Archive for the ‘POLITICS’ Category

BUDGET 09, 3-17-2009

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009


President Obama’s budget is the change we voted for:

Sounds too good to be true

Health care reform, a plan to make polluters pay for clean energy investment, tax breaks for 95% of Americans, even a firm timeline for the end of the war in Iraq. As Paul Krugman said, it will set America on a “fundamentally new course.” But the budget faces mounting opposition from special interests and conservative Democrats who want to take out key parts of the bill.

Senators on the committee are already making up their minds about whether they’ll pass Obama’s progressive budget or water it down—and they’re hearing from the opposition every day.

Pass Obama’s budget without stripping the crucial provisions that make sure polluters and other special interests pay their fair share.Obama’s plan is boldly progressive—which makes the special interest lobbyists dead-set against it:

* Oil companies don’t like a key provision that taxes polluters to help pay for a transition to a clean-energy economy.
* Insurance companies are fighting the health care funding that will help create a more efficient system and pave the way for universal coverage.
* Highly paid executives are against the elimination of tax loopholes that they’ve gotten rich off of for years.

Few people realize that if we lose this budget fight, our other goals like transitioning to a green economy and health care reform will become difficult or impossible to achieve. So there’s a real risk that millions of progressives who helped elect this president will sit on the sidelines during this fight.

The Greenbacker

FOOD CZAR, 1-04-09

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Consumer protection is needed in the ‘food’ arena – a ‘Food Czar’.

I don’t recall who it was that recently suggested this,  perhaps Bill Moyers when interviewing Michael Pollan.

The US is fast becoming the most obese nation on the planet along with increased incidence of diabetes, heart disease and a host of disease that accompanies obesity.

Interesting note,  in July, 2010 issue of Harper’s Index, nearly $2 Billion worth of stock is held by life and health insurance firms in US fast-food companies.  Evidently, fast food is seen by the insurance industry as a boon to their business interests and they want to be invested in it.

A Food Czar would deliberate on GM foods, food additives, imported foods, ‘fast foods’ – all the food issues that affect the lives and health of citizens.

Done right, a Food Czar could have a major effect on health, productivity, medical costs and general well being for the general population.

Michael Pollan, a food scholar, would be a good consideration for this position.

Berkeley Professor, he is the author of many books on the subject of food among which are ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’,   ‘The Botany of Desire’, and ‘In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto’.

TheGreenbacker

Dear Obama for America, 9-15-08

Monday, September 15th, 2008


Dear Obama for America,

I sent you a letter re: Sarah Palin;  information I thought you should see.  Is it factual?  Couldn’t say.  It’s for you to vet.

Evidently  the NYT thought it was interesting material  and  it has been published on McClatchy wires.
Your response indicated you Democrats hold yourselves above smear tactics and family attacks and you declined to use the info provided.

Palin is a right wing conservatrix with strong religious fundamentalist leanings. She has little experience and has displayed little interest in acquainting herself with crucial issues pertaining to  leadership in any office.   She would bomb Iran.  She considers war w/ Russia to be a distinct possibility. She vacillates on earmarks.   She is a book burner!  The church she belongs to routinely burns books that are offensive to them.

A book burning president?

God forbid!

I don’t want Sarah Palin to in a position of leadership in our country.  We have had too much of right wing religious extremism in the leadership of this country.   We do not need another ‘hot line to God’  in the White house!

McCain is 72 yrs old and has had 3 bouts w/ cancer.   A real possibility looms that Palin would become president before 4 or 8 years is up.   That would be an outrage the country might not recover from after 8 years of Bush malignancy.  That is why I sent the Kilkenny letter to you.  For purposes of informing.  You don’t need to smear – just tell the facts.

I do not want her to be President!  What a travesty that would be.  She backs the AIPAC position with regard to Israel/Palestine.  Of course, so does Obama.  Over 70% of American people do not.   Voters want the US to be neutral on the Israel/Palestine issue!

