Friday, January 28, 2011

An Interesting Take on Obama's Speech

Rachel Maddow had an interesting take on Obama's speech (which received unbelievably high ratings by all viewers in several polls).

She said that when Clinton 'moved to the center' (i.e. right) after the midterm 1994 shellacking, the conservatives kept moving further and further to the right and so 'the center' kept moving further and further to the right. She pointed out that by today's conservative standards, Eisenhower would be a radical lefty and even Reagan might be too far left.

What Obama's speech allegedly did was to move the center sharply back toward the center; somehow Tucson may indeed have produced a seismic shift in politics. The Repug negative, attacking, fear-mongering messaging (vs. Obama's great 'hope') may no longer resonate... Jimmy Carter went negative on America during his re-election campaign and got clobbered. Obama may be shrewder and/or luckier than we thought. He still won't take on the corps:((

The corps are doing the same thing that the Conservatives do: they keep tilting the field more and more in their direction. First their attack on regulations, then bailouts, then huge bonuses for losing trillions of dollars, then firing millions of US workers and then going for "needed, earned and deserved lower tax rates".

They won't stop until they are overthrown, which will only happen as a result of overwhelming economic and social upheaval forces.

The solution: tax tax tax and regulate regulate regulate. Fine the crap out of the wealthy and corps. If they don't like it, let them move to the middle East or China or Europe after imposing a huge 'exit tax'. All the debate about tax rates, govt regulations, free markets is propaganda. There are no free markets and markets do not police themselves. The markets are completely rigged for the big players and corps; sometimes a few of them go under if they endanger their "govt bailout net" or are too overtly corrupt. CEO's and executives keep getting big bonuses regardless.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tunisia - Ally of the United States

A strategic area of the world that is secular, Muslim, African, Arabic speaking, almost Middle-Eastern and has produces 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

Tunisia, formerly a French colony, strengthened ties with the US during WWII to help gain its independence which it did get in 1957.

France remained Tunisia's most important Western economic trading partner as well as military and financial aid.  After independence, The US was quick to support Tunisia with economic aid.  The US was caught several times in the middle of disputes between Tunisia and France but was able to maintain a consistent and stable relationship with Tunisia.

An Economic Hit Man Success Story

The US has always supported Tunisia with economic aid and military assistance when necessary.  When Zine El Abidine Ben Ali took power via a coup in 1987, the US announced its support for the dictator.  Tunisia continued to accept aid from the US as well as loans from the World Bank.  When Tunisia couldn't repay their loans, they agreed to restructuring terms such as opening up their markets to US companies.  This is the desired outcome to the US's preferred method of world influence.  The US government has continued to support Ben Ali even through serious human rights issues and brutal state police.

Tunisia and Democracy

Tunisia has long had a secular pro-democracy movement which has been repeatedly repressed by Ben Ali.  Even as the protesters demonstrated in the streets, the US government took a 'wait and see' approach as per Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

we are worried, in general, about the unrest and the instability...So we are not taking sides in it...we have got a lot of very positive aspects of our relationship with Tunisia...I think we will wait and see.  (

  US Embassy Cables from Wikileaks ( reported:

The problem is clear: Tunisia has been ruled by the same president for 22 years. He has no successor. And, while President Ben Ali deserves credit for continuing many of the progressive policies of President Bourguiba, he and his regime have lost touch with the Tunisian people. They tolerate no advice or criticism, whether domestic or international. Increasingly, they rely on the police for control and focus on preserving power. And, corruption in the inner circle is growing. Even average Tunisians are now keenly aware of it, and the chorus of complaints is rising. Tunisians intensely dislike, even hate, First Lady Leila Trabelsi and her family. In private, regime opponents mock her; even those close to the government express dismay at her reported behavior. Meanwhile, anger is growing at Tunisia's high unemployment and regional inequities. As a consequence, the risks to the regime's long-term stability are increasing.

I guess we'll all take a 'wait and see' approach to see if the US government supports democracy in Tunisia.  To be sure, the US government has a strong influence on what will actually happen in Tunisia.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


FAIR recently put out a ‘Media Advisory’
regarding “Violent Media Rhetoric”. The following are excerpts from their first
two citations:

--Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (12/3/10) on WikiLeaks' Julian Assange:

"Think creatively. The WikiLeaks document dump is sabotage, however quaint that term may seem.... Franklin Roosevelt had German saboteurs tried by military tribunal and shot. Assange has done more damage to the United States than all six of those Germans combined."

