that this country won’t try something different, or won’t step out of the box.  Why vote third party when you can be slaves to the two big ones and follow them blindly?  Why demand something better when it is just easier to accept?

Why challenge, when it is easier to just be a slave and obey?

Poor Bristol Palin…:(

Well, after her post talking about how the President decided to support gay marriage simple because of his daughters, and saying that same-sex couples aren’t as good at being parents as opposite-sex couples (of which no evidence exists), Bristol Palin has come out with a new post talking about how she is the victim of “bullying.”

Much like how all interactions with a statement by the Palin family have gone from the beginning of their time in the limelight, it wasn’t hard to predict that this was the direction that it was going to take.  It has been the Palin family’s modus operandi to make a horribly unpleasant statement, and then, when the people come out against this, to make it all about themselves, and how they are the victims.

Bristol’s post about the president and gay marriage is textbook example of this strategy.  Here is what Bristol had to say –

Well, I stirred up a hornet’s nest.  You know you’ve struck a nerve when even J-Woww tweets insults at you.  But the thing that most amazes me is how few people actually addressed the points I made in my recent blog post.  They were pretty simple.  Conservative women like my mom get grief because people think they can’t make decisions without their husband, but Barack Obama gets applauded for changing his mind on a huge issue after consulting his wife and young daughters. The double standard amazes me.

Gee, Bristol, if you look at my previous post, you will see that I, along with many others like the YouTube vlogger Zinnia Jones, did address your argument, and were very clear with our problems with them.  We told you that President Obama didn’t just come to this decision because of talking with his wife and daughters.  It was a personal choice based on years of his experience.  Apparently, you didn’t catch that.  Your move.

But I’m not a pundit.  I’m just a mom made famous in one of the most intense and embarrassing ways possible – by having your teen pregnancy announced in the middle of a presidential campaign.

I put this section of her post here because there is something I want to draw attention to – your hypocrisy.  You had your pregnancy announcted on national television by your mother.  She whored out you and your down-syndrome brother in order to further her own political agenda.  I find it incredible that you are so on her side and yet you don’t feel the slightest inclination to point out that all of this “bullying” that you are claiming happens to you is directly tied into your mother using you and your entire family as a stage prop.  The hypocrisy just leaps off the page, doesn’t it?  Your move.

 When you’re in Hollywood you’ll meet some great people, some terrible people, and many somewhere in between.  In other words, they’re people just like everyone else.  But what you won’t find is any disagreement about things like gay marriage or abortion.  For those folks, there’s one way to think, and anyone who disagrees is stupid, hypocritical, hateful, or bigoted.

Sorry, Bristol, but you’re wrong again.  You are called hypocritical, hateful and bigoted because you made statements that are hypocritical, hateful and bigoted.  Saying that children are more likely to be happy in a home with a mother and father is bigoted.  You can’t explain that away, sorry.  You have to answer for it.  Your unwillingness to doesn’t surprise me in the least.

She puts up a graphic showing some of the angry comments she got, and yeah, they are unpleasant and people shouldn’t make them, but once-again, the strategy that you use is pretty clear – don’t make this about the issues, make this about yourself.  And here’s the kicker, Bristol – you are not special.  Go onto most any video about President Obama and you’ll see plenty of hate and vitriol thrown at him from people.  Hate statements are the name of the game with a large part of this country against the LGBT community.  Go onto a Zinnia Jones video and you may just find some lovely tidbits about how awful that person is.  Or click on an Amazing Atheist video and you will see plenty of disparaging comments.  While all of these are stupid and pointless, they are also not unusual.

Instead of defending your point of view, and making this about the issues, you instead retreat to the easiest option you have – making this about yourself.  It has been the way your mother has defended her scorn for years, and you are following in the same vein.  Feel proud of yourself, Bristol.  Those are some big and hypocritical shoes to fill.

