Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What must they think?

We are without a doubt as a species the most self absorbed, selfish, narcissistic, greedy and obtuse collection of similar life forms on the planet. Every other species on the planet works together within their environment on the collective survival, welfare and general good of the entire species. Sure there are some predator prey relationships between differing species and some intra species cannibalism but you never find them fouling their own nest, killing indiscriminately, over using their resources or partaking in genocide. The other species on this planet could survive in relative harmony with both the planet and each other if not for extraordinary cataclysmic events or our presence as the dominate species. They do not war on each other or ignore the honest results of whatever intellectual capacity they have for understanding their long term survival. They have no lust for monetary gain or power over other members of their community. In short they live in harmony with each other and the planet even though they supposedly have less intelligence than we do and the fact that they are living in a very hierarchal food chain that requires the taking of life for nourishment.

Imagine if you will what an unbiased outside observer of this planet must think of the quality of stewardship we have exercised over this plant and its environment and natural resources. Additionally what must such an observer think of our level of morality or potential for development into a species capable of self actualization or our collective level of intellectual and altruistic advancement. In the case of an advanced alien life form analyzing our fitness for inclusion in any kind of inter-galactic community they would likely be interested in our potential for scientific achievement capable of launching us into that community and the potential we show for bringing our greed, avarice, homicidal tendencies, and other less altruistic qualities with us. They might also look at things from the perspective of how to best put the planet to its highest and best use. It would not be very hard to conceive of an advanced civilization that would consider us of no more worth than we consider those other life forms we cohabitate this planet with. If we were capable of interplanetary travel but morally no more advanced than we are right now would we treat a less advanced civilization any better than we do each other? Should we expect better in return than we are capable of giving another less able?

What if the observer was the self same Christian god so many of us purport to believe in? Would he have any reason to believe that we will fulfill his wish that we love each other as we are supposed to love him? It is interesting to note that in our own religious beliefs we prognosticate the failure of mankind to live up to god’s expectations, requirements and wishes relative to our behavior and growth as a living representation of his power and love for us. We even prophetically see the end of the world as a partial retribution for our sins and a temporary triumph of evil on this planet due to our inability to follow god’s commandments which are all relative to developing our more altruistic natures and learning to love each other as we are supposed to love him. Supposedly he has already destroyed all life on this planet with the exception of the one good man he could find and a representative sample of breeding stock from among the other less advanced species. Of course this fresh start for our species has apparently not worked out as planned since we still have the book of revelations to look forward to which indicates we are incapable of learning our lesson and putting love for each other first among our thoughts and priorities.

Having considered the aliens and god we are left with only our children to contemplate as observers of our behavior and unlike a god or an alien they will not have the advantage of a real time observation point or the power to exercise any influence over what they observe. Unfortunately for them their observations will be of what we have wrought and the results of our actions that they will have little if any ability to ameliorate or modify. They will get what we leave them in terms of the quality of the environment, the quantity and quality of natural resources and the capacity to love each other. Their altruistic abilities and level of concern for each other and the planet will mirror our parenting, teaching, and example. Regardless though of their advancement or lack of it as human beings what will they think of us if we leave them a planet riddled with high radiation hot spots, depleted natural resources, polluted seas and diminished capacity to feed the population? If their inheritance includes ongoing wars, interracial conflict and continuing episodes of genocide what must we think of ourselves as parents and stewards of this planet and our children’s future? Is it really necessary for the sake of short term gain or stock market performance to ignore the reality of climate change and the damage we are doing to the planet? Can we really justify on a balance sheet making no real attempt to develop eco friendly alternative forms of energy or taking the poisons out of our food sources and the environment?

In my mind these are all questions relevant to our survival and the quality of life we leave our future progeny. The answers we give will create the world and environment we pass down to our children, our grand children and so on and so on. The aliens may never show up and god could certainly be forgiven for just giving up and leaving us to our own devices but our children will live with the consequences of our choices and actions or lack of them. They will look back and wonder at our foresight, compassion and love for them or they will wonder at best how could we have been so stupid in the face of incontrovertible and empiric proofs that our choices would ruin their inheritance. Many say “but I am too busy just trying to survive, or get ahead, or take care of my family, or get rich and I just don’t have time to even think about the future or my responsibility to it much less do anything about it” and they are right in that just doing any of those things can be all consuming. That does not change the fact that we do in fact have a responsibility to the future and to fulfill that responsibility requires that we be up on the issues of the present that will have an impact on that future.

