Friday, December 24, 2010

Saying it makes it so!

Obama has been a great disappointment to a lot of us on the left. People who support him point out his willingness to compromise. Capitulation is not compromise. I’ll never understand how folks on the right have been able to stick him with the Socialist label. In my view he’s very right of center.

He’s definitely no negotiator. He has a habit of giving in to all demands from the right and negotiating down from there.

Look at healthcare. I knew we were in trouble when he said, “Single payer is off the table.” If he’d have left that in as a bargaining chip we probably could have had the public option.

So now we have universal healthcare and I still can’t afford it. I haven’t had insurance in over ten years.

The most maddening thing is the right has made the phrase “government run healthcare” stick.
The government will not take over hospitals or other privately-run health care businesses. Doctors will not become government employees, like in Britain. And the U.S. government intends to help people buy insurance from private insurance companies, not pay all the bills like the single-payer system in Canada.
The legislation is designed to set up new systems to encourage private health insurance companies to provide more coverage and better services.
That coverage would be paid for the same way it is now -- by private employers and individual premiums. That's not a government takeover.

The right has known something the left just can’t seem to grasp; saying it makes it so!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bleeding Brain?

I was listening to Frank O. Pinion, a local radio show, the other day. They got on the subject of drugs. They started talking about the different effects different drugs produced. Everything they’d read about psychedelics described faces melting.

Peon asked, “Why would anyone want to experience that?”

Frank said if he even tried it, he’d love it and wouldn’t be able to control himself. It struck me as an unusually honest remark.

Someone called in to tell Frank all hallucinogens work by making your brain bleed. The cast of the show all took this for granted as fact.

I was amazed by the statement and decided to research the subject. There is no evidence that drugs cause the brain to bleed, let alone bleeding is the reason drugs work.

-------Hallucinations and other effects of hallucinogens are however very complicated experiences. They are not simply a part of a cause and effect system in the brain, where hallucinogenic drugs act on serotonin and cause hallucinations. Instead, hallucinogenic drugs act initially on the serotonin system, which sends into motion a pattern of complex action potentials and activity. Other neurotransmitters may be involved in these activities as well. The effects that inputs and outputs have on each other in this system as well as the pattern of action potentials mediated by hallucinogenic drugs help to cause many of the complex changes that allow hallucinations to happen. (B.L. Jacobs, "How Hallucinogenic Drugs Work")

Why would someone bother to call in to a radio show with misinformation? Why would the cast of the show take it for granted the caller was telling the truth? Did the caller hear this information somewhere or was he deliberately supporting an agenda with lies?

It strikes me that we’ve all become pretty gullible and shouldn’t take anything we hear for granted. Just because we’re surrounded with information we shouldn’t accept anything as fact without research.

I would love it if FactCheck and PolitiFact followed every statement our politicians make through the corporate media. Unfortunately, I’ve seen FactCheck called liberal for calling a conservative to task for spreading misinformation.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


The U.S. Justice Department opened a criminal probe of Wikileaks and founder Julian Assange after the leak of diplomatic cables. Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed the probe was “not saber-rattling” but "an active, ongoing criminal investigation. The Washington Post reported that the department was considering charges under the Espionage Act. Prosecutors have a hard time with this because of First Amendment protections for the press.

I have mixed feeling about this whole case.

I believe there is information that should be classified. Lives and policy are at stake. I also believe way too much government information is classified to hide improprieties.

We’re told the leaks have made it impossible for people with influence to confide in our ambassadors. I believe their self-interests will trump that idea.

You can’t call Assange’s actions treasonous; the worst he can be accused of is bad citizenship – except he’s not a citizen. I don’t blame Assange, I blame the State Department for the leaks.

There have actually been calls for Hillary’s resignation. Let’s get real--- the government has its own private internet to contain information but this information is spread out over the world. Any one of thousands of government employees with a flash drive can take anything they want.

If Bush’s yellow cake uranium lie had been leaked in time, maybe we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. When the information was exposed, not only was it too late but they outed Valerie Plame in retribution. (This was a controlled leak I still think Karl Rove should be prosecuted for.)

Probably the most important information we’re getting from the leaks is the fact of Arab nations wanting us to go to war with Iran.

Americans should be in the loop when it comes to war! Aren’t our representatives representing us?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why a Progressive Tax is fair

A flat tax could work if it was high enough, didn't allow for any deductions, taxed all income such as capital gains the same as earned income.

That won’t happen, so the progressive tax system is all that's left. Besides raising revenues, progressive taxation is designed to prevent one group of people from eventually attaining all the wealth.

Over the past 30 years, according to IRS data, the richest 1 percent has tripled their share of America's total income, after taxes, while the bottom 90 percent has seen their share drop over 20 percent.

The tripling of income by the wealthy is the result of money-transferring financial strategies, government deregulation, and tax cuts -- not because they worked three times harder than everyone else.

With our current federal tax system, the wealth generated by the 95% who work for wages goes to the investing class. As they become richer most of the political power of the country goes to them as well.

Teddy Roosevelt warned us about it, “To maintain a functioning democracy within a republic you can't allow one small group of people to attain all the wealth and power. There would be no difference between that and a monarchy or aristocracy!”

Being 'fair' isn't the end game. The end game is maintaining a democratic republic with a thriving middle class of productive and engaged citizens.

In other words, money isn’t everything. An equitable distribution of our nation’s wealth would not mean the end of our Republic or make us Commies or Socialists.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let Them Expire

It’s obvious to me all the Bush tax cuts need to expire if we’re going to get a handle on our deficit. When they were put in place, the country was operating with a tax surplus. There was a sunset on the cuts for a reason; they were unsustainable!

