1sunfight’s Weblog

May 15, 2010

John McCain Ad: Complete the Danged (Death Star) Fence

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April 17, 2010

Waiting For the Other Shoe To Drop

Over the course of President Obama’s presidency I have been watching the right’s reaction to having Barack Obama as the president, as their president, and it was clear from the moment that he won the general election they were not taking it well.  For a long time I have been chalking it up to many things, but mainly that the right are very bad losers, but I knew in my heart that there is more to it than that.

Since Obama won the election I have been watching the right over react, first it was with running out and buying guns and ammunition with the false fear that, “Obama is going to take our guns.”  It does not matter that he never said he wanted gun control or to take away guns from Americans, but there was a rush on guns and ammo to the point that an ammo shortage was created.

Since Obama won I have watched his former rival in the presidential contest continue her pattern of playing the victim and blaming everyone else for it.  She started her sermon “Obama is a Marxist/Terrorist/you’re a victim because of him (and later added Speakers Pelosi and Reed) and because I tell you are” in the campaign and has not stopped.  I watched her quit her governorship and launch a career based on nothing more than continuing those speeches, which is like throwing gasoline onto the fire of a very frightened and angry right wing.  She likes to use a lot of fear, and self righteous rhetoric to attack Obama with.  She likes to use violent imagery when talking about Obama and our speakers of both houses, plus the Democratic majority.  She is fueling hate and making a living at it, at the expense of Obama and more than half the people in America who voted him.

Since Obama won I have watched FOX News go on 24/7/365 days a year campaign, we are going to do whatever it takes to make Obama a one term president, even it means fabricating stories and outright lying about him.   I have watched the ant crawlers at the bottom of the screen “promoting” a special show “Obama A One Term President” for hours at a time.   I have witnessed FOX News become the Tea Party Channel.

I have watched the rise of the right visa vie the Tea Party and have listened to their use of terms like “liberty,” “freedom,” “tyrant,” “tyranny”, and other words from the American Revolution, which somehow makes them the final authority on it.  I have listened to them speak as if they are the only ones who know what freedom is and that they feel they need to “restore America to their brand of freedom” not realizing that they are contradicting themselves.  I listen to them speak for our Founding Fathers as if they are channeling them.  I listen to them warp the message and meaning of the Era of Good Feelings when myths were created about our Founding Fathers, the Enlightenment, and the Revolution that were designed to keep a new country together because we had no history.  But, unlike that time period that was steeped in nationalism, I only hear the Tea Party’s exaggerated jingoism.

Since Obama won the election I see people taking guns to Tea Party rallies, or signs that read “did not bring their gun – this time.”  I hear their calls of Marxist, of Socialist, of Fascist, of “liberal,” and I hear their hyperbolic anti-government message.

Since Obama won the election I have heard Tea Party organizers call for the hanging of a congresswoman in the state of Washington because they do not like her politics.  I have witnessed Sarah Palin become their unofficial leader and tell them to “not to retreat, reload” and put rifle crosshairs over congressional districts of Democrats who she wants to see get defeated in the mid-term elections.  I see Teabaggers deny they are not inciting violence; it is a “political revolution,” or “voting”.  I see the Tea Party trying to hijack the Republican Party and evict moderate Republicans, because they do not represent real conservative values, aka “RINOS”, people who are Republican in Name Only from the Republican Party.  I see the Tea Party trying to force their political philosophy on to a legitimate political party and send everyone who does not embrace their beliefs packing, so much for a big tent party, so much for freedom.

Since Obama won the election I have seen the Tea Party penetrate one state government, Oklahoma, wanting to start a state militia to protect themselves from the Federal government’s intrusion into a state’s sovereignty.  It was that morning not so long ago that when it all started sinking in, the over the top out of control, the far right are going over the edge.  Not only are they sending messages, intended or not, that they want violence, but wanting to start a state militia for the previously mentioned reason smacked of violent civil war, or something that over the edge and extreme because the far right lost the general election by a sound margin one night early in November of 2008 and that man and both of the houses are doing what the majority voted them into to do that night.  It began to sink in that they are unable to accept that simple truth and because of this things are going to end, and end badly.