That responsibility and our children’s perception of how we helped shape it also requires more than a modicum of political activism and engagement in the process of developing the answers to those questions and many more just as important. That responsibility brings with it an onerous and burdensome weight under which we have to labor if we are to be able someday to hold our heads high and proclaim we did the best we could for you and the rest is up to you. It is the price of being the captain of your own ship and the master of your soul and the consequences of abandoning it are too grim to contemplate. I can imagine no shame so deep, no despair so dark and no guilt as oppressive as that of knowing that you let your children down along with your children’s, children’s children. This planet can be one of our most precious gifts to our progeny or it can be the prison within which they live a miserable and mean existence and the choice is up to us.

Regardless of how big we think this planet is it really does have a finite amount of space and resources with which to sustain our lives and those who will come after us. It is very much like a life boat or raft upon a sea of vacuum with limited survival supplies of food, water and shelter. We are all aboard for good or evil, rough seas or fair and there is no other means of survival short of our ultimate destination. To make it we must conserve our supplies, treat each other with respect and compassion and keep the boat in good repair. It is an apt analogy even if you are used to thinking of the earth as an unlimited resource that can take all the punishment we can dish out because it in fact is not. There is ample proof of the deleterious affects our lack of respect for the planet has already had and the inevitable consequences of our continued disrespect will bring about. There is no need to try and cover all of that ground here but a recitation of the main issues might be though provoking for some, eye opening for others and a reason for pause to all to contemplate the harsh reality of our lack of good stewardship. Everyone is somewhat cognizant of environmental pollution and its effects on our air quality, water quality and soil quality but there are other issues and conundrums just as great we should all be considering how to handle.

There are things like ocean deoxygenation, global warming and dimming, sea level rise, ocean acidification, shutdown of thermohaline circulation, species extinction, pollinator declines or extinctions, eutrophication, genetic pollution, pesticide drift, plasticulture, desertification, nuclear issues and the list goes on and on. We don’t all have to be experts on these issues but we do have to demand that our leaders and politicians take them seriously and make decisions in accordance with what’s best for the planet and our long term survivability as opposed to short term personal gain for them. If we turn away from these issues and trust someone else to study them and make the necessary decisions we assume a terrible responsibility for the ultimate outcome of those decisions. To allow our politicians to pass resolutions that discount all environmental issues and their long term consequences in favor of short term corporate profits is unconscionable. I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer vis a vie this long rambling narrative but I am smart enough to know our government in particular and most others in general are focused on short term gains of one kind or another instead of the long term consequences of failing to prioritize our responsibilities to each other and future generations honestly. I hope this all make sense and helps even a few people to focus on the real issues that we face collectively as passengers in this little life boat we are all stuck on.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Utah Republicans fire a devastating broadside at democracy while the nation’s attention is on Wisconsin.

What happened today in Wisconsin has rightly drawn national attention to the GOP’S malicious attack on the middle class and the lengths both illegal and devious to which they are willing to go to usurp the rights, protections and hard won wages and benefits of the working poor. It is however only one front in the war the American middle class is slowly awaking to. Another and potentially even more devastating broadside was fired by the heavily republican legislature and Governor Herbert of Utah this week. HB477 is a bill which completely guts the previous open government law in Utah known as the Government Records Access and Management Act.

It took less than twenty-four hours from the time it was first brought up in committee for the Utah legislature to pass the bill twenty-one to seven. The bill strips the public’s legal right to access to governmental records, communications and work product that had been guaranteed under the GRAMA act. It limits public access in a most draconian manner to all records in that it allows the individual governmental entity to determine the times and prices allowable to provide the few records that will still be available. There was a mostly bi-partisan negative reaction that even had the Mormon Church owned KSL in Salt Lake publishing an editorial in favor of rewriting the law after the governor signed it even though the original opposition to the bill had surprised him and given pause to his intent to do just that.