It won’t be a tax increase; it will be an end to a temporary policy. How the Democrats let the Republicans get control of this message, I’ll never understand. I’m really disappointed in them.

There seems to be some misunderstanding of how much letting the cuts expire will affect the middle class.

Here’s the break down based on 2011 income. This is according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. (As you can see, if you were to pay an extra $100.00 a week, your income would be between $200,000 and $500,000--- I think you could afford it.)

Income: Less than $10,000
Number of filers: 28,681,000
Average increase: $70
Income: $10,000 to $20,000
Number of filers: 24,383,000
Average increase: $410
Income: $20,000 to $30,000
Number of filers: 18,523,000
Average increase: $756
Income: $30,000 to $40,000
Number of filers: 15,679,000
Average increase: $893
Income: $40,000 to $50,000
Number of filers: 13,001,000
Average increase: $923
Income: $50,000 to $75,000
Number of filers: 23,972,000
Average increase: $1,126
Income: $75,000 to $100,000
Number of filers: 15,245,000
Average increase: $1,837
Income: $100,000 to $200,000
Number of filers: 16,885,000
Average increase: $3,672
Income: $200,000 to $500,000
Number of filers: 3,757,000
Average increase: $7,187
Income: $500,000 to $1 million
Number of filers: 608,000
Average increase: $18,092
Income: $1 million and over
Number of filers: 315,000
Average increase: $101,587

Bush’s cuts were responsible for 25% of our deficit. If we let them expire for only the rich, we’ll only generate 700 billion dollars, if they all expire, it would mean 3.7 trillion dollars.

This is all a distraction, of course. The deficit isn’t why our economy is in shambles. It’s high unemployment. No one will pay taxes if they don’t generate an income.

Banks have to lend to small businesses!!! They’re making plenty of money trading in foreign currency, so they don’t have to. (I can’t wait to find out what WikiLeaks dug up on the banks). I have mixed feelings about WikiLeaks that I’ll post about next week. --- I digress---

For now, short term deficit spending is a necessity.

It’s been proven that Bush’s tax cuts and the tax cuts that made up a third of the stimulus (Obama’s compromise with the Republicans that only diluted the effect of the stimulus), do not stimulate our economy.

Right now extending unemployment would be much more bang for the buck.

Republicans are convinced that extended benefits will only motivate the unemployed to stay that way. It doesn’t matter that there are 5 people for every job posted.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All Americans Have to Participate

The Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Reconciliation Act of 2003 are the Bush tax cuts we hear about everywhere.

The tax reductions in EGTRRA were designed to be phased in over a period of up to 9 years. Many of these slow phase-ins were accelerated by the JGTRRA, which removed the waiting periods for many of EGTRRA's changes.

EGTRRA was designed to sunset, or revert to the provisions that were in effect before it was passed. EGTRRA will sunset on January 1, 2011 unless further legislation is enacted to make its changes permanent.

According to Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, "The biggest argument for extending the tax cuts right now is our economy is very weak, and raising taxes during a recession, or the recent weak recovery from the recession, could reverse our economic growth,"

If the tax cuts are extended, however, taxpayers won't really notice any change in their bottom line. So it's unlikely to create any new stimulus for the economy.

Treasury estimates the costs of making the tax cuts permanent for everyone is $3.7 trillion over 10 years.

Republicans’ refusal to participate in any real way with any legislation that would benefit Americans is explained with “Obama refuses to work with us.”

This has been extremely frustrating for us on the left who feel he’s given away the store. His compromises have weakened every policy from health care to corporate regulation and credit card usury rules to the point of uselessness. They’ve done nothing but allow the right to say, “See, it doesn’t work!”

A third of Obama’s stimulus has been tax cut Republicans have asked for. This is one of the reasons the stimulus was so weak.

Recovery will never happen until banks decide to lend to small businesses again.

Most Americans don’t even notice the small tax reduction on their paychecks but it’s definitely adding to the deficit.

8 years of Bush’s tax cuts not only didn’t make our economy grow but it helped create this deficit. None of the tax cuts worked! Why is there even an argument?

We were already at a historical low for taxes before the cuts. Let these stupid cuts expire for everyone. All Americans are going to have to take part in our recovery.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Country Does John Boehner Live In?

Last week I didn’t post because sometimes I just hate politics. The childish posturing, bickering and lies leave me totally disheartened.

A few days ago John Boehner said, "I believe that the healthcare bill that was enacted by the current Congress will kill jobs in America, ruin the best healthcare system in the world, and bankrupt our country,"

What country is he living in?

Among the richest nations, the U.S. is 19th of 19. America is awful at treating asthma, diabetes and kidney disease. The U.S. does do well with breast and prostate cancer, but these are represented by strong lobbies.
It has improved. I wrote an article for Associated Content on July 15, 2008 called Our Health Care is a National Disgrace. At that time we were 37th! Nothing really has changed since then. Check it out.......

The Republicans have been in bed with big money in health care from the beginning. It will be interesting to see how things turn out now that the health interests have tooled up for the new health care bill. They do not want it repealed. Can the Republicans stand up to one of their biggest sources of income?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Where's The Press?

Why are all the stands taken by politicians based on lies and why doesn’t the press hold their feet to the fire?

Republicans claim the Health Care bill contains a $500 billion Medicare cut. The law calls for reducing future growth of Medicare spending over the next ten years by seven percent. The law guarantees benefits won’t be reduced and even improves coverage for pharmaceuticals.

