Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (?)

The following is an open letter to the new president of the United States:

Dear President Obama,

First of all, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read "The Rant". It is a humbling thing indeed to know that the most powerful persons in the nation are reading my opinions and being influenced daily by what I have to say on the subject of politics and affairs of state. [Hey, I can dream, can't I? So sue me!]

To quote one of your dead-as-a-door-nail predecessors, "Let me make one thing perfectly clear", I'm really happy that you won the election three months ago today. Really, really happy. Gosh! I don't know what the heck I would have done had John McCain and Gidget von Braun seized the realms of power on January 20. To be totally honest with you, I probably would have packed my bags and moved to England or Ireland or France - anywhere but the United States of America. Had our beloved nation stupidly chose to go down that road again, it would have been the final nail in the coffin of our economic suicide. Quite frankly, I don't think I would have wanted to be around to witness that happening. Contrary to the opinion of some less enlightened people, I love my country. I really do! I am convinced that your election was the best thing for America, and I'm happy that for the next eight years (I'm predicting two terms) you and your lovely family will be calling the White House "home".

Alright, having gotten the schmoozing portion of my message out of the way, let me get down to the business at hand:


Mr. President, you have the "good fortune" (if that's the correct phrase) to be following into office the most mind-numbingly corrupt and incompetent president in American history. It is my belief that, had we been able raise the Nixon Gang from the dead and install them in the Oval Office two weeks ago, they would have been so much better than the Bush Mob, most of the country would still have breathed a prolonged sigh of relief. Here's the problem: When your term of office is over eight years from now, you don't want historians saying that yours was not half as bad as the previous administration; you want them to say that it was a night and day improvement!

The minute it was revealed that two of your designated appointees (Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer) had tax issues, that should have been the end of it. Although they are both decent and capable people, the fact that they accepted their nominations knowing that these problems were boiling under the surface shows a recklessness that is troubling. While it is true that compared to the corruption of Bush and company, their transgressions are of relatively little import (anyone can make a mistake when filing their income tax returns) after the trauma of the last eight years, you need to set the highest moral and ethical standards possible. You promised us "change", President Obama; that doesn't mean a mere repeat of the Clinton years. Do you remember what his first months in office were like? You can do better - a lot better.

Forgive me for throwing this back in your face, Mr. President, but I need change I can believe in.

"Did I screw up in the situation? Absolutely; and I'm willing to take my lumps....I'm frustrated with myself, with our team....I'm here on television saying I screwed up."

Barack Obama, 3 February 2009, NBC Nightly News

All due respect, Mr. President, in April of 1961 when Jack Kennedy faced the press for the first time after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, he told them, "Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan." Can you even imagine the uproar that would have occurred had he said, "I screwed up"? It is a sad commentary on the dumbing down of America's political dialogue in the ensuing forty-eight years that your comments to Brian Wilson last night have gone relatively unnoticed. Do yourself a favor; the next time you are forced to make a similar admission, say that you "erred" or that you made an "error of judgment" - even "I made a mistake" would be acceptable - But don't say that you "screwed up", alright? Just a suggestion.

Regarding the so-called Economic Stimulus Package: There is too much package and not enough stimulus. Here's the chance for you to stand up and show a profile in courage. There's enough pork in there to give the entire country a massive coronary. Demand that it be removed immediately.
This country has bridges and schools and levees and highways that are in dire need of rebuilding. Recently I read of a school somewhere in the south that has not been improved since it was built in 1893. You don't have the power of the line item veto, but no one can argue your power of persuasion. Have your team rewrite that package and publicly shame the House and Senate into passing it. Don't forget that yours is, as Theodore Roosevelt once called it, "the bully pulpit".

After nearly three decades of Right Wing insanity, our country is broken and disparately needs to be repaired. Throughout history, the economy has always done well only when investment was being made in America's infrastructure. Otherwise the stimulus package is doomed to fail and we'll all be a thousand miles further down the proverbial creek.

Some commentators are calling this (with straight faces, no less) the worst start to any administration in history. That is so far from the truth it's hardly worth commenting on. The previous president (remember him?) committed one blunder after another from the moment he entered the White House and never stopped committing them for eight long years! And let's not forget Bill Clinton. Six months went by before he started to get somewhat of a hold on things. "Don't ask, don't tell". Remember that?

Or how about our ninth president, William Henry Harrison? Talk about a disastrous start! On the day he was inaugurated, March 4, 1841, Washington was enveloped in a freezing rain. The nitwit wanted to prove to everyone what a macho, rugged kind of guy he was and declined to wear his coat while riding in an open coach during the parade from the Capital to the White House. This was after delivering the longest inaugural address in American history - before or since! Exactly one month later, on April 4, he was dead, a victim of pneumonia. Silly bastard.

And while we're on the subject of disastrous presidential beginnings, when Lincoln entered the White House in 1861, the country was at war with itself! Sorry but it just doesn't get any weirder than that.

So, no, President Obama, in terms of bad starts, your administration doesn't even register. And it's still not too late to get things under control. This is not a time for caution and timidity; this is a time for decisive, courageous action. In the weeks leading up to that historic moment when you recited the oath of office, you were telling everyone who would listen how inspired you were by Doris Kearns Goodwin's monumental biography of Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals. Hey, don't get me wrong, it was a great read! But the book of hers that you should have been reading was No Ordinary Time, her biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

When Roosevelt came to power in 1933, he understood precisely the depth and gravity of the economic catastrophe his country was in the midst of. President Obama, do you have any idea why FDR is today remembered as one of the greatest chiefs-executive in American history? Because he knew that the only thing he had to fear was - fear itself (Oh, and fire - the poor old bugger was terrified of fire). The moment he walked into the Oval Office (Or rather, "The moment he was wheeled into the Oval Office...." Sorry 'bout that), he threw all political caution and expediency to the wind and took bold, courageous action that we as Americans still benefit from seven-and-a-half decades later.