Then it happened, and then I was reminded by former president Clinton today about:

Bill Clinton Wolf Blitzer Interview (video)

Clinton Warns Against Violent Anti-Government Attitude

Former President Bill Clinton said he sees parallels in the mood of the country now and on April 19, 1995, when the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City killed 168 people while he was in the White House.

“There’s the same kind of economic and social upheaval now,” the former president told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview to air on Friday on “The Situation Room.”

“Then you had the rise of extremist voices on talk radio. Here you have a billion Internet sites,” Clinton said.

And while the hard-core, anti-government radicals are still a minority, “they can communicate with each other much faster and much better than they did before. The main thing that bothered us since the time of Oklahoma City was that already there was enough use of the Internet that if you knew how to find a Web site – and not everybody even had a computer back then, but if you knew how to find it, you could learn, for example, how to make a bomb.”

“Now everybody has got a computer, Web sites are easily accessible. And you can be highly selective and spend all of your time with people that are, you know, kind of out there with you,” he continued.

Clinton said the Oklahoma City bombing – then the worst terror attack in U.S. history – was the “last in a series of very high-profile violent encounters” during the 1990s between anti-government activists and authorities.

Clinton said that the country is better protected to prevent such an attack now than it was then but when asked if the anti-government mood now is more intense than in the 1990s, Clinton said, “Now there are all of these groups, you know, saying things like the current political debate is just a prelude to civil war, all of that kind of stuff.”

In an interview with the New York Times on Friday, Clinton warned of the affect that angry political rhetoric might have on anti-government radicals like Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, pointing to Rep. Michele Bachmann calling the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress “the gangster government” in speaking to a tax day Tea Party rally on Thursday.

“They are not gangsters,” Clinton told the newspaper. “They were elected. They are not doing anything they were not elected to do.”

Clinton said demonizing the government with incendiary language can have effects beyond just rallying a crowd.

“There can be real consequences when what you say animates people who do things you would never do,” Clinton told the newspaper – pointing out that McVeigh and his conspirators “were profoundly alienated, disconnected people who bought into this militant antigovernment line.”

But Clinton said he didn’t want to draw too tight of an analogy between then and now. And that it’s not his intent to stifle criticism of government.

“I’m not interested in gagging anybody. I actually love this political debate,” Clinton said.

“Most of the Tea Party people, though, are explicitly political. You’ve got to give that now,” he said. “Forget about whether we disagree with them or not. It’s really important to be able to criticize your government and criticize elected officials. That doesn’t bother me.”

“Most of them have been well within bounds,” Clinton also said. “And they’re harsh but limited criticism, in other words, they’re not advocating violence or encouraging other people to do it.”

“But I just think that we have to be careful,” the former president added. “We’ve been down this road on more than one occasion before. We don’t want to go down it again.”

It is like waiting for other shoe to drop.  It is like waiting for the far right to explode, only this time bigger.

Tea Party Attracts National Attention

Oklahoma Tea Parties and Lawmakers Envision Militia

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April 10, 2010

An Unbroken Imperial Line

Filed under: GOP,politics,Tea Party — eartothaground @ 11:37 pm
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It is often said that Japan has an unbroken imperial lineage… what isn’t said is that for hundreds of years, the Emperor had no power.  Michael Steele would know a little about that.  The men who controlled Japan during its feudal period kept the figurehead around for religious and ceremonial reasons, but relegated him to the stands while they kept a tight reign on the game.  Nominally loyal to the Shogun, the military leaders known as daimyo fought amongst themselves for power, wealth, land and prestige.

