INTREPID IGNORANCE

INTREPID IGNORANCE


In the No:
I must confess, for those who voted Republican this mid-term election cycle, they had to be courageous in their efforts to really peel apart the fabric of Americana. Sadly, they were motivated by emotion and belief, not by fact or substance. Just look at the typical leadership they were voting for; Sharron Angle of Nevada promoting Social Security as unconstitutional and it's against the Ten Commandments; the demurring Christine O’Donnell of Delaware confessing once to have practiced witchcraft, businessman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin claiming sunspots are the direct cause of global warming. “I absolutely do not believe in the science of man-caused climate change. It’s not proven by any stretch of the imagination. It’s far more likely that it’s just sunspot activity…,” so said Johnson in Wisconsin while running for, then winning the senate.

Of course, we all know a very conservative 1937 supreme court deemed the Social Security Act (SSA) as constitutional. No one with any reasoning in their thinking believes in witches today. We all know sunspots do indeed result in isolated areas of the sun emitting slightly hotter solar radiation, but we also know that sunspot activity has actually been decreasing exponentially in the last decade. So while overall solar radiation has been declining, why on Earth has global warming been increasing? Since he brought it up, it’s just a thought for Johnson to ponder.

If there can be such a thing, it's ignoble courage that has been floating in the prevailing political winds. Look at the current Republican officials. Joe Wilson of South Carolina, while pointing a finger, calls our president a liar on national, therefore international television. Republican Senator Alan Simpson this past August, wrote to the Older Women’s League calling Social Security, “a milk cow with 310 million tits;” Texas representative Joe Barton in Gulf coastal hearings pathetically apologized to British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward after learning of the agreement struck by BP and the Obama administration for the oil conglomerate to pay out $20 billion in compensation to Gulf Coast oil spill victims. Who does Barton want to pay for the oil company’s irresponsible actions…the taxpayer? It appears the Republicans do indeed think so. Republican John Boehner of Ohio and the US Chamber of Commerce announced on 06/12/2010 that taxpayers should aid BP in paying for the oil spill.

Speaking of Boehner, during these trying times of economic depression brought about by financial institutions’ total greed, apparently he's unashamed in his cozy relationship to Wall Street with his organized “beach parties” attended only by Republican Party officials and financial CEOs and lobbyists. During legislation of the financial reform bill, he even went to Wall Street addresses commanding money to aid in his party’s fight to kill the bill. It appears he coordinates these “beach party” events year round with his bronze glowing self, as his tan is just as distinct during winter months.

And then there’s ol’ Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader from Kentucky. After barely retaining hold of his office in the 2008 elections, his very first action was to gather up his Republican colleagues and demand from each and every one of them that no matter what this new president stands for or wants, you simply say no. This is truly the source point where the Republican Party has become known as the Party of NO, NO, NO…

The very next day after this election, while Obama was at the White House mentioning how the political bickering has to stop and a more realistic bipartisan approach is needed in addressing America’s needs, Mitch was on the other side of town at a Heritage Foundation conference inferring that there is nothing the Republican Party will agree on with Obama and that their sole agenda is to see that Obama loses in 2012. In defending his stance he said, “Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office, but the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending and shrink the size and scope of government; the only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things.”

In going back to the Party of No, Republicans certainly have taken McConnell at his word, for they have voted no to anything and everything that would benefit average American Joe and Jane. This is what I find as a bit perplexing in why the average citizen would even consider voting Republican. If Tea Partiers honestly thought hard on which of the two parties best represent them as opposed to big business interests, overall, once all the dust is settled, they would have to contend that it is indeed Democrat principles.

There is no Republican agenda for these trying times in America with only the one exception of in making it appear Obama is to blame for our duress and to spread misinformation about the president, his actions and goals. In fact, they cannot even agree with each other in their unified disagreement with him on what the answers are to the country’s current problems…for they have none. As their only goal is in defeating Obama, their agenda has been political, not substantive legislation. They simply say no to everything Obama stands up for in not because they honestly think he is wrong, no, it is because they simply want him to appear ineffectual and fail.

In the Republican’s haste to defame Obama, they have spread the dirty deeds of misinformation. His non-American, his religious affiliations, his organization and arrangement of a Moslem prayer assemblage on Washington Square, death panels, he’s raising taxes, he’s created job losses and among a myriad of others are myths fabricated by Republicans. Of course, all these are either unfounded and are not true, but the public latched on.

The new political catch phrase is “reality therapy” and veraciously, it should be looked at with great concern, but not for what it derived from as a result of the elections for Obama to ponder. No, Republicans instead, should be looking at the realities of how their leaders have performed. Leadership is not the driver for division, but rather unity. Where are any leaders of the Republican Party that are willing to take the route in unifying this country and be willing to forego their current mantra of divisiveness? With the dictates of spewing anger, mistrust and paranoia embroiling Tea Party constituents, there are no true leaders in the Party of No, for true leadership ushers in and brings peace throughout the fore fold, but mostly within one’s self. There is a total lack of, thereof in current Republican leadership.


Covered Accomplishments:
Democrats can speak of what they’ve accomplished whether you disagree with it or not. Republicans pretty much cannot say what they have done, only to speak of what they will undo. So, we already know what Republicans have done the past years, which is not much of even nothing.