Republicans politicians want you to fail, Mr. President. They know American history almost as much as you and I do. They know that FDR was so successful at cleaning up the mess made by the GOP in the twelve years leading up to 1932, they would not control the executive branch of our government for a full twenty years. Other than a brief, two year interlude, they would not control both houses of congress for sixty-two years. Don't give them the satisfaction of your failure.

And finally, Mr. President, regarding your choice of Republican Judd Gregg as your commerce secretary. Do you really think it's a particularly nifty idea to put someone in charge of a department he once voted to obliterate? You have enough token Republicans in your new administration; no more, okay? No more. You've made your point.

Hope all's well on your end, President Obama. Give Michelle and the girls a big hug for me. Oh, and that reminds me! One more thing (and this is really important): Have you found a damned dog for those two kids yet?


Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
The Defining Moment: FDR's First Hundred Days
and The Triumph of Hope
by Jonathon Alter


At 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All we can do is wait and see, my friend. I remain cautiously hopeful.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Hi Tom,

The really sad thing is that the Republicans WANT Obama to fail and would rather sit back and watch the country go completely down the crapper before they will lift a finger to do what the American people want.
All they care about is power and money (for themselves).

In Bushes Texas Cowboy Speak, the only good Republican is a dead one.

At 12:09 PM, Blogger LCS said...

Obama needs to pull an FDR soon, or this country is toast. I am so sick of Democrats being cowed by the Republicans! We do not need to court them or listen to their ideas. Their ideas got us into this mess and they lost because of it! They get no say!

At 1:11 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Okay...where do I begin ?? As I have noted before Obama, while the first African-American President in our history, is still part of the establishment. You folks have got to start to face the fact that the capitalist establishment is inherently EVIL. All his decisions are therefore based on false premises...the main one being that the elite ruling class which controls at least 90% of the wealth actually gives a shit about the rest of society. Another is his faith in God to protect us. The sooner we realize that neither God nor the establishment protects ordinary poor and middle class citizens the sooner we can take real steps to protect ourselves.Obama has so much misguided confidence in these establishment assholes who have proven only that they are devoid of any ethical or moral character whatsoever and are only concerned with preserving the status quo. Change ?? Well that would involve a complete revamping of our misguided values and misguided allegiance to a capitalist system that has caused all our problems to begin with. By putting us all in what in good times would be a friendly competition among us the establishment has created a society which in bad times will force us against each other to survive. That is NOT the purpose of government our founding fathers intended. All these bailouts are an attempt by the controlling elite to remain in control. Too big to fail means too many establishment elites will lose their power and control if these entities fail. Now that would bring about the change the people need. Changing players ( and it is arguable that has even happened ) without changing the game will not solve Amerika's problems. And that to quote Bruce Hornsby " is just the way it is...some things will never change." Unless we unite to change it ourselves !!

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Tom:

On the subject of "Change We can Beleive in", I would like to talk about the return to "The Rule of Law".

I personally don't see it happening. I started a Website to expose Union Pacific Railroad as the Criminals They are just after My Father was injured in an accident on one of U.P. Substandard Crossings, 4.5 years ago. My Father was turned into an Incomplete Quadrapelegic, suffered for just over 18 months & died on May 20, 2006.

As a result of My efforts to bring this tragedy to the Public spotlight, I have been targeted by My "Government" (the NSA). I have contacted the Obama Adminstration informing Them of My plight and have NOT even recieved a reply/acknowledgement.

Because of the lack of response & Government involvement supporting U.P. instead of Regulating them, I am attacking Politicians as well!

The isssue I am fighting for is nothing more than what Human Decency should demand: That being Profits should not trump or be valued more than the Safety of Human Life! Is that truly too radical for anyone Other than Corporations?!

At 3:43 PM, Blogger Dave Dubya said...

Good letter, Tom.

I wrote a similarly impassioned open letter to Obama shortly after the great FISA capitulation vote last July. Buzzflash was kind enough to post it for me, even.

It felt pretty good to write what I thought was a reasonable viewpoint. And I was happy that more than a couple folks got to read it. But I'm afraid that's the extent of any satisfaction we will get from our pleas for righteousness from a politician.

After all, Obama is still a member of our junior corporatist party. We can hope he will summon the courage to be a "traitor to his class" like FDR, but I won't hold my breath waiting.

That said, we still need to utilize our numbers and call, write, and annoy if need be, our representatives and senators to earn our votes and consider the public good once in a while.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Citizen Sane said...

Tom, the important points you made underscore the need for all of us to get off our asses, turn off the game du jour, and pester the shit out of our so-called representatives.
You are absolutely right - the same minds that made this mess aren't going to do anything to change the underlying racket that facilitated it. Laneman articulated something that's been infuriating to me - this inexplicable, ongoing suck-up to the repugs. Who cares what these greedy, sociopathic war mongers think?! They've nearly destroyed our country, and looted the public wealth of behalf of their corporate bosses. Why is anyone even asking them about anything, let alone appointing them to leadership positions!
And don't get me started on all the "let's look forward" crap, and the apparent unwillingness of congress to hold anyone in the Bush cabal accountable for their 200+ violations of national and international law. Why don't our laws apply to everyone? And if they don't, isn't our system a complete sham?