Today’s Republican party echoes of that distant and disjointed past really loudly.  They keep Michael Steele around for show.  That’s how he got elected, his losses in almost every other contest he’s participated in notwithstanding.  He is the Emperor drawing the eye with his “hip hop” style and his “street wise” manner.  He’s trotted out to show the inclusion of the GOP, to give a dark face to the Tea Party, and to demonstrate inclusion.  But he has no power.  The money behind the elephant is going elsewhere.

And the lieutenants are squabbling.  The Daimyo that pledge their loyalty are shoving and shifting, fighting for billing and bankSarah PalinNewt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor… all these have designs on the Shogun’s title, because the Shogun is weak and about to be cut from the herd (can you hear me, Senator McCain?)  They are smiling in each other’s faces, all taking swipes at President Obama, hoping to gain the loyalty of foot soldiers and soul merchants to make their run at the presidency.

A witness to history would suggest that in their battles to gain prominence, they are damaging themselves and their “allies” because the worst in each of their characters is revealed.  At the end of the day, the Emperor sits there, a voyeur to the squabbling with absolutely no impact, and hence, no import.  That’s why they let him stay.  He draws the eye and is a useful distraction.  His continued reign over the GOP will allow them to say, in much the same tones used to reference Japan’s unbroken imperial line, that Republicans are diverse and inclusive, too.

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April 8, 2010

The South Fails Again

Filed under: GOP,McCain,Obama,Palin,politics,Racism,Tea Party — eartothaground @ 1:48 am
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And what he didn’t say . . .the North won the Civil War.  Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election.  Democrats in Congress won the Health Care Reform battle, and are poised to do the same on energy.  Duke won the NCAA Championship this year, as did UConn.  While these are all facts, there are literally thousands of people who are not happy about them.  Stanford fans are frustrated that their team held UConn to 12 points in the first have but couldn’t win the game.  Butler fans are gluing their hair back in from that last desperate half-court miss.  Congressional Republicans are planning to “Repeal and Replace” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  John McCain and Sarah Palin are still out on the campaign trail.  And Governor Robert McDonnell of Virginia has proclaimed April to be Confederate History Month in his state.

Lee surrenders at Appomattox.

While it is not for me to dismiss the history and family pride of those who’s forebears believed that this was a nation for white people to own and black people to work, I heartily disagree.  And while it is not for me to say that the ideas of states’ rights which were tied to the battle of grey-suited warriors to free themselves from Republican tyranny and federal oppression is wrong, I agree much more with John Jay’s assessment that “Nothing is more certain than the indispensible [sic] necessity of government; and it is equally undeniable that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights, in order to vest it with requisite powers.”  I must, as a mature student of history, acquiesce to the fact that the story of the Confederacy is someone’s grandfather’s or grandmother’s story, and while they disagree (or don’t) with those views, they have a right to represent their history the same way I have the right to represent mine; to find those pieces with which they agree and find pride and cherish and celebrate them.

However, Gov. McDonnell is a one-sided celebrant, and herein lies the problem.  He makes no mention of the enslaved victims of the Confederacy, those on whom the burden of states’ rights onerously fell like a crushing weight.  He neglects, then, my grandparents in a way which has historically sought to invalidate their humanity by rendering them, as Ralph Ellison so eloquently denounced, invisible.  It is this racism of blindness which continues to trouble us in 2010.

Telling only part of the story is a lie of omission which perpetuates and exacerbates many of the current political and social ills of our day.  We saw this with the health care debate; we see it with Sarah Palin’s continued uttering; we see this with the Tea Party movement, both in its displays and its coverage; we see it with the stimulus package; on a daily basis, telling only the part of the story that helps us is the accepted norm.  Governor McDonnell, though, has just said something very different to the black people in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  He has just said that they don’t exist, by not including their participation in the Confederacy.  Though most of that participation was bad, and should serve as a reminder of the democratic ideals on which this nation was founded, there were black men, enslaved men, who fought in the Confederate army.  Are they not worthy of recognition?  There were black men and women who greeted the defeat of the Confederacy as liberation, as an entrance into full citizenship and the beginning of their acquisition of the natural rights they’d been denied.  McDonnell has said by his omission that the Confederate ideology of chattel slavery of African Americans wasn’t “significant for Virginia.”