Here’s the real truth – you don’t know who the real bullies are.  The people who are using their national fame that you acknowledge you have in order to make sweeping generalizations about a group of people and their love.  The people who are saying that children aren’t going to be happy with same sex parents.  The people who want to deny LGBT couples the right to marry simply by invoking “tradition,” and continuing the cultural stigma against them through the same way.  The people who are making no argument, but instead want to make this entire thing about themselves and paint themselves as the victim of some kind of bullying, while they are spreading intolerance and lies for no good reason.

The bully, Bristol Palin, is you.  Plain and simple.

The State of the Union Address, Political Schtick

Reblogged from Lucien Maverick’s Blog

Well, it was another day when our President had to come out and to make a big speech about the state of America.  Much like myself and probably most people were expecting, it was another really long bit of pandering.  The ironic thing this time was that it wasn’t really pandering to anybody in-particular.  It was kind of pandering to, well, nobody.

The speech began with Obama talking about how the troops were coming home, and how they were defending our freedom.  Question, Obama, and to all of the conservatives who are stupid enough to think that this is something that matters – what exactly is our freedom in danger from?  That has always been something that I have never gotten.  They say that our country is in immediate danger, when the fact is that it isn’t.  Now Obama is championing the troops effort to “secure our freedom.”  Really, think about how dumb this statement is.  It took Al-Qaeda over ten years to plan and execute their plan to destroy the World Trade Center (it was terrorists, not the government, you Truthers are imbeciles).  We have decimated their ranks since the beginning of the “War on Terror.”  (I think we are going to have a War on Silliness next) Our freedom is in no danger of being destroyed.  The terrorists don’t have an army, of any kind, so they aren’t going to be conquering America.

Next, the President talked about how our economy needs work (he makes a point later about how America is back, but I’ll get to pointing out how stupid that is in a second).  Of course, he said things about how the economy was hurt by corporations and a lack of oversight (which he hasn’t addressed.  Wall-Street Reform was a joke).  He didn’t even bother to address the banks who got us into this mess, or suggest that the people who did this with criminal activities be held accountable.  I get that.  He has to feed them the schtick that they want to hear.  All State of the Union addresses are like that.  Nobody ever wants to deflate America or the private market’s ego.  Nobody ever wants to, I don’t know, suggest that we fight back.

While talking about the economy, he makes a point that he saved the auto industry.  Obama has been milking that point to death ever since he did it.  Like he thinks we have all forgotten about all the failures, and how the economy is swiftly heading in the wrong direction.  But yes, he did say that he saved the auto industry, and for some reason, that’s going to put America back on top.  Then, in a rather odd move, he said that the same financial success that reclaiming the auto industry had on Detroit, it would have in other places.

It could happen in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Raleigh.

I guess it can only happen in swing states.  That’s cool.

Next up, he talked again about how he would get business to come back to America, and fix the tax code to stop them from abusing the system for their own benefit.  We’ve heard that schtick before.  And of course, business will come back to America.  Yes, because exploiting foreign labor will be less profitable, right?  I know that the President isn’t that foolish, so we’ll just chalk that up to him being political.

And of course, whenever one talks about America, there is the “winning the future” gag, where America is ahead of the game, and making innovation all over the world.  Like how we have a mass-transit system, right?  Oh, right, we don’t.  Europe, Japan and Russia have those.  Well, we don’t have that, but we have universal health care!  Oh wait, that’s also something that a lot of European and 1st-world Asian countries have, along with Canada.  So, we’re not ahead of the curve there.  But we’re leading the way in space technology, right?  Nope, NASA has pretty much been cut from funding, so the space race, which was proven to be good for the economy, is dead.  So where is America in the race for the “future?”  Well, to be honest, not anywhere.  We are stuck in a deadland because nobody wants this country to invest in anything useful, like infrastructure, or taxing the rich.

Oh sure, he did promise that the wealthy would be paying more in taxes, but I think we have all seen how Obama is completely unwilling to stand his ground on any of that.  He didn’t stand his ground on the Bush Tax Cuts, or the Debt Ceiling.  He gave the Republicans all that they wanted and more.  The fact is that this was all just pandering, and nobody should be paying attention to it.  The truth of what is happening in this country speaks for itself.