At 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there anything that would suggest that it is not a sham? We go through the motions of democracy - and our choices have some limited impact, but the large portion of policy is purchased by the entities that have the money to do so. For the large part they don't change...

At 9:18 PM, Blogger Avram Mirsky said...


I am very very worried. And also disappointed.

And the Chris Hedges piece in today's Alternet almost made reach for the hemlock.

At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least he didn’t say “mistakes were made”! Geithner? Holder? So glad we are getting the “most ethical administration” we were promised. WTF is he thinking! Maybe Gregg will help get rid of some of the pork. It’s like a bunch of drunken sailors on shore leave! Changes? Yes, from republicans to democrats. Changes? How about Highway to Hell.

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

I read Hedges piece which was in both Alternet and Truthdig. Of course it's not going to be okay.....not as long as unenlightened establishment assholes call the shots !! See, my people actually CARE about others well being !! We are willing to share our wealth and knowledge for the common good !! We are not greedy and self-absorbed !! Vote Woodstock Nation Party in 2012 !!

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Obama won is a lot slicker than people give him credit. The way I see it, he has the republicans isolated and united around a failed ideology. If you feed the pigs all you get is pig shit. His problem is with the democrats. The house and senate is like Sodom and Gomorrah, can you find just ten good men. I think Obama will veto the stimulus package if he does not like it, and then publish his line item veto version. He can slap the media spinners up side their heads and let congress know that we the people are standing on their oxygen hose. Obama is not about to let some political lap dogs make him fail; he has been there and done that. Bully pulpit, political capital, Obama will have money to spin.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Thank you, Tom, for sharing your well-written and, oh, to the point, letter to our president. It seems as if, once in the cocoon of the executive enclave, he's forgotten how to think. (Or, as I expressed to you on many occasions prior, he's just another "business as usual" guy, propped-up with just another look.)

Also, thank you, Avram, for your link to Chris Hedge's article, "It's Not Going to Be OK". His excellent references to Sheldon Wolin's "Inverted Totalitarianism" explanation may just be the "missing link" in explaining how we've arrived at this new paradigm we find ourselves desperately trying to escape. Unfortunately, Mr. Hedges's worldview doesn't lend itself to any quick-fixes or solutions. As Mr. Sheldon said, "Inverted totalitarianism does not revolve around a demagogue or charismatic leader. It finds its expression in the anonymity of the corporate state." Ironically, it's analogous to the "war on terror" -- the enemy is largely faceless, unseen, largely impenetrable, and not restricted to any specific or particular geographic location.

As Hedges relies heavily on ideas brought forth by Sheldon's article from The Nation in May of 2003, several points stand out for me that need to be reasserted and shared: "As Republicans have become more ideologically intolerant, the Democrats have shrugged off the liberal label and their critical reform-minded constituencies to embrace centrism and footnote the end of ideology. In ceasing to be a genuine opposition party the Democrats have smoothed the road to power of a party more than eager to use it to promote empire abroad and corporate power at home. Bear in mind that a ruthless, ideologically driven party with a mass base was a crucial element in all of the twentieth-century regimes seeking total power.", and "Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security."

Wolin lamented that, "...the corporate state has successfully blocked any real debate about alternative forms of power. Corporations determine who gets heard and who does not, he said. And those who critique corporate power are given no place in the national dialogue". Agreeing with him, "The American left...has crumbled. It sold out to a bankrupt Democratic Party, abandoned the working class and has no ability to organize. Unions are a spent force. The universities are mills for corporate employees."

It would seem there's no way to go but up, but just how far will we fall before then? Apparently, a long way.

I'm by no means a religious man, but I believe in a spiritual nature that transcends us all. In closing, all I can say is, "God bless us all".

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

After finalizing my last entry, I realized I succumbed to the negativity and distraught feelings of many in the liberal media (what's remaining), and didn't provide any potential solutions to an ever-increasing and insidious cancer that has overtaken our republic in a way that would have made the military campaigns of Genghis Khan seem quaint.

Political transformation will only occur when the accepted doctrine of corporate-personhood is alleviated from our constitutional processes, and the courts reverse all existing cases that have transpired to let this corporatist mentality transcend the rights of We the People. Without the absolute and unequivocal rejection of this notorious, but widely unknown, doctrine that accepts the notion of corporations as being equal (and many times, superior) to human beings, we're truly doomed as a society; as a nation; as a culture.

Educate yourself in the understanding of this underlying philosophy that has totally transformed America since at least the 1880s, and has altered the whole premise of what our Founding Fathers envisioned, and ensured, when the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, became the law of our land. That great document never, at any time, saw corporate enterprises as being equal in stature to that of the human person.


At 1:39 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Well isn't corporate-personhood the epitome of capitalism ?? I mean the only goal of a corporation is to make money !! I am not saying that capitalism needs to be abandoned totally ( because that will never happen ). The way I see it is as far as wealth goes we live in a top heavy society. We need to cap the ceiling of wealth and raise the floor of poverty. How ?? It's really the shit out of any individual who say makes over 5 million dollars a year, tax corporate profits by taking 90% of anything a corporation makes over say 30 million dollars a year ( I'm just throwing out numbers because it is the CONCEPT that is important ). Take all that tax money and use it to SUBSIDIZE the less fortunate members of society whether it be by providing quality education, healthcare or financial assistance. The argument against this concept when I presented it in a law school seminar class in the early 1980s was that people won't work if they can't keep the money. Businesses will have no motivation to reap in large profits if they can't keep it ( and give huge bonuses to CEOs ). It all goes back to what I've said previously about human should always do the best he or she can in ALL they do. Why ?? Because that is the right way to live. People need to be more enlightened in their thinking. Acting only for one's own benefit for material reward is detrimental long term. Do your best without the expectation of reward or gain. Act out of PRIDE not greed or self interest. This way the dangling carrot is not relevant. You do your best without regard to the ultimate outcome. This philosophy works, try it !!!