The conservative 60 Plus Association spent more than $5 million on ads against 16 Democrats in House races saying they “betrayed their constituents by voting for the health care overhaul. Thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision their identities don’t have to be disclosed.

The ads say the law threatens seniors’ ability to keep their own doctor. The new law has nothing to do with it. Some doctors have said they may stop accepting Medicare patients because of scheduled payment cuts set in motion by the 1997 Balanced Budget Act.

In fact if you look at what lawmakers have done to scheduled cuts to doctors’ pay that were mandated by the 1997 law: "Congress has overridden all of the scheduled reductions for physicians from 2003 to November 2010. And for the hospitals and other providers covered by the new law: "Congress would presumably act to adjust Medicare payment rates as necessary" before the providers withdrew from the program.

The ads feature seniors saying the law will "hurt the quality of our care." But the law specifically forbids cuts in the basic package of Medicare benefits, and even adds some new features, such as wellness checkups. It also closes the "doughnut hole" gap in the prescription drug benefit.

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, "voted to use taxpayer dollars to pay for Viagra for convicted child molesters and sex offenders. Reid voted to table an amendment that would have barred convicted sex offenders from getting coverage for drugs like Viagra from health plans sold through state-based exchanges. That measure was one of a series of amendments that Republicans proposed in an effort to delay passage of the health care legislation.

There’s nothing in the legislation that even mentions such prescriptions. The Congressional Research Service said that nothing in the health care law would mandate that health plans "limit the type of benefits that can be offered based on the plan beneficiary’s prior criminal convictions." The new law will be just like the old one, convicts who are not in prison, including those convicted of sex offenses, will be able to buy any health plan they choose, some of which may cover drugs that treat erectile dysfunction.

Republicans continue to insist the economic stimulus has failed to create jobs. House Minority Leader John Boehner even said in an address that the stimulus had harmed the job situation, since "America’s employers are afraid to invest in an economy stalled by stimulus spending and hamstrung by uncertainty."

In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the stimulus increased employment by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million people, compared with what employment would have been otherwise.

Spineless Democrats, who should be united against an onslaught of disinformation are bowing to public fears. Democratic House incumbents in nine states claimed that they voted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program when in fact they weren’t yet in office when it was enacted. They voted against a later bill to allow release of the second half of TARP funds, a purely symbolic and futile vote. The Senate had already approved release and only disapproval by both houses could freeze the funds under terms set by the original bailout legislation.

You could fill a large book with the lies the American voting public take for granted. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the press?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rally

My girlfriend Valerie and I were hanging out at our local beer garden when we ran into a painter friend of ours named David Classe. He invited us to sit with him and a few friends. A woman at our table started the conversation with, “You know 911 was an inside job!” She was convinced and presented us with her evidence. The most important being the building fell exactly like demolition experts did the job.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I have a few conspiracy theories of my own. Not this time.

I said I honestly believed the planes were full of a dirty fuel that clings. I believed the ignited fuel clung to the steel skeletal structure of the buildings, softening them.The buildings collapsed and it looked like a professional job.

She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Sheep!”

Considering how many times I’ve called the voting public sheep, I thought this was funny as Hell.

My son Dylan has been begging me for weeks to take him to DC for the Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity. There’s no way I could afford it of course. Luckily we had a rally under the Arch with a jumbotron broadcast of the event. Dylan was very happy. He’s growing into a budding young activist and I’m so proud.

When Stewart hit the stage he pointed out the demographic variety of his audience. I think he was trying to distinguish his event from the mostly white, middle aged demographic of the Tea Party rallies. Unfortunately in St. Louis that was exactly our demographic. We had Hispanics, Asians and whites but I counted only two black people. Valerie later told me she counted four.

By all accounts the head count at Stewart’s rally far exceeded Beck’s. It would be nice to believe there was that percentage of reasonable people over the ignorant xenophobes. Stewart himself hates this kind of rhetoric but I’m as angry as the Tea Partiers.

The rally was as excuse to poke fun at Tea Party events. I wish I’d taken photos of the signs, they were great. One read, “I don’t carry signs!”

Near the end two guys in awkwardly fitting suits carried a large banner that read, “911 was an inside job!” They were overtaken by a mob that hid the banner with their signs. It looked disturbingly like censorship.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Played Like a Trout

Here’s my prediction.

Republicans will take over the house and split the Senate. Government comes to a grinding halt in gridlock.

The economy stagnates because banks refuse to lend. There will be no job creation. The banks will say their hands are tied because of economic uncertainty and the threat of regulation.

Obama will lose in two years to a Republican with strong ties to big money and the threat of regulation will disappear. Banks will start to lend and jobs will come back.

Without regulation minimum wage and all benefits will completely disappear.

Healthcare and Social Security will be privatized. No one will have either because wages will be so low.

The disparity between the “haves” and the “have-nots” will increase.

Big money is already global and their power will continue to increase. The façade that we’re self governed will disappear completely as we accept the fact of corporate servitude.

Big government isn’t the problem, it’s big money. In words they can understand, the Tea Party is being played like a trout.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Too Big to Fail

I’m hearing the expression “Too big to fail” in the news again lately. For effect I said we should nationalize the banks a couple of weeks ago. I was hoping it would get a rise out of someone I was itching to have a fight with. Unfortunately, I have so few readers the only person who responded was a friend.

Too big to fail means these banks are part of our economic infrastructure and we only have two options. We nationalize ‘em or break them into smaller pieces.

When the big banks got their bailouts they sat on the money when they were supposed to make loans available to small businesses.

They still won’t give small business loans and our economy is being strangled. Smaller banks are going under too.