In an article dated March 3rd KSL reporter Con Psarras described the bill this way “The bill contains several specific changes to existing laws which would have far-reaching consequences. It would establish that all text messages, instant messages, recorded video chats, and voicemails are private, regardless of their content. It eliminates the language that describes the legislature's original intent in creating the 1991 law, which has been interpreted by the courts as a statement in support of considering the status of most records to be public first, private second. It also grants government agencies the ability to set fees to process a records request which could become substantial, if not prohibitive, or even punitive. ”

The republicans have stated that the new law is needed to prevent the news media from going on witch hunts with the express purpose of embarrassing legislators. My response to that is if you don’t do or say anything wrong you will have no reason to be embarrassed and if you do as a public employee supposedly doing the people’s business in a manner which represents their best interest we have a right to know. The type of embarrassment these legislators are trying to avoid would I assume be like that suffered when the payment of thirteen million dollars by the Utah Department of Transportation to a losing bidder on a highway project last year came to light in part because an e-mail requested by local media reveled an affair between a department employee and the bidder.

When all was said and done it had also been revealed that Governor Herbert had also been the recipient of over eighty thousand dollars in campaign contributions from the winning bidder and met twice with them in the weeks leading up to the bid award. There was another such scandal that came to light because of open government laws when the same governor Herbert received a ten thousand dollar campaign contribution from Alton Coal and met with them just before he put pressure on the approval process of the licenses and approvals they needed to start work on Utah’s first strip mine. Neither of these blatant pay for play scenarios amounted to much in Utah where a republican governor is second in influence and power only to the Prophet of the Mormon Church but under the new law no one would have even known about them.

When any government passes laws that removes the disinfectant provided by the light of day and open records laws you can be sure the infection of secrecy and things that go bump in the night will eventually not only blind lady justice to partiality but to everything done in the dark corners of the minds and hearts of those who enacted such a law. You do not propose, support and pass such laws unless you either currently have or plan someday to have something to hide from the taxpayers who pay you salary and have every right to know how and what you are doing in the performance of your duties to them as your ultimate employer.

As Utah is so far to the right that you can’t get there from here if you have any progressive tendencies at all there is not much hope that the final version of this law will look much different than the current version. It has generated more controversy than one would normally expect though and in an astonishing short amount of time. There is a public protest slated tomorrow at the capitol and it will be interesting to see if it includes more than the two hundred or so who showed up for the one protest rally held there in support of the Wisconsin protestors.

This situation is deserving of just as much dismay, notoriety and public reaction as what governor Walker and his republican posse did in Wisconsin but for that to happen it will have to be generated somewhere else and imported to Utah. If that does not happen then your state might be next and your school boards, legislatures, city and county governments and departments of whatever will blindfold you like they are doing in Utah and proceed to commence to begin to start to do whatever they want whenever they want to do it with no accountability to you or anyone else.

Monday, March 7, 2011

There is a Solution to Our Governmental Inefficiency

Every once in a while I have to come back to this tired old refrain but before I start let me suggest anyone who has not either seen on CNN or read in Time Fareed Zakaria’s piece entitled “Are America’s Best Days behind Us” in Time and “Retuning to #1” on CNN do so at their earliest opportunity. It is a succinct and realistic refutation of the political mantra about American exceptionalism one hears every politician spouting at every opportunity. The ugly fact is that we have slipped far behind many of our global neighbors some of whom many average Americans have never heard of in lots of critical categories that measure economic viability and quality of life.

For instance even though we spend more on healthcare (excluding what the government spends) than any other country we get less for it in terms of life expectancy, quality of life and quality of healthcare. In terms of infant mortality we are ranked thirtieth in the world and we are falling so fast in educational related rankings the quality of the work forces we can field are not competitive on a global scale. Additionally our government whose job it is to fix these things is not even focused on them. The house and senate are embarrassingly inefficient and paralyzed almost beyond belief as they struggle to please the special interest who have wrested control of the government from them through the legal bribery we allow them to engage in and that brings me to my main theme.

We need to fix this government if we are to ever stand any chance at recovering the status and prestige we once enjoyed by right of performance among the world’s nations let alone keep from losing ever more of our quality of life. There is no reason that the decisions of the last thirty years that have led us down the prim rose path to our current economic debacle cannot be reversed. We do not have to settle for allowing the worlds corporations to run our government and decide our fate. What we have done metaphorically speaking is leave the cash drawers open in front of our elected representatives and made thieves out of them and fools out of ourselves. We can change it though in time to turn things around if we act boldly, courageously and with expediency.