At 3:38 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Ellis, I think you're putting the cart before the horse. If corporate personhood, which is the legal fiction that property is equal to people (or, as previously mentioned, superior to), is taken as a given truth; on a par of the Sun rising in the east and setting in the west, then yes, capitalism will surely run our lives -- or more appropriately, overrun our lives. But, it doesn't have to be this way. Certainly, our forefathers didn't intend for it to be this way. Most of them, anyway.

I've mentioned before, responding to another article on Tom's "The Rant", that capitalism, per se, isn't the problem we're experiencing today. Rather, the underlying principal of corporate personhood, which has been accepted unquestionably with each successive round of major court decisions over the past 125 years, is the basis for most of the social, political, and economic hardships that we've had to endure during this period. It's the resounding paradigm that has had the most devastating implications for democracy and our constitutional rights.

Respectfully, I don't agree with your statement that corporate personhood is the epitome of capitalism. Rather, I believe it's the epitome of an exceptionally strong ruling structure that has evolved over the course of our country's last half of existence. It's a parasitic, though lifeless, organism that has attached itself to the basic structures of our democratic ways of life. It has become so intertwined, and indistinguishable from, our political bodies that the current symbiotic relationship they share makes it impossible to correct with a top-to-bottom approach. The only way to true change -- the change that candidate Obama so frequently spoke -- is at the grassroots level. A bottom-to-top approach will be the only way to reverse the trend, and it will not come easy -- and it will not happen overnight.

I applaud you for your idealistic viewpoint, however mankind has wrestled with the questions you pose regarding human motivation and "doing the right thing" for at least as long as there has been a written record. Basic philosophical arguments will not get us out of this mess we find ourselves in right now. I like to think my viewpoints are more pragmatic -- addressing the oft-forgotten (or not realized) legal misfortunes that have brought us to this point. Obama wasn't wrong when he declared that change is needed. Unfortunately, he didn't realize the change he spoke of would require fundamental restructuring of how, from a legal standpoint, corporate entities are viewed.

At 4:53 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

JG, I agree with your comments for the most part. However, corporations are still run by humans.....unenlightened humans. Of course corporate entities should never have been given constitutional protections. That's why it's time to take corporations' money away....not give them more through bailouts. Enlightening the minds of the people behind corporate Amerika would be a first step toward getting them to change the way they view society. In reality corporations are pushers of mindless consumerism. If people were taught to live a more simple life not enslaved to material objects and the greed that mentality breeds, consumerism will diminish and capitalism will lose its utility. And thank you for the applause JG I'm idealistic because I was a Philosophy major in college. Maybe if more people were taught critical thinking things wouldn't have gotten so far out of control !!

At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is my pitchfork?!

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery. — Sir Winston Churchill

At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peace brothers JG & Ellis,

Both of your plans are swell. However, greed & the lust for power are part of the human experience. Pete Townsend said it beautifully in 'Won't get Fooled Again' (by the way, I recently heard a nice cover of this by Richie Havens). Anyway, the large majority of us will live under the boot of the man. I suspect that will not be changing here anytime soon as the large majority of Americans are drugged by the media, the pharmaceuticals, the illusion that one day they'll purchase satisfaction at walmart. Is there hope of that coming true - or even that sizable numbers of escapees emerge from their stupor?

I'm a dreamer too and hope to change the world in in some small or large ways. At the same time I work on changing my mind or staying aware of just how beautiful life is - at least this way every once in a while I may get there.

Now is good...

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

John, peace to you, too, and also to your family and loved ones.

I never considered my suggestion of a "bottom-to-top approach" a plan, but rather more of a long-term strategy to combat the ingrained effects of decades-upon-decades of accepted corporatism. It has to be fought at some battlefront, and I'm afraid it's a lost cause to attack it at its head.

I agree with you that greed and the lust for power are part of the human experience. I also believe it's for this very reason that many people, such as yourself, Ellis, possibly myself (maybe Tom -- but only maybe), and other people of a higher consciousness, were put here: to forge a united front to stymie and counter this dreadful condition that harms so many more than it benefits. True, greed and power are part of the human condition. But, equally true, so are the virtues of charity, chastity, justice, kindness, patience, and temperance. As Ellis already noted, they just have to be practiced in order for one to gain proficiency in them.

It sounds like you're already on that journey.

(Hey, Tom, had to throw in the dig just to make sure you were paying attention. ;-)

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

Hey there, JG....

I'm paying attention, pal. Sorry I've seen "out of the loop" these past few days. I've got one heck of a nasty case of the flu.



At 9:15 AM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

If they had taken all the money given to the Wall Street gang and hedge fund cabal (and remember Chelsea Clinton works at a hedge fund) and instead of letting them throw Surf and Turf bail-out Valhalla's in the sun while golfing on prime turf and given all of it to each and every US Citizen, then I could believe that "a stimulus package could/would work.