Peace out,

Lefty

 

The End of Freedom in America

Picture this – you’re sitting down with your family for dinner, ready to enjoy.  It has been a lovely day, and now you are going to get to have this day shared with the people you love.  Suddenly, the military bursts into your home.  They throw you down on the ground, along with your family.  They put a black bag over your head, throw you into the back of a van, and take you somewhere.  It is far away, where it is hot, and almost every day, you get to be subject to all sorts of tortures.  Sounds like something that happens overseas, right?  Don’t think that it could happen in the USA, right?  Wrong!

Thanks to a new bill, the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year of 2012, there are several stipulations that are going to allow this government to be able to take American citizens, without trial or charge, throw you into Gitmo, for the rest of your life, and it has just been discovered that there are also stipulations that will allow the people there to torture Americans who are thrown in there, without ever having been told why.

Take that in for a moment.  The horrendous tortures that films like “Taxi to the Dark Side” have shown will be able to be subjected to the American people.  This is beyond evil, it’s insanity.  But there is one comforting thing that comes from this – it ends over 20 years of conflicting opinions.

Ever since the end of the McCarthy era, there has been this idea that is kicking around – is America heading toward fascism?  Well, if you take a nice long look at this bill, yes, it completely is!  This is a good thing because it will  end the discussion.

It is also a good thing because it has shown that our government CAN actually compromise and work together.  I mean, this passed the Senate 93-7.  That’s a lot of active effort to get along, don’t you think?  When it comes to something like universal health care, our government is gridlocked, but when it comes to destroying the Fourth Amendment, that is something they will go straight and true towards.

Here’s another kicker – if you choose to fight this, after it has passed, it won’t matter!  The government can label you a “terror suspect” and throw you away for the rest of your life.  Dissent won’t matter very soon, because any groups who speak out can be thrown away, without a moment’s notice.

And of course, the Tea Party is nowhere to be heard from.  These corporate goons haven’t said a single word about this.  The fact is that there is some real common ground being found on both sides toward this.  The supposedly “progressive” Democrats and the cutthroat fascist Republicans were all on-board, full-steam ahead.

It’s a terrifying and sad day in America, ladies and gentlemen.  Very soon, there will be nobody left who will speak out, because this government will be throwing everybody who doesn’t agree with them away, forever!  No trial, no charge, no jury, no remembering.  They will just make you disappear.  I bet, when this country’s economy is dead, housing prisoners will be too hard, so they will probably just kill people.  Am I being a finalist?  Well, give it time, we’ll see.

In any case, the day is soon coming that peace may not be the only option we have for protesting.  After reading stuff like this, I want to see riots in the street.  There should be some people who are calling out the insanity, because this all hinges on the House having more sense than the Senate, and the gutless coward Obama following through, because he said he would veto this, outright.  I don’t trust anything from that little worm.

It’s a scary day, America.  What do we do?  What can we do?  What is left to be done?

Peace out,

Lefty

Obama’s China Syndrome may end up in Alaska’s Nuclear Winter

There was an article that was put into The Nation on the 22nd about a new move that President Obama has talked about, where America will be building up its military presence in the Asia Pacific region.  The idea behind this, according to the President Obama is –

As we end today’s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and mission in the Asia Pacific a top priority…Our enduring interests in the region demand our enduring presence in this region. The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay.”

For those who are not familiar with the language of political schtick, this means that America is getting fidgity over the fact that China is looking to overtake the US as the new global economic power, and we are looking to stop them.  If one follows what is in this plan, there really can be no denying this.  The exact details are still in the works, but one plan already talked about is to establish a military base at Darwin, which is in the Timor Sea.  This is a strategic area connecting the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.  Also, the US is looking to get closer with the Phillippines and Indonesia, militarily speaking.  It’s just a coincidence I’m sure that they are both on the South China Sea.

