Kellia’s World – Recommended Reading

Challenging the assumptions we live by — Because I want to.

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Health Care Poll

Posted by kelliasworld on March 29, 2009

Courtesy of Bia Winter and OpEd News

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Posted in America, Health Insurance | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

President Obama: Hypocrite and Hater on Single Payer Health Care

Posted by kelliasworld on March 26, 2009

Original Article

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
“…the Obama Administration’s emerging health care plan is expected to be based upon a model that has failed multiple times, most recently in Massachusetts”

Obama likes to say that the insurance industry employs tens or hundreds of thousands, and we cannot just displace them. That’s hating. But his advisers know perfectly well that single payer health care insurance would create 2.6 million new jobs, after allowing for the 440,000 insurance company jobs it would do away with a fact detailed in the groundbreaking report issued earlier this year by the National Nurses Organizing Committee. Instead, in the spirit of a dishonest hater, Obama has tried to ban from public forums any discussion of the single payer health care option, despite the fact that it has massive support among the people who voted for him. That is hypocrisy.

When the Obama campaign asked for house meetings across the nation on health care, the option suggested most often was indeed single payer. So you didn’t hear much of anything about the outcomes of those meetings. If that’s not dishonest hating on single payer health care it’s hard to imagine what is.

Instead, the Obama Administration’s emerging health care plan is expected to be based upon a model that has failed multiple times, most recently in Massachusetts, which includes “individual mandates” requiring people above a certain income level to purchase private insurance or face a fine, and provides some kind of care at subsidized rates to those with the lowest incomes. A recent study by physicians at Harvard Medical School meticulously exposes the predictable failure of the Massachusetts Plan live up to any of its promises, and explains succinctly why no “individual mandate” which subsidizes private insurance companies should be a model for any national health care plan.

It’s called “Massachusetts’ Plan” A Failed Model for Health Care Reform”, and you can find it online here. In it, Drs. Rachel Narden, David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler, all of Harvard Medical School deliver a withering assessment of the plan’s failure, and explain why it must not be a model for any national health care plan worthy of the name.

These are the key features of the Massachusetts Plan upon which Obama’s health care plan is modeled.

1. Subsidized private insurance is made available for the poorest at reduced or no cost through a state agency.
2. Unsubsidized private insurance at controlled costs was to be made available for those who made a little more.
3. As with automobile insurance, those not qualifying for subsidized insurance would be fined ($912 a year in 2008, $1,068 in 2009, collected with your state income tax) for failing to purchase insurance.
4. Employers were required to pay $295 a year for each employee they didn’t give health insurance to.
5. To control costs, funds to pay for the program were taken from the existing pool that previously financed “safety net” care for the poor and uninsured, leaving many with fewer options and less care than was available before the “reform.”

But the subsidized health insurance policies available to the poor in Massachusetts often covered fewer services than they were already receiving under previously existing conditions, and the greater the “income” of these poor people, the lower the subsidy and higher the deductibles. Under the Massachusetts Plan, the subsidies vanish altogether when one makes 300% of the ridiculously low Federal Poverty Level — about $31,000 per year.

Despite the fines for persons who fail to buy health insurance under the so-called “individual mandate” plans, many remain uninsured because coverage is simply not affordable.
“…the reform law specifically exempts uninsured families from fines if no affordable private plan is available. About 79,000 Massachusetts uninsured residents received this exemption in 2007, which excused them from fines, but left them uninsured.

“The private insurance plans available through the Commonwealth Choice program can be extremely expensive. According to the Connector website (accessed December 29, 2008 at http://www.mahealthconnector.org) the cheapest plan available to a middle-income 56-year-old now costs $4,872 annually in premiums alone. However, if the policy holder becomes sick, (s)he must pay an additional $2,000 deductible before insurance kicks in. Thereafter the policy holder pays 20% co-insurance (i.e. 20% of all medical bills) up to a maximum of $3,000 annually ($9,872 in total annual costs including premium, deductible and co-insurance). A need for uncovered services (e.g. physical therapy visits beyond the number covered) would drive out-of pocket costs even higher. It is not surprising that many of the state’s uninsured have declined such coverage.”

How can someone making $31,000 a year pay $90 a week in premiums alone, plus $20% of all medical bills up to $3,000 if they get sick? Is calling this “reform” even the least bit honest? Or is it hypocrisy?
The study makes the point again and again that access to health insurance is not the same as access to health care. A full third of every health care dollar is already diverted to private insurance companies. The Massachusetts Plan, and the emerging Obama Plan seem intended to preserve this cut for private insurers, even at the expense of needed care. “…(T)he new inssurance policies that replced the (previous) free care system require co-payments for office visits and prescriptions, which are difficult for many low income patients to pay…” says the study, hence patients suffering from HIV-AIDS and other chronic conditions have had to reduce doctor visits or skip their meds due to the high co-payments that the “reform” required.

The report outlines how the advocates of these private insurance industry endorsed versions of health care reform have lied in state after state where this has been tried — in Oregon, Maine, Vermont, Tennessee and elsewhere. We encourage our readers to download and read it, at only 18 pages, as an antidote to whatever form of “individual mandate” health plan is finally proposed by the Obama Administration.

Plans of this type have not lowered overall health care costs, either. They provide no incentive to tone down the over-reliance on expensive techniques and specialists, and produce more primary care physicians, the doctors who provide day to day, person to person coverage. Obama’s offer to “let’s computerize medical records” as a cost-saving procedure sounds nice, but falls flat. Most of the unnecessary paperwork is between care givers, hospitals and insurers with a vested interest in saying no to this or that treatment, test, or medicine.

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama declared we should judge his first term by whether, under his leadership, the nation finally enacted national health care system that takes care of everybody and lowers the cost of health care. Now we are in the middle of a completely foreseeable economic crisis caused in part by many of the people who are advising the president. Single payer health care has come to the fore as a viable means to create 2.6 million new jobs, a proposal that Obama’s advisors neither address nor discuss.

Sixty days into his presidency, the clock is ticking. Lofty rhetoric and lawyerly evasions are giving way to actual policies, many of them deeply disappointing to the people who campaigned and voted for this president. It looks like national health care for everybody is a dream, that if left up to this president and his advisers, will be deferred again. The question is, should we leave it up to them at all?