When you look at what our politicians are focused on relative to our most pressing problems it is almost enough to make one die laughing and crying at the same time. If our national debt is indeed the horrific destructive force it is represented as the solutions being suggested are of a quality to make a first grader blush. Both sides of the aisle are taking ever so gentle swipes at supposedly non-essential discreationary spending including Medicaid and education. Ron Paul even suggested dispensing with the entire department of education. That was not his best moment not that he has many to begin with. No one is seriously suggesting we reform our tax laws to get rid of the loopholes, special credits and corporate welfare that are so rife within the system they reduce the effective tax rate to god only knows what.

None of our precious leaders are looking at the small and relatively painless changes that could be made to all of our so called entitlement programs and trying to explain to the inevitable chorus of negative voices why they are necessary. In short none of them are willing to do the heavy lifting needed to put us back on track. Rather than reform our healthcare system in any real meaningful way republicans and democrats fought tooth and nail to avoid insulting the insurance companies, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies regardless of the fact that real reform would have slashed real money from the deficit. The fact is they are just not even trying to get the job done in any meaningful way and a meaningful solution to that problem calls for drastic and immediate action.

In my mind there are two parts to the solution the first being an absolute ban on corporate campaign contributions. This will be much harder to accomplish now that Citizen’s United (an oxymoron if ever I heard one) is in the can. Notwithstanding the fact that justices Thomas and Alito should have recused themselves the decision was just plain wrong and one the court could easily revisit if enough pressure was brought to bear from the citizenry. Even if it required a constitutional amendment it is the only way to shut the cash drawers. Corporations should not be considered people for tax purposes and the idea that payola is a function of their right to free speech is ludicrous on its face. I don’t care how many white papers they publish or policy pronouncements they make but I object vehemently to their being allowed to bribe my elected representatives.

The other piece of the solution is a grass roots movement to implement term limits of three terms on congressman and two on senators. For all of their vaunted heavenly inspiration this is one that the forefathers got wrong. It was vigorously debated and they decided not to include it partially because they considered public service a necessary sacrifice and did not really envision anyone wanting to be a professional politician. In their day you served a term or two and went home to the farm, cobbler shop, law practice or newspaper to resume your real life. That is exactly what they should be doing today.

The combination of meaningful financial reform and term limits will put our politicians on notice that we the people are in control of the government and holding them accountable for their performance as the employees they are. As much as they consider themselves some kind of aristocracy and above the law instead of servants to it they really are just our employees. If we remove the financial incentives attached to the job other than their salaries and make it clear that this is not a lifetime entitlement program but rather a position of service to the country we will get a much better result than we are getting now.

Our government is basically non-functional at this point and the laughing stock of the whole planet. It is our government though and our responsibility to fix it is clear enough. We will get and deserve the quality of government we settle for and right now our collective standards are just too dammed low relative to that quality. An attitude that the ship is too big, the task too gargantuan and the effort to onerous will only lead us further down the path of economic decay and a diminishing quality of life. If that is what we really want all it takes if for good men and women to do nothing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Should Healthcare Be Provided on a State by State Basis as Romney Says?

First of all let’s get one thing straight the real conservative objection to the new healthcare law is not based on their viewing it as a costly government expansion, an intrusion into their lives or a mandate that everyone have insurance. Oh sure, some of the flock have ingested that kool-aid but the leadership knows that the law will reduce the deficit, cover another thirty-five million people and inhibit the insurance companies from treating policy holders like second class citizens. And therein is the rub. The real objection is that the insurance companies, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies do not want the negative impact on their bottom lines or the loss of control over an industry they consider their private playground.

It would be easy to turn this writing into a rant against insurance companies, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies or politicians who sell their votes to assuage the special interest in whose pockets they ride around in. Anyone with any common sense already has that piece of the puzzle figured out though and it would be preaching to the choir and a waste of time. Unless of course it added to the national disgust over politicians selling their votes just enough to push us into a grassroots effort to implement real fundamental campaign finance reform and congressional term limits but that is not likely even though my hope springs eternal.

My focus instead is on Romney’s ill thought out defense he is postulating relative to the bill he designed and pushed through the Massachusetts legislature. In many respects it is an almost exact precursor to the new healthcare act. President Obama has even given Romney credit for helping to design and formulate the national bill first on a state level. He of course is not thrilled that the president singled him out for such praise because the rest of the republican presidential hopefuls have turned it against him by pointing out what they want everybody to perceive as the bills faults and Romney’s endorsement of them. He has responded with the rather weak argument that the bill was an experiment designed for local use in Massachusetts and that while he thinks it works pretty well in that state there are some things he would change about it and that he would never use it as a template for a national plan.

