Archive for the ‘2012 Campaign’ Category

Today (NBC program)

Today (NBC program) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t imagine that too many people would argue that our economic system is working just fine. The fact is that it’s been broken for a long, long time. But getting any kind of consensus as to what’s wrong with the system is another matter altogether. A perfect illustration of this happened a week or so ago on the Today Show with Matt Lauer. He asked Jim Cramer, NBC’s on-air stock picker, whether Bain Capital’s strategy of firing workers to reduce labor costs illustrated a failure of capitalism or if it was just good business. Cramer said it was good business, and that seemed fine with Lauer as he cut for a commercial.

Hey guys, it’s both. In the context of capitalism reducing labor costs…regardless of the social consequences of doing so…is part of the play book. And that is a failure of capitalism. It is unsustainable. It is morally bankrupt. And, it will lead to a violent pushback against the oligarchs.

Isn’t it time that we started asking some tough questions about the hallowed ground of capitalism before it’s too late?

Advertisements
Official portrait of Congressman .

Official portrait of Congressman . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you don’t recognize this saying I confess to borrowing it from a wonderful Broadway show entitled “The Best Little Whore House in Texas.” The full line, which was delivered by a wily old sheriff, went something like this: Quit pissing on my boots and calling it raindrops.” Whenever the endless stream of Republican clap trap starts to get me down, I invoke the pissing imagery to ward off insanity. Sometimes it works.

I needed it, big time, a couple of weeks ago while watching Paul Ryan on Morning Joe. In a discussion of his draconian budget proposal he said that the tax code shouldn’t be used to pick winners and losers.

WTF!! Maybe what he meant to say was that the tax code should only pick winners. Everyone else can fight for the rest of the pie.

Bullshit to you, Congressman.

PolitiFact | Reince Priebus says health care law could mean as many as 20 million Americans could lose their employer-based insurance.

So, I got a message from a reader who said, ““Whenever I read an article calling George Bush a war criminal I have to stop and ask myself exactly what is it that makes people like you tick.” I don’t think he meant it as a compliment. Nonetheless, I felt obligated to provide some clarity to his“tick” thing so he can get on with his life.

What makes people like me tick? Well, lots of things.

I get really pissed off when we fight unjust wars, unjustly.

I get really pissed off when, in order to exact revenge for the killing of nearly 3,000 people in the 911 attacks, we go to war against a country that had nothing to do with 911 or Bin Laden, and then watch as nearly 3,000 American soldiers die, 33,184 are injured, many of them seriously, and an untold number suffer the lasting effects of PTSD. Of course, that doesn’t include the million or so Iraq dead, but who gives a damn about them, right?

I get really pissed off at the $2-plus trillion price tag of the war, which contributed mightily to the deficit, and which people like you will try to offset with tax cuts for the rich, and cutbacks in the social safety net (perhaps you would be kind enough to explain how the math works on that).

I get really pissed when I think how giddy Bin Laden must have gotten when he realized that he set off a series of events, which we are still dealing with a decade later, that turned out to be an unmitigated economic and foreign policy disaster for the United States.

I get really pissed off because the decision to invade Iraq was made prior to the justification for the invasion.

I get really pissed off when I think about the secret energy policy meeting was held prior to the invasion at which Iraqi oil fields were divvied up among American oil companies.

I get really pissed off when the United States tortures combatants and detain them in secret prisons. Sadly, I could go on, but I think you have a sense of what makes me tick.

But, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Bush isn’t a war criminal. But if he isn’t, what the fuck would you call him?

If politics is the art of compromise, where did all the artists go?

It’s like they’ve all left town, leaving in their wake a bunch of ideologically-driven, my-way-or-the-highway crazies who believe that God is on their side, and that they have the right to impose their views, religious and otherwise, on the rest of us. Well, if their objective is to piss off and galvanize the left, they succeeded.

Who didn’t get pissed off at three-plus years of endless obstructionism, the record number of filibusters, and the unwillingness to approve the President’s appointees simply to impede the functioning of his administration? And how about the birther bullshit, and the oft-heard claim that Obama isn’t “one of us”…that he’s different…that his theology isn’t rooted in the Bible, and that he channels his Kenyan, anti-colonial father?  Do you think racism has something to do with it? No matter, though, because we’re pissed off and that’s good.

We’re pissed off because protecting the profits of health insurance companies is more important than saving lives, and that no medicine at all is better than “socialized” medicine, which works just fine for the rest of the developed world, but which isn’t good enough for America. Whose America? Not yours and mine, that’s for damned sure. But no matter because pissed off is good.