Imagine how much debt could have been erased, mortgages paid off, credit cards, recharging the RRSP that'd been lived off of after job reduction/layoff/termination, if those billions given to AIG/CitiBank/Wachovia went to the citizens who paid taxes to provide them with their life is a party ways? Astounding.

Instead? We get THANE and gang paying out millions in bonuses to their cronies (how many mortgages in Akron, Iowa or Aberdeen, South Dakota could have been cleared from the books from the money used for bonuses?).

As an "American Abroad (although Canada doesn't feel that far abroad)," I read in the national papers that the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) rated CANADA's banking system as the safest and #1. The USA? #44 below ESTONIA.

Reagan's deregulations and Clinton's signing off on easy access to "ARM" for the sake of giving people "The American dream" of being "self-made moneyed Americans" and "home-owners" has left one suppurating pustule of currency oozing around the globe (job loses, education reduction, health diminishing with stress, isolationism growing in the EU and "Buy American first" and so much more. . .).

Those not feeling so bad have been inoculated with Paulson's unregulated (oh how the Republican's hate to have anyone watch what they do with ~*~*Their*~*~ money), lack of oversight or conditions TARP. And now they WHINE about the Stimulus Package put forward with rules, regulation and oversight? That kind of "interference" in their pushing capital from one location to another scares the hell out of them; what would happen if the little people, the peons learned what we do with "capital" (after all it is only imaginary "money" they sell/divide/bundle, etc).

GOD *NO*, they mustn't find out, let's boondoggle their package, and while we sit in the boat with our life jackets filled with "capital," we'll watch the Democrats bail with a pail we've made so small over 8-years of Bush policy (preceded by Reagan's Trickle Down Economics) that we will be emptying the broken dikes of disasters with a thimble.

I don't care how Obama says he "screwed up," just that he takes responsibility for the mistakes he made. Remember when "W" was asked if he had made any mistakes and his response was an emphatic, "No." Sure, optics play well to Obama's public image but haven't we had enough of bullshit euphamisms? Enhanced Interrogation, No Child Left Behind, Christian Conservative, and more?

Anther SWELL idea is keeping the blood money we are sending in military aid/weapons to hundreds of countries (the bulk of which goes to Israel in the amount of above $10,000+/each person in the state) and using it here to the tune of 10,000+/each USA citizen.

MY GOD! What a novel concept!

Sorry, I lost myself there. We all know it isn't about innovation, it's just about moving the pieces on the Risk Board Game, until we come up with a country we have loaded with pieces (goodies) that won't be able to haunt us with PAC's and cozy snuggling (i.e. Ghadaffi/Libya, the families of Pan Am 103 are just delighted.

Personally, I'd rather sleep alone, but the US Government likes to stay warm on the blood, sweat, tears and sweatshops that provide a good trade imbalance. Oops! There I go again!

At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's unbelievable how so many people don't want to see the reality as it is.
I refer you to this link , it may contribute to awake some dreamers.

At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like I said, "Where is my pitchfork"!? Oh, there it is, right next to my torch. OK, time to go to Washington!

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Hey Anonymous, I'm not inclined to be the type to join an angry mob. I'm getting too old for that kind of thing. Besides, I already paid my dues ... years ago ... when you probably weren't even a glimmer in your daddy's eye. I guess my question is, where have you been? Why haven't you been in the streets, protesting, while Bushco was riding slipshod over the whole country? Why now?

Pitchforks and torches? Hey, add a white hooded robe to your "ensemble", and then you'll have answered all of my questions.

At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Biden, In Germany, is making a case for the missle defense system "as lomg as it's afordable".

What kind of change is that?

Not only is the missle shield not afordable--it doesn't work. Nor is it necessary. The genesis of the shield came from a filmscript that then Pres Ron Reagan once read when he was an actor. Somehow, during the onset of his Alzheimer's, he remembered something about it and said let's try this. Ever since, through three presidents, scores of billions have been squandered trying to make it work. Why bother? Anyone who launches a ballistic strike (against anyone) would be summarily vaporized by MAD. A missle strike, if it does come, will come in the form of a ship container (or a suitcase), and the shield would have ben no help at all.

Is Gates still taking orders from W? Is Petraus? That is a disquieting notion. If the US wants to use its money in more productive ways, then scrapping the missle defense shield should be job #1.

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

JG, It must be wonderful to feel so intellectually and ideologically superior. So, do you perform a little dance after posting a comment?

It is obvious you believe corporate personhood is the root of all evil, which I can accept to a point. In essence, corporate personhood is simply a group of individuals acting in their collective good. Why is it any different than a coordinated effort of individuals who believe the same thing, such as gay rights activists or gun rights activists? Even if you did away with corporations, individuals would still gravitate to one and another and act collectively. I don’t think you are ever going to do away with corporate personhood; not saying that is a good thing. I think you need to treat the cancer, for lack of a better term. We need to have serious campaign finance reform and ethics reform. Prohibit candidates from accepting contributions from corporations or using their own funds. All campaign financing should come from a combination of individuals and taxes.

Q: Do you think the bailout and stimulus packages are evil plots to reduce the value of our currency so that we can be more competitive in the world markets, thereby giving corporations even more reason and ability to exploit and treat people as a commodity? You know, the New World Order. As I said, torches and pitchforks!

Always enjoy your comments.

At 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I said it on one of your rants a while ago, I wish I had voted for Nadar, but I chose "hope and change you can believe in." I'm done playing the game these A-holes created. We will never be able to vote our way to a decent future, NEVER!

