Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents' Day Salute:The Need To Channel Backbone And Spirit

(J.P.Morgan attacking photographers)

Of course, at the outset, I must admit that I hold no degree in history. I am by no means an expert on the subject. So, the following may be considered pure conjecture on my part. But, if there was ever a time in US history where integrity, truthfulness, forthright courage, and just plain intestinal fortitude were qualities so desperately needed to combat overwhelming forces of corporate-political graft, the overall perversion of our representative-social-democratic system wrought by massive, almost common-place, money-fueled influence peddling—while all of this being dangerously mixed with public ignorance and misguided anger fed by a corporate-controlled broadcast media—then I’m hard-pressed to come up with a comparison to what has transpired in the past 35 years. More specifically, coming up with a proper comparison to what has happened in the first decade, and continues seemingly unabated into the second decade of this new century, is a difficult task to perform in my little head.

Oh, one may tend to sight similarities to the days of the robber barons, while pointing out the oligarchic political shenanigans leading up to the Crash of ‘29’ and the first Republican Depression—and that would be a fair comparison. Integrity and courage were needed then, as well. Corruption and oligarchy were battled (or at least attempted to be curbed) legislatively with everything from measures like the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, an official Act which is still on the books, but goes unused and lies dormant like a traffic cop on valium, to the successful implementations of the New Deal. But, in this continuing post-New Deal era—arguably more so since the Reagan administration—where the corporate power elite, along with their right-wing hand maidens/enablers in Washington, have been busily dismantling every remedy applied during the past century, the situation seems bleaker. When you consider the disastrous ruling set forth last month in the case ‘Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission,’ made by a Supreme Court more stacked to the right than can be remembered in recent history, ‘dark’ is not a strong enough word to use when describing what democracy might look like in ten years.

It is with all of this in mind I present a few examples of courageous and outspoken presidential moments. Words pronounced in defiance and earnest, speaking truth to power…resolute and strong in times of deep trouble.

Yes. Some channeling of courage, spirit and intestinal fortitude is most desperately needed right now!



Democratic National Convention (June 27, 1936) - click to hear entire speech

"These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike."

"For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent."

"For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

"We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

"They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

"Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

"I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."

~FDR 1936~

JFK - In His Words (September 14, 1960)

"What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label, “Liberal”? If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of “Liberal.” But, if by a “Liberal,” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people - their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties - someone who believes that we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I'm proud to say that I'm a “Liberal.”

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why is the Media Demonizing Toyota?

Why is the media running story after story about Toyota’s recall issue, is it because they care about all recall’s or is it because Toyota has supplanted GM as the #1 auto-maker in the world and they would like to embarrass them. Well let’s look at the facts.
Let’s look at the recall data over the last ten years (1990-2010).
General Motors (including all brands) had 3,902 recalls on their vehicles over that time.
Ford Motor Company (including all brands) had 2,986 recalls
Chrysler Motors (including all brands) had 2,490 recalls on their vehicles.
Honda had 673, Mercedes-Benz 344, Mazda 308, Toyota 569 and Hyundai had only 240
So looking at the Data we see that Chrysler had 4 times the recalls of Toyota, Ford was 5 times higher and GM was 7 times higher
In researching this recall post I also found another list of what is called TSB’s, they are Technical Service Bulletins , and they are advisories issued by the manufacture to dealers to help diagnose and repair problems reported by consumers , these may include ,rough idles, intermittent stalls ,hard starts and all kinds of rattles, shakes and clunks.
Here are those numbers by Auto-maker GM(70,899), Ford(52,818) ,Chrysler(22,266) ,Honda(8,779), Mercedes-Benz(8,512) ,Mazda(4,289) ,Hyundai(2,539) ,Toyota(4,386), Those numbers are incredible.
Once again why is the media not making a big deal about these numbers?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rehm Emanuel,Obama's Albatross