Flying the Confederate flag for many southerners is an honoring of their ancestors, a reading of their historical maps as they make their own journeys. But just as Congressional Republicans won’t be able to repeal health care reform, Palin and McCain are going to lose again; Butler can’t take one more shot; Stanford can’t make one more block; and cheering the Confederacy while denying black folks won’t help the South rise again.

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April 4, 2010

Turning the Corner?

Filed under: Economics,GOP,Obama,politics,Uncategorized — Julie P @ 12:35 am
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The United States has been in recession since December of 2007, with noticeable job losses starting in May of 2008, reaching their crescendo in May of the following year, and trickling less and less as the year ebbs on.  In that time I was one of the people who lost their job, so it is no wonder that I take special interest every month when the jobless numbers and unemployment rate.   The jobs report came out on Friday for the month of March.  It was much anticipated that the figures would be good as we climb out of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Leading up to my job loss was the real estate crisis, the Wall St. meltdown, subsequently followed with a two part bank bailout, presidential election, that saw a lame duck president choose to do nothing once the election was determined, thus exacerbating the situation, and finally, a new president was sworn in four months after the Wall St meltdown along with a new congress that gave Democrats complete control of both ends of Pennsylvanian Avenue.   Job losses were the steepest last winter and spring as I watched for four months starting in January; hundreds of thousands of people month after month lose their jobs. To me it was, and still is, more than a crisis, many of those people are my competition for my next job.  In my mind, the fewer people out of the work the more opportunity there is for me to get a job.  The jobs report came out and I paid attention.

The nation has an unemployment rate of 9.7%, which is not the highest it has ever been, but it is not good.  The state of Georgia has an unemployment rate of 10.5 %, with the city of Atlanta at 10.8%.  Why so high and why so persistent?  I looked back over the last decade and can easily see the reasons as to why and even why so persistent.  The last decade, most of which was under George W. Bush’s watch,  saw the weakest GDP growth in seventy years, with job growth that matched, both were just over 2%.  What fueled that growth were the interrelated booms in consumer spending, real estate and financial markets while simultaneously household saw incomes grow very slowly.  It was unsustainable.  There was no saving and export led growth that would have been sustainable and probably more resilient in a recession.  Eight years of a do nothing president beyond spending money on a war he lied to get us into, and economic policies that just did not work, brought us to the edge of complete collapse, something that could still happen.  We are not out of the woods completely yet.  In order to move ahead we must come to terms with this one simple truth that all presidents and the nation must accept, although one party just refuses to accept this, this time around and that is:

A president who needs to correct the failed economic policies of a predecessor will have more difficulty obtaining very low unemployment, so the degree of improvement over the previous administration is an important measure of success.

One party sees this as blame.  It is not blame, it is hard truth.  It is accepting that this is the fundamental problem that a year of time is not going to fix.  Yes, the unemployment rate is high and persistently so, but this is the reason.  George W. Bush saw a net job gain of just over three million jobs in his eight years in office.  We have lost 8.2 million jobs in the last two years, which means jobs lost include some of the six million plus jobs created under former president Bill Clinton.  That is really scary.  Two consecutive administrations created roughly ten million jobs and in two years eighty percent of those jobs have vanished.  President Obama may not just be shepherding us through the Great Recession, he may be shepherding us through the reprise of the Great Depression.

I am going to point something out about the total number people who are currently out of work in the United States, the cyclical unemployment rate, and structural unemployment rate.  Currently there are fifteen million people out of work; half of those people are the cyclically unemployed at 9.7%, the other half are the structurally unemployed.  The unemployment rate when the United States is considered to be at full employment is 5 percent and less, which means there are always about seven and a half million not working all of the time, also known as, the structurally unemployed.  It looks like a big figure, but the United States is the third most populous nation on earth with over three hundred million living here.

