Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Don't ask, Don't tell. Why ask?

The report from the pentagon on how repeal of DADT would affect the troops is all very well and good but - completely unnecessary. We don't do surveys on whether it is good for society to allow people equal civil rights. Their rights already exist - the only thing society can do is take them away. Serving one's country is a civil right, like voting and education. It is criminal and unjust that up until now, gays and lesbians have not been able to serve openly in the military.
We don't ask troops if they feel comfortable serving with blacks, or females, or latinos. They serve with whom they are told to serve and they get each other's back when they need to.
This is an issue that affects our country's security and the whole purpose of defending it. Veterans themselves support eliminating discrimination against gays and lesbians. But even if they didn't, it wouldn't matter. Discrimination is wrong - no matter what your religion, or your granny, or your prejudice says.  

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sarah Palin - Going Rouge

I picked this up at the library thinking it was the book - supposedly written by Sarah P. entitled Going Rogue.. Instead this is a collection of articles written by various analysts and commentators interspersed with some of the more "creative" comments by Mrs. Palin herself. Two main impressions come through. First the breathtaking hypocrisy of the lady. An article by Elstun Lauesen points out that despite Sarah's disdain for all things socialist, she sent out welfare checks of 1,200 dollars to every citizen of Alaska, from the collective energy wealth of the state. I'm sure that was a popular move - giving away free government money to people who didn't work for it. It seems to me that it would make more sense to invest that money in infrastructure or education or technology that would pay off to future generations, but we all know that conservatives don't believe in investing in such things.
The second main impression is that she is - although charismatic and photogenic - a very poor thinker. Her logic and rhetoric are beyond stupid and well into the land of incomprehensible. We get a vague impression of what she is trying to communicate, but careful analysis of her speeches and statements mostly reveal vacuity behind the verbiage.
Comparing her speechifying with that of any past president presents a shocking contrast. The notion that someone so shallow and dense could become the leader of the most nation on the planet is nightmarish. We already tried  folksy, common, and ordinary when we allowed the Supreme Court to install President Bush the second on the throne. It didn't work then either.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Corruption of the Supreme Court

Justice Samuel Alito is highly active in the upper levels of the Republican Party echelon. He has been faithful in attendance at fundraisers and planning council sessions with the agenda of establishing a permanent Republican majority. We know the Supreme Court stopped the vote count in 2000 and seated their candidate as president after a disputed election.The state where the votes were most disputed was the state where their candidate's brother was  governor. This alone should have mandated an especially careful count to avoid even the appearance of bias. The Supreme Court is not supposed to promote a political agenda. We know that Clarance Thomas's wife is highly active in promoting the political agenda of the right-wing republicans via her "Tea Party" group. 
I'm afraid the Supreme Court has been corrupted. These people are on the court for life. The only option is to make sure we have progressive presidents with backbone to nominate the next 3 justices to provide balance against the hard-right corporate agenda that now dominates. Fat Chance. We're screwed.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Three predictions for the next two years

1. The gap between the very rich and Americans will increase. (The very rich are a country unto themselves - not the USA but the United Corporate Entities).

2. Impeachment proceedings against President Obama will commence - will tie up Congress for months to years- and will cost millions and millions of dollars without any clear aims or objectives other than preventing any reform or progress occurring during his administration.

3. More war, more military spending, and more Patriot Act type legislation.

God, I hope I'm wrong.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Republicans kill jobs

A tunnel project in New Jersey, rail projects in Ohio and Wisconsin,  clean energy projects in Maine, and a federal project designed to get people back to work -TANF- are all victims of Republican rage against President Obama and Americans who voted for him. The stated agenda of the Republican party is to make sure that President Obama's administration is as big a failure as President Bush's was. They are killing jobs all over the country in order to destroy him. The rest of us, the American people, are collateral damage.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Go Nancy!

I'm so glad Nancy Pelosi is running for minority leader. The venom and hatred directed toward her is phenomenal, almost unbelievable. Why? Because she is a powerful woman? I don't remember hearing anything like this kind of vicious anger directed at Tom Delay who was one of the most corrupt and unscrupulous Speakers of the House in my memory. They didn't call him "The Hammer" for nothing! This is a phenomenon I have noticed before on the local stage and the national level. Powerful women seem to be very threatening to a certain type of person.
I'm glad she is not letting the haters wear her down. She has been very effective and is one of the most reliable progressive leaders we have. She's not perfect by any means, but she is a heck of a lot more trustworthy than most.