Now, let’s look at what Democrats have actually achieved:
     
· American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)


· Wall Street Reform


· Historic Healthcare Reform


· Credit Card Holders Bill of Rights


· Student Loan Reform


· Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act


· Hire Act

In addition, Obama’s goals are:


· Educational reform for a more global preparedness


· Ensure that lost jobs from the recession are recovered


· Create greener opportunities in employment and the environment


· Stem the tide of global warming


· Stop the hemorrhaging of the middle class


· Immigration reform


· R&D tax credits for industry, institutes and universities


· Protect consumers and lay the foundation for a stronger and safer foundation system - one that is innovative, creative, competitive and far less prone to panic and collapse


Of the above legislation passed, only three senate Republicans in each case voted for ARRA and the financial reform bill. Not one Republican in the House of Representatives voted for the two bills, while all other remaining legislation passed was voted against by all Republicans in both Houses. Actually to work for the country in a non-partisan fashion and not for any particular party in partisan fashion…would be a novel concept indeed.

After listening to the false information spread concerning any of these bills, I’m quite sure any typical Republican would be right-proud of his politician’s voting record. First, we’re going to go over the falsehoods and then we’ll address what the bills actually produce.


The Falsehoods:
ARRA ~ Republicans, though offering no alternatives to the economic crisis, preferred instead to simply denounce the bill as too costly and it will add to deficit spending. They also complained it would add to burgeoning taxation. Maintained that fiscal policy would not work because government debt would use up savings that would otherwise go to investments, in what economists call crowding out. Their agenda is to do nothing and let it work itself out.

Healthcare Reform Bill ~ Republicans were advancing outlandish claims of euthanasia, abortion, doctors quitting the profession due to the bill and government takeover of healthcare. Republicans claim that it will immediately raise taxes, but in scheming, they neglected further to state it would, but only on the so-called Cadillac insurance plans. They also falsely cried foul of Democrats breaking rules. House Republicans funneled promotions to Fox News’ hosts like Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee and to neo-con Dick Morris to contribute to campaigns in opposition to the bill.

Financial Reform Bill ~ Republican criticism was that the bill creates an intrusive government with more regulation that will undermine the competitiveness of financial institutions, curtail profits, stifle the ability for job growth and in referring to the newly created Bureau of Consumer Protection and Federal Insurance Office, simply adds to government bureaucracy and hurts small business.

Now, a listing of what the bills actually entail:
ARRA ~ The concept of the bill was in reaction to the current economic recession and all it necessitates. The full intention was to address issues that would create jobs, promote investment and stimulate consumer spending. The negative effects of crowding out are limited since investment had already stagnated. The final bill totaled $747 billion. Too numerous to list, here are a few key points to the bill. $150 million set aside for rural small business loans; $4 billion for state and local law enforcement agencies; $14.7 billion to housing and sheltering projects; $21.5 billion to energy infrastructure; $27.2 billion to galvanizing energy efficiency and renewable energy research; $82.2 billion to go to low income families, the unemployed and retirees; $100 billion to education programs and grants; $105.3 billion investment on the nation’s infrastructure; healthcare policies amounting to $155.1 billion; a total of $288 billion addressing taxes with $237 billion going to individual tax incentives and the remaining $51 billion going to company tax incentives. Within this bill lies $12 billion targeted for small business tax cuts. In fact, 40% of the stimulus bill is in the form of tax breaks through credits, cuts, allowances, interest deductions, subsidies and the repeal of the safe haven allowing financial institutions to deduct taxes while profiting on risky mergers that negatively affects the overall health of the financial market.

Healthcare Reform ~ Although the final passage of the two bills were watered down, it was an historical landmark piece of legislation in correcting America’s healthcare system from more of a privileged system to a right for all citizens. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, along with the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act, no longer will any American be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Children up to 26 years of age may remain on a family’s policy. It makes public infection rates from every hospital, pushing health facilities to adhere to more hygienic environments and sanitary conditions. The bills provide incentives for businesses to provide employee health benefits. With in-placed controls and systems, fraud and waste will be fully pursued towards elimination adding to savings and lowering costs privately and publicly. The so-called pharmaceutical donut hole prescribed during the Bush era under Medicare will be annulled eliminating surges in co-pays. Reform forces insurers to exclude lifetime or annual caps and prevents them from refusing to pay for necessary care as prescribed by a doctor. Medicare Advantage plans are extra coverage offered by private insurers providing benefits above and beyond normal Medicare. Under a version of the plans revised during the previous Bush years, Medicare was overpaying private insurers $12 billion extra a year; reform eliminates this overbilling of taxpayer pay outs. The bill sets up the Health Insurance Rate Authority that will decide whether insurance rate hikes are justifiable and reasonable and ensure premium reductions and rebates are paid out by insurance companies. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a non-partisan federal agency within the legislative branch providing economic data to congress states that the net effect of both laws will be a $143 billion realized government savings in deductions to the deficit for the first decade of implementation.