There has also been a regional trade pact that the US orchestrated that has specifically excluded China.  The US calls it “redistribution” of the military, but yeah, that is an obvious lie.  They are taking forces in the Northwest, around Japan, and moving them toward the South China Sea.  If the US has control of this trade route, we can hurt the Chinese, economically, and that is exactly what this new plan is designed to do.  They are also trying to orchestrate alliances with India, Japan, and Australia, trying to create a force that would work against China.

What the response will be from Beijing, only time will tell.  But the fact is that they are NOT going to be intimidated by this.  Resistance to international threat is at the heart of the doctrine that the Communist government that lords over China.  And it is a damn good bet that there will be some very negative response from them.  But the reason that China is not going to be disturbed by this is simple – this whole endeavor is a way for us to cover the fact that we are getting weaker, economically.  If we can keep China weak, then we have a shot of staying the dominant power in the world.  But everybody who knows anything about economics and politics knows that China has America by the, foot.

You see, to make any of this effort a success, the US would first to get our economy going again, something that isn’t looking to be happening anytime soon.  With the EU on the verge of a complete collapse, desperate for a solution, and the people there almost rioting against what the government is proposing, the global economy could be in real trouble.  And the first economy to go after the EU is the US.  So the idea that this will be able to go well is almost laughable.

But as The Nation pointed out, what is ultimately the biggest fear is that this decision will have some very ugly ramifications down the road.  This is all being done to keep funneling money into our military, which accounts for over 30% of current spending in this country.  To counter the GOP, Obama will appease the pro-military industrial complex with this.  At the same time, there may be an alignment in China toward and anti-America stance, which will lead to more money being siphoned into their military.  The, because both sides will be angry at one-another, and we are a stupid people, there will be antagonism on both sides, followed by growing suspicion on both sides, followed by more funding of the military, specifically the Navy, and then there will be periodic naval attacks, an international atmosphere that will be poisoned, the economy in this country will be in trouble, and finally, a very real risk of full-scale war.

This is a terrifying concept, ladies and gentlemen.  The fact is that with satallite technology, regular warfare is completely outdated.  Any moves that any force would make would be observed.  So, it would be a nuclear war.  And since I am somebody who lives in Alaska, this scares me because who do you think will be the first to be bombed?  Nuclear weapons falling on my home.  This is terrifying, people, absolutely terrifying.

The military industrial complext that rules this country must be stopped!  Obama clearly doesn’t have the nerve or the will to stop it himself, so we have to elect people into office who will!  Because what begins as a move against China could end with me spending a winter covered in nuclear fallout.  I wouldn’t have that theory if it wasn’t for the fact that people are stupid, really stupid.

Peace out,

Maverick

America needs to seriously examine our military spending, and soon

This is an article I wrote for last week’s issue of the The Northern Light, but it got axed due to repeats of topics and space-crunches.

It is not a very popular message right now – that America may just have to scale back on our military efforts around the world.  It is part of a growing reality that Americans have to face – that our economy is in trouble and it needs work.

At a general assembly meeting of the United Nations, held on the September 21st, President Obama spoke.  He had a simple thought about how peace among nations is done.

“Ultimately, peace depends on compromise, among people who must live together long after our speeches are over, long after our votes have been tallied.”

Unlike his economic policies, here he makes a very valid point.  Peace between nations, and inside of nations is something that people have to come together to figure out.  It is poetic that he brings up this notion, because right now, America needs to scale back what we are doing.

Following the events of September 11, 2001, the people all clamored for what we called “justice” to be brought to the leaders of Al Qaeda.  It has always been a point of interest how some Americans seem to believe that killing another person is justice.  This country went to war, led by a President who was very open to the concept.  This was a mistake.

Obama came into office with two wars we were involved in.  Now, this country is involved in five.  For a nation that was in a severe recession, and is heading in the direction of a double-dip recession, this is not a good thing.

It cannot be argued that America’s economy is in a really bad place.  The August reports showed no job growth at all.  America’s credit rating has gone down.  The Stock Market is going down.  The big question becomes, how do we fix this?  How do we make it so that this nation doesn’t suffer an economic collapse?  The answer may not make people happy.