Bruce Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He is based in Atlanta GA and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
________
We can’t displace all the people who work in the health insurance industry? Sure we can. If businesses weren’t burdened with health insurance costs, maybe they could afford to hire the displaced workers. If not, let those workers RETRAIN, like so many other workers in other industries have been told to do. What is so sacred about the jobs in the health insurance industry? Nothing. Because it’s not the secretaries, data entry clerks and other day-to-day workers Obama really cares about. It’s the fat cat executives with hefty salaries whom he is trying to protect.

As for the argument that people have to buy auto insurance so they should also have to buy health insurance, I say that there are alternatives to driving. If you cannot afford auto insurance, you can take the bus, or train, or bike, or walk, or get a ride from another driver. The alternative to unaffordable health insurance is uninsurance, possibly a fine if you live in Massachusetts, and no care, or lack of timely care, if you are trying to not incur the bills. If an emergency occurs and you are forced to incur the bills, you then face a year or more of financial stress, harassment, collections and ruined credit. — K.R.

Posted in America, Economics, Health Insurance, Obama | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Jindal’s response shows GOP still doesn’t get it

Posted by kelliasworld on February 26, 2009

OpEdNews

Original Content at http://www.opednews.com/articles/Bobby–we-barely-knew-ye-by-Ed-Tubbs-090225-741.html

February 26, 2009

Bobby – we barely knew ye.

By Ed Tubbs

Bobby — we barely knew ye.

In a spirit of genuine nonpartisan comity, I did listen intently, and with an open mind, to what Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal offered as the Republican response to President Obama’s February 24 speech to a joint meeting of Congress and to the American public.

First off, after the previous eight years, it was refreshing to know that a Republican leader can deliver complete sentences without making up words. However, almost as immediately as that epiphany raised my spirits, it became manifest that that was the highlight of his near 15-minute oratory. Rather, it seemed a spiraling surrealistic déjà vu theme park roller coaster ride through Alice’s looking glass.

Governor Jindal told the nation that a handful of Louisiana fishermen, in their 15-foot outboards, were — and would be — more effective than the “heckova job” Bush/Republican federal government led agencies, when it came to apocalyptic natural disasters. Over and over the governor told us that was because “Americans can do anything.” I could barely restrain myself from adding “better than Republicans.”

He then went directly to the current economic crisis, condemning the Democratic president and congress for rejecting the present GOP plans that were, by the way, the very same schemes that got us and the world into the mess.

As evidence of the terrible waste within the $797 billion rescue package, Jindal cited the proposal to purchase $300 million worth of new cars for the federal government. I haven’t done the math: $300 million divided by $797 BILLION, but I’ve no doubt that Jindal is probably correct, that the percentage is stunning.

The governor’s cited evidence did prompt me to ponder a few possibly relevant questions. Like, were the vehicles to be purchased replacing older, less fuel efficient, less polluting than those they’d replace? Were those they were replacing going to be replaced in the near future anyway? And, were these new vehicles going to be manufactured and assembled in American plants, by Americans, and wasn’t that the point of the whole thing — putting Americans to work?

Also included in the presentation of evidence was the cited planned appropriation of $8 billion on high-speed rail projects. A few points: First, the way he jammed it together, in a single sentence, “. . . including” — which I kinda think no one was supposed to actually hear, sort of akin to super fine print warnings — “a magnetic levitation line from Las Vegas” (OHHHH, the SIN!!!) to Disneyland” (OHHHH, it’s all such a “small” [silly] “world after all.”).

It’s here that I feel impelled to bring some perhaps perspective-changing facts to the discussion. It seems that Governor Jindal wanted his audience to slide right past them, the way state troopers hidden in the median brush want speeding motorists to do.

1.) The United States lags sorely behind the majority of industrialized countries when it comes to non- or low-polluting, energy efficient, high-speed transportation. As every motorist must by now be frustratingly aware, we spend endless hours every day, sitting in parking lots that are misnamed freeways, watching untold dollars spew in fumes out our tailpipes. Cough, cough, cough.

2.) The route noted is among the most heavily traveled. Regardless how the governor sought to insert notions of bawdry sin and frivolousness with “Las Vegas” and “Disneyland,” the route between LA and Las Vegas will not be made less congested thereby.

3.) Whether it’s via I-210 to I-15, or I-10 to I-15, motorists still have to pass through one of the deadliest in the country west and north of San Bernardino. That it is one of the deadliest is not attributable to either the design of the road nor necessarily the carelessness of motorists. The problem owes to the need to get from the LA basin to the high desert. That transition, from one climate zone to another, makes the route perhaps the most dramatically scenic of all metropolitan cores in the United States. You climb, and climb, and climb, and climb around broad sweeping curves that are subject to wind gusts that can exceed 50 miles per hour and sudden blinding fog and sudden blinding dust.

4.) The project has been “shovel ready” for years.

5.) The project, as with all others contained in the package, will put AMERICANS to work, which most agree, is the point.

Without the parenthesis, a parenthetical observation is in order. I’ve traveled I-10, from Florida to California a number of times. I swear, or affirm, to all that the very most miserable section of that 3,000 mile Interstate is in Governor Jindal’s state of Louisiana. It’s horrible, mind wrenching, fatiguing mile after mile after mile after god-forsaken, unending miles of bumpity-bump, bumpity-bump, bumpity-bump, bumpity-bump, bumpity-bump as the car passes over the elevated sections of concrete that cross through the bayous. Then, heaping additional misery to the trek, motoring the route from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm over the two very narrow lanes each direction. . . Road-kill moves more rapidly. Governor, I have an idea: How about an elevated, magnetic levitation line between the Big Easy and Baton Rouge and Lafayette?

Included in Governor Jindal’s presentation of evidence, supporting his assertion the package was loaded with unnecessary, useless pork, was the $140 million allocated to monitor volcanoes. (Actually, it’s for volcanoes and other seismic phenomena.) Why did Mt. St. Helens spring to mind, when you raised the issue? And what about Hawaii? I mean, if I were a resident of those areas, or a visitor, I’d be interested in forecasts that might forewarn me of the possible risk of being killed by volcanic eruptions. Really, I would.

But, and this is a real kicker, how many can name what is potentially the very most lethal natural disaster confronting the US?