Financial Reform Bill ~ The bill is staged for quantitative easing and qualitative management of currency flow. It will enact new rules providing shareholders more say on the structure of executive pay, which currently is 525 times greater than that of his employee’s income. The bill establishes an independent consumer bureau to protect borrowers from current and future attempts of abusive mortgage, credit card and other forms of negative lending. It overhauls, restructures and legislates existing regulations ignored during the Bush years with new rules instituting careful oversight on the vast market of derivatives that fueled the crisis and will close perverse and greedy loopholes. It sets up a council of federal regulators to watch for threats to the overall soundness of the financial system. This legislation also gives authority to the government to seize and stop troubled financial entities with bad investment practices from extending its infectious tentacles into the rest of the market. Finalized rules make it illegal for banks to suddenly raise interest rates and indiscriminately insert ridiculous fees.

After going over and studying the above, I don’t know why anyone would not think that these newly enacted pieces of legislation are not an attribute for the average American, especially in considering the current economic climate. With high unemployment the bills cover job creation, enticements for companies to hire, access to affordable healthcare (especially after benefits are loss due to lay-offs) and financial institution accountability.

Yet, time and time again Republicans have filibustered at historic levels to defeat the legislation and have thwarted and stalled final passage with a myriad of obstruction tactics. Even though their fingerprints were all over the bills in amendments they still voted no. They say healthcare reform is unconstitutional in enforcing healthcare coverage, but they, including the health insurance industry and conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, were the first to insist on a system that mandates healthcare purchases long before they were against it. Now, strictly for political convenience, they have flip-flopped. The new healthcare laws keep management in private hands, while no government public insurer competitor has been introduced, but the right-wing still cries of government takeover, as if the insurance industry in dictating to a doctor what medical procedure or medication they won’t pay for is not a takeover and even for profit at the expense of quality care.

Obama’s administration has saved the financial institution from falling into a black hole, brought the economy back from the brink of total collapse, gave the ability of credit markets to open up, credit card reform for fairer credit practices, tax cuts to small business and entrepreneurs and Wall Street reform. With true healthcare reform, perhaps, in accordance to a 2008 Commonwealth Fund report statistically showing the U.S. as ranking dead last in quality healthcare in all developed countries, he could change that to a more suitable ranking.

The Hire Act, passed this past June provides payroll tax breaks for all businesses that hire workers that have been unemployed for more than sixty days. Obama’s stimulus bill directed over $100 billion to America’s lower and middle class incomes. His new healthcare bills will allow more medical decisions to be made between the doctor and patient rather than having a corporate entity looking out for its profits as the involved main concern.


Deaf Ears:
Still, there are many who do not only dislike Obama, but despise him. Simply, in my own opinion, this is due in most part with the public being inundated listening to the constant barrage of false rhetoric from Obama’s political opponents while refusing to listen to, or research for, or look at the facts…or…just outright bigotry from the get-go. Obama did not create this financial mess, he inherited it. Many ears that these words of mine fall on are getting bored of hearing this, but especially with a chorus now sprouting up in singing for a return back to the Bush days, I feel this must be pushed to understand why we are in our present condition.

Yore danged-right I’m going to hoot’n’holler in reminding those oblivious to the reasons of our plight. On another front right now, Bush is going around touting his book and doling out justifications on his actions as president. An example is his latest excuse in going into Iraq. After all the past pretexts in justifying the Iraq invasion, such as at first all the WMDs, then to get rid of a dictator, national security threats, liberating Iraqis to democracy; he’s pushing with his latest excuse by kind of falling back to the first one and that is that everyone “thought” Iraq had WMDs. Well maybe so, but the point is no one else actually invaded the country acting on the faulty and manufactured intelligence that the Bush camp came up with…only W. Bush did.

In getting back to the main format, people do apparently need reminding. Let’s see where to even begin—Bush’s plethora of errant policies created an unregulated financial crisis that cost 100s of billions of tax dollars to counter the fall into the bottomless abyss - an overtly devalued dollar - endless entitlement expenditures - a trillion dollars plus in foreign borrowing - over a quarter trillion dollars surplus inherited from Clinton only to turn that surplus into a one and a half trillion dollars plus deficit for Obama to contend with - putting us into two off the book war expenses with no way to pay for them by depleting government revenue in the form of the wealthy tax cuts and wrapping it all up into a package with Cheney emphatically stating, “Deficits don’t matter.”

Bush had the worst presidential job creation since the beginning of the Great Depression. As Obama was being sworn in, 700,000 jobs a month were being lost from the Bush and Republican era. Now, Republicans portray immunity in being responsible for the soaring national debt and financial crisis, while casting all blame onto Obama’s shoulders to bear. Though there is still a long way to go, at least Obama has stopped the job losses, turned it around, adding currently over a million jobs to the private sector. Obama in just his first 18 months in office has created more net private sector jobs than Bush did his entire two terms while sitting in the president’s chair. In just over 20 months after implementation, CBO stats show that the recovery act (ARRA) has produced 3.4 million permanent jobs.

I don’t care who became president, it will take a long while before the average fella can start seeing progress. According to US Census Bureau reports and Labor Bureau of Statistics analysis, Bush, with his corporate favoritism policies left 1 out of 6 Americans either unemployed or under employed and 1 out of every 7th American as poor; that’s 13.2% of the population now under the poverty line due wholly to Bush programs. Median household incomes dropped exponentially each year during the Bush terms winding up with a final fall of 3.6% the deepest fall ever since records have been kept. This is while during a deep recession, inflation also reared its ugly head peaking at 5.6% in 2008. The average work week under Bush wound up at 33.5 hours per week, the lowest hourly total ever in the U.S. As a net result from all these Bush year figures, 1 in 4 American children do not have enough food in their family’s pantry.