Rahm Emanuel , President Obama’s Chief of Staff is an albatross around his neck. Now I am a Liberal/Progressive and I was not offended by him calling members of the Progressive Caucus,
“F##king Retards” That’s what I expect from Rehm he hates to be challenged from the left, and to have it pointed out to him that he is greatly disliked by the base of the party. Rehm’s first instinct is never to stand and fight it is to run to the “Right” of any issue, the farther right the better in his mind. Now this is ok if he was still running his own office in the house, but he is Obama’s Chief of staff now, and Obama ran for President on a Liberal/Progressive platform. Now I for one never believed he was Liberal or Progressive, but that was the platform that he ran on.
The People that voted for Obama voted to change Washington, to make it about the people again, well Rahm has never really cared about people he cares about getting corporate donations and lots of them.
Rehm has never really cared about make good legislation he just wants to past bills and says we got something done. Well that might work for the “Ditto-heads” on the right, they are low information voters, they get there “news” for sound bites on Fox and from Glenn Beck, Limbaugh and hannity. They don’t really know what’s going on with what bill, they just follow what they are told to think.Thats why so many of them thought that Bush cut “their” Taxes, when he only cut taxes to the top 1%, or why they think that the “Death Tax” was going to affect them when they died, but it didn’t kick in until you hit $3 million dollars. Rehm’s problem is he is dealing with the left and they are very informed on what their representatives’ are doing in their names. The Progressive base cares about policy and results and they know when they are getting reamed.
Now Rehm has done such a bad job of making sure that the base is happy that they lost in NJ,VI, and now Massachusetts. Why did they lose these races, it’s because the base is not happy, the base is mad that they are getting hosed by this Congress, and who is the head of this mess, Rehm. As lond as Rehm is in the White House he will be a kick in the teeth to progressives’ and they will have a hard time getting up to help elect Democrats if they are just going to be Rehm(democrats).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Poll Finds Most Disagree With The Supreme Court Ruling on 'Citizens United.'

SC Justice Samuel Alito could have shook his head more vigorously, while grumbling “not true” even louder at the SOTU Address last month, but it still wouldn’t have been enough to sway popular opinion, as revealed in the findings of a new bipartisan poll conducted by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, and Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, former “informal advisor” to John McCain during his last bid for the presidency. McKinnon was also former policy advisor for Bush 43, as well as being his media consultant.

Generally speaking, the poll results concluded that most Americans agree with President Obama’s stated concern--voiced during the State of the Union address--in reference to the Citizens United v Federal Elections Commission ruling, a monumental decision made last month in which the Supreme Court gave unlimited speech rights (in the form of green-lighting unlimited money contributions) to corporations with which they can influence political candidates, parties and entire elections. Registered voters participating in the poll expressed opposition to the Supreme Court's ruling by a 2-to-1 ratio, and that opposition was found to be prevalent among voters who claim allegiance to both major political parties, as well as with those who identify themselves as independents.

The findings also reveal something else; a growing wave of discontent felt among voters, which if not given proper attention, could spell major upset in political circles. This sense of disconnect with Washington could be detected throughout the poll results.

When asked if they felt that special interest had too much influence in our governmental process, three fourths of the respondents [74%] said ‘yes.’ Subsequently, when voter participants were asked if they thought members of Congress and the Senate were being “controlled by” groups of big financial backers, an overwhelming majority [79%] responded ‘yes.’ Only 24% felt that they, as ordinary citizens, still had the people’s power of influence over their elected representatives. An even smaller percentile [18%] of voters agreed with the idea that elected officials in Washington actually listen to the voting citizenry more than they do to big financial interests.

Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, the other half of the bipartisan polling team of experts, responded unequivocally. “There’s no doubt about this,” he said in referring to the results. “The last thing people want to see are corporations having a bigger roll in elections.”

Of course, these findings do not bode well for the Democratic Party, who—over the last couple of major election cycles--were overwhelmingly swept into office to affect change in the way things are done in DC. But given the people’s obvious discontent, as revealed by this comprehensive poll; for the Republican Party—a political entity which openly flaunts its traditional identification with Big Business, along with its proclivity toward the tenets of unregulated, laissez-faire Capitalism—this could spell disaster.

All of the above political revelations exposed by this poll give credence and weight to an idea that I’d like to discuss in future posts on this blog. In light of this poll, in the future I would like to rant on the notion that progressives and those who identify themselves with the Tea Party movement have a couple of key points-of-view in common, and that through cooperation on points of commonality, massive ‘movement politics’ could affect the change we all want…but that is for a later post.

I think Thom Hartmann described this situation well, when during a recent newscast he said; “Average Americans know what the right-wing ‘five’ on the Supreme Court are ignoring. When corporations finally take over America…it won’t be America anymore. A corporate-run state, where the money power owns the government and the politicians--which is what the ‘five’ on the Supreme Court just put us on the road to--has been historically referred to as ‘Feudalism’ or ‘Fascism’ (as defined by Mussolini). Think of the British East India Co. in 1776 England. Or Mussolini replacing the members of the Italian Parliament with corporate representatives in the 1930s. He went on to add this; “If we don’t do something fast—probably amending the Constitution to ‘deny corporations personhood’—this country, and the world, could become very authoritarian and very ugly very quickly!”