The only way jobs can be created is the banks have to make loans.

I’ve been hearing real estate agents on the radio complaining that the banks won’t even lend money to potential home buyers with good credit scores.

The banks say they’re afraid to lend in this economic climate but they know damn well they’re causing it.

I really think they’re doing it to make the Obama administration seem responsible. They don’t want regulation and want corporate backed Republicans in control.

I believe their behavior is treasonous!

The deficit is not responsible for our country’s job loss in spite of what the Republicans are trying to make us believe.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A More Perfect Union

With the mid term elections closing in the mud is really starting to fly. Incredible accusations are being made. I hear a lot of arguments supported with the phrase, “the intentions of the original framers of The Constitution!”

If an argument is made against their point, they’ll back it up with a quote from a founding father. I’ve done this myself, although I’ve never lied that I knew the founders intentions. I consider anyone who uses the phrase to be a liar and can not respect anything they say.

The original states, except Rhode Island, collectively appointed 70 individuals to the Constitutional Convention. Several could not attend. Those who did not attend included Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams and, John Hancock.
55 delegates attended the Constitutional Convention sessions and only 39 actually signed. Delegates ranged in age from Jonathan Dayton, aged 26, to Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, who was so infirm that he had to be carried to the sessions.

Almost to a man, there were disagreements. The articles were deliberately left a little vague to be argued. The Bill of Rights and further amendments would have to be added.

Constitutional originalism is an incredibly shallow way to view or Constitution.

It’s sad that our “non political” branch of government, The Supreme Court, has gotten so politicized.

The Constitutional constructivist view favored by the conservatives on the court is presumably to keep current justices from creating law. I can respect that, but it’s wrong. Our Constitution is a living document and the court doesn’t get off that easy. The Bill of Rights proves it’s a living document. Real justice will always be a work in progress.

You can’t simply quote one of the founding fathers to prove an argument. That would be like backing an argument with a passage from the bible. You can support any argument that way. The Constitution’s preamble says it all………………

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I think “more perfect” makes my point.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Corporate Servitude

We are a consumer driven society.

There was a time when the middle class family model went something like; one adult generated income while the other focused on the family. Divorce was rare.

The evolving science of advertising persuaded us we had needs that were beyond our incomes. The cost of living increased too. Both adults would have to work to meet the demands. Child care became an industry.

Our population increased, two income households consumed more and our economy grew. We seemed to have infinite resources and everyone was working. The cost of living kept going up. Our economy would keep growing as long as our population did. We have a growth based economy.

The cost of living began to exceed two incomes and people began to borrow. Lending institutions became powerful lobbyists and usury rules were dispensed with. Interest rates are so high everyone struggles just to meet payments.

Everyone had to borrow against their mortgages. Credit card debt would go back up.

Lending institutions found ways to circumvent regulations by passing borrowers debt to different institutions down the food chain. Without the threat of bad debt lenders took ridiculous chances on borrowers that had no business borrowing.

I remember four months in a row I had to make my house payments out to a different bank.

I hear the argument that people need to practice restraint. I’m not sure our society really allows it under the current model.

When people save their money they’re accused of strangling the economy.

Our economy used to be driven by manufacturing. Those days are gone forever. Money is our only industry now and we might as well get used to corporate servitude.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Obama's Civility Doesn't Work

For some reason voters have gotten it in their heads that our growing deficit is the reason there are no jobs. We all know when the Democrats buckled to the Republican demand to focus on the deficit in 1937 it plunged us right back into the depression just as we were pulling out of it.

Our deficit needs to be corrected on a systemic level but not during an economic downturn. We need to focus on jobs first to create any possibility of paying down our debt.

We’ll never generate jobs as long as the banks keep sitting on the trillions of dollars they’re deliberately keeping out of circulation. Everyone keeps telling me I’m a conspiracy theorist but it seems obvious the banks want to keep Obama from implementing regulations.

I can just see it now. Republicans regain control, deregulate banks, banks start loaning their money out and Republicans say, “See, told you free market is the only way!” We’ll be making a deal with the devil.

I say, “Nationalize the banks!” Let’s give these right wing idiots some real Socialism to worry about!

Bush’s tax cuts added incredibly to the debt and didn’t create a single job yet extending and even adding more cuts are the Republican answer for recovery.

Democrats have shown they don’t have the spines to stand up to any of the Republicans' ridiculous ideas.

There are Republicans who still insist we privatize Social Security. If we had done that when Bush wanted us to, everyone would have lost their life savings.

Let’s get real. The Democrats say not extending tax cuts to the rich will generate 700 billion dollars. What they’re not saying is not extending them to the middle class would generate 3 trillion dollars. Even if we let the tax cuts lapse we would be at historically low tax rates. Look it up.

Democrats had a chance to really improve our quality of life, but they proved they couldn’t stick together when things got rough. They don’t deserve control. The Tea Party idiots are going to totally destroy our American way of life, and we deserve it. I am not above name calling. Obama’s civility doesn’t work.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Except for Defense

Every time I hear a member of congress talk about budget cuts they always end their sentences with “except for defense”.

In February 2009, Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., called for a reduction in the defense budget: "The math is compelling: if we do not make reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity even with a repeal of Bush's tax cuts for the very wealthy. I am working with a variety of thoughtful analysts to show how we can make very substantial cuts in the military budget without in any way diminishing the security we need. American well-being is far more endangered by a proposal for substantial reductions in Medicare, Social Security or other important domestic areas than it would be by canceling weapons systems that have no justification from any threat we are likely to face."