And how do you feel about voter ID laws or, as they are known in some circles, Jim Crow lite? Targeted against poor and minority populations, these laws have no reason to exist beyond the Republican desire to suppress voter turnout. Yet, Republicans talk about the sanctity of the vote as if they give a damn. Perhaps they think we are no longer pissed off about Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004. But, alas, we are still pissed off. We’re just more pissed off, now.

Oh, lest we forget the recent assaults on women’s rights, are we really talking about contraception in 2012?

So, if pissed off leads to getting involved, being heard and making a difference, let’s give a big round of applause to all those who would make America the Christian nation the founding fathers tried so hard to prevent. Let’s make sure we bury these people at the ballot box.

Česky: Oficiální portrét amerického prezidenta...

Image via Wikipedia

There’s a wonderful blog post on Nomadic Politics entitled The 11 Reasons Why Ronald Reagan is Un-Electable in 2012.” It puts into stark perspective the pervasive insanity that characterizes Republican politics.

I’ve thought often about how out of step Reagan would be with the current state of the Republican Party. Yet, they tip their hats to him all the time, even though he would be seen as a moderate, today .

Well, moderate or not, Reagan set the stage for the greatest aggregation of wealth at the top in the world’s history. He also unleashed the culture war, which has driven a wedge between the parties such that compromise is impossible. He did it to consolidate political power, the unintended consequence of which has been complete political dysfunction.

The Left never, never contrived to destroy the Right, yet the Right says it wants to destroy, for all time, the “liberal scourge afflicting America.” Really? Well, it’s not the Left’s job to put this distructive and dysfunctional genie back in the bottle; the Republicans took it out, they can put it back. Until they do, they can go to hell.

The Rick Santorum phenomenon only makes sense in the context of what the Republican Party has become. He is supported by a significant number of people who vote as a group, and who possess a world view that is disconnected from any sense of reality other than their own. But to me, the problem isn’t Rick Santorum per se, nor is it any other Republican candidate because, after they are relegated to the political scrapheap, the right-wing, evangelical whack jobs who breathed life into them will still be around questioning evolution, promoting the Christian-nation baloney, removing Thomas Jefferson from social studies textbooks in favor of John Calvin (Texas schoolbook adoption), denying global warming, discriminating against gays and the transgendered, denying women the right to manage their own bodies, and burning an occasional witch. Can you imagine any other developed nation where a guy like Rick Santorum would be given even a puncher’s chance of becoming president, prime minister or whatever?

In a New York Times article by David Kirkpatrick entitled, “For Evangelicals, Supporting Israel Is ‘God’s Foreign Policy’” (November 14, 2006), he wrote:

Many conservative Christians say they believe that [President George W. Bush’s] support for Israel fulfills a biblical injunction to protect the Jewish state, which some of them think will play a pivotal role in the second coming. Many on the left, in turn, fear that such theology may influence decisions the administration makes toward Israel and the Middle East.

Well, I’m on the left and it sure scares the hell out of me; it should scare anyone who gives a damn about how the most powerful nation on earth conducts its foreign policy. But remember that Kirkpatrick was referring to the presidency of George W. Bush, a guy who talked the talk but didn’t walk much of the walk…thank God :).

An evangelical Christian like Rick Santorum will be another matter, altogether. Surrounded by like-minded cheerleaders and hounded by extreme-right supporters with markers to cash, would anyone be surprised if the U.S took up arms in support of Israel and, along the way, seized a little oil? In fact, would anyone be surprised to learn that our involvement in Iraq was a nod to the same evangelical forces?

But, once again, the issue is less Santorum than it is those who pull his strings. For this group, the ends justify the means. That’s the way it is with Crusades and the next election is a Crusade. The Right is already in with voter suppression, and they know a thing or two about electronic vote fraud (Vote Fraud 2004: How Ohio was “Delivered” to Bush). So 2012 is going to be a war, and it’s a war that the Left can ill afford to lose. I hope we’re up to it.
________________________________________________________________________

In a post on this site entitled Religion in politics, a line in the sand, I offer this test to determine whether ideas are suitable for political debate: when ideas cannot stand apart from the faith-based belief set from which they spring, especially when those ideas can influence domestic and foreign policy, they must have no standing in the public square debate.

________________________________________________________________________

those who allow religious dogma to trump their own, god-given ability to think and reason believe they are on a never-ending mission to make the world “Christian.” Frankly, I think that the whole lot of them, including Rick Santorum, are both nuts and dangerous.

________________________________________________________________________

I thought better of mentioning it at the time, but what she said reminded me of three song titles: “Don’t worry, be happy”; “What will be, will be”; and that perennial favorite, “I feel better when I outsource to God any personal responsibility that I might have for future generations.”