Republicans hate science

Science took a hit for 8 long years. After the 2008 election literate thinking people started breathing a bit easier, as science was once again respected and actual scientists were involved in policy that relates to science. Now this. Just what we didn't need.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Party of fiscal conservatism?

Thanks to Dailykos for this image.

Regulations Help Business

Oddly enough, businesses benefit more from a strict regulatory environment than consumers do. Businesses face an evolutionary dilemma. Lack of regulations allow companies to cut corners and costs and to cheat a little bit here and there. This drives up short-term profits and gives a business an advantage against its competitors. But as consumers lose trust in the marketplace, they stop buying - except for the bare necessities.  This may actually be healthier in the long run for consumers, but it is devastating to the economy. Take  mad-cow disease for example. Lack of regulation allowed the beef industry to use recycled beef products including material from the brains and spinal cords of sick animals, in their feed.  There was little or no enforcement of regulations prohibiting diseased beef from the market place.This lowered feed costs and allowed greater profit. But when consumers began to get sick from the disease, they stopped buying beef. The market for American beef dropped overseas and at home and everyone in the industry suffered losses.
It probably helped the average American consumer because they ate less beef which was good for them, in the long run. Of course the people who died of mad cow disease paid the cost for all of us. A dog eat dog economic environment ends up producing a lot of dead dogs.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One more prediction

I guarantee you there will be an impeachment. I don't know what it will be about yet. But it will be as long and expensive and as useless as Bill Clinton's almost sex scandal. 
So-called "Zippergate" cost over 6 million dollars for Ken Starr's expenses alone. How can we calculate the cost of all the man-hours involved in those dirty old men listening ( open-mouthed, saliva leaking from the corners) to young Monica recount every sordid detail in front of them all gathered together. How can we calculate the cost of Clinton's being distracted from dealing with Al Qaeda when they were preparing for the "Big One". 

I don't know what they will find or invent to persecute President Obama for. But it will be something - guaranteed. 

The bloodbath

For two more years the red tide will work to cement in place their goal of a permanent Republican majority. The work has been proceeding since Reagan's tenure as they stacked the Supreme Court, dismantled protections for fair access to power, consolidated their hold on media, and gave away billions in tax cuts and outright gifts to the right-wing billionaires. Notice that there was one category of Americans who got richer while 99.9% of us bled out. The wealthiest of the rich - if they can't buy  political office outright, can certainly buy politicians who repay the favor by dispersing tax cuts and TARP funds (Bush administration) and favorable" business" environment, meaning no regulations or oversight at all.
I predict that the next two years will see a double dip into recession or outright depression, more war escalation, and loss of more protections against insurance companies, crooked financial companies, and tainted consumer goods. Taxes for the rich will go down even more. The estate tax will be eliminated. Consequently public services will decline, and the middle class will end up paying more for less in all essential areas, such as housing, food, transportation, and education.
Brilliant strategy because everyone will blame President Obama.  Like a drunk passenger who grabs the wheel while you are driving, and runs the car into a tree - and then says "I told you that you would wreck!".

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stewart tops Beck!!!!

Hooray for sanity and moderation!! And a good sense of humor. All liberal values, of course. The Stewart rally was estimated at over 200,000 - more than double the attendance at Beck's grandiose speech on MLK day  from the steps of the Lincoln memorial.
The signs were great and the mood was reasonable and calm. Calm reasonable analysis is definitely the best way to solve problems and live in peace. The problem is, we humans have evolved to be motivated by emotions rather than reason. Advertisers know how to trigger our deep emotional responses. They use images rather than ideas, soundbites rather than analysis. Our ability to reason and analyse is a recent overlay of the emotional reaction centers of the brain. Emotional reactions trigger fast decisive action while analysis tends to make us more cautious. Emotional reactions are more useful to advertisers and politicians who wish to manipulate our behavior.
The lesson? Be ware of messages that make us feel scared, or angry. It's probably designed to elicit actions that benefit someone else at our expense.