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Right-Winged Fun: Continued Message Control and The Propaganda Push toward War

On February 3rd, Mahmoud Amadinejad, Iran’s President stated that his government would have “no problem” accepting a proposition whereby it would agree to send its partially enriched uranium out of the country for continuation of the enrichment process elsewhere, under monitored conditions. Through this possible deal, it had hoped to encourage more confidence in its honesty, and ease concerns about the country's nuclear program if most of its stock was held for period of several months before being shipped back as fuel rods. Of course, that was last week. Iran has since changed its plans. Yesterday, Tehran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it has decided against that proposition and that it would go ahead after all with continuing the enrichment process of their stockpile of uranium at facilities in Iran.

Let the right-wing saber rattling, chest puffing/pounding, and speculative fear-mongering propaganda commence!

Yesterday, on that bastion of virtuous, fair and balanced-minded TeeVee network 'news' reporting, FOX News, former Dubya-era recess appointee as Ambassador to the UN John Bolton [Mister Happy himself] in so many words stated his belief that Tehran is not to be trusted; that it "has no intention of being talked out of its nuclear weapons program." He added that the time for imposing severe sanctions has long passed, and that it would do no good. Nope...nuh-uh. In Mr. Happy's tortured mind, there are only two logical out-comes. " is Iran getting its nuclear weapons, the other is Israel, or somebody...[insert USofA here]...uses military force to stop it," he stated with confidence.

Of course, there's nothing new here. Right-wing talking points featuring e.g. Osama bin-Laden, Iran etc. have been the central 'Goldstein' characters in this Orwellian stage play for some time now. And this mantra of jingoistic lunacy spouting from behind the mustache of the master of mirth has been chanted many times before. It is an act which is well-polished from the many appearances on corporate vaudeville 'news' outlets such as FOX and CNN...

Two things should concern us all; one being the fact that neoconservative anger-puppet has-beens, who've been proven wrong on countless occasions--such as John Bolton, William Kristol, etc.--are still granted a national stage from which to do their war song-and-dance routine without so much as a challenging 'b-but' being uttered in pointing out the possible horrendous ramifications if such a thing were to be put into motion. Amazing...even after the Iraq debacle, no facts-based challenge being presented whatsoever. The other point of concern (for me, at any rate) is how easily this sort of horrid suggestion rolls off the tongues of people like John Bolton. It is, to say the least; quite frightening! My only hope is for the number of American people, who actually swallow this death and destruction-laced kool-aid accepting it as sound and reasoned diplomacy, to remain in the lower 20-25 percentile range.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Real Reason Repug's Hate Deficit spending

When Repurg’s and some “conservative Dem’s talk about reducing the deficit they have one thing on their minds, cutting programs that they hate because they work. Top on of their list is Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid .They hate these programs because they prove that government does work and it also costs less than the “free market” or privatization. Just look at the “Budget" that Rep.Paul Ryan (R-WI) a ranking member of the house budget committee recently released. The budget is called “Roadmap for America’s Future”, and what a future it would be. The Repug’s Future involves Medicare and Social Security Privatized an Arbitrary freeze on all Non-discretionary spending.
So after the last two years of Wall Street collapses and malfeasance the Repug’s want people to invest up to 1/3 of their Social Security in the market, yep that’s a good idea. Social Security is there to protect people from having nothing if their retirements die in the markets. Smart. Next this is my favorite, “For those currently under 55 – as they become Medicare-eligible – it creates a Medicare payment, initially averaging $11,000, to be used to purchase a Medicare certified plan.” $11,000 the average Plan right now is $16,000 and do you like how they used the word” Initially” in there, if the costs get to much they will cut it even more.
So now that this “Budget” is out there the Repug leadership is not backing away but also not indorsing it. This is the type of Budget proposal that every Repug should be asked about every time they go on TV; this is what they are selling. When they say that they want to cut the Budget or reduce spending they are not talking about the two thirds of the budget that is military spending they are talking about gutting Social programs. They don’t care about the little people, and by little person I’m talking about people that make less than $100,000 per year.
Now if we really wanted to lower the deficit there is one sure way to do it, raise the top part of the Social Security and Payroll tax to include every dollar that is paid in a salary. Did you know that someone who makes $90,000 dollars a year pays about $5,400 in “Fica” but someone who makes $1,000,000 a year also pays only $5,400 a year, they only pay on the first $90,000 they make that is shorting us $54,600 per year and what are we losing to the Wall Street and Major Corporations that make $500,000,000 or more. That is where our Tax short fall is and we should be going after that lost money now.

Sen. Al franken