Okay, so I live in Atlanta where the unemployment rate is much higher than the national average and is expected to be one of the last areas to recover from this economic downturn.    Atlanta’s growth in the last decade was based on consumer spending, malls are over the place – shopping is a past time – real estate, and banking.  The state of Georgia has had the most bank failures in the nation at forty one of the 165 bank failures in the two year recession.  Atlanta does not have an industrial base to help lead the city out of this recession, although Atlanta never has had heavy industry.  Atlanta has, in the twenty three years I have lived here, has always been all about shopping, and malls, McMansions, urban sprawl, and making money.  It is not all gloom and doom for Atlanta, without going into the deatil, city is growing into the next Silicon Valley.  Atlanta’s future is technology and as I look for work I can see that it is.  This is a good thing to add to the portfolio.  Additionally, even with the gloom and doom, my phone is ringing for job interviews; most in the tech sector, one of which I have a face to face interview with on Monday, be it a million miles from where I live.  I also am waiting on huge business to get back with on when they plan on interviewing me for an open position there.  I hope to be back to work after this week, or very, very soon

So, I saw the jobs report come out and I wanted to know what was going on.  The United States gained 162,000 jobs.  42,000 of those jobs are temporary census workers for the 2010 census, so I am going to throw those out since the jobs will vanish for another ten years once the census is over.  So there have been a total of 120,000 jobs added.  Regular temp services added 40,000 jobs, which is a good thing.  At the start of any recession temp workers are the first to go, but are among the first to return as businesses test the recovery waters.  All job sectors either saw job gains, or remained flat, with only two sectors, finance and insurance, lost jobs.  Another indicator that the economy is starting to recover is that the number of hours worked is increasing too, instead of having hours cut, which what happens at the start of any recession.  If memory serves me correctly, that was about a three percent GDP gain for this reporting period.

This is a good start, but I am not going to fool myself.  This is just that, a start.  The unemployment rate is not expected to fall until sometime next year, with projections of it falling to 7.5% by 2012 and that it may be a total of five years from now before everyone is put back to work, although Ronald Reagan experienced the same thing.  Unemployment did not come to full employment until 15 months before his last term in office.

Of course, the Republican Party is foaming at the mouth angry over this jobs report.  It is astonishing how angry they are.  Frankly, it is unreasonably angry and angry enough for me to say this is more than about losing the health care debate, which is fueling their rage in a big way.  It is more than justified anger over a persistently high unemployment.  However, I believe that reason is another blog entry for another day.

This is a good jobs report; we just need see more of them for some time to come.

Obama, GOP spar over new jobs figures

Economy Made Few Gains in Bush Years

Bureau of Labor Statics Jobs Report

Job Market Picks Up, but Slowly

Tallying Presidential Success

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March 28, 2010

The Poor Loser Party

It has been a while since I wrote and a lot has happened, both politically and personally. There have been times when I have had a lot to say about current events, clearly healthcare reform certainly has been, and will continue to be, controversial with plenty to write about. However, I predict that over the years, there will be volumes written on it, both favorable and unfavorable. I am going to wait until all of the legal proceedings have finished and a ruling made, probably by the United States Supreme Court, before I say much on the subject beyond I think some are overreacting. Unfortunately, healthcare reform has come to this. That said, I am going to rename the GOP, Grand Old Party, the PLP, Poor Losers Party. It is unfortunate that American politics has degenerated to us against them, but it has and it started the night Barack Obama won the presidential election. The PLP has been nothing more than obstructionists and, I predict, will be for the remainder of President Obama’s first term in office. The PLP have not just been obstructionists about healthcare reform, it includes the PLP either blocking or doing nothing for the seventy seven high level federal appointments that President Obama needs to make and soon. When former president Bush was this far into his first term, he only had five more federal appointments to make. The PLP is doing their best to make doing the people’s business as difficult as possible.