We know smears and spin work.   The evidence is there.  but you don’t need to resort to that to pin the tail on this donkey.   All you need to do is tell the truth.   Point out the facts, repeatedly.   The more the Repubs talk the more they fault themselves.  Letting this pass in order to appear ‘pure’ is a losing proposition.    Attacking family is as pointless as a pig with lipstick. And it is totally unnecessary.

May I remind you, this is a 9% Congress.  Only 9% of voters give Congress a positive rating.  That means  over 90% believe Congress is failing!

Positive ratings were somewhere around 45% in 2002, still appalling, but worlds better. And it’s not all due to Republican efforts.   The Dems were complicit in supporting much of the legislation that brought us to these straights.   And of course we apathetic voters certainly did not help the situation by voting the miscreants back into office over and over.  So when you say the Dems will not sully their hands by offering slurs and smears as do the Repubs,  I applaud.   I don’t like smears and spin and lies. They have no place in the landscape of *real*leadership of my country.

But is this such a landscape of *real* leadership?

No, it is not.  Dems and Repubs on both sides represent failed leadership and are asking for another chance under a banner of ‘Change’ that seems, at this point, to have taken on a sadly lesser meaning.

Your leadership is substantially divergent from the wishes of voters.    Read the polls on major issues!  The polls will tell you real change looks nothing like what you leaders seem to believe.

Polls show voters want special interests out of government!  We want clean air and water,  They do NOT want to drill for oil in ANWR.  Voters want The US out of Iraq and want dialog with Iran.   Voters want nuclear weapons eliminated and strongly support the UN.  Americans support due process for terrorism suspects.   Americans do NOT support torture!  We do not want to leave behind a failed legacy our kids have to pay for.

Call them out on real issues.   Make them answer for their past indiscretions.   Of course it would help if the Dems were not complicit in many these issues.   But, unfortunately, they are, and only future actions can repair that.

This country needs a literate, intelligent leader.   Obama could be such a leader.

Earlier this Spring, I heard Obama declare he could no more dump Pastor Wright, his friend and mentor of 20 years,  than he could dump his white grandmother who raised him and who feared black people so much she referred to them in racist terms, in his presence!  Obama seemed to realize and embrace the frustrations of both,  and rise above that with his message of Change and Hope.

At the time I heard him speak, I was backing Ralph Nader.   I thought  Finally, FINALLY!   A Democrat who puts his job on the line and says what’s right!   Someone with integrity.  Someone with understanding.   And, unlike Nader, Obama has a chance!

Here’s someone I could vote FOR!  It’s hard to remember when I last voted FOR a president.  It’s always been a matter of voting AGAINST the other guy!  But here was a guy who seemed to understand the fears of a white woman and the rage of a black man who served his country as a marine and still was regarded a second class citizen!


That racism is by no means behind us.  This week a federal judge released a white KKK member that was involved in the murder of 2 black teenagers in 1964 on the grounds that his conviction occurred after the statute of limitations had expired.

Statute of limitations!  5 years!   I didn’t know there was a statute of limitations for murder.   Even as a white man I can understand the rage of a black man who says ‘God damn America’.

We’re not stupid, out here in the grassroots.  After all, we see what is happening in our country and we’re the ones that have given you, our leaders, your deservedly low ratings.

We’re also the ones that are not in control of our country as we should be.  That makes us complicit too.
Blame whatever you want, fraud, corruption, special interests, lax media.   All those things and more, are waiting to plunder the keep in the presence of voter apathy.

But Obama could have changed that!  His ‘Promise’ could have brought to life a tsunami of disenfranchised and frustrated voters.

I thought I understood why he finally dumped Wright.  Even when he decided to dump public funding.   But for me he lost it when he backed the FISA bill .   It was unnecessary!  That’s old school politics and it wasn’t supposed to be a part of the Obama Promise.   And that disgusting play for AIPAC.   And then the choice of Biden for Veep.   Old school!   Where’s the change.