Military spending in this country is one of the biggest holes that money keeps getting thrown into.  According to the National Priorities Project, over $1.2 trillion have been spent in total in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Alaska has paid over $2 billion in this war effort, and the numbers are growing every day.

America has the largest military force on Earth.  It is larger than the top ten nations that come behind us combined.  What makes this problematic is that not only does our nation have the largest military on Earth, but it is over-burdened and over-extended.

“We have tens of thousands of troops in Korea and Japan.  We have over 50,000 troops in Germany.  Hitler, ladies and gentlemen, I think we got him,” said Bill Maher on his stand-up special But I’m Not Wrong.

That’s a good perspective to have.  Not even examining the major wars that we are involved in, how much money is being spent in places that we serve no purpose?  What’s more, how we use the military is a waste of time.

To go after those who destroyed the World Trade Center, we should have done so with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer.  Richard Dreyfuss was asked if 9/11 was a civics lesson, and if we learned the right lessons from it during an interview on CNN.

“We’ve learned the wrong lessons from it.  We are learning the wrong lessons from it, because we’re lying about it.”

The fact is that Bush made the decision to call it the war on terror, instead of calling it the war on extremist Islam, of even just the war on Al Qaeda.  That would have opened the door for the other groups to distance themselves, and even aid America.  Instead, that door has been closed, and when the moderate Muslim community has tried to play nice with American efforts, a lot of the time, our country ignores it.

Take the instance of the “Underwear Bomber.”  The father of that man had met with a member of the CIA and told them that his son was going to bomb us, and they ignored him.  So our efforts are misplaced on all fronts.

The cold reality is that this country can literally not afford these wars anymore.  America is heading into another recession, and it is time to scale back, and slash the military budget into ribbons.  That is a part of the answer to what is plaguing this country.

And what’s more, the people need to get on board.  For a long time, the mentality of this country has been, if you are not for the wars, you are a bad person.  Dissent and discussion needs to come back to this country, and more than anything else, that is what should also be considered when discussing our social and economic future.

Peace out,

Lefty

Obama’s Debt Ceiling Address Stresses Compromise. Is He Serious or Not?

So, tonight was Obama’s address to the nation regarding the debt ceiling debate.  I will say that it was well-timed, since things are getting crunched now and it is looking bleak.  Everything is on the line now, and we can’t afford to let this issue not get talked about.  Of course, since the typical American doesn’t care about the political future of this country (even though this is infinitely more than that), this is an issue that is only talked about in political circles when the fact is that this is a lot bigger than politics.

For those of you who don’t know, it is pretty simple.  Raising the debt ceiling isn’t saying we can spend more.  It is allowing us to pay the bill this government has already spent.  A common piece of rhetoric around right-wing bloggers and political commentators is that the debt ceiling doesn’t exist.  For real, there are those in the conservative base who believe the debt ceiling is an imaginary creature that is like the boogie man.  But it is real, and it is here.

So, here is the real danger – America’s credit rating.  Our AAA credit score is the best thing that this country has going now.  If we get downgraded, it could mean some real trouble in America’s future.  Given how the world economy is looking right now, this nation needs as little trouble as possible.  And for a long time, this debt ceiling issue wasn’t an issue.

For a long time, it used to be pretty routine that the debt ceiling would get raised and nobody talked about it.  It is only recently given the pointless indignation that the new conservative party has in this country that they have decided to make this a huge issue.  Of course, this is just another issue that they hold the American taxpayer hostage so they can get their way.  Cheap, tasteless, and leading this country in a very bad direction.  Of course, since they represent the rich, they don’t care.

But back to the President’s address, he was actually pretty clear.

In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus.  But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card.

Now, Obama did talk about the fact that this nation does have a debt problem.  It isn’t a mystery that it does.  When you have a massively bloated military budget which is being funneled into two wars, the recession did real damage to this problem, it is a problem.  But the big thing the conservatives aren’t getting is that their attention is being directed toward the wrong things.