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Anonymous, you're totally missing the mark if you believe, and I quote you, "corporate personhood is simply a group of individuals acting in their collective good." That's not what corporate personhood is at all. Please, do yourself a favor and link through to some
of the websites I provided. Until the debate over corporate personhood becomes mainstream, and the term is no longer a foreign or misunderstood concept by the majority of citizens (as, for example, it has been with you), we'll only have a snowball's chance in hell of ridding our political landscape of the incremental and insidious takeover by corporate institutions of our democratic principles and freedoms. Otherwise, our long-term health, as a free and democratic society, is at great risk.

I'm not, in any way, advocating the doing away of corporations -- only that they be treated as the creations of citizens, who allow their existence, legally, for the purpose of performing a specific or unique function of commerce. They are not to be treated as, nor have the same rights as, natural persons, for example, and have the constitutional right against self-incrimination, the right to privacy, and the right to lobby the government. When this happens, the concept of "one vote - one person" is cast out the window. A citizen's meager, single, vote can never compete against the several millions of dollars that corporations have to influence our elected representatives. So you see, corporate personhood is truly the disease, or the cancer, and the symptoms of this horrible malady are, for example, a lack of viable campaign finance reform or ethics reform -- both cited as large concerns by you.

Answering your final question concerning the already appropriated TARP and the upcoming stimulus/recovery package, I think both are mutually exclusive. TARP, I believe, was a last ditch effort by the Bush Administration to instill more "disaster capitalism" onto the working people and families of this country. I'm not sure President Obama's package is meant to cause the same pain. But, I may be wrong. Consequently, I'm not ready, yet, to gather-up my pitchfork, and torch, and march on Washington -- although I may change my mind later.

In conclusion, no, I don't think I'm intellectually and ideologically superior -- as you seem to feel. I am, however, concerned about the future and direction we're heading as a nation, and I don't perform a "little dance" after every post, as you infer. But, if I can get through to just one more person, and persuade them to think more critically about corporatism and other associated subjects, then I can sleep a little better each night.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger LCS said...

I think tax cuts should be no more than 20% of the stimulus bill. Plus 100% of the tax cuts should go to those with incomes less than $90,000 per year. Those who make less than $35,000 per year should pay zero taxes. The top marginal tax rate should be brought back up to 75% and those who make more than $100,000 per year should have their taxes increased by 10%.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

I'm with you, Laneman. Last night, when I heard reports that over 40% of the total stimulus bill was going to be devoted to tax cuts, I nearly threw my newspaper at the TV. I'm thinking, realistically, that possibly the percentage (attributed to tax cuts) should be even lower (than 20%). Maybe no more than 12% -- maybe even less than 10%.

I'm afraid, they way it stands now, the Democrats have compromised away the whole purpose of the stimulus bill.

Hey President Obama! Hey Congress! Tax cuts aren't the answer. The Republicans already tried that, remember? It doesn't work!

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tom , I read this article recently. I give you the link.
Tell us what you think about it if you want.

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless something changed drastically on Saturday, there is very little in the way of tax cuts in the bill. If it’s any consolation, Republicans don’t appear to be too happy with the bill either. Personally, I think the whole thing is a shame. It’s mainly an excuse for the Democrats to fund all the programs they have been trying to fund for the past 8 years, and few of Obama’s pet projects. They tried to put way too much pork in it. What they should have proposed was a bill that was truly a stimulus package, even though it probably wouldn’t work. It would have been passed by now. I’m not a believer in stimulus spending. I think we have overspent, incurred too much debt, and need to recover from the hangover. We are doing what Japan did, and it didn’t work for them. They had 10 years of stagnation when the rest of the world was doing great. Stimulus spending doesn’t work. When it appears to work, it is only coincidence.

At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Day Mr Degan, I enjoy reading your commentaries and the opinions of others. However I get the sense that your readers are blinded by this feeling of hope.Our government is broken and is incapable of dealing with the current economic crisis. The government operates at the wishes of the Federal Reserve Bank, which contrary to the belief of the majority of Americans, is NOT a branch of the federal government. The Federal Reserve Bank is a consortium of private banks and financiers. Until the public quits hoping and starts acting (read 1st amendment)we will continue this downward slide into a Greater Depression than our grandparents ever experienced. Take to the streets so we can DUMP THE FED. Thanks for reading.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Prairie Waif said...

. However I get the sense that your readers are blinded by this feeling of hope.

You know, I am becoming an insolent little snot when it comes to people commenting on those of us, who WERE educated voters and chose to vote an OBAMA/BIDEN Ticket.

What the hell makes you so damn smug as to assume we all look up at our new president to see him perched on an infinitely elongating pedestral?

Buddy, the "dump the fed" crap has become as discredited as "9/11 *truthers*."

READ THE FIRST AMENDMENT?!" This is a rhetorical question/joke correct?

MILLIONS, MILLIONS!!!! who know and understand the First Amendment RIOTED in the streets against invading and occupying Iraq. And. . . what was the result of them knowing and acting upon that knowledge? Diddly squat!

With the current legislation under discussion? Our representatives have had enough lobbying from their constituents to know that they have some serious answering to do if they don't start with a "bottom up" ethic instead of "trickle down."

It appears, to me, that the only people who have placed OBAMA on a pedestral, are those waiting to see if he falls or using pinata sticks to bat at it.

Honestly, when will you wake-up to the fact that we *HAVE* a President not a puppet?

Maybe you should put him on the ground, like most of those who voted for the man.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

In many respects, "Anonymous" is correct. For example, without getting into a belabored discussion about the origins and credibility of the Federal Reserve Board, let it suffice to say he's right. The international banking cabal pulls the puppet strings of most of the industrial world's elected leaders -- President Obama being no exception, I'm sure.

Concerning Anonymous' claim that, "Our government is broken and is incapable of dealing with the current economic crisis", he just may be right. Or, if you subscribe to Naomi Klein's theory of "disaster capitalism", it may all be a concerted effort to completely derail the American economic system, quickly, in order to gain unlimited and unequivocal control. Take your pick. President Obama may be sincere in his quest to pick-up the broken pieces of our shattered economy and mend it. On the other hand, it's totally possible he's not. My advice: keep a close eye on him and stay involved. Keep the pressure on him, and your congressional "leaders", and make him, and them, work for you -- not the special interests that rule Washington.

Keep in mind that according to Paul Krugman, "What’s coming out of the current deliberations is really, really inadequate." He's gone through the CBO numbers and he said they’re projecting a $2.9 trillion shortfall over the next three years. He's convinced that there is no way $780 billion, much of it used unproductively, will do the job. I'm inclined to agree with him.

At 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anna van Z got it right ...

Obama needs to junk this crap about bipartisanship. The term assumes playing fair and the Repugnants don't and never will. Obama has the creds and he should steam roll'em. Bonier and that tight lipped little bastard, Mitch, have no thought of cooperation, big, drum-thumping patriots they would have us believe they are.

OLkay, you lose with a filabuster but how long do you think the public will put up with that? Obama needs Roosevelt's nerves ... meet 'em head to head and let the voters decide.

People need jobs and bail out and cities and states are on the ropes. People are super angry and some are even Republicans in the trenches.

Playing nice just makes Obama look silly and ineffective.

I think he's got it, though. He's out on the chicken dinner trail, just the way FDR did it. Get in their back yard and slap 'em around a little.

Nie won't make it.


At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe all three of you are correct. The controllers of the fed are absolutely manipulating the situation (these are the guys that actually finance politicians - probably through any avenue you can think of). The government as outlined in the constitution is hopelessly broken. That said, the president still wields considerable power. I personally have hope that Obama will use this power in productive ways and I have no doubt that I will prefer him the what we had.

As far as bailout episode II is concerned, it is more theft of public money and manipulation for bank takeovers.

My view is that simply spending a lot of money on various projects within our current framework will solve nothing (for most of us). Our economy in this country is largely based on the buying of imported crap and fuel plus the remaining domestic industries of food, insurance, debt and medicine. These things are all interrelated in many ways but the point I'm making is we are regarded as consumers by industry. This society has been shaped into something that builds little of lasting worth. If a building gets old we knock it down and build a new one. Roads are build to specifications that are expect to fail so it has to be repaved. The destructiveness of war fits right into that mindset. Over the last several years careers & savings have been added to the mix. The idea of a self sustaining infrastructure where we invest in long term products to reduce our dependencies is abhorrent to some of these guys who may regard it as a threat to their industries way of doing things - and it is. But staying the course may be equally destructive to them. It definitely does not seem to be working out so well now. The funny thing is that moving in that direction would take many decades. I doubt that would cause any oil companies to go broke anytime soon. The aristocracy's job is to stay on top - it seems they should be able to figure out the few new moves it would require over the next 100 years to do so.

At 7:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I said that.

At 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Prarie Wolf... discredited as "9/11 *truthers*."

You can believe as you choose my friend, but discredited by whom?

9/11 is the barn door blown wide open. 9/11 exposes the inner workings of the machine of Empire that consumes nations and sacrifices lives without remorse, regardless. It was a seminal moment in our history, when once again the oligarchs said to the Nation: What ya gonna do about it?

Nothing has changed here, PW. Nothing at all.

At the end of four years, what will we have do you think, with Mr. Obama at the helm? I'll tell you: NOT A THING!. A big fat fucking goose egg. That's what we'll have.

I want two things for everyone. single payer health care, and a decreasing military budget. It ain't going to happen.

Bank on it.

And why? In large part because to many otherwise good people are too brainwashed with their naive little heads firmly corked up their backsides; too deluded and intellectually incurious to face the reality of the power behind the throne.

The spin is still spinning and
yes, the power behind the throne, is still behind the throne.

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

At 8:08 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Anonymous, I read the Information Clearing House article you provided an address to ("Lives Have Been Destroyed by the Federal Government", by Mark R. Crovelli). In the words of one of the commentaries provided at the end of the article: "Terrible writing. Highly repetitive and full of libertarian bullshit."

You (and Crovelli) are missing the complete point (again!). It's not the federal government, per se, that's the problem. The problem is the intermingling of corporate money and influence with the federal (and state ... and local) government.

Until this concept is understood -- completely -- and acted upon by We the People, we'll never have a just and democratic republic as our Founding Fathers envisioned.

Your nonsense, and that of Mark Crovelli, is just distorting the actual problem. C'mon, quit sounding so "Reaganesque". We've already been down that road. Remember? It doesn't work.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger andrea triplett said...

I think our political sytstem is in the crapper. I don't know how much Obama can help if he truly is sincere. Our politicians are all corrupt, Republicans and Democrats alike. They are living in their own world were all they seem to focus on is who can stay on top the longest. I dont know about you guys but I am literally disgusted. Isn't it time for real change or is it even possible??

At 2:19 AM, Blogger larkrise said...

Better late than never comment:
Judd Gregg showed his true colors. The Republicnas are not going to be bipartisan, not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow, not the Republicans in Congress. Why? Because they are hardcore, fanatic ideologues from states or districts chock full of hardcore, fanatic ideologues and idiots. Three, count them, 1,2,3 are not. The Holy Trinity, holy only because their constituency is not overloaded with hardcore, fanatic ideologues and idiots.They fear not being re-elected. The rest evidently have little to fear but the total destruction of our economy. They do not fear that because they have their loot in offshore accounts. Their constituents should fear it, but they are too stupid and rigid to fear it. More fool they.
The Stimulus Plan: Too many useless tax breaks, which will go to paying medical expenses and credit card bills. Not nearly enough infrastructure spending, as you correctly noted, Tom. The end result will be a small blip of relief, followed by a tsunami of depression. Too little, too late.
Afghanistan: "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Ahem. Heard that one a million times? Ask Alexander the Great. Ask the former Soviet Union. Drag LBJ from the pages of history and ask him. And, in the name of all that is holy, did you not notice Bush's Iraq Debacle!!!!! What and where is the well-delineated plan, goal, outcome for Afghanistan? Does anyone in Washington learn anything?!!!! Dammit! An old lady is driven to cursing.....#%!&*@# and so on.
Last but not least: If you, President Obama, let Bush, Cheney, et al. off the hook for their crimes, you are demeaning yourself, demeaning our country, and demeaning justice and truth. That is a whole lot of demeaning, Sir. It is going to come back to cause you a great deal of sorrow; because one of the changes millions of us wanted was an ethical, honest government. Without applying the law to all equally, that change will not occur. You will be just one more politician, Sir, that failed the people of this country.

At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, if you admit that Mexicans are that violent, why aren't we exterminating the ones that invade our borders? Is their violence protected because they're minorities? Because they "don't know any better"(TM)?
Is this violence part of the "Seeking A Better Life"--FOR THEMSELVES, knocking Americans out of the way?
Guns aren't the problem, it's that irresponsible and foreign elements have them...
Moreover, a large part of American self-worth is tied up in our job. One loses a job, he/she/it thinks they have nothing else to lose. They kill the wrong people, though, and that teaches the wrong lesson!

How much longer are we going to keep making excuses for foreigns taking Americans' jobs, breeding anchor-babies, dragging down our educational standards?

If Eisenhower could kick out 1.5 MILLION illegals with his primitive technology, how many MORE can we do with modern tech?
And remember, a big part of his success was that he didn't just take the scum to the border so they could try again, he dropped them off in the MIDDLE of Mexico, making it less convenient for them to try to invade again.

Or, of course, we could do what China and Malaysia do: Allow corproations to take total control of illegals' lives, health, and breeding--BUT MAKE THEM PAY THE ENTIRE AND SOLE COSTS! Once the true costs of the "cheap" labor were shouldered by the Corporations, rather than the taxpayers, the illegals would be sent home by the Corporations themselves! Or at the very least, the Corporations would prevent them from popping out such huge litters, since it'd no longer be at TAXPAYER expense!

At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that moral relativism and the vagaries of modern language play a part here.

Because Federal funding will be withheld, American schools accept ever more wrong answers as "correct": 2+2=5 is accepted because it's "close" to being correct, then the next one says 2+2=6, and we have to accept that, 'cause it's arbitrarily close to one we already accepted, on up to people apparently BELIEVING that 2+2=22!

I could bore you with a story of a frog slowly boiling, but the point is, we need to return to "right" and "wrong", and FAST!

That includes our language, where an increasing amount of euphemism and "clever" innuendo are used to cover rot. It'd take a cleverer person than myself to lecture you about "moral decay", but when "undocumented immigrants" (ILLEGAL ALIENS) are held up as heroes for breaking our laws, and "escorts" (WHORES) are held up as whistleblowers, and a thug attacking a cop on a drug-fueled rampage is a saint because he uttered, "Can't we all just get along" AFTER a peaceful attitude was beaten into him...Then we need to re-examine our priorities!

Minorities have equality, now they want segregation in the OPPOSITE direction--special privileges that the honest people don't get--and we're supposed to allow that, otherwise we're "racist"?!

I don't buy that!
Do you?

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since Obama's run, he's thrown distraction after distraction at the American people to prevent us from seeing that he's hiring the very criminals that caused this mess as his Cabinet--bordering (pun intended) on being as corrupt as Zimbabwe or Mexico!

Race, his wife finally "being proud of America", his wife having a big butt(!), what dog his kids get, his kids' "dangerous" exposure to MySpace, even his distaste for the Special Olympics and/or Jessica Simpson "getting fat" (As in getting healthy curves, rather than promoting anorexia)!

I am, of course, DEEPLY sorry to Mrs. Obama that electing an unqualified person just because he's black is the first time she can be proud of America, but that Civil War REALLY threw a wrench into technological/social progress of America. If it hadn't happened, though, she and her husband would be LITERALLY owned by Some Rich Bastards, instead of just in their pocket, and redirecting billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the aforementioned Rich Bastards' pockets...

We need to boot the tax-dodgers and corporate criminals from our Government, and preferably hire some HONEST accountants, who can "run America like a business".

In the current climate, that would mean trimming the fat, particularly the bloated Welfare system, streamlining the justice/prison complex (Hopefully sending a lot of foreign criminals home in a box instead of warehousing them here), and kicking out of school those whose "culture" prohibits learning!

What are the odds of that happening?


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