TARP, with its price tag of $700 billion began under Bush and Obama assumed responsibility for it, but instead of just throwing the money to the financial institution and not even knowing how it was being spent, at least Obama gained some control and enacted oversight and regulation to track and follow ensuring it was responsibly being spent.

I myself sincerely do despise bailing the financial market out of its greedy dungeon, but it had to be done. Now you have financial institutions stating that they have paid the money back to the government and are bragging on how well they are doing now in being sound financially and making profits; even so that they are back to handing out the big pay bonuses. They just don’t get it, if it was not for the bailout and even for those that did not accept any bailout funds, I don’t care, the whole American market was on the brink of no return once it slid into the bottomless abyss. The bailout stopped that slide and in the process saved the whole of Wall Street’s rears. It wasn’t their actions that are now making them viable; it was their actions that got us all into this mess.

There was a huge cost though, no not for the financial system, but to the taxpayer. The failures of the Bush Republican years and the financial institutions, posed tremendously huge costs onto the average American. After the initial bailout with taxpayer fees, Americans are now paying for it in loss of jobs and livelihoods. Wall Street greed took us to the worst recession in nearly a century and the huge cost of it for the average American is in the insurmountable form of $14 trillion dollars in lost wages, savings and homes.

Ya know, somewhere around 80% of the stimulus package hasn’t been spent or assigned yet. This is totally irrelevant for it would never happen, but I would like to see that money go to bailing out the ones that are truly hurting. There is more than enough money left in the stimulus package to pay each and every American citizen aged 25 or older $200,000.00 each. Again, remember it will never occur, but if it was done, now everyone could pay off their mortgage, their loans and credit cards. The ones who are still financially secure, could go on spending sprees to kick start the economy by increasing the percent of consumer spending, or simply invest with it. Set the money up in some form of escrow to ensure it was going towards paying down debt. For me, this makes a whole lot of sense. By starting from the bottom up you’re securing your base. Starting from the top, the trickledown effect never works, because the top keeps a tight hold on currency; they don’t spread it. This concept would be a win for everyone. No, the top echelon of financial businesses wouldn’t get as rich as quick, but in all debt being paid back owed them; they’d make a decent profit.

55% of all current debt rests solely on the heels of the Bush administration, while 10% is due to the Obama administration in being forced to deal with the current economic woes. Obama though, to truly start seeing daylight, is going to have to have the federal government spend and stimulate a bit more, no matter how unpopular. American corporations do at present have the resources. Currently they are sitting on a pile of money that is double the amount of the stimulus bill, but they refuse to hire or invest. Most CEOs claim the 5th amendment of corporations; the, “let’s wait and see approach.” Someone has to step in and fill the void or the middle class is going to wilt away. There isn’t much time to wait. The only entity that can step forward is the federal government; there is none else to fill the void and perform the role these corporate gutless wonders won’t.


Taxation/Wealth:
When referring to the wealthys taxes, why is it that it is always referred to as a tax increase when in actuality it’s simply putting their tax rates back to 2001 levels? If we need to balance the national budget as all conservatives are whining about, then that 3.5 % correction in taxing the rich should not be that big a deal. It assuredly is not going to make them starve and it will add $70 billion/year of needed revenue back to the federal governments roll each year for the next ten years. I can think of no better time than now for the very well-off to start paying their fair share. Allow the rich tax cuts to expire and the government gains $700 billion dollars for the coming decade. If the tax cuts remain permanent it will cost the U.S. $4 trillion in lost revenue.

The fact that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were conducted simultaneously while staging two wars isn’t unprecedented enough, some have the audacity to ignore that these entities are also a big part of America’s economic woes and indebtedness. To say that this is the wrong time to raise taxes for the rich is hogwash, considering it is one of the sources that has added to the deficit and it certainly hasnt created the atmosphere for jobs in the last 10 years, it’s actually contributed to the loss of jobs overall…look at the record…it didn’t create jobs; employment actually decreased wholly since the Bush tax breaks.

The wealthiest American incomes have veritably increased substantially while the middle class has gone down. 37% of the wealthy benefiting from the tax cuts actually invested it overseas. The wealthiest Americans in the top 20% own 83% of America’s wealth and 40% of that is owned by the top 1% of the country’s wealthiest population. That’s 83% of America’s wealth going to only 20% of the population and 40% of that going into the hands of a mere 1% of the population. According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau the top 1% of the wealthiest Americans is taking home 42.7% of the total national income. It was a mere 8% in 1980. The trickle, or rather mist down effect just doesn't work. The wealthy keep their money or invest it overseas.

In giving an envisioned example, suppose there were two piles of $100.00 bills. One represented a middle class averaged median value of $40,000.00 per year and the other represented 1% of the wealthiest making $84 billion per year. The middle class pile would be around 12 inches. The 1% pile would be…are ya ready…sit down now, for it would be…35 miles high.