As one of only eight, Yellowstone National Park is the largest super-volcano on the planet. Six hundred thousand years ago, the park erupted, burying the geography easterly all the way to Des Moines in deadly ash. The geologic record notes that it blows its deadly top on the average of once every 600,000 years. (Pop Quiz for the governor: How many years has it been since Yellowstone erupted?) Additionally, and I really don’t like piling on, the average number of detectable earthquakes striking Yellowstone are 1,000 to 2,000. In 1985 there were 3,000. Furthermore, the upward push cause by magma buildup raised the floor eight inches between the summer of 2004 to 2008. By his comments, I know Governor Jindal doesn’t care about those sorts of calamities, and that he doesn’t think the government should either.

I was standing in the middle of a parade field at Fort Lewis when the 1964 quake devastated Alaska. That far away, I saw barracks sway like Hula dancers’ skirts, and I felt the tremors. In 1989, I was living in San José, getting ready to have dinner and watch a World Series game. Maybe the governor wasn’t watching television that evening, but I saw what that quake did to the Bay area . . . after the heaving earth quieted and I’d returned inside. So, while some folks don’t think monitoring seismic activity, keeping track of topography-altering volcanoes, is a worthy use of federal dollars, I bet that many others do. (And once again, what’s the percentage, $140 million divided by $797 BILLION?)

Jindal also scolded the Democrats and President Obama for a package that would add to the national debt. He said that borrowing from future generations was “wrong.” That was when he took us out of Alice in Wonderland, and rocketed all the way into The Twilight Zone, well beyond anything Stephen Spielberg and ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) could have managed. Ronald Reagan TRIPLED the national debt. While composing a budget in 1993 that secured not a single Republican vote, Bill Clinton added 22 million jobs and set the country on a course that would have paid off the debt entirely! And then we got George Bush and a Republican Senate and House, and the GOP DOUBLED again what Reagan had tripled, all the while adding not a single net job through the entire eight years. By the way . . . I seem to recall it was Dick Cheney who gleefully claimed how “Reagan proved — Deficits don’t matter!” Tell me once more, was Richard B. Cheney a Republican, or was he one of those godless, free-spending Democrats?

Jindal’s last point was to education, and touted Louisiana’s. Just a show of hands, please. However poorly you may judge the system where you live, how many would voluntarily swap it, would rather have your kids going to school in Louisiana?

Yeah, thought so: a handful in Alabama, and a few in West Virginia.

Oh Bobby — we barely knew ye. But we do now. Thanks for the introduction. And for reminding the country, as if any reminding was at all necessary, why the GOP was kicked out of the House, the Senate, and the Oval Office. But tell you what, I think we’re pretty well satisfied, and won’t be needing anything more from you, at least in the foreseeable future.

— Ed Tubbs

Author’s Bio: An “Old Army Vet” and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: “He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity.”

Posted in America, Congress, Economics, Obama, Republicans | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Cynthia McKinney: Pres. Obama – Don’t be complicit in their crimes!

Posted by kelliasworld on January 30, 2009

On Thursday, January 29th, I sent President Obama this message:

“Mr. President: The Bush Administration lied to the people in pursuit of war. As a result, at least one million Iraqis and thousands of U.S. soldiers are dead. Thousands more are maimed. The stature of the U.S. is severely damaged. The U.S. Constitution is in shreds after signing statements, wiretaps, and torture. Your obligation is to investigate and bring to justice those who violated U.S. and international law, such as the torture treaty. Failure to do so makes you complicit in their crimes.”

On Wednesday, January 28th, I sat in front of the television and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Exactly what I’ve been saying, myself.  But it was coming from an unexpected source:  the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak.  I wrote down every word.  He said that the United Nations has proof that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld knowingly approved of torture as a policy for the United States.  He said that President Barack Obama has a responsibility to investigate and prosecute those who condoned, conducted, or approved of torture.

Further, Jonathan Turley, in an MSNBC interview stated that if Obama fails to investigate or prosecute that he would be an “accessory.”

This is significant.  It means that all of us, sadly, were right to pursue impeachment of the key figures in the Bush Administration.  Impeachment was the Constitutional imperative; but the Constitution didn’t mean anything to either the Republican or Democratic national leadership.

And to think, on this day filled with impeachment news, Nancy Pelosi took impeachment “off the table” for this cast of villainous characters.  I never will forget watching Rocky Anderson, former Mayor of Salt Lake City, say on national television that Nancy Pelosi should be impeached for impeding impeachment.  But Nancy Pelosi isn’t the only one who obstructed justice.

In fact, how could Dick Durbin and Harry Reid, so voluble in standing up to Roland Burris because he was Governor Blagojevich’s pick for Obama’s vacated Senate seat, sit as quiet as church mice in the face of repeated calls for impeachment because of the reckless criminality of the Bush Administration?

And now, we have the United Nations tell us the equivalent of “Houston, we have a problem.”

Some of us knew all along, from the very beginning, that the Bush Administration was the quintessence of election theft, graft, corruption, and war criminality.  Some of us recognized early on that our struggle was “against principalities, against powers, . . . against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  It is impossible to “go along and get along” with illegal and immoral acts.  But that is exactly what the national leadership of this country asked us all to do, and that is exactly what they did.

Dr. King was confronted with the expediency of staying on the civil rights track, remaining with his friends in the civil rights movement, or doing what his conscience impelled him to do.  That’s when he made his famous statement, that popular chroniclers of Dr. King seem to have forgotten:

“When I first decided to take a firm stand against the war in Vietnam, I was subjected to the most bitter criticism, by the press, by individuals, and even by some fellow civil rights leaders. There were those who said that I should stay in my place, that these two issues did not mix and I should stick with civil rights. Well I had only one answer for that and it was simply the fact that I have struggled too long and too hard now to get rid of segregation in public accommodations to end up at this point in my life segregating my moral concerns.”

Dr. King had to leave behind some of his best friends in the movement when he decided to speak out against the Vietnam War.  Dr. King could have bowed to the pressure and stayed in his “civil rights” lane.  But he knew that the war was wrong and he had to use every fiber in his being to stop it.  Even his life, itself.

One of the first underreported acts of President Obama was to sign an order continuing the drone airstrikes, resulting in at least 22 killed so far.  For the dead children of Afghanistan or Pakistan or Gaza, it doesn’t matter to their parents if the bomb was dropped by Bush or Obama or the client state they support.  And President Obama has made it clear that the bombs will continue to drop; it is up to us–the people of the United States–to stop them.  That’s why it was on my birthday, in front of the Pentagon in 2007, that I declared my independence from every bomb dropped, every child killed, every veteran maimed in the name of U.S. wars.  I said it, and I meant it, and I knew I was going to have to do something I’d never done before if I was ever going to have something I’d never had before.  So I left the Democratic Party.

