Are we a country whose democracy is active, or are we at a point where our democracy is approaching a state of inaction?

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28Feb/111

Ten Most Wanted

Posted by 00tj8jh3

A criminal's on the lamb, and the FBI posts his name on The Most Wanted List, common conjecture says he's in deep doo-doo as the FBI knows who he is, where he is, and its agents are probably down his street, handcuffs at the ready.  The theory goes that the FBI pragmatically places imminent captures on its Wanted List; it helps the statistics and image.

Today, after 10 days of silence, our President issued  a pretty strong statement  of support for public sector unionized workers. See the news below:

"President Obama alludes to the budget/union fight in Wisconsin and other states, telling governors at the White House that public workers shouldn't be "denigrated" or "vilified." He says workers' rights shouldn't be "infringed upon."

"We need to attract the best and the brightest," he says. "We’re not going to attract the best teachers for our kids ... if they only make a fraction" of what others make. He adds: "Yes, we need a conversation about pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other promises we’ve made as a nation.

But: "As we make these decisions about our budget going forward, though, I believe that everyone should be at the table. That the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail." He adds that "all the pains" shouldn't be "felt by one group ... "while the wealthiest among us get to keep -- or get more tax breaks." If so, he says, "we’re not doing the right thing." (11:33 a.m.) Politico 44

http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0211/obama_and_biden_to_governors_6027f178-b959-4f9d-ace2-4e8172cc700f.html

Perhaps the President has demonstrated that he is capable of taking a stand.  If so,  I applaud him and will refrain from saying, "It’s about time"  even though I just said it.

Secondly,  it appears to me that it is now likely that the crisis is nearng resolution.  News sources are reporting that behind closed doors some Republican State Senators may switch their vote or support a new compormise bill not wiping out collective bargaining.

Either way I am delighted… if the President has shown some courage,  I congratulate him.

If collective bargaining survives in Wisconsin, joy to the middle class.

My guess is both are related.  President Obama most likely has reliable information that the crisis is coming to an end so he can safely support the winning side. He is again being pragmatic.  Kinda like the FBI waiting until they have a slam-dunk before placing the next Dillinger on their Most Wanted List.  But, this slam-dunk feels good, so why quash those good feelings by being cynical.

Congrats to the demonstrators and a President who speaks for the little guy.

27Feb/113

Backward to the Future

Posted by Nate

I have been following current events around the world and in our country...fascinating events!  The spark of freedom has caught fire and spread around the world.  It is hard to know what the results will be, but what is clear is that people do not want the status quo.  The Internet, with its free  flow of information, eventually leads to real freedom.  The days of dictatorship are over, may not be all over and may not be over today.  But the world knows, the dictators know...their time is over.  These are historic times, uplifting times...that is before we take a closer look...that is before we look at what is happening here in America.
We need to move forward

Our hope...Our future

It seems that as the world is moving forward, America is pulling backward...to the good old times...to the Wild West, where guns rule, where you are on your own, where old people die on the streets, to the world without safety nets for the less fortunate.

Generations of efforts and struggle were devoted to building a  better and more humane society for all.  We accomplished a lot: desegregation, women's rights, equal rights for minorities, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  America was a beacon for all who wanted freedom, opportunity and a better life.  This was the country where anybody, regardless of ethnicity, origin or class, could succeed.
The beacon of the free world...  not anymore!  We are being pulled backwards.  The middle class is disappearing, the rift between the "have" and "have-nots" is growing at an accelerated rate.  Social programs are under attack and lag behind other nations.
"The United States is decades behind the rest of the world in parental leave policy and joins Swaziland and Papua, New Guinea as the only countries with no guarantee of paid leave", a Human Rights Watch report said Wednesday.
Of the 190 countries studied in the report, 178 guaranteed paid leave for new mothers and nine were unclear about their maternity policies.  Just three countries clearly offer no legal guarantee.