Since I last wrote, Sarah Palin continues her bitter rhetoric. Palin is nothing more than spiteful agitator. She does not bring anything that is substantive to American politics. She thrives on spewing hate and dividing Americans. She is not the patriot she claims to be, she is anything but. In fact, she proves her critics right when it her comes to her intelligence, or lack thereof. Her Facebook account flaunts rifle crosshairs over 20 Democratic Congressional Districts of Democratic Congressmen, or women, she wants to see lose their jobs. Once healthcare reform passed she also tweeted, “Don’t retreat, reload.”  That is not very bright.

Sarah Palin’s  defense has been that she is not doing that over their homes and that she meant the latter was to have a revolution at the ballot box. It was about voting. Okay, Sarah, let me explain this to you. I promise to type slowly since it is blatantly obvious you cannot think quickly, or at all. Anyone who is in elected office has to live in the district they represent. In Georgia congressional districts have been gerrymandered, so an elected official is living in the congressional district they were elected to. I remember one instance where the district could not be gerrymandered enough to constitutionally have the person living in the district. The person retired instead of move. Also elected officials have offices in the districts they were elected to represent. The congress people you put in your rifle crosshairs can be easily found.  Furthermore, no one other than you and your brainwashed minions believe your position that you “meant voting”, like the Tea Party member in Washington State “knew” she meant voting when she called for the hanging of her Democratic congresswoman. Yes, it is contagious on the right, stupidity. “We all know” what you really mean. “We all know” your intentions. Let us overlook that that one called for murder and you, Sarah, are inciting violence, even though you protest otherwise and blame the “lamestream” media. Really, Sarah, Rush Limbaugh coined that phrase, so could you at least put forth some sort of effort with coining a phrase of your own? Can you also quit blaming everyone for calling you out on your behavior? You tweeted that, that picture is on your Facebook page, and your name is on both, you therefore are responsible for it. Finally, Sarah, and I will type very slowly here, you forget your social status, you are a former vice presidential candidate for the highest office in the land, a former governor of Alaska, an influential author, and a leader in the Tea Party and in the PLP (GOP).  Sarah, what you did for someone of your status is unconscionable, and beyond the pale of stupidity. It is not just your status, but if something bad does happen to any of these Democrats it will come back to you.   Sarah, again very slowly, not everything is protected free speech. What you said is really stupid and only proves that you are stupid. And there are people who want you to run for the White House!?! It really goes to show that some Americans really are stupid.

One final thing, Sarah, you think your words do not have influence? This picture was taken at the last Tea Party rally. I bet it makes you proud.

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I’m Tired, Too

Filed under: Democrats,GOP,McCain,Obama,Palin,politics,Tea Party — eartothaground @ 4:21 pm
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For two years of the presidential campaign, from 2007-2008, I lived and breathed politics.  Though I didn’t begin Spreading the Word until early 2008, I was reading and talking about the candidates long before then (think 2004 Democratic National Convention’s keynote speech).  With the election of Barack Obama, it seemed that I’d be able to go back to my day job, teaching, and be able to leave the day-to-day political awareness and direction of the nation to my elected representatives.

I was wrong.

The election of Barack Obama angered many Republicans, scared some people who are “bitter, clinging to their guns and religion”, gave birth to the Tea Party movement, and generally ginned up even more opposition than I believed possible.  I’m not sure why I thought his opponents would understand they LOST THE ELECTION and be a little quieter.  But John Boehner and Eric Cantor continue to lie and scream about the president; Lindsey Graham is sitting on Meet The Press complimenting the President on his parenting style while blasting a series of untruths that the President is “governing as an American liberal in a center-right nation” and that the President hasn’t done any “heavy lifting” on legislation; Mitch McConnell is saying that Republicans are going to run in November on “Repeal and Replace”; and Sarah Palin is helping John McCain run further and further into the weeds on the right side of the political spectrum.

While I know politics isn’t flag football, I don’t expect it to be Celebrity Death Match, either.  It seems, though, that implementing an agenda which speaks to the best in the American ideals and meets the goals stated in the Constitution is going to be a continuous engagement, because the opponents are galvanized.