I don’t regret my decision one minute.  I draw my strength from Dr. King, who in his own way, did the same thing when he refused to segregate his moral concerns.

My neighborhood in Los Angeles, Watts and South Central, is already a police state.  Tonight, 25 to 30 young black men, standing handcuffed, outside the barber shop.  Every night, routine dehumanization is carried out in black and brown neighborhoods by LAPD.  I see it.  I never miss it.  It’s all around me.

Oscar Grant murdered in cold blood by law enforcement.  Robert Tolan, murdered in cold blood by law enforcement, for driving his father’s car, mistaken for stolen.

Filiberto Ojeda Rios assassinated by the U.S. government; I met his wife and heard the entire story of what happened as he was shot by the FBI and then bled to death.

Innocent black and brown and poor white men on death row.  How many Troy Davises and Mumia Abu Jamals will we allow to exist in our country?

Native Americans trying to survive despite genocide and ethnic cleansing, struggle against drug and alcohol abuse and poverty, and try to keep their culture alive.

And yet the likes of Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi, and now Barack Obama say nothing about the pain I see on the mean streets and reservations across our country, and the miscarriages of justice that are its regular feature, but they allow Bush and company to get away with the highest of crimes, involving millions of deaths.

In each of these writings, I ask you, too, to write to the White House and let them know that you exist.  We didn’t recruit President Obama to run, so I am clear on the limitations of a White House letter writing campaign.  But trust me, our collective efforts will congeal into the movement for dignity, real peace, and true justice that we so desperately need for ourselves and the rest of the world.

http://lists.allthingscynthiamckinney.com/pipermail/updates-allthingscynthiamckinney.com/2009-January/000080.html

Posted in Cynthia McKinney, Obama | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Work Ethic or the Slave’s Disdain for Leisure

Posted by kelliasworld on January 23, 2009

By HARRY BROWNE

(originally published on Counterpuch.org)

It wasn’t a very good speech. Even his brother-in-law yawned.

The oration’s first problem was accidental: how he must have regretted opening with a reference to all the men who have said the Oath of Office, given that (ouch) his own oath had just got mangled — but he passed on the opportunity to ad-lib a joke about that. From that point on its larger problems were fundamental to Barack Obama’s politics: CounterPunch readers won’t have been surprised at his dull technocratic insistence that there’s no more room for argument about the path forward; we know the code when he talks of “hard choices” and “unpleasant decisions”; and we’ve seen enough of Washington’s idea of ‘change’ to know that 98 per cent of the speech would have fit comfortably in John McCain’s mouth.

But there was one largely overlooked passage that was so stupid, and so disturbing, that I may have to withdraw my standard concessionary, “Well, sure, I admit he’s obviously a smart guy with some decent instincts.”

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.

Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor — who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

Okay, partly this passage is standard, put-on inverted snobbery from a man whose own CV is short on making things. The right-wingers who claim Obama is a closet Marxist might find the labor theory of value lurking dangerously in it. But for me its most striking phrase is the denigration, alongside the despised “faint-hearted” and fame-seekers, of “those who prefer leisure over work.”

It gets worse, a lot worse, if you follow the rest of the passage logically in terms of the contrast he has set up. The productive good guys of the next sentence, the doers and makers who brought not just prosperity but freedom – those folks clearly must have preferred work over leisure, or maybe they scored them even. And the final sentence tells us explicitly who he is talking about: farmers and settlers, sweatshop-workers and … slaves.

The idea that slaves helped build American greatness because (among other things) they preferred work to leisure is so offensively stupid that it clearly wandered into Obama’s speech via sloppiness rather than by design. (This is in itself undermines his reputation for wordcraft and attention to detail: the only reference to slavery in the inaugural speech of the first African-American president was permitted to carry this crazed logic.) Maybe we can just write it off as the sort of thing that happens when you’re absent-mindedly knitting together clichés and you drop a stitch. Nobody seems to have noticed it or taken offence anyway.

All the same, I say, in the light of that striking phrase: leisure-lovers of the world unite, and watch out for this guy’s moralizing work ethic. No one would wish to deny the pleasures of a job well done; but so much of the work of the industrial era has been short of such satisfactions, and so many of the great struggles of that era have focused on having the time and money to enjoy the time away from the job. Remember “eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what you will”? Those sweatshop workers weren’t preferring work over leisure, they were earning a crust and fighting to get out of there with enough energy left in their bones to enjoy life.

Meanwhile, while American capitalist prosperity was built on the blood and sweat of slaves, it was at least partly their leisure-time and that of their laboring descendents that gave us the greatest musical culture we have known.

“Those who prefer leisure over work”? You’d want to have some great job (President?) not to be one of “those”. Me, I think I’ve got something approaching the world’s best gig, as a college teacher in a public institution, paid well to talk and think and read and write about stuff that interests me, encouraged to have an active involvement in public affairs, in the company of open-minded young people, never lugging anything heavier than a bundle of student newspapers or an overhead projector. Here’s a partial list of things I like even better: going to the movies; reading John Le Carré; pretending to be a cat with my three-year-old; shopping for pretty things with my 16-year-old; a few pints with pals; a morning in bed with my beloved; a walk on the beach; cooking a needlessly complicated meal; reclining on the sofa with a glass of wine and Wayne Shorter on the stereo…. You get the idea: your basic personal-ads stuff. (As personal ads reveal, we see ourselves as we wish to be seen in our leisure loves, not in our job titles.) I can do all those things because forbears, especially in the trade-union movement, fought for my wages and my leisure.

Leisure should be a crucial political priority, especially in recession. There’s not enough work for everyone to do? Sure there is, if everyone worked less. Our preference for leisure, frankly confessed and proclaimed, can serve the common good, and point the way toward a more equitable distribution of hard-work, soft-work and no-work in our societies. A leisure rebellion in the US would also help to break the world’s most enduring stereotype of Americans: that they ‘live to work.’

Meanwhile, in Washington, at the end of his big day, Obama couldn’t be bothered to party. His visits to inaugural balls were supposed to finish at 2:55am, but he rushed through and wrapped up more than two hours early, before 12.45. One hopes he eschewed a late night of pleasantries, and messed with his supporters’ and donors’ timetables, because he and his wife longed for some intimate leisure after their long, extraordinary public day. But I’m worried he just wanted to be well-rested for work.