We have lost our competitive edge...
How is it that the country that won its freedom from an occupier with blood and determination became an occupier?  How is it that we spend countless billions on wars but cannot spare money for education, health care and science?
How is it that the country that reached the moon cannot afford student loans?
Why are the unions that helped to build the middle class under attack?
The regimes that we support around the world are crumbling.
People are fed up and are ready to move to a better future.  We, the people of  the USA,  support this seemingly worldwide  fight for freedom.  Yet, why are we moving backwards in our own country?  Isn’t it time for us to start asking questions?  Is it not time to regroup and move on to a better society?  And what do we do?  We allow ourselves to be pulled back by the Republicans.  And about the Neo-Republican party, Mr. President, you repeatedly try to work with and get consensus from Republicans.
Mr. President, many Republicans are not just your political enemies, they are your enemies...they hate your guts.  The outrageous thing about the Republican dedication to  “fiscal responsibility” is that  suddenly, under the Obama administration, they became  fiscal conservatives.  These same Republicans accuse the Obama administration of overspending.  They burned the house down when they occupied it and now that new tenant wants to rebuild it.  Yet they scream that he is wasting money.
The problem?
Guns for all

Backwards to the future.

Mr. President,  the GOP will not work with you; the Republican Party will work against you.  The Republicans want their power back.  The American people elected the Democrats and you, Mr. President,  to fix the country.  They did not elect you to appease the Republicans who broke this country in the first place.  The Democrats and you, Mr. President,  will have to do the repairs.  Unfortunately, the way to do this is to treat the Republicans as a hostile force.  It was not your choice, Mr. President.  The Republicans started the war and you have to fight and win for this country's future.  You lead and we will be with you.  Sorry that you have to work with the Democrats to accomplish that.
The “middle” class?
According to statistics the divide between the “haves” and “have nots” is growing wider every year.  The stress factors are multiplying for the general population.  It makes people feel better if they can identify the culprit...the enemy.  There has got to be someone responsible, and we have plenty of crazies and opportunists like Limbaugh and Beck to add to the fire, to point the fingers.  They spread rumors and lies.  They entice hate and bigotry...and they make millions.  But what goes around comes around.  History tells us that those who spread hate and violence will become its victims in the end.
My fellow Americans,
Some of you are blaming the current President now for record deficits and continued economic problems.
So you want all the problems fixed quickly, but with no cost to  yourselves...AND NO NEW TAXES...and to do it NOW.
And yet you graciously gave the Republicans and George W. Bush eight years to run our country to the ground.  You want simple answers and solutions, ones that you will understand.
Sorry to disappoint you...there are no simple and quick fixes.
26Feb/111

Olbermann is Back

Posted by 00tj8jh3

Kieth Olbermann launched his new website: http://foknewschannel.com/ below is an excerpt that I found especially strong.

" 'The Union' is the only protection you have when the drunken boss comes in to fire you because he doesn’t like you, or because he got elected on a promise to his puppet-masters that he’d fire you and everybody else like you so as to soften this country up to pit the urban middle class against the rural middle class so nobody’s paying attention as the corporations reduce everybody they can to subsistence levels while they take the collected drops-in-the-bucket of the mere thousands of bucks stolen from the fired or the de-unionized or the retirement-delayed, and turn them into more millions to stuff into their own pockets."

25Feb/111

Obamapologists

Posted by 00tj8jh3

leadership

Leadership

I, like so many others,  gave  time, money and heart to get President Obama elected.   Regrettably, I have been greatly disappointed.  It is not due to his lack of legislative accomplishment.  Given the contentious and intransigent opposition faced, I sincerely believe he has been adept at getting some good legislation passed.

But, I have been waiting to see his moment of courage.   From my friends, I  hear that he  is pragmatic; he has always been in the middle;  he is a man of compromise.   In most situations being pragmatic and a man of compromise is wise.  If you have a crowded room and more guests come than there are seats, you compromise; you are pragmatic; you let a few people in, and ask some to stand. But, if the same situation applies to a crowded lifeboat, being pragmatic and compromising is not a viable solution.  Our lifeboat is full.

Pragmatism involves choosing an action with the least risk ;  this usually makes sense.   An empty building is burning; stand outside; call the fire dept and let it burn.   If your child is in the building the choice of action involves a tougher question, and you don't always chose the pragmatic action of waiting for the fire engines to pull up. Our building is burning, and little Johnny is screaming for help.

Then there is the issue of honesty.    I have been through almost 50 years of elections yet I remain naive enough to believe that the overall theme of a candidate's doable promises should be kept.   To not keep doable, significant promises simply equates to lying.

In Madison, Wisconsin the labor movement is at risk of being obliterated by the GOP.   Our President says a few words of support at the beginning of the crisis and now, not a word.   His press secretary answers the question of whether the President will get involved with a non-answer.   Political pundits say the President is waiting to see how the public of Wisconsin poll.   Wisconsin will be critical in 2012.... He is just being pragmatic.