"Want to prevent this from happening again? Let the world see a man who can't sleep in the same bed on consecutive nights, who fears the long arm of American justice. I'm not advocating that we bring out of retirement the KGB proxy who, on a London street, killed a Bulgarian dissident with a poisoned umbrella tip. But….”

--The Washington Post's David Broder (10/31/10) recommended threatening war with Iran as an economic and domestic political strategy:

"With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But… ”

It is a national disgrace, not that promulgating murder is part of free speech, but that media proponents of murder are revered and respected. These quotes serve to illustrate the sickness which has infected not only many prominent 'thinkers' on the right, but our society as a whole. That these murderous, criminal ideas and actions are considered patriotic by tens of millions of Americans, and are given serious consideration in domestic and foreign policy circles is nauseating! That the thinkers, politicians and citizens of the left and center do not repudiate and villify this murderous paranoia AND its proponents with every word and breath is proof of their complicity.

Maintaining that the US has the right, indeed the duty, to murder and bomb abroad at will while other nations or individuals who do so are 'evil' or 'terrorists' is pathetically and transparently hypocritical and completely antithetical to all professed ideals of democracy. The US schoolyard bully gang has run rampant over their world playground for many decades, overthrowing democratically-elected govts and leaders through CIA-staged coups and assassinations when corruption attempts by corporate economic hit men ("EHM's") failed. When our bully nose was horrifically bloodied on 9/11, we cried and whimpered, "How unfair, why do 'they' hate us? 'They' envy us, we must kill and destroy every last one of them!" After all, bullies have feelings too. And so was born the never-ending "War On Terror", coming to an Obama theater near you under a different title.

As for those on the right, I much prefer the unabashedly and proudly murderous Dick Cheney bully to the murderously-creative Charles Krauthammer bully and the murderously- politically and economically calculating David Broder bully. Still, bullies are always cowards at heart. Eventually, their noses are bloodied enough that they slink away or a bigger bully comes along and throws them out of the playground completely. Counsel Joseph N. Welch’s 1954 words to Senator Joseph R. McCarthy could be just as appropriately addressed to any and all of our contemporary American bullies: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bad Government

Big government isn't the problem - bad government is the problem.  It doesn't matter whether Democrats or Republicans are in power.  After a change in government, the same policies are continued with very small differences.  These 'very small differences' are what makes up the puppet show that is the Republican-Democrat duopoly.   The party that was against it is now for it and the party that was for it is now against it.  Two examples are the stimulus packages and the assault on our civil liberties which continues in the name of protecting us from terrorism.

Of course, the problem is that our government is corrupt is because it is under the influence of big corporations.  It's a recurrent cycle of government feeding corporations feeding government.  And it has to stop.

The greatest threat to this corrupt system is the American people.  It's time for Americans to stand up and demand that the US become a democracy again starting with fair elections, unbiased media, justice in the legal system and accountability in government and industry.

Fair Elections

We need to take take corporate money out of elections.  Corporations don't get a vote and thus should be excluded from influencing elections.  Candidates and political parties should be financed by public funds.  Spending caps should be instituted.

Unbiased Media
We need an unbiased and independent media.  US media companies should not be subsidiaries of larger corporate interests.  Americans need to become educated about what our government has been doing to developing nations worldwide.International news should be reported every day including US involvement therein.  US media companies should have access to public funds if need be.  Along with unbiased media, include unbiased education.  University research should be funded with public money.  Our education system should produce knowledgeable and independent thinking students with a well-rounded education and a worldwide view. 

Justice in the Legal System
Our court system needs to be overhauled.  Politics needs to be taken out of the court system.  Again, the entire legal system favors the wealthiest individuals and corporations.  Long delays in trials favor those with deep pockets which can hold out the longest.  The legal system needs to be fair, affordable, efficient and expedient.


