Sunday, November 23, 2008

Liars and Promises

Liars and Promises

I spent some time with my eighty year old father yesterday. He is retired and spends much of his time watching the cable news channels. I never watch these channels or listen to the talking pinheads on them or conservative talk radio. He made me aware of their new chosen tactic of undermining Obama's presidency even before he takes the oath of office. They are doing this by posing the following question: What promises will Obama try to keep?

Some may think this is an appropriate thing to ask of any president elect. That thought should last for nanoseconds when one considers the source of this question and their agenda. This is the same group of lying jackals that declared Bill Clinton a failure before he was sworn in. They are masters of framing the arguments to suit their intended outcome without discussing anything approaching reality. Their unstated insidious assumption is that Obama will never keep all his promises because they have deemed it impossible or worse yet, they have decided or hope that Obama is just another lying politician. They are at the end of a twenty-eight year period where lying and/or stupidity or both have become the fashionable norm for our president.

The real answer to this question would astound these liars in its simplicity: All of them. Nearly 68 million voters cast their vote for Obama making this assumption, close to 9 million more than his opponent. To put this in historical context, no presidential candidate received 9 million votes in total until Woodrow Wilson was reelected in 1916. Many of those 68 million voters, I among them, felt the promises did not go far enough. We all voted for change including the assumption that the lying and the just plain criminality of the last eight years needed to end.

Our country is deeply divided. The last time we were this deeply divided was during the election cycle of 1860. That resulted in the Civil War, the single seminal event of our country's history. Before that war the United States was referred to with plural references such as "the United States are," since the references are in the singular such as "the United States is." Obama has so far done some astounding things but the one of the most astounding is the idea of appointing Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. I admit that initially I was against this action but after further thought, I have come to believe this is very Lincoln-like. When Lincoln took office, he formed a cabinet that included many political rivals. This type of action goes back to Obama's choice of Biden as running mate, a former opponent in the primaries.

Our country is in deep economic trouble. The last time we were this deeply in economic trouble was the election cycle of 1932. Many of the programs and regulations that helped dig us out of that crisis have been systematically dismantled over the last twenty-eight years. It is not mere coincidence that we are again on the brink of another Great Depression. My father remembers living through the Great Depression. To quote him, "The bastards have done it again."

Most are suffering because of this division and hardship. Very few are prospering as result of this suffering. Among those that prosper are the liars that are promoting the idea Obama can't possibly succeed. Their vested interested is in seeing Obama fail. They are not the loyal opposition, they are just the opposition. Their loyalties are to their bank accounts and those that fill them. They have convinced far too many to vote against their own best interests with their lies. It is past time to tell them if they can't be loyal to the country, to shut up and go away. The Big Lie has been "Government is the Problem." This must be vanquished to rhetoric Hell, for "a Government of the People, for the People, and by the People," is our singular hope.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Keeping the Glimmer of Hope

Keeping the Glimmer of Hope

Barack Obama is the president-elect. We now have a glimmer of hope. We might even become optimistic if given a chance. If the last twenty-eight years have shown us anything, it is how fragile hope is. We are at the bottom of a long steep tunnel. The cynical and pessimistic side of us fears that glimmer of light at the end of tunnel is the headlight from the NeoCon freight train ready run us further into the ground. Make no mistake, they have been in power for a long time and the only way to assure they won't steal it back is to succeed with all our vigor and will. Here in no special order are some thoughts on how president-elect Obama can fulfill the promises of his campaign and right the ship of state.

Stop running for office. The election is over and you won. This point in history demands a leader who governs. The first term of the War Chimp is a prefect example of what goes wrong when your priority and main concern is maintaining power. Governing goes by the wayside and only cronies and rich donors prosper. Nothing succeeds like success; if you govern well, reelection is assured.

Ignore the labels. At the end of campaign you were accused in a conflated manner of being liberal/socialist/Marxist/Communist. Now in an effort to salvage their flawed ideology, some right wing gasbags are attempting to say you were elected because you embraced the ideas of Ronnie Raygun. You survived being labeled, "Tax and Spend." It remains to be seen whether we as a country can recover from the "Borrow and Spend" policies of the eight years of the War Chimp's administration. You have a firm majority in Congress, insist it isn't squandered. Ask the American public to judge you on your results, not some nebulous political labels. If your proposal(s) are labeled "Liberal" or "Progressive" or "Conservative" it matters little. What matters is if they succeed. I can tell you as a Proud Liberal despite being labeled liberal; Bill Clinton was a truer conservative than the War Chimp in many respects. Until both sides can rationally look at the other all that will be accomplished is finger pointing while the country goes to Hell in a basket.

Use control of the Congressional majorities. There is nothing in the Constitution that defines a majority in the Senate as sixty percent. When the opposition threatens filibuster, threaten the nuclear option that the Republicans did in the 1990's. Make them physically filibuster, forcing them to appear on camera as the obstructionists they are when filibustering. We can longer come to a street fight and fight like a gentlemen's debate club.

Don't knowingly lie to the American public. This practice by presidents from both sides of the aisle has done more harm to our country than any other single factor. Americans can fact check better than anytime in history. You have a good start at gaining the trust of the public. Do nothing that could jeopardize this process. This includes promptly and openly admitting mistakes. Nixon could have finished his second term had he understood the capacity of the American populace to understand and forgive.

Get us out of the occupation business. The use of military force should be the means of last resort for the United States. The deaths and displacement in both Iraq and Afghanistan is on the collective conscience of our entire nation. Might does not make right. The restoration of our national honor is a must. A side effect to getting out of this morass is the cessation of squandering of resources and then they can be used for the needs of humanity both at home and abroad.

Bring back respect for competence and intelligence. We have come to expect so little from our leaders, that Sarah Palin was taken as a serious candidate. We have gone from a nation of innovators to a country of consumers. Solutions to the catastrophic environmental crisis will require innovation. Once we were the leaders of science and engineering, entertaining the notions of right wing wackos has possibly put us over an edge from which we may never recover. To be plain: the two sides of the same wooden nickel, Creationism and Intelligent Design, masquerading as science has put the average high school and college student at a severe and possibly non-recoverable position in the twin worlds of science and engineering. It is time to relegate these ideas to the Philosophy and Religion classrooms. Science advances via the scientific method not superstition.

Reward real results and stop rewarding smoke and mirror results. Executives of all types have been rewarded for far too long, far too much, for things not real. One of the results of this is the current recession. Nothing any of these executives do is worth the thousands of dollars per hour they receive. In many cases they are rewarded despite being abject failures. The days of the platinum parachute should be over. Lincoln stated correctly that the capital of America starts with the labors of the American worker not the bankers. There is a systemic problem when a company's stock rises on news of layoffs. If the system wasn't skewed, stocks should tank on layoff news.

So, there's my two cents worth. Expect my support but not blind support; I will keep your feet to the fire as I hope the newly energized electoral will. Politics in a modern world has become a matter of life and death on an everyday basis, not once every four years as in the past. One way to "Keep the Glimmer of Hope" is to continue the involvement of the non-traditional voter long past the election.

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