For those who have not seen President Obama's 2007 stump speech in Spartanburg, I ask you to click

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SA9KC8SMu3o

You will see our President issue  unequivocal words of support for the labor movement of our country.

I ask my Obamapologist friends: Do our unions not deserve a few word of support from our President?   Perhaps,  he chooses not to "walk the picket line"  but how much courage does it show to ignore the situtation?   Yes, showing support might have negative consequences.  But acting in the face of risk is what courage is.

All I have seen out of this President is pragmatism. I hopefully await courage and honesty.  Hopefully, by the time you read this blog entry, it is no longer relevant because Barak Obama did the courageous thing.

21Feb/111

Allowing Guns on Campus

Posted by 00tj8jh3

Concealed guns on campus

Back off!!

Associated Press

AUSTIN — Texas may be preparing to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus, adding momentum to a national campaign to open this part of society to firearms.

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns. The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Republican Gov. Rick Perry, who sometimes packs a pistol when he jogs, has said he’s in favor of the idea.
Bills are still in committee so nothing has come up for a House or Senate vote yet.
Texas has become a prime battleground for the issue because of its gun culture and its size, with 38 public universities and more than 500,000 students. It would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a broad-based law. Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.
“There is no scenario where allowing concealed weapons on college campuses will do anything other than create a more dangerous environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Oklahoma Chancellor of Higher Education Glen Johnson said in January.
University of Texas President William Powers has opposed concealed handguns on campus, saying the mix of students, guns and campus parties is too volatile.
The majority of adult Texans, 70 percent, surveyed in a poll in December and January opposed allowing guns on campus. The poll for The Dallas Morning News and other large newspapers in the state had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Guns on campus bills have been rejected in 23 states since 2007, but gun control activists acknowledge it will be difficult to stop the Texas bill from passing this year.
Guns for all

Texas college

Matt suggests:

As for guns on campuses in Texas,  I think they really should start with guns in preschool, it is never too early to shoot straight, I also think cars and buses should be replaced with horses and stage coaches.... let us truly go back to the wild west.

21Feb/110

Guilty

Posted by Nate

By Al Neuharth, founder of USA Today.
It should remind us of how little we knew about Iraq and how Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, Bush and others
pulled the wool over our eyes.
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their pro-war crowd warned us Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass
destruction that he might use against neighboring countries.
But they said fixing the problem would be simple.

Guilty

You orchestrated the invasion of an independent country by falsifying the evidence.

No supporting evidence of WMD, no smoking gun.

You are guilty of lying to our country,  lying to the citizens of your country who  trusted you  to protect them. That was your responsibility

You betrayed a CIA agent and put its field agents working on our security in grave danger.

You deliberately put American young people in harm's way, you lied to these young people telling them they were invading another country to protect our freedoms.

You are criminals. You are cowards hiding behind our soldiers. You did not hesitate to send Americans to die. To die for your lies.

You did not hesitate to kill hundreds of thousands civilians of an independent country,  a country you invaded without just cause

You are cowards. You evaded military service.  No, you never fought in a war;  you have always been cowards. It is easy for cowards to be brave while cowering  at a safe distance  behind those in harm's way. You could care less about lives lost, devastated families, orphaned children. You could care less about kids who lost their mother or father for no good reason.

Tens of thousands injured soldiers, young lives ruined. All that because you lied our country into this criminal, illegal, pointless war.

But you are fine. Enjoying life, writing books, making speeches.

I accuse you of war crimes. I accuse you of the great harm you brought upon our country and on the world.

Guilty.

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Carl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld.

The country has to know.

The world has to know.

You are criminals and should be treated as such.

And that is how history shall  remember you.

21Feb/111

On Wisconsin

Posted by 00tj8jh3

First They came... - Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me

I hear the Governor of Wisconsin saying these are desperate times that demand desperate action.  We have no choice. Unionized public service employees must be reasonable; they must lower  demands for increased wages, forgo promised pensions, pay a greater portion for health care. Tough demands on people, but these are tough times. Even if these unions accede to these draconian demands;  it is not enough. These are desperate times; we need desperate action. To ensure public service employees don't make future demands we need to silence them. These are desperate times we must silence their collective voice.