He then gets into a convoluted and dubious conversation about states’ rights and his opinion that healthcare should be a local problem with local solutions and no intrusion by the federal government at all. This argument makes him look and sound pathetically weak, intellectually challenged and desperate to hold the highest office in the land even if he has to look foolish in the attempt. If healthcare were ever to be a strictly local problem solved on a state by state level it would be an unmitigated disaster. What would states like Mississippi & Arkansas, West Virginia & Tennessee, South Carolina & Montana and Kentucky and Alabama do when all of their residents moved out of state because their healthcare was only equivalent to that of a turn of the century village where the doctor and the dentist were the same individual?

Those states like the ones mentioned above with very poor populations and minimal resources if left on their own to provide healthcare without any intervention (money) from the federal government would soon see a mass exodus that would start with the sick and spread from there. Then there are the states with low population counts like Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska and The Dakotas that would have the same problem in that they would not have the economic resources to provide top quality healthcare for everyone if it were managed strictly on a local basis. Even California would be unable to cope without federal assistance. So no Mr. Romney healthcare cannot be solved, provided or of high quality without the combined effort of the whole country including the federal government.

Maybe the place to start the conversation is whether we as a country see healthcare as a right or a privilege? If it is a right that imbues to all of us like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and we come to a consensus in regard to that it changes the nature of the conversation from one where all the special interest are trying to protect profit, territory and control to one of how do we as a nation ensure, codify and provide that right to every person. If after a national dialogue led by our president and politicians we decide it is a privilege the conversation also becomes easier to have in that we all know who the privileged are in this country. They are the top one percent of wage earners who get all the tax breaks. In that case healthcare will remain as it is and as justice is in this country slogans over the supreme court to the contrary, you will get the volume and quality of each that you can personally afford end of conversation, finis.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dear Mr. President,

I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that I appreciate the job you are doing and the tremendous effort and strain it must require. The office you hold while it is one you sought is not without its surprises, stresses and strains. It is probable that anyone holding the office for the first time is at times somewhat overwhelmed with the responsibility, complexity and crushing weight of all the problems we the people expect you to solve. While some presidents do a better job than others of rising to the occasion and history has a way of ameliorating those judgments it is my feeling that you have risen admirably to the challenges of the office and are the right man at the right time in our history to help heal our wounds, repair our image and move us forward.

How anyone not faced with the challenges facing you such as the complex political climate, the economic situation, the international morass and all of the daily decisions that must pursue you from moment to moment cannot offer you their prayers and support is beyond me. Regardless of political persuasion you are the president of us all and deserving of our heartfelt support regardless. In my mind the only way for America to advance and progress through the problems and opportunities we face is to stand together shoulder to shoulder behind the leaders we were fortunate to be able to elect regardless of our petty differences.

I know we did not get to where we are economically, politically, internationally or domestically in the blink of an eye and we cannot expect immediate solutions to all our problems overnight. It is also very apparent that fate can hand us new and horrifying challenges beyond our comprehension and ability to prevent but there is no one sir I would rather have at the helm today then you. I have implicit trust in your vision, judgment, character, morality and ability to lead. Changing anything so complex as the society in which we live is a formidable task when there are so many individual, corporate and special interest pulling this way and pushing that way trying every which way to obtain the end they seek regardless of the means necessary to achieve it.

I do not envy you your job and imagine anyone in your position might occasionally have second thoughts about the task and their fitness or ability to take it on. Well you sir have done a remarkable job so far and it is my prayer you get a second term to try and finish what you and we the people started together when we elected you. The way you carry yourself, represent us before the world and stand-up for the average American inspires many of us and personally makes me very proud of my president, my country and our form of government.

With all the confidence in the world in you and that you will keep fighting the good fight win, lose or draw I salute you, your office and the effort you make each and every day on behalf of the American people. May god bless you and strengthen you for the tasks at hand and protect you and your family as you labor for us to make this a better country in which to live, work, play and raise our families. Thank you again on behalf of a grateful nation and god bless.