Harry Browne lectures in the School of Media at Dublin Institute of Technology and is author of CounterPunch’s Hammered by the Irish. Contact harry.browne@gmail.com

________

I think Mr. Browne makes a good point. Does the American mythos overglorify work? Make your comments below.

Posted in America, Obama | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

And so we begin

Posted by kelliasworld on January 21, 2009

A column I read stated that the swearing in of Barack Obama was the most anticipated inauguration since that of John F. Kennedy. I was only 5-1/2 when JFK took the oath and I have no memory of seeing it. But I have noticed that, everywhere I’ve gone in Oakland, spirits have been high and unprecedented celebrations were planned for Inauguration Day.

For weeks, local buses bore signs telling people which routes to take to the Oracle Arena,  (where the NBA Golden State Warriors play their home games), to view the Inauguration Ceremonies. Tickets were $5.00 a piece, a small price to pay for purchasing a lot of company if you did not want to watch for free on your computer or television by yourself or with an intimate group of family, friends and neighbors. The Oracle event turned out to be one of the largest Inaugural gatherings, if not the largest, outside Washington D.C. itself.

The espresso machine at my corner coffee shop was so heavily used it ran out of steam Inauguration morning. The local trattoria had an all day happy hour.

The festive mood wasn’t just in Oakland and Washington D.C., both majority black cities. And it wasn’t restricted to black people celebrating the inauguration of the country’s first black President. There is a sense that a great weight has been lifted from the shoulders of the nation. Away, with the oath of office botched by the Bush-appointed Supreme Court justice, and away, with the limo and the helicopter than took Cheney and Bush out of the capital, went the burden of acute embarrassment over a regime that stole two elections, lied to get us into war, destroyed our reputation in the international community by engaging in torture, let a major American city drown, expounded theories of government that do as much violence to our democracy as could any terrorists’ bombs or bullets,  and handed over our treasure to financiers and war profiteers like children sneaking to their friends the ill-gotten gains of a raid on mama’s cookie jar.

In a permitted protest in front of the FBI building, people waved placards that said “Arrest Bush.” And as Bush’s chopper flew over the National Mall, people sang

NAH! NAH! NAH! NAH!

NAH! NAH! NAH! NAH!

HEY! HEY! HEY!

GOOD-BYE!

During that flyover, I recalled the words of Gerald Ford when he addressed the people after taking the oath with far less ceremony but just as much urgency as today: “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.  Our Constitution works ; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men.”

Today’s national nightmare is far from over. But after speculation in some quarters  that we would not even have a Presidential election in 2008, that the Bush-Cheney cabal would find a way to precipitate a crisis necessitating the declaration of martial law, we saw, on January 20, the peaceful transition of power that has marked our Republic’s history in uninterrupted fashion since George Washington handed over the reins to John Adams.

So now we begin to set aright a nation devastated by a political force no less powerful as the hurricane that devastated New Orleans. Our new President has much to do; he can’t do it overnight and he can’t do it alone.

But, despite the rhetoric of responsibility, the proclamation that we all must do our part to rebuild the country, the fact remains that much damage was done behind our backs or otherwise without our consent, and by means that were beyond our control as ordinary citizens. And repair of that damage is equally out of our hands. The fact remains that Obama is the leader and the question remains as to what he is willing and able to do.

I take a skeptical view of him because I do not see how a young, black, first-term Senator gets to be President of the United States without the consent and help of  “The Powers That Be,” those “Malefactors of Great Wealth”, as Theodore Roosevelt called them, who caused the problems in the first place.  For example, the financial interests (Wall St.) were the largest donors, by sector of the economy, to the inaugural festivities. What will Obama do to rein in their influence, to set up an economy where finance is the servant of real productivity, not its master?

Will the man who, as Senator, voted for Telecom Immunity, dismantle the machinery of fascism left to him by the neo-cons, or will he prove right a colleague of mine who recently said that government never gives up a power it has acquired?

What does it mean for the prospects of true and lasting peace in the Middle East that Obama’s inaugural address contained a message to the Muslim world, but none to Israel?

I celebrate our new President’s intelligence and articulateness. Yet I think Jon Stewart of The Daily Show made an interesting point Inauguration Night in comparing the  rhetoric of  Obama’s inaugural address to various of Bush’s speeches. The similarities were discomfiting. Are certain themes  expected in a presidential address or are the leaders of both heads of our one corporate party fundamentally the same? Time alone will tell.

This is not to say that we won’t get anything refreshingly new from Obama, if he meant what he said in his inaugural address.  He said three things that really struck me as signaling his intention to steer a new course. One was the comment that “we will restore science to its rightful place…” This was  a direct rebuke of Bush’s politicization of science, especially as it relates to climate change.  NASA scientist and noted climate-change expert James Hansen recently said, “We cannot afford to put off change any longer. We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.” If that’s the case, Obama’s inaugural words about science were encouraging indeed.
Hansen

The second was, “[a]s for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers … our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.” This suggests that Obama wishes to restore respect for our Constitution and treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions, that the Bush Administration disparaged, treaties that our Constitution makes part of the supreme law of the land.

Obama can start that process by asserting what he, as a former professor of constitutional law, should know: that no statute, including the Patriot Act, can defeat rights granted by the Constitution. Our  Constitution, unlike constitutions of some other nations, has no provision for its suspension, and is supreme over any statute, no matter what trying circumstance inspired the passing of that statute. That he voted for the reauthorization of the Patriot Act makes me doubt that he will make such an assertion.

The third was “[r]ecall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please.” I hope this means that the era of pre-emptive war and willingness to use nuclear weapons as a first strike against non-nuclear nations is at its ignominious end.

What Obama will accomplish, assuming he is willing to try, is circumscribed by the people around him, not only those pulling strings (his?) behind the scenes, but the people in the Congress with whom he must work. Let us not kid ourselves by thinking he can accomplish a lot  just because the Democrats control both houses of Congress. The Democrats were behind the Wall St. bailouts (as was Obama himself). Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D.-CA) took impeachment off the table and Rep. John Conyers (D.-MI) head of the House Judiciary Committee quietly went along with that.