The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were funded through supplementary spending bills outside the Federal Budget. They are not included in the military budget. The Pentagon has access to black budget military spending for special programs which are not listed as Federal spending and are not included in published military spending figures. Starting in the fiscal year 2010 budget the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan became categorized as "Overseas Contingency Operations" and are included in the budget.

By the end of 2008 we spent approximately $900 billion in direct costs on the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Interest on the additional debt and incremental costs of caring for the more than 33,000 wounded by the Veterans Administration are additional. Some experts estimate these indirect costs will eventually exceed the direct costs.

One argument I hear for maintaining these costs are the amount of people that are employed as a result. I believe this argument holds true for all public spending. We are losing our status as the world’s policemen and will eventually have to share these expenses with our allies. Why do we still have bases in Japan and Germany? The Japanese public has made it clear with their votes that they want our bases gone.

The military industrial complex Ike warned us about has turned into the world’s most powerful lobbying group.

It’s clear our elected representatives are either powerless or controlled by corporate interests. I’m not sure we’ll ever achieve reason with votes. Voters have incredibly short memories and are too easily controlled by sound byte opinions.

Does anyone out there have any ideas?

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I don’t think anything pisses me off more than the Republican predilection for historical revisionism.

The latest example is Newt Gingrich’s tirade against the proposed Islamic community center two blocks from ground zero tucked between an off track horse race betting stand and a strip club.

According to Newt-------

“The proposed "Cordoba House" overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks - is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites. For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term. It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.”

Why would anyone who gets their information from sources like Fox News question the former speaker of the house?

I remember those days. He was shocked by Bill Clinton’s sexual peccadilloes even though he was cheating on his wife at the time. When he was exposed, so to speak, I thought his political career had come to an end. We have very short memories don’t we?

In 766, Cordoba became capital of the independent Muslim emirate of al-Andulas, later a Caliphate itself. During the caliphate apogee (1000 AD), Córdoba had a population of roughly 400,000 inhabitants. In the 10th-11th centuries Córdoba was one of the most advanced cities in the world. The Great Mosque of Córdoba dates back to this time; under caliph Al-Hakam Córdoba received what was then the largest library in the world, housing from 400,000 to 1,000,000 volumes.

Muslims, Christians and Jews not only lived together they benefited from each others’ presence.

Cordoba’s degree of civilization has been compared to the Roman Empire and the Italian Renaissance. It is a symbol of our ability to get along.

The fact that people are so willing to rewrite history to fit a political agenda should be appalling to all of us. We have to start teaching history in our schools again, TV is not the place!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Voted For Reason

Yesterday Stephen Moore, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, stated Barack Obama is the most liberal president in history. He pointed to the fact that the GOP has been unanimously opposed to almost every issue Obama supports. He 'failed to reach out' to Republicans.

Let’s just look at the stimulus package. He repeatedly met with both House and Senate Republicans. He invited them to meet for further discussions. They want him to simply surrender to their demands (tax cuts, virtually no other elements). He included a number of GOP elements (weighted much more toward tax cuts than Democrats desired), yet no GOP votes were forthcoming.

I contend Obama is one of the most conservative presidents we’ve ever had. Everyone knows we’ve needed health care reform for years. It’s as basic a social right as cops, fire fighters, education, roads, and defense.

Right out of the gate Obama said single payer was “off the table”. He said a public option wasn’t necessary. He let the Republicans take control of the message that public health care is Socialism in spite of the fact that we ended up with a plan concocted by Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich as a response to Hillarycare. It ends up being very similar to Mitt Romney’s plan.

He asked the most corrupt elements of our health care system, insurance companies, how they would like public health care to look.

By refusing to put caps on credit card interest rates he gave the store away to the banks.

The wars are as wrong as ever! 50,000 to stay in Iraq ad infinitum.

His waffling response to the Islamic center 2 blocks from ground zero. This shouldn’t even be an issue and people who think it’s a slap in the face to the families of 911 victims should be ashamed of themselves.

He has used the state secrets privilege to try to quash lawsuits over warrantless wiretapping, opposed a truth commission to investigate alleged torture and sought to deny some legal protections to detainees in Afghanistan.

He has made clear he is in no rush for any real immigration reform or that he wants to repeal the military’s ban on openly gay service members.

He is for civil unions and against gay marriage.

Let’s not forget his support of Bush’s TARP program. They got the money with no strings!

Obama has been a big disappoint to me. I voted for “reason” and got the same old Repupublican crap.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Boys of Summer

I’ve lost my taste for baseball this year. St. Louis Cardinal Manager Tony Larussa and star hitter Albert Pujols attended the Glenn Beck “Restoring Honor” rally in DC last weekend.

They insisted the rally was apolitical. Tony had already expressed his admiration for Beck. He also recently expressed his support for Arizona’s SB 1070.

To make matters worse Pujols was one of the main contributors to Christian rock station JOY 97.7 which replaced award winning classical station KFUO. KFUO was my mother’s favorite station and was recognized as the nation’s best commercial classical station a couple of years ago.

Glenn Beck is a brand and can never be considered apolitical. He has been whipping up right wing hate and historical revisionism to an ignorant, xenophobic following for fun and profit.

I will be the first to admit what a disappointment Obama has been but saying he has a "deep-seated hatred of white people" is inexcusable.

Painting Hitler as a socialist because NAZI stands for National Socialist German Worker’s Party is his attempt to make all things evil come from the left. It is a lie and his following eats it up. The Nazis and the Fascists were ultra right wing and a response not only to the left but they used minorities as scapegoats just like Beck does.

I see comments on blogs that ask for proof of Beck’s lies.