Dan Creamer

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Art of Character Assassination

There has been an ongoing attempt by those on the right to cast aspersions on President Obama’s character, to malign his ethnicity and rewrite his personal history. Unfortunately it has been so successful that according to a widely disseminated CNN News Poll published on last August 4th forty-one percent of republicans profess to believe the president either probably or definitely was born in another country. Twenty-nine percent of independents and twenty-seven percent of all Americans believe the same thing. The conspiracy theory won’t die and now we have at least eleven states either proposing or having passed new laws regarding proof of citizenship and eligibility for holding presidential office, they include Arizona's HB2544, Connecticut's SB391, Georgia's HB37, Indiana's SB114, Maine's LD34, Missouri's HB283, Montana's HB205, Nebraska's LB654, Oklahoma's SB91, SB384 and SB540, Tennessee SB366, and Texas; HB295 and HB529. While some of these bills have died in committee or been shelved because they are rightly seen as unconstitutional the fact that they were proposed at all speaks to the prevalence, depth and reach of the misinformation campaign that has been waged against Barak Obama and his real true life biography.
One has to assume that most men and women who have risen to the rank of either their state legislature or our national legislature would be possessed of both the innate intelligence and common sense to assess the facts surrounding the president’s birth, upbringing, childhood, young adulthood, education and work history. You would like to be able to and indeed almost have to credit them with the ability to seek and know the truth if you are going to be at all comfortable with them holding the offices that they do. After all the truth is out there and readily available to any who really seek it. One would assume that our legislators on both the state and national level would have a vested interest in any presidential contender’s credentials and bona fides let alone any politically aware citizen with the smallest modicum of intelligence. So it is hard to fathom why if we take for granted both the ability and a pressing need to know the truth so many either clumsily dissemble, feign ignorance or actively support the untruthful, malicious and malevolent stories being propagated not just by your average imbecilic conspiracy theorist but also those who not only should know better but indubitably do.
Logic tells you that people lie for only a couple of reasons unless they are pathologically addicted to the telling of falsehoods. The most obvious and probably most prevalent reason people prevaricate is to get out of or avoid getting into trouble for some act or omission that if known to be true will incur what they perceive to be negative consequences. Another frequent reason for this most aberrational of behaviors is self aggrandizement or the pursuit of popularity and approval from those lied to. Since neither of those reasons would seemingly apply to those responsible for propagating a completely false history of the president’s life there must therefore be some other reason for the lies. There are only two possibilities that spring to mind. Exclusive of motivation which can be surmised but not empirically known one can assume that those who know the truth and refuse to acknowledge it must be receiving some satisfaction from their endeavors to paint the president as other than he really is. One such source of satisfaction must be the attempt to destroy his political potential and derail his chances for reelection. The other would necessarily spring from some sort of personal animas based on either a personal experience with the president or a prejudice against him for some reason which would seem to stem from his not being “one of us”. Since we can empirically dispense with any sort of personal experience the motivation must be the latter or some sort of ingrained prejudice against what is most often lied about that being his ethnic background, place of birth, political persuasion, associations, and religion and life experiences.
He has been accused of being a socialist, a communist, a Nazi, un-American, a foreigner, a Muslim, a terrorist and part of an old conspiracy to bring an Islamic president into the White House for the purpose of destroying the constitution and implementing Sharia law in the United States. He has even been accused of being the Anti-Christ of biblical prophecy who will bring about Armageddon and the end of the world as we know it. The most troubling aspect of this conspiracy of lies is that it is being spread, supported and kept alive by intelligent, educated, articulate representatives of our government and some of those who would be president themselves. The latest iteration of this is the Mike Huckabee statements and concurrence of Bill O’reilly this last week. This is just one example of literally hundreds if not thousands of instances where people of note have told and retold these lies when they certainly know them to be lies for their own nefarious purposes whatever they may be. The fact that this activity has been utilized primarily by the Republican Party from their leaders on down to the lowliest tea party member is not lost on even the most casual observer and does not serve them well in terms of the trust, respect and confidence it engenders in even the honest conservative much less the truly independent voter or democrat.
It is truly troubling that any aggregate of nationally prominent people would resort to such blatant mis-appropriation of the truth for any reason including politics or outright prejudice. It speaks volumes about what they perceive the intelligence of their constituency’s to be and also about their own morality and personal character. It points to a lessening of our national character and morality as well. It is disheartening to think we have become a nation of so na├»ve, apathetic, prejudiced and or ignorant individuals that our leaders think such a tactic will work and that in fact it has convinced twenty-seven percent of us that the lie is the truth because it is what we want to believe. It must negatively affect our standing in the world wide community when people who once admired us for our political achievements now see us exposed for a country that rather than have open and honest debates on the issues we face together sees one party trying to assassinate the character of our president with lies the whole world knows to be lies and a measurable percentage of our populous drinking the cool-aid.
To the extent that this program of biographical alteration is a political strategy designed along with an obvious attempt to keep the economy in decline until after the 2012 elections and beyond should President Obama win this is a truly frightening scenario we are being subjected to and one has to wonder what the ulterior motivations of those pulling the strings are. Is it really just as simple as a misguided attempt to take back the White House or when seen in combination with the rights job killing budget proposal, union busting activities, intent to destroy social programs and the ongoing export of our manufacturing base is there some more nefarious purpose afoot? One can only guess at the ultimate outcome of a clean sweep by the republicans but a world where America has no concern for the environment, no regulatory oversight of our food production, financial industry and corporate malfeasance is troubling to say the very least. The right will given the opportunity kill social security, Medicaid, un-employment insurance, food stamps, and any other social program they can get their hands on. The fact that they have been not only willing but remarkably successful in pursuing these goals by means fair and most foul should be of paramount concern to all Americans liberal or conservative.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fort Sumter, Wisconsin