We need to look into our past, as the South Africans did post-apartheid, to get at the truth of why we do the things we do and who benefits from our actions. We need another investigation into 9/11. A thorough exposition and destruction of the government’s lies with regard to that terrible day would destroy the legitimacy of the Bush regime and everything it did against peace and civil liberties in the name of 9/11 and our security.

We also need an investigation into the war crimes of the Bush regime.  A special prosecutor is a must. And we must also remember that Bush was not the first, just the worst. Bill Clinton was the table setter for the Bush Administration disasters at home and abroad. He signed telecom deregulation in ’96 and financial industry deregulation in ’99. He called for government backdoors into our personal computers (something Joe Biden championed in the Senate). And when the Taleban expressed willingness to turn Osama bin-Laden over to the US in the late 90’s, Clinton rebuffed them. With Hillary Clinton and so many other Clintonites in the Obama Administration, we are not likely to get a full accounting of the Clinton Adminstration’s role in getting us into the mess we are in today.

I think that while Obama will do some good things, we will not get the “change you can believe in” unless we punish the criminals, restore and rehabilitate the victims, and tell the people who committed unethical but not criminal deeds, or for whom the statute of limitations has run, that the game is over and they should take their marbles and go home. Anything less  will only serve, to borrow a phrase from this summer’s campaign, “to put lipstick on a pig.”

As to what we the people do to hold Obama’s feet to the fire, I am frankly at a loss. That millions throughout the world demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq but it happened anyway, tells me we the people don’t have much influence over foreign policy.

At home, we can vote with  our wallets to a certain extent, but only if we have alternatives. For example, I have my bank account at WAMU/CHASE. In my neighborhood they, Bank of America, and Wachovia dominate the landscape. There is not a credit union I can join.

Politically, we can join third parties, but that is a strategy for the very long haul, not for those who want major change now.

The Internet has broadened the media. Gone are the days when a writer could wallpaper her room with rejection slips. Ideas about alternative political philosophies or economic systems can now be published readily. But they can also be lost in the din as millions of people worldwide publish billions of ideas but the major media dominates the Internet and people seldom look past the first two pages of any search.  Writing and journalism have become more and more the careers of an elite few as the rest of us are forced to publish for free, or worse yet, to pay for the privilege.

Alternative healers, farmers’ markets and such exist. They are of some help to some people, but they are of no help to people who need an operation they can’t afford, or who reside in an inner city with no access to a standard grocery store, let alone a farmers’ market. We still look to the large corporate systems to meet most of our needs and will do so for a long time yet, even as we develop different ways of doing things. That’s their power and they know it, as do the politicians who know on which side their bread is buttered.

The first thing we need to do it to imagine the world we want. Then we have to work toward it in any non-violent way we can.  We have inaugurated a President who, at the very least, does not seem to want to obstruct the development of different ways of doing things as much as his predecessor did, at least where science and technology (especially energy use) are concerned.

How far he will take us, or we will take him, is still an unknown.

And so we begin…

Posted in 9/11, America, Congress, George W. Bush, Internet, Israel, Obama | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Political limbo: when lame duck meets reluctant transition

Posted by kelliasworld on January 5, 2009

Ah, this is the winter of our political discontent, caught in the limbo between the ending of an 8 year presidency and the inauguration of another which could last for another 8. There is a terrible disconnect between the continuity of our national problems, both domestic and the foreign, and the possible or probable alteration of the policies by means of which we have dealt (or failed to deal) with those problems. The retiring or lame duck administration is reluctant to undertake any policies (except perhaps for matters like presidential pardons or the alteration of administrative environmental regulations) that may be abandoned as soon as the incoming administration takes over. For their part, the administration-to-be is unlikely to propose policy changes before they have taken the reins of power by means of which they can hopefully secure adoption of those proposals. As Barack Obama said in refusing to comment on the current Israeli assault on Gaza: “there’s only one President at a time.” I would argue, to contrary, that in this as every political transition period in U.S. history there is NO President, no one with the power and the motive to assume definitive leadership in dealing with our problems, both domestic and foreign.

This political limbo is of course most acutely expressed in the area of foreign policy, in which there seems to be a conventional understanding that, in such matters, the United States must stand united in support of a singular version of U.S. foreign policy. If a U.S. leader like Jesse Jackson or (more currently) Cynthia McKinney makes a public foray into a version du jour of the endless conflict in the Middle East, that act will be treated as a violation of that understanding of public unanimity despite differences in viewpoint or intention of different persons and parties. The Gaza situation demonstrates the deadly effect of the transition limbo: an effect of which, I have no doubt, Israeli leaders were quite aware and of which they were quite prepared to take advantage, based on the timing of an invasion that could have come almost anytime since Gaza exercised its sovereign right to choose a government controlled by Hamas three years ago. The Bush administration, engaged in the proverbial “rush for the bus” in which sports teams out of title contention at the end of the season play out their schedule with minimal interest or involvement, is hardly likely to interrupt its bogus victory lap in the Middle East by getting involved in anything beyond moral sputterings about how this stuff has got to stop.

Well, that’s the lame duck part of the limbo; the reluctant transition is a little harder to explain. Obama, his chosen cabinet and staff and most of his supporters seem to be continuing their agenda of muting any criticism or even positive suggestion for the new administration on the apparent assumption that, like “nothing was the same” (supposedly but wrongly believed) after 9/11/01, nothing will be the same after 1/20/09 as morning comes (again) to America and we get a “fresh start” on our problems,. both domestic and foreign.

Where domestic policy is concerned, there is actually little pretense that the economic “crisis” into which we have entered will be much different before and after 1/20, and Obama

has made it abundantly clear that he will not act on a chaste “one President at a time” assumption as his administration has moved forward with bailout and economic stimulus in recognition, perhaps, of the fact that there will be only a cosmetic change as the neo-conservatives of the Bush administration are replaced by the Clinton-era Chicago school economists of the Obama one.

In foreign policy the Obama administration could and urgently should take the same kind of activist role that they have adopted in the area of domestic economic policy. True, Obama cannot and perhaps should not advocate specific U.S. military actions like (what needs to be done) the denial to Israel of the military hardware used in the assault on Gaza. But he definitely could and should articulate a principle of foreign policy with regard to the Middle East that looks like something more than the “lopsided” support of Israel which some Arab leaders are accusing Condoleezza Rice of displaying. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict can never be settled by acknowledging an unquestioning right of Israel to commit whatever acts it chooses against what it deems as existential threats by Palestinians. Yet this is exactly what Bush and Obama, Rice and Hillary Clinton, almost with one voice, have pronounced as the sole basis of U.S. Middle East “policy.”