How hard is it to Google “Beck’s Lies”?

Tony and Albert have a right to go to any rally they want to. I just can’t enjoy the Cardinals this year.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Where's the Oil part 2

It doesn’t seem to matter if our elected representatives tell us the truth about anything. As long as what they tell us is repeated we accept what they say as fact.

BP and the Obama administration tell us 75% of the gulf oil is gone.

It’s not likely the oil and chemical threat from dispersants are gone so soon and so completely. It seems to me both the Obama Administration and the petroleum industry are in cahoots trying to minimize the disaster.

Friends of mine say. “Nature has a way of taking care of itself.” I agree. If nature perceives human excess as a threat, nature will take care of us.

I’ve heard folks on talk radio point to the sudden disappearance of the oil as some kind of divine intervention.

It smells like a campaign of disinformation.

Too often the Obama Administration has supported big business over public well-being. I’m sure Obama feels our economy might suffer if the truth was told but the gulf’s ecosystem might if it is not. What ever happened to transparency? My girlfriend feels Obama has been exposed to the harsh realities of office and has had to change his point of view. I will not be an apologist for this administration! I don’t think I’m alone in my disappointment.

It's not just Obama and the democrats, of course, republicans are doing everything they can to please the big corporations too.

I can’t understand why BP didn’t use the dispersant VeruSol. According to EPA tests it’s 30 times less toxic than the Corexit they’re using.

The dispersants have kept the oil under the surface so the amount isn’t known anyway. Why are they giving us any kind of estimate at all?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Quality of Life, My Cause

I think our society as a whole needs to trend back toward quality of life as a goal.

I’ve always gone pretty much my own way when it came to making a living. The few times I’ve worked for the man the oppressiveness became overwhelming and I’d have to quit.

There are a lot of people who believe we should all buck up and be productive members of society.

I believe we live in an age of corporate servitude. More and more production is expected for less compensation. This is why we are going through a jobless recovery.

I’ve worked for the last 7 years as a courier. It’s a classic contracted position. I am theoretically self-employed. I pay my own taxes. I’ve never had a vacation and I’ve never been able to afford a sick day. If I don’t do as they ask, I don’t get paid. I am not my own boss!

It’s an employer’s market. Companies hire part time so they don’t have to pay benefits. I’ve applied for positions only to discover they pay half what they did 5 years ago.

The corporations in Europe are taking lessons from us. They’re calling their employees fat and lazy. Europeans have come to expect a lot of holidays and entitlements. This lifestyle is unsustainable!

There are actually ways to determine social happiness. The first World Map of Happiness has been published by scholars from the University of Leicester. The map is a global projection of subjective well-being taken from a variety of sources, and compared with related data from UNESCO, the UN and even the CIA.

People in Denmark and Switzerland have the highest overall satisfaction with life

The US Declaration of Independence clearly points out "certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

I hope Europeans stand firm in their commitment to enjoy life.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Where's the Oil?

The attention span of the American voter has always been troubling to me. Corporations have always factored it into their decision making.

From the beginning BP was fighting the Obama administration about their use of chemical dispersants on the oil pouring into the gulf.

The exact makeup of the dispersants is kept secret under competitive trade laws, but a worker safety sheet for one product, called Corexit, says it includes 2-butoxyethanol, a compound associated with headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems at high doses.

“There is a chemical toxicity to the dispersant compound that in many ways is worse than oil,” said Richard Charter, chairman of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.

“Right now there is a headlong rush to get this oil out of sight out of mind,” Charter said.

The use of dispersants is a trade-off between decreasing the risk to organisms that thrive on the water's surface and coastline, and possibly increasing the risk to fish populations, sea grasses and coral reefs, and creatures that live on the seafloor.

It has been clear from the beginning BP realized if we didn’t see oil washing up on our shores, we’d assume all was well.

Sure enough headlines from news outlets yell, “Where’s the oil?”

Microbes do consume quite a bit and there is evaporation but most of the oil is dispersed and down in the water column and sea floor.

I’m afraid the fact that people don’t actually see the oil will make everyone complacent. There will be augments from idiots on the right that want to believe people can’t possibly have a negative affect on our environment and that our economy can’t survive if we regulate the oil companies.

These people are spoon fed “facts” from big money. I think their level of outrage against us socialists is carefully controlled. That’s why they are an Astroturf movement. Their grass roots reach as deep as the petrochemicals they’re made of.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Naked and Alone part 2

The Tea Party has been making a lot of noise about the constitution. I, for one, have never understood the idea of strict constructionism. In spite of the grilling Supreme Court candidates get from the right about the constitution not being a “living document”, there can’t be a literal interpretation.

For one thing, without the bill of rights and subsequent amendments black people would only represent 60% of a person in a vote. Women wouldn’t be able to vote at all.

If you take the constitution literally the President would only be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. There’s no mention of the Air Force.

The authors of the constitution deliberately used vague expressions that were open to interpretation. What do "speedy and public trial," "cruel and unusual punishment," "unreasonable search and seizure," or "due process of law" mean?

"Time and changes in the condition and constitution of society may require occasional and corresponding modifications." --Thomas Jefferson March 25, 1825

Naked and Alone

My friend Jamie commented that he sees no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. He believes both parties “simply work to get re-elected and bring pork back to their home states”.

Jamie has a cooler head than I do. I would say that I hate both parties!

Unfortunately bringing pork back to their home state is part of the job description. Members of congress are elected to represent their home states and that automatically puts them at odds with a lot of federal policies.