Hey! how about Jamie Dimon for veep?   CEO of JP Morgan-Chase. Young, progressive Democrat.  Passionate speaker.  Able to think on his feet.  Head of one of the largest commercial banks in the world.   Being a banker himself,  you can bet Dimon knows something about bringing an economy to its knees.  Think he doesn’t have the political experience?  Hell, his company buys politicians every day of the week.   Seriously, how about Barbara Boxer?   Henry Waxman?
Those people fought for real change when it wasn’t healthy nor popular to do so.

McCain wants to protect us from terrorism by bombing Iran. Palin is willing to take on Russia.
How do they plan to bring this off? And how much suffering are they willing to hand the other guy in order to carry out their kinked policies?

Our dollars have been squandered by fools and criminals.  Trillions of dollars if you believe Joseph Steiglitz.  The economy is in shambles and is tanking as we speak.

We entered 2000 with a $5.7T national debt and $1.3T surplus.  The debt now stands at $10T and interest on that debt each year is nearly  $400B –  money that could have been used in so many ways to strengthen our country, and instead it strengthens offshore creditors who don’t like us very much.
Militarily?   We are not *winning* in Iraq.  And, according to Joint Chief’s Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen,  we’re not *winning* in Afghanistan either.   After all, what would *winning* look like?   Would we have to kill them all?
Morally? What would the people of this country become if we were to *kill them all*?

Why not give terrorism its real name. Poverty!

Poverty is the real face of terrorism.  The absence of opportunity.  Parents watch their children die of starvation in an obese world.  Their kids go without an education that could pick them out of squalor and slums and you Democrats want to be pure and not offend.  People die from easily treatable disease and the drug industry enjoys a position of profit on Wall Street second only to the record profits of the oil companies.


And what about the carnivals in Denver where ATT sponsors feasted and partied the backers of the FISA bill that immunized them, and in St. Paul where police clubbed and jailed journalists covering the RNC.

Where is the outrage?  The Dems should be livid!   Instead it’s biz as usual.  Or should I say ‘complicity’ as usual.  Change that!   That would be real change!

Speak up on the crucial issues:
Public funding of elected officials.  The ridiculous, criminal access to the highest levels of public office by special interests. Change that!  Where is  accountability for corrupt officials.   Change is certainly needed there.  Poverty, education, offshored jobs.  Decaying infrastructure.  Global warming, degraded environment.  Polarization of wealth in America.   Fraudulent vote counts – only silence on these issues.
Provide *real* information to people, not VNR’s, so we may vote as informed citizens.  Information should be part of the commons, not traded on the New York Stock Exchange.   This is where real change could be made and where real change would make a difference.

David Lightman of McClatchy newspapers offers this on the economy;

“September 9, 2008

WASHINGTON — Just weeks before the government’s fiscal year ends Sept. 30, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday projected a near-record federal budget deficit of $407 billion, sharply higher than White House projections six weeks ago and more than double last year’s figure.

Mammoth federal-budget deficits feed inflation, make America dependent on foreign lenders, cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars in interest payments on the growing national debt and drain capital savings from more productive investments.


The widening gap between what the government spends and the revenue it brings in is sure to weigh on the next president and impede his efforts to spend on new or larger programs or to cut taxes.

Yet John McCain and Barack Obama show few signs that they’re ready to take tough steps to curb deficits, according to budget analysts.”        http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/52156.html

I thought Obama offered a real answer to economic problems with his plan for renewable energy.  Pour $500B into a real search for answers to sustainable energy.  His plan would provide jobs allowing families to pay their bills and provide federal tax revenues allowing our country to pay its bills.  And, in addition, would get us out from under our need to import foreign oil and markedly decrease our trade deficit.   Seems like  a great idea though I haven’t heard much about it lately.

Democrats have lost the constituency that gave them the nomination.  You went from a dozen percentage points over McCain to 5 points under.  Las Vegas odds still have the Dem ticket as the winner but that could change – there are 2 months to go!  It should have been a sweeping victory for the Dems after the Bush debacle.  A rout!  And you’re now behind in the polls.   But Be Nice To Palin.  Don’t attack.   Don’t be rude!