On a lighter note concerning wealth, there are billionaires earnestly requesting government to increase their taxes. Warren Buffet, after finding out he paid a lesser percentage of taxes (16%) as compared to his employees (33%), he felt compelled to push for rescinding the Bush cuts. Ted Turner, Mr. & Mrs. Bill Gates, George Soros, Tom Steyer and among others, all insist they need to pay back a little more in taxes. In fact they are prepared to give to the government or charities a total of $600 billion.

Somewhere between 2-3% of small businesses will be affected if the tax cuts are rescinded and allowed to expire. That’s nothing like the Republican’s portrayal of the bill hurting the vast majority of small business. It won’t thwart small business, it will aid.

Tax rates should be utilized in reducing the deficit, not in giving the very wealthy loopholes, tax shelters and more revenue for offshore investing.

No, the Bush tax cuts did not put us on sound footing. The Bush wealthy tax cuts like the Bush Iraqi invasion are on the list of primary instruments that added to the federal deficit and again like the invasion, the tax cuts were deceptively promoted…the war didn’t make the U.S. more secure and the cuts didn’t create U.S. jobs.


We the Corporation:
Corporate influence into American politics is a plague. In a 5-4 decision, our slightly conservative leaning Supreme Court justices just passed a ruling this year in that ‘we the people’ lost much of its significance, for now it has an equal in ‘we the corporation.’ So due to this decision, American businesses have the same rights as individuals now. Talk about the debasing of an American’s constitutional civil rights.

I’m flabbergasted. Just where are all the right-wing’s protests and screams of foul. Normally, on a decision that infringes on individual rights and voting rights they’d be hollering through their foghorns. For the most part though, they’ve been quiet. Conservatives politically, never let anything slip by without a raucous unless they are to gain from it. It appears that this decision does lean in their favor, but only sorely at the expense of the American voter and his candidate.

Corporations already spend $400 billion/year on Capitol Hill…now they’re going to be able to spend billions more during election cycles and all under a shroud of secrecy and dome of silence. We all know that large and wealthy corporations and industries tilt towards the Republican’s interests and now due to the Supreme Court’s ruling, political freedoms have been taken over by market referendums.

All of the donations that poured into Karl Rove’s Republican campaign camp to fund his demeaning political ads and candidate resources; he would attempt to hide the donor and the amount. Since the law has changed, he now doesn’t have to. Of course he would never reply in answering an interviewer’s question of as to who are the donations coming from and at what amount, but would simply digress. Rove and along with the other Republicans I heard, always deviate from the question with three remarks like that it is the new law, so they have the right to stay mum, Obama will not reveal his donation sources from the 2008 campaign and that unions, who normally favor Democrats can do the same thing.

Well, on the first argument, I cannot repudiate, except that the unruly ruling chips away on our voting freedoms in allowing corporations to influence results on candidates and elections. But of the other two, I can and their replies distort the real truth.

On the second question it’s true; Obama has not disclosed his 2008 contributors, but only of the individuals that donated $200.00 or less in protecting privacy rights. His bigger contributors and especially of any industry entities, he did. As for the last one, in one breath Republicans like to brag about the fact they have broken the union’s back, for since the Reagan years unions have been eviscerated. But in another ironic breath, Republicans complain that unions donate vast amounts of dollars to Democrats. If they indeed have broken down the unions, it would seem to me that there wouldn’t be much left to donate in “vast amounts.” In political campaigns today, corporations outspend unions 65-1.

Not since the days of Watergate have there been such secret corporate and interests group donations. The high court should have just dealt with the case in overriding two precedents, not change the law simply because they had the majority five votes to do so.

Federal campaign finance laws lost clout and reinterpreted free speech rights permitting corporations to donate in such a secretive manner gives no value to the average citizen. His free speech rights have been wholly diluted and diminished.

As Obama essentially stated, this is a major victory for Wall Street, the health insurance industry and other interests groups. And I emphatically say, secret money is dangerous, is interest driven and is corruptive period. Undercover wealthy and corporate donations and agendas always will have strings attached in pursuant of their own interests and agendas.


Angst:
Most probably all the uproar from Republican leaders, speakers and announcers was due to somehow attempting to tie Islam in with Obama, but all the misplaced insensitivities were not from a truly patriotic American. I’m speaking of the baseless protests concerning the religious center being built across from, down the block and around the corner from ground zero. These leaders fueling and embedding fear and discomfort were unpatriotic actions directed toward misguided patriotic citizens. Any American patriot knows America is a collective hodgepodge of different races, cultures and religions. The one thing we all have in common is that we are American and we all cherish individual rights and freedoms. If this center was strictly going to be a Christian center or even a Jewish synagogue, no one would have complained. The inept though would probably argue it wasn’t Christians or Jews who were involved in the cowardly acts of 911. Well in rebuttal, it wasn’t Islam either; it was a collection of asinine religious fanatic Moslems. Timothy McVeigh, who was a Christian, bombed the Oklahoma federal buildings on religious grounds in protest over the Waco Davidian massacre, but no one felt intent on persecuting Christianity because of it, did they?

First off, the building is not going to strictly be a mosque, but a community center that happens to have a Muslim prayer room in it and further, a Christian prayer room and Jewish prayer room are also in the blueprints. What a novel idea, a multi-faith dialogue and peaceful coexistence between the three religions. The Park 51 building was originally called the Cordoba House for Cordoba, Spain where in the 8th-11th centuries Cordoba was a city of goodwill between Christians, Moslems and Jews. It became cynically known as the Ground Zero mosque first dubbed by the Republican blogger Pamela Geller.