I do see a very basic philosophical difference between the parties. The Republicans are the party of property and the Democrats are the party of people. These different points of view seem impossible to reconcile. All we can do is try to find common ground.

As for the Libertarians------ Limited government is impossible with a society as large as ours. We have common needs. We need infrastructure, public education, cops, firemen and other first responders, rational defense and, as far as I’m concerned, public health.

What is fiscal responsibility? Most economists would argue this is absolutely the wrong time to worry about the deficit. We need jobs first. Look what happened in 1937. And don’t believe the spin Rush and others are trying to put on that.

Our mania about free market has the banks worried more about investing than banking. We’ll never get jobs if the banks won’t lend to small businesses. I hear people defending this practice. Small business loans didn’t get us into this mess. I believe the banks want the economy to fail as long as Obama is in office so he can’t impose regulations.

Violence in Arizona has been going down for the last 30 years yet people there keep saying “we have to do something about the violence at our border!” The violence they’re talking about are the cartels bringing up drugs that we want and us taking down guns that they want. Isn’t that free market?

Fascism should be as scary as socialism in our vocabulary but it simply isn’t. We have to accept the fact that we’re social animals. Like I keep saying, we’re like dogs in that respect. We’re a weak species and we need to work together to survive. We never would have made it this far naked and alone.

I originally had a photo of a naked man in a forest. Blogger must have deemed it pornographic. All you saw were his butt cheeks. Oh well!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How Can You Call Us Racists?

Republicans like to point out Abraham Lincoln was our first Republican president. The fact is the Republican Party was the progressive party then. They would be until Teddy Roosevelt took the progressives with him when he split into the Bull Moose Party in 1912. The Republicans would go the way of Hoover and it’s easy to see how we got where we are.

In 1956 the Republican Party platform called for "broadened coverage in unemployment insurance" and "better health protection for all our people." It vowed to "continue vigorously to support the United Nations."

It pledged support for "progressive programs" to expand workers' rights. It vowed an immigration policy that ensured that America would remain a "haven for oppressed peoples."

In 1960 the Republican Party platform hailed the GOP's success in extending unemployment insurance. The GOP counted as an achievement its efforts to raise the Federal minimum wage.

The platform hailed expanded Social Security coverage and pledged an aggressive Federal effort to help those struggling with health care costs. It pledged to continue robust Federal intervention to preserve the environment.

Glenn Beck and others are now calling Eisenhower a socialist.

Today Republicans are represented by the Tea Party. They must be proud with spokespeople like Sarah Palin.

Responding to the NAACP’s claims that the Tea Party should renounce racist elements in their group she said, "The charge that Tea Party Americans judge people by the color of their skin is false, appalling, and is a regressive and diversionary tactic to change the subject at hand.,"

Mrs. Palin added that the tea party movement was "beautiful" and full of "equality loving patriots.

Hmm, I wonder how the NAACP got that idea!.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Real Issues

From 2004 to 2008, data from Arizona's DPS shows a 23 percent drop in the overall crime rate. The FBI's statistics on Arizona show a 19 percent drop. Although the FBI has not released all of the data on 2009, Arizona's statistics show the crime rate in 2009 dropped an additional 12 percent.

Tony LaRose, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Tampa states,"Crime has been going down, overall, in Arizona." He noted it has been a national trend for the past almost three decades."

Even if you only measure violent crime, which James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University, said is the type of crime people think of when discussing crime and illegal immigrants. The violent crime rate fell 11 percent from 2004 to 2008 in Arizona.

Illegals pay taxes that in most cases they won’t be able to collect on. They stimulate our economy and bring down the price of food. Check my earlier post for details.

When I hear, “What don’t you understand about illegal?” I want to pull my hair out. First of all crossing the border is a civil offense, not a criminal one. There is no easy path to work here.

Why is this the subject of national outrage right now? It is racism no matter how you look at it! We have genuine problems right now and if you think illegal immigration is more important, you’ve been manipulated by fear mongers who are trying to distract you from the real issues.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


It’s disheartening for me to read the responses to most political blogs. There’s a disturbing trend in American thought. It’s the idea that the Nazis were socialist. These ideas are being fostered by the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

The National “Socialist” German Workers’ Party was originally called the German Workers’ Party. They were opposed to non-nationalist political movements, especially lefties like the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Communist Party of Germany. They were fighting Bolshevism and “international Jewry”.

The Socialist in their name was an attempt at populism.

I’ve been reading a lot of right wing revisionism and it’s getting scary. There’s a myth that the expression “concentration camp” was coined by Lenin. It goes back at least as far as the Boer War in South Africa at the turn of the 20th century.

The plain truth is that Hitler was right wing, accept it! The left got Stalin so it’s a draw.

Clair McCaskill recently suspended staff member Bob Burns for a week without pay. He drew an analogy between Tea Party meeting disrupters and Nazi Brown Shirts. The Tea party people were outraged. “It’s good old American free speech!”

I drew the same analogy. These people were denying others their right to free speech. Their bullying was leading to violence. They carried their guns to events to intimidate. These were Brown Shirt tactics.

We have a wave of ignorance rising in our country that’s being reinforced by historical revisionists. Do we even teach history in school anymore?

We’re living in an age that wants to teach Creationism as science. Why are the ignorant so outraged?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Follow The Money

I just added to my blog list. Find out who been bought! Like they say, "Count cash and make change!"

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Presidential Obama

On NPR yesterday I heard Obama was quietly encouraging further negotiations between Turkey, Brazil and Iran “behind the scenes.” If this is true, I believe this is one of Obama’s most presidential moments.

The UN Security Council voted for sanctions against Iran Wednesday.