You’re no different than the Repubs you denigrate for smears and lies.  You let it happen.  Nancy Pelosi called her party ‘Rollover Democrats’   (and then asked for a contribution….&^&^%&^%!!!).   Not from this former Democrat.  The differences between Dems and Repubs, at this point, appear to be small enough to be drowned in a bathtub to use a neocon phrase.  What a shame!  Many of us had hope for Obama.   I still do… Naively.  If you’re running on ‘Change’  You’d better get behind real  ‘Change’  because right now your claim to ‘Change’ rings hollow.  You had better take on the Palins for all you are worth.   You had better exhibit the fortitude that gave you the nomination, and you’d better do it loudly and leave the goody-two-shoes attitude behind.

Obama could do it.   But will he?  Quit shaking hands with the scumbags and nail them.   They’ve sold out the country.   Being nice to them makes you appear complicit.  But then you are…   Looks to me as if it’s about time for a third party.

Great bumper sticker;   FREE OBAMA!

The Greenbacker

I HOPE I’M WRONG, 8-30-08

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

I hope I’m wrong!

Obama has betrayed a constituency that, under a banner of Real Change and New Hope,  gave him the nomination.

Instead of maintaining his relentless opposition to power politics, he caved.

Obama moved to the right, away from his original stand of Real Change, loudly and firmly backing the Israel lobby against any hope of real solution in the middle east and railing at Iran’s nuclear efforts while ignoring the nuclear threat Israel offers in the middle east. He supported the FISA bill giving telecoms immunity from illegal spying activities.  He pandering to establishment politics by selecting an establishment hawk veep. And now, the carnival in Denver where ATT sponsored a feast for the Blue Dogs that immunized them.    And we watch his ratings cycle back and forth against McCain’s.   Where was the serious commitment to issues such as world poverty  (the Real cause of terrorism),  nuclear proliferation, and threat of a new cold war.

His nomination was a culmination of new progressive idealism and hope.
Imagine!  A black man, and a woman in serious bids for presidency!   First time ever!

Obama brought disenfranchised voters out from under their rocks that had despaired of ever seeing their country emerge from under control of special interest lobbies and big biz.
Unfortunately, he softened his ideals.  Much of his progressive constituency does not buy this biz as usual, this SOS (same old Shit!).  They are leaving camp.

The good news:
Its a strong kick in the genes for establishment Democratic politicos that they are unable to bring about a sweeping victory over the failed policies of such a failed administration as Bush’s has been.
But then, many of these failed policies are supported by the Democratic establishment….

The bad news:
President McCain!    And (tremble…)  Veep Palin.   Egad!

Will this be a death knell for the gorged, obesity of  SOS profit-politics that is strangling our country?
Will this be a turning point causing voters to demand responsibility from our  ‘9 %’  Congress?

Just now it doesn’t look that way.  So much for the Yellow Brick Road.   The Wizard wasn’t.  Oz isn’t.
Obama may be no more than the guy behind the screen after all.  Remember what that guy was called?
A humbug.

I hope that is not the case.
I hope he is seriously trying to make progressive things work in a very hostile and complex political climate.

I can imagine Obama needs the support of the progressives that have abandoned camp and doubt he will get it.

Whither then?

Free Obama!

We need the change he spoke of some time in the past.

The Greenbacker

SPARE CHANGE, 8-25-08

Monday, August 25th, 2008


Spare change anyone?   Any change at all…?

Congress seems to have accepted the fact, without comment, that its positive rating among voters has plummeted from ~ 45% in 2003 to a current rating of ~ 9% !
Some of the reasons for this loss of faith are listed in the article below.