Though not the very first shot fired by the republicans in their war on the middle class the attempt by Governor Walker to eradicate collective bargaining from the rights of the public employee unions in Wisconsin is like Fort Sumter in that it is the first full scale assault on the middle class. The real agenda is to destroy the unions and thereby render them ineffective as a finance source for progressive causes, freedom and liberty. I call it a full scale assault because of the wide spread support he is receiving from the right at all levels including the following.
Glen Beck called teachers useful idiots and accused the police of having thrown in with the socialist on his radio show today. Previously Beck had made the following comments and as everyone knows he thinks any American standing up for their rights is guilty of hastening the day when an Islamic Caliphate takes over in the world.
Beck: Union Members "Think That They Want What's Fair. But Who Is Moving The Chess Pieces In Wisconsin?"
Beck: Union Leaders Are "Using You Just As Political, Radicalized Islam Is Using The Average Person On The Street"
Beck: Wisconsin Protests Are "About The People Looking To Create Chaos On The Backs Of The Worker"
Beck Begs Union Members: "You've Got To Decide. ... Your Unions Are Anti-Western Way Of Life"
Glenn Becks ranting and raving does not fool most Americans who are intelligent enough to know when someone is setting them up for a fall and trying to steal their right to self-determination. His simply a tool employed by the right wing media to pull the wool over the eyes of the intellectually challenged.
Further proof of the full scale effort to defeat the unions in Wisconsin and elsewhere is evinced by the Republican Governors Association (RGA) starting a website in support of Governor Walker’s assault on the middle class. The following is a direct quote lifted from the RGA article, “Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is in the middle of what will be a defining moment for our country and the conservative movement,” said RGA Chairman Rick Perry. “It is essential that we stand with Governor Walker and show political leaders throughout the country that America is ready to take on its toughest political challenges.”
If one looks at the front page of the Republican National Committee one sees headlines screaming about the union’s ability to raise money for the Democrats and how they have to be stopped. That is what this fight is really all about but rather than stand on principal and tell the American people what the fight is all about the republicans would rather climb a tree and shout falsehoods about the budget and the deficit and out of control spending.
The one thing that republicans have going for them now that the democrats don’t is an experienced board of directors in the Koch brothers, Doug Coe and others including Robert Murdoch that bring an ability to craft a strategy that looks downstream and brings some cohesion to the party line messaging and hyperbole. Truth is not a value they hold dear so it takes a fair amount of skepticism, research and common sense to ferret out the truth or the wheat from the chaff so to speak.
Most economist agree that the slash and burn budget cutting proposed by the republicans will slow the economy and cost us around a million jobs in the next year alone. Their reaction is basically tough stuff it’s what is necessary to save us from the democrats who have brought us to this debacle in just two short years. Anyone with any common sense and a modicum of intelligence knows that that is just not true. President Bush starting with a surplus free gratis from President Clinton in eight years handed off to President Obama two wars, crippling declines in job growth, a full blown recession and an economy heading for the cliff if something was not done immediately. The fact is though that the board of directors and their crony’s behind the scenes are only interested in making ever more money and gaining ever more control of the world-wide chess board upon which they play.
If it is cheaper to build in Mexico, China, Singapore or on the moon that is where the factories and jobs are going to be. These men have no loyalty to any flag, country, constitution, people or place. They truly operate on a world-wide stage and it makes no difference to them who gets hurt, lives in poverty, is denied basic human rights or is swept off the chess board in the process of playing the game for the maximum profit and the thrill of waging almost god like power over the planet. In America the Republican Party has become their bought and paid for minions and stooges who vote as told and discourse as instructed. They have their own planet wide propaganda arm and public relations entity and they are quite good at manipulating the thought processes of hardworking people who are just trying to survive by pandering to their real and imaginary fears, creating fears where none exists and manufacturing out of whole cloth falsehoods and prevarications intended to mislead them.
The Citizens United decision has given them the ability to use their virtually unlimited funds to subvert our governmental process, support those politicians who can be bought and finance any political effort without regard to fairness, equality or ethical consideration. Make no mistake this is a war and the right has the money, votes, propaganda, will and ability to win it going away. The only thing still standing in their way is you and I. Our collective ability and willingness to dig out the truth spread it around and stand our ground is the only thing in their way. We are under assault and the cannon balls are caroming off of our rights and liberties. It is time to man the walls and drive the invader back.