Please don’t tell me that it will be “soon enough” after Obama takes office for him to articulate and practice a less lop-sided “doctrine.” In its dealing with Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank, Israel has perfected the fine art of creating “facts on the ground” (i.e, settlers located in Arab land) with which governments will have to deal after the fact. As Obama will “inherit” the consequences of ongoing foreign policy decisions (or non-decisions) of the Bush administration (remember how JFK “inherited” the already-planned Bay of Pigs operation from Eisenhower?), he has every motive and civic responsibility to begin to exercise leadership in articulating a post-imperialist policy that will embrace conflict resolution not only in the Middle East but wherever the tentacles of U.S. imperialism are spread. People throughout the Arab world, many of whom were treated by Al Jazeera with juxtaposed images of the “pecs and abs” displayed by Obama at his Hawaiian vacation idyll with images of Gaza under siege and attack are looking exactly for that leadership. The Americans who elected him to the presidency should expect no less.

Jerry D. Rose – Editor, The Sun State Activist

Posted in Israel, Jerry D. Rose, Obama, Palestine, Principled Progressive | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Kucinich: “Is this the US Congress or the board of directors of Goldman Sachs?”

Posted by kelliasworld on December 20, 2008

By Jeremy Frombach

[Originally published on OpEdNews.com, Dec. 19, 2008. Jeremy has hit the nail on the head–KR].

‘Is this the U.S. Congress or the board of directors at Goldman Sachs??” asks Dennis Kucinich, the one Democrat probably in all of Congress even worth listening to.


Although Congress received hundreds of thousands of phone calls and e-mails telling them to oppose the bailout of Wall St., Democrats overwhelmingly voted yes, while reluctant Republicans at first defeated the measure, but subsequently caved on the second vote, passing one of the most god awful pieces of legislation in our country’s history, handing over nearly 1/4 of the entire U.S. budget to the financial industry. Here is some information you may find interesting.

http:../../..www. opens..ecret..s. org/..overv..iew/..topco..ntrib..s. php?..cycle..=2008

-Goldman Sachs was the second highest campaign contributor of the entire 2008 election. They gave away $6,006,266. How much of it was used to buy off Democrats you ask? 75%


– JPMorgan Chase & Co was right behind them in the number 3 slot, giving away $4,884,509; 59% of it to Democrats.

– Citigroup is number four with $4,776,231; guess which party received 65%

– Morgan Stanley is 7th, giving $3,871,414. Surprise- Democrats win again with 54%

– and then there’s Merrill Lynch, coming in at 9th overall giving $3,081,190; the only Wall Street firm on the list to give the majority to Republicans, 56%-44%

Still think Obama and the ‘crats are on our side? Really? Do you honestly believe Wall Street firms just love to give money away to politicians who are going to work against them? Can anyone possibly be that dumb?

$22.3 million in campaign contributions in exchange for a $700 billion bailout. That works out to an investment made back 313 times over. You still think the markets imploded because without regulations these gosh’durn Wall Streeters just didn’t know how to do their job? This one “purchase” alone made them a 31,300% return. There is no better investment than buying off a government that controls a $3.2 Trillion budget.

So where does that money come from? Well, you. Sitting for hours behind that desk or waiting tables, or whatever it is that you do, working tirelessly for what little money you can so your government can hand it over to irresponsible banks. And then they can throw extravagant parties with it, like AIG. It was stolen from working people like my mother, who is 56, a college graduate with no retirement savings (because she has no money left after paying for her modest 1 bedroom house) has not bought a new car in 10 years, and spends 50+ hours a week in a cubicle. The working class of this country is facing the highest foreclosure rate in our nation’s history and literally being thrown in the street while they are being asked to charitably donate their tiny earnings back to these banks. Wait, not asked- told. Pay the IRS or go to jail. Surely our new president will not allow such a thing to happen! Wrong again, not only does he not stop it, he is actually a driving force behind it. He goes to the Senate floor to “urge” his colleagues to approve a plan that sends the bill for all of those losses onto people like my mother. Which is fine, she only has to keep the thermostat down to 55 in the winter to make ends meet, Wisconsin is plenty warm in December. Up next she gets to bail out the auto manufacturers who spent billions building cars no one apparently wanted to buy. This is the change everyone has been clamoring for?

This is why even with your college degree you still drive an old car that is falling apart. Why you are still not only renting an apartment rather than buying, but  forced to share it with multiple roommates. Why you have no savings, no assets, no property, why you can’t afford to set any money aside and why you have to live off of your credit cards in case of emergency. It is why you can’t pay your bills on time, why you can’t afford to buy anything without borrowing for it and paying it back for years to come with interest (guess who that benefits) and why it feels like none of us can just get caught up. A huge portion of our money is being siphoned off by the absurd amount of taxation we are forced to live under and it is shipped off to ungrateful and undeserving cogs in the machine like Citigroup, and it is because of the enablers of this system in our government-Barack Obama and others like him.

All I am saying is be objective. Obama and the Democrats are not the saviors the media has made them out to be. If you look at who gave the Republicans their campaign money 8 years ago, it’s the exact same people. Congress with it’s Democratic majority is nothing more than a new cast with the same writers. It’s like that 50th infomercial you’ve seen that says “FINALLY- THE WAY TO SOLID ABS!” Please. The problem is not Republicans, folks. It’s the entire 2 party system being so insanely simple for Wall Street to buy off, and our inability to look past worthless nonsense like a politician’s charisma and his accompanying empty rhetoric that makes us feel “moved”. Don’t be surprised when nothing changes and this next president severely disappoints you.
Maybe we’ll all get it in 2012.
I will leave you with an amazing quote from someone who epitomizes the Democratic Party’s agenda, California Senator Diane Feinstein, speaking on the bailout vote-

‘Mr. President I have received 91,000 phone calls and emails from California; 85,000 of them opposed to this measure… I think if we really do care about the livelihood of our constituents, there is only one vote- and it is yes.’


Unbelieveable.

Our country is burning and our leaders are fighting over the hose; the republicans want to wash the car and the democrats want to water the grass.

Posted in America, Congress, Obama | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Obama Apologetics: From “lesser evil” to “Give the guy a chance.