The man to head the center is Feisal Abdul Rauf, who was actually inducted into office as a diplomat by Bush to spread American goodwill to Islamic countries and to reason with them how “well” Moslems are treated in America. I wonder what he is going to say now in his Middle Eastern dissertations.

All this fuss of Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and the other Republicans patronizing and stirring up anti-Islamic sentiment is simply abusive in politicizing 911. Rush Limbaugh even took it the full spectrum in backing Pastor Terry Jones’ Koran burning bonfire. In this country, in my reasoning anyway, we do not hold our Constitution hostage to sensitivities. As a nation, I thought we learned a long time ago after the Witch Salem Trials, how to rationally face erupting fears and insecurities. We need to rekindle the art of lightening up.

If it is a plot of ground where a church could legally sit and be respected, if it is where even a synagogue could be erected with no haranguing onslaught, then a community center of multicultural religious affiliations (Christian, Jewish and Islam included) should have that right as well.

On another front of Republican angst was all the riled up hoopla in the NPR firing of Juan Williams for a statement he said on Fox’s, ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ concerning Moslems onboard commercial planes. His comment, But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

I do see where the statement could unease some people on both sides, but Juan is paid for his opinions and comments and was being sincere in his reply to Bill O’Reilly’s posed question, so perhaps NPR overreacted. But boy-howdy how did the Republicans overreach in their concerted effort in condemning NPR for the canning.

Immediately, Fox News hands the commentator a three year two million dollar contract. In making it a campaign issue rather than a corporate level decision, Bill O’Reilly, Boehner, McConnell, Newt, Palin, along with a long list of others jump on the bandwagon in criticizing NPR. Fox News broadcasted the story on its entire national and local sister stations. They all were labeling NPR as a leftist front and Juan as the innocent victim.

I‘ve never seen, nor perhaps ever will again, such high profile conservatives and Republicans rush to the aid of a liberal who is a black man with even a Hispanic name for crying-out-loud. This I suppose is routine, for it is a typical Republican knee-jerk reaction to bring news out that can vilify progressives; they could’ve cared less for Juan, he happened to be the pawn for their political slant marketing strategies in furthering their operative cause in the bashing of Big Bird.

There was also recently another very similar incident, but it happened to be in reverse. Of course though, not one of the leading Republicans or pundits included this following event on their propaganda offing…they kept a tight lid on it. It deals with the firing of a Republican by a conservative institute.

When the healthcare bill was finally passed, this past March, David Frum, a conservative former Bush speechwriter, ignited an explosion of Republican outrage in his criticizing of Republican’s lack of compromise. He said, I've been on a soapbox for months now about the harm that our overheated talk is doing to us. Yes, it mobilizes supporters, but by mobilizing them with hysterical accusations and pseudo-information, overheated talk has made it impossible for representatives to represent and elected leaders to lead.” The American Institute, a right-wing think tank fired Frum from his fellow resident position for his stance. Not a word of unfairness came from any conservative leader or institute. Fox News did not cover it in any news broadcast. The American Institute wouldn’t even comment on why they forced him to resign. Frum was ostracized from the Republican beltway. The difference here is that liberals did not take advantage of Frum’s demise, use it to further drive their cause and broadcast the incident in hopes of exposing turmoil in the Republican fold.

I’m sure most know of the Juan Williams’ saga, but few little know of David Frum’s. Frum later on said after the bill was passed, “Republicans will fall back upon a Plan B, basically a series of stunts. ... And at the end of two years, the law will still be there, more or less intact."

This is most probably true for it is on the Republican agenda list to obstruct and interfere with its implementation, defund the law, hold endless oversight hearings and in general, harass Obama healthcare administration officials. This will backfire. Although there are polls out there showing the bill as unpopular, this is due in most part to all the generated myths that have been circulating. Two-thirds of Americans supported the outlawing of allowing pre-existing condition exclusions according to the Anzalone Lizt Reseach Poll conducted this past April. A recent New York Times/CNN poll showed the opinions split over the new law, but when further told repeal would allow insurers to continue their exclusion of pre-existing illnesses, only one-quarter of the repeal supporters stuck to their original opinion, three-quarters recanted and changed their opinion in support of the law.

Of course Republicans backed by the insurance industry whose profits quadrupled under the Bush years will still defy and attack the bill. Once the law effects become implemented Americans will begin to warrant its values. Republicans’ endless railing and rhetoric against the bill is on a short fuse, for as Frum said the bill is here to stay.

As of this Turkey Day holiday there was another stir that Republicans tried to benefit from. Apparently the real problems are too overwhelming to contend with presently confronting the country, so conservatives latched onto a shallow one and attempted to get brownie points by stirring up the masses, but it fizzled quicker than alka-seltzer in a tall glass of water. The shallowness of the problem wasn’t enough, so they always reminded one that this was the direct result of “Obama’s” TSA, as if he personally orchestrated the procedures. What we’re speaking of here is the new airport security procedures of full body scans or stepped up body searches. For the protest, they even came up with a catchy phrase…”Don’t mess with my junk.”