The sanctions target Iran's Revolutionary Guard, ballistic missiles and nuclear-related investments. The resolution passed 12-2 with Turkey and Brazil voting "no" and Lebanon abstaining.

Ibrahim Kalin, an adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says his country agrees with the U.S. and Europe on the ultimate goal — to prevent Iran from having a nuclear bomb.

"We don't disagree in substance; we disagree in style," he told reporters at the Turkish Embassy in Washington this week.

Sen. John McCain said Turkey's embrace of Iran will not help regional peace and threatens Turkey's legacy as a secular nation. "The rhetoric Erdogan is using concerning Israel and the obvious thumb in the eye that Turkey and Brazil orchestrated with this feckless agreement on enriched material is an indication that Turkey continues at a crossroad,"


As far as I’m concerned McCain is behaving like a posturing little boy as much as Ahmadinejad is.

Under an agreement signed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki and Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim in Tehran on May 17, Iran committed to give 1,200kg of 3.5% enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for 20% enriched uranium it will receive from Western countries to be used as fuel in the nuclear research reactor in Tehran.

Omer Celik, the deputy chairman of the ruling Justice & Development (AK) Party for foreign affairs, said if Turkey had not cast a 'no' vote and if the Tehran agreement had not still been valid, the tension between Iran and the West would have triggered instability in Iraq, had a negative impact on the Lebanese government, and caused new clashes in the Middle East.

If Obama is truly pushing for behind the scenes negotiations it reminds me of John Kennedy and the Cuban Missile crisis.

At the time we had missiles in Turkey right at the Russian border. They were already old and in disrepair. Dismantling them allowed the Soviet Union to save face when they pulled out of Cuba.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, left, has worked to portray himself as a mediator. Here he poses with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the signing of the Iranian nuclear fuel swap deal on May 17 (Credit: Atta Kenare /AFP/Getty Images).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sleepless in St. Louis

I couldn’t post last weekend. I’m overwhelmed by the mess we’re in and just about to give up. Obama is a total disappointment.

I listen to the rhetoric that’s been spoon fed to Astroturf roots organizations by corporations and I want to cry.

They believe publicly funded cops, firemen, roads, education and healthcare are socialism but not defense or corporate welfare for some reason.

I see too many comments in internet news that snark sarcastically about the left bashing “big bad corporations!” “How can we possibly blame them?”

They’re incredibly destructive and need to be controlled. The gulf oil spoil is just one obvious example.

The Minerals Management Service was made up of Bush cronies and insiders who had no intention of regulating the industry. In some cases they were literally in bed with oil company executives.

Obama knew it and deferred to them anyway. He seems to either fear or work for them.

His history with the corporations is maddening. It’s not pragmatism, it’s stupidity.

I first became painfully aware of his corporate complicity with the credit card industry overhaul. He wouldn’t even consider a cap on interest rates. The poor credit card companies can’t make their obscene profits charging late and hidden fees. What can they do but raise interest rates? I pay my cards on time, yet 2 of them are charging 30% interest. My cards are nearly maxed so I’m a bad risk. Making them harder to pay will certainly make me a better risk.

Letting big money control the argument about healthcare was inexcusable. He went to the insurance companies first and of course they didn’t like the idea of public health. They love mandatory coverage though. Next thing you know single payer is off the table and the marching morons are yelling socialism! Not to mention we got a weak bill the right can justifiably point out won’t work. “It’s a first step” is a ridiculous argument.

His bank bailouts came without strings attached so the banks have gone right back to their reckless practices. Not to mention congress’ dismantling of the whole stimulus process.

As far as message goes, why hasn’t Obama pointed out TARP was Bush’s baby. Why hasn’t he stressed the weak health bill we settled for was written by Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole as a response to HillaryCare.

The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Adopt A Highway

Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to legislation that would rename the "Mark McGwire Highway" in St. Louis the “Mark Twain Highway”. The bill needs the signature of Gov. Jay Nixon to become law.

This reminded me of our famous battle with the KKK over a section of highway 55 just south of the city.

They had been fighting since 1994 to adopt a section of the highway to keep clean and post their name in the process.

The MO Department of Transportation said it could refuse the use of federal money to subsidize racial discrimination.

A U.S. District Court judge ruled Missouri’s stance was unconstitutional. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed the finding. The state had to erect the signs announcing the KKKs sponsorship of that portion of Highway 55.

The MO Legislature voted to name that part of the highway the “Rosa Parks Highway.”

The U.S. Supreme court declined to hear Missouri’s appeal.

The Klan never cleaned their section of highway so MO threatened to drop them from the program. A Klan rep just beat the deadline by picking up bags, reflective vests and a safety video from the state. The Klan still wouldn't clean their section of highway so they were dropped from the program.

They’re currently trying to adopt a section of highway 21 near Potosi.

A few years ago I noticed a section of highway 67 in Hazelwood had been adopted by the John Birch Society.

What a strange form of advertising!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Big Money

The practice of lobbying in order to influence political decisions is a legitimate and necessary part of the democratic process. Unfortunately the only way to gain access to our politicians is with money. Big money means control in this country.

Since 1998, 43 percent of the 198 members of Congress who left government to join private life have registered to lobby. There’s big money in working for big money.

When the Supreme Court rejected a corporate spending limit in a 5-to-4 decision, the majority said, of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech. I suppose the corporations do.

It seems obvious that the current climate of fear of big government has been generated by big money that fears regulation.

Without money we don’t have a voice. I wish I had a solution but I don’t think people as a whole have the ability to decide anything for themselves.