The public, my good Wisconsin neighbors, they shake their head and say, "these are desperate times we need desperate action." These teachers, fire fighters, librarians they have it too good… they are breaking the system… my tax dollars are being stolen… screw em'.  I ain't got no union and never needed one.

What the hell did unions ever do for me? Screw the AF of L/CIO.  All I need is the NRA.

Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, health Insurance benefits, pensions, workman's comp, occupational safety laws, child labor laws…. All those would have been enacted out of sheer altruism by business and our benevolent government without the collective voice of the workers of this country.

Unions are and have always been corrupt.  Jimmy Hoffa, featherbedding, organized crime that's what unions are. They are blood-sucking leaches. They destroy free enterprise and the American Way .

Don't you watch FOX?  Don’t you know unions are un-American?  Didn't St. Reagan teach you anything?

Kenneth Lay, Bernie Madoff, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers. Enron, World Com … they were just aberrations in an otherwise moral and ethical corporate America. Hell, Walmart is paying its workers almost livable wages now. This has nothing to do with the Walton's fear that employees might organize.

American business and America's lobbyist financed elected officials always have had the workers best interest at heart. Our system is just too fragile now; we can’t allow disgruntled people to be heard. Don’t you know these are desperate times?

Did not 911 tell you anything?  That desperate time led us to lose 4000 lives and billions in a desperate war to protect America from a non-existent threat.  Those desperate times led us to suspend civil liberties and circumvent our constitution, but we are all so much safer now. And I still have my Glock with its 30 cartridge clip. Thank God for our Constitution.

To be honest I just wish this union shit would go away. I would just like to be at the tavern, drinking my Millers while watching  Green Bay beat the crap out of the Bears.  Uh, oh there may be no NFL next year because those millionaire, prima donna, unionized football players may get locked out by their billionaire corporate owner.  Now in Wisconsin those would be desperate times.

18Feb/110

Why?

Posted by Nate

Why do my compatriots do what they do?

It is sad!  A sad feeling when I listen to the Russian radio, read Russian newspapers and read my Russian relative's and friend's e-mails.

What is it?  Total selfishness or fear?  Inability to adapt to a new,  free society?  Nostalgia for older simpler times, times when everything was clear?  The Party told us who was a friend and who was an enemy, we were taught at school who was a positive and who was a negative hero in the books.  Is it fear for something new, different, a fear of  change?

Obama haters

OH NO! Hussein Obama!

Seemingly smart and educated people are panicking in fear of the possibility of this “black Muslim terrorist sympathizer” becoming the President of our country - the USA.

I remember people crying when Stalin died, asking each other what are we going to do, who will protect us, who will tell us what is right and what is wrong.

Look at where we are today as a country:

A deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, a very real possibility of being kicked out of Iraq.  Iraq’s closest ally is Iran, not the United States – the "liberator".

Our country is broke financially, health care is in crisis, the country is more divided than ever before, the middle class is in trouble.

And what are Russian immigrants concerned about?  He is black!  He is a terrorist sympathizer!  He is a Muslim!  He supported 9/11!  He was not born in United States!  Jessie Jackson supports him (the same one that wanted to cut off Obama’s balls)!  He is a bandit that will destroy Israel!  Kaddafi is his best friend!

It seems to me that the moment Barack Hussein Obama is elected, some of these terrified Russians will hide in their basements with their families because they do not want another Soviet Union.

Let's see - Soviet Union.

No freedom of speech, a stagnant economy, an over-sized military, Afghanistan disaster, exporting the Soviet system into other countries, one-party political system, constant surveillance of all their citizens. Did I miss something?

Now - USA. 10 years of Republican Party rule and 8 years of W. leadership.

Freedom of speech (if you disagree with us, you are against us), an economy in ruins (are you better off now than you were 8 years ago?), how are we going to pay a 14 Trillion dollar debt?, an over-sized military (we spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined), wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with no end in sight, we screwed up the war in Afghanistan because we were bringing “democracy” to the Iraqi people, unauthorized surveillance of US citizens (but “we have nothing to hide”).  Did I miss something?

But we do not want another Soviet Union here!!!

So, let’s keep Republicans in power!  One wonders were the logic is!

No logic, just pathological fear and hatred!  Fear of anything new and different and hatred of those that disagree.

And many of these people came here as "dissidents".

Nice going Soviet dissidents!

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