We have to continue to participate – to writeto speak, to think, to act, to vote.

I know.  I’m tired, too.  But if not us, then who?

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March 5, 2010

Let’s Start Over

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March 2, 2010

The Rest of the World Or: The Philosophy of Always Right, Never wrong, but Oh So Misunderstood.

Filed under: Daily Observations,Economics,Europe,Financial Crisis,GOP,politics,Uncategorized — Katharina in Ghent @ 9:45 am
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Since WWII the US have undoubtedly held the role of world leader, at least as far as the Western hemisphere is concerned. They have helped Western Europe and Japan recover after the war, which most likely is the greatest success story in terms of foreign policy. They have fought many wars, not all of them necessary, and lost a good number of them. And that’s when it all went awry.

Wars cost a lot of money, especially when you have to fight them in some far away place, and they cost a lot of goodwill of your people when these wars are fought against a nation that has no direct relation to you and poses no direct threat. It is bad enough if you decide to fight these battles on your own – it’s your decision, and you have to live with it – but when you try to drag other, ‘friendly’ nations into this just because you can’t afford to do it on your own, then things can get ugly very quickly.

There’s a big right-wing movement in the US who feel that they’ve been abandoned by the rest of the world because we other nations did not want to participate in the war in Iraq. Against all the warnings from outsiders, resolutions from the United Nations and better judgment by all their ‘best friends’, GW Bush and his team decided that fighting one battle – more or less justified because of 9/11 – was not enough, and that they want to invade another country which had had nothing to do with it. On top of this, there was no exit strategy and no idea whatsoever about what to do once the plain battle is over. Now, almost exactly seven years later, the US budget deficit exceeds $10 trillion and is still rising, the economy is in shambles and the nationwide unemployment rate is somewhere around 10%.

The same people who always preach that you’re the master of your own fate decide to ‘not like the rest of the world anymore’, because ‘they’ve done oh so much to make the world a better place, and yet we don’t do anything to come to their help’. Well, if you really think that, try to go shopping to the local market in Baghdad and see how far it gets you (or your various limbs and other pieces of your body).

One thing that Europe has learned over the course of very bloody 1000 years of wars and battles is to not meddle with other countries any more. Similarly, Canada, the second largest nation in size with only 33mio habitants has always pursued a peaceful path. Who would they want to battle anyway? Most of all, we have learned that if you start something, you continue until the job is really done. The war in Afghanistan may have been won by 2003, but the situation was far from secure and the Taliban were still there, just biding their time to come back and hit harder. To start another war, unprovoked, was just plain silly and the surprise that nobody outside was interested in participating just plain idiotic.

Now, instead of supporting the one man who is rising to the challenge to fix the many wrongs – inside and outside the US – that GWB has caused, they do absolutely everything to torpedo him in every decision and bring him down. They rather see their own fellow Americans without Unemployment benefits and health insurance than granting their black president even the smallest chance of improving also their own situation. On top, they are angry with the rest of the world because we don’t feel like doing whatever it is that they want us to do. Oh, and the best of it: they are still angry with China, because even they were not interested in joining an idiotic war in Iraq. Well, here’s a news flash: Guess who’s holding a lot of your debts right now?

Here’s a word of advice to the right wing from a European citizen: if you don’t give a shit about the rest of the world when you’re clearly wrong, then don’t come whining to us when you’ve spilled your milk and there’s no cow in sight. Chances are that you killed it in times of aplenty, and we had told you not to do it.

Note: I am an Austrian citizen, living in Belgium, married to a Canadian, so I’ve experienced a lot of different cultures.

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February 27, 2010

Revolutions Have Been Started Over Less

“Let them eat cake!” quipped Marie Antoinette concerning bread shortages in France.   There were bread shortages at the time of a financial crisis and an unfair tax system that favored nobility making France ripe for revolution.  Sound familiar?