I wonder if the reason for Obama’s losses in voter support stem from the fact that he appears to be abandoning his message of’ ‘change’ that resonated so well with his constituents, for more of the ‘same old shit’

Biden?   A 36 yr establishment Congressional veteran?   Because he’s establishment, Biden can be expected to face the need for serious change in the same old fashion.   Will he do so or show the flexibility and strength of character to propose and augment serious change.

SOS or change?

Time will tell I guess.

Problem is, we may not have the time this time…(War, economy,  poverty, warming climate, pollution, racial divisions, energy….)

The Greenbacker

Joe Biden and the political establishment’s overriding goal

Sunday Aug. 24, 2008

Glenn Greenwald

That we live in a country characterized by “the centralization of
government power in the White House” — exactly what the Constitution
was designed to prevent — is now so self-evident that it’s not even
debated or contested any longer.

Since Pelosi and Reid took over Congress, the Congress has funded the
Iraq war without even a symbolic condition. It has rejected every
proposal to limit war spending. It has enacted one right-wing proposal
after the next, from warrantless surveillance and telecom immunity to
declaring parts of the Iranian Government a “terrorist organization.” It
passed a housing bill and “stimulus” package approved by the
administration. It has done nothing to reverse the radical executive
power theories and has done much to institutionalize them. If there is
one predominant trait of the Congress over the past several years, it
has been a willingness to grant every item on the the President’s wish
list <http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/01/30/bipartisanship/>
regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans are in control.

It’s literally hard to imagine how Congress could possibly be weaker and
more pliant than they’ve been. If Congress became any more cooperative,
Capitol Hill might just vanish altogether. Yet David Ignatius, the
ultimate establishment pundit, thinks that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid
are vicious partisan fighters who are so intent on waging vindictive war
on poor George Bush that the country has been unable to “get anything
done” — such as saving the country from “the reality that Social
Security is facing bankruptcy,” which, frets Ignatius, “seems not to
interest either Pelosi or Reid” (the reality that the U.S. itself faces
bankruptcy from the State of Permanent War which Ignatius and his
establishment comrades envision for the U.S. seems not to interest
Ignatius).

The most entrenched establishment spokespeople are cheering the
selection of Joe Biden because, in their minds, that selection confirms
the most important fact for them: that in this election, the prevailing
orthodoxies of our political system won’t be meaningfully challenged.

Michael Crowley recounted that Biden was continuously boasting that the
terrorism bill sent to Congress by John Ashcroft (soon to be called The
Patriot Act) was a replica of legislation that Biden had long advocated
— ever since the Oklahoma City courthouse bombing:
Numerous articles <http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1014458.html> are
hailing Biden’s steadfast “pro-Israel” record and praising him as a
great liberal “internationalist”
<http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/us/politics/24policy.html?scp=2&sq=michael%20gordon&st=cse>
………Talk Left blogger Jeralyn Merritt, who said that Biden has long been the leading advocate
of the harshest and most aggressive drug criminalization laws and
general “anti-crime” measures (see this 2002 Glenn Reynolds article
<http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,58663,00.html> on Biden’s
“anti-RAVE” legislation as an example).

Ever since it became clear that Obama would be the likely nominee, the
political establishment has been demanding of him more and more proof
that his “change” rhetoric is just that — rhetoric, and not anything
meant as a genuine threat to the prevailing order of things. Obama,
arguably out of political necessity, has repeatedly obliged, eagerly
trying to offer proof that he is no threat to them, and the Biden
selection is but the latest step in that campaign of reassurance.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/08/24/ignatius/index.html?source=newsletter

CARNIVAL, 8-25-08

Monday, August 25th, 2008

You’ll recall;  ATT is a major sponsor of the DNC

having provided delegates with those nifty convention bags containing their straw hats, flags, appropriate posters, complimentary free rides and coupons for cotton candy and stuff.

You’ll also recall; the blue dogs, Obama among them, supported the last FISA legislation that immunized ATT and other telecoms that  illegally engaged in warrantless spying.  So a lavish party is to be expected…

Carnival follows.

The Greenbacker