Who Cares About Jobs???

Jobs, one might consider them an important and fundamental underpinning of the ability to climb up through the levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs toward self actualization. There are certain necessary tools, attributes, abilities and situational dynamics that are required to be either innate to ones being or part of one’s situation in life before one can attain such lofty philosophical and psychological heights as those pertaining to self actualization. A job certainly counts as one of the things you need at the bottom of the needs ladder when your primary concern is leaving the paternal nest and starting a life of your own. As you progress through life and take on more and more responsibility for others such as a mate and possibly even a family the quality and security of your job becomes more and more important. In your later life when the children are raised and there is a tendency to want to reduce the amount of stress in your life and maybe even pursue your definition of self actualization the job or jobs you held will determine if you are financially able to do that. The point of all the foregoing is that everybody cares about jobs; everybody that is except John Boehner and the Republican Party.
Prior to the mid-term election John (cries-a-lot) Boehner’s favorite mantras came in two basic varieties and they were both related to the importance he and his compadre’s on the right attached to the national jobs outlook. One was that every breath President Obama took was a “jobs killing” attack on the American economy. The other was his oft repeated question of the president “Mr. President where are the jobs?” It seem now though that Mr. Boehner has had a sudden change of heart and direction from the one he promised he would take us in. Having become the speaker of the house Mr. Boehner has decided that everything from a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare and deficit reduction is much more urgently important than a jobs program. In fact his current attitude on jobs is that if we lose almost a million jobs this year “so be it” he says. When Mr. Boehner made the so be it quip he was responding to a question relative to only two hundred thousand jobs. Since then it has become painfully obvious that the republicans are the ones who are trying to retard if not destroy job growth in America.
One has to question why the republicans would try to subvert the economic growth we have enjoyed over the last two years as slow and as anemic as it has been. We have turned the corner on job growth, and the president has proposed some public and private sector programs that will if implemented continue that trend and strengthen it over time. Certainly we have the immediate and pressing need to both create jobs and sustain our economic growth. The president’s proposals relative to repairing and replacing aged and crumbling infrastructure, installing high speed rail service, investing in alternative energy and creating new industries that are ecologically sound certainly contribute to that scenario. So again why would the republican’s oppose job creation and tout a spending cuts program that between now and the next election will stall the economic recovery and cost us a million jobs more or less?
As is often the case in politics the answer is in the question. They currently have no one in their stable with the personality, intelligence, track record, charisma or following to challenge President Obama in 2012 if he is successful in turning around the economy and creating jobs even if at a rate lower and slower that we would all like to see. So when you are more beholden to the special interest who finance your existence and pay for your votes than you are to your conscience and the best interest of the people who elected you and you know you are going to lose an election that is held straight up you go to Plan B. Plan B is to subvert the economy as much as is necessary to weaken the president enough that they feel they have shot at defeating him. I don’t want to even consider what they would contemplate for Plan C if B fails them. I am just thankful that the secret service is not squeamish about considering such things.