Now, I am with the YouTuber, The Skeptical Heretic.  He says that looking at entitlement programs isn’t the worst idea.  They are going to be a problem in the future.  It can’t be helped.  The fact is that Obama is right that the only way to make things work is to meet in the middle.  It has to be a mix of cutting spending and raising taxes.  Not for the debt ceiling, but to fix the economy in general.  Of course, investment into infrastructure must also happen, to attract new businesses.

But back to the address, his thought was about compromise.  Now, the big thing here is that his version of compromise sounds great.  But the reality is that the Republicans don’t want his version of compromise.  They want total an utter surrender.  It is interesting that that Boehner was given the shaft by a Tea Party group who rejected his plan for raising the debt ceiling.

The first approach says let’s live within our means by making serious, historic cuts in government spending.  Let’s cut domestic spending to the lowest level it’s been Dwight Eisenhower was President.  Let’s cut defense spending at the Pentagon by hundreds of billions of dollars (I like that one!).  Let’s cut out waste and fraud in healthcare programs like Medicare, and at the same time let’s make modest adjustments so that Medicare is there for future generations.  Finally, let’s ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to give up some of their breaks in the tax code and special deducations.”

Well, there you have it.  On paper, that option sounds pretty good.  If both sides came at this level-headed and were looking to do the right thing, this would be a very good option.  The problem is that both sides don’t come at this level-headed.  Both sides don’t approach this option equally.  Both sides don’t look at it from a calm perspective.  Both sides are not willing to budge on either side.  The Democrats and the Republicans have to be willing to feel the pain.  Granted, taxing the rich is a great thing to do (something which Republicans will burn the ship before letting happen), but the Democrats do have to look at entitlement programs eventually because the fact is that there are problems with them.

But the fact that Republicans are not willing to let the talk of increasing taxes come up at all says something.  They are not willing to even bring it to the table and to realize that the rich are just fine.  They don’t have to worry about being in financial trouble.  Taxing the poor is where that comes from.  But they are being the party who is not budging on this.  Democrats are actually looking at this in a lot of respect from an openness to talking things out, but the Republicans are digging their heels and not even letting the notion come to the table.

The fact is that to fix our debt problem, it has to be a mix between cutting spending and generation revenue.  Asking the rich to pay is the right thing to do.  We will eventually have to look at entitlement programs.  We might as well look at it now.  But the fact is that Obam himself gave the greatest reason we are still having this debate, and why we can’t afford to have it.

The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on it’s way to becoming law right now, is because a significant number of Republican in Congress are insisting on a different approach, a cuts-only approach.

There’s the problem.  Your move, Republicans.

Peace out,

Eli

The Battle For Gay Marriage

It’s interesting to watch the Democrats react to the growing civil rights battle that is happening in this country.  It is interesting to see this growing battle between an old world and the new world.  The old world is gradually slipping away.  People like Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich are trying desperately not to let it go.  They want their old world because in their old world, they didn’t have to have the conversations that we are having now.  They didn’t have to listen to what they are listening to now.  They didn’t have to fight against what they are fighting against now.  The problem is that the Democrats seem unwilling or unable to also stand up and take the fight on, to fight for what is right, what is decent, and what is profoundly correct and a good direction for the future to head in.

It’s been a long time since the days of Harvey Milk.  He was the first true champion that the LGBT community had in government.  He took the fight for gay rights to a whole different level.  His famous speech that he gave, telling people that change is just around the corner, was a beacon for a community that had been leaderless and didn’t want to enter the fight.  It became the rallying cry for a group of people who were treated poorly, victims of pointless prejudice and bigotry, and really, the only reason that people hated them is because they didn’t understand them.

It is a part of human nature to hate and fear what one perceives and does not understand.  It’s not a good thing.  It is the most detrimental part of modern society, of any society, but the fact is that it is a part of human nature.  But people can rise above their nature.  The problem in the modern battle for gay rights is that Group A, that has all the prejudism and hatred, wants Group B to change.  But Group B doesn’t have to change, and they shouldn’t.  Instead, they should be the ones who have to change.