Fox News host, Mike Huckabee blasted into Obama for defending the TSAs new pat-down procedures and screening measures. In proving to the world he totally disagreed with the new security assessments and Obama he said, “There isn't a choice about the federal fondling and groping of the private parts of totally law-abiding citizens by government agents." Now that is funny and even funnier in realizing it came from a preacher, but it is crass. Palin tweeted: an example of political correctness run amuck. Later she stated, “Because this administration refuses to use simple common sense and profile terrorists like everyone else in the world, we're reduced to frisking nuns and screaming children.” Leave it up to Limbaugh though to cross the threshold into the realm of exempt moral fiber and callous character. He suggested that the TSA grope the Obama daughters. Of course we all know what McConnell’s response was…just say “no” to TSA…just kidding on that one. I haven’t really heard of any comment from him concerning the matter. He’s been too busy crying on the senate floor concerned about an aide of his leaving him.

There are some sensible ones out there, but most all Republican leaders and soothsayers have done their best to stir up the masses. They’re even clamoring that the new procedures are unconstitutional to privacy rights. Strikingly funny though, for these opponents of a bit more airport security scrutiny, are the very same ones who applauded the Bush years when private rights really took a hit. Why weren’t they screaming about citizenry rights when wiretapping of private citizens and the military by big government took effect? Why no protests to government being allowed to snoop through bank accounts and personal mailings? Why the absence in shouts when the Bush administration sent social security software to corporate employers to spy on their employees? The right for government to seize or arrest a citizen without reason or cause never caused tirades, or thwarting the rights to protest I tell ya what. But oh my aching whiskers, let them all of a sudden scream foul to be subjected to a faceless full body scan or if preferred instead, a full pat down. Yepper, this is a very egregious infringement on citizen rights, above all others.

The Republicans argue the new security measures should have first been advertized to the American citizen. Got news for ya m’dear podnuhs, this isn’t about a corporation utilizing marketing to make a sale; it’s about protecting American travelers. As Bush once said, “No price is too dear for security.”

The protest of opting out before going through the security process was more pundit hype than substance…it melted away. It was smooth traveling in and out of America’s airports coming and going this holiday.

With terrorists coming up with new ways to harm by stuffing bomb material into their underwear, in shoes and even up their rears, new procedures have to come on board, if not then the government is not doing their job. For Obama, this is a classic damned if ya do and damned if ya don’t. If one wants secure security, you have to pay the price in enduring a few moments of personal inconvenience. That’s all, so gut it up.

This last angst does indeed angst me. Endearing to McConnell’s just say no, Jon Kyl’s no to ratifying the START treaty this year, beckons to the world in saying America is no more the logical power it was, it is too divisive from within. Kyl, the point man on the treaty ratification for Republicans is truly showing us all how political ploy process is more important than national security policy. It only goes to show that there is a greater contempt for Obama than concern in national security. This has not only upset the Obama administration, it has also angered the pentagon, intelligence, arms control experts, National Defense generals, former Republican national security officers, European allies and Russia. You know, Russia has the option to opt out before the US ratifies the treaty. Heck, even Condi Rice has voiced her protest against the Republican decision. The only ones that are happy with it are House Republicans, Iran and North Korea. A pretty nice bed of thorny briars huh… The only sitting Republican to publicly disfavor Kyl’s decision is Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana.

Kyl has been given everything he has requested from the White House in the modernization of military weaponry. While the White House has been circumventing in criticizing Kyl and his delaying tactics, he has not held back in his obstructionist manner of bemoaning the White House’s organization on the matter. This is trivial nonsense.

The New Strategic Arms Treaty or, New Start is a bilateral agreement and extension of the original strategic arms deal between the USA and Russia on the reduction and limitation of weapons of mass destruction.

To cop a phrase...

Literally playing Russian roulette with the USs standing and interests in international diplomacy and achievements just to attempt to isolate Obama from the so-called “real America” is dangerous grounds Kyl is playing on. There isn’t anything controversial about the treaty in getting it ratified; it is over our nation’s concern. Non ratification will raise the ire of those countries seeking stronger ties to the US and embolden those countries who aren’t. It will push westward leaning easterners away.

Kyl’s lame justification for his decision is that there is not enough time to go through the ratification floor procedures. Why more time, the treaty has been scrutinized under months of debates and was cleared by the Senate Foreign Relations committee back in September. Obama has worked hard going back and forth with the Russians and former Soviet bloc states in ironing out all the detail. Kyl has even gone further in falsely blaming Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader in negating any scheduled time for ratification by tying up the floor.

No, this is only to thwart any perception of an Obama victory and is an obstructionist route being taken and followed. Kyl disrespectfully waited to announce his “no” decision by timing it exactly when Obama was about to depart to Portugal for the NATO summit meeting. This last minute announcement was indeed an embarrassment for Obama and the country too.


Ending Philosophically:
Ya know, on what I call the responsible point to perspective is that, when one is the bearer of fruit for a people, ultimately it is the harbinger for another. While one sees the fruit as ripe and tastes it as sweet, the other sees the fruit as rotten and tastes it as bitter. One must understand all points of view involved on one topic.