We need to make our politicians accountable to the American people.  Corrupt politicians whose policy is grossly out of whack with their constituents should be able to be recalled easily.  We need accountability in our national budgets.  Every last dollar should be accounted for with no funds going to illegal activities.  We need accountability from our corporations.  Once, executives committing illegal activities went to jail.  Now, corporations pay a token fine and it's business as usual.  We need better regulatory policy and enforcement.  We need stronger fines and penalties to inhibit illegal actions.  We need the best environmental protection in the world as we have the most money and the best technology.  We need to stop the revolving door policy where people go from industry to government and then back to industry.  Regulations that favor big corporations need to cease.  Big regulations for big corporations and small regulations for small business.


Americans need to act now.  Our civil liberties are disappearing, our infrastructure is falling apart, our debt is out of control and our middle class is falling into poverty.  The US and really the world is quickly falling into a plutonomy - the elite and everyone else.  US corporations, which are now multi-nationals, no longer have to cater to US interests.  America is just another market.

We ask our corporations to maximize profits within the laws and regulations they are given.  That's the game.  But when they are making and influencing the laws they are supposed to be following, it's a huge conflict of interest.  Corporations should stick to making money instead of influencing voters, politicians, regulators and researchers.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Open Letter to George F. Will

Dear Mr. Will,

I was very disappointed in your latest op-ed piece. It seems that you are (or have become) oblivious to the bizarro world in which semi-automatic weapons are currently being engraved with "you lie" (courtesy of Republican Joe Wilson and the NRA), rifle crosshairs and "reload" are the focus of Republican ads, websites and campaign speeches 'targeting' Democratic candidates (courtesy of Republican/Tea Party's Sarah Palin) and Tea Party speakers
at rallies admonish listeners with "if ballots don't work, bullets will" (courtesy of conservative radio host Joyce Kaufman).

Rather than even considering whether such rhetoric is indeed being widely propagated by right-wing candidates and media outlets, if such rhetoric is appropriate or could conceivably
provoke some lunatics, you proceed to pontificate on "a characteristic of many contemporary minds." Condescendingly, you describe liberal/progressive "susceptibility to the superstition that all a product of promptings from the social environment." With 'compelling logic' no doubt derived from your impeccable sociological and psychological credentials(or lack thereof), you maintain this naive 'superstition' produces a reflex whereby progressives blames conservatives for any randomness they don't like.

You conclude that Howard Dean, NY Times columnist Charles Blow and a recent NY Times piece on Tucson are clear examples of an entire "generation of liberals whose default position... is to indict opponents as racists. This McCarthyism of the left-devoid of intellectual content, unsupported by data-is a mental tic, not an idea but a tactic for avoiding engagement with ideas."

And where is the intellectual content in your piece? Is it in the contention that liberals/progressives are susceptible to naive superstition which compels them to blame conservatives for everything? Is it in the contention that a whole generation of liberals practiced "McCarthyism" calling all who dared oppose them racists? Mr. Will, where is the "data" to support your allegedly 'intellectual content’, which the left has been so "devoid" of for decades? You obviously prefer an ideological rant against liberals to serious intellectual consideration of the several specific points raised in "Bloodshed and Invective in Arizona" which WERE supported by data:
"Last spring, Capitol security officials said threats against members of Congress had tripled over the previous year, almost all from opponents of health care reform. An effigy of representative Frank Kratovil Jr., a Maryland Democrat, was hung from a gallows outside his district office. Ms. Giffords’s district office door was smashed after the health vote, possibly by a bullet. The federal judge who was killed, John Roll, had received hundreds of menacing phone calls and death threats, especially after he allowed a case to proceed against a rancher accused of assaulting 16 Mexicans as they tried to cross his land. This rage, stirred by talk-radio hosts, required marshals to give the judge and his family 24-hour protection for a month. Around the nation, threats to federal judges have soared for a decade....
That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of “the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country.” Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal.
Its gun laws are among the most lenient, allowing even a disturbed man like Mr. Loughner to buy a pistol and carry it concealed without a special permit..."

You refuse to even consider that " it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people." Those, sir, ARE ideas, repugnant though you may find them! Your espousement of “sh_t happens, execute the ____ and get over it!” couched in an ideological diatribe is nothing but a hackneyed avoidance of engagement, a sorry excuse for intellectual content!