And Group A has reason after reason why they don’t want Group B to be a part of them.  They say that gay marriage somehow threatens their marriage.  They say that their religious figure calls their existence an abomination.  They says that they are going to “recruit” more people into becoming gay.  They say that being gay is a choice.  They say that it can be “cured” by making noises to their holy being.  They say a lot of things.  And now those who say those things are working day and night to make the LGBT community’s dream of being treated like human beings get further and further way.

The problem is that the Democrats are not getting into the fight, they are not supporting it publicly.  Every once and a while you get the stray senator or congressman/congresswoman who will say they are for it, but the bulk of them just say “let the states decide.”  It is the cheap way of getting out from under the bus of a changing world.  Why do they do this?  The answer is simple – they want to get reelected.  They want to keep their seat in office, and they don’t want to get all the bigots who live in this country to come out of the woodwork and make them go away.

During the 2004 election, Bush won when Karl Rove decided to make gay marriage the big issue of the election season.  He decided to bring gay marriage up in a bunch of states that would never have considered doing this before because the LGBT community knew that this would be a losing battle.  That was how Bush beat Kerry.  Cheap, tasteless, and almost inhuman, but that is how conservatives in this country operate these days.

My friend John Aronno said that the modern conservative strategy has been to fight completely insane battles for the most ridiculous and hardcore positions possible.  This is to keep the Democrats fighting it out with them, and not thinking about or trying to fight for the things that actually matter, like ending the drug war, or letting people who are different be able to marry the ones that they love.

Keith Olbermann did a “Special Comment” on his show last night.  He pointed out up-front the thing that people need to realize.  The young are starting to figure it out, but the old aren’t – that ten years down the road, this issue isn’t going to matter.  Ten or twenty years from now, gay marriage will be legal everywhere.  This is a battle, yes, but the fact is that the margin of people who support gay marriage is growing every day, not shrinking.  There is a saying that bad ideas die.  But that’s not true.  As Richard Coughlin put it, “people with bad ideas die.”

Here are the facts, as listed by Keith Olbermann –

It won’t destroy the democracy, it doesn’t destroy the family, it strengthens the institution of marriage and it’s principle premise of fidelity, and it increases the number of people living in stable and loving homes.”

That is the absolute truth.  And anybody who says otherwise is just a bigot who doesn’t seem to realize that their hatred of this group of people is not only unfounded, it is ridiculous.  But that battle needs something more in order for it to finally be won – for the Democrats to get off their butts and to stand up and say that they are in support of these people!

The LGBT community has NO true representation in Congress or the White House.  It has NO party who is directly behind them, fighting for them.  There are the odd senators here and there, or Congress people, but the fact is that they stand alone against a tide of hatred that is slowly waning, but as those who are dying away go, they are now trying desperately to not lose this America they think they need so desperately to progress.  They want us to regress, not move forward.  But life is about moving forward.  Nature is about moving forward.  Moving forward is what humanity does.

I think I’ll end this with a quote from Harvey Milk’s Hope Speech –

 I can’t forget the looks on faces of people who’ve lost hope. Be they gay, be they seniors, be they blacks looking for an almost-impossilbe job, be they Latins trying to explain their problems and aspirations in a tongue that’s foreign to them. I personally will never forget that people are more important than buildings.”

Peace out,

Eli

Obama Finally Does Something Smart?

There is one thing that people need to be more than anything else in this country – critical.  People need to be critical of those who we elect into government positions in this country because when a lack of critical thinking is present, problems are destined to follow.  This President who currently is in office has had a metric ton of criticism leveled at him.  He has been attacked on all sides.  I do think he has weathered it pretty well.  Granted, if you look the photos of the man before he went into the White House and then at him now, he has aged a lot, but for the most part, he has weathered the story in a pretty good way.

Now, last night, he came onto the national stage and made a speech.  It turns out that he has finally realized what all of us have realized (some sooner than others) that our military efforts in the Middle East are a waste of time.  He has called for the withdrawal of 10,000 troops.  The mission is to get the Afghan government to start standing on their own two feet without needing America to constantly give them a hand.  A good mission, to be sure.