Democrats lost the political spin game, but it does not mean that they weren’t fighting hard for average Joe and Jane, for they were on your behalf and they should be mighty proud of that. There were no victors in this election campaign cycle, only beneficiaries. Democrats should have been out there pounding the pavement in explaining their achievements, but instead caved to the Party of No’s constant badgering and slinging of mud making Democrats appear disoriented in the public’s eye. Republicans have no answer and maybe no clue on how to approach the problems at hand. They can’t even sugar coat it; only vilify anything Obama and the Democrats do when standing up in the fight.

The public bit into the misinformation supplied by the Republicans because we are in a time of economic hurt being vulnerable, but nonetheless, we should remind ourselves who are really the ones who got us to this point in the last ten years and quit leaning so hard on the ones who have been trying with great effort while burdened with an unpopularity cost to get us out. Unfortunately, it has been too slow a process for most citizens to continue bearing out. But, ignorance is what ignorance got.

Ignorance of one’s own inner light is no excuse in flipping the light switch off on others. An awful lot of American folk feel excluded, so have acted out, which is far better than simply withdrawing as long as it is sprinkled with a little sound reasoning and factual detail. Beliefs should be respected when inwardly they are deeply felt, but in doing so, beliefs should not be so assumptive outwardly that reason is negated.

I've tried to understand the heated thoughts and overly expressive noises of the Tea Party and I do understand they don’t like the other acquired nametag of teabag, but when they go out there parading around with side-by-side signs in one saying Obama is a socialist, while in the other saying he’s a fascist…make up yore minds, he can’t be on both ends of the spectrum. It’s then, in observing their confusion, I begin to bypass teabag and instead, begin to think more of teapot or maybe even of crackpot.

Ya know, back in Texas there is an ol’ saying, “When ya have the facts on yore side, argue the facts. When ya have the law on yore side, argue the law. But when ya have neither, holler.” It appears that when it comes to the Tea Party and town hall meetings, this old Lonestar saying has spread.

Tea Party people were livid when it came to bailing out the financial market, but how uncanny of it all that a good portion of the Republican candidates they voted for and put into office were actually tied into financial institutions as corporate CEO’s and Wall Street management. Americans felt exclusion from the interplay and appear to never have realized that the play between financial institutions and the conservative right is what protects and shields corruptive financial policies.

The very ones the Tea Party voted for are refusing extension of unemployment compensation for struggling working Americans because they say they want to begin reigning in debt, but on the other hand are demanding the tax cuts remain for the incredibly rich. When considering Social Security, Medicare and the W. Bush tax cuts, which one will make up the majority of debt in the next ten years? If you assume or guess you’ll most likely be wrong, but if you’ve done a little factual researching, you’ll find that it is the tax cuts. Yet the Tea Party in their frame of frustrated minds chose candidates that want to cut off support for working families but elicit money that they say they don’t have to the exceedingly rich who don’t need it.

The rallying cries for the Democrats in this election at least had substance in pointing out the problems and these are our solutions. When you stand above on certain grounds, you become vulnerable for attack. The Republicans simply said we have no answers and we’ve done nothing but throw doubt into the winds, just vote mad.

I too live like there is no tomorrow, but I do it in making plans for tomorrow. For Republicans, in addressing our nation’s pertinent issues as solely on getting Obama out of office sounds more like a vendetta than planning.

Since the Bush era, the USA has fallen from first to twelfth in education. Do you really want to repeal the education bill and student loans simply because you feel they might shine a light on Obama accomplishments? US math and science students’ command of the curriculums is becoming dangerously low in dealing with encroaching foreign competition. Republicans won’t even sit down at the table and discuss the pressing problem of immigration reform, but have the audacity, on purely political moves, to shred the 14th amendment.

Of course Democrats are at fault too. They had a good majority, but let Republicans, the masters of creating chaos and deflecting the blame elsewhere, make them appear unorganized and in disarray. They began to cower and run when the Tea Party began disrupting meetings. Obama was too loose in his diplomacy tact towards Republicans in his quest for bipartisanship. After the third “no” it was obvious Republicans weren’t going to work together. He should have had the stumbling block removed, push them to the side and ram his agendas through. This sounds a bit terse, but these are times for being bold. His continuous mode in attempting to create an atmosphere of cooperation and allowing endless amendments attached to original bills never worked. The Republicans still voted no and he came out of it as appearing pansy-like. The right still disdains him and the left became disaffected. He should have just stepped up to the plate and hit homeruns with original bills primarily intact. He had House ballparks full of Democrats. Then he could be viewed on his own merits and accomplishments instead of allowing the obstructionists to mold his public perception.

There are not that many men as I (as most would say thank goodness) that grow on any bush no matter if perceived as fruit or thorn, but at least the perception tells the preceptor who I am. Republicans dating the Tea Party is one thing, but how will a marriage go? Surely the Tea Party will wake up soon and see who Republicans really are in bed with. A nasty divorce settlement may well be on the horizon.

McConnell’s attitude of…to hell with the country’s duress, I’m dedicating my senatorial responsibilities to defaming and defeating Obama…has got to end or the political turmoil and quagmire will only throw us deeper into the hole. We’re in for some tough business.

While most are half awake, start reasoning in the morning sun. In opening the day to see the wide world, a more relevant understanding will grasp and take hold. It’s been nice to have had the chance in yapping with ya. Out here!




BJA
As Observer
11/30/2010