It is clear that Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky did not learn anything from history.  It is clear that he does not know the phrase, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”  However, it is not just his lack of knowledge, or comprehension of history that is most troubling, it is his partisanship and ego that are.  After being an obstructionist on the floor of the Senate on Friday and after getting called out for it Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky was heard uttering the words, “Tough shit.”

What happened on the floor of the US Senate on Friday is very disturbing, especially for those who rely on federal, not state, unemployment benefits to help pay their bills until they can find a job, and/or those who have COBRA insurance, which is health insurance for the laid off and unemployed.   Senator Jim Bunning blocked a bill that would provide an additional 30 days of extended benefits to the unemployed and COBRA recipients.

Now why would Republican Jim Bunning do such a thing?  Could it be that he is that partisan, that his ego is that large, or is it because he hates President Obama?  Answer: all three.

He has served in both Houses for twenty three years, currently serving as a US Senator, that means he served under former president Bush, so I wonder why the poor memory?  Currently he is demanding that a way be found to pay for the 30 day extension of benefits.  He claims to be outraged with the amount of money being spent in Washington DC these days.  He is angry with President Obama for the amount of debt that was incurred in the last two years of the Bush Administration and is blaming Obama for it.  Senator Jim Bunning seems to have a poor memory of signing, year after year, a blank check to finance the war in Iraq, a war that was started on a string of lies. Wars are not cheap either.  He also has a poor memory of former president Bush spending huge sums of Medicare money on Big Business and Unions; even though both told him they did not want or need the money.   Senator Bunning is an angry old man with an ax to grind with President Obama simply because he does not like him.  Senator Jim Bunning has been heard referring to President Obama as “your president”, thus disowning him.

Here is the outcome of Senator Jim Bunning’s actions: starting Monday, March 1st, the jobless will no longer be able to apply for federal unemployment benefits or COBRA health insurance subsidy.  Because the Senate did not act, (read Jim Bunning) the jobless will now stop getting checks once they run out of their state benefits or current tier of federal benefits.

That could be devastating to the unemployed who were counting on that for income.  In total, more than one million people could stop getting checks next month, with nearly 5 million running out of benefits by June, according to the National Unemployment Law Project.

All week Republican Senator Jim Bunning blocked a 30 day extension on unemployment benefits.  The Senate will not return for a vote on this until Tuesday.

The national unemployment rate currently stands at 9.7% and is expected to remain that high for the rest of the year and is not expected to drop to 6.6% or 7.5% until 2012.  The unemployment rate is not expected to drop to 5.8% until seven years from now.   Republican Jim Bunning was confronted on the floor of the Senate with these facts and the unemployment rate of each state, which is when he  was heard saying, “Tough shit.”

Really, Jim, tough shit?  Jim, there are millions of unemployed people in the country right now and you just took away the only means many have for getting themselves through an economic tough time.  I am one of them.  Jim, I am going to point out to you the figure where 5 million people will run out unemployment benefits by June if there is not any further assistance.  That is 5 million angry people with a motive to start a revolution and it will start at your home and office, since you are the sole cause of it.  You see, Jim, someone like me relies on unemployment to help pay the rent and car note, while my savings pays for food, utilities, and other hidden expenses.  I do not have COBRA at this time because I cannot afford it.  I need to pay for my car, so I can look for a job.  Health insurance, which I need, right now is a luxury.  I can also tell you about my unemployed friend who has Lupus needs COBRA, so she can get medical treatment for her illness.  Her COBRA health insurance costs her $1,200 a month for her and her husband, and that is with the break provided for in the stimulus plan.  But, in your mind it is, “Tough shit.”  Well, Jim, it will be tough shit for you when the angry mob with a motive turns up at your door.  I will not tolerate being a pawn in your game of brinkmanship with President Obama, just because you do not like him.  Your hatred is going to throw me, and people like me on to the street, and it is going to kill my friend, murderer.

Sen. Jim Bunning holds floor: ‘Tough s–t’

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