For those who didn’t watch his very brief address, it was very insightful.  He addressed first what got us to Afghanistan – our mission to find Osama Bin Laden.  He then said we moved to Iraq.  Personally, I think it was smart that he didn’t really go into why we went there.  No need to poke more fun at Bush.  He’s already a disgrace.  The “weapons of mass destruction” bit was a joke, and we all know it.  Well, not a very funny joke, more of a bittersweet painful joke that over 4,000 of our young men and women have died for.  But he didn’t bring that up.  It was smart.

He brought up what he knew people would criticize him for – bringing more troops into Afghanistan when he came into office.  People were already calling for withdrawal back then.  He says it was to counter a growing and regrouped Taliban effort.  My contention here is that whenever we do leave (if ever), the Taliban is going to come back into power because Hamid Kharzai is a crook who is pretty much saying that he is in bed with the Taliban.  He’s in bed with everybody who has sway in that country.  It is a problem that Americans aren’t addressing enough.

Obama says that sending more troops was a hard decision for him.  I should hope so.  But he also says that it was done with clear objectives in mind.  This is a good thing.  The goal was to help train Afghani forces in order that they might also be ready to fight.  Yeah, when Kharzai opens the front door and welcomes the Taliban in, they’ll be ready to fight.  Sure.  But the key part, the best part, is that the plan is now to begin drawing down our forces this July.  For many Americans, this is a good thing.

Over 1,000 men and women have died in Afghanistan.  The media has never really been able to get why we were there.  As Bill Maher put it, “and the media loses the thread too because when they get to that point, they show the video of terrorists training on monkey-bars.”  So after the intial withdrawal next month, troops are going to start coming home at a “steady pace.”  This is a good thing.

It really is about time that Americans leave those countries to their fate.  There was a rather inspired moment in the film Green Zone where the Iraqi citizen, Freddy said, “it is not up to you what happens here.”  That’s a rather profound quote in more ways than one.  For one thing, Americans do tend to believe that we should have some massive effect on the world.  The President also seems to believe that America needs to have an effect on global politics.  This is an interesting, albeit misguided viewpoint.  The rest of the world is going to be the rest of the world.  We can’t help how people in other countries are.

The greatest example of that was when we tried to get it so that Afghanistan has a new chief export other than poppies that make opium.  It’s a noble goal, but foolish.  That country is set in the way that it has run for probably hundreds of years.  The Middle East is a very odd place because it has a very old way of thinking in a very new world.

But honestly, the real and best reason that Obama is doing this – the economy demands it.  These wars in the Middle East are massively sucking capitol out of this country.  He even said that himself.  I dig that.  It’s a important for people to understand why things happen.  The economy isn’t in good shape right now.  The military is the biggest and most blown budget in this country.  A lot of liberals like Bill Maher have realized that the best way to help the economy right now would be to slash the military budget, along with other things.  This is a very strange time in American politics because the economy is almost a war in and of itself.

The President didn’t let this address think we had lost.  This is a good way to do it.  It was much the way that American left Vietnam, no as a failure, but in success, and having done the best that we can.  He did say that this is the beginning of things we are doing, not the end, which is a good point, since we are going to be there until 2014 at least (according to his estimates).

One point that Obama seemed a little too hopeful on was saying that the Pakistani goverment was going to help us keep up our efforts against Al-Qaeda.  An episode of Frontline had people who were involved in this, in the intelligence sector, saying that Pakistan has been wishy-washy about things from the beginning.  Sometimes they would give people up, other times they would withold information.  Not a good situation for America’s efforts to be in, if they wish to continue them.

After talking about the plan of our activity in the Middle East, Obama talks about the conflicting ideas of America’s role in global politics.  He said something which actually was kind of cool – how America needs to be pragmatic as well as passionate.  That’s a pretty cool way of viewing things.  And with our economy the way it is, that is definitely a way of thinking that needs to be continued.

What happens next?  Now that is a really good question.

Peace out,

Eli

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