Posted by kelliasworld on November 30, 2008

Jerry D. Rose – Editor, The Sun State Activist

During the presidential campaign, any complaints about the lack of a progressive focus in Barack Obama’s stances on public issues were deflected with the observation that those of the Republican ticket were so much worse, so that progressives were morally obligated to vote for the Democratic one as the “lesser of the two evils.”  The response to that argument was repeated by many commentators innumerable times: that if you continue to vote for the lesser evil election cycle after election cycle, you are going to be confronted every time with an “evil” choice, in a Dantean hell kind of perpetual misery.  To little avail did we make these arguments, as the voters trooped to the polls and those who needed to hold their noses as they voted for the Democratic ticket held their noses and participated in the glorious “historic victory” that is still being celebrated.

The other argument, being played in the background of the dominant lesser evil theme, was that Obama’s lack of expressed support for progressive positions was simply a strategic decision to avoid alienating the “center” of American political thinking, without whose support he had no chance of being elected.  In this view, what’s the use of voting for an ideological “purist” (like, say, a Dennis Kucinich or Mike Gravel) whose views were too “far out” to make them “electable?”  So Obama and later his team-mate Biden had to be shrewd enough to seem to be centrist in their views, when their “hearts” were with the left. So “give the guys a chance,” a chance to be elected after which their true progressive colors would be allowed to emerge.

After the election and in the current transition period, that secondary “give the guy a chance” motif has now blossomed into the favorite theme of Obama apologetics.  The main occasion for this change has been the fact that Obama has been busily filling his staff and cabinet appointments, some already made and some others still in the usual “float” stage of names being “prominently mentioned” for appointment to government posts.  There is very clearly a pattern in these announced and anticipated appointments that, as Jerome Grossman for example notes, have not included a single “liberal” amongst them. The announced and floated names are almost entirely “experienced” figures, mostly re-treads from the Clinton administration, with a token Bush holdover in the (still floated) re-appointment of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Ideologically, the appointments focused on domestic policy have been overwhelmingly (maybe exclusively) from the camp of neo-liberal proponents of the Chicago school of economics; while foreign policy-oriented ones have been drawn from the decidedly hawkish figures of presidential administrations from Jimmy Carter to Bush II.  Since folks the likes of “Progressive for Obama” had promised during the campaign to hold Obama’s “feet to the fire” of progressive views, some of them have stoked up a bit of fire to criticize those nominations.

But not yet, apparently, are many Obama apologists ready to participate in the stoking of that fire.  “Give the guy a chance” now becomes their fall-back apologetic position. ”Wait til he’s in office and starts to make some decisions before you start your fire,” they say.  In politics as in marriage, aren’t people entitled to a “honeymoon” before they have to deal with the conflicts likely to pervade any country as any marriage?  We have yet to “celebrate” the historic victory with an historic inauguration on January 20.  Why be a wet blanket on the national euphoria during this transition period? There’ll be time enough for critique after we celebrate yet another “New Deal.”

Like the lesser evil theme, the “give the guy a chance” one has its own minor theme that is vital to supporting the melody.  This is the idea, promoted by Obama himself, who deflects any concern about the ideological character of his appointment choices by saying that these men and women are, after all, only advisers to him and that it is his “vision” as President that will determine his actions in that office: a variation of GW Bush’s definition of himself as the “decider.”  Obama says in effect: “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” pay attention only to what I, the Wizard of Oz, am telling you about my marvelous powers to grant the wishes of the heart to every supplicant.  Now I have a really hard time thinking of figures of the stature of Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton and Paul Volcker as simply “techno-crats” whose experience will allow them to carry out the dictates of their President.  If anything, Obama’s “vision” (or lack thereof) is being demonstrated with every one of his personal choices from Biden as running mate to the yet-to-be-announced ones of Gates and Clinton.  Perhaps the kool-aid imagery used to castigate Obama supporters for their lesser-evilism should be replaced, as attention turns to what Obama will actually do in office, to a different imagery of people somehow disposed to  the Wizard’s mandate which can be translated into modern vernacular as “what are you going to believe, what I tell you or your own lying eyes?”

Sure, I’m willing to “give the guy a chance,” a chance that is to respond to progressive expectations for his administration that are actually the expectations of most of the American people.  That expectation is not that he “rule from the center,” but that he rule from the consensus of the American people that Wall Street and the Pentagon should not be the all-determining institutions of our society.  If Obama appoints mostly bankers and military hawks to his administration, this tells me that his “vision” is really the vision of bankers and hawks, not the vision of the rest of us. I’ve been accused “cynicism” on internet comment strings for this sort of view, but I actually see these views as arising from a “hopelessly” idealistic tendency to think and speak as a “principled progressive.”

Posted in Jerry D. Rose, Obama, Principled Progressive, The Sunshine Activist | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Obama and Palin

Posted by kelliasworld on November 12, 2008

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday that she would be honored to help President-elect Barack Obama in his new administration, even if he did hang around with an “unrepentant domestic terrorist.” http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/12/palin/index.html?eref=rss_latest

O: Gov. Palin, this is Barack Obama…

P: Really? You’re not a radio station out to make fun of me again like those Canadians did?

O: Governor, I assure you, I am the President.

P: Well, what can I do for you, Mr. President?

O: I know we had our differences during the campaign, but I want to work with Republicans as well as Democrats in building a stronger America. I have a job that you are uniquely qualified to do. I hope you’ll consider it.

P: Well, If God wants me to go through that door, I’ll barge right through. What do you have in mind, Mr. President?

O: I know you’re busy with your family and with being Governor. But I am hoping you will take time to keep an eye on the Russians for us. In fact, since you can see Russia from your house, I hope some of your children will be interested in helping you. I want to provide more opportunities for youth to serve their country.

P: That’s a great idea, Mr. President. The family that spies together stays together. And we can see Canada from the other side of the house. Would you like us to watch that as well?

O: Governor, that’s a great idea! Why don’t you do that? And file a report by email once every 3 months. You know the State Department’s web site.

P: Uh, State Department? Yes, I’ll do that! I can even do it more frequently if you’d like.

O: Once a quarter will be fine, if I need more, I’ll let you know.

P: Thank you, Mr. President. It’s an honor to serve. God Bless Alask…I mean God Bless America.

O: Goodbye, Governor. God Bless America.

(Palin hangs up and turns to her husband). Todd, what’s the State Department?

Posted in Obama, Satire | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »